Stay-at-Home Nerd: It’s Not in the Bag
I’m going to get straight to the point and let you know that I rarely use a diaper bag. I see them everywhere and every time I see one I wonder what the hell could possibly be inside. Don’t get me wrong, I use one occasionally. If I take my son to the zoo, I’ll pack a bag. If I’m out about town for more than a few hours I’ll bring one. If I went to a single friend’s house (read: baby unfriendly) I’d probably bring one. The fact of it is, though, I don’t spend a lot of time at single friends’ houses with my baby and I rarely go out for more than a few hours. Why would I need a bag?
My baby poops his pants is the first reason that comes to mind. He does poop – it smells. That’s worth carrying a diaper and maybe some wipes, except I tend to go places after he poops. That way I don’t have to change him out in public. It’s not that I mind. For instance, I just changed him in the back of my SUV on Sunday before heading into see the new Asian Elephant Exhibit. It’s just that it occurs so rarely that I don’t feel obligated to load up on diapers and wipes. He did poop at a Buffalo Wild Wings once. He may not be ready for the hot sauce. My bad. I ran home in the rain to change him, but I probably would’ve walked had I not seen the UPS truck heading up the hill to our condo with a wine club shipment in it.
My baby barfs is another reason. That could happen. It’s only happened twice in the last six months so I’m not expecting it, but like any good boy scout (or was I just a webelo?), I expect the worst and prepare for the best — or is it the other way around? If he did barf, or spit up, I think I could manage with a few wet napkins and a few dry ones. They even have those at gas stations. If he totally ruined his clothes I could wrap him in mine. I’d even give him the shirt off my back, and not because I like to show off my sexy body, but because that’s how much I care. Trust me you don’t want to see the bearded big guy driving buck naked through Burbank with a barfy baby any more than I want to be that guy. So let’s hope it doesn’t come that, but if it doe,s know that I will go that extra mile. I should probably have a bag packed in my car at the very least. I do carry a couple of softball gloves around in the off chance a pick up game arises, and I have an Eddie Bauer fleece jacket that’s two sizes two small that might come in handy if it snows. Other than that, I’m flying solo.
Food is another thing that could go in that bag. That makes some sense to me, but how much are these babies eating? Like pooping, I try to take my son places after he eats. Or, and this is my favorite, I like to go out to lunch with him and give him some (not all — though it has happened) of my food. I know I just said how much can these babies eat, but it’s a sorry sight to see your son make short change of the carne asada fries you drove eight point one miles in the rain to get. I do bring a bottle of milk or water with us wherever we go, but that fits nicely in a cup holder in the car, or in one of four cup holders on the stroller.
So we got diapers, wipes, and food. What about a change of clothes? Eh. I tend to overdress him and strip him down if it’s hot. I’ll throw a jacket on him or a sweatshirt, and if it’s too hot I’ll take one of them off and toss it in the stroller or the car. He doesn’t much care for hats or socks and I could spend half my day picking those off the pavement and trying to get them back on so I don’t usually bother. I haven’t tried shoes, yet. Since he’s not walking it doesn’t seem like a big deal. If he had shoes on, I’m pretty sure they’d be Velcro and I wouldn’t have to worry too much. I can see the clothes thing almost. Babies are messy. If he’s not eating, he’s touching stuff and junk seems to get all over his clothes, but by the time I change him I can probably be home. And, if he gets real dirty, I’ll just toss his clothes in the washer (best thing about home ownership after you have a kid is having your own washer/dryer) and hose him down in the tub.
The only other things I can think of to put in those bags are toys. I’m more inclined to give him something to play with that we find on our journey (like a stick, or a cup lid) — especially since he’s stopped putting everything in his mouth — than I am to tote along a set of interlocking balls or building blocks. Anyway, it’s fun to watch him try and open a jar of salsa while grocery shopping. At least it will be fun until he succeeds.
Pardon the interruption, but that brings me to another point. Have you seen those grocery cart baby seat liners that are all the rage? Every time I go to Trader Joe’s I see at least one mom with her baby tucked sweetly into a heavily padded, often floral printed, baby seat. I don’t know how much they cost or weigh, but that seems like quite an additional expense. My son lasted about two weeks sitting in the seat of a shopping cart. Then he discovered that all the good stuff went in the big part of the cart and that’s where he wanted to be. It’s not that he cried, it’s that he twisted and turned until I thought he was going to fall out so I put him in the cart, told him sit, and piled frozen pizzas on him until he was in his own man cave. Seemed to work and I can’t tell you how many times the cashier has made the joke “I didn’t know we sold babies here”. To which I always reply, “Yeah, it’s two for one. You should get one.”
Full disclosure: I do have a diaper bag. It’s a medium, brown-striped, messenger bag from timbuk2. It’s pretty badass. When I travel great distances (Orange County) I pack diapers, wipes, food, toys and changes of clothes. I also pack an iPad on the off chance I get some free time. Sometimes I even throw a book or two in there for him and me although at this stage books are still more like toys for him. My wife and I each got our diaper bags at the same time. Hers is a silver tote and she’s unlikely to be carrying it either. She makes do with a few wipes and a diaper stuffed in her purse. That’s probably why I married her. But, don’t get me wrong. I like diaper bags. I like them a lot. And if I had to do it over again, I know exactly which one I would buy.
featured image credit: TheQuiltedLion