Firefly hates the car.
And in our house, "hate" is a bad word.
But she truly, truly hates riding in the car.
And she has, since she was itty-bitty.
I have vivid memories of a ten-hour ride to visit friends when she was eight months old. And how the ten-hour ride stretched to several hours longer than that. And how I collapsed onto their couch when we finally arrived and announced that I would not be going home until I had worked somewhere in that town long enough to earn enough to pay for plane tickets home. Because I was not getting back in that car with her. Ever. Again.
Unfortunately, that can't be avoided. We live thirty minutes away from our closest family, eighteen hours away from our farthest. Four hours away from my dad, who has Alzheimer's Disease.
We travel for soccer tournaments.
We travel for vacation.
We do a lot of driving.
So nowadays, we are *slightly* more prepared. We plan ahead. Here is our top ten list for "must haves" for a long car ride for Firefly:
1. Gum. Lots of it. Chewing at least allows her gums to work hard while the rest of her has to sit.
2. A big car. With lots of room for Firefly to have her own row, if possible. We, unfortunately, cannot survive as the family with the Prius. Hate us if you will.
3. Body Sox. See here. Firefly can completely engulf herself in it and still buckle her seat belt. Yes, it looks weird, really weird. Oh well. Why pretend to be a normal family now?
4. Her own MP3 player, fully loaded with books on tape. She can pick what she listens to and at what volume.
5. Snacks and drinks. Crunchy, chewy, cold, warm. You never know which she is going to be in the mood for at any given time.
6. Games for stretch breaks. How many times can you hop on one foot in a minute? Can you run to that tree on your tippy-toes? Let's see how long it takes you to do fifty jumping jacks. We usually stop at least every ninety minutes to play some variation of the "let's get Firefly active NOW" game.
7. Books. Thankfully, she loves to read. Unfortunately for us, she really likes to read kid's joke books. Ugh.
8. Blankets and pillows (and pillow pets, and stuffed animals, and more blankets). It looks like a huge Build-A-Bear store in the backseat when we're done, ladies and gentlemen.
9. Earplugs. Because every once in a while, Firefly just can't tolerate people's voices.
10. Patience and prayers. Sometimes, all the tricks we have up our sleeves don't work. It's a tough thing to do, sit in the car, especially when you are little and it's too cold / hot / loud / quiet / bright / smelly / tight / loose / whatever, and you can't do anything about it. So we pray. And take deep breaths.
And sometimes just drive a little. bit. faster.
Safe travels to those of you headed somewhere else for Easter! Wish us luck as we head out ourselves.