Whole Parenting Family

What happens when you travel with a three year old


We took a leap of faith and went on an 8 hour car trip to a cousin’s wedding. Three kids under five in the car for that long is not for the faint of heart. I was initially hesitant about being able to make it due to the fact the baby is almost 13 months old and still nurses for primary nutrition. That’s a lot of stopping to nurse.

But what I didn’t factor in was the three year old girl. Three. The roughest and cutest age. She made every moment a possible tornado touch down. Living by the seat of our pants//how many cheddar bunnies she could stuff in her mouth.

Let’s begin, shall we?

On the drive down, she had to go potty. About 86 times. I offered her a diaper. She looked at me with the scorn of a thousand arrows.

At the farmer’s market.

She sees food. SHE WANTS IT ALLLLLLLLL. She also wants no one else to have any.

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Back at the hotel.

She wants the baby’s pack & play. She wants not to eat the cold oatmeal. She wants desperately to be the baby. She was comforted by snuggling like a mummy in the queen size bed alongside her big brother. The two of them were like cocoon babies.


At the wedding ceremony itself. More talking.

whole parenting wedding

Upon seeing another child eating a snack. MAMA I need to eat. No, I need what he is having. My stomach is telling me so.

Upon seeing another child with a book. MAMA I need a book! No! I need that book!

Upon me encouraging her to watch the bride and groom exchange vows: a loud growl accompanied by “they look hungry.”

Upon me finding a small jewelry bag she had stashed in my purse for her unknown purposes: OH! I did bring my wallet! I need to put things in it. Can I have your sparkly ring from Dada? WHY NOT?

Upon the kiss and recessional: MAMA I’m still hungry. I don’t want them to eat all the food.

She managed to spill every time she got remotely close to a beverage and then would turn to me and say “MAMA I forgive you.”

She desperately wanted to dig in the freshly laid sod at the farm. And the dirt. And the gravel. So she went to town with a heavy-duty plastic spoon: MAMA I’m scooping like a tractor. This place is a mess.

whole parenting wedding

On the drive home.

She spilled her smoothie over her cute outfit. I lamented traveling in style. What was I thinking, anyway? {see that outfit down there? That’s the one that got exchanged for her brother’s too-large tee and a set of shorts that didn’t begin to fit her.}

She coveted her baby brother’s toes. Can’t get them for you, sorry.

She screamed about not being tired for a long hot second before passing out.

She insisted we listen to the Lewis & Clark section on the Gone West cds as read by Jim Weiss because she knew Sir Bedivere was on there. He’s not. He’s on the Knights of the Round Table one. Commence the acute loss and hysteria. {We couldn’t love Jim Weiss more. Mr. Weiss, come live with us?}

She pealed all the crayons in the car and was decimated that there were no more. She started to peal the pages off the board books. Just to keep her pealing skills honed. God forbid she run out of nail for this pastime.

True happiness came from being with her daddy, though. She’s a total daddy’s girl and it was awesome to see him for three days straight. Up close & PERSONAL.

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That’s okay, the boys wanted to hang with me for a little while. I’ll never be the favorite parent, but I don’t care. They’re all my three favorite children, regardless. The big takeaways from the weekend are to make sure you have a pool in your hotel, you have paper towels in the car, and lots of snuggling.

whole parenting



  1. Erin @ Humble Handmaid on June 8, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    Sometimes what gets me through weekends like that with my three-year-old is thinking, “This is going to make a Great blog post on Monday!”;)

    I getcha, sister! Way to have a good attitude. Also, thanks for the audio CD tip for the car! How neat.;) I love the Adventures in Odyssey series too.

    • Natural Mama Nell on June 9, 2015 at 11:40 pm

      Oh great to know about another good series. Audio books for the win. Every time!

  2. Michele on June 9, 2015 at 6:35 am

    Oh my goodness…three year old’s are basically crazy people, aren’t they?

    • Natural Mama Nell on June 9, 2015 at 11:40 pm

      The prefrontal cortex can’t develop soon enough hahaha

  3. Hannah on June 9, 2015 at 9:25 am

    Oh man, was the wedding in Lincoln? I recognize some familiar shots (I think) — my hometown! Best city in the Midwest. 🙂 (I may or may not be biased.)

    • Natural Mama Nell on June 9, 2015 at 11:41 pm

      Yes! Great eye 😉

  4. Melissa on June 9, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    Oh my! Threenagers right? Everything is a dramatic production.

    • Natural Mama Nell on June 9, 2015 at 11:41 pm

      Omgysh. Never heard that term and totally totally loving it. Exactly!!!

  5. Laurel on June 9, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    This had me laughing all the way through. Only because I KNOW — I know this of which you speak. And it is all very funny…..when you are not in the throws of it. *wide-eyed emoji*

    • Natural Mama Nell on June 9, 2015 at 11:42 pm

      It is hilarious. And painful. All at the same time!!!