I just got the call; our household goods are in town and will be arriving within the hour, so instead of working on the massive task of sewing all the granny squares together for Carson’s blanket, I thought I’d blog about our drive up here. Just don’t tell Ryan. He wants me to finish the blanket tonight. Yeah, right.
As most of you who have traveled with an infant probably realize, you set your schedule by theirs, not the other way around. Therefore, my goal was to leave sometime between ten and eleven o’clock Wednesday morning. Don’t ask me how we did it, especially going on three hours of sleep, but somehow, Carson and I were loaded in the car, ready to go by 0947. I tried to time his feeding so that I could at least make one stop for his lunch, mine, and a refuel for the car. That sort of happened. What truly happened was that Carson suddenly woke up and started screaming his head off a full five miles before the nearest exit, and continued screaming until I pulled off the interstate, drove around two shopping centers, and finally settled in a shady Hampton Inn parking lot. It was there that I proceeded to change Carson’s diaper in the backseat of my car, then publicly (sort of) breastfeed my son. The good news was that I was surrounded by cars and trees, so I wasn’t really visible to the public. Once he finished, I drove over to the drive-thru Dunkin Donuts and bought a much-needed iced coffee and a flatbread sandwich. Carson got to relax and enjoy his lunch; Mommy wolfed hers down while maneuvering onto the interstate (carefully, of course). That was all before we reached Atlanta.
By the time we hit the never-ending traffic that fills and surrounds the metropolis of Atlanta, I had my second wind (the world really does run on Dunkin’) and was excited about making good time. Then, right on the 2.5 hour mark (Carson sticks to a schedule the way a good Army brat should), I heard the hunger wails from the backseat again. Once more, he chose the only desolate stretch of interstate for ten miles, and my comforting, “It’s okay, baby, Mommy’s looking for a place. It’s okay, Mommy’s going to feed you soon,” was not actually comforting to Carson. Big surprise. Finally, I found the exit I was looking for (one with lots of hotels). I chose a completely empty Red Roof Inn lot this time. So, with the doors locked, and a loaded Glock at my side (hey, Mommy doesn’t mess around), I once again whipped out the mammary glands and nursed Carson. Forty-five minutes and two diaper changes later, we left the Red Roof Inn for a gas station next door so I could potty (hey, Mommy has needs, too, and I don’t wear a diaper). It was at this point that I truly realized how inconvenient it is to travel with a small child by one’s self. The dogs can sit in the car while I run in to go pee. Carson cannot. Well, technically, I suppose he could, but what kind of derelict mother would leave her child in a car at a gas station? So, I manhandled the carrier loaded with Carson, and my purse, and finangled my way into the restroom. As I placed his carrier in the floor at my feet in the bathroom stall, I told him, “Son, this is not a place I thought I’d ever set you in the floor.”
Once we loaded back into the car, we set off on the open road again. Soon, we were in sight of the Appalachian mountains. I wanted to pull over and take a picture. The view was so beautiful. We barely made it north of Chattanooga, though, before the hunger cries started again. So, I took the first exit I could find, and ended up in another Red Roof Inn parking lot. I parked in a gravel lot by the dumpster just off the parking lot thinking I would be better off, but I guess I was in plain view of the desk clerk, because as I was halfway finished changing a diaper full of poop, a police cruiser pulled up beside me. Once he figured out what was going on, he didn’t even roll down his window–just gave me a smile and a wave and went on his way. As soon as Carson was finished, Mommy had to take another bathroom break, so it was on to another gas station: get the baby out of the car, carry him in, carry him out, and put him back in the car. I get tired just thinking about it.
Now we were just over three hours away. My fingers were crossed we would make it, but I had a feeling I’d be looking for a hotel parking lot again before we saw Fort Campbell. As luck would have it, we made it to the middle of Nashville before traffic ground to a halt. As we sat there, only an hour away from our destination, Carson realized his belly was empty. This time, not only were we stuck in traffic, but I wasn’t pulling over anywhere in downtown Nashville to nurse. Poor Carson screamed all the way through Nashville, rested for a minute or two, and picked up again as I took the exit for Madison, TN. I was aiming for another hotel, but this time we ended up in an empty Mexican restaurant lot. Hey, you take what’s available when you’re desperate!
Finally we were less than sixty miles from the post. I could finally breathe a sigh of relief, and Carson was sound asleep for what I hoped would be the rest of the trip.
The rest of the drive was uneventful. Getting a baby and all our luggage upstairs to our room at lodging, however, was not fun and games. I carried Carson and my bag, the diaper bag, and my purse on the first trip, and debated on whether to leave him in his carrier in the room or put him on the bed while I brought in his suitcase. I finally settled on leaving him in the carrier (I know, it’s a rollover hazard, but he’s 3 weeks old and under eight pounds. He’s not tipping anything over yet) while I ran out to the car as fast as I could.
Turns out, the drive here was a lot easier than the next day would be…