The thing is, I hate traveling with my kids.
And by traveling I mean long trips in the car, numerous stops for nappy changes and backseat wars raging over who gets the last hot chip.
Only to arrive at our destination and be greeted with the task of having to child proof our accommodation as best we can, sleepless nights and cranky days from three toddlers out of routine and away from home.
It’s exhausting, and that kind of exhaustion requires a holiday to recover. Only I have three children and I’d end up having to take them with me. Requiring in another holiday. It’s a vicious cycle.
Remedied only by a full week’s laziness – including ignoring the laundry, neglecting the kitchen and “forgetting” to cook dinner up to 7 days in a row.
So, when it came to organizing the road trip for Oscar’s annual cardio check up, I made a decision.
I wasn’t taking the other children.
Pal and I are lucky enough to have both our mothers living in the area now. We figured that between them we could organise adequate care for two children for two days.
If I could have left Oscar behind I very well may have, but seeing as he was (and usually is) the reason for our trip, even I had to concede that it was necessary he accompany us.
After some epic family stress over where and with whom we would stay, I went firm mother on their asses. If they couldn’t share us nicely, then no one got to play with us at all. I then threw the ultimate tantrum and booked us into a motel on the same street as the hospital.
It’s called Wesley Lodge – its basic, clean and the staff were friendly. It’s convenience to Westmead Children’s Hospital would have had me willing to pay five star prices. It’s only a block from the front door of the hospital people.Thankfully, the price for one night in a double + single room was ridiculously reasonable for such short notice.
And so after dropping Roo and Fraser off at Meemah’s house, we headed out onto the highway. And then onto another highway. And then another highway.
We stopped to let Oscar run at Pheasant’s Nest. The kid has so much go I couldn’t bear the thought of keeping him cooped up any longer.
Translation: he was driving us mental with his vigorous flailing and we decided to stop for the sake of our sanity.
We got back in the car, and onto the highway. And then another highway. And then another highway. Until we got all the way to Baulkham Hills and picked up my eBay pram purchase (a Phil & Teds sport with double kit, to reside in the car so I will never more have the shits at Pal for forgetting to remove Precious from the car and set her up on my front porch so she is available for the cut & run).
After Baulkham Hills we endeavored to find Denyse, who had very kindly invited us for a much needed cuppa and a run around for Oscar.
I’d like to take this moment to mention that Denyse is possibly the most awesome grandma EBBER – the beautiful space she has created for her grandchildren to play in mesmerized Oscar and kept him happy and quiet for an hour.
And Oscar quietly playing for an entire hour without breaking something, hurting himself or yelling at random inanimate objects for imagined grievances is unheard of. Or it was until now.
After a cuppa and a chat, Pal, Oscar and I headed to the motel for check in and a rest. Because for some reason the first thing we always want to do after effectively sitting on our asses in the car all day is sit down some more.
After Oscar was unsuccessful in completely destroying the motel room we decided it would be best to head into Parramatta for dinner and a walk around. Partly because I wasn’t interested in losing my $50 security deposit on the room due to some kind of toddler-flies-through-glass-window scenario.
Partly because we knew that with Oscar out of routine and hyper due to the excitement of having two parents all to himself, there was not a chance he was going to sleep anytime soon.
We parked and wandered down Church St and – like all good country people should – oohed and aahed at the fact that there were more restaurants on half a block than there were in our entire town.
And, as all overwhelmed-by-choice country people do, we ended up at a pizza place.
We ate, we drank – soft drink, because throwing back a vino in public when your kid is in trackies is even beyond me – and we watched our son throw every piece of food he was offered on the ground. Unless it was coated in tomato sauce.
It was at this point I became grateful that we’d chosen to sit outside.
After a “short” walk to the mall, where we acquired some bananas for Oscar’s breakfast, a bottle for his water and some licorice ice cream (it seemed so unusual I just had to try it. P.s. it was good!) we headed back to our room.
So we could actively not sleep all night.
Oscar has a built-in three hour alarm. After three hours he promptly wakes up screaming, won’t be held nor put down, requires another drink, copious amounts of shushing, calms down enough to listen to some lullabies (thank you iPhone app with a 20 minute automatic shut-the-music-up feature) and then falls asleep again. 2.5 hours later he wakes and we do it all again.
Until 5am – the time agreed upon at the International Toddler Convention on Sleep Deprivation Torture – when Oscar woke and demanded “teevee” and “nana”. And despite both being offered he still preferred to run around the room screeching his excitement and opening and closing all drawers and doors, and closing them with a slam and exceedingly evil chuckling.
Do you enjoy road trips with your children? Do your children enjoy road trips with you? Have you ever lost your security deposit on a motel room? Please share!
Come back tomorrow for Part Two – wherein Oscar surprises everyone with his special aorta growth talents and I have lunch with Gemma, Fi and Grace.