You’ve strapped your child in, packed the car and have barely got going before you’re grappling with snacks, toys and Disney CDs. Time for at least one of these to happen...
‘Are we nearly there yet?’
Whether it’s a half hour or three-hour journey, you'll hear from the backseat within 10 minutes of leaving. And because your little darling has no concept of time, the same question is then repeated for the rest of the trip. A lot.
You perform the dropped toy twist
The energy required to perform this Olympic-standard move – a combination of seat-belt yanking, hip raising, pelvic floor squeezing, balancing and twisting while you pick up the toy from the footwell – leaves you completely out of breath. And of course five minutes later, the toy is back in the same spot.
‘I need the toilet’
Obviously an issue if you’ve recently moved from nappies to grown-up pants. There then follows a desperate period of negotiation between you and your pre-schooler as you try to prevent an accident – ‘If you can just hold on for five more minutes so Mummy can get off the motorway, I’ll give you some sweets…’ And if that doesn’t work?
…You stop for a hard shoulder wee
When negotiation breaks down, there really is no other option (apart from the obvious) but to pull over onto the hard shoulder. Have some wet wipes (or even a portable potty) ready for moments like this, and just hope and pray that a bus load of shouty rugby players or school children don’t drive by while you’re dangling your child over the verge, desperately trying to avoid the splash back on your favourite jeans.
The car is weighed down with snacks
Anyone would think you weren’t going near a shop for a week with the sheer volume of food you’ve packed for this journey. Mini cheeses, packs of raisins, crisps and water bottles all get handed back, and most of them get crumbled, squashed and poured into the car’s upholstery.
You play Frozen on repeat
Or whatever kid-related music your toddler is obsessed with at that moment. It only takes an hour of the journey to realise you’re singing along with Elsa and Anna, which is fine until you get stuck in a traffic jam and the car next to you is gawping at you singing your lungs out to ‘Do you wanna build a snowman?’
The motorway services are rampaged (and not just by your child)
Stopping for a break at your nearest services, you not only have to drag your child past the ubiquitous Thomas the Tank Engine ride or soft toy grabber game for a frantic loo stop and nappy change, you then buy MORE snacks and toys to keep everyone amused.
You succumb to iPhone nagging
After passing back soft toys, books or rattles in the vain hope that this car journey could actually go towards his emotional or intellectual development, you eventually give in and get out your phone or iPad. All great until your toddler then decides to magically reconfigure it, or to post it down the gap between the seat and car door. Not even the 'dropped toy twist' is going to get that back.
Your toddler turns into a mini vom-cano
Why do car manufacturers put a hole in the front seat head rests? So that when your darling child decides to up-chuck the contents of your (previously fully-stocked) snack bag, it can seep down the back of your neck and give you a lovely warm sensation. Not.
Your baby does the sleep head loll
When (or if) your little one finally drops off to sleep *performs victory dance* you then can’t help noticing that his head is slouching forward and rolling around every time you go round a corner, which doesn’t look healthy. You then have to reach round and gently push it back against the car seat. And then it falls forward. And then you push it back. And then it falls forward. Pattern emerging? You bet.
What else always happens when you’re on car journeys with your little one? Let us know in the comment box below.