There is no such thing as a smooth ride when you have a child in your car, no matter how old they are. Roadside emergencies with kids are the real deal. After many a roadside meltdown, I’ve tried everything from meditating to envisioning myself calmly dealing with each of these situations like a champ (as if!).
Some of these might hit close to home, and others might help you get your game face on for a future situation.
I Need to Pee Now
Just when you were enjoying the five minutes of silence from the juice boxes you doled out, it happens. Someone has to pee—like now. Of course, usually at that time, there is no restroom in sight. Have I been known to take along a few empty bottles for my boys to use in an emergency? Yes, but when you have a daughter, the circumstances may require a good old-fashioned squat next to a tree. If there is no tree, opening the passenger door provides a tad of privacy.
Running Out of Gas
You have remembered to pack everything for every family member, get the oil changed, drop the dogs off at the kennel, and usher everyone out the door at a very early hour. You are motoring along thinking this is going to be good, real good…then the radio goes, the car slows down to a crawl, and you just manage to pull the car off the road. Apparently you forgot to gas up. Oops. After spending a few moments explaining that Mommy and Daddy forget things too, you suggest some extra time on their devices while one of you calls AAA or starts doing the walk of shame with a gas can in tow.
I remember my parents slapping the air behind them trying to get my sisters and me to behave during long car trips. I could not understand why a little game of, say, screaming zombie monsters could be distracting. Now I understand. My kids know when my husband or I pull over to stop the flesh-eating apocalypse, we mean business.
They Are Getting Hangry
You tried to force-feed them breakfast earlier, but they weren’t hungry. You saw this coming. Five minutes in, they are begging for food. Good thing you remembered to pack lots of road snacks—only problem is you left them in the trunk and the next exit is 30 miles away.
Somebody Is Gonna Throw
And by throw, I mean throw up. They either ate said road snacks too fast, caught a stomach bug (because of course), or have discovered they get motion sickness (please no). You are really hoping they just ate too fast, but in the meantime you get to the side of the road quickly, because nobody should have to vomit all over themselves while being strapped down in a car seat. Also, please pass the wipes.
The Favorite Toy Is MIA
Three hours into your car ride as you are headed back home, one of the kiddos notices they have lost their favorite stuffed animal, book, or blanket. You brace yourself, then the howling starts. So, you calmly explain you can call the hotel, or wherever you were visiting, and simply have them send it along as soon as possible. This probably won’t be good enough, so you head to the nearest mall to to find a replacement and soothe your child with an ice cream to boot.
There is only one way to make it through roadside emergencies with kids. Be prepared. Be very prepared. Growing a few more (longer) arms would come in handy, and if I see you pulled over and running for the nearest tree, I won’t judge, I promise.
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