Sometimes, I don’t bring the diaper bag.
In fact, I’m not entirely sure what’s in the diaper bag. Laszlo, who is three and a half, doesn’t wear diapers, but, based on its name, I’m guessing there are diapers in there. And wipes, even though he just uses toilet paper at school. Maybe a seaweed snack? A tiny bottle of water? Some toys? Also, judging by the weight, a couple of gold metal bars in case the apocalypse obviates the use of paper money.
I do know there is an EpiPen in there, and that Laszlo is dangerously allergic to pistachios, cashews and very allergic to some other nuts. So I really should carry that giant bag of crap with me. Or maybe just put an EpiPen in my car. Since I’m going to forget that bag a lot.
Cassandra never, ever forgets the bag. That’s partly because she’s better at taking care of Laszlo. Partly because she’s used to a lifetime of carrying around her very own bag filled with useless crap. And partly because, like many women, she adjusts her environment to fit her needs. When she gets on a plane, she creates a little, tiny home by putting in a garbage bag area, rubbing down all the surfaces with individually foil-wrapped Germ-X wipes (which I’m pretty sure are just rebranded wipes they give you after barbecue) and putting stuff in that little seat pocket that I’ve never used. When I get on a plane, I just sit down and wait patiently for another passenger to tell me I’m in his seat and then let him figure out where I’m supposed to sit.
Cassandra has been packing for our vacation for the last three days. We’re not going on vacation for more than a week. And we’re going to Hawaii. You know what you need for Hawaii? A bathing suit, flip flops and a toothbrush. All of which they sell in Hawaii.
For Cassandra, having a child means that every time she leaves the house, it takes her an extra ten minutes. For me, that’s what marriage was like only three times longer. I could get the Duggars out of the house faster than I can get Cassandra out.
So Cassandra thinks I’m a horrible parent when I go out without the diaper bag. But it always works out. When Laszlo says he’s hungry, we go get something to eat. When he has to pee, we pull over and he pees on the tires.
But maybe I’m missing out. So I’ve grabbed a diaper bag (there are three; I chose one at random) and poured out its contents:
1) A bib
This actually makes a lot of sense, assuming that Laszlo and Cassandra are constantly going out for lobster. Otherwise: He hasn’t worn a big in about 18 months.
2) Wet Ones (22 packets)
More individual wipe things. Less powerful, I’m assuming, than the Germ-X ones. Or maybe they were just on sale. She’s always asking me to use these before Laszlo eats in the car, or after he’s touched other children — so he doesn’t get sick. Usually I just get him to wash his hands. Usually.
That’s actually pretty cute. I should keep a pair in my car.
4) Tiny bottle of water
It’s 2012. There are bottles of water all over my car.
5) Extra pair of pants and underwear
Logical, sure. But I haven’t been with him during an accident yet. That’s because cops don’t arrest small children for peeing on the street. I think.
6) Booster Seat Owner’s Manual
There’s no way she knows this is in there
7) Germ-X (5 packages)
I would not know when to use this and when to use the Wet Ones.
Laszlo doesn’t know how to write his own name
9) Liquid Claritin
I have no idea what this is about. I should ask. Maybe it’s like Benadryl? I should keep Benadryl in my car.
10) Sunblock (two kinds)
I put that on him before we leave. Sometimes.
11) Pacifier Wipes
They make pacifier wipes?
12) Purell Santitizing Hand Wipe (1)
My guess is: Germ-X for serious situations, like when he’s touched other human beings. Purell for less extreme scenarios, such as touching books. Wet ones must be a germophobic disgestif, used to clean off the Purell or Germ-X.
13) Plastic fork
He rarely uses a fork when he has a fork.
I would have lost a lot of money if I’d been forced to guess what was in there. There were no diapers in the diaper bag. Or toys. Or books.
I know, as a modern father, I should make my own diaper bag by putting all that stuff in some kind of hipster summer camp bag, or a tote bag with a picture of the Ramones on it. But instead I’ll shove the EpiPen, some Benadryl, sunblock and sunglasses in my glove compartment. Hopefully, I’ll always park close by.
Order my book, Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity on Amazon.
Don’t miss the latest from Babble Voices – Like Us on Facebook!