Open Sesame… The messy treasure inside a mum’s carryall bag

What does a mum expect to find when she puts her hand in her baby/kid bag? No one is expecting to unearth a treasure but what is uncovered could be a fortune of a different kind.

I graduated from a bursting-at-seams baby bag to a bucket-deep shoulder bag from Cath Kidston, when my younger one turned one. I usually carry it with pride and it is my permanent style statement (if there is any), irrespective of fashion, season or occasion! No wonder, it is a one-stop-shop for all our outdoor needs.

So, back from the preschool pick-up one day, I slipped in my hand to dig out the car keys, back to be safely anchored behind my kitchen door. What came out closely matches the distracted, forgetful and muddled state of mind that I often find myself in.

  • A dark squishy banana, amply oozing from the sides, that could have been lurking in the gaps since a couple of days
  • Mounds of wet wipes and grocery receipts - the forgotten victims for the lack of a nearly dustbin
  • A zigzag hairband, a quick fix for my fizzy hair, and a summery blue eye-liner, impulse-purchased on offer weeks ago
  • Half a tablet of paracetamol, secured under its foil-blister packaging
  • A tennis mini membership flyer I had picked up from my older son’s school last week
  • Sunscreen, a pair of shorts, extra diapers and wipes, a pen cap and 3 pairs of sunglasses – and some other bric-a-brac lining the dark and faded depths of my shoulder bag

Thinking about it, that wasn’t a standalone experience! In retrospect, I have been the victim of messy experiments with all sorts of kids’ paraphernalia in my bag.
I have often found “icky sticky” (as my toddler calls it) blue tack clinging to the lining of my bag. One time I scooped my hand at the bottom of the bag to retrieve a toy, and ended up with mouldy bits on my fingertips. Totally shocking, I must admit! It was a good time for a much needed wash.

Another time, I took out an important paper from my inside pockets, only to find the writing smudged and, its smell caustic. It was perhaps the pungent remnants from a leaking juice bottle. Breadcrumbs sneaking out of aluminium foil often seem to find their way on top of most things.

At other times, my bag resembles a toy box in majestic muddle. My little boy likes to carry his many surprise egg toys wherever he goes and stores them in my bag. Unsurprisingly, little heaps of them, are scattered in the deep pits of the bag. And so are the hot wheel cars, sometimes licking away the cheese that would have oozed out of a picnic sandwich. Somehow, my generous bag also accommodates my older son’s favourite stones in its pockets. I just pray they don’t tear them apart!

It may sound rather counterintuitive by now, but I am normally not a messy mum at home. Although, my tidy ratings have been dipping kid after kid! I have always only carried the one big bag for convenience and, inadvertently, it ends up becoming a hotchpotch of all of our survival must-haves. Food, season-essentials, toys and sundries – comprise the uncanny assortment of the vital and the expendable, which I have happily carried through two childhoods. And still am.

Maybe, hopefully, there isn’t much long to go before I can carry a tote or a small sling bag. Perhaps, anything more stylish will be a good start. So, I guess I’ll keep digging through the biscuits, the half orange, the sunscreen, the colouring sheets from McDonalds and the playfully plucked-out daisies until I get hold of my car keys!

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