9 September 2013
I recently decided that buying a new diaper bag will solve all of my problems.
Let’s back up a little bit: I have a Timbuk2 Stork diaper bag, which is my
third fourth! Timbuk2 bag in the past 14 or so years and which does its job admirably. It has a huge, sturdy changing pad that fits neatly into a designated slot and a capacious, waterproof center which I love, since it can swallow up just about anything and everything that I decide to shove in it. But that’s also the problem: it swallows up just about everything that I shove into it. It has a generous selection of tiny-to-small pockets all stacked on the front of the bag which bulge awkwardly when filled even halfway, and — despite careful daily cleaning and organization — by mid-morning the big middle section has become an ominous, roiling stew of tangled sunglasses, sandals, water bottles, small wet bags of dry clothes, and snacks. And yet I can still somehow never access the wipes. Argh.
I know, I know: carry less stuff! It’s not like I have a newborn who needs three changes of clothes in an hour, right? And yes, but: we spend several hours a day outside, broiling under the Texas sun, at parks with no facilities. And so, we still need the water bottles, a changing pad and supplies (lest I situate the baby on top of one of our many, many fire ant mounds / broil him in the back of a car that’s been sitting in the hot sun), and a tightly rolled-up prefold* for drying him off after going to a splash pad. Then there’s the endless cries of “aat [eat]! Aat! Aat!” accompanied by frantic signing whenever we get anywhere, which need to be staved off by a ready supply of healthy-ish snacks lest we have another incident like last week’s, where he tried to make off with a happy baby’s graham cracker.
I am a grumpy Sherpa. Obviously, the answer is a new diaper bag.**
So, for the past days I’ve been engaged in the surprisingly meditative and therapeutic pursuit of combing Amazon bag reviews and gazing greedily at photos of cleverly compartmentalized bag interiors, stuffed neatly with diapers and creams for the satisfaction of the organization-starved viewer. It is so satisfying to be the world’s pickiest little diaper bag window-shopper: that bag isn’t structured enough! Everything will fall out of the interior pockets when you set it down! Absolutely no Vera Bradley-esque prints! Lighter lining for improved visibility! More medium-sized, elasticized interior pockets! (Did I mention more pockets?) Not something quite so sinfully ugly!
On the real, practical, life-organizational tip, I did decide that getting rid of my ancient phone-book-sized wallet would probably be a good first step to take towards reducing my Sherpa load. I don’t have more than a few necessary cards, after all, and I can probably leave my MEC membership card at home on most days. (Silent pause, to lament what this says about my lifestyle.) So, I bought an ugly-as-sin vinyl All-Ett from Amazon; Pete’s has been going strong since he bought his several years ago. (“So thin, they couldn’t squeeze in the W!” quipped one of his Montreal lab-mates as he showed it off.) I mean, I would love nothing more than a multi-colored Italian leather jobbie, but if it’s $16 and promises to flatten itself into a sliver of nothingness within my capacious bag, then who cares?
Water Sherpa, ho!
* Nearly 20 months post-baby, I can confirm that Theo’s former burp cloth prefolds have had a remarkably useful afterlife as tiny little magical pool towels, since we own all of one beach towel. Throw one or two of ‘em down on the car seat, and they’ll soak up all of that water that endlessly trickles off of you after a swim.
** Of course, I could always just use my favorite non-Timbuk2 non-baby bag, but that one’s too small to handle diapers + water and is leather to boot, meaning that it’s already sinfully heavy. I imagine that wearing an all-leather diaper bag is probably akin to toting around a small boulder.