The other day 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.
Part of my time in the waiting room was spent near a nice father whose eleven month old daughter was playing with my children as we waited. The father has entered the office merrily carrying his wallet 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 informed me 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 my son was a newborn I was so busy toting around seven spare changes of clothes 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.
*Two sippy cups that are correctly labeled for each child (it only takes one meltdown regarding, “Sister 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 (when I had babies taking bottles)
*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 one child is not terribly crazy about.
*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
*Random toy from a kid’s meal
*Travel size magna-doodle
*Old burp cloth