Your Last-Minute Being-Around-Kids Preparation Checklist

I’m gonna tell you some cute stories about my nephews! I got to Texas yesterday morning to visit my family for Christmas. I’ve got three nephews who are better than anyone else’s kids, ever, in every single way, especially in cuteness.

The first thing my middle, four-year-old nephew did when I got in the car was ask, “Aunt Becca? How is Uncle?” By that he meant my boyfriend Michael, to whom he has never referred as “uncle” but I guess that’s a thing now (it was SO SWEET). In what I can vouch for as a complete and total accident, the eldest, 10-year-old nephew saw one of his unwrapped Christmas presents (it wasn’t very well-hidden), and was so wracked with guilt over having seen it that he decided he had to tell his parents. And the youngest, two-year-old nephew figured out how to get out of his crib and has been torturing my sister and brother-in-law at bedtime, but last night he decided he had to get out of his bed to give me a hug goodnight. They’re all way too adorable for words.

And, of course, the two-year-old is sick with a cold. I forgot to bring preparatory materials, so I’ll be sick with a cold too. I’m using my poor planning skills to help all of you other people who spend 60 percent of your time alone and another 35 percent of your time around healthy adults to make last-minute adjustments to your packing lists.

If you’re going to be around kids, don’t forget:

  • Emergen-C, cough syrup, and Ibuprofen. Because you WILL get sick. You should probably start pre-gaming now, doing double-shots of Emergen-C a few times a day. If it’s not your family members or your friends’ kids, it’ll be a kid on a plane or bus or whatever mode of transportation you’re taking.

  • Hand sanitizer. This helps with sick germs, too, but it’s in a category of its own because beyond being constantly sick with something, kids are also super-gross and put their tiny fingers on and in everything.

  • Ear plugs. I don’t mean that as a joke — my room is right next to the two youngest boys’ room, and they’re pretty bonkers, and they stay up later than I do. This, thank goodness, I did remember to bring.

  • An ocean-noises album. This one I do mean kind of as a joke, but in terms of needing to relax and meditate, we’ll see how I’m doing by Friday.

  • Stickers. I learned, working in a grocery store, that there’s very little that calms kids down faster or more effectively than cookies or stickers. Cookies might rile them up more, though, so I’d say grab a pack of stickers before you hit the airport. If you’re worried about them interpreting it as a reward for bad behavior — eh, you’re not their parent. Not your problem.

Anything I forgot? Comment below!

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