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Travelling With a Child Who Gets Car Sick

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It is the long weekend, for some it’s for Easter, others it’s Passover, but for most, its time to spend with family and that is exactly what we are doing this weekend.  I am travelling back home to visit my family for the Easter weekend and I have been looking forward to it for the most part except one; my daughter gets car sick.

Since she was very young, my daughter will get car sick regardless of what road we travel, the speed we are going, city driving or highway, if we are in a car, it is almost guaranteed (unless she’s sleeping) that she will get car sick.  We have given her children’s Gravol, pressure point bracelets, you name it, we’ve done it.  Her and motion, are not good bed fellows.  We have a 3 hour bus ride to go on today followed by a 90 minute car ride, so I am almost foreseeing it now.  Let me paint you a picture of the last time we travelled.

It was back in October of 2011, when my sister was going to throw a Scorpio birthday extravaganza (my hubby, daughter and mom are all Scorpio’s and their birthdays are relatively close together).  We had booked our tickets via Megabus, a far cheaper way to travel.  For the three of us 1 way, from Toronto to Kingston was $27, only $9 each!  You couldn’t even drive for that amount.  Our bags were packed, portable DVD player charged, pyjama’s on, anti-motion medication given and pressure point bracelet on.  We simply had to wait for our cab.  Now for those of you whom have never had the displeasure of travelling via taxicab in Toronto, let me tell you, a rollercoaster whips you around less.  I don’t get motion sickness, but I was almost sick myself.

Our trip to the bus station did not particularly start off well, which should have alerted me to the disaster that lay ahead.  As parents, it is sometimes common knowledge that upon leaving on a trip, you don’t always leave riding the waves of marital bliss.  Packing for yourselves and a child is stressful enough, let alone after working 5-10 hour days and then head out for a 4 1/2 bus trip to see the in-laws.  So needless to say, the hubby and I were pretty tense.  We get in the cab quietly, instruct the cab driver where to go and buckle up.  It starts off easy enough, but eventually the stop-go treatment of the city streets begin to catch up to us.  My daughter is beginning to show the telltale signs.

“Mommy, at daycare today….” my little one starts by telling us about her day and everything she did at daycare.  But eventually, the sentences get shorted and she begins to quiet down.

“You ok sweetheart?  If you need to puke, tell Mommy ok?”

“I’m ok Mom,” she whispers.  The thumb goes in the mouth and she leans to the side of her car seat.

“Ok, but let me know.”  The car drives on, breaking and speeding, speeding and breaking some more.  At this time, there is no more chatter, just 3 very tired, very agitated people sitting in the back of a cab, being whipped around.

My daughter looks at me.  Her eyes are sad, glossy and I notice a trickle of drool form at the corner of her mouth.  I point this to my husband that it is coming.

“We’re only a few minutes away sweetheart, just hold on,” he tries to reassure her, trying to get her to talk.  It’s not working.  She begins to whimper, her cheeks swell and the look of “oh no, I’m going to vomit” is written all over her face.   Now most children would gladly throw up in a bowl, bucket, bag, whatever is handy rather than vomit on themselves.  Now note that I said most children, because my daughter is not one of them.  In fact, she flat-out refuses to vomit anywhere else but on herself and on me.  She will hold it in if you put a bowl in front of her.  It’s coming.

“Whhhaaaaaaa,” the vomit is out flying out like the Exorcist.  Not just on her, but on me.  We are literally pulling up to the bus station as this is happening.  Only 2 minutes and we would have been in the clear.  The cab driver is not impressed.  He has a three-year old vomiting profusely in the back of his car (an extra $50 charge for Mommy and Daddy for clean-up) and two parents that are at each other’s throat, because one is covered in vomit and the other is mad at the mess.  The driver hands us a dirty rag to assist in the clean up.

“Gee, thanks,” I say in my most sarcastic biting tone I can muster.

We finally get out of the cab, still covered in vomit with a pile of used baby wipes drenched in the mess in one hand, and a vomit covered baby in the other.

“I’m taking her to the bathroom to get cleaned up, you take the bags and the car seat and get them loaded on the bus,” I bark as I make my way through the crowd.  Mind you the car seat is still wet and my hubby is liking my tone less and less.  As I pass through the crowd, they part like the Red Sea, leaving a wide view of the two of us, soaked, stinky and miserable.  We get to the bathroom and I have changed her into clean clothes and quickly washing her coat in the sink.  Then it hits me, my other clothes are in the luggage.  That is now being loaded onto the bus.  Leaving me know without a clean outfit.  Well this trip keeps getting better.

“Mommy,” my daughter chirps happily.  “I’m hungry.”  Yea, and I am covered in vomit.

“We’ll have snacks on the bus.”

“Ok Mom.”  She is quiet for a moment and then she says this; “What’s that smell?” Oh. My. God!

“That would be me,” I frown.

“You should have a shower,” she astutely observes.  By this point, the ol’ blood pressure is rising.

We make it back to the line, where my husband is in no better a mood.  “Why didn’t you get cleaned up?  You are covered in puke.”

Thank you Captain Obvious.  My scowl says enough.  I’m sure the people behind us would have said something, but I do think they feared my reaction.  I was covered in rancid vomit, without a change of clothes, a daughter who was now hungry because I am wearing her last meal and my husband feels the need to point out the obvious.  Not going good at all!

We finally load the bus and sit in our seats.  My daughter wants to sit with me.  That’s fine.  I smell like vomit and you can sit and smell it too.  But after 10 minutes, the smell is too much for her (Oh, don’t like your own brand?) and she climbs over me to Daddy’s seat.  But 5 minutes later, she wants me again, then Daddy, then Mom again and so on until I have had enough!

