How to travel with three boys

It’s that time of the year where people start planning various holidays and shopping. Where all is well and people smile in the streets. Where children write letters to Santa in the hopes of getting something under the tree. I loved Christmas as a child. It was beautiful with all the twinkling lights and Christmas music in the stores. We got to stay up late, sleep in… glorious. I’m not really sure when the Christmas spirit dissipated, but it now resembles more of a watered down wine. You’re still going to drink it, but it doesn’t taste as good as it used to. I’ve been baking cookies all day. (Granted, I would have been done already had 25% of then not magically disappeared into my belly). I’m baking for the employees at my husband’s work. Yeah, I’m that wife. 

But between the dough rolling and sugar coating I did get to thinking that we will be packing up three gremlins that don’t get along on a good day and driving to Cape Town in a week. 

It’s like a really warped coin… on the one side I’m excited about seeing my brother and his beautiful wife (she obviously reads my blog) but on the other side I’m fully aware of the facts:

1) I am married to a man that argues with the GPS, because “it’s a woman’s voice that’s giving the directions”(flashback to our honeymoon and getting lost in the plantations)

2) I am married to a man that has the uncanny ability to switch off the voices of war coming from the backseat… which means that it’ll be like any other day in my house except we’re going to be in a cramped space

3) I am married to a man that believes stopping to pee is a luxury reserved for the once a day he actually needs to go

4) I am married to a man that, like most men, think breastfeeding is as simple and mess free as bottle feeding

5) I am married to a man that slams on the brakes when I doze off just to see where my face will end up

6) I am married to a man that is under the impression that he was a race car driver end endurance tester in his previous lifetime

7) this is the big one…. I am married to a man that thinks I can handle three boys

So looking at the list of facts I question my sanity for taking him with us. 

I’ve been devising some ideas that I’m going to be testing in the 14 odd hours on the road this year.

Controlling the GPS – simplest weapon in my arsenal, getting a weird British bloke to call out the directions, we’ll still get lost but then at least he won’t be blaming the entire female fucking species.

Voicesdo you hear voices – in a completely “world-is-at-an-end” voice, yelling “do you hear the voices?! Are they in my head?!” Proceeded by a shamefull bashing of the head on the dashboard in the hopes that he would think I’ve finally gone completely fucking insane. (This may be a bit of a stretch, but seeing as I am one cup of coffee and a panado away from it anyway, I might as well play it to my advantage).

Getting my husband to stop every two hours (at least) – Vitamin Water… he loves that shit and it just runs through him like his bladder evolved into a sieve. Totally worth the money.

Breastfeeding in the car – suckle and squirt, this technique requires some nipple sacrifice. It’s letting baby latch and then pulling out and watching the milk stream in various directions. If I practice my aim, I might just catch him in the eye and he’d have to stop and let me breastfeed in peace. Once again the teeth gashes will be worth it.

My dozing off – well seeing as he will be doing all the driving and I will be pretending to co-pilot from my snooze… If it keeps him entertained, I might as well take one for the team. 

I’m not too worried about the speeding thing, he usually ends up regretting it when he starts getting fines in the mail. I do however commit to NOT writing a sad letter (again) to the traffic department to try and get out of the fines.

Then there’s the trip entertainment.. I do not have an ace up my sleeve as to how I’m going to control the boys. I do however have some ideas.

DIY “are we there yet” map:

You will need:

  • Laminated Map of the general area you’ll be traveling
  • Cheap dot stickers

How to:

  •  get a map for each boy and a whole bunch of sticker and have them stick one on the map for each town we drive through.

DIY license plate game:

You will need:

  • Laminated map of area you’ll be traveling
  • Rub off kind of marker

How to:

  • Have boys write down the licence plates as you go through the various provinces

DIY scavenger hunt:

You will need:

  • List of crazy but reachable things like a yellow Beatle, police car, man picking his nose, biker with a beard etc. With little tick boxes for each one
  • Pen

How to:

  • If I need to explain this then you’re an idiot and I’m amazed you know how to read

DIY driving bingo:

You will need:

  • Printed out sheet roughly five by five pictures of various road signs 
  • Stickers

How to:

  • Just like real bingo with less old people and more excitement

DIY magnetic puzzle:

You will need:

  • Cookie baking tray
  • Cheap magnets 
  • Ice cream sticks
  • Printed picture

How to:

  • Stack sticks in A4 shape
  • Stick picture on 
  • Cut between sticks so that each stick has a piece of the picture on it
  • Stick magnets to the back of the sticks 

How to:

  • Each monster gets a tray and a Ziploc bag with the puzzle
  • If you want to watch them get seriously pissed off,mix them, payback for all the sleepless nights

Most of these will probably end up in a fight anyway, so then there’s always using cardboard as dividers between the boys.

Try to avoid the crazy, take it one kilometer at a time and enjoy the special moments in between all the harder ones. Remember that if you are going away for the holiday that we are blessed to be able to share it with our kids. (Just had to put a little sunshine in there)

Surviving chickenpox

All kindergarten classes have these little chatgroups were class parents can bitch and moan about everything. And they do.. from upset tummies to trying to sell their home-made crap. Then there’s the inspirational pictures and shitty jokes…. okay it’s pretty obvious I’m never the parent that gets asked to help sell cookies or organise the school play. I may lack a little school spirit. 

But waking up this morning and reading a group message already planned out my day. Ajay has this little friend who he loves. Their like tequila and lemon, like wine and a gossip night, like a movie with pizza you snuck in. When one is in shit… you can bet your ass that the other one is right there with him. His mom sent the group message stating that he has the dreaded pox. I knew, I fucking knew that I’d be going back to school in an hour and picking up my poxed out, itchy four year old.

We’ve been here before. Xander got chickenpox just before he turned 5. And I did what every mother who has a 5 year old who wants a party when he has chickenpox does… took him on the Gautrain to ensure that there’s at least two other people sharing in his birthday pox. 

We survived it once.. But that was my gentle baby, and two other babies ago. 

Ajay, aka picker of scabs, his own and others, is the worst kid to get chickenpox.

So experience has thought me these next steps to survive an itchy kid.. And here’s hoping it works again.

1) NOTHING helps for the itch.

2) make your peace with pox marks. We all have them, we all ignore them.

3) heat is a bitch! Keep the little ones on ice and it’ll keep most of the pox on ice. (We literally let Xander sleep on the tiles when he had chickenpox)

4) chamomile lotion goes on pink and dries to a weird chalky white. If they do not look like they’ve lost a fight with a chalkboard eraser, you’re not doing it right.

5) bath them.. well this is probably personal preference. Some people believe that water makes the chickenpox come out even more.. They are also usually the people that go looking for that pot of gold at the bottom of a rainbow. It’s a fucking viral infection. Shit happens. It needs to run it’s course, the least you can do is wash of the pit smell. 

6) be sure you’re stocked up on both fever meds and wine, it’s going to be a long few nights.

7) explain to your kid that if they do scratch, their skin is going to get seriously infected, rot and eventually fester into loss of limb.

8) ensure they get enough to drink and screw it if they don’t eat

9) get sleep, even when you’re not dead tired … understand that you will be in a couple of hours.

10) avoid pregnant friends and family. I can’t stress this enough, don’t be a dick. It’s roughly two weeks. Call, sms, Skype, Facebook……… welcome to a world of convenience. 

The only good thing about chickenpox is that you get to use it as an excuse to stay home, cancel meetings and avoid people. 

So good luck with those little pesky spots, scratches and white faces. I hope to see you on the other side.