Redux: Giving Up the Good Girl

**I’ve been having a bit of a dry spell here on the blog, so today I’m taking an old post & revamping it. Hope you enjoy! What do you do when your writing well runs dry, or you don’t have the time to write?**

I dream of fighting back. I dream of being reckless and bold and talking back. I dream of not being told what to do. I dream of giving up the good girl.

I dream of the day when I don’t stumble or fumble or lose faith in myself, my beliefs. I dream that you have no power over me. I dream that I know the truth. I dream that I know what happened. I dream that it’s tangible and can’t be taken away from me.

I dream of eating fresh guacamole with blue corn chips all day long and a giant margarita to wash it down with. I dream of the extra meat on my bones, a slightly softer rounded belly, one that was once home to my daughters. I dream of a time when I can honor my body and its scars and curves instead of judging it every time I pass a mirror.

I dream of a glass of wine and a notebook, black ink all over the middle finger of my right hand. In the middle of the night, alone. Just me and silence and crumbs on a dirty plate in the kitchen sink.

I dream of you and me and soul mates. And matching games and finding pairs and starting over again and again. I dream that I’m someone else for a few minutes. I dream that time is a gift only I can grant myself.

I dream of slumber parties and Light As a Feather and telling secrets. I dream of a gaggle of girls and staying up all night whispering and playing truth or dare.

I dream of a place where I can say what I want about whatever I choose. I dream of a time when there is no censorship. I dream of letting kids be kids and not worrying so much all the damn time. I dream that it doesn’t matter what other people think. I dream that who we are is more important than where we live, what color our skin is, where (or if) we went to school, and what jobs we have. I dream that even the smartest people can be stupid.

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image credit

I dream of my destiny. Of making a platform for myself. I stand on it; it’s built of old notebooks, my favorite novels, my best friends, memories, conversations, my family, love, strength, smiles, tears and laughter. Bits of my childhood self glued to the woman I am now.

I dream that I don’t have to know the exact destination in order to find it. I dream that I can trust myself to get there. I dream that I’m someone worth knowing. I dream that I’m someone worth loving. I dream that I’m someone you can take a chance on. I dream of winning. I dream of pennies in a fountain and long-lost wishes coming true.

I dream that you love me and see me. I dream that together we have unlimited potential.

I dream that we all make mistakes. I dream that we’re forgiven. And that forgiveness comes easily, but not too easily.

I dream that I have a soul full of ladybugs. I dream of the night standing in your backyard with sunflowers towering over me. I dream of a drunken sailor ripping one from its roots and time stood still as he hurled it over the fence, such beauty wasted.

I dream of a note written on folded paper that landed on my desk. I dream of a night in a treehouse with a little tv and a lot of hormones. I dream of too many screwdrivers and vomiting and sleeping with one foot on the floor. I dream the best dreams and wake up sad to find they’re not real.

I dream that I dreamed you. I dream of chubby baby legs with feet that can’t be squished into perfect pink baby loafers. I dream of pigtails and tiny teeth. I dream of your hands yanking my hair. I dream of your baby voice saying “Mommy,” and your face buried in my neck. I dream of you when you were inside of me, and even before you were actually there.

I dream that someday, all alone, I will stand atop a mountain I’ve climbed and I’ll be sweaty and dirty and exhausted but I will have done it.

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A Lady in France : A Review

Jennie Goutet is not only my friend, but also the author of a brand new memoir: A Lady in France. Her book appealed to me on multiple levels, and I’ve always been drawn to Jennie’s openness and honesty when it comes to addressing tough subjects. I have felt a kinship with her for several years now, and so I eagerly devoured each chapter, always yearning for more.

If I’m being completely up front, I was apprehensive about reviewing her book because I knew a big piece of it was about religion and Christianity. And I’m not a very religious person. I’m Jewish, but for me, it’s more about the culture, heritage, and the traditions, and less about the spirituality, prayer, and God. Jennie chronicles her journey to God in a way that didn’t feel preachy or condescending at all; in fact, if anything, it’s made me question the depth and breadth of my core religious values.

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Jennie’s book opens when she’s 19 years old, studying abroad during her junior year of college.

Why did I go to France in the first place if I was so fearful? 

And I am one of the most fearful people you can meet. I have been terrified of

everything outside of my small life, haunted by the “what ifs,” accosted by

worry and the fear of flying or of grief, ever since I can remember.”

