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cak's avatar

Tag team parenting. How do you keep things normal?

Asked by cak (15826points) April 14th, 2011

Right now, I’m sitting in the room with my daughter. She’s sedated, I don’t think sleep is the word for her current state. My husband is occupying our son. Not an easy task, right now. We’re in a city we’re not that used to being in, so we are still looking for things to go see – besides a University. Go Gators!

If you’ve ever been in an odd situation with your family and were trying to keep things as normal as possible, how on earth did you do it…without hitting the minibar in the room!

We will be here for at least 6 more days, if not a little longer. We have books, there is in-room video games…not always the answer for our son. He’s a huge University of Florida fan, so when we’re here, we always look around at the University…but not much more. Have any simple ideas. Keep in mind, my husband and I have worked out “shifts”. Neither of us stay at the hospital for longer than 4 hours at a time. It helps to keep things fresh with our son.

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7 Answers

YoBob's avatar

Museums are usually a big hit with our kids. A trip to the local playground/park to run off some energy sounds like it might also be a good idea.

janbb's avatar

Have you brought him to the Butterfly Garden at the University museum and to see the bats leaving the bat house at dusk? Both great Gainesville things. Also, there is a natural sinkhole (“the Devil’s Playground”?) nearby that is fun.

So sorry this is happening @cak! Sending you many warm thoughts and a hug!

Tropical_Willie's avatar

He is probably getting “cabin fever” and needs fresh air also some running around and exercise.

cak's avatar

@janbb – The husband is doing bat duty. I just don’t know what night. I had forgotten all about that, but it was in the binder of interesting things around the area. I’ll have to take him to the Butterfly Garden. He did just have a butterfly at school, so this will be a great way to continue that lesson.

Things are a little better than the doctors originally thought. I think we all are breathing now. Thanks, @janbb!

@Tropical_Willie – He is. I think my husband felt that he needed to stay closer by, but last night we figured out that we need to break up the hours for our own sanity and for our son’s sanity.

@YoBob – Yes, a park is a must. I know they walked the inside of the hospital. It was getting the husband to understand that it’s okay to leave the hospital with my son. That proved to be a bit difficult.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Contact the Gators athletic dept. Maybe you can get a meet and greet with some of the coaching staff or student athletes.

Cruiser's avatar

I go on what I call a “Something Interesting” hike. The thrust is to enlist everyone on the hike (think little ones here) to see and point out something they think is interesting. You generally start things off by pointing out something obscure and make a big deal out of it and before you know it twigs, stop signs, funny shaped cloud, a person with a lap top all become interesting finds. This game is addictive for kids and don’t be surprised if they find “interesting” things and blurt them out at will. Can lead to interesting moments at the most inopportune times!! XD

SpatzieLover's avatar

Since you’ll be there almost a week yet, I’d suggest:

Take a Ranger Walk

Visit the SantaFe College Teaching Zoo

Walk/Hike at Paynes Prairie

Or find things like this to do. The manager at your hotel/motel should be able to provide you with activity lists if you give some ideas to her/him about what your son likes to do and can handle.

Since you and your husband have split up the shifts, and since your daughter is healing well, it might be best if one day you scheduled something interesting to do w/your son, then the next day your husband does. That way your son has something to look forward to.

Then, since he is a routine based kid, I’d attempt to keep the interesting site to see at the same time each day. That way he doesn’t get too excited near bedtime. I’d give him at least an hour in the pool each day if he likes this And try to eat outside with him even if it’s just a snack at least once per day. It’ll keep him from feeling confined during this time away from his “normal” life.

In the past, when we’ve had no choice but spend time at the hospital:
*we’ve sent our son on errands to the cafeteria to get coffees with an adult,
*had him help nurses only if your nurses are cooperative and chose to employ him, luckily ours did,
*use quarters in the vending machines to get waters/snacks our son likes helping
*help at the grocery store to fill our mini-cooler for our hospital time/outside the hospital time

We had to think about our regular routine, then modify it for our away from home stays. For example, our son has always found Starbucks to be a “good break”. :) Luckily for us, they also usually have “acceptable” bathrooms. So, when our schedule becomes altered to an “away from home” state whether for medical testing for his diagnosis, a sick relative, or a mini-vacation my husband & I instantly add-in a daily Starbucks visit…sometimes a twice daily visit. It calms our son. He is able to re-focus. Often he’ll tell us when he thinks we should get back to whatever it is we’ve been doing after he has a snack/break there.

My prayers are with all of you :)

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