Note: This topic was my suggestion for this week’s carnival at Crazy Hip Blog Mamas.
I’m a reluctant fan of Parent Hacks. Reluctant because it’s all just so organized and resourceful. Nothing against the wonderful parents that post there or Asha who does an amazing job bringing it all together, but I’m just not that concerned about bath-towel corners getting wet. Not frugal or systematic enough to schedule freezer leftovers.
Yet I’m a fan of the site because I love the idea of collective wisdom, the virtual village it takes to raise a child. I find myself dropping in again and again, hoping to spot the one tip that’ll make some or other aspect of parenting a WHOLE lot easier. Sometimes it pays off. This one made dressing my kid much easier in the mornings and this one stops me double-guessing Tylenol dosages.
That said, whenever I’m at Parent Hacks I find myself reading with a bit of a smirk. Am I the only one who’s noticed, for example, that the Poo, Pee, Potty section is ever so clear of bodily fluids? Where’s the poo and the puke we all deal with? There have been weeks in our house when we’ve had to wash all of Tau’s lions, not to mention his high-chair cover almost daily. This and several bouts of stomach-bug-du-week under our belts make me a little surprised, disappointed even, that the PPP category at Parent Hacks focuses almost entirely on clever diapering tricks. How to get them on and off with ease. How to pass notes back and forth with your spouse, scribbled in Sharpie on your child’s diaper.
And so, with more than a bit of chagrin, I offer the four not-so-clean hacks that have saved our butts. Literally in some cases.
Cotton Airline Face Cloths — Best Wipes in the World!
When Tau was three months old, we traveled to South Africa — twenty-four hours door to door, including an eighteen-hour flight between Atlanta and Johannesburg. We were super prepared: six bottles of refrigerated breast milk for use in airport line ups, seven full changes of clothing, three pacifiers, 15 diapers, 12 burp cloths and a brand new mega pack of wipes.
On the plane, we rented a Skycot, a mini-bassinet that cantilevers from the bulkhead wall in front of your seat. Bliss. Tau slept like an angel, waking only to feed and gaze in wonder at the overhead lights. The bonus of renting a Skycot is that flight attendants look the other way when bulkhead-seat parents use the first-class toilets conveniently located just a few steps away. And did we ever use that teeny tiny toilet! Let’s just say that we didn’t know that flying mucks with babies’ tummies and that by the time we came down into Jo’burg, we were on our seventh outfit, our eleventh diaper and nearing the end of the mega pack of wipes.
Which is where the stack of fluffy white face cloths in the first-class toilet comes in. Soaked in a basin of warm soapy water and wrung out … ah! Baby butt facial. And we got to save the rest of the wipes for the last leg on to Durban.
Avoid Suspicious Substances in the Office Fridge at All Costs:
Pumping milk back at work months later, I discovered that in my hurry to get out of the house that morning, I’d packed Medela bottles but no lids. Ack! Only discovered this when it was time to cap and refrigerate my efforts and wasn’t about to toss twenty perfectly good minutes worth of pumping down the drain. So I wiped the mouth of my Aquafina bottle clean with a tissue, decanted and capped the milk, and wrapped the bottle in a shopping bag I happened to have with me. Pushed it all waaay to the back of the fridge. Serves anyone who went snooping for milk for their coffee right.
Clothes Hampers That Do Double Duty:
About our child the puker. Sick Tau has a way of waking up wailing, working himself up into such a state that tossing is pretty much inevitable and there is no time to run him all the way to the bathroom. Last Christmas, my mom sent Lester the Hungry Lion, whose mouth flips back to gobble up dirty clothes. It’s become part of Tau’s bedtime routine to say “goodnight lion” and flip back Lester’s mouth. There’s method in my madness when it comes to this little ritual. More than once, I’ve held him over the open lion hamper in the middle of the night. Works best if there’s a towel or two in the hamper to catch the worst of it — no need to hose Lester down the next day.
And Because Parent Hacks are Good for Big Girls Too:
I’ll keep this last one short because it highlights my inability to always have a back-up supply of feminine hygiene products in the bathroom cupboard at home. Let’s just say that a diaper, cut to fit, will do in a pinch. Long enough at least to get you to the store and back to replenish your supply.
Ahem, that’s it. Now it’s your turn, ladies. Any secret or embarrassing hacks?