Interview with a trucking family. Courtesy of TheLittleGuyShow
He was of course referring to an episode of Curious George that we had watched recently where George had been given a piggy bank by the man in the yellow hat for saving his money. The little one had obviously caught onto this concept and wanted one for the coins he had either been given or picked up off the ground.
What he like even more about this pig was that it was was brown (chocolate); his third favorite color next to pink and purple. I guess they are odd colors for a boy, but he chose them. I was so proud that he wanted to save his money that I went ahead and bought it for him.
When we got back to the truck he slipped all his coins into it and carried it with him all day. If the little one sat on my lap so did Chockit, if he watched cartoons so did Chockit and if he ate so did Chockit. Throughout the day he would come up to me and say with pride, "I has a pig, just like George." He even took it to bed with him that night.
Last night, we went outside and searched on the ground for some food for Chockit. We walked around the truckstop and looked on the ground for lost pennies and nickels. We found several and used them to feed Chockit which I am told by and expert that he absolutely loves. Another driver gave him a quarter which the little one was so excited about because it meant that he got to feed Chockit again.
I never thought that of all the toys my little one had been given that he would latch on to a piggy bank of all things. It will be interesting to see if the adventures of Chockit the pig continue.
Toilet Training is almost never easy. Some kids take to the toilet and are trained within a matter of weeks while other are still learning and battling after a couple of years. There seem to be a lot of different methods that parents use and each one has its own devout supporters.
I have so far been unsuccessful in training our little one to use the bathroom. We have been working on it for about a year now. I have tried a couple of different methods and it feels like I have spent hours training him with no success. While we are off the road we occasionally make some headway only have him revert back to diapers as soon as we get on the truck again.
Every time we go to the bathroom out on the road I ask him, "Want to go to the toilet?" and I always get the reply of, "NO!" It occurred to me the other day that I need to look at another method for potty training and I came up with a solution.
Here were the basic problems:
Here's what we had achieved within the year of training:
Knows how to use the toilet as soon as his pants and diaper are removed;
What I concluded:
He just needs the tools in order to take care of it himself. Breakdown the processes so that he can do it by himself.
What we are going to be doing out on the road:
What we are going to be doing at home:
Success since starting new method:
Little one can remove his clothes, but cannot put them on yet.
I will post updates on this as we either succeed or fail at this new method.
We have had some success at this new method.
For a few days, the little one went in to the stall by himself and then one day he took off his clothes and on the toilet. That being said, we now need to start working on him putting on his clothes by himself.
"Look Mummy! Its Thomas!"
"Look Mummy! Its a Mack Truck!"
"Look Mummy! Its Lightning McQueen!"
"Look Mummy! Its Percy!"
"Look Mummy! Its Tayo the bus!"
"Look Mummy! Its Chuck the dump truck!"
Our little one loves being out of the road for a lot of different reasons, but I think one of the highlights for him is that he gets to interact with the characters from his favorite television shows. Not a day goes by, when we don't here about Thomas's tracks and how all red freightliners are Mack the truck from the movie cars. Whenever we are in the city he wants to sit up front so that he can see all the different vehicles as they pass by.
He names off all the trains as we pass by them. They all take their names from the series Thomas the Tank Engine, depending on what freight they are hauling, what the look like or if the little one just decides that one train is a particular train. The buses in the city all take the forms of various characters from Tayo the little bus. Blue buses are always Tayo, Big Buses are always Seto and school buses are always Llany. The Taxis are always Nori the Taxi. Red Sports cars are always Lightning McQueen and Red freightliners are always Mack. It makes for a fascinating discussion with the little one every time as we argue about which vehicle is which character.
I think the funniest event was when he was so worried that James had broken Thomas's tracks by driving over them. He was afraid the Thomas was going to have an accident and come off the rails. I found myself reassuring him that the rails weren't broken and whatever reason he didn't believe me. I then told him that the fat controller (or sir Topham Hat) would make sure they got fixed, and he was alright with that.
Another time we were at a construction site and I told the little one that the man in charge was Bob the Builder. He loved that and it perked his interest in watching all the machines working at the construction site. As soon as we left, he watched the one episode of Bob the Builder that we had downloaded constantly for about two weeks.
It really seems to help him bond with the characters he loves in a new an interesting way. He seems to understand them better and the tasks that they perform in the shows. The way he plays with his toy vehicles becomes more reflective of not just the shows, but real life also. Did I ever mention that being a parent is fascinating?
The truck was down for some minor repairs last week. It needed some body work done, which is not serious but it can take a couple of days to finish. Normally, we get our truck worked on while we are at home, but this time the work needed to be done in Springfield, mo.
