Since the day we took Henry home from the hospital, he has hated the car. When I tell this to other parents they look at me in disbelief. “What do you mean he hates the car?” they blink open-mouthed. “Our little one falls asleep after 5 minutes of rolling along,” they say in such a way as to suggest we must be mistaken about Henry. But, alas, we are not. Yes, the majority of babies can barely hold their eyes open once they are cruising along the highway or casually driving around town running errands. Henry though is not that baby. Never was. Instead our otherwise totally chill dude goes wild. Screams at the top of his lungs are common place as are shrieks and shrill hysterics. We could be driving 5 minutes down the road or 5 hours away. The pitch, frequency, and duration of the scream is constant. Needless to say, we have not gone on many road trips. And when we do, no one is happy (or very sane after).
We have tried everything to make the car a more enjoyable space. We started to consider that if he is such a pleasant, happy, and easy baby everywhere else in life (including sleep), then maybe this is our burden? Maybe this is the bad that we have to take with all the rest that is so so good. And then….
Something changed. Quite unexpectedly, Henry started to carry a book with him to the car. Sometimes he would even try to muster the strength to carry two books. We buckled him in, placed his desired books on his lap, shut the car door and….silence. For the entire car ride from our house to Boston (approximately 30-35 minutes), he read. It must have been a fluke, no? We tried it again, and again, and again. Henry LOVES to read in the car. It keeps him entertained as he flips through the pages, points at various characters and images, and babbles to himself. The longest car ride so far has been 45 minutes. Forty-five minutes of silence! WHAT!?! That was completely unheard of in this house. This might not be a total silver bullet, but I am happy for a little reprieve and watching him sit cross-ankled in his carseat paging through a book is SO CUTE!