October 5, 2011


When it comes to being organized at home, I am all over it, having lived in tiny spaces my entire adult life. But when I leave the house, my organizational skills disappear, and I often find that I've forgotten my keys or wallet. So I end up having to pay for my latte with change grubbed from the cupholders in my car, or cajoling librarians to let me check out books with an expired college ID I found buried in the glove compartment.

The same goes for my phone. I have some kind of mental block against taking my phone with me when I go out. I think something in me balks at the idea of being SO ALWAYS accessible to people. Sometimes I just want to be left alone, disconnected. And so most of the time, this tactic works, but then there are the other times when I need to call someone when I'm out, and so have to embark on a great search for the world's last payphone, or else be that weird person who accosts strangers and asks if she can borrow theirs. My phone has one of the best coverage plans in the world; I use it pretty exclusively for reading the internet in bed before getting up in the mornings or as a sleek and expensive paperweight.

But when I had a baby, I told myself all of this would change. I would finally conquer my scatterbrainedness, get my shit together, and be responsible because my baby needed me and it was my job to provide for her. I gathered up all my cards and IDs from jacket pockets and put them in their own special slots in my wallet. I found my phone charger, and put it by my bed and now I make myself find my phone and plug it in, no matter how late it is, before going to sleep at night. I made a handy reference list of all the things I would need to take with me when leaving the house with my infant, to be prepared for any poopy, snotty, spituppy eventuality and stuck it by the door.

And still, sometimes, I forget important things. As I found out when I was out this morning, and confronted with Lulu's poopy diaper.

Here is what I had in my diaper bag:

  • One cloth diaper and what looked like an insert, but is actually a burp cloth
  • Changing pad
  • Library books
  • Empty (and smelly) container of breastmilk
  • Gripe water
  • US$1
  • Earrings and necklace
  • Two lipglosses
  • Extra onesie
  • Extra pants (too small)
  • Hat shaped like pumpkin. This may seem very apropos for the season, but has actually been in the diaper bag since we bought it two months ago.
That assemblage of stuff reminds me of the random junk that a bunch of castaways might gather together to try to survive until rescue. "Jack, we can totally raise baby Aaron to adulthood with this, right? We don't need important things like bottles or socks or OMG WIPES, do we?"

Another way of looking at it is that I am training my daughter to be the female MacGuyver.

FWIW, I used the burp cloth as a diaper insert, and subbed paper towels for wipes. Horrible blowout in car on way home. Of course.

Going out with a baby is hard. Staying close to home is much easier.


  1. PS: Louise, do you recognize Lulu's top? ;)

  2. Yes I do, that's the first thing I noticed about the pictures! She looks so intrigued by this outdoors thing.

    We were slightly better organized by the time Grace came along, but both girls have had their share of having their rear end wiped by damp paper napkins, and wearing a diaper that is either too small or too big. And this is with a husband who is incredibly organized, even if I am not!

  3. I love it when she wears your littles old outfits...it makes me feel like they are friends. :)

    James is slightly more organized with me, when he takes her out, and at least he remembers his wallet so he can BUY wipes when he forgets them.