Haven’t we all said, “I wish this child came with an instruction manual?” I know I have, especially when my children were newborns and crying for no reason (well, one that I could find). And if you are with a child other than your own, you might not recognize a cry or other indicator of why they are upset.
A couple weeks ago, I went with The Professor (my husband) and eldest child, S, to Disney World. We decided that we would make this a trip all about S and leave her twin brother and sister at home. Don’t worry–they are 17 months old, and a week with grandparents spoiling them, well, that’s better than a big mouse.
Keeping up with small children can be hard, especially when you are not with them every day. You don’t know what they like to eat, what they like to drink-or anything about their daily routine. That is why I left my in-laws an “instruction manual” for my children. The “manual” gave them an indication as to what our day is like, what the toddlers like, and all the information my in-laws might need (medicine dosages, etc.). I didn’t put my children on a schedule, they just worked it out on their own, and I am fiercely protective of that schedule–especially since they only nap once a day.
Now, you might be asking yourself why I am calling what I left a “manual.” Everyone has seen those cute little babysitter lists with important numbers, bedtime, etc. Well, what I left was more extreme. I detailed out sleeping schedules, snack and meal options, doctor and pharmacy information-with attached insurance cards (just in case), white-noise machine information, favorite toys, where to set the thermostat, and even instructions on how to use the TV (that was at their request being that we were gone on Super Bowl Sunday). Yes, my in-laws could call us with questions, but I wanted to leave another option too. What if we were on a ride and didn’t hear the phone? I wanted them to have every means possible to figure out those two teething toddlers.
I know my in-laws didn’t follow this “manual” exactly as I had it written. I didn’t expect them to. I’m sure there were fudges here and there with nap/bed time and meal time (hello, ice cream every night). But, this was for my own peace of mind. I knew that I had thoughtfully told them everything I could think of that they might need to know while I was away.
Do you leave an “instruction manual” when you go away? Is it as detailed as mine…maybe even more? Or do you think I need to loosen up? I’d love to hear your comments.