Tuesday, 27 December 2011

The Ballad of Wendell Clark, A Holiday Tradition

Every family has different traditions.  About four or five years ago we started the family tradition of going to a Toronto Marlies hockey game over the holidays.  This year we took Molly & Jack to their first real hockey game.  After an hour of preparation (one diaper per baby per hour, plus one extra, three extra sleepers, two teethers, three soothers, 32 ounces of food, Baby Tylenol, gripe water, plastic bags and wipes) we were on the subway heading to the Air Canada Centre.

I'd say that our outing, while exhausting, was a huge success.  So I've come up with a list of tips when travelling with your young babies to a sports outing to help make life easier:

1) Apologize ahead of time and set low expectations for those around you.  When we sat down with our content babies the group behind us cooed over how cute they were. They may not have felt that way by the end of the game...but we thanked them just the same.
2) Scope out the washrooms for change stations ahead of time - before you need them.  While there were no changing stations in either men or women's facilities right by our section there was a family washroom down the hall.*
3) Over-prepare.  We went through all of the food but 4 ounces and had to change 5 diapers during our outing.  Extra diapers never hurt anyone.
4) Always have at least one more adult than child present.  They won't have to do much, but the extra set of hands makes a huge difference when it comes to holding your beer, pizza or grabbing a soother.**
5) Mascots can be your best friend, or worst enemy?...During the first period when Molly got fussy Duke the Dog came over to cheer her up and it actually worked.  Then he moved three rows in front of us and pretended to make out with a woman while her boyfriend was getting beer.  Service and a show?
6) Overchange don't underchange diapers, because no one wants a wet lap.  At the last break in play during the first period we ran to the family washroom to change both diapers, even though both babies weren't fussing.  Unfortunately the children enjoyed their clean diapers so much that they both immediately crapped their pants when they got back to their seats, but we only missed a few minutes of the second period.
7) Be prepared to miss some of the action and have a good sense of humour about it.  Worst case scenario you walk around the concourse for a while - they have tvs...you won't miss too much.

We got lucky..there was only one set of tears from each baby...and it lasted about 5 minutes each. Jack slept through most of the game, while Molly watched intently.  It was a big success.  The people behind us didn't hate us by the end of the game.***  When we got home we all took a nap - it was glorious!  Long live holiday tradition!

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*To the person who used the family washroom as their own personal smoking room in the third period, Are you kidding me? I didn't appreciate the wait or the hotbox of smoke I walked into.
**Thank you Grandpa Jim for being the third pair of hands.
***Although Chris probably owes an apology to the woman he kept on hitting in the head with our backpack full of baby stuff...Sorry...the seats at the ACC are really narrow and our backpack is epic.

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