B has never been a good traveler. In fact if I were to sum up this blog in a few words it would be, B sucks at sleeping and travel. Or at least that’s my own impression. Perhaps to a more observant reader this blog would be summed up as, wow this lady really never learns does she?
So on that note, this past week while G was out of town, my mom and I thought we would take the boys on a little road trip. (It’s cute to say “the boys” so I did, but really the trip was for B, since F would be happiest staying home and watching the ceiling fan.) We packed up the car and hit the road to Ogden, UT! (That sounds cute again, but really what happened was I spent 48 f-ing hours packing because, first of all kids, but second of all due to all of our allergies now I had to pack every.single.morsel that would be consumed by anyone on the trip.)
We planned to stay two nights while exploring the town, and mainly visiting their children’s museum and … train museum! We figured the latter would be the best thing that ever happened to B.
Enough with the foreshadowing, I’ll just come out and say it. He.was.a.nightmare. I gave him one job before we left, packing toys, which he usually enjoys. But this time he melted down over every aspect of the task. He couldn’t find his suitcase, then he couldn’t open it, then it wasn’t big enough for what he wanted to pack, then I suggested another bag and he lost his mind, then I suggested packing smaller things and he lost his mind, on and on… you know the drill… toddler blah blah… Let’s just say the tone for the trip was set.
Don’t be fooled by the smile.
The car ride continued much the same way, with some brief quiet iPad moments interspersed in there, thank you Steve Jobs. When we got to the hotel he perked up a bit and I found myself becoming hopeful. Big mistake. Never have hope. We unloaded the 75,000 tons of cargo including my precious Keurig machine (because you never know what’s in natural flavoring at hotel coffee and we wouldn’t want an allergic reaction!) B was no help, of course, but also no hindrance. That is, of course, until we got everything into the hotel room and he asked where the toys were. Ummm you packed them. Noooooo not those toys, the toys they leave in the hotel room!!! Oh boy. So we were back to throwing ourselves on the floor and generally flailing and screaming.
Up until that point, I had tried responding with patient love and kindness, or at least silently cursing in my head while ignoring the behavior. But after a good 30 minutes of hotel meltdown, which was the cap on the previous 4 hours of meltdown, I finally threw out some version of, “Get your act together or I’m turning this car right around!” We all turn into parental stereotypes at some point.
Representative tantrum picture.
My threats had no effect so I gave him a choice. Toddlers love choices! Control! We are going to the children’s museum or the train museum right now. You pick. He picked children’s museum and said he wanted to walk. I said we couldn’t walk because it was raining. 10 more minutes of screaming as we forced everyone into the car, during which time he changed his mind to the train museum. Fine.whatever. We are here for you and you.will.enjoy.this.g-dammit!
We arrived at the train museum where they have huge real locomotives parked outside of the building!!! Again, I felt my hopes rising. We might have a good mood coming and this trip might become fun! Hahahaha. Stupid. He breezed right past the trains without care and we went straight to the ticket counter to purchase admission. They had these little dinky pull back train toys sitting there and B said he wanted to buy one and go home. Again, I displayed my stupidity as I didn’t just listen to the kid who was giving me excellent advice.
I bought our tickets and forced F into the ergo which he love/hates. (Oh yeah! He was there too. He was mostly an angel, or at least he was in comparison. I really have no idea if he was easy or a pain because his troubles didn’t even register.) As we entered the museum F did a giant puke which mostly landed in my shoe. I couldn’t actually bend over to clean it so I had to hobble around with a puke foot until I found my mom to help.
While on the search, I noticed that the museum happens to be 10000% for adults. There are no fun kiddie train things, just black and white pictures of people constructing the railroad long ago and placards with historical tidbits about the influence of the railroad on modern society. Every other patron was over the age of 60. I was pretty much about to just lie down on the floor at that point when I heard childlike screams of glee (not from my kid). Thankfully the museum has two model trains that were going, and that’s where the only other kids in the entire place are. Now, sure we have our own model train at home and there is a place 10 minutes from our house that has 15 model trains and is way cooler, but at this point I am taking any victory and celebrating it.
