Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Traveling Circus

This past weekend was our first big test in taking the girls out for extended periods of time over the course of an entire weekend.

Terri's sister Cindy got married on Saturday, so the girls were invited to every event -- lots of parties, lots of family, lots of time away from home.

At twelve weeks old, were the girls ready for this?

More importantly, after twelve weeks of parenting, were WE ready for this?

The Traveling Circus Comes to Cindy and Eric's Wedding!


The weekend starts early Friday afternoon.

First, a bath for each girl. Then, getting ready to take them out to the wedding rehearsal and wedding rehearsal dinner.

We pack the following for the wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner:
  • Double stroller
  • Two car seats
  • Backpack containing:
    • Ten diapers (five "newborn" Pampers for Caroline, five "onesie" Huggies for Katherine)
    • Changing pad
    • Wet wipes
    • Change of clothing for each child
    • Pajamas for each child
    • Three burp cloths
    • Two extra receiving blankets
    • Three 4 oz. "Dr. Brown" bottles
    • Formula to make three 3 oz. feedings
    • Two bottles of Crystal Geyser water to make formula
    • Camera (to record every precious moment)
    • Two plastic ziplock bags to store dirty diapers in.
I feel like I'm packing for a small army!

In addition to getting the kids ready, we get ourselves ready -- this is different then our previous outings to the mall or the local family restaurant.

This was a wedding, which means dressing nice, and looking nice!

This Ain't No Trip to the Mall -- You Gotta Look Good!

Just before we leave the house, Terri breastfeeds each girl. We are trying to time the feedings to minimize having to feed in awkward places or at awkward times -- i.e., the middle of the rehearsal.

We get to the church on time, no problem.

Terri is in the wedding party, so she goes off to take part in the rehearsal. I walk the girls around and around and around the church chapel to keep them entertained. They nap for the most part throughout the rehearsal.

The girls behave wonderfully. No crying, no fussing. No need to feed them in the church. All is well.

We head to the restaurant for the rehearsal dinner -- Cafe de la Paz in Berkeley.

Cafe de la Paz: A Nice Restaurant, But Definitely Not "Baby Friendly"

Our first encounter with a "fancy" restaurant with babies.

Surprise! The place is not very "baby friendly."

We end up carrying the stroller up about 12 stairs to get to the banquet room where the rehearsal dinner is being held.

No changing station in the bathrooms or anywhere else. We use a cushioned sofa couch (very trendy) to change the girls.

No place for Terri to breastfeed in public, so she holes up in the darkest corner she can find and disappears under a blanket.

The girls are great. No fussing, no crying. Katherine loves the whole affair and constantly is looking around, her eyes wide with all the new things to see and hear. Caroline is more subdued, but also stays quiet.

This dinner is a preview of the rest of the weekend. Well-meaning friends and family who all want to come up and touch the babies' hands, face, feet.

As a first-time Dad, I have to suppress the urge to bark out, "Have you washed your hands?" to each person who grabs the girls by their hand, or (gasp!) puts their finger on their face.

First-Time Dad Relaxing With Caroline -- Did you Wash Your Hands?!?

Still, we get home without the kids having contracted the plague.

At bedtime, the evening catches up with little Caroline. The whole evening of stimulation is too much for Caroline. She goes into "panic" mode just before bed time, screaming and crying and unable to feed.

Maybe she doesn't know how to process all that she's seen and done today.

Maybe it's a delayed reaction to all the new stimulus.

Or maybe she's just gassy!

Some extra walking, soothing, and singing by all parties in our household, and Caroline calms down and is off to sleep.

Day one of the weekend is complete, but we're just getting started.


The second day starts early.

Terri is up at 6:00 a.m., and needs to be 20 miles away by 8:00 a.m. to have her makeup and hair done with the rest of the brides maids.

Terri feeds the girls at 7:00 a.m. just before she leaves. David's Dad drives her to her hair appointment at the wedding hotel.

At 10:30 a.m., David gets dressed into his suit, then proceeds to get the girls ready. Each girl is fed, burped, then changed into their "wedding" dresses -- little pink outfits picked out by Terri the night before.

The wedding is at 1:00 p.m., with a reception at 6:00 p.m. Instead of coming home after the wedding, the girls are going to hang out at the wedding hotel, closer to the reception.

Thus, the following is packed for the girls, and double checked by David just before 11:30 a.m.:
    • Ten diapers (five "newborn" Pampers for Caroline, five "onesie" Huggies for Katherine)
    • Changing pad
    • Wet wipes
    • Change of clothing for each child
    • Pajamas for each child
    • Three burp cloths
    • Two extra receiving blankets
    • Three 4 oz. "Dr. Brown" bottles
    • Formula to make three 3 oz. feedings
    • Two bottles of Crystal Geyser water to make formula
    • Camera (to record every precious moment)
    • Two plastic ziplock bags to store dirty diapers in.
  • A shopping bag filled with: ten extra diapers each for Katherine and Caroline, extra formula, extra bottles of water to make formula.
  • BabyBjorn to carry babies in.

We head out with the girls at 11:30 a.m., and arrive at the church by 12:00 p.m.

Get the girls inside the church (which, by the way, is also not "baby friendly" -- the stroller must be lifted by hand up a set of 20 stairs), and settled in.

Katherine and Caroline are doing fine. A small crowd of family and friends come to say hello, but most are busy finding their seats or getting ready for the ceremony.

However, once the ceremony starts, and the organ music starts to play . . .


Loud crying.

Caroline and Katherine In the Church -- BEFORE the Organ Starts to Play

First Caroline.

Then Katherine.

I pick up Caroline. My Mom takes Katherine.

I head outside with Caroline.

I try to come back in after 10 minutes. Caroline starts to cry again.

. . .

I'm told the ceremony was lovely!


We spend the late afternoon in the bridal suite letting the kids rest in the traveling playpen.

I learn that the Kolcraft "travelin'" playpen is poorly named. There's nothing much "travelin'" about the damn thing.

First off, it weights at least 50 pounds, and is huge. By the time I lug it from my car, up to the hotel room, and wrestle the thing together, I'm sweating all in my suit. Whoever designed this playpen could have put wheels on it!

However, the kids get some needed down time. They rest (and we rest with them) for about 2 hours.

At 6:00 pm, it's off to the reception.

The girls love it! Katherine can't stop looking around. Caroline is more subdued, but she's not crying at all.

The dinner is a traditional Chinese wedding banquet -- a nine-course meal.

I make it to about the third course.

By that time, the band has arrived, set up, and is starting to play.


As a first-time parent, I start to worry: How loud is too loud for 12 month old babies?

When we go outside to change and feed the babies after the third course, I get my answer.

My ears are ringing from the music. And if my ears are ringing, what does that mean for newborns?

Terri and I make a quick decision. Terri can't leave -- it's her sister's wedding, and she's in the bridal party.

I go. I take the girls back to the hotel room, where we hang out and wait for the reception to end.

The hotel room is not bad. I've eaten three courses, so I'm not hungry. The girls actually fall asleep after a little bit of fussiness.

By the time Terri calls me and we pack up to head home, everyone has had a pretty good time.

More importantly, we've survived our first FULL WEEKEND outing.

It felt like a traveling circus. But it was fun to experience it as a family.

In the end -- it's all about the family, isn't it?

Click on any photo for a larger view.

1 comment:

Amy said...

We did our first road trip this weekend, too--from Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Atlanta, Georgia--to see my husband's 100 year old grandmother. It truly WAS a circus on wheels (8 hours one way). The babies did great, but were exhausted. Congrats on making it through.