We're back from vacation. This vacation included a round trip drive from FL to IL clocking in at 17 hours each way, a round trip drive from IL to MI clocking in on an average of 8 hours each way, and plenty of daily drives out to various beaches.
What I'm getting at is that Silas no longer puts his arms up to be lifted out of his carseat when you unstrap him. Instead, he starts putting the shoulder straps back on, presumably because he has come to learn that his natural habitat is his carseat.
I wanted to make the drive from FL to IL by car instead of flying to see the difference in stress levels. The easiest conclusion is that there is no good way to get to and from IL with a small child. The more nuanced conclusion is that I think flying is probably better.
The downsides to driving included a 17 hour car trip that nearly destroyed my spirit to live. There's something about driving all day only to hit Indianapolis and realize that there's still three more hours to drive. At least. And on a good day, a three hour car trip is nothing to sneeze at!
Both times, we started the drive mid-morning and ended the drive in the wee hours of the new day. This stemmed from the fact that I wanted to be "well-rested" before starting the drive rather than sacrificing potential sleep to leave earlier. I am NOT able to stay up super late these days though, so the final early AM hours of driving were horrific.
Really, the only downside was that I had to drive all of the hours and therefore couldn't rest at all. Had Smiley been with me to take care of some of the driving, flying wouldn't even need to be an option, really.
The upsides included the fact that I had plenty of space to nurse Silas when he needed to nurse, and plenty of legroom in my seat. I could stretch my legs out and listen to any music I wanted without headphones. I didn't have to run across an airport with a baby and luggage. I had space in the trunk of the car to bring extra clothes, toys and books for Silas. I was also able to bring home stuff with me, IKEA stuff to be specific. Also, I traveled completely on my time, instead of being at the mercy of plane delays.
But 17 hours in a car is just really awful. It went beyond my driving limits and I should have stopped along the way and made it into a two day drive. Though things will change as Silas grows older and our situations change, right now I can say with 80% confidence that flying is mostly the better option as it packs all of the stress up into a nice, neat 6 hour package, but for at least 10 hours of the drive, driving was worth it.