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Monday, August 3, 2015

“Yes, Those Fireworks Are For You”

My family emergency supplies kit got bigger over the Fourth of July weekend. After 40 weeks of freeloading, our daughter was born mid-afternoon on the Fourth. I wonder how long I can keep her convinced that the fireworks are for her?

Our little schemer
Mom, baby and I are doing well. Mom and I are relearning what it means to get “a good night’s sleep.” No surprise there. And baby is already graduating into bigger clothes and diapers.

At the moment of my daughter’s birth, any emergency plans we had were made as incomplete and obsolete as pagers and floppy disks.

I confess that the arrival of my daughter didn’t catch me off guard; in fact, she was a week late, which gave me almost 10 months to update the family kits and communication plan before she showed. In my defense, it’s not like I wasn’t keeping busy. There were strollers and a swing to assemble, multiple car seats to install, and everything needed to be quality assured.

Now that the baby is here, there’s no better time to review our emergency plans and refresh our supplies, and supplement our kits with bottles and enough clean clothes, food (e.g., formula), diapers and wet wipes to last a few days.

In addition to the basics, we also have to account for the unique needs (e.g., probiotic drops) and likes (e.g., pacifiers) of our daughter, who if you gaze long enough into her little crossed eyes, you can tell is already thinking of ways to give her father grief.

At the risk of stating the obvious, the needs of a baby change rapidly over the course of the first year, so we’ll have to revisit our kit again—maybe a few times—before the recommended six months. It won’t be long before we’ll need to add baby food, bigger sized clothes and diapers, medications and whatever else my daughter needs to stay happy and healthy for 72 hours. And to think, there was a time when I thought the only things I needed to get by were my wallet, car keys and a cell phone with a charger.

Eventually, our family communication plan will have to be updated too. My wife and I are lucky enough to have jobs that give us the option of staying home with our daughter for the next several months. At some point, however, we will need to make other childcare arrangements, which could mean hiring a nanny or placing our daughter in daycare. In either case, when the time comes, we’ll need to add contact information for the nanny or daycare to our family communication plan. We’ve already updated our plan with the name and number of our daughter’s pediatrician.

In the grand scheme of things, updating your family emergency supplies kit and family communication plan might not seem like such a big thing. Most everyone’s to do list is long and getting longer every day, especially when you’re a parent. And as a consequence, emergency preparedness becomes one of those things--like descaling the coffeemaker—that we hope to get around to eventually. Life happens, but so do emergencies.

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