Avital’s new minhag (custom)

[Click here for my December Home Gardening Column about eating off of your own land. Stay tuned for a PresenTense Magazine article on the same topic.]

Avital has a new minhag (custom). She has to have an explosive diaper on holidays in a stranger’s house. It doesn’t matter if it’s her holiday or someone else’s. And then I guess today was just a bonus day. I think I already wrote about Thanksgiving. We were visiting my friend from high school at her mother’s house in Buffalo Grove. The house was absolutely beautiful, right out of L.A. and decorated down to the last detail in various shades of white with a little beige thrown in. Scott realized she may have a diaper situation and asked if we could change her somewhere. My friend was so welcoming and hospitable. She showed us into her mother’s bedroom and told us her sister usually changed her niece there. The bed was especially comfy and cushy for this and we were welcome to use it. My first inkling that there may be a situation is when Scott said, well, maybe we’ll just use the floor. Thank you. I look at the bed. White. I look at the carpet. White. I look at the chair and ottoman. A beige pattern. The ottoman it is! We put her on our changing pad on the ottoman. We were in there so long they probably thought we were insane and the most inexperienced ridiculous new parents ever. She had never had a diaper like that – soaked through to her neck! And she chose to have it in someone’s house that I hadn’t seen in 15 years! Scott was going to kill me when her mom came in to check on us and I said we had a disaster. He told me to lower my voice and stop panicking – it was one of those almost fights where we were both telling one another to calm down! He said that I was just inviting them to come in and look at us trying not to stain their carpet. The whole situation could have been a test on a game show. It could have been some kind of “gotcha” on a trick show. It was just like throwing the kitchen sink at us, 8 weeks into this whole parenthood thing. Anyway, we survived and I don’t think we stained anything. I promised Scott I wouldn’t panic so much if he would insist on going into a bathroom with a tile floor the next time he so much as suspected a diaper situation like that. I just had a brilliant idea! I was thinking about how the Israeli army spokesperson on TV all the time right now is named Avital Liebovich. In Israel, they call the battles with the Palestinians, HaMatsav, the situation. I’ll tell him that will be our code. He can say we have a matsav if he thinks we have a diaper situation, as I’ve started to call it.

That was the first holiday. Like I said, the holiday doesn’t need to be hers. The second was actually technically xmas. We went up to New Jersey for my new nephew’s bris. We stayed with lovely people who were very excited about the baby. As we’re settling in at 11pm, two hours later than when we said we would arrive, she has one of these diaper situations. It just so happened we put our own changing mat down over the host’s, just out of habit. Phew! We suddenly had to give her a bath. I don’t know what we would have down if we were somewhere we couldn’t do that. Without our baby bathtub or a big counter to put her down on for a sponge bath, you would think we had a problem. Nope. The hosts had a gorgeous tiger class vessel sink. It was a perfect round bowl. It reminded me of that picture going around the internet of the little Asian baby with a towel around its tilted head, looking like its relaxing in a steam bath. She was taking a bath in a little bowl, like a baby bathtub, just her size. It was midnight in a stranger’s house and not exactly the time to take out the camera, but it was tempting. Plus, it took two of us to hold her up, regulate the water temperature and wash her at the same time. But it was cute. You’ll just have to trust me on that.

And then today, the bonus day (yes, this has happened to us at home – and not just on the road!), my mom and I were out in Annapolis. She bought us curtains for the whole downstairs. I’m very excited. No more paper shades down there! And the whole neighborhood won’t have to see me in my nightgown if they look through the uncovered front windows. Anyway, I picked her up out of the car seat and felt her bottom. I knew it had been a while since we’d changed her but I couldn’t believe she’d soaked through those mega diapers. I got her to the bathroom (alone, as I didn’t know that I would possibly need help) and realized it wasn’t soaked through with what I thought it was. Thank goodness there was a changing table. I got her totally naked and cleaned up and even had those little bags with me for the diaper and her icky clothes and a new clean outfit. Oh and it’s only the fanciest clothes that I care about that this happens with. Anyway, I was so proud. I handled a matsav all by myself. They sometimes come in twos and we almost had another one tonight but we caught it in time. Thankfully we were at home. My biggest fear is that this will happen twice in one day before I’ve had a chance to replenish my supplies. It’s funny – for years I’ve carried a ridiculous purse but I’ve always had whatever supplies anyone needs for anything. Now I carry nothing for myself and am only concerned with being prepared for whatever she needs.

Speaking of which, I was telling my mom and Scott today that someone told me a few years ago that I shouldn’t be concerned about having a kid because I wouldn’t need to change my lifestyle or my life at all. She hadn’t. At the time it seemed like a relief to me. Now that seems like a terribly sad sentiment. I did this because I was ready for this next phase of my life and wanted it to change completely. A friend of mine from college was in town the other day and came to see the new house and new baby. She was totally floored at finding me in the burbs with a kid. She was like, “where’s Tasha?” I can honestly say, she’s right here and happier then ever.