This week: a post on the lighter side inspired by a recent family road trip to California. It was great fun and the kids did really well riding the 2,000-plus miles. Which, pardon the pun, is a true milestone. My kids are in grade school and at this wonderful age teachers send makeup work along and this helps pass the time. It does so in theory, anyway. Friends named Pixar, Mad Libs and Motel Swimming Pool were indispensable as my husband and I bribed the kids into getting homework done. So in a nutshell, UN-caliber negotiations and movies and math got us from one destination to another with very little drama.
In January of 2014, I published I’m Flying With Kids, Guess What’s In My Quart Ziploc Bag? Flying and driving seem like two very different propositions, but in many ways, doing either with kids involves much of the same process (homework bribes and in-flight videos). There is crossover even in the smallest details, which can only be learned from experience. And that is why it’s time for the sequel to I’m Flying With Kids. So what do I keep in the glovebox on a road trip?
Stuff that I steal.
From the Friendly Skies, ironically. Or from whatever airline can give us a “bargain” rate to take our brood to see the grandparents. (Which is not so much a “bargain,” of course, and the reason we drove to California). And why do I take stuff from airplanes? Predictably my younger son goes so hard while on holiday and is so sleep-deprived, dehydrated and PUMPED UP that he spikes fevers and often barfs his brains out. Then he collapses into a 13-hour sleep. It’s a bit weird and scary but he pulls through every time, rarin’ to go by the time he wakes up. Once on a trip to Colorado, he turned white as a sheet and we just managed to corral the sick in a torn plastic grocery bag that we happened to have in the van. I was dressed up (a rare occurrence on a family trip) but managed to dump the semi-leaky bag in a nearby trash can without making a huge mess.
Vowing from that day forward to always be prepared for car sickness..I started raiding airline seat pockets. On our flight home from that Colorado trip, and on every flight since then, I take the all the little white bags. Well, not all, only the five we are totally justified in swiping. No beverage service? No problem. Those wax-coated gems are more than just compensation: we use a ton of them when we are on the ground. The Kayak.com airline-of-choice can come after me if they want but my defense is air-line tight: At least my child hasn’t gotten ill on the upholstery of your terribly uncomfortable seats, which he could have done because those bags are pretty small. Your upholstery or your barf bags, your choice.
I steal other stuff, too. I have sticky fingers when it comes to extra napkins and handi-wipes so we don’t have the kid-sized version all over the van’s windows. Sometimes I take a few feet of toilet paper (don’t ask). Straws and sporks are nice, too.
But the true windfall is those plastic-lined bags that self-seal. Even though my son seems to have outgrown the car sickness I still keep a few bags in the van to ward off its return. Call it insurance.
Some people need their AmEx. We need barf bags.
And never leave home without them.