My son Finn has a ton of appointments. Pediatrician, neurologist, neurosurgeon, ophthalmologist. On top of the fact that he is six months old and has a bunch of appointments just for being a baby, he has an older sister and brother who have their own appointments and things to do, I’m drowning.
It has taken a lot of driving. We have to drive 25-90 minutes for each appointment, which gets expensive and tiring. Honestly, it’s a good thing we bought a minivan in January or we wouldn’t be able to do any of this. Our last car was going to disintegrate around us. But it gives us a lot of time in the car. Sometimes the kids are with us, sometimes it’s just us and Finn. Finn likes to sleep in the car so long car rides aren’t so much of a problem with him. My other two are older and know the intangible idea of boredom. When Mamaw and Papaw aren’t watching them, just getting to an appointment can be a test of my humanity, let alone getting through the appointment itself and then driving home.
I feel like we need our kids to be cared for quite often. Finn has a lot of stuff going on and Mamaw and Papaw are seriously some incredible blessings from God. The problem is, Preston and I haven’t gotten out of the house for a date in a looooooong time, but I feel guilty asking the in-laws to babysit yet again, not because they are mean or make us feel bad, I just feel like we are constantly asking them to rearrange their schedules for us and that makes me feel guilty. On the other side, the kids are with them quite a lot and I want to make sure they spend time with us, you know, their parents.
I have got to figure this out. It’s bugging the crap out of me! So, to help me out, I’ve gotten really diligent about putting every event in a shared calendar with my husband. It helps me that he knows every appointment or event our family has and can send up an alarm if he hears me talking about double-booked slots I haven’t caught in our schedule.
I also have my phone alert me twice before each event, so I don’t forget. On top of that, I have a paper and pen planner. I know it sounds old-fashioned but I like to color. Plus, writing down each event helps me remember what’s going on. I use it to plan my blog, to plan my time volunteering for my church, to plan out my priorities for the day, and just to help me think through my day. Then I color code and use my pretty highlighters and scented markers to make it pretty and it actually gets me pretty excited to start another day!
Next, I’m going to pack a “go bag” with entertainment and snacks for the kids. It will go with us everywhere, even if I don’t think I’ll need it. The time you’ll need it is always the day you think it will be just a quick trip to the store and back that turns into making a last minute trip to the church because you forgot the Sunday Slides aren’t finished. After all, the bag can always stay in the car. At least I will have it with me.
Lastly, I think it’s time to plan out date nights. Like on my calendar of events. That way, we can have regular dates that the in-laws can count on and hopefully we won’t have to worry about what dates work and what dates don’t. And I won’t feel guilty about asking them over and over to watch the kids each time we want to go on a date.
Do any of you have kids with special needs and a lot of appointments? How do you deal? Please, I could use some tips!