A recent trip to the doctor’s office this past week, with a very miserable child, prompted me to write this next blog. Having kids, and just in life in general, it’s always good to plan ahead. It’s not always a guarantee that things are going to run smoothly, but it usually helps. Sometimes, however, you may not have the time to plan for every situation that may arise, and that’s why I find it extremely helpful to have my “bag of tricks” ready to go at all times. The central location of my bag, a black Kenneth Cole tote at the moment, though it does change often, is in the trunk of my car. I won’t mention what else is housed in my trunk, as it’s often the center of ridicule by my husband, who insists there could quite possibly be things living in there. But it never fails, when I pull out my bag of tricks at the most desperate of times, he remembers instantly one of the reasons he married me.
So what’s in a bag of tricks, you ask? Well, it’s kind of like a diaper bag, but way more fun! Infants don’t require a whole lot to keep them entertained. They are often easily amused by the people and places surrounding them. Have a pacifier or two accessible, give them a rattle or soft toy, and be sure you have a bottle or boob handy, and they’re good to go! Diaper bags are more fun to look at with their cute prints and patterns, then the contents they contain. But the older your children get, the more creative you need to be with keeping them entertained, especially when you’re in public and want to prevent a scene, or keep your sanity.
So, let’s start with a few of the basics, a few diapers and wipes, a travel pack of tissues and Wet Ones. I usually keep a change of clothes in the trunk (yes, along with the living things mentioned above) just in case. Portable snacks are also a good distraction, a juice box, some pretzels rods or goldfish, whatever your child likes to nosh on. Lollipops, too. Okay, not the healthiest of choices, but for those special occasions, or a good behavior reward, it could be just what the doctor ordered. Now that the basic needs are covered, let’s pack a little fun in our bag. The dollar store and the cheapie section in Target when you first walk in, are your friends. Get to know them! They are great for coloring books, stickers, art stuff, books, mini puzzles, even travel-type games. Look around, and see what you can find. Highlight’s High Five magazine is also great to throw in, if you have preschoolers. At the end of each issue, they usually have a portable game or activity that my son loves. And often just a notebook and some markers or crayons, washable, of course, can provide hours of entertainment. Tic Tac Toe, funny pictures, even just taking advantage of a teachable moment and writing letters and numbers can pass the time like you wouldn’t believe. Because these things are in your “bag” and they don’t play with them everyday, it’s like a new treat every time you pull it out. And if it’s fun, they will look forward to the activities the next time you’re out.
I am happy to say my bag of tricks worked wonders in the doctor’s office, and that my son is finally on the mend, after a very long week. Which brings me to a final “must have” in your handy, dandy bag of tricks. PURELL! Do you have any idea how many germs are out there? Never leave home without the hand sanitizer, or your Bag of Tricks!!!
What’s in you Bag of Tricks? I’d love to know!