Sunday, August 03, 2008

"eating on the run" has a whole new meaning

This week has largely been getting over a cold and recovering from a very fun but very tiring trip to Portland last weekend, so my blogging time has been light, unfortunately. The good news, though, is that I have several posts lined up to post over the next week or two.

Here’s the first one…


We went down to Portland last weekend to visit our families. It was a good visit, very fun to see everyone, and it was overall really nice. While the visit was wonderful, the drive down was a different story entirely. Elanor disliked – nay, hated – the drive, and screamed her little heart out for a good 80 percent of it. For those of you unfamiliar with the Seattle-Portland drive, that’s 80 percent translates roughly into about two or so hours of screaming.

Not fun. Not fun at all. It’s a drive I really dislike anyway, so adding in a screaming baby did nothing but make the whole thing completely miserable.

Thanks to an idea Rachel had, though, I eventually found a way to help the situation. Now, there’s minor law breaking on my part here (namely that I was not buckled), but dude, I had a really, really pissed off baby on my hands, so maybe you can all overlook the law breaking. I’m sure many of you have committed minor law breaking acts for the sake of your children. I can’t be the only one, right? Right?

Ok, maybe I can be the only one. But bear with me.

Back to Elanor. We were about halfway through the drive, and she was freaking out and hysterically screaming again, even though she was exhausted and we’d already stopped twice to feed her, calm her down, and try to get her to fall asleep, stretching the already three-hour drive out even further.

I had moved into the back seat after our first stop so I could sit by her, and this last time she started flipping out, Rachel made a suggestion.

“Leen, could you move over into the middle seat and somehow lean over her and feed her?”

I had actually seen a picture of this somewhere, and even vaguely remembered a story of my sister doing something similar out of desperation.

I said, “Well, I don’t know, let me try.”

So I unbuckled, scooted over, got up on my knees and leaned over. Rachel looked in the rear-view mirror and started cracking up. Brett finally looked up from reading The Fellowship of the Ring to see what I was doing. He laughed, too.

I must have been quite a sight, kneeling on the middle seat, clutching the headrest in front of me, and trying to balance, all while crouching over to let Elanor latch on.

As soon as I moved over and began to get ready to feed her, Elanor got really excited and even more agitated. But the second she latched, she was much calmer. And within about five minutes (a very long five minutes, I might add, what with the struggle to balance as we went around curves, the car seat digging into my ribs, the baby teeth digging into me, and the frantic little hands with very long fingernails clawing at me) she was asleep enough that I could unlatch her without waking her up.

Unfortunately, she woke up about 40 minutes later and screamed for the last 40 minutes of the drive, leaving all of us near tears before it was over, but hey, at least part of the drive was made in peace.

Maybe it was stupid to feed her while we were moving, but clearly, taking her out of the seat and trying to feed her and then put her back was NOT working (she cried so much after the first time we did it that she threw up on herself), and we’d already stopped twice with no results. I don’t know; maybe better parents would just keep stopping…I guess that makes us bad parents, then. At least I didn’t unbuckle her, right? (I would never, ever do that.)

Our drive home was much better, thankfully. We bought a big-girl car seat for her while we were in Portland and she was, I think, much more comfortable in it than she was in the infant seat she was in before. We went to a wedding yesterday about an hour from home, and she only cried for a few minutes before falling asleep. And that is a definite improvement over our last long car trip.

So tell me, have any of you ever done this, or anything equally as ridiculous and dangerous, all in an effort to calm your kid down? Or are you too ashamed to admit it?

Come on, if I can admit that I whipped out my boob on I-5 and knelt on the seat of a moving car to breastfeed my hysterical daughter, you can admit whatever skeleton is in your parenting closet. I promise, I won’t judge.


Kris said...

Kathleen, my breastfeeding experiences haven't lasted long enough for breastfeeding on the go. However, my friend Maggie has done the very thing you did on your trip to Portland.

I bribe Ryan in church. I know you're not supposed to bribe your kid with cookies, soda or candies to get them to be good, but when he's screaming at the top of his lungs in church and we're stuck in the middle of an asile... I need something and it works!

Xin Lei said...

I have strongly considered your "nursing on the go" maneuver, but thankfully have calmed the little ones down before that had to happen. Glad to know it works! I do bribe Fen too...if she eats all her food, then she gets a "surprise" (i.e. something sweet for dessert). This doesn't always work, but at least sometimes it does and Fen eats all the food on her plate. Can't think of anything else right now...but rest assured I've done plenty of "not supposed to's" when it comes to parenting!

Michelle said...

My mom totally did the same thing once when my little brother was a baby. We were on a family vacation to Eastern Oregon, the A/C went out, and he was screaming his head off. My sister and I thought her solution was both hilarious and scandalous!

april said...

Oh my goodness -- I have tears in my eyes from laughing because I can totally relate -- you poor thing. I did the EXACT SAME THING on an interminable car trip when my daughter was 4 months old. She used to cry int he car all the time - it was torture. We finally found this soporific CD called MAGIC LULLABY that used to knock her out (and us!), so I recommend experimenting with different music -- might do the trick! (Also playing Fiona Apple's version of Across the Universe over and over at top volume worked too) Take heart -- it will end!

sandra said...

i hope you don't mind, but i shared your story with my momma. in exchange she has some advice of her own. my little sister used to scream like elanor EVERY TIME we rode in the car. eventually my mom (luckily) discovered that if she played "wee sing christian lullabys" my sister was content. thus, perhaps a change in music would help your little girl. good luck!

Andy said...

So funny, I saw a picture of someone doing this and thought to mysel "why didn't I think of that?"

Trust me, if I would have thought of it I would have done it. There was a long period where K would scream the entire time but it was a short phase. I hope for you sake that hers is too.

gala said...

i've done this too! so funny... it makes me a little jealous of our moms who could just nurse peacefully while putting us in unknown danger :) looking forward to a walk sometime soon!

Katie said...

hmmm...well I guess we were awful because we just let Blaise scream (after the 2 stops to feed didn't work)....and stopped driving to portland. grandma does wish we visited more though!!!