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The Long Drive

2011 May 31
by distracted daddy

A few months ago, we attended an out of town birthday party. It was only a 45-minute drive outside of the city. My wife and I took our daughter and two unsuspecting single friends.

The drive there was uneventful. The event was fun and eventful. The drive back was the reason this post is categorized under the Daddy Disasters section of this blog.

On road trips you are only guaranteed a one-way ticket for good behaviour. One way will be easy. The other way will be torture. Your child will not peacefully sleep both ways.

Our 45-minute drive took 45 minutes on the way there. It took nearly three hours on the way back.

There was an accident on the highway. We were stuck in the inevitable backlog of rubberneckers. When we made it past the minor accident, the traffic did not let up. The traffic continued. Something was amiss. It was gridlock.

There was another accident. Again minor.

Traffic was moving at a snail’s pace. Birds flew by overhead at double our traveling speed. We eventually made it past the second accident and traffic began to move. It was that post accident freedom when you begin to attain normal highway speeds.

It was glorious. And only lasted for a moment. Until we hit the gridlock of a third accident. It was unbelievable. Three minor traffic accidents back to back to back.

It would have been nothing more than an entertaining story for a cocktail party if there wasn’t a baby in our car. A baby who didn’t want to be in the car.

A baby who began to cry. She refused toys, and books, and distractions. The carefully curated grownup playlist – gone. Instead children’s songs. “All the Babies Love Bananas”, “Row Row Your Boat” and more. The music had no effect. Our terrible singing didn’t help.

If only we had a soother. We didn’t. If only our crossover utility vehicle was a time-travel ready Delorean. It wasn’t.

We were trapped.

The child was in full-blown tantrum. Crying, fussy, red-faced. Our single friends likely asking themselves what they did to deserve to be trapped in a sonic wall of wailing baby screams.

When we arrived in the city, one of our single friends quickly jumped out of the car as we stopped at an intersection. “I’m almost home,” she said. She wasn’t. “I’ll just grab this bus.” There was no bus. Her flight instinct had taken over. She saw her first chance to escape and took it.

For us, the parents, this abuse was something we signed up due to our successful consensual relations. But for our unfortunate friends who had neither a child nor a vehicle. They just wanted a ride to the party. It was a ride they’ll likely never forget.

45 Responses leave one →
  1. An Idle Dad permalink
    May 31, 2011

    I’m betting even a dummy wouldn’t have helped! Even when I haven’t forgotten it and had it in the car, sometimes, nothing can be done,

    The story is still good for dinner parties, I’d just leave it a few months before telling it in front of your single mate.

  2. May 31, 2011

    You’re totally right. Sometimes the car tantrums can’t be resolved. This one only stopped once we got home.

  3. Lisa Coco permalink
    June 21, 2011

    I hear ya!

    Our son Tyson (15 months) does not like the car at all. As soon as he sees that we are going to P in the elevator he gets fidgety, especially if I am there.
    There was this one particular day when we took him and his 5 year old brother Ashton to the Superstore for groceries and I decided to sit in the front seat instead of in back with them. I figured you know what, you have to get used to it some day, why not today. Well, he started crying, screaming, fussing, twisting, then the crying got to the point where he was coughing. You know the coughing, that ends in the vomiting. Vomiting all over himself and his car seat. Which of course lead to Ashton vomiting as well. Vomiting all over himself and his side of the car! It was so brutal. We had to pull over in an alley and strip them both, we left the clothes in the nearest dumpster, the carseat has never been the same.
    Needless to say I now sit in the backseat all the time.

    Lisa.

  4. June 22, 2011

    Lisa,

    Wow. That sounds terrible and more of a disaster than my disaster. I guess you’re never sitting in the front seat anymore…

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