Saturday, November 15, 2008

187 miles

Q. How long does it take to drive 187 miles with a SCUH-REAMING baby in the backseat the entire time?
A. Can you please shove this pencil into my eye? It would be faster.

The last time we drove out of town to visit my in-laws, we did the drive at night. We left at boy's bedtime and he was fantastic, snoozing almost the whole way, waking up as we pulled into their neighborhood to giggle and charm them, then going sweetly back to sleep. So we thought, a mere eight weeks later, that that strategy would work again this weekend.

We could not have been more wrong. Seriously. We were so very, intensely, painfully wrong.

At 7:25 on Friday night, we loaded boy and all his various trappings into the car, and set out for our drive. At 7:45, he started crying after almost dozing off. We dutifully pulled over, I nursed him a bit to calm him down, and then we got him rebuckled in and set out again, this time with me sitting in the backseat so I could entertain or comfort him if necessary. The waterworks began anew. Husband and I sang, talked, pleaded, peekaboo'd, made silly faces and noises at and generally did everything in our power to soothe boy. He was having none of it.

With an hour to go, we stopped again and pulled a sweaty, angry boy out of the car seat. We changed his diaper, gave him a fresh set of clothes and got him grinning and happy once more. The microsecond that his seat belt buckles came up around his arms, the ear-piercing shrieks started up yet again. Knowing that he was just generally pissed off and very tired, and not wet, hungry, in pain or sick, we decided to push through the last hour no matter how much he cried. What else could we do? Taking him out of the seat wasn't an option. Not only would it have been illegal, it would have been unsafe as hell. 

Here's a sampling of what was going through my mind from 9:55 to 10:50 p.m. CST on Friday night:
Please fall asleep, poor kid, you've been up since 3 p.m. today. How are you not sleeping?! How can you cry so loud for so long? What time is it? Geez, only 9:58. Maybe we should just camp here in the car. Sleep here tonight and drive the rest of the way in the morning. So what if we're between tiny towns and there are no lights and semi trucks are roaring by? It can't be THAT dangerous. Holy crap, that scream was loud. I think he's going hoarse. I wonder how husband's taking this. His knuckles on the steering wheel look so white that they're transparent. I'm pretty sure I can make out his bones and cartilage. And his lips are compressed so tightly that I can't make out the outline of his mouth at all. Hmm, better not talk to him right now. Not that he could hear me. What time is it? 10:01, Lord have mercy on all of us. I'm pretty sure I can feel new wrinkles developing on my face this instant. Whoops, gotta un-dig my fingernails from my palm, I guess that's why my hands were aching. Maybe we can just move in with the in-laws and never have to make the drive home again. There's really nothing at the house I HAVE to have -- I've got husband, the baby, my iPhone and my MacBook. That wedding photo album was really heavy anyway, and besides, I remember what I looked like. And it's not like I was ever going to wear the wedding dress again, we could just sell it with the house. Whattimeisitnow? TEN OH EIGHT OHMYGOD.
It was not the best road trip we've ever had.

By the time we pulled into my parents-in-laws' driveway and I hopped into the backseat to liberate my I-am-so-over-all-of-this son from his personal hell, I was shocked to find that not only had he cried himself into a sweaty frenzy again and was dripping and soaked, he'd also worked himself up so much that he was trembling in fury and exhaustion. I have never felt so bad for him, ever. We plucked him up, held him tight to us and tried to calm him down. It took about 10 minutes before he was even calm enough to look anyone in the face, and even longer to make him smile (which is not like him at all -- he's a sunny kid, usually), but eventually we cleaned him up, settled him in bed with us and got him to fall asleep. 

And by then, I was so overtaxed that I was awake from 3-4:30 a.m., tense. Thank God for the iPhone and Sol Free Solitaire.

We're hoping he weathers the drive back home more smoothly. We're definitely not leaving at bedtime again. 

That's apparently ONE method he's outgrown. Got it, boy -- we read you on that one.


screamy mimi said...

Oh my gosh. We haven't taken a road trip that long yet, but I know the helpless we're-in-the-car-and-the-baby's-screaming-and-there's-nothing-you-can-do-about-it feeling. I HATE that feeling.

I'm already getting nervous about our one day trans-Atlantic flight.

Devon said...

Our guy used to do this in the car as well...Only at night. He was fine during the day but making long treaks at night were painful for everyone and there was no calming him down. A lot changed when we were able to turn his seat around.