Adventures in Attachment Parenting: The Dreaded Car Ride By Allison Silver
All babies are supposed to love the car. In fact, there are many people out there who are eager and willing to share with you their unsolicited advice on how they spent many a night driving their baby around the block to help them go to sleep. Well not my baby! My baby hates being in the car. She has hated it since the day we brought her home from the hospital. People have told us that it takes time and she will eventually love it. I’m not so sure about that. It’s been ten months and she still hates being in the car. We have tried everything to make the dreaded car ride a more enjoyable experience. Sitting in the backseat, playing lullabies on the car stereo, adding car seat toys, but nothing works for more than a minute or two.
I am not too fond of causing my child unnecessary stress, so until that miraculous day when she loves being in the car, we try to limit the amount of time we spend in the car. We have been doing pretty well at managing this, but for some reason my husband and I thought it would be a good idea to drive two hours to go to a dentist appointment. We recently moved so we justified the excursion by saying that it included a visit with friends and family. Why did we think this was a good idea? For two bright people, we sure can make some dumb decisions!
We thought we had it timed out perfectly. We would leave after breakfast before our daughter’s morning nap so Charley could sleep in the car. Once we got into town, Oma would meet us at Great Grandpa’s house and feed Charley lunch while my husband and I went to the dentist. Sounds great, right?
It was a flawless plan until shortly after we started on our journey and hit a sea of parked cars. We never even thought about this. It was a Saturday! There is never traffic on a Saturday morning! But of course, there had to be a multi car pile-up on the one Saturday we are trying to get to an appointment two hours away. Not only does our baby hate being in the car, but she really despises stop and go traffic. For forty minutes we were in stop and go traffic. We tried everything, but Charley was not having it. The only thing that helped calm her down was reading Goodnight Moon. After the tenth time of Goodnight Moon she was done!
After passing the scene of the accident, we contemplated scratching this whole trip and going home. However, because of rubber-neckers and emergency vehicles, the traffic going the other way was also a sea of parked cars. So we decided to continue on and try to make it to our dentist appointment. I felt powerless and absolutely terrible. I kept thinking to myself that I must be the worst parent in the world allowing my child to scream like this.
After what seemed like an eternity of crying, but was most likely five minutes, Charley fell asleep. You would think that would make me feel better. But all I kept thinking about was how my child had cried herself to sleep. This was not exactly a text book example of attachment parenting. I would never let her cry herself to sleep at home! But in the car you are so helpless. Your little baby is strapped in for her safety, but yet all you want to do is just yank her out and hold her and comfort her.
Charley slept for the next hour and woke up as we pulled into the parking lot at the Dentist’s office. As soon as we parked the car I pulled her out of her seat and held her. She looked at me with her big eyes and smiled. At that moment I knew she was okay and I had hopefully not scarred her for life. My husband and I both swore that this would be the last trip in the car EVER! When in reality we would have to do this again in two days to return home. Perhaps we could just fly home!