We’re going to be running an artist table for Denver Comic Con this year. I may not return next year because they’re requiring everyone, including artists, to have insurance for an amount of product that I will never have. I’m lucky if my product stock reaches a total value of $2,000 and they want insurance for at least $100,000. If the insurance is reasonable, I might do it. I guess I’ll have to look into it. Anyway. This is the fourth year we’ve done this, and we have fun every year. Our son talks about it all year, and he’s very excited to go this year as well.
Attending conventions with a toddler in tow is certainly not easy, even if said toddler loves being there. The atmosphere is overwhelming (even for me) and keeping him entertained is sometimes difficult, believe it or not. If you ever find yourself at a large event like this with a toddler, here are some things we’ve learned with experience:
Always have extra food and drink. This is very important because a hungry/thirsty toddler is much harder to reckon with than a toddler that has had ample snacking and drinking. This may seem like a no-brainer, but I’m saying this because we have run out of food and the consequences are pricey.
Bring a blanket and, if you can, a comfy stroller. Heck, make it two blankets. One for covering the kiddo and one for draping over the top of the stroller for a little noise reduction. It really helps. If you’re manning a table, having an extra cushy blanket is excellent for setting up a makeshift bed underneath the table for sleeping.
Diapers. We cloth diapered through all but one of our cons. We cloth diapered for one of the Salt Lake City ones, which meant I had to do laundry at the hotel. This is hardcore. If you’re staying at a hotel and you normally cloth diaper, buy some disposables for the trip. I did this for our second Salt Lake City convention and I can tell you that it makes everyones life easier. If you’re in town you can just bring an extra wet bag with you and it’s not a big deal to just toss the diapers in your diaper pail at home when the day is done. Or, if you really don’t feel like dealing with it, buy disposables for while you’re at the convention.
Extra clothes. Our son is potty trained at this point and he’s very good at not having accidents. However, it would be unwise for us to travel to the convention center without an extra outfit because children are mess machines. It might be a sippy-cup incident, or something happened with some sort of food, or you just didn’t make the bathroom in time. Whatever it is, having that extra set of clothes is always a good idea. This doesn’t matter as much if you’re staying in a hotel close to the convention center because making a trip to your room isn’t as inconvenient as making the trek all the way back home. But I’d still strongly suggest it because it’s so much easier on everyone to alleviate the discomfort of wet/soiled clothing as soon as humanly possible. Your toddler will thank you, and so will the other con attendees.
Have a backup toy. This is something that’s more for tiny babies. Toddlers will usually find the convention itself entertaining enough -because what toddler doesn’t love to watch LEGO trains?- if you have the patience to sit at a certain display with them. If you get bored of the LEGO train before your toddler (this is highly likely to happen), bring something to entertain him, or yourself. Be sure to be mindful of little hands if you’re entertaining yourself though, watching out of the corner of your eye while reading something is never underrated.
Don’t be afraid to buy treats. Even if your family is on a restrictive diet, or you have an issue with your children consuming sugar (like me), the convention is only three days long. Unless you have a table, you may only be there for one day. Sure, the ice cream costs $5.99 a scoop, but it’s worth it. Especially if you’ve managed to bring plenty of snacks to otherwise entertain the never-ending appetite.
Those are my tips for attending a convention. More specifically, manning a booth or table. The easiest thing to do is find someone to watch the kiddo, but that’s not always possible.
I leave you with my newest piece of art. I’m hoping to sell lots of posters of her!