"It's going to take three or four days," James told me when he arrived back from the shop. He hung his coat up behind the chair.
I frowned, "Is it going to be in the shop the whole time or in and out?"
"In the whole time. I was thinking about getting a hotel room."
"It would be a good idea if it's going to be longer than twenty four hours. I don't know if I could handle sleeping in the shop that long."
I was referring to the few times that we have slept in the mechanics shop. Sleeping in the mechanics shop is horrible. The air smells like oil and grease, the lights shine in the truck from outside and it gets really hot because you can't run the air conditioning. Sometimes, late at night you can hear the mechanics outside the truck talking about stuff that you really don't want to know about. It's never a pleasant experience, but it is cheap.
"So, what do you want to do?" asked James.
I looked down at the little one and thought of trying to keep him content and entertained in the drivers lounge for four days. Getting him to go down for a nap if he needed one in a room full of talking drivers.
"Definitely a hotel room," I replied.
The hotel was nice. It made a lot of things either.
We all slept really well in the beds. The little one had plenty of space to play around with his toys in and the television kept him entertained when he lost interest in doing that.
James played some computer games and had a chance to relax from driving for so long. If he needed to go to the shop, he caught the shuttle from the hotel and they took him where he needed to go.
I spent most of my time working at formatting my computer and re-downloading the programs I needed on it. We were also near by a Walmart, so I was able to get supplies for the day which was really nice.
Staying at the hotel was definitely much better than sleeping in the shop and we were well rested when we went back out on the road again. If you are in the shop for more than a day, I would recommend doing the same.
"It's time for him to move up to the top bunk," said my husband, James.
Normally, I would disagree with him and argue the reasons as to why that would not be a good idea, but I was far too tired.
The night before I had been woken up at midnight to the sound of coughing. The little one had kicked of his blankets and had gotten chilled. I covered him back up and went back to bed. Half an hour later he had done the same thing again. He was so cold, that I picked him up and laid him in bed next to James to get warm. It wasn't long before the coughing stopped and soon the two guys were fast asleep. I looked at my phone, it was 2f. No wonder he was cold.
Realizing that I had lost my bed, I laid down in the little one's bed on the floor and attempted to go to sleep myself. It wasn't too bad as long as I stayed under the covers, however there were just not enough covers for my adult size body. While, most of me was covered, my feet ended up sticking out at the bottom and boy did they freeze even with my heavy winter man socks on. When I woke up the next morning, I was very tired.
When James got up, I climbed into bed with the little one and slept for another two or three hours. It took at least one of those to bring life back into my frozen feet. It was after this that James made the announcement.
So as evening came around that night, I prepared a bed for the little one in the corner of the top bunk. I laid his regular bedding down so that it was between the fridge, and two walls and then I laid the our big mink blanket down to make a fifth wall.
The little one watched as I set it all up.
"Mummy, why my bed up high?"
"Your going to sleep up high tonight."
"but Mummy, cats sleep up high. I sleep up high too?"
"I am a cat then. Meow meow."
I laughed. When I put him up there he was so excited. He loved being able to look down. That night he slept so peacefully. The warm air from the heater drifted up to the top so he had no need to keep his blankets on. He didn't even come close to the edge which was good. He woke up before us, so he called me to come getting down. I woke up and got him down.
Last night was the second night he slept up there. Still no problems. This time we were up before he was, so we moved him down to the bottom bunk before we started moving. He slept for another half hour before he woke up ready to go for the day.
So it seems that putting him on the top bunk has worked out so far.
I believe a couple of weeks have gone by out since I last wrote here so it's probably time to do an update.
Things have been a little difficult the last couple of weeks. We have been running hard and so we are all very tired, which is made worse by the fact that we have been unable to find the time and money to replace out our broken fridge and inverter. Running hard like this typically means no truck stop meals; and no fridge means canned food, noodles, bread and water. Yuck! I don't know about James, but I am missing my crock pot.
Feeding the little one in this situation is always interesting. He is an independent little guy and takes a lot of pride in eating his own food by himself. For someone who has not mastered the art of the spoon, this means that he rejects anything that requires using one. As a result, the little one has been eating a diet composed of bread, potato chips, bananas, water and sometimes milk and chicken. Luckily, this fact does not seem to bother him too much. What has been bothering him is that because of the way we have been running and how the weather has been, we have not spent much time outside and he has been feeling a little cooped up.
Most of his days have been spent in the truck, with the occasional run around the truck stops we do manage to stop at, or during our shopping trip at Walmart. During these time I have noted that he goes nuts and just wants to run and run and run. I have been told that many other truckers kids have been known to do the same thing whenever they get a break from the truck. They have so much energy pent up that it just explodes.
