I’ve left the house without wipes. Tell me I haven’t left the house without wipes. *rummages frantically through the chaos of the baby bag desperately trying to locate said wipes*. There are no wipes. How can there not be any wipes? Nappies. Wipes. Nappy Sacks. It’s Packing the Baby Bag 101. It’s the ‘leaving the house with a baby’ equivalent of wallet, keys, phone. Mortified, I try to ride it out as an ‘oh silly me and my silly baby brain’ moment as the lovely woman whose office floor my six week old is wriggling around on, chubby little legs akimbo, passes me wads of tissue from a box on her desk and smiles warmly trying to reassure me that ‘we’ve all done it, lovely, don’t you worry about it.’ I silently note her alphabetised bookshelves and immaculately tidy desk and know for an absolute fact that she has never once left the house without baby wipes.
The eucalyptus-scented tissues are completely ineffectual in the battle with this monstrous poo, this epic poo that has worked its way out of the confines of the nappy and up my baby’s back, smearing itself with vengeance into his little cotton vest. It’s a hideous mess. The baby is getting fed up with having his legs pinned above his head as I flounder with the tissues, which are doing nothing more than smear the poo further up his back. He squeals in protest and in despair, I give up. I shove him into another nappy, close the poppers of his poopy vest (because, I have also forgotten to bring a change of clothes) and attempt to continue with the business meeting. I get the impression it will not come to a fruitful conclusion. I am not wrong!
‘I can’t do this,’ I later wail tearfully as my husband attempts to make light of ‘The one where Jude forgot the baby wipes’. ‘I’m just not cut out for it. I knew I wouldn’t be. This was a terrible mistake,’ and on and on I wail about how I am not fit for purpose and how it will be a miracle if Ollie makes it to his 1st birthday.
To cut a long series of maternal mishaps into a spoiler-free synopsis, Ollie makes it to his first birthday (in fact, he’s just had his 6th) and it is not the last time I forget the baby wipes. Or the nappies. Or his bottle. Or Teddy when Teddy is his EVERYTHING. I forget all the things all the time.
Let’s jump forward a few years. I am now pregnant for the second time and surfing the World Wide Web for a new baby bag. I want something super practical that will help me stay organised, and I want something that is bright and cheery with bold, vibrant colours that will lift me out of my sleep deprived stupor on those days when I can barely remember what my name is. I click through site after site. I try different searches on Google – perhaps I’m just not being clear and telling Google exactly what I want. Google responds gamely and presents me with many, many baby bags. All of them kind of OK. But none of them THE ONE. And this time around I’m not settling for anything less than THE ONE. I’m going to be spending a lot of time with this baby bag so we absolutely have to get along.
After 40 minutes or so, I conclude that my search is futile. Oh, sure there are plenty of uber practical looking bags that will probably tick all those left side of the brain boxes for me, but I don’t see any that make me feel…joyful. And that’s how I want to feel about my bag. It needs to be a thing of joy.
‘I didn’t find a baby bag,’ I lament later that evening. ‘They’re all navy with stripes. I want something funky and colourful.’
‘You want a bag that lets you know when you’ve forgotten the baby wipes,’ added my husband. You want a system, like labels or something, so you can tell if something’s missing when you’re rushing out the door. That would be cool.’
I wanted a funky bag with bold, vibrant, cheerful colours that would perk me up when I was feeling down and (my husband was right) had a ‘system’ that would ‘tell’ me when I’d forgotten something crucial.
And if Google wouldn’t find me one, I’d just have to make it myself. Scrap that – if Google wouldn’t find me one, I would put something vaguely akin to a business plan together, I would call Rach, assure her that if we could back pack around Europe and Australia together, we could DEFINITELY run a business together - and we would make it together.
And so we did.