The Baby Diaries: Road trip lessons learned

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By Pamela Brownstein

My husband and I grew up in families that enjoyed traveling long distances by car, so the appeal of hitting the open road was passed down to both of us. I have been cross country twice, and Daniel and I have driven all over the Southeast and frequently to Ohio and Washington, D.C., to visit his family.

We knew our recent trip to New Orleans would be long, especially with our son Wolfe now very active at 14 months, but he’s been on long rides before so we thought he could handle it.

On the drive down, we stayed overnight at my aunt and uncle’s house along the Florida panhandle. From Beaufort, it’s a seven hour drive. About halfway through, in the middle of nowhere along U.S. 10, Wolfe, who is usually very happy and well-behaved, started getting fussy and upset. Just as the crying was subsiding, I looked over at Daniel in the front seat and asked, “Do you smell that?” (He usually makes fun of me because I’m pregnant and have like super sonic sensitive smelling.) Then I looked over the back of the car seat and saw Wolfe covered in barf.

The next exit wasn’t for another 10 miles, so we had to pull over on the side of the busy interstate. While I stripped down Wolfe and cleaned him off with baby wipes, Daniel did his best to clean the puke out of the car seat. After that, all we could do was keep on truckin.

I got used to the smell after several hours, and when he threw up again 15 minutes from our destination, we didn’t even stop, we just kept going. I have never been so happy to see my relatives’ little house on the Redneck Riviera, and just to be out of the car.

The next day we faced the six hour drive to New Orleans. The baby did get sick again, but this time we had towels and a change of clothes at the ready. I felt sorry for the valet when we pulled up to the hotel, but I was elated not to have to drive for several days.

Wolfe was fine the rest of the trip and we enjoyed our time in the Big Easy. I was dreading the 12-hour drive home, and though we soldiered through, it was long for all of us. At a rest stop, Daniel was holding Wolfe and the baby got sick all over both of them. The look on Daniel’s face was surprise and horror, and it was all I could do not to laugh.

When we got home, we took Wolfe to the doctor and confirmed he had an ear infection which was causing him to get sick in the car. It was a bit of a relief to know he doesn’t have chronic motion sickness but, needless to say, we won’t be going on any road trips any time soon.