I almost killed my 20 month toddler on a long drive once. I was very well-intentioned, but as I’m also not the sharpest carrot stick in the lunch box, I was a bit stupid and did something which brought him reasonably close to death in an area of Outback Queensland where they have a) limited emergency services and b) an extremely low tolerance for stupid people. Yes hard to believe, but the amazingly organised and competent veteran of countless road trips you see before you was not always so. I too have been as useless as tits on a bull in the road trip arena.
We were four weeks into our 11 month road trip around Australia and the kids had been existing on peanut butter and jam sandwiches on *gasp* white bread for lunch the moment we left the Goat’s Cheese Curtain (or outer Brisbane). Faced with the
not very real risk of scurvy since lychees and chia seeds are hard to get in small Outback towns, I was determined to introduce more substance into their daytime diet and did so one ridiculously hot day about 45 minutes out of Winton, QLD, after we’d visited the Lark Quarry and it’s dinosaur stampede. Enter: the vegetable sticks.
Of course, there was no stopping for a dusty roadside picnic. Apart from the threat of roadtrains blowing us off the side of the road there was an even greater hazard to our sanity: flies. The flies in and around Winton in late March were biblical and Fiela’s fly tolerance threshold had been reached the night before when we ate around 20 each with our steak at the pub. Of course, we could have stopped and supervised the kids eating in the car, but we didn’t because it was hot and our beers back in the camper were ice cold #qualityparenting.
I passed back the carrot sticks and there were sounds of happy munching. Not really. They whinged about where the peanut butter and jam sandwiches were for a good couple of minutes first, but soon we were driving along in peace and harmony, basking in every moment of glorious silence.
Until the silence was broken by a gagging/struggling to breathe/coughing/ panicking sound from behind me. The Boetman was choking on a piece of carrot. In the time it took Fiela to pull over and I to get out, release him from his 4point harness and start banging his back to get the carrot out I realised a number of things:
- Carrot is probably not a great raw vegetable for a 20 month old to eat.
- Eating in the car is probs not a great idea in general.
- Thank fuck we’d ditched our Vodafone mobiles for a Telstra Bluetick mobile so there was at least a snow balls chance in this hot hell we’d be able to call an ambulance.
- We were at least a one hour drive from anywhere resembling a medical facility.
It wasn’t until he started crying that I realised the carrot was out and that I’d probably bruised the Boetman’s ribs with all the whacking. Understandably, he wouldn’t get back in his seat and we ALL cried for a few minutes by the side of a corrugated road in the middle of nowhere.
Carrot sticks were off the menu and delightfully soft white bread, peanut butter and jam sandwiches cut up into teeny tiny squares were back on and I’d given myself the first real scare of the trip (not of motherhood- that scary shit happened the moment I felt the first labour twinge). You can read more about how I fucked up with the road trip business and how I eventually got it right over here.
What do you feed the kids on long road trips? Or are you sensible enough to stop the car, get out and then feed them??