MacGyver in a minivan

. December 18, 2012.


Mothers and Boy Scouts are always prepared. I am neither, so when I take the kids I need to be a little like MacGyver. Recently, with my brother-in-law, his two-year-old daughter and my two kids — two and six — I had my abilities put to the test.

While my mother-in-law and our wives went shopping, we took the kids out for lunch. The first harbinger of problems to come happened on the way into the restaurant. My son needed a diaper change and I realized I had no diapers. My brother-in-law had two and offered one of his daughter’s. I changed my son’s diaper and was content that I had dodged a bullet. 

After lunch my niece had to have her own diaper changed. We now were out of diapers, but I was blithe to the danger ahead. We walked over to an ice cream shop and ordered ice cream for everyone. As my son stood waiting, his diaper started leaking, onto his pants and then the sidewalk.

I quickly grabbed him and went to find a way to clean him up. My brother-in-law tried to help by getting paper towels from the men’s room, but his attempts at assistance were thwarted by the motion-sensitive dispenser providing one small square at a time. While he was waiting and motioning for towels, I looked in the van for a solution. That is when I spotted my daughter’s jacket, a thin sweatshirt hoodie. I wiped him up with all the napkins I could find and fit the hoodie over his legs.

At about this time my brother- in-law walked out of the men’s room with a handful of towels, too late to be of any help. While I was explaining how I had solved the situation, another conflagration broke out.

“That is mine!  I don’t want his messy butt on my coat,” my six-year-old daughter yelled.

“This is an emergency. I need to use this,” I implored her.

“NO! He cannot use that!” She was screaming at me.

My response, because I was upset, was less than consoling during what must have been a traumatic event for her.

“Fine, be upset. Get in the car. He is keeping it on.” She cried the rest of the way home. I called my wife to warn her of what was ahead and to have a diaper ready.

When we pulled in, like an emergency room doctor waiting for the next ambulance, my wife was ready to take over. I handed her our half-naked boy and she quickly put a diaper on while calming our upset daughter.

Once the problem was behind us I admitted that it was pretty dumb to leave without a diaper bag, but I was still proud of my solution. Although maybe I need to be more Boy Scout than MacGyver.