Road trips with your kids are unavoidable. Sometimes you can make it across the country to see family with all of the kid’s stomachs feeling fine. Other times, you can’t make it to Ikea without an “incident”. In either case, the key to any successful road trip is planning ahead.
- The next time you are at a grocery store or Walmart, go to the self-serve donut case. Typically, they’ll have small, wax-lined bags to put your donuts in. Grab a dozen or so bags. Keep them in the pockets on the back of the seats. Your car’s upholstery will thank you later.
- One word: Dramamine
- Pack light. Once on a weekend trip our girls were arguing about sharing one suitcase, and then filled two big suitcases with just their clothes, makeup and hair things. There was very little room left in the car. For a brief moment I considered tying one of them to the cargo rack on the roof. Mostly because they wouldn’t stop bickering with each other, though.
- Count your children before you drive away. Every time. Nothing sucks worse than driving 25 miles from your previous stop and wondering if you are missing a kid because nobody has argued, punched, kicked, bit or called each other stupid in the last half hour.
- Never entrust your children to lock the doors or check that the oven is not on. They won’t do it, won’t remember being asked to do it, and as soon as you hit the highway your wife will make you turn around to double check anyway. Do everyone a favor and check them all yourself before you leave. Bonus points if you check the bathrooms for any curling irons still plugged in.
- Have assigned seating. Ideally, I like to assign one kid to the seat furthest back in the minivan, one kid to a train and the other to a bus.
Let’s face it. Mornings on a school day are stressful. Especially Mondays. And Tuesdays. Well, if I’m being honest, every morning, really.
- Monday Morning: I’ve forgotten that my wife now has early shifts in the morning, which means it’s up to me to get our son ready and out the door for school at 9am. I don’t realize this until 8:35. I wake him up late. “Why did you wake me up so late, Dad? Now I’m going to be late for school!”
- Tuesday Morning: I remembered Jenny now works early, so I wake up and got Logan up too. It was earlier than he was used to. He promised me that he would get up, so I go downstairs grab some coffee and get ready myself. He immediately falls back asleep. I don’t realize this until 8:35. I wake him up late. “Why did you wake me up so late, Dad? Now I’m going to be late for school!”
- Wednesday Morning: Learned my lesson from yesterday. I grab some coffee and get myself ready. Then I go and wake him up. I tryto wake him up with enough time for him to get ready without being rushed. Then he realized that he has homework due. “Why didn’t you wake me up earlier, Dad? Now I don’t have time to get my homework done!” He rushes to get his homework done and gives it to me to check the answers. I receive a call from work and forget to give the homework back before sending him off to school.
- Wednesday Evening: I just had to face it, waking him up in the morning is the equivalent of a rocket sled to Hell. So, I did myself a favor and got him an alarm clock. I consider how to blog about the sheer simplicity and brilliance of the alarm clock. Ellen or Dr. Phil will realize I’m the first person in history to win at fatherhood and invite me on their TV shows. What am I going to wear?
- Thursday Morning: I’ve seriously underestimated my son’s ability to utilize the snooze button. “Why didn’t you wake me up, Dad? Now I’m going to be late for school!” Sorry to disappoint you, Ellen, but I’m not winning fatherhood. I have nothing to wear to your show, anyway.
- Friday Morning: Tired. Irritated. Don’t want to deal with his morning shenanigans anymore. I go into the kitchen for some coffee and he’s already awake, dressed, and ready for school. “Today is Dads and Donuts day! Did you forget? Let’s go Dad, it starts at 8! Get dressed already! It’s 6:35, why didn’t you wake up earlier, I don’t want to be late for school!” He’s happy to bring me to school, so maybe I’m not as far behind in fatherhood as I thought. Or he really likes the donuts. Come to think of it, I don’t remember ever giving him back the homework from Wednesday, either.
I was at my computer when I heard my daughter Jordan calling for help. I ran over to her to see what’s wrong. She was holding the cat, who was playing with her hair and got tangled in it.
“Dad! Come help me! The cat is attacking my hair!”
Of course I helped her, but I had to get a couple of pictures, first!
My daughter Jordan had her heart broken a little, and was moping around the house for a couple of days. I never met this kid, and he didn’t really wrong her from my perspective, he just decided to direct his interests at another girl.
I like to think that my reputation has preceded me and he ran for the hills instead of taking a chance in trying to ask out my little girl.
Normally, I would try to at least fake support the best I could while playing Call of Duty, secretly chalking that up as another win for Team Father and move on with the rest of my day. But this was different. This would have been Jordan’s first “real” boyfriend, if my reputation didn’t scare the kid away. She was hurting and I wanted to make her feel better.
So, she was sitting at the kitchen counter and we started to talk. It’s funny how different Brianna and Jordan are. Brianna is notoriously tight lipped. Jordan isn’t. We had a good talk, and she told me all about it.
“Well Jordan, do you want me to grab my sword and a shovel?”
“No dad, I’ve got this handled. Sassy Jordan has come out and when I’m done he’ll wish that he was dealing with you”
That’s my girl.