Organizing Chaos

So, here we are, two weeks away from Operation Get-On-A-Plane-And-Fly-Halfway-Around-The-World-And-Then-Suddenly-We’re-Parents.

Shocked and frazzled is a good start, no? Isn’t that how all parents start out? We’re not wigging right out yet. Oh no. We’re saving that for about two days prior to leaving. THEN we’re going to go completely outer limits.

But right now, we’re trying to organize the chaos of 18 months of odds and ends, preparing in dribs and drabs, reading this and that, on the road to Familyhood — but never REALLY feeling like it was ever ACTUALLY going to happen.

And then WHAM! Familyhood jumps up and clubs you about the head and neck. You have to suddenly start thinking in baby increments — how many pounds does a size X sleeper fit? How many bottles in a day? How many outfits can a baby dirty in a day? When did they come up with 8 different kinds of nipples for baby bottles?

It’s like I am suddenly a Twilight Zone version of myself.

So there are things I am going to need consensus on. I ask you:

– How many baby washcloths does one need for a 10-day trip?
– Is it true Baby Einstein videos will hypnotize a baby long enough to, you know, brush your teeth or something?
– Where are the child’s PANTS?
– Am I a bad parent if I let my baby hang out in a diaper and an undershirt? You know, if we’re just chillin’ out, relaxing in da crib?
– Seriously. TWELVE onesies?
– 4 oz bottles or 8 oz bottles?
– One sleeper per night is enough, right?
– What’s the best way to amuse a 5-month-old?
– Where the hell did I put all the socks?

I am so not ready for this, clearly, if it’s going to take me 2 weeks to pack for a 5-month-old.

It’s like my life is suddenly a brand-new jigsaw puzzle, just dumped out of the box and on to the table. All the pieces are there, and I know they make a pretty picture, and I am sure it’s going to be fun… I just haven’t got a clue how they all fit together.



Woot! We have achieved SOCKS! Socks of varying colours and sizes have been located, and await washing. So, sock crisis averted!

But we still need pants. And a couple more 0-6 month sleepers. And a pair of shoes. And THOSE I think we must go BUY.

17 thoughts on “Organizing Chaos

  1. Well, here is my two-cents’ worth:

    1. Washcloths, depends on if you have laundry facilities. I might say overkill and go with 2 per day, unless of course you are taking wet wipes long, then fewer. HInt, washcloths take up much less room, weigh a lot less, and can be washed in the sink and hung to dry.
    2. Baby Einstein Videos – Maddie hated them and still won’t watch them. Now Toopie and Beeno she loves! And just so you know, even with Maddie at 2 I still don’t get my teeth brushed until bedtime and then do the smack the head thing.
    3. Pants: Check the drawers and if worse comes to worse, diapers and onesies work just fine. Both my kids hated clothes and spent most of their time in sleepers and onesies.
    4. Like answer 3, diapers and undershirts or onsies ROCK, especially if it is hot.
    5. Onesies: Like the washcloths, they will wash out and hang to dry. They go through a lot a day.
    6. I would say at 5 months to go with the 8 oz bottles, it is much easier to put the bottle in the fridge (assuming they have one), fill it up again, and reheat later if needed rather than trying to fill a 4 oz. bottle and heat twice. Better to have too much than not enough. And bottles can be used in the microwave even though they say not to.
    7. One sleeper per night usually is enough but mine stayed in them all the time. If she spits up alot you will need more…..lots more. (See also washing out above.)
    8. Amusing a 5 month old will be fun. Just looking at you will be interesting to start. A small, soft ball is wonderful, a rattle, toes are always amusing too, and funny faces.
    9. Forget the darn socks and just stick with sleepers.

    Probably not worth 2 cents but I tried.

  2. Thanks Sherri! We only just researched the laundry situation last night, so we may be able to wash out stuff as you had recommended. I’d prefer to pack light!

  3. Hi there, coming out of lurkdom to say congratulations and give you my 2 cents. Came home with our 5 month old from Ethiopia a year ago last week and this is what we found

    Washcloths: 1 5 pack was good for us. I just washed out and hung to dry
    Baby Einstein. Creeeeepeeee and weird in my humble opinion although my daughter was fascinated by the weird bear that would spin across the screen. Our son was entertained by much simpler things… like his feet.
    Clothing: The Ethiopians were not impressed if we did not have our son completely covered while there, hat, jacket and all. It’s their winter right now and they think that the baby is freezing. In your hotel room, you can have her hang out in onesies and a diaper (there’s nothing cuter than just a diapered baby), but I wouldn’t take her outside your room without being fully dressed.
    Bottles… go for the 8 oz- as Sherri said, better to not have to refill. Especially on the plane.
    Sleepers- we brought a few extra and were glad as our son was sick. But you could always use the laundry facilities and have everything cleaned if you were to run out
    Amusement. Everything is amusing for a 5 month old. They don’t move around much so they’re content usually to stare and watch and just enjoy being held. Your face will hold the best source of entertainment!

