A while ago, Brandon and I decided to take a trip. Kathleen was included in the trip, but had no part in the planning because she's not even two and can't say her own name. Her opinion wasn't consulted. When I told my father (who is an OB/GYN) that we were going to Portland, Oregon (a 12-hour drive away), he asked how far along I would be. 37 weeks, I sheepishly admitted. After that, he didn't want to hear any details.
For those of you who are wondering, Sophia is still safely inside and I had no blood clots, heart problems, or anything else that might be associated with long-distance car travel while terminally pregnant. Just some irritability and a moratorium on twisting around to reach the back seat for the next several months.
As with all trips, expected problems turned out worse and better than we had hoped. And we certainly have learned some lessons to store away in the parental consciousness so we can pass it on to our children who will promptly ignore it.
1. Children sleep less than one would think they should in the car, and inevitably stay up past their bedtime when you most want them to be quiet and go to sleep. Softly played Primary songs don't help. Although this principle was obnoxious enough on the trip to Portland where we arrived around 7, it became even more painfully so on our return trip, where we didn't arrive until 11. Kathleen managed to finally fall asleep right around Salt Lake.
2. When placed in a situation with new toys and new compatriots, children suddenly become aware of nothing else. We stayed for several nights with Brandon's sister, Alissa and her family which included three cousins, the oldest being 4 1/2. Who knew that pushing around a toy walking car could provide hours of amusement to someone who can already walk?
3. On vacation, nutrition goes out the window. We began the week well, with a healthy whole-wheat couscous salad and dried fruit. Mid-week, Kathleen was feasting on Easy-Mac for several meals. By our trip home, her last meal was a hamburger patty (just the patty) and french fries.
4. Tiring out a child will help them sleep anywhere (as long as it isn't the car). For the other portion of our week, Brandon and I stayed with my sister Laura and her husband Ben in their studio apartment on the eight floor of a downtown tower. Despite being in the same room as four talking adults, Kathleen had no problem falling asleep. The only problem was when she woke up around 6 and there was no door to keep out her babblings.
5. Siblings, despite any difficulties growing up, are wonderful to visit. Despite our invasion of their studio, Laura and Ben seemed very happy to see us, happy enough to take Kathleen off our hands for a few days while Brandon and I went to the coast. We had a great time walking around Portland with them, and seeing their new apartment and where Laura works. Seeing Jeff and Alyssa was just as fun, and we got to watch their kids for them and give them a date night. We stayed up entirely too late the night before we left playing Settlers of Catan. Despite improved sibling relations, however, you're never too old to still be upset by games. No one threw any tantrums or pieces to the game, though.