I mentioned last week that we are about to embark on the trip of a lifetime. I don't say that because of the destination per se, but mostly because, for the first time since our honeymoon, we're taking an extended vacation that does not involve visiting family members--and we're doing it all by ourselves.
No kids. No diaper bags. No stollers. No sippy cups. No crying...
...except maybe some happy tears.
And don't get me wrong, we LOVE our Crazies like nobody's business. They keep us going, and going, all day long. And all those little-people giggles make the completely nutty part so worth it.
But let's just focus on that nutty part for a second. Nana, Granpa and an Aunt have been so gracious as to offer their child-wrangling services while we are away (which is like, huge), so I thought I'd put together a little list of the things one might do for those amazing care takers to make keeping the Crazies just a little bit easier.
Like a teensy tiny, minuscule bit easier.
I came up with seven ideas, but please feel free to add more in the comments below. There's still time for us to get it together before we leave!
1) Make the meals ahead of time.
Brush off that casserole dish, scrape together some pinterest freezer recipes, and go to town. 'Cause we all know when meal time rolls around there will be at least one Crazy crying at your feet; it's best to limit the insanity during that wonderful (italics are the new sarcasm font) time of day as much as possible so that your care taker will still like you (and/or your kids) when you come back. I'll let you know which meals we prepared later this week, and you can keep an eye out for that post here or here.
2) Give them the schedule low-down.
So I'm not much for micro-managing and I did make the whole flowchart for a generic idea of what might happen, but when it comes to all the little quirks and oddities about our kids I think it's best to over-communicate. Did I forget to mention that the baby has to have 3 pacifiers at bed time, not just one? Or, that the only way to get the two-year-old down for nap-time (this week, at least) is to rub his back for 3.4 seconds, and then refuse him after the tenth request of 'one more time'?
So many details. And that's just the little things!
I put together a binder with our daily schedule to include school drop-offs/pick-ups, meal options, activities, as well as the exact hour at which the heavens will burst open and choirs of angels will sing the hallelujah chorus in perfect harmony while chocolate and sunshine and glasses of wine rain down from the sky. That magical moment is also known as bedtime. Very important, this knowing when bedtime will arrive.
3) Lay out the kids clothes for the week.
Really, it's the only way to avoid those mornings-before-school meltdowns. And to make sure the Puddins isn't wearing big brothers undies. Or nothing at all. 'Cause boys.
I just line up a little stack for each kid in a place where they can't reach it, even for the big kids. Because my Mr. A, who is five years old, mind you, STILL has trouble locating his own socks. And while his reasoning on the subject quickly leads to the position that socks just aren't necessary when you can't find them, I'm pretty sure his school begs to differ. And so do his shoes.
So let's just skip the mayhem and get those little socks and pants and shirts ALL lined up and ready to go.
4) Leave some cold hard cash.
While this may encourage said care takers to rent a getaway car or purchase a passport so they can disappear to Mexico, I'd like to think they'll see it more as a
And yes, Mom, I know you have money. It's the thought that counts, right?
Please don't run away.
5) Make the room your care takers stay in as nice as possible.
Clear off dressers and tables so they'll have a little room to spread out. Maybe even leave a nice little gift bag for them. Nice smelling soaps? Favorite chocolates? Just a little gesture that says, "hey, I know I'm leaving you alone with the Crazies and you may not sleep for a week, but I really do love you, 'cause I left you these chocolates."
Chocolates go a long way.
6) Get those activity boxes prepped and ready.
I've given you guys the skinny on those amazing activity boxes here, so head on over to the dollar store and refill those bad boxes with some new treats for the kiddies.
Some favorites around here include coloring books, brand-spanking new boxes of crayons (like the 50 cent type), granola bars, bouncy balls, and whatever else looks highly durable. You know, your standard dollar store fare.
These little boxes are life savers when the kiddos are bouncing off the walls and you just need a second to stop and catch your breath. Lots of novelty for the kids (new stuff!) and a little quiet table time for the care taker. Win-win!
And last but not least:
7) Clean out the van.
'Cause even though my neat freak hubby just detailed it last week, you KNOW there will be cheerios and colored pictures and who knows what else strewn throughout the car. Give that care taker a car they can be proud of. Or at least tolerate.
There you have it, my list of items for taking care of the kiddos' care takers. Anything I missed? What else would you add?