books · raising strong girls · slice of life


I’ve been a chronic over-packer ever since I started packing my suitcases. I don’t travel lightly. It’s why we own a minivan that seats eight but only have two kids. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I bring a shoulder tote with me whenever I take one or both of my children to a medical appointment.

My rules are simple:

  • A device may be used whenever you’re in a waiting room or waiting for a provider to enter an exam room.
  • The device must be closed when any provider or staff member is speaking with you.

This morning, Isabelle had allergy shots, which meant a 30-minute wait. It’s not exactly time well-spent since she’s supposed to be in school. Therefore, I try to make it academic. However, it’s challenging to concentrate on a book in a pediatric waiting room. Therefore, I proposed something she hadn’t tried before: listening to an audiobook.

She liked the idea, but said, “I need to go to your office first.”

“Why?” I asked.

“I need to find a book I want to read.”

“Sure,” I replied.

Isabelle returned with several books and requested her iPad. I knew what she was up to. After finding a novel, she often borrows the audiobook on Libby to follow along with the text. (That was one of the best tips I learned from Colleen Cruz two years ago!)

I watched Isabelle remove her Beats from the pouch to set herself up with her book and iPad when I checked her in for her appointment. I looked back at her and didn’t notice her eyes darting around the waiting room as they would’ve if she were reading a printed text. Instead, she was laser-focused on turning the pages.

Isabelled is reading Becoming Brianna by Terri Libenson. May I say, looking at this later in the day, how pleased I was that her feet weren’t on the chairs?!

Isabelle got as cozy as possible in the second waiting room after her shots. She blocked out everything and everyone. She was the picture of a focused reader. While I had brought work with me, I decided to take advantage of the quiet (and of the fact that I didn’t have Ari with us). I opened up my audiobook, Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson, too.

Neither of us heard the nurse approach. She must’ve asked Isabelle where she wanted to get her arms checked a couple of times since she seemed to wave a bit to get our attention.

Packing this much for an appointment is — on the surface — a lot. But, I think it’s worth it.

Head over to on Tuesdays for more slice of life stories.

9 thoughts on “Game-Changer

  1. I love how resourceful Isabelle was in finding the book and setting herself up for totally successful focusing. I only did an audiobook with the print copy during remote teaching for read aloud (specifically, Refugee by Alan Gratz). It was a nice break for all of us, and we loved following along with the words. That was actually the highlight of my remote teaching!

    1. Isabelle is Dyslexic, so she pairs the audiobook with a written text. This enables her to read more complex books with support. I’m grateful that I learned this from Colleen at the Dyslexia Institute.

  2. You are a great mom and teacher. I think your daughter will be following down the same path as you. Audiobooks are amazing tools and pieces of art. I never would have gotten through “Lincoln in the Bardo” without the audiobook.

  3. This definitely made you, the literacy momma, very happy! I read books and listen to audiobooks, and I have even traded off…read some of the book, get so into it that I want to keep reading but have to drive somewhere so I start listening where I left off, then come back to reading, but I haven’t tried both at the same time. Maybe I’ll give it a shot!

  4. being able to get into the zone like that in a shot-getting situation is awesome. love this! i also may be stealing the idea when i take my daughter for shots in a few weeks, so thanks! great post.

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