Wait, I didn't even get a tee shirt. Don't I deserve a medal or something? Maybe a parade? [Turns on tv] Oh, hey, look! A parade!
Phase 1, Southbound trip
Keys to Survival: nighttime and a DVD player.
We left Thursday evening, stopping at a hotel along the way, and finished the drive on Friday. The tormentors slept less in the car than we had hoped, but settled down pretty easily once we got to the hotel. On Friday morning, with the words "Abracadabra" and a flourish, I revealed to Lumpyhead that the van had a DVD player.
I've heard there are parents who still travel without portable DVD players. (It's true. There are also women who give birth without epidurals.) Live and let live and all that, but you people are CRAY. Zee. Really. Nuts. I'm making little "doodeley doodeley" noises and drawing circles in the air around my temples.
Phase 2, Hotel stay
Keys to Survival: sensible setup and an awesome babysitter
I originally booked a single king room using the wedding block, out of habit, I think. (Which: no. That would have been bad. Very, very bad.) After a minute-and-a-half of thought, I realized once the kids were asleep a single king room would become a prison. Aunt Bob recommended a hotel that had 2-bedroom suites, which turned out to be perfect. There was a little kitchen, where we could store milk and juice and cut grapes in half, and an in-unit washer and dryer. It was quite affordable, too, probably because the interior decor could use some serious updating. It's funny how parenthood changes your sensibilities. There was a time when Bump and I would have sniffed "It's clean, but this place is kind of a dump." Instead we were both like "AWESOME! Our kids can't ruin this place."
A Magical Babysitter Fairy - someone who should be showered with good luck and free booze for the rest of his or her natural life - sent us a babysitter for the rehearsal dinner and wedding. While the bride was pretty clear about welcoming little ones at all events, Bump and I knew we wouldn't enjoy ourselves if the tormentors were there. The babysitter we were sent is a college student working two jobs this summer - at the children's museum and as a part-time nanny. A nanny. Who also works at the children's museum.
I think I managed not to squeal when she told me that.
Oh, and the college she attends? GW. That would be The George Washington University, located in Washington, DC. She'll be local in the fall. And no, you can't have her number. She's MINE!
Phase 3, Northbound trip
Keys to Survival: DVD player and an energy-draining rest stop
The drive back was more daunting, with naps as our only respite from and for the tormentors. Massive use of the "Abracadabra" featured heavily in our plan. Lula was whiny, which we attributed to being tired but unable to sleep, so we gave Lumpyhead a headset and suddenly his sweet ride became even awesomer. The DVD player has headphones with an independent rear entertainment system. Bump played one of his own CDs in the front. Lula fell asleep.
And then I kissed our new minivan. With tongue.
Around Richmond, we decided to try to find a playground or place for the tormentors to run a little bit. Using highway signs and a little luck, we headed for the children's museum. By time we got there, the place was closed. But the museum next door had a large courtyard and an outdoor water sculpture and other children. The tormentors squealed and got soaked and had a great time. We changed them into dry clothes - we had a set at the ready in case we needed to overnight at a hotel again - and got back into the car.
After enduring the typical shitty traffic around DC, we were home. Rocking the bedrest for real.