Now that I’m on my fourth kid, I’m really bad about carrying a diaper bag with us when we go places. I’m lucky if I remember to grab a diaper as we run out the door to whatever event we are more than likely running late to. As you might imagine, this method of unpreparedness has come back to bite me in the butt on more than one occasion.
Up until kid No. 3, I think it was, I was judicious about the diaper bag. It contained everything we needed. And about 4,000 things we didn’t need. And then a few other items thrown in for good measure. I always had diapers and wipes. And a seasonally-appropriate change of clothes for everyone. And snacks. And everything else you could imagine. I was prepared for anything.
Now? Now I usually don’t even bring a purse because that’s just one more thing to carry. And one more thing I can misplace/lose/forget when we get to where we’re going. So I just grab my cell phone, the kids and head out the door. I’m not suggesting you adopt this method for yourself because, as it turns out, it is a very stupid method to employ when you still have a child in diapers. Because, should you choose to employ this method, you will inevitably find yourself in a crowded restaurant when you decide to change the baby’s diaper. And you will be quite pleased with yourself because you remembered to bring a clean diaper. Look at you—parenting genius!
But then you’ll go into the restroom and open up the diaper and find that the baby has pooped. And not only did you not bring wipes with you into the bathroom, you didn’t bring wipes with you at all.
And it’s only now, several months removed from the situation, that I am realizing that I should have just wet some paper towels and used them as wipes. But apparently I’m a moron, and in the moment this thought didn’t occur to me. Instead, in the moment I was just proud of myself for not panicking.
Nope, I didn’t panic. Because I’m an experienced parent and experienced parents know that panicking doesn’t clean the poop off your baby’s butt. So, I kept my cool and just used the diaper to wipe her as best I could. Then I slapped the clean diaper on and called it good. Victory was mine!
This story seems much dumber now that I realize that there was no reason to panic at all because I could have just used paper towels. And I have absolutely no explanation as to why I was unable to reach that conclusion on my own at that time. In fact, I feel like this story isn’t so much about a situation in which I was able to parent, despite facing an obstacle, as it is a story about my inability to problem solve at the most basic level. And now it’s dawning on me. Oh my God. I’m a millennial. There’s a video somewhere on the internet of the millennials who get stuck on an escalator when it stops moving because they’re unable to conclude that a non-moving escalator is just a staircase that they can walk up. That is me! I am the parenting version of that video that! Oh dear Lord. This is awful.
So I guess we’ve established that I am both a terrible parent and a member of the millennial generation. When this began, I thought I was telling a funny story about parenting through poop-related adversity, but it turns out I was outing myself as a true member of the millennial generation. I’ve never felt more ashamed that I do in this moment.