Watching how his play develops as he gets older has been fascinating. While, a couple of months ago he would get out and say to me, "Hey, Mummy Mummy, ready settee go."
Now it's, "Mummy, we play tag. I coming to get you. Got you. Your turn."
In the truck, before bed time. He likes to climb up on the passenger chair and jump off onto his bed.
"Mummy, I jumps," he cries as he lands in the heap of blankets on the floor. He laughs and then says, "I do it again now," and back up the chair he goes.
Anyway, it has been a difficult couple of weeks, but there have been good times. And even though the little one is feeling cooped up, he seems pretty happy.
I thought I would put up a new post on some of the latest and greatest toddler apps that we have found. Please note: This is for a Samsung tablet so some of them may not apply for ipads.
Zoodles: This is an incredible program that functions as a tablet desktop for your little one. Whenever they hit the home button it takes them back to the doodles desktop page and prevents them from getting into things that they shouldn't. Adult sections such as settings and important apps are safely walled off behind a password which can be altered and set in a number of different ways. In the adult section of the program, adults have the ability to add in new apps, record their own voices for story books and give a star to your favorite drawings done by your child. Zoodles will also prevent your child from making in game purchases or outside ad pop ups from showing up by shutting the app down.
Duplo and Lego: Both Duplo and Lego have created some really incredible free apps for both toddlers and kids and the great thing about them is that they are completely free. Also, all of them have no issues with advertising and in-game purchases which are the bane of many parents.
Train, is a duplo app for toddlers that allows them to pick the train and carriages, load them and unload them. They also have to solve puzzles such as building a bridge and building a track.
Safari, is another duplo app for toddlers which involves a giraffe and rabbit trying to deliver a package to a lion. Hillarious I know, but the little ones have a great time playing with the animals and solving problems to get the package to the lion.
Junior's Quest, is a lego app about a police officer trying to catch a bad guy. The little ones have to build things to help solve problems, drive a car around obstacles (or just watch the car smash through the lego blocks with no penalty) and eventually catch the bad guy. Some of the puzzles are a little hard at first for toddlers, but with a little help that can get the hang of solving them.
Train Conductor: This is a great app for both adults, kids and toddlers. The aim of the game is to direct the right train on the right track so that it can get to its destination. For adults and older kids this game provides the enjoyment of an arcade game, for the younger ones it allows them to have fun either crashing the trains or avoiding crashes. There is some in game advertising on the free version, and in game purchases also. This app may require adult supervision.
Monster Truck Mike: This is a great little app for boys. It's designed for older kids and teaches them the ins and outs of repairing an engine on a monster truck, the types of tools used and then lets them paint it and send it out to a monster truck rally. For younger children supervision is needed. It has in game advertising and purchases, but is definitely worth it.
Cars: This is the Disney cars app game. It can be entertaining for toddlers all the way to adults. It has a small townville portion to the game where you build up radiator springs and place building and decorations. It also has a racing portion that is simple enough that a toddler can play. No in game advertising, some in game purchases.
Cars match games for toddlers: This is a great little matching game app. It places a whole range of vehicles floating around on the page. You child has to grab the vehicle with their finger and drop it on top of another vehicle just like it. The vehicles make noises when touched and when a level is completed your child gets to pop balloons that appear on the page. Some in game ads.
kids trains: This is a very basic train app. A train travels around the track and your little one can control the speed and honk the horn. They can change the train and carriages. They can also crash it, often leading to a world of giggles.
Toddler tools: This is a very basic button pushing app for toddlers and babies. They can press on a picture and it will tell them what type of tool it is and play some music. In game advertising.
Top truck: This is a monster truck driving game designed for toddlers up to adults. The goal of the game is to drive a monster truck forward and back to over come various obstacles put in front of them. The tablet sometimes needs to be rotated to rock the monster truck to help them get over an obstacle. While you wouldn't think this was a good app for toddlers, they pick it up pretty quickly. Some in game advertising.
I was going to put this post under my personal facebook page as a rant, but when I went to post it, I thought about all the trucker Mums out there that could use this as a warning.
There are a lot of miserable people out in the world, sometimes we call them "bullies", sometimes we call them a lot of other horrible words that I will not say here, but never the less they describe them perfectly. These people are truly miserable and like nothing more than to ruin someone else's day. I met a lady like this, this morning. Or more specifically I was confronted by her.
