The time spent with the inlaws wasn't the greatest, but it wasn't bad either. I've had worse trips. Our road trip there is a different story. It wasn't funny at the time, but I can look back at it now and laugh.
We got the van packed up and left about 3:30 p.m. We stopped and ate about two hours into the trip, and I thought the rest of the trip was going to be smooth sailing. I thought wrong. We had decided to take the Natchez Trace Parkway because we did it last year and all turned out fine. Well, last year, we did it in the daylight and without an infant.
Before we could get on it, though, Ella began to cry. I knew she wasn't hungry because I fed her at the restaurant. We were on a curvy, backroad with no place to pull over. Ella's nose was a little stuffy anyway, but the crying has made it worse. We finally come to a church and pull over in it's parking lot.
By the time we get pulled over, Ella is coughing. I got into the backseat with her, and Brian opened the van door on her side to see about her, too. The cough turned into choking. I'm not talking about the cough choke that babies do. This was full-on turning red and blue, not able to make a sound choking. Brian and I were both fumbling to undo her car seat, and I finally screamed at him to stop. As I'm unbuckling her, I'm picturing losing my baby there on the side of the road. This part will never be funny, and I can honestly say I have never been this scared before. I finally get her out, lean her over my leg and pat her on the back. A huge wad of mucus came flying out, and she started breathing and crying again. I almost cried myself. I shook for an hour.
Ella finally calmed down, and we got on the road again. Not 15 minutes later, she started in again. Tessa begged me to let her sit in the front and for me to move to the back. Truth be told, I wanted to be back there with her, but I didn't want Tessa to sit up front, not with the air bags. I agreed to let her move up there, if Brian could figure out how to turn them off. We pull over again, and Brian spends the next 15 minutes trying to figure out how to turn them off. He eventually does it,and we head off again.
We get on the Natchez Trace Parkway, and I pat Ella to sleep. It is starting to get dark. As we are driving along, a huge deer jumps out in front of us. We almost hit it, and I about have a panic attack. I know Brian has turned off the air bags, but it worries me that it might deploy anyway with Tessa up front. I really want to get back up front, but I don't want Ella to choke again.
Rosie is in her crate, and she starts to whine because she needs to go to the bathroom. Brian decides to pull over to let her do her business. The Natchez Trace Parkway has various places to pull over, and we take the first one we come to. It winds down and down and down forever until we get to a place for her to go. Tessa also decides she needs to go. So, we try and kill two birds with one stone. I get back up front.
By the time we get back on the Parkway, it is pitch black. While it has places to pull off to go the bathroom, you can't see them until you are already past them because there are no streetlights and then there are no places to turn around. I don't like this at all, and Rosie starts to whine again. She has to go alot, and that night was no different. So, we have to pull over again.
It takes Brian nearly 30 minutes to find another place to pull over. He gets Rosie out and takes her to grassy area to go. The sliding door on the driver's side is wide open, and a huge horse fly comes in. It flies straight into Tessa's hair, and she starts to scream, a loud blood-curdling, someone is murdering me scream. The fly gets untangled out of Tessa's hair, flies over and hits Ella in the face, and she promptly starts to scream again. That dumb fly buzzes to the front and gets in my hair. By this time, Rosie is barking, and Brian is running to the van, thinking we are being murdered while the dog goes pee.
He gets the fly out, and Ella is hysterical. I get her out of the carseat, hold her up to my shoulder, and her paci falls out. There are no lights in this parking area, except for our headlights. I can't see the paci anywhere. Brian bends down and feels around and still can't find it. I finally get him to back up, and I find the paci. It had bounced halfway across the parking lot.
Ella finally gets to sleep. Rosie is in her crate. I'm in the front seat, and we're back on the pitch black road. Not even five minutes later, I hear, "Momma, I gotta poop."
In my head, I'm saying, "Damn, damn, damn," but I reply sweetly, "You are going to have to hold it until we can find a bathroom." Brian drives and drives, but there are no rest stops with restrooms. In the back seat, Tessa is making the "I gotta poop, but there is no bathroom" noises kids make in situations such as this. We go past an empty parking area, and Tessa says, "Momma, I'm about to poop my pants. I can't hold it any longer."
Brian does a U-turn in the middle of the road. At this point, we don't care if there is no bathroom. Tessa is just going to have to do her business in the grassy area. We pull over and get out. I hear the tiny little meows of baby kittens and so does Tessa. As soon as she sees the two tiny little things, she forgets all about her urgent need to go poop.
"Momma," she said, "they are too little to take care of themselves. We have to do something."
I am not a huge fan of cats anyway, but these kittens are tiny. They look small enough they would have to be bottlefed. I finally talk Tessa into leaving them. Brian and I each pick one up and put it back in the grass. They are wild and scratch our hands. I tell Tessa she needs to go, and she said, "I don't need to anymore." I was seriously about ready to scream.
The kittens had crept back over to us, and Tessa was back to begging us to take them with us. They had come out from under a sign in the grass, so I kind of urged them back over to it. I heard noises come from behind the sign. I'm not sure what it was, but I told Tessa I heard their momma. I don't like lying to her, but I think at this point it was justified.
We finally got off the Parkway, and Tessa had to go again. This time finding a place for her to go was easy. After we started again, she fell asleep and stayed asleep for the last hour and a half of the trip. Ella also stayed asleep until we got there. Even though I hate going to my inlaws, I was never so glad for a road trip to be over with, and we didn't take the Parkway back home.
On a different note, we went fishing on the boat on Sunday. My father-in-law had two poles set up on the back of the pontoon. Tessa said, "Look momma, it's a dragonfly," and sure enough, there was a dragonfly resting on the end of the pole. I knew Jenna was there with us, even if we were with people who choose not to acknowledge or remember her.