I have always found the notion of a nappy bag confusing. Why does one need a separate bag for baby things? Surely one could just throw the Pampers, powdered milk, and Xanax into a normal handbag and be done with the eternal burden that is the nappy bag. Damn the man (probably a man) who invented this contraption and then somehow convinced women of all races, creeds, and intellect that every time they stepped out of their home they would have to drag this appendage around with them. Indeed the entire family becomes affected by its presence, with it being passed around from one person's shoulder to the next (usually after it has caused the stroller to tumble backwards), getting heavier and more irritating by the minute as it gorges on the various detritus of baby's daily existence.
With Maya, I was militant about the use of my nappy bag. A 'funky' (funky in that way your mum tries to be cool but it's just upsetting) thing, I picked it up in the giant Mothercare on Oxford Street in the midst of my ludicrous first-time-mum spending spree. But it's because, as a first time mum, you are a FOOL. You forget that women were having babies in caveman times and assume that if you don't buy every possible pre and post-natal accessory, and their various accessories, you will be entirely unable to cope with the presence of a human in or outside your belly. This includes things like two different types of carrying pouches – The Baby Bjorn because it looks sturdy and secure, and also the sideways sling because there's a picture of a dad strolling along a café-lined street on the box cover. So you actually stand in the store and have a conversation with baby daddy along the lines of, "Yeah I think the Bjorn is good for heavy duty travel, like when we are in the airport and stuff. But say you wanted to go to Left Bank with the baby alone one warm afternoon, the sideways sling would probably be cooler and more comfortable." And this all seems like legitimate reasoning before you realise you won't actually be going anywhere or doing anything vaguely pleasant for a very long time. Indeed, this will probably be one of the best conversations you have for a very long time before communication descends into grunts, blame expressed through half-asleep gestures, and "no, YOU do it."
By the time Momo came along, a mere two years later, I'd grown wiser (and also a little crazed). Instead of buying bottle teets with an ascending number of holes depending on baby age, I'd just get a fork and manically pierce extra holes into them. I tossed away the fiddly electric pump and used this three pound contraption I found in the pharmacy at the bottom of my building, which I could just whip out and be done with it. And, well, you get the point. Most importantly, I ditched the nappy bag.
These days I just throw a couple of Pampers into whatever handbag I'm carrying and off I run, completely unencumbered. And it's worked perfectly fine. Until... Last weekend...
Rarely do we get invited anywhere as a family. In fact, rarely do I get invited anywhere that doesn't involve a hashtag. So I was super over-excited when a super cool couple asked us over for a BBQ. I was eager to impress, and eager for my kids to behave, so that maybe they would still want to be our friends the morning after. Instead, at the exact moment we rolled up their driveway, Momo decided for the first time in his two years to puke. He's never puked. And he did it just then; all over himself, and all over me.
The greater issue was that I had no way to solve it because, ironically, I had no carefully prepared nappy bag. So I had no baby wipes. No change of clothes for him. No little bottle of disinfectant soap or baby oil. I had to face the music and enter into a room full of super cool people smelling sharply of puke. They pretended it was okay, but I could tell in their eyes and by their wrinkled noses that it was not okay – specially the ones without kids. In their lives, there is no viable reason on God's earth why anyone would arrive to a party smelling of puke. That usually happens at around four AM at the after party.
I slinked into the bathroom with Momo, and looked around desperately for any solution to my problems. And that was when I heard it, the rumble that precedes an explosion of baby poop. And then there it was, the serious but distant poopface. I was terrified. Puke I could clean off with water. If the poop escaped, I was done for. I would have to stay in that bathroom forever, and then they would never want to be my friends because I would just be the crazy woman who lives in their bathroom with her baby.
I approached him with trepidation. I pulled down his tracksuit bottoms - the ones for which I had no alternative - and braced myself for disaster. But it was ok, all was contained where it should be, safely ensconced in his Pampers. In context, I felt vindicated. Who needs a nappy bag? Squeeze a couple of Pampers into your purse and you can take on anything life throws at you. Except maybe things that don't involve baby poop.
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