Jennie is painfully honest throughout her book, and confessions like these bring us closer to her. The irony of it, however, is that time and time again, she comes up against something so scary and instead of running away, she confronts the very thing that terrifies her. It’s also inspiring to read about someone (whom I can so closely identify with) abandoning everything to chase after her dreams…literally, since Jennie dreamed at age 17 about meeting and marrying a French man. And she sets out to find him and do just that.

Jennie will hold your hand and bring you along with her as she comes up against loss (suicide and death), depression, and addiction. She’ll describe the cultures and scenery with such vivid detail that it seems as if you’re right there with her; you’ll feel the monsoon, curse the Celiac disease, weep for the dying baby in her arms. You’ll fight back tears when she loses her brother and her fourth child, Alistair. You’ll cheer when she marries Matthieu and they bring their babies into the world. And you’ll laugh with recognition as she appreciates the little things (Fanta and hot showers), schleps strollers up and down stairs, and deals with construction workers and their endless dust.

Jennie manages to woo us with her grace and her immense well of gratitude…that never runs dry despite the many miles she travels, the experiences she has, and the life lessons she learns along the way.

What are you waiting for? Buy your paperback copy of A Lady in France on Amazon! (you can also get it on Kindle there!)

Want to connect with the author, Jennie Goutet? Of course you do!

Follow her on Twitter: @aladyinFrance

Read Jennie’s blog.

“Like” Jennie on Facebook.

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Jennie Goutet

Jennie blogs at A Lady in France and is a contributing author to Sunshine After the Storm — A Survival Guide For the Grieving Mother. She was a BlogHer Voice of the Year pick two years running, and her writing has appeared in Huffington Post, Queen Latifah’s website, and BlogHer, among other places. She lives just outside of Paris with her husband and three children.

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#WhereILivedWednesday with Ann Imig of Ann’s Rants

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241 East Livingston Place.

No one had ever lived there before us. It was a clean slate; a brand new house that smelled of paint and possibility. I was 11 when we moved in.

There was a pea gravel driveway and Dad liked lots of lush landscaping: liriope (though we called it “monkey grass”), ligustrums, palm trees, birch trees, and dogwoods.

We put in a pool in the backyard. One night Mom roused us from our cozy beds. Apparently the entire frog population of southeastern Louisiana had migrated to our freshly dug pit, not yet plastered. It seemed they were either very chatty with one another or it was mating season. Either way, we used brooms and rakes to coax them into garbage cans. We walked the cans down to the ditch at the end of the next block and introduced them to their new home so we could finally sleep.

There were railroad tracks nearby. At first the trains and their whistles bothered me; I stared at the ceiling at night, watching my fan go round and round. I started having irrational fears and stopped sleeping. Mom was a trooper. She’d come in my room and talk to me, sometimes rub my back for awhile to help me fall asleep.

We had a brass mail slot in the front door. Darby, our Yorkshire Terrier, ripped up the mail as it came in, shredding it to pieces if we weren’t there to rescue it first. We’d come home to a pile of torn up envelopes, flyers and paper, wet with doggie drool.

The unfinished third floor became our attic. Steep steps led up to a small area that became the backdrop for a Magellan video, a history assignment I had in seventh grade. Lori, Cecilia, Genevieve and I sweated like mad and put together a silly script. I played Barbara Walters, wearing a pale pink dress with shoulder pads that belonged to my mom. Lori took the role of Magellan, sporting a funny-smelling old man mask we had. One of my parents tilted the video camera from side to side to emulate a rolling ship at sea.

My room had dark green, almost turquoise carpet and light pink paint on the walls. I remember sitting on the floor, still in my red plaid uniform skirt, cutting myself for the first time. I was maybe 12 or 13 years old.

I cried in that room when I had a fight with my best friend. We stopped speaking to one other for a long time. It was rough. Rougher than I let on to anyone.

Sometimes late at night, I’d crawl under my bed to talk to my few friends on the phone. Being under there helped muffle the noise of my voice, because I wasn’t supposed to be up that late, or be tying up the phone for that long (pre-call waiting, a-hem).

I had my own bathroom (one of the advantages of being the only girl). Back then I showered and washed my hair every day (funny how that’s changed). In the small cabinet underneath my sink I had a set of tall, skinny pink & purple rollers and a crimping iron. And some Studio Line from L’Oréal products.

I remember running up to my room after the family meeting we had when my parents told us they were getting divorced. I grabbed my phone with shaking hands and dialed number after number until I got someone on the line. I made plans to leave and grabbed my backpack and a jacket out of my closet. I knew somehow that nothing would be the same when I returned. I looked around at my stuff and thought about how different things look after tragedy hits.

