Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Travelling? There's an App for that

This past weekend my wife and I ventured on one of the scariest adventures of all time. The family vacation! It was less than 300 miles to Pittsburgh from Philadelphia and while our kids did pretty well there is something both daunting and fun about travelling across the country with your little ones. It's not like they took in the scenery the whole way or anything. My wife and I would point out areas of interest like they were on a tour bus. Thank goodness for the iPad which has been a blessing. I was up late the previous night of our departure feverishly downloading movies that might hold their attention for the six hour car ride. I had put so many on there by the end of the night that my credit card was calling me to confirm if my card had been stolen or if I had lost my damn mind. The hard thing for them is sharing who gets to hold it and play with it. Luckily, we also have an iPod touch which the 4 year old can navigate by herself. The ability to transfer a video or app that can keep their attention while we rack up the miles is amazing. While on the trip I thought back to when my younger brother and I used to sit in the back of the station wagon facing the wrong way with no seat belts and somehow we kept each other entertained. Although it is true that we sometimes had a Coleco Electronic Quarterback I remember at least one time when I younger brother tried to count all my freckles while driving to New Jersey where my Grandma lived. We kept ourselves busy with Mad Libs and those books you buy in gas stations with the yellow pens. Oh, and I remember reading lots of Mad magazines too. My son was able to read to himself but with my daughter who is 4, I made a rookie mistake in not packing her a coloring book. She can honestly color for hours without being disturbed especially if it is princess or kitty related. When travelling with the kids you almost have to stop every two hours. If not for your sanity but their smaller bladders. Once they stop doing an activity they would realize that they had to go BAD. OK, I will admit it. I am also a giant man with a tiny bladder so thank goodness I can blame it on them. I have to say though that rest area bathrooms are nasty. Trying to find a toilet that didn't have the result of too much BBQ and beer over Memorial Day was difficult and at one rest stop I had to physically run away from the building because the state of the potty was abhorrent. I didn't want my daughter sitting anywhere near that but what else could I do? Unfortunately,even the family bathroom was fouled up by someone which can be a haven when you stop right in the middle of the rush for lunch crowd and the women's line is out the door! The rest area is a culmination of every kind of person on Earth all converging at the same time. It's not pretty. So, if you didn't spring for the in car DVD player let me suggest purchasing an iPad. If you buy one that you are going to let your kids manhandle make sure you buy an Otterbox. These things have saved our iPad's life more than once and has been an absolute necessity as far as cases go. Thanks to Kate for telling us about it. Without that iPad I would have to brush up on my balloon animals just to keep the kids interested and I HATE clowns. So thank you.

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