We had been taking a screwdriver and staple gun to our dining chairs before guests came over to prevent accidents and are growing our very own Library of Congress, so we at least needed new chairs and a bookshelf.
The plan was to get the kids up at an ungodly hour, drive 2 1/2 hours to Chicago, check out a couple of furniture shops, drop Bun at a friend’s to nap, drive to more furniture shops, and depending on what we found, maybe rent a Uhaul and drive back later that evening.
We decided this was a much better idea than just buying furniture locally and having it delivered to our door. (?)
After navigating the alleys and side streets of Chicago, we found ourselves outside a favorite furniture shop–Nadeau, an importer of fantastic, handmade pieces.
Their items are also relatively inexpensive for the quality you get. So, it’s little wonder that we left with a pile…that didn’t fit in our Corolla.
Then, Hubs struck terror into my heart with this: “I called the U-haul place and we can’t get a truck until tomorrow morning. We’ll have to spend the night.”
The fear was mostly a result of the fact that I did not pack to spend the night anywhere. (Read: No extra diapers, clothes, snacks, or pack and play. No other nighttime necessities like noise machine for baby. No toiletries for Mommy).
If I were childless, no problemo. I can rough it. Shoot, when my family went to the beach, we camped…in a tent…outside…in July.
But, give me two babies, one of whom was sleeping like a newborn at the time–note that he was not ACTUALLY a newborn–and I suddenly become a mess of anxiety.
Enter: Urban Camping
This is literally how I had to view our little adventure in order to maintain what the Hubs and I like to call a “happy attitude.”
(Let’s be real: my attitude took some time to develop into anything remotely resembling “happy”).
We were just going “camping.” Granted, the trip wasn’t planned, supplies hadn’t been purchased, and we didn’t have “gear,” but no matter.
I would make do with what we had.
It was only one night, right? You can do anything for one night. Even sleep in the same room with your insomniac baby and toddler who has chronic F.O.M.A. = Fear of Missing Anything: “Mommy asleep? Daddy, where’s Rowan? Rowie awake??? ROWIE!!”
We were all about four feet from one another, so actually the answers to these questions were in plain sight. Sweet Bun.
How to Urban Camp
(i.e. spend the night somewhere unprepared, with children)
- Download a white noise app and crank that puppy up full blast. Maybe if the toddler can’t hear herself think, she won’t notice insomniac baby’s grunting and forget he’s there to talk to.
- Create as much of an illusion of seclusion around the toddler as possible. (We did find a pack and play and barricaded it with pillows, I believe).
- Beg for, borrow, or buy essential supplies…and don’t worry about the rest.
- For you: Pop your contacts in a glass of water, resign yourself to feeding that baby every time he makes a peep…and to a very “natural” look the next morning, when you will buy the biggest Starbucks drink possible to reward yourself for making it through the night.
- Choose to laugh at the aspects of the experience that are ridiculous (babies going home naked because clothes are too gross, etc).
Thanks to incredibly gracious hosts, borrowed diapers and other supplies, and a relatively happy attitude, the night was a success.
The bonus was, some of my mommy-control-freak-ness fell off that day. And the next time I had to be flexible, it was just a (little) bit easier.
You may not find yourself stranded in a metropolis anytime soon, but everyone’s got to deal with unexpected circumstances sometime.
When have you had to be flexible lately? How did it turn out?