Nappy-Changing Nirvana

harrods

When I die, I want to change diapers here.

As a kid, I spent family vacations dreaming about a guidebook in which I’d rate men’s rooms on categories such as cleanliness, spaciousness and comfort of toilet seats. Now, as a father, I see things a little differently: I still think The Bathroom Guide would be a fun book to write, but now I think I’d want to focus it almost exclusively on baby-changing facilities.

Naturally, then, I was thrilled to experience the 4th-floor baby-changing facilities today at Harrods, arguably the most famous department store in the world.

Put simply, it was the most luxurious place in which I have changed R’s diaper. Ever. In her life.

To describe the room as “palatial” would be an understatement. It was like a swanky salon. With a mix of communal changing berths and private changing/nursing rooms. There were armchairs, mirrors and lots of fancy and swirly lights. Also, there were complimentary diapers (in case you forgot your own).

After surveying the scene (and not wanting to intrude upon the mothers nursing their children in some of the private rooms), I opted to change R’s nappy in one of the communal berths. Sensing a messy change was imminent, I opted for a “pad” right next to the garbage pad. When I placed her down, I realized the pad really was an ovular pillow that was softer than the one I use at night.

R immediately acknowledged this was no ordinary changing experience. She looked around, commented about the mirrors, then actually said, “This place nice, Daddy.”

I agreed. I agreed again moments later, when I ran out of wipes and was given extras by an attendant.

When the deed was done, when my baby daughter was at least two pounds lighter, R played quietly on one of the armchairs as I washed my hands with designer soap in a marble sink. On the way out, the aforementioned attendant wished us a good day.

After the awesomeness we had just experienced in the nappy-changing room, how could the day be bad?

Soaking Up the Holiday Spirit

Little R, mesmerized by a window display at Selfie's.

Little R, mesmerized by a window display at Selfie’s.

You don’t need much of a sightseeing itinerary when traveling during holiday season; all you need is time to explore.

I’ve been reminded of this simple fact numerous times over the last week or so here in London. Every time I head into the city for a day of big plans with L and R, we are sidetracked by a bunch of decorations.

One day, we spent two hours watching a carousel in front of the Natural History Museum. Another day, we spent 75 minutes admiring the windows in front of Selfridges. Today, little R and I counted giant ornaments in St. Christopher’s Place (which, by the way, has the best shopping in the West End). I’ve already blogged about some of the fun we had with my folks at a decked-out Covent Garden Market.

Later this week, our plan includes dragging Grandma and Grandpa with us to South Kensington to marvel at decorations at Harrods and Harvey Nichols.

Throw in ice-skating rinks, Christmas trees, caroling extravaganzas and holiday lights pretty much anywhere around the city and I’d say we’ve got enough to keep us busy from now until we head home Dec. 23.

Oh, and unless we ride the carousels or do the ice skating, all of the stuff is free.

The lesson here, of course, is that especially when kids are young, it doesn’t take much to create a fun day of experiencing a new place during the holidays. I like to think the equation looks like this:

Spectacle + Snacks + Public Transit + Downtime (when necessary) = Smiles

I know this equation isn’t universal. And I’ve been doing this family travel thing too long to know that this equation isn’t going to work all the time. But with the right weather and the right attitude (and the right snacks, I guess, and no public transport delays), it sure puts family travelers in a good position for a day that everyone will remember for all the right reasons. And it hasn’t failed us Villanos yet.

What is your equation for a good family travel when traveling during the holidays?

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