“Hun, take her!”  I hand her over and pull out my music player and plug-in the ear phones.  I am going to sleep.  If I am asleep, I cannot smell myself.  My daughter is crying, my husband is peeved and I am still, stilllll covered in toddler vomit.  Oh, from the chunk there on my left sleeve, I see you at hot dogs at lunch today Princess.  My husband taps me on my shoulder.

“She wants you,” he whispers.  I put a single finger in the air without looking at him and close my eyes again.  She is sitting with you, I thought to myself,  I need to sleep this nightmare away.  Hubby is not impressed by my silent objection.

After 3 very long, very smelly hours, we arrive in Kingston.  We are sitting at the front of a double-decker bus and I see my sister waiting for us.  She waves, but her smile soon fades when she sees our 3 faces.   I load up our carry-on’s, have my daughter on one shoulder and we make our way down the stairs.  My sister quickly rushes over to embrace her niece and before I can warn her, the smell hits her.

“Whew, Carley, you really stink.”  Thanks Sis, your words have always been a comfort.

I am truly hoping that this trip is not a repeat of last time.  Happy Holiday’s everyone and I will see you back on Sunday.

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My Battle with Potty Training

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When I became pregnant with my daughter, I began to think of all the milestones she would go through, all the trials and tribulations my husband and I would experience, all the sweat, tears, and skinned knees.  I thought about her eating solids, learning to say “mama”, learning how to crawl, walk, and run, but potty training never really crossed my mind.  Perhaps it was the fact my mother had always said how easy I was to train (18 months and no accidents at night by 2) that I thought that of all the stuff she would need to learn, potty training would be a breeze.  I thought wrong!

This momma's fail at potty training

Around 18 months, I began looking online for tips and tidbits, when to start, what signs to look for, so on and so forth.  My daughter didn’t really show any signs except needing to be in the washroom with me when I went.  I allowed it, thinking to myself, “It’ll start this way and soon enough I’ll be diaper free!”  From the things I read online, I was to allow her to pick out her own potty, underwear, toilet insert and stool.  I started off with the potty.  Princess pink and brand new, I thought she would love it.  I put it in the bathroom and held her hand as I showed her.  She stared blankly and looked up at me for some kind of direction.  I explained that she was getting too big for diapers and soon she would go potty.  She was having none of it.  She picked up the potty, looked it over and then much to my chargin,  placed it on her head and danced around the living room.  Let’s put it this way, that was the most use that potty ever saw.  I tried sitting her on it, and the wails and screams that came out of her would rival those of the shrieks from the damned damsel in distress in horror films.  She was not ready.  So I went to the book store and picked up potty books for girls and a potty book for me.  I was realizing quickly that I was in over my head.

By age two, I was no closer to potty training my daughter than I was to winning the Pulitzer or an Oscar.  I took her to buy her own underwear which she loved, but whenever I put them on her, she would use them the same as her diapers, go in them and demand I clean her.  I was discouraged but I still thought 2 was still young enough to be wearing diapers and I was sure that she would get it soon.  I was still looking for these supposed clues to her readiness and there were none.  I gave potty training a break for a little while, hoping that my daughter would come to it on her own in her own time.  I read online that pushing it can set you back and I was definitely not up for that.  By 30 months I consulted her doctor.  He laughed and said these words to me; “Potty training is like a fine wine, you can’t rush it.”  Well thanks doc,  I don’t even like wine.  Shortly after that, we took our daughter once more on a shopping trip to pick out a toilet insert and stool.  She refused the potty with gusto so maybe the toilet would work better.  She sat on it but still would not go.  Eventually she only wanted the stool, using the insert as a frisbee. 

When her third birthday rolled around, I had enough of diapers.  I was beginning to think I would be sending her off to university in diapers.  I made the decision that I was purchasing Pull Ups.  I was told by many people the pro’s and con’s of pull ups; the look and feel like underwear, but still diaper-like.  Cheaper than diapers, but children would get confused.  Regardless, they seemed to work.  I explained that these were not diapers but the next step.  Her daycare even agreed to let her wear them if she wore underwear on top.  It seemed like it was going to finally work when we hit a streak of my daughter’s sheer stubborness.  She flat out refused to use the potty to the point where she would hold it almost to the point of doctor visits.  I even created a potty chart but that lost its appeal when we gave stickers instead of some toy or treat.   I spoke with a friend of mine to share my frustrations, who also works as a psychologist.  She told me the importance of what potty training means to children.  To adults, its just a function we all do, to children, it is the first thing they can give their parents, and a struggle for independance.  She suggested I tell my daughter that her poo was flower food and that it would nourish the flowers.  It seemed to work.  She still struggled with number 2, but she would occassionally go pee.  I bought a toy potty for her dolls and that only turned out to be a waste of money.

Now of all the books, underwear, potties, etc that I have spent my hard earned money on to get her to go to the bathroom didn’t help me get any closer to my diaper free goal, so I picked up Hello Kitty antibacterial handwash at the store for her to use.  I told her that she gets to use it after she uses the potty.   Needless to say, that $2.67 bottle of commercialized, run of the mill, soap in a flashy bottle was enough to change my daughter’s mind.  Since I bought it, she’s only had 2 accidents.  We are starting underwear only next week at daycare and she continues to wear pull ups at night, but it looks as though she will be potty trained, hopefully, finger’s crossed by the summer.  I have to say I have learned my lesson about making assumptions about parenting, because potty training has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.