Braving The Parade
Since becoming a parent, more things used to stress me out than they used to. Which probably makes sense and it probably happens to a lot of parents. Those who know me know I tend to over-think things, and I try to work out every possible solution to a hypothetical problem, which genuinely makes me feel better about the situation. It drives me a little nuts while I'm working it out, but it's something I NEED to do. If I can solve the problem before it happens, I am much more relaxed and confident about the problem and, often, it ends up not being a problem at all because I've already worked it out.
Well, one such "problem" was how I would handle taking my now-11-month-old daughter to a victory parade two hours from our house. My husband has been waiting to celebrate this victory for practically his entire life. So there was no question he'd be going, and, of course, he wanted our baby and me to join. And I wanted to! I didn't want to automatically say, "you go and have a great time. We'll stay here because it's just easier." I WANT to participate in these things, but we can't just decide in the morning to attend and just wing it. I guess people do do that, but I am not a "winger" with my child, and you've probably picked that up if you've read any of my previous posts. :) I worked incredibly hard on getting her on a great schedule, and I didn't want to stray too far from that schedule. And so the mental planning began. The championship was won on a Wednesday evening, and the parade was to be held the following Saturday, so I had to get to planning!
I had so many questions: Where would I change her? What about her naps (she's still on two a day on the weekends)? What about her meals? Would I hold her in my arms? How would I warm her bottles? Would we get home in time to put her down for bed at her normal bed time? With such a large crowd around us, I wasn’t confident changing her or feeding her would be an easy task because I doubted there would be an available bathroom or a restaurant without a long line or that would have an open table to accommodate us when we needed. I knew there would basically be a 0% chance and that I’d have to be super flexible.
The very first thing I did was buy her noise-canceling headphones, which were CLUTCH during the parade. I bought these and they were perfect. One problem solved! Then I started planning what the rest of the day would look like. The thing that brought me the most comfort regarding her potentially missing a nap was that she really doesn't like to sleep at daycare. She's very stimulated and has such a wonderful time that sleep is the last thing on her mind. So I knew she'd be OK if she missed a nap while at the parade. Two problems solved! I did, however, want her to take at least one nap, and she sleeps really well in the car. If we could leave around her first nap time, even a little bit earlier, I was pretty sure she would fall asleep for a little while. Three problems solved! As for her food and bottles, I decided to prepare as much as I could like I normally would and just hope for the best. I would bring things she could eat cold since I knew there would be no place to warm anything. I had a soft cooler I could pack, so that should work out well. Four problems solved! As for changing her, I decided I would change her in the car prior to the parade. She's no longer an infant who usually goes through 100 diapers a day, but you never know. If I had to change her again, I would just find a place or go back to the car. Five problems solved! As for carrying her, I would bust out my carrier, which I had never used, to carry her, because she's too heavy to just carry her on my hip and in my arms for an entire day. Six problems solved! Finally, as for getting home for her regular bed time, this one was an easy one. I just asked my husband about it and he said he hoped to be home well before her bed time. Seven problems solved! It only took me a couple of hours to figure out, but I relaxed so much once I did. I know it probably doesn't seem like it, but I knew I'd be able to just go with the flow once I had all those things worked out.
When parade day arrived, the day was executed PERFECTLY and I am so happy we went! But, my planning really made all the difference. First and foremost, the headphones were so perfect. She wore them the entire time we were there and even took an hour and a half nap in my arms! While she was sweating and there was so much going on around her. My child, who does not like to nap at daycare, an environment far more conducive to napping, passed out in my arms. She was in my carrier in a side/hip carry position the whole time, which was very comfortable for both of us, and, for her nap, she just doubled over and fell asleep. We did a good amount of walking, and she slept that whole time. We left for home at a reasonable hour, while the rally was taking place, which meant the hundreds of thousands of people who attended would not be on the road with us. Which was huge. On the way home, I sat in the back seat with her so I could feed her and give her a bottle since it was around the time she was due for one anyway. Once we got home, we played around for a while like we normally do and we were able to do her bedtime routine as usual and that was it!
In addition to being glad we did this as a family and getting to attend this celebration together, I'm also glad we did it because I'm more confident that we can do more day trips together for other fun family activities! While keeping her on a schedule has been really important to me, I understand there are certain situations where we need to learn to be flexible and thankfully this kid rolls right along with it. As long as she has all her basic needs met, we can make certain exceptions to make sure we can still enjoy the fun things!