May 28, 2008

Mama's Rescue Pack

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"Mama! Look out for that dog!" Grace, 7, yelled from the backseat as we were driving to a doctor's appointment. I swerved, Grace jerked, and her juice cup catapulted from its holder, showering her hair and clothes with bright blue "Mountain Cooler." Thankfully, we safely avoided the dog. But Grace was sticky and uncomfortable as she tearfully hobbled into the doctor's office, while I dabbed at her with wipes and apologized.

As we waited in the exam room, Luke let out a weak, "Uh-oh, Mommy." My lap warmed in tell-tale response to the accident that breeched the constraints of his diaper and permeated his clothing, my pants, and most of my shirt.

As the doctor entered the room, there was no need to ask how we were -- not well, as evidenced by Grace's blue-tinted clothing, Luke clad only in a diaper, and me sporting a full-body stain.

After checking the kids, he apologized profusely before delivering the news that we needed to walk over to the lab in the next building for some tests. A sweet nurse helped me outfit both kids in exam gowns. I declined in favor of my own stained clothing -- the thought of literally being caught with my pants down in public was more than I could bear.

After what felt like a 36-hour ordeal, I finally got us all situated in the car. On the way home, Grace, struck by inspiration, said, "Mama, wouldn't it be cool if you could have been like Diego today and had a bathtub and a bunch of clothes in your rescue pack?"

"Grace, you're so right!" I replied. "We need to have a rescue pack for days like this."

Sick and tired, the kids mercifully conked out as soon as we got home. Inspired by Grace and Diego, I got to work on "Mama's Rescue Pack."

With some ideas I gleaned from, I took a medium-sized plastic storage bin that fit neatly in the back of my minivan and stocked it with a simple change of clothes for each child complete with socks, underwear/pull-ups, and a tub of wet wipes. I put in a clean T-shirt for my husband and me and a trash bag for storing wet or soiled clothing. I added a few small bottles of water, some non-perishable snacks like pretzels and granola bars, a flashlight, and a travel-sized first-aid kit. I marked my calendar to update the kit in 6 months for clothing sizes and fresh supplies.

You can't be prepared for everything, but a little rescue pack can make those bumpy spots a little easier to navigate.

Looking for more creative solutions? Click here to see our best Dream Team stories.

How do you prepare for life's unexpected emergencies? Click the comments link below to find and share ideas.

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Mama's Rescue Pack

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