Carseat prison

Yesterday we traveled 96 miles one way to Backbone State Park near Strawberry Point, IA. We do an annual Labor Day weekend picnic and family get-together with my mom’s brothers and their families.  It’s tons of fun. This year we hiked up to a cave, hiked beautiful trails with several kids in tow, and waded near the springs of a frigid trout stream.  We ate a ton of good food, had water fights and water balloon tossing contests and great conversation. Nana and Papa had offered to drive and we can all fit into their Flex, so it worked out well. Until we went home.

Loving Backbone!

Amelia loves Backbone!

You would think riding in a car is not that awful. You would think the fact that you have been awake all day, missed your regular nap, and are only 21 months old; that a nap in a very comfortable car with your family would be an ideal way to spend 2 hours. What else is there to do?


That’s not even the right word.


Amelia has mastered the scream of all screams.  It rattles your eardrums until they ring.  I’m pretty sure it could splinter glass. It makes one’s blood boil. Especially if you are trapped in a car with that sound.

Our kids have never been great, nor terrible in the car. I guess they are just mediocre. They get bored, but are usually decent.  Yesterday was not the case.  G and L were fine. Amelia was the other end of the spectrum.

We tried everything. I offered snacks, drink, toys, crayons, sights out the window, games.  Nana tried songs. I tried ignoring her after nothing else worked. Papa tried his stern ‘papa voice’ to scare it out of her. J tried tickling her feet from the front seat. She had no reason to be shrieking like that. The  car became a prison, with our little obscenely vocal prisoner strapped securely into her seat in the direct center of the car. I had even turned her around to forward face for the little trip, thinking she might enjoy that more. Guess I was wrong. It got so bad that we pulled over. None of us could take it anymore. I immediately pulled Amelia from her carseat and there it was: SILENCE.  She would have rode the rest of the way home in my lap, but of course that’s not legal. 😛 I ventured into a gas station with her in tow because I just had to get out of there before I snapped! I bought 3 tootsie pops, one per kid. That kept her quiet for the next 16 miles. Then she gave me an empty sticky lollipop stick. Then it started again.

We survived the remaining 10 miles home. I put Amelia directly to bed, and she was asleep within 3 minutes, and that was that.

There have got to be other parents out there who dread the car ride, maybe more than I do. Amelia is definitely the worst of our kids thus far in the car, and it’s hit or miss.   My blood pressure is still recovering.

Next time we go anywhere farther than 30 miles, I’m contemplating earplugs.

-The {ears still ringing} Costellos


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