After taking a hot shower this morning, my husband and I went to get a couple of subway sandwiches to feed us for the day. While we both ordered, I do what I normally do. I let Junior run free around the truckstop, keeping an eye on him and making sure that he stayed in view. As a trucking child, Junior does not often get a lot of time to run around, so when an opportunity arises to do - I let him. After I finished ordering, I walked over to join junior at the fridge section. He had been admiring a juice bottle with Thomas on top. I said to him, "Not today sweety," and grabbed a bottle of milk for our breakfast.
Suddenly, as if from nowhere this big lady who was at least two inches taller than me if not taller came up to me and said, "Your a horrible mother. Someone could have taken your child. You abandoned him. If you don't stop him from running around I will call CPS on you."
I frowned, "And said, thanks for the warning, but we are doing just fine thank you."
I started to walk away. I have a bad history with bullies and a fist fight with someone taller and larger than me was the last thing I wanted.
"There are camera's everywhere that shows you abandoned your child. Don't you know that someone could have taken him. You weren't watching him. I'm going to call CPS on you."
I walked away down the nearest aisle ignoring her. She circles around and appears at the end of the aisle and gets right up in my face, "I'm going to call the cops on you."
I walk away a second time and she circles round again and gets in my face and threatens me. Realizing that this might get messy, I call James over from finishing up at subway.
"Honey, I think we have a problem." I point at the lady.
She starts accusing James of being a bad parent and of letting me be a bad parent and threatens again to call the cops.
"Go ahead," he says, "Just leave my family alone."
I walk over to one of the truck stop employees nearby and ask,"Is she a regular here? Because she is harassing us."
The employee walks up to the counter, starts to talk to the manager and the lady disappears.
I have gone for 2 years without an incident like this. Most of the people out on the road are busy minding their own business and many of the parents with kids (in cars or trucks) will let their kids run around too. Most of the truckers out on the road are good and decent people, and I would trust my 2 year old son to be around most of them. I know for a fact that if anyone tried to take my little one away from me, he would scream and those same truck drivers would beat the crap out of that person.
Why did I post this story up here on a public website? Trucker Mums need to be wary of people like this, they can potentially do a lot of damage to good families. They are out there everywhere and at some point you have to decide between being the parent your child needs you to be and the parent everyone else wants you to be. I wish you luck and may you never come across this horrible lady or anyone like her.
I honestly didn't think there would be anymore toddlers on trucks, but here we are once again for another fabulous year of fun.
Another year has gone by. Our little one, now two, has grown so big that he now stands close to being about half my height. He is a very active child who loves to run and climb, and play soccer and basketball (or at least he tries to). And his number one passion in life right now is vehicles.
With the winter season fast approaching James suggested that we go out on the truck with him. I put the question to our little one.
"Would you like to go with Daddy on the truck?"
His eyes went wide with excitement. "Ride the truck? Ride Daddy's truck?"
"Ride the truck with daddy! Ride the truck with Daddy!" he repeated.
So we went out on the truck with James.
Once again, our time on the truck has been so much easier than it was before.
The little one now loves the long hours of driving. He loves to sit in the front seat, point out each vehicle and tell us its name. If a vehicle gets in the way he yells at it and tells it to get out of the way. If it doesn't he grumps at it and calls it "bad". He is disappointed that he has not seen a monster truck yet.
When he is not pointing out vehicles or staring at traffic, the little one is either playing on his tablet, or in the back of the truck watching a movie or on the floor playing with his toys. Duplo blocks have been a wonderful addition to his toys. There is so much that he has been able to do with them. I will do a separate post recommending some of the new apps we have found for the tablet.
The little one has been sleeping on the floor, between the two chairs on top of 2 moving blankets for insulation and then a full/single bed topper, folded in half. We got him a heavy woolen blanket to go with his regular blankets which seems to be working out wonderfully. We have also had to use another heavy woolen blanket around the edge of the bed to block some of the drafts that come in through the edges of the door. Every morning the little one wakes up in his bed on the floor and asks, "Daddy, ride the truck today?"
Being older, the little one now understands that he needs to do what he is told. This means we can leave him in the truck to watch his TV shows without him locking himself in, opening the door or getting into trouble. On the odd occasion we can have him outside hanging out with us while we tie down a load if we are in a safe area.
Days that are spent not moving, we alternate between inside, outside and a truck stop if we are at one. We try and get out and play ball on these days or take his larger toys inside to run around with. Time in the truck is spent either playing with his duplo blocks or on the tablet PC.
He has been missing interacting with other kids, but we have been lucky enough to come across one or two on occasion that he can play with while out here. Drivers looked on confused at one shipper where another drivers granddaughter and our little one ran round and around chasing each other. They had a great time together.
I'm sure as the year passes there will be a lot more exciting stories to tell.