We recently returned from a trip to Liberty, Maine that required a solid eight hours of driving to get back to New York. We're in the habit of making long drives late in the day, knowing that most of the driving is done in the dark, hopefully, with a sleeping daughter in the backseat. But, for this trip we had to make a mid-morning drive. We were hopeful that along the trip she'd at the very least, take a nap.
As a result of never having owned a car in my daughter's lifetime, she's had relatively low exposure to driving in her four-and-almost-three-quarter years. She did take a trip to visit some cousins a while back. They live in a small mountain community in North Carolina, and spend a fair amount of time in their parent's mini-van, as just getting to school for them required a thirty minute drive. But for my daughter, driving with them was like discovering the mini-van mecca. She returned from her trip raving about pillows on the seats, the fast-food chains where they'd "just driven up to a window and brought food right into the car!", and the piece de resistance-- of the movies they'd watched--"right there in the car, Mommy!" It appeared she'd had as much fun with her cousins inside the car as outside, during that trip.
Ever since then, when summertime travel with us rolls around, we never quite know how well she'll fare on a long drive.
One of the things we love about living in Brooklyn is no need for a car to get around. Sure, there are some days when I think about driving somewhere, spur of the moment. On a few occasions, I've yelled for my husband to come look out our front window and marvel at the open parking spot making a rare appearance right outside our apartment. He, of course, reminds me that we don't own a car, and I reply, "But if we did, we could park there until Thursday!" (City garbage pick-up would eventually force us to move from the coveted position.) He generally gives me a sad shake of the head, and walks away. But as a result of not owning a car, we've never felt the need to buy a portable dvd player, or any other cool car stuff that makes driving more pleasant for kids.Continued on the next page