A few weeks ago my husband made the reluctant unsure suggestion to possibly, maybe, perhaps visit New Orleans over the Fourth of July weekend since I had never been and we had no idea when we’d be living this far south again. Brian’s mom is cajun and french (France french, haha) and she grew up around New Orleans. Brian had been there as a child and I had expressed an interest in visiting. However, this would be a trip involving a 14month old with an established hatred of car travel-hence the reluctance.
We decided to do it anyway. 🙂
I prepped by constructing new toys with pipe cleaners, a collander, a qtip box, toilet paper rolls, and crepe paper. I horded old toy favorites to present anew. Brian loaded movies on the tablet. I made sure we had snacks, two full sippy cups of water, plenty of diapers and wipes, extra onsies. And we both prayed fervently.
We got up in the wee hours of the morning and finished packing and loaded the car before waking up Cade a few minutes before 5am-hoping he’d be tired enough to fall back asleep in the car. He didn’t. We stopped several times for food, bathroom breaks/diaper changes, and- except for a ten minute snooze listening to rap music-Cade stayed awake the entire time. It is a six hour drive to Baton Rouge, but we made it. The biggest success was the pipe cleaner-collander toy I wrangled into a treat toy like you’d give a dog. I threaded Cade’s cereal through the pipe cleaners and secured them, and then other pipe cleaners I wrapped around pretzels. It kept him happily occupied for 20-30 minutes!
I won’t give a complete run down of our day, but another issue with a non carseat sleeping toddler is getting him to nap. We conquered this by finding a dark, deserted level in a parking deck, putting a crib sheet down in the back of the car (we have a Prius- so it’s a hatch back) and surrounding it with Cade’s crib stuffed animals (Flopsy, Squirts, Oscar, Reverend Alfred Echinacea Alligator III, Sprockets, Gerald, and Scuttles). Cade hollered and played for about 30 minutes and then conked out. Success! I actually had to wake him up so he’d still go to bed.
Speaking of which, Cade does not fit in the pack n play well at all, he’s too tall. Not to mention hes started attempting to climb out of his crib at home. I’m pretty sure he could tip the portable crib if he tried hard enough. So, although we brought the pack n play, we ALSO brought his real crib mattress. We ghetto wrangled his sleeping place at the hotel and it worked fantastic! We basically put the crib mattress in a cornor and hemmed it in by tipping the hotel desk and arm chair on their sides. Add the menagerie, plug in the white noise machine, follow the normal bedtime routine and VOILA! Cade slept like a rock. 🙂 He slept so well the second night that Brian and I were able to pack up everything (including his animals) move the desk and chair back to their originial position, and load the luggage dolly without Cade waking up.
Now, Cade’s bedtime is 730, which meant lights out, which meant Brian and I were fumbling around with our phone lights and trying not to laugh so we didnt wake Cade up. We ended up falling asleep a lot earlier than we usually do, haha.
Anywho, back to the fun stuff. We drove to New Orleans the next morning and basically wandered around. It was great! Brian bought me an Ergo baby carrier and he wore Cade on his back for most of the day.
We had bengeits. We were serenaded by street musicians. We bought souiveners. We took pictures like good tourists do. Cade made friends with a carriage horse. We went to the Audobon Aquarium (highly recommend) when it opened at ten, and then afterwards found a parking deck for Cade to nap. After nap we went down Bourban St. I had a man with a sign reading “homeless and pregnant” and a shirt stuffed full of cloth offer me a laughing congratulations as I walked by with my enormous belly and I politely reciprocated. We dodged drunk people at 3 in the afternoon and Cade pointed at all the bright flags and signs. Good times.
On our way back to the hotel we stopped in Metairie, Louisianna-Brian’s mom’s old stomping grounds-and got photobombed by a waitress outside of the cafe Brian had been to as a child. We cruised the mall (another memory for Brian) and then called it a day.
The next morning we headed home, stopping only once about an hour and a half into the drive. Cade never slept, but he was a trooper and I managed to mostly keep him entertained for the duration of the trip.
I’m not gonna lie, it was rough with a toddler Cade’s age, and there were a lot of things I would’ve loved to explore that we just couldn’t with him in tow. But as a first taste of “Nawlins” it was a lot of fun and I’m so glad we went. It definitely was NOT relaxing, but it was enjoyable.
Brian says we won’t be going on vacation again until Zane is at least three. 😛