We moved into 241 East Livingston Place as a nuclear family. We left fragmented and a little frayed around the edges.

Want to join the fun? Head over to Ann’s blog on the last Wednesday of every month for the Where I Lived Wednesday linkup!

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A Room of My Own

I can’t stop thinking about writing. I write in my head all the time. In fact, I write my best blog posts while I’m driving my car or waiting in carpool line at the twins’ elementary school.

And that’s too bad because nothing gets copied to paper.

There was a time when I woke up at 5 a.m. every day and devoted myself to the daily practice of morning pages, as Anne Lamott recommends in Bird By Bird.

Eerily, that time was three years ago. Before I got pregnant unexpectedly with our third child, before I knew I was pregnant…and then became too tired to maintain that rigorous schedule.

I want to get back to an early morning writing practice. But since I started kicking some of my meds to the curb, sleep doesn’t come easily, which translates to being very tired in the mornings and having a tough time dragging myself out of bed.

Perhaps if I began rousing myself earlier, I’d solve my insomnia problems? Then I’d get some real writing done AND I’d sleep better. It’ll be a win-win!

My mind keeps wandering to Virginia Woolf’s essay A Room of One’s Own. I wish I had a little nook to write in, a space that was just mine. There wouldn’t be any stray Cheerios or Fisher-Price toys underfoot, no Dora the Explorer in the background; it would be sparsely decorated so as not to distract me. I envision a big, cozy chair and a fun little stool for my feet. A coaster with a cup of hot tea perched on it.

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Sometimes I look around our house and I feel selfish for wanting my own space. Of course I love my husband and our three children, but I just want a little nook.

I wonder how it would change my productivity and my writing?

For now, I think I’ll start setting my alarm clock for 5 a.m., at least a few mornings a week.

What about you? Where do you write? What is your fool-proof writing recipe? How do you keep yourself focused? What helps you draw out your muse? Any tips?

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My Inner Critic

From the second I wake up each morning until I fall asleep each night, I hear a running commentary in my head. It usually goes something like this:

“You’re so freaking stupid. I can’t believe you did that.”

“What is wrong with you?”

“Of course you screwed up. You always do. Typical.”

“You’re an awful mother. If you worked with her more, she wouldn’t have delays.”

“Don’t bother showering or putting on something nice. You’ll still look like shit.”

Before you can ask, no, I’m not kidding.

There’s a very old record player somewhere inside of me. And this same record has been on the turntable for years. Because it’s scratched in places, some parts just play over and over again. Drumming it in. Sealing it. Locking it tight.

“Just shut up. You don’t have anything important or intelligent to say.”

“I can’t believe you left the house looking like that. You’re disgusting.”

“Look at your flabby stomach. You’re so lazy. You need to go on a diet.”

“Why haven’t you been exercising? It’s your fault you are so out of shape. What a slob.” 

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I had a Fisher-Price record player similar to this one. Did you?

I talk to myself inside my head and the voice I hear is my own, but it is not very nice. It’s loud and coarse, angry, bitter and demeaning. There are no manners, no niceties. I’ve been doing this for so long I can’t quite remember when it began, or how or why. I don’t recall a time when I didn’t hear these things. Sure, the language evolved a bit over time and cuss words got sprinkled in here and there, but otherwise– it’s the way it’s always been.

And although I just became aware of how severe the problem is, it’s an entirely different matter to try to stop it. The behavior is so deeply ingrained, so habitual– it lasts all day long, every day. The idea of not doing it seems too daunting a task. Removing a ritual that’s been in place since I was maybe 10 or 12 years old? How do I even begin?

My therapist said, “It’s no wonder you’re depressed and feeling so strung out. Think about how it makes you feel to be beaten down in this way, all the time. That takes a toll on a person.”

Huh.

I chewed on that for a few minutes before I started to cry.

I am, and have been, my own worst enemy. Self sabotage at its best.

And you know what’s almost comical? The things I say to myself I would never dream of saying to someone else. Not even on my worst day or if I was really upset. You just don’t speak to people that way! It’s rude and downright mean. It’s fine to have an opinion on something, but if you disagree you still need to be respectful in the process. There’s certainly no need for name calling.

But it’s totally acceptable to treat myself like shit. Because after all, I deserve it.

You know how sometimes you’re driving in the car and you wind up at your destination with absolutely no clue how you got there? You pull into a spot and shift into park and all of a sudden it’s like you snap yourself awake.

