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October 02, 2009

Motherhood is awesome and all, but let’s face it: I spend more time getting it down with my washing machine than I do with my husband.  I look at Charlie and think all those wonderfully cliché things about how lovely she is, but then I double take and think HOW CAN SOMETHING SO LITTLE MAKE SO MUCH LAUNDRY?


My sister came over to help me fold last week.  REALLY.
(And that’s not the half of it.)

The astounding thing about baby laundry is that folding one load takes about three decades.  Baby socks and onesies and receiving blankets are so small that you can pack a ridiculous number of items into the washer.  If I wash a load of Donald’s clothes, I have exactly three pairs of jeans and two t-shirts to fold.  That’s it.  That’s all that fits.

But when I get it in my head to wash a load of Charlie’s clothes, there’s more like ten billion onesies, five million burp rags, sixteen thousand blankets, and a few hundred bloomers.  It’s a good thing that the dryer devours those little lint balls called baby socks, because if it didn’t, you would never hear from me again.  Trying to get those suckers matched up is like trying to squeeze a camel AN ENTIRE HERD OF ELEPHANTS through the eye of a needle.

I mean, kick me if I’m wrong, but Charlie IS tiny, right?  I mean, there are probably termites and cockroaches living in my old apartment complex that could give her a run for her money.  And tiny clothes means that I can fit, like, a kazillion outfits into one load of laundry, right?

So why am I doing so much washing?

I’ll tell you why: because babies generate a shit ton of dirty clothes.  I don’t know about you, oh fellow mothers, but as soon as a onesie is over my daughter’s head, I go fetch another because the second I blink, that onesie is toast.  It could be anything: poop or spit up or poop or drool or more poop.  And did I mention the poop?  Because babies generate just as much poop as they do dirty laundry.  There are oodles of poop, gobs and heaps and scads of poop.  The definition of infancy is POOP APLENTY.

People tell me that this phase of life flies by and it’s true; it does.  It’s just that I remember being a teenager, so I know that scaling a pile of laundry so high a mountaineer wouldn’t touch it is not about to end anytime soon.  Until it does, hello, my name is Sarah, and I have an appointment in my garage with Dreft and Tide.

Those two bad boys can take out a spit-up stain like nobody’s business.


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  1. By Marie on October 02, 2009

    New reader here :) First off I want to say Charlotte is one adorable baby!  Which of course you know already!

    I’m not a mom, but I work in a daycare centre (for my sins somedays!) and I would say, don’t worry about changing the onesies if it’s only spit up on it, maybe throw a bib on under her onesie as well, so that it’ll stop the wetness getting to her chest.  Unless you’re going somewhere, or expecting people to arrive to ooh & gaa at Charlotte I wouldn’t be too worried about anything more than poop on her clothes :)

    As for the poop, just a little tip, you might already be doing it, but when you’ve changed her diaper and put on the nice fresh one, once it’s all tied up, run your fingers in under both sides, just to make sure the flaps on the bottom are OUT rather than in - it may help to contain the poop a bit better.

  2. By Mary @ Parenthood on October 02, 2009

    Heh - our laundry increased a ton too (our daughter is seven months old), but Elizabeth is not the main culprit.  At least not yet - now that she’s crawling she seems to think she is in charge of cleaning our floor with her clothes.

    But before she was born I heard horror stories about people who had clothes that were labelled with the day of the week (and then they went through the lot in a single day).  Elizabeth has never been one of those babies - hardly spits up at all.  Her cousin is completely different.  My sister-in-law uses bibs and then only changes clothes for big spits!

    What kind of diapers are you using?  We found that some diapers are more effective than others so you might want to try switching if you are having a lot of blow-outs.

  3. By Tabitha (From Single to Married) on October 02, 2009

    I thought about that the other night - how much laundry I’m going to have to be doing soon - and I winced.  Not because of the actual laundry but because our laundry room is in the basement. The basement that has cobwebs and crickets (don’t ask) and is cold and I hate going down there.  Sigh.  But I guess you do what you’ve gotta do, right?  :)

  4. By gretchen from lifenut on October 02, 2009

    It is alarming how one tiny baby can go through sparkling clean clothes like a locust in a field. And yes, it takes forever to fold all those teeny things.

