Being a Dear Dad driver on a road trip I get lots of opportunities to practice pit stops……..

road trip

In fact I get so much practice the Ferrari F1 team should come see me for pointers on where their pit stops are going wrong….. The average 3 yr olds bladder is about the size of a grape and of course most 3 yr olds drink enough water during the day to flood Sydney Harbour, well mine does. So because of this a normal Sunday afternoon road trip allows us to stop at every little town on our way to our destination. I was told once that the towns in NSW were spaced apart as this was as far horses could go before needing a water, in fact I reckon it was actually the exact distance toddlers could go in the 1800’s before needing to pee. I am convinced of this because every road trip we do, they match perfectly!!

So every town we get too, the wife and I have a pit stop down to a fine art, I keep the engine running and our other daughter occupied as my wife does the mercy dash to the toilets praying they are not locked or worse unusable due to recent vandalism. We can have both children out, dewatered, cleaned and back in the car in 4 mins. To all our friends without kids this may seem like a long time to just pee, but a pit stop is always so much more than that. Getting out of the car is always a epic experience for
both girls and is always filled with “what’s that” and “why” and tantrums cause the toilet seat is a slightly different shape/model/colour to the one we have at home.

We know all the places that don’t mind parents bringing in children who need to pee, you know the look…..the one that looks like the Murray River is about to burst its banks after recent rains. We also still to this day get conflicted about what we should buy as payment for using petrol stations said toilet, is a $2 Mars bar good enough? Or should we splash and get a pie and coke for $8?? Happens every time, maccas is a standard 2 cheeseburgers and hungry jacks is a whopper….. Some times we sneak in and out but then we always drive away feeling guilty and stop and buy double on the way home during our return stop.

Another part of road trips is snacks….. Dry non perishable tasty snacks…. Biscuits usually or rice cakes. These are little get out of jail free cards that we cash in about every 10 mins until our children are so full they stop yelling and go to sleep. They are great for bribes, distractions and sound suppressors. Children don’t yell so loud with a mouth full of Milk arrowroots. Water is also a precious commodity during road trips. Not to be wasted, however this is linked directly to earlier mentioned pit stops so should be rationed accordingly. Chocolate is a tricky one, it can bring instant silence but much like alcohol brings joy, it also brings a hangover when the sugar rush drops off, so be warned and use sparingly.

The last item is a DVD player. How on gods green earth did anyone transport children before this glorious invention came along. It is honestly better than sliced bread. It can bring silence for hours, or at the very least bad singing if you have frozen in your DVD player (doesn’t every parent?). We once forgot the remote for ours and turned around after 15 mins as we would not drive for 9hrs without direct control of the CDD or Child Distraction Device as we like to call it. They are a valuable investment, we use ours in hostage negotiations with our girls, they take our hearing and patience hostage so we use the CDD as a bargaining chip to bring silence or at least happy conversation back to the inside of our car hurtling along at 100km/h.

American Express once said you could not leave home without their cards……, tried them….. they amuse our girls for exactly 8 seconds and are then discarded. I will take a backpack full of biscuits, water and a DVD player any day of the week!!


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