Going out with a baby, anywhere, under any circumstances, is a faff. It involves myriad gubbins which MUST be taken with you whilst shopping/nipping next door for a cup of sugar/putting out the bins. Since the 20th September 2011, our bag of gubbins has hung, eternally 'at the ready', from the end of the stair bannister, facing the front door, overly stocked and primed for collection every outing.
In the last thirteen months, I have twice dreamt of The Bag Of Stuff not being there and have woken, shaking with terror, and have raced immediately down the stairs, boobs a-swinging, to not only witness the changing bag hanging there, but to TOUCH it to ensure the tangible certainty of its presence.
Of course, only 10% of the bag contents is ever actually used (nappies and wipes); the other 90% is 'potentially useful'. As in, if Boo were to take a sudden interest in carpentry, industrial espionage or tiddly winks, I am poised and fully equipped.
I previously thought The Bag Of Stuff was a lot of admin. Then, we took the bag abroad, and more pointedly, to the beach.
It took on a life of its own.
To give you more of an idea of the sort of emergency supplies I am talking here, below are a selection of the actual items we have carted back and to from the beach over the last few days.
1) Towels - naturally
2) Betty's dinner - goes without saying
3) A thermometer - to be sure of the temperature of...the sea? The sand underfoot? Our daughter? Our ice-creams?
4) The buggy's plastic raincover - for those freak hurricanes that never appear
5) A rubber fried egg - which Betty insisted upon; clearly, in the toddler world, these must be the 'plastic dog poo' of practical jokes
6) A single flipflop - the right foot of which was never found all week, yet ol' leftie had a whale of a time living it up with us every day
7) A pair of infant armbands - not as useful as you'd think on a 34 year old man when he starts larking about in the sea and needs help and lubrication to remove them
8) An (increasingly) bent frizbee - rendered completely useless after day two
9) A three Euro copy of Star magazine (worth 70p at home) - which I kidded myself I'd get a moment to leaf through at some point over the holiday
10) A grass skirt - essential for all that non existent limboing I'd pencilled in
And despite hauling around this collection of useless tat, what did we forget to pack TWO DAYS ON THE RUN?
Boo's nappies and wipes.
So the plastic rain cover came in after all (with the roll of bandage tape I found in the side pocket holding everything together a treat).