It never fails, every time we take a trip, I learn something about a) being flexible, b) having a sense of humor, and c) being flexible. Mind you, our trips anymore are never more than 2 hours in any given direction. Kokomo is pretty cool like that, I admit. There's almost literally nothing in Indiana that we go to more than once that isn't within 2 hours of us. We're pretty darn centrally located for our personal needs. All of our immediate and a-little-less-immediate family now lives within 2 hours of us with one exception, and these peeps are under 3 hours away. This is lovely, especially since Abby isn't exactly car-seat and long trips friendly. In her mind, if you can't reach some place within 20 minutes, you're going too far. Me, I totally dig that I can comfortably drive to see anyone that I want to see and back in one day.
Now, our 2-hour excursions tend to take a weee bit longer since there is inevitably a fussy-must-change-diaper-or-feed-baby pit stop in the middle. Abby is eating something 8 times a day, so to plan even a 2-hour trip around her eating schedule is difficult, and we're getting pretty good at the tag-team feeding adventures in strange, slightly sticky from general lack of upkeep, places.
Every trip we've taken has also taught us a new "AHA!" and/or "I can't believe I'm doing this but we're working with what we have so lets just do this as quickly as possible and move on" moment. Inevitably. Every time. For example...the time I attempted to nurse Abby at a rest stop when I wasn't wearing a nursing bra. This trip taught me to not forget that my daughter needs to eat sometimes. (In fact, I've now nursed Abby in the parking lot of 2 rest areas, both time in a 2-door Honda Accord...tight squeeze.) And, there was the trip when Ben wound up riding in the back of the aforementioned Accord, tight squeeze still an issue, in order to pacify the majorly cranky because she wouldn't nap Abby from Ft. Wayne to Kokomo. This trip taught us to never take Abby on a trip in a 2-door car ever again. Ever. Our return trip today found Ben asking the helpful teenage minimum-wage workers at Panera to kindly heat our dish of organic mixed veggies & beef in their microwave 10 seconds at a time. This trip taught us that Panera is the bomb for feeding babies when heating devices are required as they have microwaves underneath the customer coffee bar for patrons to use. Before we knew about the microwave accessibility, we thought that our request would not be a problem, after all we were in Carmel and the baby food was organic. Carmel...organic...totally the norm.
Indeed, today's trip to my Grandma's house and back brought a plethora of learning opportunities in the form of fast food bathroom hijinxs.
First, if you need to heat a baby bottle quickly but safely and happen to have your bottle warmer along but need an electrical outlet, check the bathroom of your nearest fast food joint, say Wendy's. (Sidenote...this is the day that Wendy's both saved us and dissappointed us mightily.) Say you find a handy electrical outlet in the women's bathroom at Wendy's, then you can stand there at 9:45 in the morning when the joint is still relatively empty, holding the warmer as it begins to heat your bottle because the counter is too far away for the cord to stretch. You can also attempt to look as normal as possible so that when someone walks in, you can just smile, nod and say "hey," as if holding a bottle warmer in the bathroom of a Wendy's is utterly normal. But keep in mind that your bottle warmer might produce lots and lots of steam in the heating process whereupon the warmer might become uncomfortably warm to the point of major pain if you were to continue clutching this device all for the sake of your child's satisfied tummy. Before this happens, you may want to take advantage of the small lidded trashcan inside the nearest stall that you can reposition to hold the bottle warmer all the while ignoring the ewwwww factor and then smugly and nonchalantly lean against the wall of the open stall supervising the steaming process of your now safely grounded bottle warmer, again waiting for the revolted and scandalized look from the first patron who enters your makeshift kitchen. Important note--upon entering and leaving the bathroom with a bottle and bottle warmer, ignore the incredulous looks on the Wendy's employees faces. No need to explain. They obviously don't have an infant. Mental note to self...never again look at a mother of an infant who is doing something that you would consider bizarre strangely ever again. You feel like you're now a member of a not-so-secret sorority of MacGuiver moms. If only you have figured out how to use your last 2 inches of masking tape and that paper clip...
Second, if you decide to swing by a Wendy's because your husband feels like a crispy chicken sandwich and your daughter smells like a diaper change is imminently necessary, make sure that you swing by the correct one. Surprisingly, some Wendy's are purportedly family friendly insofar as they apparently allow parents with young children to enter their establishment, but don't be so misguided. It seems that some Wendy's believe that there is no need to include a changing station in either the men's or the women's bathrooms as if baby's have no need to be changed while grabbing a bite to eat. Really??? Really?!?! Yet manners are not wholly lost. The employees will still shout farewells at you as you laugh your way out of the joint, thanking you for choosing Wendy's. Please come again. Wendy's, you let us down.
As this was promptly followed up with Panera's well-placed microwaving accessibility and inclusion of a changing station in their women's restroom, it quickly became apparent that Wendy's has been forevermore crossed off my list of family friendly eating establishments that are good places to stop for a diappy change and a crispy chicken sandwich. Panera, we loved you before and now we love you more. Salmon croissant sandwich on the side? Yes, please.