First of all, I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. And to my Jewish friends, I hope you had a fun time seeing "I Am Legend" and ate tasty Chinese food. I got quite a bit to catch up from the past few days, so let me start off with what it's like traveling with twins and then in the next day talk about our Christmas.
And it isn't the French word that means "thank you" unless you're using it in a sentence as in "Thank you for killing me ever so slowly." We're glad we made the trip, and I suppose we would do it again, but it isn't the easiest thing in the world. I'd say the key words to a successful trip with newborns would be preparation and colonoscopy: You've got to make sure you have everything you need for the babies, and you've got to be willing to take it in the ass.
Our car trunk on a typical holiday visit would consist of one large suitcase, one backpack, a duffel bag, a bag of snacks, and a box of presents. This year in addition to what I just mentioned we carried one suitcase of baby clothes, a duffel bag of baby items, a bag with a humidifier and a bottle sanitizer containing six bottles, a plastic bag with two sleep positioners and crib blankets, a play mat, a diaper bag, two car seats, and a double stroller. Needless to say we were very cramped inside our Mini Cooper.
(SIDE NOTE: We're all watching The Bourne Ultimatum on television right now. The big fight scene where Matt Damon beats up the assassin with a book and then chokes him to death in the grimy shower just ended. After the scene ends, my dad says, "Stomp him on the head!" And my mom counters, "Yah! Make sure he's dead, stupid.")
Our drive from Los Angeles to Northern California used to be a time for me to do mental math calculations to figure out what type of mileage I was getting and how fast I should be able to get to Santa Clara (e.g. If Santa Clara is 330 miles away, I can drive there in two hours if I maintain a consistent speed of 165 mph.). But all of that is thrown out of the window when driving with babies. You're on their schedule and their mercy. It doesn't matter if it takes five hours or eight hours because if it's going to take you three hours to clean up the poop stains from the backseat so be it.
Now here's the thing about the actual drive: babies love car trips. They love the movement of the car and the white noise; it totally puts them to sleep. But if kids love the movement of the car, you attentive (i.e. sober) readers out there may wonder what happens if you get stuck in traffic? Besides piercing your ears with a tire pressure gauge, you get crying babies.
While driving along Route 152 to Santa Clara, traffic came to a halt. A few minutes later, we had two babies crying bloody murder. I tried everything possible to calm the kids down: I made road noise with my voice; we shook their car seats; I even shared my last bag of reefer with them. Thankfully, there was an off-ramp so we took that and parked a bit to get the kids under control.
Once we made it to Santa Clara (and this goes the same for Sacramento), it takes a bit of time to figure out how to organize everything and get into a temporary routine. It's usually hard enough for us to unpack our toiletry bag and figure out where my shaver goes versus her maxipad packs, but imagine having to set up shop for twins. Here's my advice: simplify. Simplify everything. Use a bouncing ball instead of a baby swing. Use the kitchen sink instead of a baby bathtub. Use expired grocery coupons instead of baby wipes.
There are a lot of baby products out there, but if you really think about it there's not a whole bunch that you need to take care of a baby. Diapers, clothes, and boobs. Oh, and to lull that fussy baby to sleep, a 55" plasma television playing a blu-ray Classical Einstein disc. So go backwards from the necessities and figure out what you really need to bring and use.
And with that I leave you with one last French word as our babies cry for their nighttime feeding: merde.