I find it rather ironic that my father, an Eagle Scout and devoted volunteer for the Boy Scouts of America, who so perfectly embodies the motto "Always Be Prepared", by which I mean he can nearly always find within arm's reach or at a moment's notice, a pen, a band-aid, a tube of Neosporin (or the generic equivalent!), a tissue, a tape measure, a pocket knife, a scrap piece of paper, a flashlight, a bottle of water, a bottle of Tylenol, an emergency blanket and an extra pair of socks - I find it ironic that he managed to raise a daughter who often forgets to bring along The Most Important Thing when leaving the house with small children.
I do try, you know. While I don't like to load myself down with a huge diaper bag every time I leave the house with the kids, I try to always have the basic essentials: emergency snack (granola bar, fruit strips), hand sanitizer, tissues, an extra diaper. Sometimes, if I'm going someplace I know the kids might get bored, like waiting for a doctor appointment or meeting my grown-up friends at a knitting shop, I pack a bag full of toys and activities that may or may not successfully entertain. I often forget the one thing they most want, like a particular kind of crackers for snack or a favorite toy truck. But I never forget that extra diaper. I keep one in my purse, one in the small backpack I carry for these longer outings, one in the car, one in the swimming bag. For some reason, however, I don't carry an extra diaper in the bike trailer. (This will be important later. Keep reading.)
This afternoon I took Daniel and Anya to see a very good friend of mine, Dr. Julia, who is in town for a couple weeks visiting her parents before she goes back to Florida where she's a small college professor. It's fun to take the kids to her house because Dr. Julia has a little dog who is gentle and sweet and Daniel and Anya love to play with her, and Julia's mom (the very same who told me about the water painting, actually) had some puzzles and sidewalk chalk for them to play with as well. But knowing the kids might need more to keep themselves occupied, I put some art supplies and toy cars and other things in a backpack. I also brought my cell phone and wallet and snacks, even though both kids ate a big snack right before we left, and I even packed something new they'd never seen before: a little book of instructions for folding different kinds of paper airplanes. Fun, right?
I thought I was prepared. I thought I was ready. But in my haste to get us going to Julia's, I neglected to throw a diaper into the backpack, and that was a mistake. I biked the kids to Julia's house, you see, and Anya had been wearing the same pull-up since right after swimming lessons this morning. Those things are pretty absorbent, but still. You have to change them every once in a while. And after we'd been there for a while, over an hour, I think, Anya had had enough of that pull-up. Julia and I were sitting on the front porch watching Daniel and Julia's mom toss a paper airplane back and forth - an airplane, I might add, that it took the two of us at least 20 minutes to fold correctly - and Anya started to cry and yell that her diaper was full and that she wanted. it. off. now.
So she took it off. There was no stopping her. Off came her pants, off came that soaked, swollen pull-up and I had nothing to put on in its place. She was standing on the front porch, triumphant, wearing only her shirt, bare-assed and free. I took her inside and sat her on the toilet for a minute, hoping that if anything needed to happen, it would happen in there, but of course it didn't. I briefly considered asking Daniel to give her his underpants so there would at least be an extra layer, but decided against it and instead regretfully announced that we should probably get going before Anya had an accident in their house.
A minute later, Julia's dad appeared in the doorway holding a package of diapers. Doggie diapers! I didn't know there was such a thing, but I wasn't too surprised. I quickly assessed the size (about right - Julia's dog is pretty little) and gratefully accepted one.
Here's the thing about doggie diapers, though. There's a little hole with a flap to allow the tail to come through, and that hole is placed so that if you guess wrong and put it on the kid the wrong way, she might as well not be wearing a diaper at all. Before I put it on Anya, I had to decide what was most probably going to happen next: #1? or #2?
This story would be much funnier for you and much more humiliating for me if it ended with Anya pooping out the tail-flap of that doggie diaper. I'm happy to report, however, that nothing of the sort happened. We went home soon after without any major incident, and the rest of the evening went as smoothly as it possibly could have with two hot, tired kids and dinner ready late.
I think I'll start packing diapers in the bike trailer from now on, though. You never know when you're going to need one.