Monday, May 16, 2011

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: The Weekend That Was

Well, okay, there weren't any planes. But there were trains and cars and lots of friends and family. Our first family trip was a jam-packed weekend in San Diego. Jack's hatred of the car has been well documented here so we were dreading the drive. Which is why we decided to leave late Friday night. We thought we'd do his whole bedtime routine and put him to sleep in the car seat. We did the bath, the breastfeeding, the soothing, and he was fast asleep when we put him in the car seat in the living room. Then we clicked it in the car and, bam, wide awake at 10pm. We got literally one block from the house and he was screaming so we decided to pull over to the Vons parking lot to calm him down. We took him out, shushed him, calmed him down and put him back in. We got on the freeway, drove 5 exits, and got off the freeway due to screaming. Here's John on the side of the road trying to bounce the car seat.

He worked on the side of the road and we put him back in the car. A little quieter crying and then John (in the back seat) seemed to calm him to sleep. SCORE. We were home free, so I thought. I was exhausted so I pulled off the freeway (again) to switch with John so he could drive. I got in the back with the sleeping guy. About 15 minutes later, he woke up. And started screaming and sobbing. Nothing would calm him down. At that point we had about an hour and a half left in the drive but we decided to press on. We really wanted to go to San Diego and there's no way he could cry for 90 minutes so late at night, right? Wrong. He could very easily cry for that long.

Most people don't seem to understand why we're so bothered by crying in the car. And I respond that it's not crying. There's a difference between his normal crying and what he does in the car that is sobbing and screeching and choking on his own saliva because he's so worked up. I have video of it but I've decided not to post it because some people said it was too upsetting. But take my word for it. John and I are not wimps, it's just really bad.

We pulled into my parents' driveway at midnight and once we pulled him out of the car he was fine. He crashed hard and slept for 6 hours. Awesome I guess?

The rest of the weekend he was great as we visited a lot of people. Sure, the car rides to those places sucked, but he behaved once we got there. First up, we went to our friend Strasser's birthday party which was filled with newborns. The amazing hostess Amy was busy running around with her little girl Lilly so she missed this picture, but here I am with new mom Cara and her son Ethan (or Ethan's arm). He and Jack are sure to be friends in the future.

Then we drove over to my aunt and uncle's house so they could meet the little guy. Even though it was the evening "witching hour", he managed to hold it together.

Jack with the Schmidt family

Uncle Glen and Aunt Margie entertain the little guy

Cousin Christy calms him down

On Sunday we inevitably had to go back to Los Angeles but the idea of 2 1/2 hours of screaming was too much for us to bear. I didn't think I could make it. So Jack and I decided to jump on the train while John drove the car back. I was excited to avoid the car ride but I was bummed that I had to tackle his first trip by myself. I had no idea if he'd behave or if I'd be "that person". With a screaming baby. Turns out I was both. He started screaming the minute the train started and I could feel the death stares from the crowded train car. But then I got him to sleep and I got to enjoy the beautiful view.

So much better than the traumatic Friday night drive. Of course, as we pulled into the LA station he woke up and melted down. As I fumbled to gather everything to get off the train with a squirming crying infant, a woman looked at me with pity and asked if I needed help. I politely declined and hightailed it out of there, wearing a Bjorn, straps flying everywhere but holding Jack because he refused to go in it. I was thrilled to see John at the curb, even if it meant we had a 30-minute car ride with screaming Jack in our future.

But here's the upside. After such a traumatic weekend, our little guy broke another record and slept for 8 1/2 hours!!

Jack happily sleeping under the beautiful blanket that my cousin Christy knitted for him


  1. congrats on jack's first big trip! i think john's deep hatred of commuting must have been genetically passed down to the little guy. i know how hard the whole trip must have been, but you did it!

  2. Taking the train is ingenious. I'm sorry the car is such a traumatic experience (for all of you). Do you think you'll continue avoiding the car as much as possible, or try to break him in somehow? The worst part is that there's no way to tell why a baby is unhappy at a certain point. Clearly, he's not in any real physical pain, but he's also obviously traumatized by the experience for some reason.

  3. Well, I've been trying to break him in for 6 weeks now. We take a car ride almost every day. But whether it's 5 minutes or 30 minutes or 11am or 4pm, the outcome is always the same. I'll keep driving him around LA but if he's not better, our next trip to SD might be on the train.

  4. As a glimmer of hope--it might get better when you can distract him with food (baby mum mums) during car trips. It's gotta get better, right??!

  5. Oh, I know it'll get better Karen. He'll grow out of it but it just might be another 3 to 6 months. Just a bummer because we were going to travel a lot this summer. Oh well. :)

  6. Man. Well, your persistence with the bottle paid off, so eventually he'll get used to it. Good for you guys that you keep trying, in spite of it all. But it does suck that it's summer now and this makes going anywhere so unpleasant for all of you.

  7. Well you look great Lisa despite the car torture. When Sophia was about Jack's age I got stuck in horrible unmoving traffic in a TUNNEL and she literally shrieked from the back seat for over an hour with me unable to reach and comfort her. In hindsight I should've gotten out of the car and said f#@# it to the traffic jam I might have created. She eventually passed out but I could literally feel my DNA unraveling.

  8. I don't even know what to say! I hear your humor in the blog entry and so I want to laugh, and then, I vividly remember Lucas and his car ride battles, and my heart is pounding rapidly just thinking about the experience. You should really blog about the "car ride soothes babies" myth! At least for some of us!