As the mother of three children, we have a few moments in our family history that we look back on and laugh ourselves silly over, but none make us laugh harder than the story about the time we took the term "plastic pants" to a whole new level!
Only a few months earlier I had given birth to our third child. Somehow my husband and I got the crazy notion into our heads that it would be a really great idea to pack all of the children into our minivan and take off on a cross-country trip to so that Grandma could meet the new baby.
Now, you haven't lived until you've spent three days in a minivan with three children under the age of 4! It didn't take long for us to establish a routine. Every 2 ½ hours we would try to find some interesting location (perhaps a historic site?) to stop so that I could feed the baby. While the baby nursed my husband would take the other two children to amuse them and go to the bathroom until we were ready to go again.
All went well until we crossed into Nebraska sometime on the afternoon of our second day. It was time to feed the baby again and we drove through a small town looking for a place to stop.
"I'm tired. I really need to take a nap" my husband said as we pulled up in front of the local library. So we agreed that I would take the children into the library and let the children look at books while the baby nursed. He put his seat back to sleep while I took the children inside.
The plan went well for a while. I changed the baby's diaper and then nursed him while the 2 year old and 4 year old quietly looked at books and played with puzzles in the children's area. I chatted briefly with the friendly librarian and then IT happened. I smelled something not-so-great and turned around to find yuckiness oozing out of my 2 year old's pant legs.
"Oh great!" I thought as I whisked him into the bathroom. Of course, with children this young, I had everybody in tow! I knew I had just used my only clean diaper on the baby and I certainly hadn't brought a change of toddler clothes into the library with me! Our van was parked just far enough away that I couldn't get there with an oozing toddler.
"Well," I decided, I will take his cloth training pants off and rinse them out. "His pants should still be clean enough to wear back outside to the van and we can change his clothes out there." The plan sounded perfect!
No sooner had I decided on a course of action when I pulled his pants down and discovered to my great dismay that there was nothing underneath! "What happened to your underpants?" I exclaimed in disbelief.
"Papa took them off at the gas station!" my 4 year old happily informed me.
I couldn't imagine what would possess my husband to steal my 2 year old's underwear like that. I would find out later that our son had wet his underwear at the previous gas station and my husband had removed them and then forgotten to replace them when they got back to the van. But in the moment I didn't know that. I just knew that with 3 children under the age of 4 and one half-naked, I was stuck in the library of a town I'd never been in before! My two year old was way too old to walk out the front door half naked and with a baby in my arms I couldn't possibly carry him! I explained my predicament to the librarian and we looked around for possible solutions. All she could offer me was a plastic bag to put the soiled clothes in.
I thankfully took the bag back into the bathroom, but then inspiration hit! I ran back out to the children's desk (only a few steps away) and grabbed some scissors and some tape.
"What are you doing?!" my 4 year old asked incredulously when I returned to the bathroom.
"I'm making pants." I told her.
"Snip, snip" went the scissors as I sliced the bottom of the bag open so that my son's feet could come out. Then I cut about 2/3 of the way up the bag to create flaps which would later become "legs." I taped the bottom of the bag back up so it would form a hem (You never know when a child might outgrow plastic pants like this!) and finally I taped the front left flap to the back left flap and did the same to the right-hand flaps to create legs! I popped my son into his new plastic pants. God was smiling on me when I realized the bag had a drawstring in it, so I was able to adjust the waist to fit perfectly! He actually looked pretty stylish (considering that he was wearing a plastic bag on his bottom)!
By this time we had been in the library for almost an hour. We left the bathroom just in time to see my husband in the children's area, obviously looking for us. "Some kid pooped and stunk up the whole library" a local child was telling him.
Now safely in his newly-fashioned plastic pants, we got our 2 year old outside and headed towards the van to continue on our trip. "Good-Bye! We'll never forget you!" laughed the librarians on our way out. Once we got outside my husband had just one question.
"Hey! What does that say on his pants?" he asked.
I looked closely to see what he was talking about.
"Get creative at your library" I read.
We had certainly gotten creative! I think we are the only family in the history of that library - perhaps in the history of libraries everywhere to fashion our own pants out of the book bags!