    It sounds like you’ve entered the blow-out stage. I have no idea how to help a cloth-diaperer with that. Disposables have features that are SUPPOSED TO (ha ha ha) prevent that, but don’t always.

    The good news is you can teach her fairly young how to sort laundry and help a bit. Of course, that is 4-5 years down the road. My older kids sort their laundry, the taller ones put their stuff in the washer and dryer. I fold (I like folding…) and the kids put their stuff away.

  5. By on October 02, 2009

    Tabitha, all those stairs up and down from the basement will really help take off the babyweight.

      When my guys were in cloth diapers we also used diaper covers not rubber pants and yes, there were poop blowout issues. I bought cotton ribbing at thefabric store and sewed it onto the diaper covers around the leg openings - like adding legs to a panty. It was soft and did help hold in the poop. Made an awful mess of the kid though when you pulled it down for a diaper change, so there was a lot of baby washing but at least there was no folding involved with that.

  6. By C @ Kid Things on October 02, 2009

    Ah, the memories of poop. It seemed like no sooner did I change one explosive diaper than another took it’s place. Fun times.

  7. By Stephanie on October 02, 2009

    AAAH LAUNDRY.
    AAAAAAAAH BABY LAUNDRY.

    I know. IT’S INSANE.

    I never match Jasper’s socks. This is mostly because I don’t even match my own socks, and we tend to lose socks around here constantly, so I don’t see the point.

    I need to send you an email about the reading stuff, more specific details. If you don’t have it in like…three days, remind me.

  8. By Natballs on October 02, 2009

    your stomach looks great… bitch!

    ;)

  9. By Sarah A. Schlothan Christensen on October 02, 2009

    We use Fuzzi Bunz cloth diapers the most - the perfect size, not the one size - and we actually haven’t had many blowout issues.  The bigger problem is that if she poops in great quantity, the poop seeps through the leg seams sometimes, like there’s just too much pressure to hold it all in.  And that gets on the onesie.

    As for spit up, okay, I admit it, I was exaggerating.  She rarely spits up, but when she does HOO BOY! if you’re in the line of fire, you are going to want a shower.

  10. By Sarah A. Schlothan Christensen on October 02, 2009

    Natballs - It’s my sister’s stomach, so don’t hate me too much!

  11. By red pen mama on October 02, 2009

    I could not believe how often I changed the girls when they were Charlie’s age. If I left the house, I usually tried to have at least TWO outfits just in case. Along with poop issues—which were oddly not gross, just very matter-of-fact—my girls were champion droolers. My younger daughter was soaking wet between her chin and belly button for two years, I swear.

    But all those clothes are SO CUTE aren’t they?

    ciao,
    rpm

  12. By on October 02, 2009

    Get a lingerie bag to put the socks in. It helps prevent sock loss. :)

    I also don’t change just over a little spit up or drool. It has to be major spit up, food or excrement before I’m changing clothes over it.

  13. By Kate on October 02, 2009

    Just think of it as a pretty wonderful problem to have :)

  14. By Sarah A. Schlothan Christensen on October 02, 2009

    Jessica - I put most of them in a lingerie bag, but even if they don’t get lost, there’s a million of them.  So I tried safety pinning pairs together, but the pins kept coming undone and snagging everything else.

    Baby socks are just problematic for me.  It’s back to the whole my brain’s broken thing.  I can do calculus, but I can’t do baby socks.

  15. By on October 02, 2009

    That’s too funny! You must be doing laundry less often than me or changing socks more often. I think I usually don’t have more than 8 pairs per load. Less than that in the summer because I was just putting her in sandals or leaving her tootsies bare. (better for kissing that way)

  16. By Elizabeth Mackey on October 02, 2009

    Just think how lucky you are to have that big washer and dryer and living in the states. Since you lived in France, you probably remember the tiny washer and dryers right? When we lived there, I don’t think I ever was able to finish all the laundry in one day!! The cycles on the washers there lasted an eternity!! I would shutter to think how it would be with a baby. So when you are washing all those clothes in   shot here, think about how bad it COULD be :)

  17. By erin on October 02, 2009

    I have only recently starting putting socks on Hannah, and only now because it’s getting a bit cooler.  So I kind of can’t help you with the sock bit, though I use a lingerie bag for that and my nursing pads.  Isn’t it still warm enough down there that Charlie doesn’t need socks?

