My husband and I love those shows where they throw a guy out in the wilderness and he shows how to survive in seemingly impossible situations. The more I watch them, the more I realize that I likely will never need to survive in the Sahara or the Sub-Arctic. I do however find myself feeling on an almost daily basis as if I've been cast out into a strange world full of obstacles to tackle and unknown creatures to cope with. This will be the chronicle of one woman trying to survive the jungles of parenthood.

Friday, July 2, 2010

When it all goes BOOM!

     Happy 4th of July Weekend!  It's officially the weekend for most Americans (our weekends start on Saturdays here, not Fridays so we've got another day to go) and everyone is gearing up for celebrating our nation's birth with food, family, friends and of course fireworks!  Now in general, most Independence day celebrations are designed with families in mind so you'd think this should be an easy one but whoever it was that thought up these family friendly occasions was obviously thinking more about what the kids would enjoy than what would make their parents lives run more smoothly.  Right now I'm busy making a list of all the things we'll need to bring beyond the regular bag of diapers and change of clothes to childproof this kid-friendly holiday.  You'll notice there are NO fireworks on our list, fireworks and kids just are not a good combo, especially when it comes to preserving mothers' sanity.  This is why we go watch a big fireworks display where the professionals are setting them off.
     Emergency Snacks: We usually share a picnic with another family with kids for the 4th of July which makes things somewhat easier as there's no grill for anyone to burn themselves on and anything too foreign is usually left at home but I never can tell when my girls are suddenly going to turn their noses up at the sandwich fixings, chips and bite-size veggies and fruit that they normally relish. I'll make sure to have some wholegrain crackers, string cheese and juice boxes (a rare treat at our house) so there will for sure be something they'll eat to keep the crankies away if they're feeling picky.

     Sun Protection: In addition to our normal concern about keeping their skin safe from the sun, Spice was just started on an anti-biotic that specifically states to prevent prolonged exposure to natural or artificial sunlight.  Because I so often take my one year old tanning. We'll be camped out under our  sun canopy with sunhats, barrier sunscreen (Blue Lizard Baby is our favorite) and hats.
     Water: I've just heard it's supposed to be over 90 on Sunday. Blech. I have the best luck keeping them hydrated by bringing their straw cups to tote around and sip on and then filling extra waterbottles with ice and water to keep filling the straw cups from.  That and filling waterbottles for their water reminds me to fill some for ours too! I always toss in an extra, empty straw cup too because someone always manages to either lose theirs or get it so dirty that I can't get it clean without taking it home for a scrubbing.
     Seating and Containment: We have one of those nifty $6 ground cover blankets that I can never remember the name of for the first time this summer and I love it.  We'll also bring camping chairs for us and the girls and probably just the single jogging stroller.  I'll have a mei tai and a ringsling for Spice if she gets clingy and we'll probably throw one of the superyards in the van to pull out just in case someone decides that staying with the group is over-rated. I know that sounds like a lot but when you're talking several hours in an open field with two hot, overstimulated toddlers up past their bedtime you need options.
     Entertainment: Haven't totally decided what to bring here yet.  We always bring a few books, Cat (Spice's lovey) and a baby doll of some sort and we may stick to that since there will be other kids to play with.  I might throw in some bubbles too and if things get too out of hand there's always my phone, my necklace, whatever I happen to have in my hair and my wallet as the standard backup "toys" of choice.
     Clothing: One change of weather appropriate clothing for every child (two for anyone under the age of one), sweatshirts and leggings/long pants since it always seems to get chilly as soon as the sun is down (and for bug protection) and pajamas for all kids who will be arriving home more than half an hour past their normal bedtime hour.  They WILL fall asleep in the car, you will NOT want to deal with them after you've not only woken them up getting them out of the car but had to rummage around for pjs and then shove their cranky, sleepy little limbs into them.
    First-Aid: Summer is definitely the big selling time for first-aid stuff I think.  We'll have our bug repelling fan thingy just in case the mosquitos show up in that gap of time between the sun going down and the field being overtaken by clouds of smoke from the fireworks. Band-Aids for both real and emotional boo-boos, preferably the kind that are clear or pictured thin, waterproof plastic that covers the whole pad since that's the only kind they'll keep on. Liquid Benadryl, never leave home without it, especially if you have kids or dogs that may eat or play with random unknown things they find laying around on, crawling through or growing out of the dirt. (Liquid especially because it's easier to get into a person or pet whose throat is swelling up due to an allergic reaction.)  Cloth diaper safe rash cream for possible heat induced-rashes (although I will say that switching them into the fleece covers on top of their prefolds when it gets real hot has led to so many less heat rash diaper rashes than they ever got in 'sposies). Aloe for whatever spots on himself my red-headed husband misses with the sunscreen. Anything we need for something more serious I figure we can depend on the fire fighters stationed at the field for the fireworks to supply.
     Ear Protection: Earplugs are a big thing for us with our girls.  Since we're already dealing with one kiddo with compromised hearing (Spice is single sided deaf) I don't chance risking their hearing any further.  It only takes one loud noise to damage a child's hearing and lots of moderately loud noise over several years (think fireworks, sirens at parades, loud music at outdoor concerts) can slowly impair their hearing into adulthood. Make sure ear plugs or sound blocking earmuffs are on your holiday must-bring list too.
     I think that's it.  What's unique to your family's must have holiday gear list? Anything on your list that I should have on mine to make my life easier?
 Pictures are from last year's 4th of July picnic, easily survived with careful planning.

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