We did a crazy thing. We drove all the way from Melbourne to Queensland non-stop. With 4 kids and a trailer! The driving was shared between hubby, his sister and her hubby. Took 23 hours. Insane.
Overall, the kids did well - especially the big girls. But my little ones... they got very uncomfortable and irritable as time went on. Mostly through the night when they were trying to sleep. They kept trying to roll over, only to find themselves still strapped into their chairs. I felt so sorry for them.
So how did Little Man go? He did so well! He enjoys car trips, I think because of the sensory motion of the driving, so he was quite content to stay in the car. But he did seem confused. We would stop for food or toilet breaks, and after the first couple of times, he simply refused to get out of the car. It was too confusing to get out and then in again after such a short time, with what seems like no purpose to him.
When we stopped in the morning for breakfast, he refused to eat. It bothered me, because I knew he was hungry. In the end I gave him a banana and one of those breakfast twists, he ate while walking around the car. I was satisfied with that.
When we finally pulled in to our destination, all the kids alighted the car with such excitement, but my Little Man was still confused. This wasn't home! Despite his slight apprehension, he also seemed excited about the new place, and I was able to get him inside easily.
I brought him into the main living area and kitchen, and that is where he stayed. He would not sit at the table to eat his dinner - Macca's nuggets and fries. But he did eat most of it standing up. The nuggets I had to pass to him one by one later on, because he had gone back to his spot in the kitchen to stare at stuff and blow raspberries. Just processing I guess.
After dinner, a refreshing shower (/gasp!) and bed. The shower was amazing because he only gets into the bath at home here, though I use a shower hose to wash him - he refuses to sit down in the bath now. I don't mind though, because it is the next step to having a shower properly. This one was great, because it had an extended shower hose too! He wasn't sure about getting into the cubicle at first, so I ended up in there with him, all my clothes on - Hah! We went about the showering in the usual pattern, and he was perfectly fine with that. When I showed him to his bed at bedtime, I could not believe how excitedly he took to it. Little Man was lucky - he had a double bed all to himself! He was so pleased with his big bed, it took no effort at all to get him to sleep. I am pretty sure the exhausting drive had much to do with that too though. Tucked him in and prayed, and off to sleep he went. He slept peacefully all that night. I was rapt.
The next morning again saw him not interested in his breakfast. I was beginning to really worry by now, so the third morning we were there, I decided to try something completely different.
.... I served him Corn Flakes instead of Weet Bix.
My logic was this: That we are in a place completely different from home and the usual, so maybe - just maybe - he feels that the usual breakfast is just 'wrong' here? Maybe what is needed is a completely different breakfast too. New place, new patterns - right?
It worked! He came over and happily sat down to eat Corn Flakes! Boy was I pleased. Corn Flakes became his breakfast for the rest of the trip, and I am happy to say, he is still happy to eat them here at home. And the best thing of all; he hasn't given up the Weet Bix - he still eats that too. Yay!
Holidays and trips away are always an interesting time for us with Little Man. I never am quite sure how he is going to react to the changes and new things. Most of the time, I have to say, I have come out quite pleased with results. Because while I can see that he is anxious at times, he still manages change very, very well, and often comes home with some new positive behaviour of some sort - like Corn Flakes.
So out of this trip, we have come back with a new food added to his repertoire, and another interesting piece of knowledge about our boy: For the first few hours of a new environment, he does not eat. Not properly anyway. I believe it is his reaction to the anxiety he may be feeling while he is processing the changes. This is ok with me. Armed with this new information, now we can time our arrivals accordingly, or else arrange to have dinner 'on the road' so that I am satisfied he has eaten.
I am becoming more and more confident about travelling with my son. These trips are so good for him and for us. I love that he is exposed to new and different circumstances, and that it all adds up to experience for him to draw from in life. I love that this is one thing that we as a family don't have to give up (- yes, I thought we would have to at one point!), though the experience of it may change a little. Each trip we take, we learn a little more, and I am glad that Little Man enjoys the holiday as much as we do.