Road trips always seem so romantic. I imagine my feet up on the dash (umm...when I'm not the one driving), picnics of stinky cheese and fresh baguette by a beautiful waterfront, sharing witty anecdotes and intimate stories with my partner. The reality of road trips with small humans is more like balancing the game of, "was that a fart or a poop?" with the emotional mind games of, "who changed the last diaper and how bad was it and these are the 87 reasons why it's not my turn." Throw in the challenge of finding clever new ways to divert the toddler's attention to something outside the car so I can eat my oversized chocolate bar in peace without having to share it with her and there you have it. Romance, family style.
But I've never been one to learn from my mistakes so of course an 8-hour road trip recently seemed like an amazing idea. "We'll play entertaining and educational car games! We'll eat stinky cheese and fresh baguette at a roadside picnic while the babies make daisy crowns. We'll share funny anecdotes and intimate stories with each other, babe."
Oh, did I say it was an 8-hour drive? Weird. It took us 25 hours to get there. Turns out there's some math here that I still don't comprehend but apparently adding children to any timeline means you have to carry the one and add a shit ton of hours. Often days.
The morning we were due to return home from vacation started out pretty great. My partner and I were an efficient team, and he focused on feeding the baby while I loaded up the car. Meanwhile my toddler loaded up on milk and blueberries.
We were on the road for about 13 seconds when she asked for jellyfish, which is her word for Goldfish crackers and which I think is too cute to correct (this follows a trend of a huge vocabulary like this which will likely result in her being super adorable but left behind at school). And while yes, yes, in my imaginary world that I call "great-mom-land" I bake my own non-GMO, organic, vegan, no sugar, no sodium, full of antioxidant, free-range jellyfish for her to snack on, in my actual reality world called "I'm so damn tired I hope there's two kids buckled in back there" I feed her Goldfish crackers when we're on road trips (or at the doctors, in line at the grocery store, at the park, in bed, etc).
So I toss some fish-shaped toddler bribes into the backseat, kick off my shoes and put my feet on the dash. A few minutes later I hear some weird noises from behind me. I turn around just in time to see a tidal wave of orange, white and blue wash over the backseat. Twice.
A few things crossed my mind. How many blueberries did she eat exactly? Why did I give her those damn crackers? Why is she barfing four minutes into our trip? Will I get charged with littering when I leave her carseat on the interstate? Could I just do a tuck and roll out the car window and find a new life somewhere in rural Pennsylvania rather than deal with this shit?
Cutting through my musings was someone (me) yelling "PULL OVER!" and my bemused toddler asking hopefully, "can I eat it?"
I'll spare the more specific details of the death-defying roadside car cleanup/transport truck dodging, and will instead focus on the stench. It was about 28C out, which cooked our car to a steamy 100F (I'd do some conversions here but...math). For the next way too many hours the car was ripe with a thick, rich, sour, creamy, tangy, cheese dust blueberry smell. I think I could see the scent molecules bouncing off the upholstery in the mid-afternoon sunlight. I'm not sure I will ever eat blueberry pie again.
Mama's Recommended Wine Pairing:
Occasion: my child is a disgusting beast that just turned inside out in a sweltering car and we need to sell it now (the car, not the kid...I think...)
Wine Pairing: At a time when the air becomes unexpectedly and suddenly thick, warm and possibly chunky with a heavy cream, you would want to consider a bright, crisp Sauvignon Blanc like Pérez Cruz Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2015. The tangy acidity will cut right through the creamy spewy berry scent and the cool suggested serving temperature of a Sauv Blanc is just the right antidote to a too-warm situation.