Last weekend we drove from our home in the San Francisco area to visit some friends in the Los Angeles area with almost-seven-month old Dakota in tow. For the trip down we stopped twice for gas, once for lunch, and once for me to nurse Dakota and switch from the passenger seat to the back seat because she was Not Happy. Once I was in the back seat it was actually pretty easy to keep her entertained and happy until she finally fell asleep. Well, probably most of the credit goes to a Starbucks cup with ice in the bottom. This is her favorite chew toy/rattle, but not one I’m willing to let her play with unsupervised.
While she was awake we pretty much had to stick to her preferred music CDs (Putumayo and Kindermusik) but once she was asleep Dave and I were able to listen to podcasts and have normal conversations, only slightly weird with me in the back seat.
On the ride back I spent the whole trip in the back seat and we had much less fussing. We also took a longer lunch break, with Dakota trying out the booster seat at the diner:
It didn’t have a seat belt though, so once we got our food we switched her to a high chair, though she got to keep the spoon:
She had a nice long nap after that, though she would occasionally open her eyes, give me a good once-over, and go right back to sleep, so it was probably a good thing that I stuck to the back seat.
Both the ride there and the ride back took about 6 hours, which worked out conveniently for us because we were able to leave right after morning traffic died down and arrive before afternoon traffic got too heavy.
In what I’m sure is going to become a common occurrence during future trips, we got to visit a few playgrounds during our stay. Dakota would still rather eat dirt and leaves (and try to lick the concrete!) rather than explore a play structure, but she did get to test drive some swings for the first time:
She hasn’t exactly fallen in love with swings yet, but I’m sure it will happen. 🙂