Algebra: A Lesson in Road Tripping with Babies
Do you remember Algebra? How about the "Order of Operations?" Oh, you know... you do the math sequences in parentheses first, then something, something, and outside last? Anyway, what I am getting at is, these math lessons can be carried over into parenting. My husband and I are constantly learning from each other, from our mistakes, from what we did and did not do, from others, about what to take on first, next and what is least important in parenting. Each day, each task, from feeding to bathing and diapering, doing our chores, getting out the door, has to have an "order of ops." Sometimes we get things right, and sometimes we get that error message, similar to when you put your algebraic equation in your calculator incorrectly. It's a constant learning experience. Road trips are like the ultimate test of "order of ops."
Last April, we attempted this very same road trip, out to the western slope to see my father, about a six hour drive from Denver, when Remy was about 10 months old. We failed. We had no pack-n-play for her to sleep in. We had no high chair, or Bumbo seat for her to sit in at meals. I did not have enough of her baby food prepared and packed. Read about it here.
Much like last time, the actual car ride was a cinch! We took pit stops to stretch our legs, and do diaper changes and breast feedings. We even found this amazing park, in photos below, just off I-70 before we took our Clifton exit. On the way back, I sniffed out an awesome park sanctuary area in Gypsum, complete with a library and recreation center adjacent.
It was the staying overnight in another place that was super stressful. This time we had a seven week old to manage too. She was actually the easy one this time! Okay, so now I sound like I am picking on the toddler. If you are a parent of a toddler, or were at one time, then you know what I am getting at. If you have a fresh newborn and think this whole baby thing is easy, just wait. We had the pack-n-play, the booster seat, a basket full of her toys. None of it mattered. Remy was a screaming, maniac until two am. We even packed up everything and actually were on the road back to Denver when Remy finally passed out in the car as we were gassing up. I was in tears that we had gotten to the point of abandoning ship, like thief's in the night, from my father's place. We ultimately decided it wasn't smart to get on the road in our state of frustration and exhaustion, and that late/early in the morning, so we headed back to Pa's.
We were pretty beat up the next day. All you have to do is look through these photos. We were able to sneak back in the house, and I was able to transfer Remy from the car to the couch and I slept with her there. I couched it the two nights we were there. Once with Remy and the next night with the newborn. The tired eyes you see on hubby and I in these photos say it all, but despite the challenges of managing the two in new surroundings, it was so great to get to see my father, step mother and their little hay farm.
We made it out to a REAL pumpkin patch where Remy actually got to stroll the fields and find a nice pumpkin, well mommy did, and pick it off the vine! Plus, it was only $3! We had the whole farm to ourselves that morning and we went through a tiny maze made out of hay bales and at the end there was a giant pit of corn kernels! We had glorious weather! Before heading back to the farm, we all headed to downtown Delta where we checked out an antique shop. Well, my step mother and I shopped while the guys and dolls napped in the cars. Hubby and I took a detour to get a couple, much needed, Americanos at Moca Joe's, yes that's how they spell it. We grabbed a couple personal pan pizzas from Pizza Hut and headed back to the farm for naps and down time.
Mazen got to feed the baby calf milk! Remy was asleep, but she would have loved that! Oh you caught that? YES she did take a nap there! You win some, you lose some.
The last night my father made us a lovely meal and we had dessert and played Yhatzee! Remy stole the dice a few times, and we almost gave up on the idea, but we hung in there, moved to the coffee table in the living room where she could run over to us for attention and play on the carpet nearby on her own. We got through an entire game of Yhatzee!!!!! (That's five exclamation points for impact). Hubby won by a landslide, his first time playing no less, and that was a joy for me to see his excitement.
The crying, the lack of sleep, the showering with Remy, the driving around at midnight and 2 am to get her to sleep, the everything was worth it to see my dad for just a couple days. If this trip did anything, it told us that no matter how prepared we think we are, how studied up and smart we think we are, the kiddos seem to drive the outcome no matter what. In the end, Remy had a blast! She can never have enough of the outdoors. Seeing her crouch down and make a chicken clucking sound, laughing at her trying to kiss the goats through the chicken wire, it was all worth it! Pa and Lucille agree.
So, before we take any other trips, not in the forecast anytime soon? Any tips?