    Not to worry, you will be amazing parents I’m sure and if you’ve forgotten anything then you can get it while there.
    Good luck and safe travels!

  4. Hi Courtney! Thanks for coming out of lurkdom to provide some “been there, done that” advice! As you can imagine, we have no idea what to expect, and all the packing lists and whatnot I’ve been reading can be so different from person to person — so any and all advice is great.

  5. What a wonderful chaotic life this is! I love it! Your little girl will love you guys 🙂 Can’t wait to hear you the day you meet her!!

  6. Well, you know Rhonda… it won’t be too long now before it will be your turn to start thinking about these things! So I’ll be sure to post what we took and what we wish we had taken/didn’t need to take afterwards so you’ve got some more ideas to draw on!

  7. SO, here we go –

    – How many baby washcloths does one need for a 10-day trip?
    At least five more than you’d think. So, I’d go with the 15 pack. If you end up not using all of them it’s no biggie. But as soon as you don’t bring enough then BAM! you wish you did. Now, I wouldn’t take actual washcloths, per say. If it were me I’d take these:

    Disposable, and lightweight. Also, in packages of 20. SO much easier!

    – Is it true Baby Einstein videos will hypnotize a baby long enough to, you know, brush your teeth or something?

    I don’t know, but I tell you in the middle of the night I’d sleep like a LOG to that classical music.

    – Where are the child’s PANTS?
    Did you check in her room?

    – Am I a bad parent if I let my baby hang out in a diaper and an undershirt? You know, if we’re just chillin’ out, relaxing in da crib?

    If you are, then I was too. Not that I’m the best measuring stick for the epitome of parenthood or anything.

    – Seriously. TWELVE onesies?
    Well, I mean, twelve seems kinda conservative to me. Like, what if she’s a spitter-upper?

    – 4 oz bottles or 8 oz bottles?
    So go for the 8.

    – One sleeper per night is enough, right?
    *Snort* Sure! 😉 Again with the projectile stuff, and if she wets through her diaper, then she’ll need a different sleeper.

    – What’s the best way to amuse a 5-month-old?
    Stuff she can get her hands on. Your hair. Tummy tickles. Music. Dancing.

    – Where the hell did I put all the socks?
    You JUST had those the other day.

    Did I help AT ALL?

  8. Well I know you are an advocate of the diaper-and-undershirt ensemble — hence, my compulsion to purchase a couple thousand undershirts over the last year. So I am fully stocked in cheap undershirts. But if we leave the hotel room over the course of our time in Addis… I had better find some pants and socks. Pronto.

    And a couple more sleepers would not go amiss, I guess.

    I’m going on gospel here, that when a clothing size says “0-6 months”, my 5-month-old should be able to wear it. If not…

  9. It’s true. They should be comfy. Comfy goes a LONG way towards happy.

    But, I don’t know about Canada, but it sizing is typically more by weight than the age on the tag. Do you know her current weight, perhaps.

    (Plus also, how can she be a sassypants if you don’t take her pants. So, in that way, I am also an advocate of teh pants.)

  10. Ok someone beat me to the whole “it’s rainy season and therefore winter as far as the locals are concerned so cover ’em up” thing. I would take extra onesies/sleepers since the babies on our trip almost all had diarrhea. And take enough high quality diapers from home for the plane ride home, I hear that the ones you get there are not quite as … durable shall we say.

    Oh and a big WHOO HOO on the arrival of the visa! I missed that post somehow.

  11. oh! can’t breath….all these things…help.

    Whew! You are going soon so you can gather and collect all the information needed for us upcoming mommies!

    It is so much fun watching (or reading) while you prepare to bring your little girl home 🙂

  12. Thanks guys! I was glad too, June, that someone mentioned rainy season (a.k.a. winter)… otherwise I would have completely forgotten!

    And Rana, you will soon be making lists of your own!

  13. Thanks for the post, I’m taking notes. From the sounds of it, take lots of onesies and sleepers. Check.

    I am so glad I get to learn from other people before we have to do it ourselves.

    I can’t until you are home and you write a post titled “this is what you need to know when picking up your child”


  14. Ok, now I’ve got a tummy full of butterflies ‘cuz you’ve made it clear to me that I have NO idea what I am getting myself into!!!! Please oh please when you get home and have some time, draft me up a list, a very detailed list, of everything I need?!?!?!?!
    I can’t WAIT to hear when you have her in your arms FINALLY!!!!

  15. Truth be told, you’ll probably forget something, and that will be ok.

    Because once you & BDH have her with you and are holding her she’ll have the one thing no one else could have given her that she needed… her family.

    So, I say – do the best you can with packing and let the rest of the stress fall to the wayside. It will all be perfect no matter what.

  16. Oh yeah, Shannon and Ricki, I will TOTALLY post a list. Here’s what I took, here’s what I used, here’s what I didn’t need, here’s what I wish I had… Because if I had not relied on the lists others made, I’d be in dire straits indeed right now!

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