I live in L.A. and have done my fair share of commuting across the city sprall. But I just experienced the WORST traffic I think ever, in Norfolk, VA.
We were driving back to Washington from Norfolk. I checked SigAlert and got the ‘ok’ from my iphone. All roads were green heading out of town. The most direct route from where we were staying was to take the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel. This bridge connects to Hampton/Newport News (and a little further north, Williamsburg).
We drove through the tip of Willoughby Spit no problem. Our front wheels glided across the start of the bridge, when the break lights began to twinkle. Slowing, slowing, slowing. And…..halt. No inching. No crawling. No turning around. Stuck. On a bridge. With an infant asleep in the back seat.
An hour later. It started to snow. We were still in the same spot. Stuck. On a bridge. With an infant blinking open her eyes. Uh, Oh. We turned off the engine.
Fifteen minutes later. The crying begins.
Ten minutes later….the wailing begins.
Three hours and five minutes of complete stand still on a bridge, the cars in front of us began to roll forward. So how do you satisfy a baby stuck in a car seat for three hours? Here are the top five things to do while stuck on a bridge with an infant:
5. Toys that rattle and make noise. We didn’t bring many toys with us since Little Traveler is only 2.5 months old. But we did bring a musical Glow Worm, a butterfly rattle, and a stuffed I Love Norfolk raccoon. This got us by for about 10 minutes.
4. iPad. Yes, I know that showing an infant ‘television and electronics is probably frowned upon. But 1.5 hours of complete standstill with no hope of moving forward and no signs of why we were stuck in the first place. Little Traveler was fascinated with the following: Bob the Builder’s Big Fish, Little Fish, Rolf (The Muppets) on piano, and Bubble Guppies (these are little mermaid fish that sing and dance around). I tried playing her Fraggle Rock (why? because it’s awesome). She didn’t think so.
3. Diaper change. Ok, so after two hours of being stuck in a car, I decided that I would pull a Brittany Spears and take my baby out of her car seat. I thought this would subside her crying. It did. For about 10 more minutes.
2. Read a book. I didn’t bring any of Little Traveler’s books, So I opted for the adult novel I was reading. I brought Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby on this trip as a re-read of a classic from my high school required literature. So yes, Claire got to enjoy the ‘great American novel’ of 20’s era gluttony. She understood every word, of course.
And the number one thing to do while stuck on a bridge for three hours with a pissed off infant is…..
Yes, you guessed it…..breastfeed. I went from being too shy to nurse in public at home, to nursing on a plane to avoid plugged ears, nursing at the Naval Academy in Annapolis sitting amongst proper young students, to now, a public lunch affair on a bridge in daylight. After a 30 minute meal, Little Traveler was back to sleep. And so was I. All that entertaining put me right to sleep.
My husband (the driver) reached around and smacked my leg for a wake up call. Over three hours later, it was time to buckle back up and move forward (we would have been entering D.C. by now). I plopped Little Traveler back in her seat and snapped her back in safe and sound. Still sleeping soundly.
What caused three hours of stand still anyway? The bridge turns into a tunnel half way across. As we drove through the tunnel, we saw the culprit. I was expecting at least a five car pileup. I mean, what else could cause a complete shut down of the main artery out of Norfolk? All I saw was two work trucks and a couple of casual road workers standing around a pothole. Emergency pothole (no, not a giant sink hole that would swallow up whole cars in one swoop), just your average hole in the concrete. I swear, if we were in L.A., this hole would have been left alone for weeks.
Will Little Traveler keep sleeping until we get to Washington? I’ve run out of ideas to entertain her. Or I guess you just hit repeat.