How did I get here? Wait, what? I’m in carpool line? I drove here myself? When?

It’s life on auto pilot. You go through the motions because you’ve done them a million times before and so you can multitask with the best of ‘em.

And so is the way with my inner critic.

My children don’t know about my inner critic. I hope they’ll never find out. And I pray every day that they’ll never develop one themselves.

Do you have an inner critic? What does he/she say to you? And if not, am I all alone in this?

 

 

 

 

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More Grammar Mistakes (a follow-up post)

 

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I wrote a post recently that resonated with many people: Top Eight Grammar Mistakes . It went over very well and in the comments, several of you left suggestions for other common grammar errors. So I decided it would be helpful to do a Part II, a follow-up post of sorts.

It’s important to master proper grammar because your writing is often the first thing people see about you.

In no particular order, here’s a(nother) list of commonly made grammatical mistakes:

1.) Pique, peak, peek

Three totally unrelated words. Pique is a verb, peak is a noun, and peek can be a noun or a verb, meaning a quick glance (noun), or to look at something furtively (verb).

Examples: Her blog post about social media mavens piqued my interest.

He hiked all the way up to the peak of the mountain.

If I’m worried about burning dinner, I just peek into the oven.

2.) Lay vs. lie

Lay means to put or place in a horizontal position, to set something down (or to lay eggs!). Lie is a noun and a verb. As a noun it means a false statement or an untruth. As a verb it means to either tell someone something untrue or the act of resting or being in a horizontal position.

Examples: I asked her to lay her book down before taking the test.

When his son came home late, he lied about where he’d been.

Whenever I have a bad headache, my mom tells me to lie down for awhile.

3.) Principal vs. principle

Principal can be a noun or an adjective; as a noun, it’s the head or director of something, i.e. the school principal. As an adjective, it describes something that is first or highest in rank. Principles, on the other hand, are guidelines or rules.

Here’s an example to help you remember: The high school principal is your PAL. Get it?

The principles behind calculus have always eluded me.

4.) Then vs. than 

Then is a noun (time), an adjective (being such at that time), & an adverb (at that time, next, or soon). Than is a conjunction used when referring to a comparison or a preference of some sort.

Examples: They did their homework, then they went outside to play.

The then president was impeached.

I’d rather jump off a cliff than eat bell peppers. He’s smarter than I.

5.) Faze & phase

Faze means to worry, bother, or disturb. Phase refers to a stage in a process of development; OR the phases of the moon.

Examples: She was so used to being bullied that the mean words didn’t even faze her.

My toddler throws tantrums all day long; they say it’s a phase, and I can’t wait until it’s over!

6.) Piece vs. peace

Piece is a part of something, or a slice of pie. Peace is the absence of any strife, war or disagreement.

Examples: Do you have a piece of gum?

As the mother of three, I often wish for peace and quiet.

 7.) Your & you’re

Your is possessive and you’re is a contraction, short for you are.

Examples: Is that your glass of wine or mine?

You’re going to drive me crazy if you don’t stop that.

 

So what am I leaving out this time? Be sure to leave me some examples in the comments! And thanks again for your suggestions for this post!

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Talking to Kids About the Holocaust.

I didn’t plan to launch into a discussion about Hitler and Nazi Germany.

Last month I read an article about the actress who plays the role of Liesel Meminger, Sophie Nelisse. Her performance in the film belies her age (13 years). According to our local newspaper,  Nelisse turned down some serious gymnastics dreams in order to pursue this part. My daughters saw that I was engrossed in something and asked me what I was reading. So I told them about Nelisse, and explained that the book was so good I couldn’t wait to see the movie.

I was too impatient to put off seeing The Book Thief any longer, so I suggested they play in the basement for awhile. When they asked why, I told them there might be some scary parts. When they asked what those scary parts would be, I suddenly found myself in unfamiliar territory.

I knew I should keep it simple. I mentioned a mean man named Adolf Hitler. They remembered hearing a bit about him from one of their favorite movies, The Sound of Music. I told them Hitler didn’t like Jewish people and he wanted to separate them from everyone else. Apparently that fact alone wasn’t intimidating enough; I gently told them that he managed to kill many Jews during World War II. I didn’t talk about Auschwitz, Dachau or Bergen-Belsen. I didn’t tell them about the tattoos, the gas chambers, the labor camps or starvation. I didn’t tell them about the six million. But I did tell them about Sophie Nelisse’s character, Liesel, and how her family hides a Jewish man, Max, in their home during the war. Their hearts warmed and grew lighter upon hearing that non-Jews were willing to put their own lives in danger in order to do the right thing and help others. These are the lessons I want to teach my daughters.

