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Taking a road trip

Jonathan naps in his car seat on the

Jonathan naps in his car seat on the way back from Maryland. Credit: Shameka Dudley

Our son, Jonathan, has done quite a bit of traveling in his 2 years. He’s flown to Atlanta, Chicago, Maryland and Puerto Rico. And I am very happy to report that I have not yet been the parent with the screaming child on the airplane (although I’m sure it’s coming, he is after all, a toddler).

So when trying to figure out how we would travel to Baltimore for a friend’s wedding, I dreaded the idea of driving. I’ve never been a fan of road trips. I like to get to my destination as soon as possible and four hours in a car, with or without a baby, is not my idea of good time.

But Jonathan can no longer fly for free and I couldn’t justify paying more than $600 for an hour flight from MacArthur Airport for my family of three. So Andre and I decided to gas up the Equinox and hit the road.

I, of course, was full of anxiety. Jonathan doesn’t like to sit in his car seat when we travel about a mile to the “Shock & Sock” otherwise known as Shop & Stop. “Mama, picky up,” he whines because he loves to sit in the driver’s seat of the car and touch everything he can get his little hands on. So how in the world would he behave on a four-hour trip and how would I keep him busy while his dad drove.

Determined not to have an unhappy baby, I packed a few books, his stuffed Tigger, a few of his toy cars, the iPad so that he could watch episodes of “Fresh Beat Band” and “Backyardigans,” and his favorite snacks to bribe him with if necessary.

Early Saturday morning, we loaded up the car to set out for Maryland. We stopped for breakfast in our neighborhood first (and then back to the house because I forgot the wedding invitation) and then hit the road. Before we crossed the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, Jonathan had passed out in his car seat and he slept until we hit the Maryland house, a rest stop on I-95, for lunch.

An hour away from my friend’s home, when he started to get antsy, we played the car game. “Look Jonathan,” I’d say, “there goes a Chevy.” “Cheby?” he’d respond as he eagerly looked out the window. We also saw a Toyoga (Toyota), Neeshan (Nissan) and Hondas, which he could actually pronounce. This kept him busy until we reached our destination. And on the way back, the same thing: He slept most of the trip and by the time he woke up, we were stuck in traffic on the Belt Parkway where we saw Leshus (Lexus) and Shadies (Mercedes, which also goes by “B’s car”, his nickname for his godmother, who drives a Shadies).

So after all that anxiety and planning and over packing, we had a great trip, with minimal whining from our baby or mommy.

How do you keep your kids busy on a road trip?

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