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Outfits Not Just Clothes ...
To Bring the Baby or Not to Bring the Baby:
Road Trips
By bernadette Ulsamer

Traveling with a baby is both trepidatious and complicated. Not only do you have to pack (what seems like) 20+ lbs. of extra luggage, there’s also the strategic aspect to ensure baby gets fed, diapered, and rested as closely as possible to their regular schedule. My husband and I have yet to take our 9-month-old daughter on a plane, train or bus, but we have taken several road trips since her birth, and here are a few things we’ve learned along the way.
  When it comes to highway travel, turnpike rest stops are our new best friends! We have greatly appreciated the family restrooms and the Mommy & Me stalls in the Ladies’ room at the official turnpike rest areas. Having adequate facilities to change your baby’s diaper and use the restroom yourself are invaluable when you’re on the road. And, of course, coffee and snacks are to be had at each stop. My poison of choice is a Starbucks iced coffee with milk, while my husband likes Gatorade and gummy bears, whatever works to keep us awake.
  Speaking of staying awake, we’ve come to realize that the absolute maximum time our baby will nap in the car is 4 hours on and off. Five hours is pushing it, and on a recent trip to Philadelphia the last half hour was a nightmare and she fussed and cried non-stop. So, when planning to visit family and friends we keep to a 4-hour travel time radius.
  We have yet to stay at a hotel/motel with our daughter, so I can’t say if it’s a better suited set-up than staying at some one’s house. However, I will say that I prefer to stay with family as opposed to friends when traveling with an infant. For me, I’m more comfortable imposing potentially cranky houseguests (I’m using the plural to refer to all three of us, since sleeping through the night is no longer part of our lifestyle) on family, as opposed to friends. Even very close friends have their limits. I feel with family, especially my parents, I can lean a bit more heavily on their help with the baby, and tolerance of my less than stellar mood in the mornings.
  Regardless of where you end up staying, be sure to plan age-appropriate activities. So happy hour is probably a no, but bringing a picnic with a bottle of wine to the park is way more feasible and just as fun. You don’t have to have big plans, but you do want to enjoy yourself and not just hang out at someone else’s house all day. So, while keeping to the feeding and napping schedule, work in some event or activity that will be fun but relataively simple and low-key.
  Trying to keep packing for baby simple is a skill I’ve not yet required. I’ve found for my baby, that it’s better to take along extra of just about everything. Clothes, diapers, formula, toys, and comfort items. I like to bring up to two extra days’ worth of ‘supplies’ just in case. However, I keep bath stuff at home. If you’re going for less than a week, then you don’t need to haul out the baby’s tub and bath toys. I do take along her washcloth, soap, and towel for quick cleanups. In the event of major mess, aka a blow out, you can always hose them down in the sink or bathtub.
  Another great thing about the rest stops bathrooms is that I don’t feel guilty throwing away dirty diapers in the restroom trash. However, in some one’s home a poopy diaper is not so easily thrown out. The majority of households to not have a diaper genie on standby. So even though it can be a messy subject, make plans with your host for disposal. Be prepared to take your dirty diapers with you, it may not be ideal, but as a guest you have acquiesce on this point.
  Finally, when in the car, I sit up in the passenger’s seat, while my husband usually drives. Some parents may choose to sit in the back with baby, but I’d much rather sit up front and talk with my husband, enjoy the scenery, and read. That being said, I have become very good at turning around in my seat (keeping my seat belt on to avoid the incessant beeping when it’s off and the car is moving) and feeding the baby a bottle and/or entertaining her with a toy. Thank goodness for all those years of yoga, because, like in most things baby-related being flexible is key! While we laugh about it now, my husband and I got into a very heated argument when some ‘idiot’ left the bottle bag in the back seat. My flexibility came in handy in that moment. Granted, we could have pulled over, but I think someone wanted to prove a point. As I said, we’re able to laugh now…
  That’s usually the reason for road trips – to make memories, share laughs, and have a few mini-adventures. So, while there’s still a bit of summer left, don’t be afraid to hit the road with baby in tow!


The Bookworm Sez
By Terri Schilichenmeyer

“Cards for Brianna” by Heaher McManamy (with William Croyle)
c.2016, Sourcebooks
$15.99 / $22.50 Canada
201 pages

The mail’s here.
  Mostly, you know, it’s bills, fliers for a new dentist in town, sometimes a magazine, and a reminder from your veterinarian. You got two requests for donations and a letter from an organization you belonged to, years ago… but look again. Maybe, as in “Cards for Brianna” by Heather McManamy (with William Croyle), there’s something more special in the pile.
  In the annals of Something’s Not Right Here, Heather McManamy’s name must be at the top of the list.
Thirty-three years old, married, the mother of a toddler daughter, McManamy was “living a dream” until she found a lump on her chest. The lump was stage II breast cancer; just about a year later, she was told she had “two years at most to live.”
  On the day she received that devastating news, McManamy says that she and her husband decided not to dwell on the diagnosis. There wasn’t much that could be done about it anyhow, but McManamy understandably became concerned about her daughter. Brianna had dealt with the deaths of pets at a tender age – but how would she ever understand the loss of her mother?
  Knowing that it was likely Brianna might have a stepmother someday (and frankly welcoming the idea), McManamy made videos and audio recordings for her daughter to have someday, which sometimes seemed silly. It was then that she hit upon the idea of leaving greeting cards for Brianna, one for each milestone when a girl might particularly need her mother.
  Don’t wait to do the things you want to do, she wrote in one card. Laugh every day. Learn who your friends really are, and let them help you; conversely, if you know someone who’s going through rough times, ask before you help. “Soak in the love” on your special days. Accept that good can come from very, very bad things. Never give up hope. Remember that “every day matters.”
  And if there’s ever a question, “Yes, a card is always good.”
  I genuinely expected that I’d need a pickup truck full of tissues for my time with “Cards for Brianna.”  There’s the first surprise: I didn’t.
  Yes, there are moments when your emotions will rule, but author Heather McManamy (who died last December) mostly writes about dealing with cancer, enduring chemo, losing her hair, keeping a sense of humor, and trying to make every single last minute count. There are, believe it or not, some smiles in this book (with William Croyle), but there’s also anger, too: anger at the situation, at faux-friends, and at the “pink ribbon” movement that, she says, pushes “metsters” aside. Readers may notice, given these occasional literary outbursts, that McManamy tried very hard to remain upbeat, but cancer sometimes took that away from her, too…
  This may be a very difficult book to read if you’re new to the cancer-go-round, but old hands at it might enjoy the truthfulness and camaraderie inside. For you, family, or anyone who’s in need of a bad-time boost, “Cards for Brianna” may be heaven-sent. 


 

 
 
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