My son recently had a minor surgical procedure done in Midland. We did not have to travel to Ft. Worth or Dallas to the more specialized children's hospitals like we have always done in the past. After fourteen years of having a child with autism, I have learned to be prepared for a near full blown crisis—you just never know what can happen (how long you might have to wait and the surroundings you may be sitting and waiting in).
I think every mother can sympathize with me. There’s your child's school backpack and then you have that one special bag that holds all kinds of goodies—the things to bribe your special angel with to get through these ever-so-important moments. In our case where we have to drive to Lubbock to see specialists, we have an even bigger bag for the car ride. Then we have the bag!!
I have joked for years that one day, I am going to write a book entitled 1000 Things to do to Keep Your Child Busy and Calm While Waiting in a Doctor’s Office. Of course that day hasn't come yet, because I am too busy waiting in guess where…you got it, doctors’ offices.
Back to the bag. Our bag consists of various things my son forgets we have or things he doesn't get to play with much at home. Of course there are a few of the regular items (Hot Wheels, colors, stickers, coloring books and so forth). My son loves to try using scissors now, so magazines are great if you have the patience to pick up the small amounts of trimmings left behind.
Two straws from a fast food joint are really great, because then you can blow the straw wrapper across a table using the straws. This is a winner, because it's a fairly quiet game.
Now that my child is a bit older and likes Harry Potter, I ordered Harry Potter poster/picture books online and he loves them. Another popular item is always mom's cell phone because we can take selfies and laugh at how fun we are.
My personal favorite, I saved for last. There is usually a box of gloves in just about every doctor's office room you wait in. They make awesome balloons. You can blow them up, tie a knot in them and you can even draw a face on them to turn them into magical creatures. Then you have a fun game of balloon volleyball ready to be played!!!
Yes, we have waited and waited for many appointments, just like all of you. But I have found that if I don’t think of it as time spent just waiting for the doctor but as rare moments when I can spend some quality time with my child, I realize the time goes by much faster than I ever thought!!!
For more parenting tips, go to Navigating Life - Parenting Children with Disabilities on this website.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs to share their tips and stories about caring for their children during difficult times.