Monday, July 16, 2007

Summer Travel with the Kids

It has been a very busy summer of travel for our family. With the kids hitting ages 6 and 8, we have reached our travel tipping point. Our children are now self sufficient little units, with the power to feed, dress, wash, brush, ask nicely, not throw a fit, and enjoy life as a child should. Our hard work has payed off, and it's nice to see the results.

Road trips are now a lot of fun. Music cranking windows down kinda fun, with only the occasional threat from me to pull the car over on the highway.

We have less equipment restraints with our children now. Car seats, which gave way to booster seats are now not needed. No more switching seats from car to car, or checking them at the airport with the embarrassingly large plastic bag.

The dreaded pack-n-play is long gone. Diaper bags have become travel and computer bags. Strollers, as my son told me 3 years ago, " are for babies." Front carriers, slings, backpacks, travel cot, infant sun tent, sippy cups...not needed.

I wonder how my mother raised the four of us without the convenience of all the safety and child products we have today. I remember fondly, long summer drives to a lake somewhere far away with the four of us jumping around the back of our giant Ford wagon unrestrained. My mother smoking a cigarette and driving 85mph (the speed limit was 75mph) telling us all to settle down or she would pull the car over. I knew she wouldn't. Did I also hear the tinkling of ice in a tumbler?

No car seats, no DVD, Game Boy, PSP, or other mind numbing device. Just us the open road and a lot of fun. I spy, the alphabet game, 3 thirds of a ghost, and harassing my sisters were games we played as we whizzed by farms and cornfields.

My children are very fond of the alphabet game, except my son wants me slow down so he can read the signs better. I can't wait for our next road trip. And for the parents of smaller children and allot of gear, it is still absolutely worth it. Now let's drive.