Life gives us moments that are sometimes best left to a storyteller. Here is one of those moments:
A week at grandma and grandpa’s house kept us fed, relaxed and utterly spoiled. Sadly, the week was over and it was time for us to venture home, back to the real world. I had it all planned out for a perfectly smooth trip home. We would leave as soon as the baby eats and falls asleep for her afternoon nap, which had been averaging 3 hours. Perfect timing for the 3 and a half hour trip that awaited. Perfect-Not!
What is it they say about the best laid plans?
It all started out just as I planned; baby was sound asleep, three-year-old was eating, and five-year-old was engaged in his iPad. Perfect.
Forty minutes in, “Mommy, I need to go poopy.” Nice…
We stopped at the nearest bathroom in which I had to park, get out the carseat, and take both kids into the rest stop which dueled as a convenient store and a Denny’s . After walking through the bustling of bodies, I found the restroom. Doors slammed, the toilets had the super space shuttle flush, and the air driers had enough suction to take my face off. Remember that sweet, sleeping baby? Yeah, by this time, she’s wide awake.
“Go back to sleep, angel” I whispered as though we are in a place suitable for sleep. She doesn’t buy my coaxing. As I helped two little boys wipe their bottoms, and climb up the counter to wash their hands, the little baby girl is bright-eyed by now.
“Night night!” As though she really listens.
“No more stops, boys!” I was super convincing… or so I pretended. After a 20 minute bathroom break, we were on the road again.
Remember my coaxing to the sweet little 4 month old? It didn’t work. First there’s some babbling, “Bah Bah.” Then it turns to, what sounds like complaining in baby language, “Anh Bah!” Next, the complaining escalates to sheer frustration, and before I knew it that little angel was screaming her head off, as if to say, “Get me out of here!” I hadn’t even driven an hour… excellent. It was sure shaping up to be the very opposite of excellent.
One toy after the other, I kept passing back, shaking over her head just willing her to “play.” But I was lying to myself, 4 month olds don’t “play” and this girl hates, and I mean hates her carseat. So there I sat driving, still 3 hours away from home, stuck in a conundrum; will she cry herself back to sleep or should I stop? Drive or stop? Drive or stop?
Baby girl won. I stopped. Fed her, filled the tank, and asked, “Who needs to go potty?” Seeing as those two boys had just emptied their tanks, so to speak, an hour previously, I believed their replies of, “Not me!” Anxious to get out of this car, I drove on. Fed baby, busy boys, finally I could drive.
Half-way home. Thank you, Jesus!
“Mom, I have to go potty!” I looked in the rearview mirror to see my five-year-old doing a very extravagant potty dance.
“Hold it!” I yelled, then continued to scold about how he should’ve gone when I asked. (See, the problem with my boys is that they wait until the very, and I mean very last second to pee. At home we’ll suddenly hear scampering of feet to the bathroom, the clank of the toilet seat, and immediately hear the spraying. TMI you say? Sorry- this is the life I live).
However, my scolding did not remove the need for that five-year-old to potty. The next thing I know, I’m looking in my rearview mirror as he stands up, pulls down his pants, and tries, by himself, to pee in a cup. Now remember that story about his lack of preparation to potty? Yep, as soon as his pants were down that pee came flying… all over the car, on his sister, on him. I’m pretty sure that cup was empty!
On top of everything, I now have a car that smells like pee. And since big brother unexpectedly sprinkled his sister, guess who is awake again?!
Another stop, some needed cuddling and play time for baby girl, potty break for the boys.
“NO MORE STOPS!” As we really should have been home by this point.
“Mommy, I have to go potty!”
Seriously?! This time it’s the three-year-old. He begged and begged to pee in a cup. He cried as if the world were ending when I told him no. This time, I made a pit stop and he peed into the bushes… but first he made sure to hit my foot which was so vulnerable in my flip-flop.
Deep breaths! Deep breaths!
Buckled back in, and silently cursing grandma for whatever drink they guzzled that morning, “No more stops!”
4 more exits…
HOME! Thank you Jesus! A three and a half hour trip took almost 6!
…and a shower!
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