Yesterday my husband took the day off from work and we took a family road trip to Chicago. We planned on hitting the Shedd Aquarium.
Now we used to do this all the time pre-Bunny. Milwaukee is only 90 miles from Chicago. You can drive down, hang out and come home all in one day. But when a toddler is involved things become a bit more complicated.
Before it was "Do I have my wallet, keys, coffee. Great let's go." Now there is a list of things that must be brought: diaper pouch (fits in my purse or under stroller), extra diapers (just in case), snacks (craisins and fruit bars), water sippy, juice box, wipes, sweater or jacket, Gigantasaurus, Velociraptor and Euoplocephalus carried in red purse, portable dvd player with A Bugs Life. Its not so easy to take a road trip on a whim, all of this requires advanced planning.
The key to the trip was the dvd player. We had told her that we were going to the aquarium and all of the stuff she was going to see. She was very excited. But in order to stave off "where's the aquarium" over and over again, we had to keep her occupied. A movie is a great way to do that. I don't know how parents traveled with children before this. (Oh wait, I remember a 4 week road trip out west in a van in which my brother and I tried to kill eachother on a daily basis. I don't know why parents traveled with children before portable dvd players.) So thank you inventor of the portable dvd player, you saved my family's sanity and kept my child occupied for two whole hours. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
After spending two hours in the car, Bunny was rearing to go. "Fishies, fishies. I wanna see the fishies." So we decided to hit the dolphin show first. Bad idea. Although it is my favorite thing at the aquarium, trying to get a toddler to sit for 2o minutes after sitting for two hours, well let's just say its not gonna happen. She wiggled and whined the whole time. "I wanna see fishies." The only time she seemed to be enjoying herself was when the dolphins jumped, which wasn't enough for her.
So after the dolphins we hit the lizard exhibit. This was much cooler for Bunny. She loves lizards and was running from window to window oohing and aahing. I thought she was going to faint from pure joy when she saw a keeper feeding a lizard by hand. Do you know what he was eating? A flower. She thought that was hilarious. After we saw the Komodo Dragon (diet - anything it wants, well alright then remind me to stay away from that one in the wild) we headed up to see the fish.
At first she seemed to enjoy herself but then she started to fall apart. There was a turtle related meltdown (the reptile kind not the impending baby brother kind). We managed to discern that she was hungry and wisked her to the restaraunt. After fortifying her with fish shaped fish sticks, she seemed much better. "I'm not gonna cry anymore, Mommy." Good, I'm going to hold you to that.
We managed to see the rest of the aquarium, including an insanely cool coral reef exhibit. Then it was time to head back to the car for a two hour drive home. We planned it so the drive home would coincide with nap time. We thought it was brilliant planning on our part but our plans were foiled by a toddler. She started singing "I'm not gonna nap. I want to watch the bug movie. I'm not gonna nap." Not exactly music to my ears. But the dvd player kept her entertained for the ride home. Until we were 20 minutes from home, when she finally fell asleep. Great.
So all in all the road trip was a minor success but I don't forsee another one in the very near future.