Sunday, October 28, 2012

Top 5 Hurricane Preps for Parents of Small Children

We've spent the last two days getting ready for Hurricane Sandy/Frankenstorm.  I'm pretty irritated that Mother Nature is screwing up two Halloweens in a ROW, when I am TRYING to make lasting childhood memories.  Sheesh.

We are definitely doing this party every year!  So much fun AND a carved pumpkin to take home!

Actually yesterday we had a lot of Halloween fun.  Two Halloween parties, so lots of costume time, Halloween treats, and fun activities.  The girls carved a pumpkin, decorated a cookie, and danced to Thriller.  We had a great day.  I went out to get batteries last night and was thrilled that - although I wasn't the only one who had the idea - Babies R Us was well stocked with the entire alphabet of battery options.  I even got a princess flashlight for Madison. 

But today I was back into Big Storm Preparation mode.  We did all the Red Cross/CL&P type things, like bring in everything from the yard, stock up on food, water and batteries, and charged electronics.  We have gas for the cars, propane for the grill, and all the medicine we'll need.  We turned on the heat to make sure the house starts off warm, we threw a blanket over our deep freezer, and cranked down the temp on both fridge and freezer.  So according to the experts, we're ready.  But here are the top five things that I learned from last year are the TOP five preparations to make when dealing with a possible long term power outage and a toddler and baby!

1) Laundry

Last year we didn't do any additional laundry before the October snowstorm.  I think I actually had a load in the dryer when the power went out - and stayed out.  Thus I ended up packing up what I thought were mostly clean clothes for our camp out at friends' homes, and also bringing loads of laundry with me to do in their machines.  This year, with a newly potty trained toddler, who requires sheet changes on average about once every other day, and an additional messy child, who absorbs a lot of food THROUGH her body, we do even more laundry than last year. 

Therefore, today I washed, dried, folded, and put away FIVE complete loads of laundry.  With the exception of what we wore today, every single piece of clothing in this house is clean.  Now we need to hope that all of Madison's bedtime favorite blankets and cuddly friends remain...let's call it "clean and dry" for the duration.

This was me with load #5.

2) Charged Electronics...with appropriate activities. 

Yes, in an ideal world my children would not even notice the power or DirecTV was out because they never look at such things.  However, I think Madison would have the meltdown to end all meltdowns if she doesn't get her daily Little Einstein fix.  Both Adam and I have fully charged laptops and several DVDs.  We also made sure that "Madison's" iPad is fully charged and has plenty of apps that won't require wi-fi.  Ahh...the world we live in.

Seriously.  She is ADDICTED to this show.

3) Baby food and Toddler favorite food.

Last year, Madison firmly believed that the day didn't begin without a banana.  Of course, during the storm and aftermath, every grocery store was completely sold out of bananas.  When they finally began to get them, they were the greenest, coldest, hardest bananas I had ever seen.  They weren't edible for DAYS.  This year, she's hit or miss on whether or not she wants them, but I stocked up.  If she ends up getting finicky, we'll make banana bread when this is all over. 

These are definitely not meant for consumption.

She's also super picky these days.  One day she loves something, the next day she doesn't.  So in my stock up shopping, I made sure to strive for variety.  I just hope that if the power goes out, she isn't TOO disappointed that breakfast won't included "pancakes and shaushage".

As for Reagan, you wouldn't know it to look at her, but that kid puts away baby food like she's got a hollow leg.  There is NO picky eating there.  I picked up another 24 jars last night...just in case.  Sure she's got me for her milk, but she is a FIRM believer that food comes from a spoon several times a day.

4) New toys.

I picked up a few new (cheap) toys last night to keep the girls occupied and distracted.  Madison isn't afraid of thunder or rain but is VERY afraid of wind for some reason.  Mostly just when it's blowing HER, but she doesn't like it under any circumstances.  Since hurricanes generally include wind, I figure distraction is key.  We decided Candy Land was a new game that she can handle.  I fully expect that the little figures will just move around the board at random, but if it takes her mind of the storm and prevents a meltdown while we're stuck inside for a few days, I'll take it.

A classic!  Perfect for a hurricane and toddler...right?

5) A clean house.

No, I don't expect it to stay that way for long.  But we moved ALL the baby/toddler additions to our living room off to the side.  We bump into that stuff as it is, we'll probably kill ourselves in the dark with only flashlights.  And the girls don't play with legos, but stepping on one of Madison's figurines would probably result in an ER visit for a puncture wound in the foot.

These ladies HURT!!
I think we're as ready as we can be for Hurricane Sandy, the Frankenstorm and the potential darkness that we could be dealing with this week.  Hopefully it won't all be necessary, but thanks to our preparation, I think we can get through it with two happy girls and two sane parents!

Did I miss anything?  Any more suggestions for toddler friendly preparations?


Spa Girl Liz said...

Blankets to make the dining room table into a fort.
Flashlights that you don't care about for each child to "own" and then lose.
Wine and beer. For after-hours.

Katie said...

We're on well water, so no power = no running water. We'll fill the bath tub and since we have a top loading washer I plan to fill it with cold water that can be siphoned out later for, um, sanitation purposes.

It's more a general family-friendly thing, but with well water and no generator, power outages are really a nightmare. When we finally close this refi, we're using our escrow refund to buy a generator and have an electrician put in a transfer switch. It will power the well pump, boiler, sump pump, fridge, microwave, a few lights, and the TV and DVD player (obviously not all at once). Sure, I like my creature comforts, but running water and heat feel like necessities with small children.

Meredith said...

That's the one thing I really hate about well water - power loss means water loss, which is AWFUL with two kids (I hated it without kids...I really hated it with one, I can't imagine how awful with two). We talked about a generator but didn't get one because we wanted a really good one that would kick on automatically, and that will need to wait. Hopefully this won't be too awful!

Barbara Comstock-King said...

You can DO it! Last year taught us all something, at least...clean laundry can NOT be underestimated. It'll be a great adventure. Stay safe!

(It's funny, but as we prep for this, we're sort of "sucking up" all of our electricity time! TV, computer, cooking, laundry, vacuum... storing up the sounds and conveniences of it, I guess!) :-) I imagine we're not the only ones.

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