I'm on edge in a car with kids. The risk that one or all of them will go ballistic, wail, and demand immediate release from the vehicle weighs on me the entire ride. On a short trip to IKEA I can somewhat control my nerves. When it's a three-hour journey like last night, I'm a nervous wreck.
Our tiny, adorable baby scares the daylights out of me. Unlike the older girls, her cooperation can't be bought off with Tinker Bell movies and ice cream IOUs. We are defenseless if she decides she's had enough. And worse, riding shotgun in her backward-facing throne, she can throw me a look asking what kind of cruel, sick person would strap down a seven-month-old in a car for three hours. Your mother, I answer.
Last night was maybe our smoothest trip ever. The baby slept the whole way and the other girls dozed off after Tinker Bell. But it didn't matter. It was a nail-biter for me the entire time. Some look at sleeping children as perfectly content and peaceful. I see them as that much closer to waking up with renewed energy to wail and go ballistic.