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Babies and Laundry, or Blot Don’t Rub!

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Baby clothes are notoriously small. We seem to do baby laundry all the time, and though this might come as a bit of a shock, I estimate that babies generate a full load of laundry every day – more if you use cloth diapers. So if you’re about to have a baby, brace yourselves: there’s a mountain of dirty shirts, socks, and trousers coming your way. (I know, mountains can’t move, yet your job will be to move Laundry Mountain. Welcome to the impossibility of day-to-day parenting.)

How can a baby generate so much laundry? Obviously enough, they gack on themselves rather constantly. Moreover, they do so on you as well. Unless you’re prepared to remain all gacked-up for the next two to three years, you’ll be dropping pants and socks in unexpected wash loads all day long. Yes, socks too.

(As I’m typing this, Noodle just went out in the yard, removed all of his clothes, and is running around declaring his profound nakedness to the neighbors. He says his clothes were “too wet.” Now they are too wet and covered in grass and dirt. See you tomorrow morning, notoriously small shirt and pants.)

Speaking of gack, you’ve likely noticed that kids spill things constantly. No, seriously: constantly. While you’re cleaning one spill, they’re likely testing gravity’s limits in a remote corner of the house with a cup of tomato soup and an unsecured houseplant. Where did he get a cup of soup? I have no idea. You will have no idea. They find things that don’t even exist! Anyway, I take it to be obvious that these things need to be cleaned up, which means more towels in the laundry.

It might seem innocuous to give Noodle a glass of juice and a glass of milk so that he can start learning to make his own choices. But you’ll learn quickly that mixing juice with milk can make the milk coagulate. He will mix the milk and the juice, especially if he determines that they will not both fit in one cup. Once they’re coagulated, he’s no longer thirsty. Now, what to do with a glass of lumpy sludge? Knock it over of course. The child will look at you innocently, giggle sweetly, raise his obnoxious little hand, and gently tip the vessel. He will keep it at this angle until you notice. If you don’t notice quickly enough, he will fall eerily silent; that’ll get your attention. And then, with a sweetness to match his irrepressible toddler giggle, he will let go of the cup. You will think that you have time to lunge across the kitchen and catch it. You are wrong. This is your cue to scramble around to find the cleanest dirty towel and blot don’t rub. Remember, blot don’t rub.

(Oh, and remember when you lunged earlier? Don’t forget that you probably left the stove on.)

Now that the last towel has joined the expedition to Laundry Mountain Peak, you must decide whether to 1) not bother washing your hands for the rest of the day, and/or 2) dry your hands on your shirt, which will likely re-gackify the crusted gack from earlier, thereby re-soiling your hands, which you must rewash, then search out an alternative drying method. Perhaps revisit option 1 and keep your hands away from your mouth until next time you shower. Which will likely be tomorrow morning, just before you start the next load of laundry.

(As I try to edit this post, Noodle is crawling all over me asking for cuddles and – this is his new favorite thing to do – saying “I love you Daddy.” All this in trade for some extra laundry? I’ll take it.)

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About Brian Sorrell

Writer, Storyteller, Philosopher, Expat, Father