Thursday, April 18, 2013

Adventures in Diapering

Today we went to Alana’s Cafe or, as the twins know it, “Breakfast Restaurant.” It’s their absolute favorite restaurant. When Mark told Julia while changing her diaper that we would be eating there she began kicking him and declared, “I’m kicking you because I’m so happy!” And at the restaurant James chanted excitedly “Pan-cakes! Pan-cakes!” as we were led to our table.

It was also St. Patrick’s Day, in case you’re wondering about the shamrock driver’s cap.
After eating here we always let the twins run around the courtyard and climb the stairs of the gallery next door. Soon we noticed a distinctive smell for which parents of young children are particularly well honed. I’ll let Julia explain what happened:

“I have to go poo poo.”
“I’m going slow now because of poo poo.”
Then Mark was suspicious about the contents of James’s diaper, and asked him, “James did you go poop?” Here’s what James, the world’s worst 3-year-old liar, told him: 

“No. Don’t smell me.”
I should backtrack a moment to mention that James had been constipated the last few days so I’d been plying those kids full of whole grains, fruit juice, fruit, fruit, and more fruit, and of course beans (which some would say is also a fruit, albeit a magical one). My attempts to battle James’s constipation the last few days having finally been successful, we all proceeded to the fold-down trunk of our Prius, a.k.a. the Mobile Diapering Unit.

I took out the baggie of wipes and found exactly three wipes. Uh oh. I cleaned Julia up with two, leaving one for James. After wiping Julia, Mark surveyed my handiwork and said, “I’ve seen better wiping jobs.” Channeling Donald Rumsfeld, I told my backseat diaperer of a husband, “You go to war with the army you have. Not the army you wish you had."

“Listen up. I also have some thoughts on potty training.”
Now it was time to change James. James tends to produce one massive poop a day so leaving one wipe was a big gamble, especially with the earlier constipation situation. As I removed his diaper Mark rustled through the diaper bag and announced that there were no more diapers. This has never happened to me before. I searched every inch of that bag and the car and confirmed he was right, all the while cursing myself for not refilling the diaper bag. We were literally s--- out of luck.

Always bet on black. Or brown.
In the meantime I had finished removing James’s pants and - just my luck - he had a diaper so swollen with poop that, not to get too graphic, the last inch of each of the legholes was yellowish brown. You know how you can tell at the beach where the high tide has receded? Well, James’s legs were stained yellow almost all the way to the knee.

We considered our options. Put James’s jeans back on and go home? No, that was a ticking time bomb. Send Mark running to a grocery store? None in sight. Swap babies with someone else in the restaurant? This might have been a viable option a year ago but it seemed too late now.

If only we had a convenient pumpkin...
Mark suggested wrapping James up in the thick changing cloth like it was a cloth diaper. That seemed like the best solution. We didn’t have any way to pin it to stay together but figured it would mostly stay together after it was jammed into pants. I decided this was a better idea for Julia since we planned to have her start wearing underwear for the first time that afternoon anyway.

So I turned to Julia, pulled down her jeans and ripped off her diaper, leaving her bottomless in a parking lot. Julia kind of looked around like, “What just happened?” Then I tended to James with the one wipe and a few dried out ones Mark found on the floor. Tim Gunn’s voice echoed in my head: “Make it work.”

“I don’t approve of the use of my words and likeness in this context. Carry on!”
By the time I put a freshly diapered James down Julia was very upset. I put her back onto our Prius changing table  and she started whining that she wanted her Mickey Mouse diaper back. Unsatisfied with our attempts to market the changing cloth as “fancy big girl underwear,” we realized we weren’t going to be able to convince her. I even started to take a pen out of my purse to draw Mickey on it. She began sobbing and I could see this was going nowhere fast.

The only acceptable diaper
That’s when I left Mark and the twins in the parking lot and raced inside Alana’s to beg table to table for a diaper. Thankfully, at the second table I approached, a 2-year-old’s mom took pity on me and gave me one. It was a size too small but at this point I would have made even a newborn diaper work. Julia took one look at this plain white diaper and started bawling, “I want my old diaper! I want Mickey!” I took out the stickers I keep in my Mom Bribery Kit (a.k.a. my purse) to decorate it. But Julia wasn’t having it and eventually, when it was clear the bargaining wasn’t going to work, I just put it on her and dressed her despite her cries. And kicks.

