Well, this isn't the movies.
And I didn't read the baby books.
But it turns out I didn't need to.
Because a 2-day road trip with a 3-day old across 10 states is the crash course in parenting everyone who is expecting should experience.
Wednesday, October 8, 1:30pm
We're on the road!
Precious cargo on board!
Following behind us in their own SUV are our parents - this IS our family vacation – road trip style – after all.
Bless his heart, Max falls asleep the minute we hit the highway.
Our parents had grabbed sandwiches and waters from the hospital cafeteria before we left. Somehow – in dividing up the lunches – there was a mix up and no one had the right sandwiches in their respective cars.
So our first stop was a gas station in South Carolina, where we ate our sandwiches on the side of the road like vagabonds.
100% embarrassed by our roadside eating, I stay in the car and keep Max company.
Max – thankfully – slept through the entire embarrassing episode.
Man, South Carolina is a BIG state to drive across.
Max sleeps through all 746 "South of the Border" signs.
Diaper change! I had purchased a soft, flat dog bed and packed it in my suitcase. We put that on the back seat, then put Maxwell on top to change his diaper.
There was NO WAY I was taking him into a dirty rest stop to change his diaper.
And this contraption worked just fine.
We're almost at our pit stop for the night, but Max is hungry and needs to be changed.
Halifax, NC is as good a place as any.
My father-in-law sneaks some beef jerky and my dad gets chicken sandwiches from Burger King.
Rob and I don't eat, making that just lunch for us today. It seems we are on the ultimate weight loss plan without even trying. The pounds are just going to fall off of us!
See ya, North Carolina! Hello, Virginia!
We FINALLY arrive at our halfway point for the night: Petersburg, Virginia.
"Oooh! A baby!" the hotel lady squeals. "I have to come around and see the baby!"
She comes out from behind her desk and bends over the car seat. Max, unaware he's on display, remains sleeping.
"He's so cute! How old?" she asks.
(cue her look of shock and horror)
"Three days???!!!" she looks at me like I'm a criminal, her brain working hard to figure out if we're on the run with a stolen baby.
In the elevator I say to Rob, "I'm pretty sure that lady is calling child services right now."
Laundry time…in the sink. Our little Max has been peeing through every outfit we put him in so far on this road trip. The problem is, he was circumcised this morning, and the nurse told us 'don't touch it!' (and honestly, we didn't want to. I couldn't even look at it, let alone touch it!)
So we haven't been able to point Max Jr south when diapering him. So he's just been peeing up and out of his diaper.
Not knowing what size he was going to be, I packed both newborn and 0-3 months sized clothing. And because I needed more than just a cute 'going home from the hospital' outfit, I threw a ton of stuff in the suitcase.
Max – having just slept through 3 states – is wide awake. And screaming with hunger.
Our neighbors must love us.
Not having the comforts of home – which includes the wonderful bedside sleeper that's assembled and waiting for our little boy – we settle Max into his car seat for the night. (hey, it worked for the last 10 hours, right??)
Aaaand….I'm wide awake. I guess that half hour of sleep I got in the night before was all I needed for the rest of the week.
I tuck a blanket tightly around Max's legs and tuck it into the car seat (blasphemy! but it's cold and I don't have any more clothes for him!) and watch him sleep.
My eyes pop open (even though I'm not sleeping) at every one of his moans, squeaks, and deep sighs to make sure he's not suffocating.
Sleep is over-rated anyway.
The Grandparents do a morning visit in our room and I create a outfit for Max for the day out of what's clean/dry/semi-fitting.
On the road again!
Look, Max! The Washington Monument!
Lunch break at the McDonald's across the street from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.
In desperation at the last diaper change stop, I double-diapered Max. And what do you know, my technique worked! His clothes are dry!
I revel in my first triumphant Mom Moment.
I savor my cheeseburger and fries (which are both cold by the time I get to eat them…welcome to motherhood!) knowing it may be my last meal of the day.
I have never been so happy to be on the New Jersey Turnpike in my life. As crappy as it is, it's familiar territory and I'm confident that if GPS shit the bed, we could get ourselves home from here.
Plus, we have those large rest stops right on the highway, so I no longer have to worry that we're getting off the interstate in the middle of a bad neighborhood to feed Max.
Guess what? Max's outfit is wet!
Eff it. He rides the rest of the way home in a t-shirt and diaper.
The city on the 95N sign finally says New Haven!
Max takes his first trip over the George Washington Bridge. (He's not impressed)
Text to my mother-in-law: "Follow us to our house and then my mom can hop in the car with you guys to go home."
Her text back: "We already decided that's the plan. The drinks are on you guys!"
Welcome home, Max!
Max coming inside for the first time!
Cheers to Maxwell James!
(and a successful drive home!)
Max's first meal in his room. It's good to be home.
Our trip in numbers:
895: number of miles traveled
27: number of pokes I gave Max to check his breathing
7: number of outfits Max peed through
3: number of meals Rob and I ate in 48 hours
2: number of minutes Max cried in the car
0: number of naps yours truly took in the car
Let the fun begin!