I don’t believe in hiding everything from my kids, and I don’t like lying or sugar-coating reality. They’re old enough to know and understand plenty of things; and while they don’t need to hear the gritty, gory details, I’m doing them any favors by shielding them from something like this. They’re mature enough to handle the basics. After all, the Westboro Baptist Church is very much alive in Kansas City, and, well…history is doomed to repeat itself unless we educate our youth. They need to know that the world isn’t always such a pretty place. They need to know that even in 2014, people don’t respect differences.

My mother-in-law found an age-appropriate book for them, but it’s long and they’ve already peeked inside and decided they aren’t ready for it. And so we’ll wait until they bring it up again.

My friend Holly Rosen Fink interviewed Nelisse and Emily Watson, who plays her adopted mother, Rosa, in the film. Watson says something profound and critically important:

“And that’s why you have to keep making films like this– because there’s a whole generation of kids who think that Adolph Hitler is a football coach.”

And that’s just it. My kids may not be learning about the Holocaust in school yet, but eventually they will. In the meantime, conversations can and should start in the home when children are ready. This is only the first of several such discussions we’ll have with our daughters.

 Have you talked about the Holocaust with your kids? Have you brought up other difficult topics? I’d love to hear what you said and how it went!

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Just Write: Delays and Doctors

linking up with Heather of The Extraordinary Ordinary for Just Write

yesterday I took Piper in for an appointment with a pediatrician who specializes in child development. she’s had some delays and issues and we’ve been working with a wonderful team of therapists since early last summer. i can’t say enough about her speech therapist, physical therapist, and nutritionist. they’re all phenomenal women and we’re so lucky to have benefitted from their knowledge and expertise.

but still. it’s very slow going. communication is tough — for everyone– because she can’t convey what she wants, or when she tries, we can’t understand her garbled speech and attempts.

it escalates. she becomes frustrated. i become frustrated. and upset. she starts fussing and crying. tantrums follow.

and i sit there, throw my hands up. i don’t yell much since the new year began. but inside i’m knotted up, cinched tight. i realize my fists are clenching and unclenching involuntarily. i get irritated. i don’t know what to do. i don’t know how to handle her.

i know she doesn’t often throw these fits at preschool. i don’t know if it’s because she’s surrounded by her peers and she’s so busy emulating them and interacting… or if it’s just because she knows there are firm(er) limits there and no one’s going to put up with any bullshit.

consequently, things at home have been, well, less than pleasant. i need Nanny 911. i’m trying to be firm and not let her steamroll me (because i think without even realizing it, we’ve been catering to her, indulging her…after all, she is the “baby” and she has delays).

it’s often hard to tell if she’s just testing me. is she being a typical two-year-old in some regards? i’ve been down this road before, but i’ve forgotten just how difficult this stage can be. and couple this with my own struggles lately–with depression and weaning off the benzos– and yeah, it’s not always very fun around here.

so the doctor we saw yesterday made some recommendations for further testing– to see if there could be a reason behind her delays. it’s entirely possible there is no underlying explanation; some kids just have delays. there are easier and quicker ways to get some answers, i.e. blood draws and chromosome studies. then there’s the flip side, an MRI of her brain. invasive and would require putting her to sleep. i don’t think we’ll be doing the latter. it was a lot to take in, but i’m grateful to have the input and to know that…we can investigate further if we choose to, or if she doesn’t progress, or if she (G-d forbid) regresses.

and then there’s this blog, this space. MY space. i’ve been stifled in some ways, feeling as if i shouldn’t publish anything that’s not useful or good or interesting. in blogging there’s something to be said for not publishing a post every time you feel like it just for the sake of putting something up that day, or on a regular basis. but i’ve gone the opposite direction. i’ve stopped putting much of anything out there because it doesn’t seem to measure up to the other blogs i read regularly. where do people get all their ideas from?

i spend too much time reading and sharing others’ posts and not enough time on my own work. maybe if i put more effort in here…there’d be more worth posting.

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Reverse Bucket List

I’ve seen a lot of people sharing their reverse bucket lists lately. Which is a nice idea since it helps you realize how much you’ve accomplished instead of emphasizing how many things remain on your to-do list. Frankly, I could use a little encouragement, so here is my very own REVERSE BUCKET LIST:

  • spent a month living in France during the summer I was 14
  • got inducted into the National Honor Society when I was a junior in high school
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Why didn’t anyone tell me not to wear matching tights for National Honor Society induction?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • left my beloved hometown of New Orleans & went away to college
  • joined a sorority and served on its executive board
  • got published (anonymously) in the Millsaps College campus literary magazine, The Stylus
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yes, this is a real photo of an actual copy I still have (hoard)

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The night before I graduated from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi.

