Monday, February 13, 2012

Clean-up on Aisle 6 ...

Babies make messes, or, more precisely (given that babies do not intentionally create the situations … I think), messes happen in exceedingly close proximity to babies.  Useful as this aphorism may be, it is the more vulgar formulation that is familiar: babies poop, puke and pee all over the place (no, seriously, all over the place).  As I have previously mentioned, poop/puke/pee posts are likely to be plentiful given that for the first year or so of life, it seriously seems like humans produce an inordinate amount of all 3, and parents traditionally deal with the tsunami of waste in comical fashion (at least My Wife and I do).  Today’s post was inspired by a spectacular diaper explosion that not only saw Sidney’s poop and pee flying to and fro, but came within 1 or 2 psi of bladder pressure from making My Wife pee herself with laughter.  That’s right, my kid peeing all over the place almost caused My Wife to pee all over the place. 

It started innocently enough.  We realized Sidney needed a change (thanks to a wetness strip on his diaper, more below), and took him over to the changing table (indispensable piece of furniture).  Off comes the diaper, full of pee.  Suddenly - and I am not talking “oh my, that was unexpected” here, I am talking “SWEET BABY JESUS, ALL I DID WAS BLINK” – our beloved child decided it was time to imitate a Play-Doh Fun Factory™ being operated by Popey on a spinach, steroid and cocaine bender.  As My Wife wisely dove out of the way of the avalanche (poop-alanche?), I attempted to keep Sidney from slamming his legs into the pile of baby butt soft-serve (you’re welcome for the mental image) forming underneath him.  No sooner than we thought this was under control, he starts peeing … a lot.  So now we’re keeping him from getting the crap-sundae on his legs while simultaneously attempting to aim the lawn-sprinkler away from himself, us and the furniture.  When the reality of the situation hit her, My Wife starts laughing and mid guffaw announces that if she doesn’t stop laughing soon she will pee herself.  I initially thought this casual hyperbole, until I noticed she was bending over and fighting to keep her legs pinned together.  Mr. Poopy the Pee Sprinkler on the changing table and the Lovely Mrs. Don’t Let Me Pee Myself to my right.  Other than going for cheap potty humor, what was the purpose of telling you this anecdote?  Well, believe it or not clean-up of this fiasco was a snap thanks to the following indispensable items:

1) Housetraining/Pee-pee pads.  Hear me out people.  You know that awesome changing table I keep telling you about?  Well, imagine what would happen each time we had a poop and/or pee explosion.  All of this would end up on the changing table, necessitating numerous cleanings and replacements of the table tops/padded covers.  You know what house-training pads are made to absorb/protect against?  Pee and poo!  You lay one of these bad boys down on the changing table and if (and by if, I mean when) there is the poo/pee explosion, it hits the disposable pad.  You clean up the kid, wrap up the crap, diaper, and soiled cleaning implements (more below) in the pad and toss the whole mess (sans kid).  The icing?  These things are insanely cheap.   A low cost, high impact solution to an omnipresent (when you have an infant) problem.  Also, when people come over and see the box sitting in the nursery, you can always quip of course you have the pads, you’re house training an infant.  (Management of this Blog takes no responsibility for any calls to Child Protective Services made by your guests whom lack a sense of humor and/or common sense.)

2) Cotton Squares.  For the first few weeks, use of even the most gentle diaper wipes is not advised because you can (and will) irritate the hell out of the baby’s bits with all the changes/cleanings you’ll be doing.  Using cotton balls in place of the wipes is recommended, but only by people who have never tried to wipe the poop coated ass of a kicking baby with a wet cotton ball (or who have, but want to share their misery).  In a flash of inspiration (and luck), I picked up cotton squares reasoning that (a) they, like the cotton balls, were 100% soft cotton; (b) because they were square pads they would not ball up and fall apart like cotton balls, and could be folded so as to get poop out of baby folds; and (c) they are marketed as being sturdy enough to take 12 layers of make-up off of your average Jersey Shore wanna-be (I likely made this last part up).  In any event, they work like a charm.

3) Diapers With Wetness Indicators.  I have no idea if all diapers come with wetness indicators, but they should.  I cannot over-state the utility of these things.  Most of the time, your baby will let you know when the diaper needs changing (of course, you may not figure out this is what they are telling you at first … someone really should offer “infant” as a language course), but every so often they don’t.  Be it because they are asleep, in a position where they don’t feel the wet diaper, or simply in a mood to mess with you (this happens more often than you think), you don’t get the warning.  Aside from not wanting to leave your child soaking in their waste (that’s right, I just played the guilt card … I am well on my way to full blown parent mode), the more pee that soaks into a diaper the more likely you are to have an over-flow situation.  You don’t want an over-flow situation.  As I have previously commented, baby pee is rancid stuff.  I remain unconvinced that it is not in fact produced by his kidneys, but instead teleported from one of the seven rivers of the underworld (given the stench, I am thinking the Cocytus or Acheron) to the diaper.  So knowing that the diaper is nearing saturation is valuable information.  The line turns blue, you change the diaper.  No guess work, no false alarms and, most importantly, fewer spills of hell water.

4) Dreft Stain Remover.  There will be messes.  This cannot be understated.  Sometimes the messes will get on bibs, burp cloths, clothing, bedding, you name it; and you’ll need to clean it up.  Particularly troublesome are formula spills/spit up/stains.  You see, baby formula is wonderfully high in protein (a very good thing for the baby), which, as anybody who has ever watched a detergent commercial (or an episode of CSI) knows, makes for particularly nasty stains (insert dissertation on proteins' reactive nature and ability to make strong chemical bonds to carbon molecules here).  On top of its amazing staining properties, protein also coagulates very quickly when exposed to heat and enzymes (see: digestion).  This means that when a baby spits up, you get a clumping gelatinous staining mess that tenaciously adheres to fabrics.  To top it all off, urine and poo also have a high protein content (different proteins, obviously, but proteins none-the-less).  Sidney is 3 weeks old.  So far he averages 4 spit-up and/or pee induced clothing changes a day (have I mentioned messes spring up around babies often?), and at least 3 t-shirt splatters a week.  At any given moment there is baby formula, pee, poop and/or spit-up on something.   You want the stains lifted and the clumps washed off?   Dreft does the job.  Correction, Dreft eradicates stains.  Intellectually, I understand that as a detergent it is simply an amphiphilic (likely cationic) surficant (albeit an ingeniously formulated one).  But when you see a giant stain disappear in seconds, it might as well be magic.  Seriously, this stuff makes OxyClean look like seltzer water.  You have a baby?  Get Dreft.


  1. Oh, wow, this post made me miss not none of that! Very funny reading!

    1. Thank you for the kind words. Hope you keep reading.