We have to start this post with the events of last Friday, despite the clever title. Because Friday was the day that Ainsley woke up with a stomach bug.
"Poopy, mommy!" she said to me that morning, and indeed, she smelled worse than a Chinese squattie. So I changed her.
Five minutes went by before Ainsley again announced "poopy, mommy!" So I changed her.
Five minutes more. "Poopy, mommie!"
Five more minutes elapsed, and, well, are you starting to get the picture?
Fast forward to Saturday, the start of the weekend in question.
Ainsley woke up and didn't even have to say a word. The smell almost knocked me over. But she greeted me cheerfully, calling from her crib: "poopy, mommy?"
I almost cried.
So Saturday, despite the fact that it was a rare, gorgeous, blue sky and not too cold day in Beijing, we opted to stay home, close to our dwindling supply of diapers and wipes.
Everyone was cranky. (Except for me. I'm a saint.)
Sunday was another nice day: warm (and by "warm," I simply mean "above freezing"), sunny and blue-skyed (is too a word). Ainsley's diaper situation seemed to have abated somewhat, so I made the executive decision to take the kids out.
Of course, they complained. Getting four cranky kids ready to go out when noone wants to? Really not easy. But, darn it, I was determined. And, if I do say so myself, I was patient and even-tempered throughout (this is my blog, after all, and if say it's so, then it's so. Comments closed for my spouse.).
A new Element Fresh opened recently not far from us, in Lido, so we drove down to check it out. We had to wait a bit, but the kids were excited to see pancakes and cocoa on the menu. So they waited patiently. And get this: the pancakes come with fresh fruit! It says so right on the menu. So when the waitress asked if they wanted strawberries or blueberries, Shay chose blueberries and Aidan and Kyra chose strawberries. The kids were thrilled at their luck in restaurant choice.
Until the food arrived. Turns out, the pancakes do come with a side of fresh fruit. And then, in addition to said bowl of mixed-fruits-that-my-kids-universally-hate, they cooked strawberries and blueberries Right Into The Pancake Batter!
The kids took this in for a moment, this view of pancakes destroyed by lumpy cooked fruit. And then they began protesting. All of them. Loudly. "This is disgusting," said Shay. "I'm gonna throw up," wailed Aidan. "Yummy!" said Kyra, just to be ornery, before refusing to try even one bite of pancake. Not wanting to be outdone in the act-like-a-baby department, Ainsley threw her sippy cup on the floor.
Shay eventually found a way to pick the blueberries out of his pancakes so he could eat them - that's how hungry he was. Aidan and Kyra ate my tofu and rice instead.
Once they settled down, the kids were well-behaved despite their disappointment. Still - what a waste. And the low, low price for this delicious meal? 400 RMB - about $60. (Addendum for those of you who live in Beijing: Element Fresh is actually a good restaurant, if somewhat expensive. Good salads, good sandwiches, good lattes. Just don't invite my kids when you go. You'd be better off setting your money on fire.)
After that attempt at quality family time, we drove around the corner to a tiny park called Side Park. There's a little lake in the middle of it, and I'd heard you could rent ice chairs there. Excellent news - the kids love ice chairing, but the trek to Houhai Park is just too much some days.
The kids complained some more on the 3-minute drive. "This is boring," said Shay. "I'm gonna throw up," said Aidan. "Hurray!" shouted Kyra, because she's a PITA and she wanted to shout just to annoy the rest of us. "Poopy, mommy!" exclaimed Ainsley, though thankfully this turned out to be a false alarm. I think she just wanted to add to the festive atmosphere in the car.
We found the ice chair guy and rented some chairs. Finally, finally, finally, the weekend was looking up. The kids skated around on their rickety chairs for about an hour, happy at last.
Exhausted and out of money, we headed home, the car blessedly silent.
Silent, that is, until Aidan made good on his promise - and threw up all over the back of the car.
Like I said: we lived it so you don't have to. And if you're anywhere near Beijing right now, or even just reading this blog post somewhere else, I'd highly suggest you go douse yourself in hand sanitizer after you finish reading this.
But first: enjoy some pictures of our ice chairing adventure. Note especially the crazy sled-wagon that features a blonde dolly that can actually pull kids along in the sled. Creepy.