Hit the road last week for our annual road trip to Oregon to visit my wife’s family. It’s a long-ass drive, but we love road trips (yes, even with a two-year-old in tow) and the time spent just hanging out with the niece, nephews and assorted brothers and sisters-in-law on the family farm is kind of, well, rejuvenating. I don’t know if it’s the country air or what, but, man alive, do we go home relaxed!
Anyway, I firmly believe that a huge part of the adventure is the actual act of driving there — seriously, we have found that even short-jaunt road trips are great for the soul — and since no one wants to have their soul-cleansing road trip ruined by a screaming toddler, I give you, Family Road Trip Rule # 1: When in doubt…bribe!
I don’t care what your kid’s favorite thing is (be it a food item, a beverage, toy or DVD) but secretly pack a lot of them in your car before you leave. Emphasis on the secret part, if they know how many you’ve packed, your screwed. Bribery only works when your child thinks that the desired item they will do anything for is in very limited supply. So hide your loot well!
Right now, Greta will do almost anything you ask her to for a Trader Joe’s Organic Fruit Leather. I don’t know exactly why she loves them so, but she’d seriously take a bullet for the strawberry variety…it’s crazy.
So, we packed 25 of them in a secret stash in the car, and the minute she acts up or won’t finish her meal or, well, any time she’s just being a typical two-year-old on an eight-and-a-half hour car ride, we bribe her. “Greta…if you do blank, we’ll give you a fruit leather.” we purr in her screaming, red-faced direction, and she calms down almost instantly.
If I wasn’t so happy it worked, I might be a little freaked out by it, but at the end of the day…it works. Like a fucking charm. Every. Single. Time. So, who cares why?
With order restored in our car, we crank up the tunes and resume our lovely road trip in peace…or, you know, until the next big blow up.