Tomorrow morning, Matt and Penny are heading out for Chicago. They're driving, which will be cheaper and (Matt hopes) less of a pain in the ass than flying. I hope it works out for him. Personally, I'd rather deal with the bigger pain for a shorter period. Yeah, I'm a rip-the-bandaid-off kind of girl.
But since I can't really take a whole two weeks off work, and since Alex is too young to easily entertain himself in the car for any length of time (his attention span for TV/movies is only about 45 minutes) we decided that Matt and Penny would make the drive, and I would fly out with Alex separately. (Matt originally suggested that he take both kids, giving me a mini solo vacation as well, but a few days of lovely quiet and calm doesn't do me much good if, at the end of it, I'm confronted with a gibbering insane spouse.)
I've tried to help him out as much as I can -- I consulted with a friend at work who routinely goes on long car rides with her two young boys. She suggested such strategies as: bringing a portable DVD player with a car-port adapter; stopping religiously every 2 hours to hit the bathroom and make the kids run around a little; making sure to stay at a hotel with a pool, so everyone can work out some excess energy before bed; "forgetting" about bedtimes, because the kids are going to get extra sleep in the car anyway.
The bright spot of this, for Alex and I, is that since Matt and Penny are driving, I can pack up the vast majority of our luggage and tuck it into the car. It won't be any extra effort for Matt and Penny to transport it, and then Alex and I can breeze through our flight with a minimum of carryon -- really just his diaper bag with enough gear in it for the day, and my wallet and phone.
Which means I need to hit Target, do a load of laundry, and pack today.
And then tomorrow, Thursday, and until we get to Chicago on Friday, I'm a "single" parent. (But I'll have only a single kid, so it balances out.)
Then we'll all be in Chicago together for about a week, and next Thursday, Alex and I will leave most of our stuff in Matt's car and fly home, to be single together for a few more days until Matt and Penny get home the following Tuesday.