And boring, in some ways. There is a lot of waiting, I'm told, when you have a loved one undergoing surgery or other intense medical procedures. And while I can't necessarily make the waiting shorter, or less scary, I am pretty sure I can try my hardest to make it less stressful and boring! Remember the butterfly shower? The sweet woman it was for delivered the most precious little girl-one with some weighty medical problems. The little girl is having major surgery this week-and I can't really know what the family is going through. But I wanted to help.
So I suggested to our Bible study group that we put together hospital care packages-for the family! There is also a not-quite three year-old little boy- one who doesn't really understand what is going on, and will be missing his mom and his sister while they are at the hospital for possibly up to several weeks. My group was beyond generous, and I wanted to share what we came up with-in case you know someone with a similar situation.
-nail polish and file
-fuzzy slipper socks
-snacks (she suggested food that could be microwaved or have hot water added, so we put in oatmeal and packaged soup, as well as pretzels, crackers, and trail mix)
-a book of word games and mechanical pencils
-a fuzzy blanket (sometimes those waiting rooms can be cold!)
-a small bottle of laundry soap (there are machines for family members to do wash)
not pictured: later the woman who made the suggestions added a towel (she said the hospital ones are horrible!) and some toiletry items. She suggested brown paper bags and a sharpie to label food with-there are often communal refrigerators, so it helps to keep things organized. She also said that a list of nearby restaurants that deliver would be helpful-especially since the hospital is over an hour away from our city. We included several gift cards for various restaurants- I figured they could use them while at the hospital or after they come home, but either way it helped out with a few meals!
We probably had the most fun putting together the bag for the little boy. I don't even have everything pictured-it was like Christmas! I think he will be able to be entertained for a long time. I figured he won't use everything at the hospital, but whoever is taking care of him during the days his mom is gone (his dad, or relatives) will appreciate having some new things to bring out to keep him occupied.
-coloring book and crayons
-small picture book
-cardboard tray puzzle
-Squinkies (little toy people)
-Play Doh (the round container in the back) that came with molds and accessories
-snacks (yogurt raisins, Go-Go Squeeze applesauce, perfect since it doesn't require a spoon, cheese crackers, fruit snacks)
-Tummy Tickler drink- these are great because they are filled with apple juice and are reusable, and also one of the most spill-proof cups on the market.
-"army men" toys
-Play pack with stickers and activity book
-cookie tray, that could be used for holding snacks or coloring books, or playing with Play Doh.
Not shown: fun mustache straws, socks, magnetic letters for the tray, and a bunch of other little things that I didn't have time to take photos of!
And I wanted some activities for him to do. I have been working on a "Busy Bag" board on Pinterest for a long time. My son is a little too old for most of them now, but I still like adding to the ideas. It turned out to be providential, because I found some great things to make for the bag!
-a button "snake" pieces of felt that you thread on a ribbon with a button stitched on the end. You cut slits in the felt and then the child can put them onto the ribbon. The button keeps them from falling off. I hot glued the angled end of the ribbon to make it more sturdy.
- "Pom Pom Stuff In"- I cut a small hole in the lid of a plastic container and covered the rough edges with tiny pieces of duct tape (so they wouldn't be sharp) and filled it with pom-poms. He can push the pom-poms in through the hole. The pom-poms can also be used with the number cards.
-Domino Counting Cards- I printed and laminated these. They can be used with the pom-poms or with Play Doh.
-Animal/Shape Matching Cards- I printed and laminated these as well. They can be used for simple matching or to play "Memory".
Not shown: I printed and laminated a cute "pie" activity mat from this site- click on "Pie Playdough Mat" at the bottom to download directly. You roll Play Doh balls for a counting activity.
I put each activity in a separate bag and labeled them with the suggested directions, that way no matter who is caring for him, they can help him to use each item.
I had all the materials on hand for most of these activities, and while it did take a couple of hours to put everything together, it gave a really handmade and *hopefully* thoughtful touch. I am sure the family has plenty to do with all the details of the surgery and real-life concerns, so I don't know that putting together bags like these is a top priority. We are hoping that they will know we are keeping them all in our prayers during this time, and when they use one of the gifts they will know they are loved.
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