Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Survival Kit 101

Despite the fact that it is Wednesday, a holiday is almost upon us, and most people are struggling with some form of cold or nasty virus....it is time for a little reader input, my friends.

Yesterday as I entered hour number TWO at my pediatrician's office (not the normal wait time there, but apparently the staff was dealing with a very sick newborn) I became painfully aware that not everyone knows the ins-and-outs of packing a suitable bag for an outing with their child.

For instance, the nice father whose eleven month old daughter was playing with my children as we waited...and waited...merely brought in his credit card and car keys. (He also brought in a very excited spirit of how he was "Mr. Mom" for the day, tending to a sick child. He listed off about twenty things he planned to accomplish that afternoon while serving as the mom, which ranged from grocery shopping to car washing to stopping by the clothing donation bin. I smiled politely, knowing that such hopes would all die a painful death as he weakly crawled into bed later that evening with only an 1/8 of his tasks accomplished.) He was rapidly approaching hour three of his wait time. Despite her seemingly sweet nature, his daughter was quickly reaching meltdown stage. He kept promising her a cheeseburger upon their departure in hopes of maintaining composure, but she was almost inconsolable. As I passed her some Cheerios and a play key chain, I questioned out loud if it was possibly about to be her naptime citing it was time for my own children's naps. The father genuinely asked, "Do you think she takes naps? I am not sure if she does that anymore." Oh dear.

Before I attempt to remove the Cheerio from one man's eye before removing the large teething biscuit from my own, let me say that I have been ill-equipped in many a situation. When Isaac was a newborn I was so busy toting around spare changes of clothes for a child who rarely soiled his diaper when awake and countless unused pacifiers, I often left behind toys to occupy him or something for him to snack on as he rode in the Target shopping cart. It only took a few unprepared moments for me to realize that if I planned on surviving this stage of Mommyhood, I needed supplies.

Here's what I have in my diaper bag 24/7:

*Two sippy cups that are correctly labeled for each child (it only takes one meltdown regarding, "Baby Evelyn has my cup" to realize that accurately distinguishable sippy cups are a must). I leave the house with these full, however I always know I can find a restroom and refill them with tap water.

*Extra bottle filled with warm water and 2 to 3 extra servings of powdered formula for Evelyn

*Snacks. I always carry dry cereal or Gerber Fruit Puffs in my bag. I usually have a sealed fruit cup thrown in as well in case we end up eating at an establishment that Isaac is not terribly crazy about.

*Two diapers per child. (although Evelyn could technically wear Isaac's.... because, have I mentioned how TALL she is?)

*Wet wipes

*Books (Typically board books due to their almost indestructible nature)


*Coloring book/small notebook (Sometimes the coloring book gets left behind due to space issues, however a beaten up notebook is always present)

*Sheet of cheap stickers

*Some random kid's meal toy that never sees the light of day except in situations such as these

*Travel size magna-doodle or viewmaster....again, random toys that never see daylight except in "crisis"


*Old burp cloth (as opposed to the pretty ones reserved for church and MOPS)

*Wallet, car keys, a good lipstick (one that can brighten up the most haggard of faces), and compact mirror (never underestimate the power that is the compact mirror...one of mine completely entertained Isaac for a hour long flight when he was about seven months old)

Now, it's your turn to share with the rest of us in order for us all to be prepared in such times of need. What do you lug around in your bag for such times of crisis? What diaper bag do you just completely love right now?

(*By the way, I feel the need to share the fact that I do not have a diaper bag on wheels to haul all this junk around. I often have many "helping" hands willing to smush everything down into a small, orderly mess.)

(*I also feel the need to mention that both kids are not deathly ill. E. has a nasty cold and cough due to allergies and Isaac is simply struggling with his allergies as well. Never before have we had so much yuckiness. I will be incredibly glad when this "Worst Allergy Season in Ten Years" passes before we really do have to move to Vermont simply to stay well.)


Erika said...

We NEVER leave the house without a full sippy, puffs, and an extra paci. (hopefully one day, we can forget the paci!)
His Nana (PB) made him a "Quiet Book". It has all sorts of fun things to keep him occupied. I also keep a keychain that has a flashlight on it. He LOVES it!

Jennifer said...

I think your list covers it all except I always had those disposable blue trash baggies that you could use for dirty diapers.

JanMary said...

Now my others are older, and we are down to one toddler, by changing bag is now redundant. However, in my handbag I aways have mini-boxes of raisins, Weight Watcher Fruities (for my own personal emergencies), notebook and pen,and maybe several small McDonald type toys. On the way out the door I grab some fresh fruit and a SEALABLE water cup.

However, in the car, I have 3 backups.

First, I have a reuseable shopping bad in the boot (trunk?) with wipes, nappy sacks, spare plastic bags. In this I also have a portable potty (only needed it twice, but was well worth having then, even if not needed again).

Secondly a smaller backpack with a supply of books, puzzle books, pencils and toys suitable for all ages. This backpack comes with us to restaurants or waiting rooms, where they can be life-savers.

Finally, in one of those hidden storage compartments in the floor of the car, I have a complete spare change of clothes for the toddler, along with a T shirt, socks and pants (underwear) that would do either of the older kids in case of an emergency (falling in a pond, throwing up......)

I rarely need the back-ups, but as they always stay in the car, I can forget about them.

Now....have I forgotten something?!!

Sydni said...

Yes! Great list. Good job, Mom! I carry a straw... Even though I almost always have a sippy cup, we have used it on several occasions??....

Kelly said...

First off, this is seriously the worst allergy season I've ever had. And it's in the middle of winter...go figure????

I'm feeling the need to update my diaper bag and the things inside. I've got the basics (diapers, wipes, anti-bac wipes, Cherrios, sippy cup, etc.), but I'm realizing I need to re-think what time-occupiers will work. Some of the toys from a few months ago just don't quite cut it anymore.

Your Cherrio/teething biscuit line was pretty hilarious!

Shanta said...

You can bet I will print this post and the comments!

Amy said...

Um, I think you'd enjoy allergy free Florida more. A lot warmer there and I personally favor the ocean over the slopes:)

I carry a multi-pocket slender black bag (messenger style) with a place to hold everything. I can't say I carry anything particularly original in our bag. I do try to keep the camera in there for those fleeting kodak moments.

Little C carries her own shiny pink backpack loaded with drink, snacks, My Little Pony, colors & book, and her Bible. I have to keep the Bible in there or we always forget it on Sunday!

My Kinda Card The Blog said...

Hi this is Kinda from Mykindacard.com!
I wanted to let you know that i have almost the exact same things in my diaper bag plus a few more...

1. Clorox anywhere hard surface cleaner. this comes in travel size and is safe to use on toys and highchairs. Whenever we are out eating I spray down the highchairs, the tables, and just about anywhere the kids will touch.

2. Hand sanitizer - I bought some from Babies r us and they come in little spray bottles which are also kid safe. I spray my kids hands and mine before eating.

3. Table toppers - plastic sheets that you place ontop of a table so the baby's food goes on it.

4. Disposable bibs

5. swim diapers- since we are in solcal the days are so warm and the parks all have water sprinklers. the kids like to get wet.

Anonymous said...

I have a 13 year old, a 7 year old and a 4 year old. In addition what all of you carry. ( BTW: Love my restaurant/waiting for anything bag)...I always carry one full on emergency medical kit in the car and one smaller one in my mom tote.
I can't tell you how many boo boos, sore ankles, bee stings and ticks removed have been assisted by that kit!
-Mary from Pa