And this is why we can’t have nice things go nice places.

Another picture of playing in the courtyard:

I have a special delivery... in my diaper

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Twin Birthday 2012: The Family Celebration

We decided that we’d fill Julia and James’s birthday with their favorite activities as opposed to what we thought would be fun or appropriate like a trip to a museum or zoo. Three of their favorite things are pancakes, escalators, and doughnuts so we decided to plan a day revolving around that. My parents came to town for the twins’ birthday and when I told my mom my plan she seemed skeptical. She said, “This sounds like something you and Mark should do with them...” Later when she experienced their enthusiasm firsthand she recanted and was glad we picked such Julia- and James-centric activities.

Before heading out we took their 3-year photo with Patrick Pup to see how much they’d grown. I actually got a headband on Julia, but then she caught sight of herself in the mirror and promptly pulled it off. I also got her into a dress, albeit over her beloved jeans.

The official 3-year portrait with Patrick Pup

First stop: Alana’s Cafe in Redwood City - a restaurant in a cute converted Victorian house. The twins were pretty excited their first meal of the day was at the - as they call it - “breakfast restaurant!” James enthusiastically chanted “pan-cakes!” They cleaned up an order of chicken apple sausage and homefries, and played with restaurant-provided Wikki Stix.

Julia eats her pancakes dreamily.

James is little more overt in his excitement.
Julia licks her pretend Wikki Stix lollipop.

Evil Mark twists the end of his 'stache, 
no doubt hatching a nefarious plan.

Stop number two: Sunnyvale Target. This location has escalators, and Julia and James were so excited they were practically running as they led us to the up escalator. We took turns accompanying them up and down the escalators. Once they finished a rotation they’d drag one of us off to ride again. I lost track of how many times I rode myself, let alone the other three adults, but I would guess we did this for a good half hour. Julia also liked walking up and down the escalator stairs while riding. They are now pros at getting on and off themselves.

Next was a stop at Target for countless escalator rides. Cue Reservoir Dogs soundtrack.

James and Papa are ready for another trip up and down.

 Julia rides with Gaga and is ready to do it all again.

James scurries off at the end after riding with Daddy.

The twins excitedly rush off to the escalator to ride again.

Mommy gives Julia a big jump.


And she nails the dismount.

Kathy doubles up.

After riding the escalators, Mark buckled them into one of the shopping carts made to hold two little kids that is so ridiculously long it resembles a parking lot tram, and ran with them in it around the store. They loved when he went fast. They picked out some fruit and vegetable pouches, and we sat down with Papa and Gaga for a snack.

Time for a ride around the store!

Here Julia has just spotted the giant, lit-up Christmas tree.

Daddy proves you’re never too old to eat from a pouch.

Julia gives James a food court kiss.

Third stop: After naps, we hit the road again to meet up with my parents at Sweet Mango, a Burmese/Chinese restaurant (and one of the James’s and Julia’s favorites). The proprietor always remembers the twins and likes to give them lots of hugs. Afterwards we drove around Willow Glen to see the Christmas lights.

Apparently ice water is cold.

Julia enjoys her broccoli chicken.

"Put that wallet away," James told us. "I've got this."

Final stop: Donut Wheel, a 70s era hole-in-the-wall doughnut shop in Cupertino frequented by Woz. The twins excitedly picked out their doughnuts. “Rainbow sprinkles!” they squealed. Papa lit candles in Julia’s doughnut, and we all sang “Happy Birthday.” James had told me he didn’t want candles, but after watching Julia blow out hers he decided he wanted some too. Not surprisingly, Julia pecked at her doughnut and James devoured his.

“I’ll have one of everything.”

Like a dog balancing a treat on its nose, James patiently waits until it’s time to dig in.

Julia watches her candles while we (and the rest of Donut Wheel) sing Happy Birthday.

James wastes no time. Julia takes a more studied approach.

Finally she dares.

Halfway through his donut James came around and decided he wanted candles too.

We ran out of time to open presents that night, so the twins opened their gifts in the morning. Papa and Gaga planned to leave early in the morning to drive back to San Diego, but stayed just long enough for the gift-opening festivities. 

Blowing on the card like it's a birthday candle on a cake activates the music.

Opening presents the day after their birthday