Today was the Big Car Ride, from central New Jersey to Pittsburgh, PA. I loaded The Boy in the car at noon-ish, picked up my wife from her work, and we hit the road. It was a difficult trip, although it could have been a lot worse. Actually, strike that. Barring a catastrophe, it really couldn't have been much worse.
(I cringe a little to type that. Watch - we'll have a snowstorm on the way home, and blow a tire out in an area of Pennsylvania that has no cel reception. God forbid.)
First of all, thankfully, my wife did most of the driving. The knee injury that I sustained last summer makes driving distances very difficult on me. Plus, I don't fit into cars very easily - wide shoulders, wide hips, long legs, tall torso. It was actually quite painful to drive, and only moderately painful to be a passenger. I should have brought something more potent than Alleve, but hindsight is frequently 20/20. So, those were my major issues.
The Boy was a real trooper. He did a lot of sleeping, as you'd expect, and he did a lot of screaming, as you'd expect. I don't blame him; he doesn't understand where we're going, and he doesn't understand why he needs to be constrained in his chair for such a long period of time. He's used to freedom of movement - I really do go out of my way to give him plenty of room to crawl and move around at home. Today, he didn't have that.
We did stop five times during the 350-mile drive, once for about an hour at The Wife's aunt's house. The others, The Boy sat in the grass and played for a little while. Today was a beautiful day, so some sunlight was good for him and helped to restore his mood. With about two hours left in the drive, he'd had it. He was done with being in the car, and he let us know that in no uncertain terms. He spent a lot of the last two hours screaming, although he and I both caught a 20-minute nap in the middle of it.
What do you do? You can't stop, assuming you've checked to make sure that he's well-fed and wearing a dry diaper. If you stop and unlatch him from his chair for a little while, then putting him back in the chair to resume the trip merely makes it worse. So, this was one of those times when we agreed that we had to let him scream. That just hurts, as a parent and as a guy - as a guy, I just want to fix things and to make them better.
Can't do it.
Well, we made it to Pittsburgh in fairly decent time. From leaving my wife's school at about 1:10, we arrived at 9:10 - which is about an hour longer than normal. I suppose that, given enough time, The Boy will get used to this kind of a trip. This one was difficult.
My mother-in-law went as nuts as Grandma is supposed to go. She bought a crib, a jumperoo, a high chair (two, actually), placemats and she went nuts at the second-hand baby store for clothes. We appreciate this - it's hard to pack for babies on the trip. They need their toys, their stroller, and all of the other stuff. The grandparents here did a lot of the work for us, and that made our lives easier.
We did have a car full of kosher-for-Passover groceries, though, because they're lots cheaper in New Jersey then in Pennsylvania. Otherwise, I think, one of us parents would have sat in the back seat with the baby to keep him company - the biggest problem with the rear-facing seat is that he can't see us. It's hard to know we're there when he has a difficult time interacting with us!
Anyway, I'll keep you informed. This is The Boy's first major religious holiday... excepting the masses he's been to with us as part of our Easter church gig.