With a conference in Las Vegas to scope out potential advertisers — the biggest children’s product expo, like, ever — and a husband who travels more than the Jolie-Pitts, I was left with only one option: take my 14-month-old on a road trip to Vegas. My parents kindly agreed to meet us there and watch Miss Skye while I made the rounds at the expo. It was a tough sell, convincing them to fly in from Pennsylvania, but my persuasive powers finally won out. Our conversation went something like this:
ME: I need somebody to babysit Skye —
MOM: WE’RE THERE!
So I grabbed Skye, along with a few hundred toys, snacks and articles of clothing for her, while she grabbed her Beat The Dealer blackjack book to read on the ride, and we were on our way. The drive from Los Angeles to Vegas can take anywhere from four to six hours, depending on traffic and just how heavy the driver’s foot becomes. Four hours = mildly sore butt. Six hours = ready to gouge your eyes out with a cactus needle. I mean, the drive through the desert is lovely and all…
But it is just hundreds of miles of scenery that looks EXACTLY LIKE THIS. After four to six hours of staring at dry mountains and land, even Carrot Top’s face on a casino billboard is a welcome sight. Yes! You get THAT DESPERATE for a change of scenery.
Because we drove there on Columbus Day, traffic was blessedly light. Skye was a rock star, barely complaining the entire trip even though the stinker only slept for twenty minutes (she must have finally built up a tolerance to the Jack Daniels slipped in her sippy cup). And when she did start to fuss, I would reach into my bag of goodies and throw whatever I could get my hands on in her direction. Which she probably didn’t appreciate when I got my hands on the large music box, but hey, that will teach her for fussing while mommy’s driving. Speaking of which…
Moms like me should really not be on the road. I’m guessing there are many of us.
Seriously, during the entire trip, I had one hand on the steering wheel while the other one was feeding Cheerios to Skye, peeling bananas, putting Elmo’s World: Pets in the DVD player, playing with toys and putting on a When Harry Met Sally puppet show*. The road to Vegas is relatively straight, and I am an above-average multi-tasker, but OMIGOD THAT CANNOT BE SAFE. I could not be more supportive of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), but I am surprised that drunk drivers haven’t formed their own advocacy group: DAMD (Drunks Against Mothers Driving). You can always spot these maternal menaces to the road — they’re the minivans swerving back and forth as the moms simultaneously weave through traffic and wag a scolding finger at the misbehaving kids in the backseat: DON’T MAKE ME COME BACK THERE! And you know what? Some of those moms ACTUALLY GO BACK THERE WHILE DRIVING! True story.
As for the people out there screaming KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE FREAKIN’ ROAD, well, they obviously have never spent four hours in a car with a bored toddler on the verge of throwing a large music box at the window. Those same people probably also go to Vegas to have fun instead of, you know, work and share an adjoining hotel room with their parents-slash-babysitter. Oh yes, I remember those days! (Actually, they’re a little fuzzy… my previous, childless times spent there were THAT much fun.)
We pull up to the hotel and I’m feeling rather proud of myself, having made the long trip without any incidents (meaning: accidents) and with a smile remaining on my child’s face. Success! Until the bellman gathers all of my bags and I realize…
I left my laptop at home. On the living room couch. Where I “wouldn’t forget it.”
But, hey, at least I remembered to bring a dozen Elmo DVDs!
When the sickening realization fully sank in, I knew there was only one constructive way to handle the situation: COMMENCE SEARCH FOR EYE-GOUGING CACTUS NEEDLE.
*You know you want to see it.