Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tend to Your Tag-a-Long

Every military spouse has had a tag-a-long on errands or appointments.  This certainly is not specific to military spouses, but it is something we deal with regularly.  Taking the kids on errands isn’t so bad, at least not every time.  My son actually prefers I take him along rather than run errands while he is in school.  I try to oblige as often as possible.  But dragging him to my doctor’s appointments is not nearly as exciting. 

This month is full of medical appointments for me.  It started with trip to the walk in clinic while my son was at school.  From there I was referred to a doctor an hour south of my house for an appointment at 0915.  Luckily it was scheduled for a day my son had off from school so I wasn’t worried about getting back in time for him to make it to class.  Next week I have my annual *girly* appointment at a time when my son has to come along.  I already tried to reschedule with no luck.  The month closes out with my having surgery at the same place as the referral appointment. 

The surgery is proving to be most stressful already.  I have to be at the doctor at 0800 for a 0930 surgery, I cannot drive myself because I will be all doped up afterwards, and I won’t get out of surgery until after my son needs to be in school.  I do not know very many people in my town, and I hate to ask such huge favors as driving me to and from surgery, and watching my son all morning and taking him to school.  My mother is blowing off work that day to take me in and I am hoping my baby sister can do the same so she can come up and watch my son and take him to school. 

But I digress.  The purpose of this post is to share some easy tips for keeping the kids occupied while you are at your appointment, or anywhere that the kiddos may need to be occupied.   Obviously, the best option is to avoid bringing the kids along all together.  But that is not always an option.  For my referral appointment, I expected to get there with plenty of time to finish any paperwork and get right in to see the doc.  That did not happen.  We got a bit lost on the way and ended up walking in to reception with seconds befor my scheduled appointment.  Then we waited for over an hour to see the doc.  If I were thinking ahead, I would have brought along my son’s activity book and crayons.  Quiet activities should never leave your car or purse.  They can be brought out anytime, anywhere and include books, crayons, or even your ipod (as long as the volume is off).  Utilizing tools offered at your destination is a great idea as well.  Many doctor’s offices have toys and books in the waiting area and exam rooms.  The ER at our local hospital even has televisions in some of their exam rooms so when I needed stitches last year I could turn on Disney channel for my son while I was being tended too.

Even with this arsenal, you need to have patience.  Nothing last forever and your kids are guaranteed to get bored befor you are ready to leave.  Be sure to have a talk with the kids befor you even leave the house.  Let them know that they have to behave and be patient while you are at the doctors.  I find that the *pre-talk* makes a big difference in how well my son handles the boredom.  It also helps to plan something fun/entertaining for after the appointment so your kids have something to look forward too.  This doesn’t have to be some elaborate activity, sometimes eating lunch out is just enough.  I tend to plan multiple activities any time we leave the house simply because everything is so far away, but I make sure to add something my son wants to do whenever I make his wait around for hours in a doctor’s office. 

I hope this post has given y’all a few ideas on how to survive those long, monotonous errands.  Remember to always pack quiet activities, prepare them for the potential boredom, and most importantly have patience!!

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