Kara Evans writes about parenting for the Armchair Mayor News.
COLUMN — Travelling can be a stressful endeavor when you’re doing it all by yourself, or even with one other person. You have to plan out your trip accordingly to make everyone in the travel party happy: From the type of accommodation you want to stay at to where you dine, and what sights to see along the way.
However, when you throw a toddler into the equation, all reasoning goes out the window and is left on the side of the Coquihalla Highway. Forget blazing a trail with no pit stops and sleeping while someone else drives. Aside giving birth to them, travelling with your toddler can be one of the most eye opening experiences you’ll ever come across.
I’ve determined that there are two types of toddlers when it comes to travelling: The type that does well and the type that does not. The toddler that travels well sleeps for the majority of the journey, can entertain themselves in the car, and generally complain less than an adult would.
The toddler that doesn’t travel well, however, can make even the shortest journey seem like it’s going to last an eternity. Kicking, screaming, crying – you name it, they do it, and nothing you offer can change their behavior, making you regret opting for the all natural and non-drowsy Gravol instead of the “Knocks you out so you can’t tell if you’re carsick” variety.
I’m somewhat fortunate enough to have a toddler who falls somewhere in the middle of the travelling spectrum. She could be in the best mood for three hours into a trip and then suddenly the switch turns off and everything is the worst thing ever. The only thing I can hope for is that she wears herself out and falls asleep.
If sleep happens, then the road trip can continue as per usual. If not, I resort to what any Gen-Y parent would do: Hand over the cellphone (or tablet) preloaded with their favourite cartoons and let the sound of sing-along songs fill the vehicle with peace.
How the parents of past generations reasoned with their children to be quiet and sit still in the car is beyond me. Maybe parents were scarier and a loud and stern, “Knock it off and be quiet, we’ll get there when we get there!” was good enough.
Perhaps the most nerve-racking thing about travelling with a toddler is the unpredictable need for a potty break. Bladder control generally isn’t a 2-year old’s greatest talent, but you can be sure that they’ll hold it until the very last second. Cue frantic searches for public washrooms that don’t look like something out of a slasher movie.
Even when you do finally find one, chances are that your kid will either magically not have to go, or will come up with some excuse that the chosen throne is unacceptable. (“I can’t, Mommy. I’m too little,” was the favourite excuse during my own recent travel adventure.)
Yes, travelling with a toddler certainly changes the game plan when it comes time to get from Point A to B, but with a little strategy it’s not so bad. The fun they’ll have when you get to where you’re going is the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
And, if all else fails, just hand over the cellphone. You’re not allowed to use it while driving anyway.
Kara Evans tweets from @KaraEvs and blogs on http://www.shewriteswords.com.