    I’m lucky that Hannah doesn’t really spit up.  Or maybe it’s just that I don’t care so much when she does.  It’s rare that we go through more than one onesie a day.

    Diapers, on the other hand… I do a load of diapers usually every 3 days, sometimes every other day.  That kid can poop like nobody’s business, and generally likes to as soon as I change her.  I figure by the time she figures out to take the time to ENJOY the clean diaper against her bottom, we’ll be into potty-training, such is my life.

  18. By Lauren on October 02, 2009

    New reader here too :)
    I remember when my bub was little (16 months now) and I was SO PROUD to get my washing down to one load a day. Now I think to myself, I did more than one load a day for awhile? How is that possible??? I must have blocked the memories out.
    It’ll get better after awhile, but I just hope Charlotte doesn’t end up starting solids in winter. If so, you’ll be back up to your arm-pits in washing again. (Long sleeves and mush food DON’T MIX.)
    These days one outfit can last an entire day (as long as toddler doesn’t find a juicy puddle somewhere she can’t resist.) I’ll enjoy it while I can, new bubby due in 4 months…thanks for reminding me what I’m in for! I was still in denial :(

  19. By Sarah A. Schlothan Christensen on October 02, 2009

    Erin - It’s plenty warm here, but because she’s so long and doesn’t weigh very much, her circulation is still catching up and her feet are always cold.  I spend most days with a half-naked baby in socks lol.  As for onesies, to be fair, my bigger problem is blankets.  We go through about fifteen billion blankets a day.  The critters like to mess with them.  Friggin critters.

  20. By Stephanie on October 02, 2009

    Oh I’m not looking forward to it. I just washed an entire load of baby socks for Junior’s homecoming in November and I never want to do it again. I can’t imagine how ANYONE with a baby could get it accomplished. It took FOREVER.

  21. By Marisa @ where's the party? on October 02, 2009

    Um, the only baby laundry I “fold” ...baby blankets and pairing up the socks.  Other than that, there’s no point as the clothes are too small and who has the time to do it every other day (that’s how often I thrown in the baby clothes to wash). 

    Waaay too much work.

  22. By Elizabeth on October 03, 2009

    Sigh.  Thanks for the reminder, I had forgotten.  What am I getting into, I already have too much laundry from #1 and #2.

  23. By Heidi on October 03, 2009

    Dreft? I’ve never heard of this Dreft. Folding baby clothes is like folding a thong. Pointless. When I have a baby, I’m going to toss all its clothes into a rubbermaid bin by the cradle and pull pieces at random.

    “Don’t speak so fast!“ You say. “When you have a child you will outfit it in Baby Gap and silky bonnets and you will fold the baby laundry like you’re stacking a set of Jenga pieces and you will remember this post…“

  24. By on October 03, 2009

    I used to put all those tiny socksand cotton nursing pads into a lingerie bag….it wasn’t as though I was using it for lingerie anymore….and I never had sock orphans or missing nursing pads again.  After my third was born I acutally starting writing my obituary about a 29-year-old woman found buried alive beneath clean laundry on the family room sofa.  It made me laugh, which is what I needed; unfortunately my husband was horrified!

  25. By *emilie* on October 05, 2009

    four days later, i’ve already figured out that we’re gonna have to go but A LOT MORE onesies. A LOT !

  26. By erin on October 05, 2009

    Ahahaha blankets!  I just discovered the other day that Woody threw up on Hannah’s quilt, which I had left spread out on the living room floor from playing/tummy time.  Niiiiice.  Darn cat!  He also likes to play with her toys, especially the soft stuffy ones like the balls with chimes and crinkly stuff in them.


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