By Kelly J. Riibe of familyfootnote.com
Thanks to MacGyver-like skills, Liz Donovan was able to persevere and save an afternoon park playdate from complete implosion, despite leaving her diaper bag at home on the kitchen counter.
“It got a little crazy at times, especially when my five-month-old had a poop explosion and I had no diapers,” admitted this mom-turned-action-hero, who was able to construct a homemade diaper out of a bobby pin, some used chewing gum, and a few trifold paper towels courtesy of the public restroom.
The makeshift construction would never have passed a quality assurance test by Pampers, but it got the job done for Liz’s baby boy Dylan. It was not pretty, but it smelled much better than the dirty-diaper-turned-lethal, mustard-seeded fanny pack that was drooping towards her baby’s ankles.
It was during this number-two missile crisis that Liz first discovered she did not have her diaper bag with her at the playground. It was described as nothing short of a “devastating discovery” that can be compared to forgetting one’s passport while attempting to travel abroad, or getting through a crowded check-out lane at the store, only to realize the necessary debit card is missing and there is no chance of paying for a cartload of household supplies with the loose change from the minivan.
Most days this mother-of-two feels as though her diaper bag is surgically sewn to her shoulder. Liz often refers to it as her “added appendage.” However, that morning had been a bit hectic for the thirty-something mom.
Her dog was barking to go outside, but not to pee. Fido instead wanted a chance to run through the hole in the backyard fence and attack the neighbor’s fall turkey decorations. The household’s faithful Roomba vacuum cleaner had also gone rogue and was attempting to scale the living room walls while Liz’s four-year-old daughter stomped in frustration at the mere horror of having to put on footwear in order to step outside for their walk to the playground.
“I did not need shoes,” maintained the preschooler named Bella. “My mom should carry me so I can save my energy for tag, and climbing the wrong way up the tube slide.”
This reporter attempted to point out that shoes may have been necessary once young Bella arrived at the playscape. To this remark, Bella rolled her eyes and proceed to chant, “La, La, La, La…I can’t hear you,” over and over again for ten consecutive minutes.
By the time Liz dismantled the Roomba, retrieved her dog from the neighbor’s yard, apologized to said neighbor for the pet’s destruction of personal property, wrestled shoes on to her preschooler-turned-limp-noodle, and secured young Dylan to her chest via a baby wrap…all thoughts of the diaper bag and its required presence were lost in the abyss that is Liz’s mental load.
Fellow moms and neighbors in attendance at this park playdate were in equal parts awe and horror over the absence of Liz’s diaper bag. A trio of mothers, who serve on a local parenting board to preserve dandelions because their kids like the color yellow, agreed that while typically they never judge others, in this case it was very hard not to voice negative opinions and advice for all to hear.
“I mean, who forgets their diaper bag?” asked mommy #1, as she did a little twirl to show off her one-of-a-kind Kate Spade backpack that not only held diapers and wipes, but also had a nifty spout for connection to a variety of boxed wines.
Mommy #2 and #3 nodded in agreement, while squinting their eyes and throwing out productive comments like, “She should put an alarm notification in her phone to remember,” or “A sticky note on the door makes for a wonderful reminder.”
The most often uttered remarks from the motherly triad were, “I would never forget my diaper bag at home,” and “This drinking lattes at the playground is hard work; thank goodness for my 24-7 live-in nanny.”
Liz was too distracted at the absence of her diaper bag to pay attention to all of the public opinions circulating around her. She was in defense-meets-preservation mode.
“I knew I would be home free if I could make it through the snack break,” said Liz, who bartered carpooling duties with some fellow moms in exchange for an extra juice box, a half-eaten bag of gummy worms, and six tic-tac mints.
While no diaper bag meant no sunscreen, no loose paper receipts, no insect repellent, no hand sanitizer, no hairbrushes, no extra granola bars, no pens or pencils, no empty water bottles, no crushed crackers, no baby formula, no additional breast pump parts, no back-up underwear, and the list goes on forever, some beneficial life skills were learned.
“It wasn’t all bad. Leaving the bag at home made me resourceful. Sure, my t-shirt smells like a moldy sippy cup because it had to double as a burp rag, but that means less laundry in the long run,” laughed Liz.
It also meant less physical weight for Liz to haul. This was a good thing because when it came time to leave, Liz was forced to carry both her baby and a kicking-and-screaming four-year-old, who was not ready to leave.
About the Author
Kelly J. Riibe has four children, a husband, an adorable Jack Russell Terrier, and a mildly curbed addiction to Diet Coke. Keeping busy for her involves staying home with her children and also finding work as a freelance writer. She has been published in Nebraska Magazine, Heels on a Farm, The Manifest-Station, BonBon Break, Living Here Magazine, Parent.co, Black Hills Faces Magazine, and Sammiches and Psych Meds. Kelly is also the co-writer for the blog: www.familyfootnote.com. Follow her on Twitter at @familyfootnote and @KJRiibe.