Hurricane Harbor

A writer and a tropical muse. A funky Lubavitcher who enjoys watching the weather, hurricanes, listening to music while enjoying life with a sense of humor and trying to make sense of it all!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sandy .. A Practical Guide for Mothers... Parents.. Anyone with Children

This blog post is dedicated to mothers everywhere... and fathers or anyone who cares for children and teenagers in the path of Hurricane Sandy.

A bit of advice from someone who has been there.. many times.

No hype. No nonsense. Just some good advice for how to get through a storm with children.

If you are in the path of Sandy or near the path and within wind probabilities...this article is for you.

I'm going with the Rainfall prediction graphic from the NHC rather than the cone, as it shows the potential you may have for being "affected" by Sandy in some way other than landfall. It's a more practical indicator.

Understand first that Hurricane Sandy is a system that is only 6 days old, yet has caused death, destruction and misery in the Caribbean with 3 or 4 landfalls depending on if you count every landfall within the Bahama chain of islands. That is not "hype" that is a fact.

She formed back on Monday, almost a week ago. This is her birth announcement so to speak.

Tropical Depression EIGHTEEN

1500 UTC MON OCT 22 2012

So where do I begin?

Understand this is a bigger problem than usual as Sandy might affect some areas for several days.
Stores may close due to power outages. Everything might be off the shelves awaiting new shipments
which will not start until power is restored and streets are cleared. So, you need to buy things for the
aftermath of the storm or just a long onslaught of inclement weather where you need to stay indoors
and an emergency run to Shop Rite is not going to happen. Even if you do not have a problem with
inland flooding, damage to structures or loss of power you may not be able to go out and live a normal 
life for several days. Kids can go through things fast in several days... especially your nerves.

The area that is possibly affected by this storm is massive and each area has it's own inherent risks:

So...where do I begin? I'll begin at the beginning.

If you have an infant, it's easier in hurricanes and storms if you nurse as you can just cuddle up with the 
baby  protectively and nurse.. you both feel a bit better. If you use formula...that's okay, just buy lots of 
formula. An extra can or two. That goes for anything you give the baby to eat or drink.

Diapers: If you think you have don't. Buy more. Stock up. You don't want to resort to
cutting up sheets and replaying how your Great-Grandma lived. Better err on the side of MORE than 
I'm sure it will be okay. What if the baby has diarrhea? Sorry to be indelicate, but it happens. 

Lots of diapers, more than you think. Baby wipes. Ointments. Think lots of diaper changes.
What if you are nervous and spill half of the baby formula onto the floor... buy extra.
Leave some for others, you don't need a case.. just extra.
If a store doesn't have your favorite brand and most stores are out, be flexible.. the baby won't care.

Stock up on patience. If you are used to going out for a long walk or the baby is in Daycare while you might be different for a few days.. a week. Have patience.

Toddlers to 5 Years Old:
Oh, good luck! The main thing to worry on is keeping them pre-occupied and safe.

Snacks.. lots of snacks. Ration them. 

CRAYONS and paper. Make sure they don't eat them.. they put everything in their mouth..
Toys, Stuffed animals. Large lego. Little balls to play "catch" with on the floor that roll around.
Eyes in the back of your head so that they don't get bored and start jumping on the sofa, fall 
and hit their forehead on the corner of some random piece of furniture and need stitches in the middle
of the storm. Happens.. really. I know someone who had to drive down Alton Road in the middle of
Floyd in 1987 with a bleeding child, because he was jumping on grandma's open up sofa and well it 
wasn't pretty ... luckily it was a weak storm. Happens.

Diapers. Lots of them. See above. If you think they are potty trained.. they might have accidents.

Wash laundry before the storm.. they go through it quickly.

Fill the freezer with bags of ice that you can later use as water should your water be shut off. You can
also use it if they hurt themselves. 

They get bored. When they get bored they get in trouble. 

Do not waste your iPad battery letting them play a game if your power goes out. 

If you are used to them using your iPad or cellphone to play games.. that isn't going to work.

Try something else.. 

Good luck!

Small Children Ages 6 - 9 years of Age:

Good luck... be patient. Love them. Talk to them. Explain to them that you will all be fine, but
"sometimes the power goes out and we have to wait until it comes back on" in case a random
tree down the block takes your power out.. 

"No, we can't go out for a Happy Meal, because it's not safe to drive and we have to be happy inside"

"No you cannot go outside and play, there is a storm outside and you could get hurt."

"No, you can't use up my iPad I need it and you can play something else.. Yes, there are other things
to do ..."

Ration "time outs" and your patience.

Make a game out of it if you can and it's your style.
If it's not your style... tell them this is the way it is. "I'm the mommy that's why"

Pick the  method that fits you and your kids and good luck.

Lots of medical supplies. See above.
Lots of snacks, ration them...
Lots of toys that don't take batteries or use cords. See if you can find a Candyland somewhere.
Crayons. Lego. Dolls. Anything... don't worry on gender identification, get through the storm with your sanity!

