Dad’s Bag of Tricks

When I️ was a kid, I️ had a Felix the Cat Cartoon Toolbox on the computer. There was no boss to beat or goal to achieve, but it was pretty fun anyway. (While I’d love to turn this into a video game review blog, that’s not the point.)

You could pick a backdrop, then put Felix and other characters onto it. You could make them perform certain actions, then create a new scene to create mini movies.

I️ may not have become Stephen Spielberg, but the game introduced me to an important tool that helps me as a dad today: the bag of tricks. Felix was always pulling something awesome out of his, so I’ve tended to overpack my car, pockets (hello cargo shorts) and other things to make sure I️ have what I️ need.

Being prepared for anything (and not being surprised by anything) makes being a dad much easier. Having my own bag of tricks makes each diaper change a pit stop with a NASCAR-quality pit crew.

Here’s today’s tip: Find out what you use every day and stuff a good quality bag with twice as much of it as you think you need. If the bag is clearly organized, kudos to you. It will be that much easier to finish the diaper change before you get sprayed.

So what’s in my bag of tricks? It’s a diaper bag backpack from Babies”R”Us that is filled with:


Diapers (5-10), wipes (2 packages), lotion and/or vaseline, a changing pad, disposable bags for smelly diapers (1 package)


A case that holds 2 binkies, a package of binky wipes, blankets (2)


A hat, a sweatshirt or other warming item, toys (1-2, and you get bonus points if the toy straps or clips onto an infant carrier/car seat)


extra outfits (2), extra onesies (1-2), extra socks (1 pair)


gas drops, burp cloths (2), bibs (2), a separate cooler with ice packs and bottles


All bottles for the day, or at least enough to have one more than we need based on how long we’re out. (As a parent, you’ll probably start measuring time by counting bottles if you haven’t already.) Instead of prepared bottles, we may bring bottles full of water pre-measured, or a gallon of distilled water plus the formula in a separate package so it doesn’t get wet.

So there’s my secret sauce. With all this at my disposal, I can handle pretty much any crap that gets thrown at me (literally and figuratively).

A huge hat tip goes out to Mama for coming up with many of these ideas and proportions.

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