 

  • majored in English, minored in French; graduated on time in four years despite a leave of absence during junior year
  • applied to grad school, got accepted
  • completed my Master’s program on time in 18 months
  • earned my Master’s degree
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The hood was awesome. Master’s degree, CHECK.

 

Saturday, December 1, 2001

Saturday, December 1, 2001

 

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The surprise/miracle baby

The surprise/miracle baby

Want to read some other fun reverse bucket lists? Check out post by my friends Jennifer Williams, Alison Lee, Andrea Mowery, Katie Sluiter & Poppy Marler.

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Top 10 Things Every Parent Should Keep in the Car

Last week reminded me that it was time to (re)stock my car with some essential items. One of the girls came down with a stomach bug and nearly got sick in the car. Fortunately  I had a few things to help until the inevitable happened, and by that time we were coincidentally at the pediatrician’s office, where they gave me the best thing ever. Which brings me to number one on my list:

1. Plastic bags  (and preferably some hospital-grade barf bags like this!)

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The nice thing about these is that they’re molded to fit right around the mouth and they can hold A LOT. So older kids can use these pretty efficiently should the need arise. But if you have a toddler, you may have to wing it with regular old plastic bags. And you’ll want a few of those anyway for your regular kiddie trash, i.e. wrappers, gum, dirty wads of Kleenex, and fallen french fries. And also to put the used barf bags in.

2. Antibacterial wipes

My minivan does have a built-in DVD player, but until the day they start making them with a sink in which to wash hands, we’ll have to make do with some antibacterial wipes. For tough jobs involving any sort of bodily fluids I prefer Clorox wipes (go ahead & call me a germaphobe), but otherwise Wet Ones or something similar will do.

3. Hand sanitizer

After you finish cleaning up car barf on the go, you’ll want to get those pesky microbes off your hands, and everyone else’s, too. So get thee some Purell!

4. Baby wipes and Kleenex

For less worrisome or minor yucky things (“Mommy, I have a booger!”), I always keep a pack of baby wipes or Kleenex handy. I vote for baby wipes because sticky hands are quite common.

5. Bottles of water

I don’t love plastic, so I don’t buy bottled water on a regular basis. Don’t get me started on how we can “just recycle” (that’s another post). But I will buy a few bottles to store in the car. I often hand them out to homeless people I encounter while we’re out and about. And the rest stay in the trunk or center console for times I hope we’ll never need them, i.e. if we get a flat tire, have an accident and need to wait for a tow truck, or there’s a traffic jam. Because inevitably that’s when at least one of your kids will decide to throw a tantrum because of thirst.

6. Snacks

See # 5. Kids are always whining about being hungry or needing something to munch on.  Also, I keep a bag of high-protein snacks in the car year round for handing out to the homeless. For my own brood, I stock potable applesauce (it’s more fun to drink it and less mess for me), Goldfish crackers, and granola bars in my ride.

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7. Cell phone charger

If you have my kind of luck (which is to say no luck at all), you’ll find yourself stranded with screaming kids, no gas in your car, and your cell phone will be dead so you won’t be able to call AAA for reinforcements. I keep my charger in my  minivan all the time, and whenever I head out I usually plug it in just to be safe.

8. Medication for you & kids

You never know when two Advil could save your sanity. Or some Benadryl could convince your toddler to nap instead of scream in her carseat. In all seriousness, I keep Children’s Advil with me, too. Just be sure to check the label because sometimes extreme temperatures can affect the medication. I stash it in my purse or baby bag just to be safe.

9. Towels (or an old blanket or two)

You might have to make friends with the cold, wet, or dirty pavement so you can change a tire or dislodge a giant tree limb stuck to your vehicle’s underbelly. Or you might need to drape it on the lap of a sick kiddo in transit.

10. Hand warmers

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My husband introduced me to these when we moved to KC and went to a Chiefs game when it was snowing. I’m sure I’m a worrywart, but I do have some of these in my car as well. It would suck to get stranded with a dead battery and kids with chattering teeth. You can find these at most drugstores or on Amazon.

 

 

 

Do you keep some (or all) of these in your car? What would you add to the list? 

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