Do lots of laundry, see above... let them help you.

Give them little jobs, kids that age love to feel grown up and responsible and important.

Ages 10 - 14:

Oh good luck. Kids Ages 10 to 14 do NOT like helping with chores, they want to go out and they
do not  know the meaning of "NO" and.........they begin to get sneaky and decide that while you 
are in the bathroom they can run across the street to play with Caleb and Susie and it will be 
fine, fine, fine and everyone is making SUCH a BIG deal of this stupid storm. 

Good luck.

Talk to them. Lay down the law. Make rules, guidelines and watch them like hawks.

Buy them books and hope they still know how to use the old fashioned books vs reading online.

Watch them like hawks. Some are the type who understand and are careful. Others decide they 
want to go out and play in the puddles. Telling them there may be snakes in the puddles or that
the puddles are 'unsanitary" is like telling them to go take a walk on Mars...  

Good luck.

The biggest concern is for you to stay sane and find a way to keep them busy or just ignore their whining.

"But, Jason's mother told him he could play outside."

"But, Mary's father went out and found them food from a Taco Bell that was still open."
"I'll only be on the iPad for a little while, I promise" (they are lying.. hide the iPad)

Good luck...sometimes kids can be resourceful at occupying themselves. 

Try to make them part of the team.

They will care less about clean clothes, but you do need medical supplies, medicine and FOOD.


Good luck...............

I know people who have called the police on their own kids for breaking back into the boarded up house.
Honest. Long story. They ran home from their friend's house where they decided to hunker down for the 
storm ...went home for one thing they were missing and there were teens with candles lit having a 
Hurricane Party...... with a Hurricane on the way and twisters down the block.

Good luck......................

Be strong. Pray.

They will want to go out and see what is going on.
They will want to go to their friend's house vs yours... probably the park, beach, canal, etc.
The other kid will say they are going to your house.. they won't.. kids lie.. park, beach, canal, etc.

It's not easy and it is easier with little kids as you have more control.

Lots of food, lots of drinks, lots of patience... 

If you are a single mother work out to stay with family or a friend... there is safety in numbers.

Remind them they cannot go up on the roof.. out on the balcony, just down the block and you are sorry 
they are bored. 

The only thing that saved me in the eye of Katrina in Miami is that just as one broke away and
insisted he was going "JUST DOWN THE BLOCK" the back side of Katrina came roaring through 
and he can racing back to the house just in time to get inside. Good timing for me. It could have been worse.

Power lines can be down and live in even a weak storm and power outage. 
"No, they cannot go walk the dog"

They will use any excuse to get out of the house or to go to a friend's house or to go off with their friends.

At some point you have to pray, have faith, pray and hope the storm falls apart fast.


It's not easy. 

It really isn't easy.

Bottom Line:

Sandy may be a slow mover and some models show her forecast to stay over the same area for 3 days.
In the beginning as a tropical storm/super storm and later as a cold winter storm.

Did I mention blankets in case the power goes out and you cannot put on the heat?

Did I mention it could snow in high elevations?

A really great list from

Good luck......................once you are a caregiver...a parent or grandparent or aunt or uncle responsible
for children, babies, teenagers and even old people your life is not your own. You can't just decide to 
go to the beach and look at the waves or take a drive out in a storm looking for Ice Cream.

Yes, there probably is a Huddle House open somewhere... but you have to worry on others.

And, the older they get the harder it is to get them to listen.

Do anything possible in any sneaky way that you can to scare them... even telling them that you need
them to help you get through the storm. Anything... and everything to keep them inside, safe and if 
they are away in college or living on their own.. pray really hard because rarely do they listen to you.
If they have an older sibling they think is cool and they might listen to them... give it a try, works sometimes.

Just the way it is.

Extra Cash
Extra Gas
Food, Drinks. 
Medical Supplies
More diapers than you think you will need.
Batteries for Old Fashioned Flashlights.
Crayons and toys that don't use batteries or cords...or wifi.
Now might be a good time to try those DIY projects with the kids you see on Pinterest...

Good luck.

Let's hope this storm picks up speed, loses strength and is a No Show and everyone can complain
it was just a lot of hype.

Remember though..sometimes a worst case scenario happens:

Better safe than sorry and always, always err on the side of caution!

She is a big storm... geographically she will affect a large area. 

Usually random 40 mph winds in a city down a few random trees. 

40 mph winds over 2 days can do a lot of damage.

She may be only 6 days old, but she is a big grown up storm in storm years.

20121028.1215.goes13.x.ir1km_bw.18LSANDY.65kts-960mb-321N-731W.100pc.jpg image

Besos Bobbi
Ps... kids usually think you are nuts and hate you either way so you may as well stand strong
and worry on how they feel about you AFTER the storm. Lots of patience, love and prayers for
anyone going through this storm with children of any age.

More later about the storm itself... good luck!



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