Great news! B loved the trains and cheered up for a bit! That’s it, we did it, we snapped him out of it and we will have a fun trip! We watched the trains for a while and then I noticed over in the corner there is a huge locomotive that kids can actually sit in! I tried to entice B over and eventually he bit. But of course he didn’t care about that at all and instead wanted to play on the train table they have in the corner. And by that I mean the absolute shittiest train table I’ve ever seen. Can’t hold a candle to the one we have AT HOME. The thing is a piece of plywood on four 2×4′s with one figure eight track that goes around. It’s also like 6 feet tall so B can barely reach and I wonder who in the world their target audience is with that thing. But again, he was happy for a moment, so we took it. I even stole the opportunity, while he was happy-ish to go pee with F still in the ergo. It was a success (as in F did not wake up, the peeing part is usually successful for me thanks for asking) and I mentally high five myself. We will get through this. I am supermom.
He appears happy here because I wanted the picture (we will at least have fake happy memories godammit) and he thought it was funny to repeatedly climb out of the engineer’s seat.
The random pebbles they threw on there really added to the realness of it all.
Then it was time to leave and my mom and I agreed we needed to buy some sort of train something. No one wanted to go back to that hotel room without a distraction. Luckily they were selling the same crappy train that they had on the crappy train table so we took it and ran. During this time I’d managed to look up every local restaurant and their allergen information. I found a McDonald’s right around the corner and their nuggets don’t have dairy or soy, hooray! I wondered if maybe the problem was hangriness and perhaps with some exciting new food, rather than my boring packed meals, the beast would eat. Naively, I just hoped that with a little train and a little food we would get through the night.
This is so so long already, and if you’re still reading then at least the experience of getting this far has probably somewhat mimicked what it was like to actually live this story. I’ll summarize by just saying the short car ride was A DISASTER. I hopped out of the car while my mom stayed in with the boys (freeeeeedom! even if just for a minute!) I thought it’s McDonald’s, the very epitome of FAST food. About a million scream-filled minutes later (scream filled for my mom I mean, I just watched through the window) I walked out with a happy meal. I threw half of the fries on the ground and gave the rest to my mom because they have dairy (whyyyy??) and couldn’t let B see them. He of course screamed about the happy meal and didn’t want it etc. At that point it was just becoming background noise. Super grating, incredibly frustrating, background noise.
Finally we arrive back at the room, with both kids screaming. I suppose F can only be dragged around for so long without voicing his opinion on the topic, which, I mean, good for him, but OMG. My mom and I chowed down on some allergen free packed dinner while B opened his new train and non-stop bitched about it and all of the things that were supposedly wrong with it. Aaaaaaaaaa. I was so close to losing it at this point but I know we all had to eat. So we did. No improvement.
I showed B the bed we would be sleeping in and ask if he wanted to sleep there or if he wanted to go home. I had made several threats to go home by this point and realized I was getting dangerously close to having to follow through on them simply to maintain credibility. He said he wanted to stay there and then minutes later started whimpering and asking if the bed is the same as home etc. My PTSD from all of our travel experiences prior started to flare up and I remembered the nights spent pacing tiny hotel rooms with a screaming baby/toddler like some sort of Sisyphean nightmare. I told everyone that was it and we were packing up and going home. So we did. And it was every bit as horrible as unpacking the car.
Saturn was never used, like 99%of the other things we packed.
Surprisingly though (well surprisingly to me as I NEVER LEARN but really not surprisingly at all if you spend one second thinking about it) B’s mood improved 1000% once we decided to go home. He was fine. Totally fine. All he had wanted that whole time was to be home.
We drove home and the kids went to bed like little angels and slept like little angels. Then the next morning, completely wrecked, I stumbled out to the kitchen to make my coffee only to discover that the Keurig didn’t survive the trip. It was dead. The final casualty of the entire horrid experience. The one piece of good news was the hotel let us cancel the second night of the reservation. So in summary we packed for 2 days, sacrificed my favorite and most needed possession, drove 100000 hours (in perceived time not reality), paid for a hotel suite we didn’t sleep in, and almost lost our minds just to play on a plywood train table and purchase a dinky train which has already been forgotten about.
Can’t imagine what wore them out.