Monday, March 31, 2014

Cleaning Barf From Your Carseat

After our son had food poisoning this week and barfed all over the house- we finally got out of the house a few days later.  It was glorious.  We swam, we played, we laughed together.  And then... he barfed.  So much pool water barf ALL over himself, his carseat, and the actual seat of the car.

Shaking head.

God help me.

So I set out to fix this stank of a problem and well... this carseat that we have, although I love it.... is not an easy one to clean.  I scoured the internet for help and I came up so short.  Everyone talked about using q-tips.  People... q-tips weren't going to touch this shit.  Gross.  So, here is my "cleaning barf from your carseat" instructions, because we ALL need that. (Note: I did call Evenflo for help- there are so many screws on this seat, but there are warnings all over it: DO NOT REMOVE, blah blah.  So, the lady basically said there was no suggestion other than spraying it with vinegar.  I asked her if a vinegar bath sounded like it would hurt the seat, and she said it sounded like our best option.  So, just an FYI, your seat MAY come apart... mine does not.)

Step 1:

Remove carseat from car. (If you're like my husband, keep the barfasaurus in the seat for transportation)  Clean up the car, the smell will be SOOOOOO rank in the morning.

Step 2:

Remove carseat cover- take pictures if you have to so you can put it back together.  We have an Evenflo Triumph 65 and it is very simple to remove the cover.

Step 2a: Shake off all chunks (we do this in our sink so it can go down the garbage disposal, blegh, ewwww, it is SO AWFUL)

Step 2b: Pretreat if you feel necessary, we had some leftover ice cream dribbles that I threw a little Shout on.

Step 3:

Wash according to your manufacturer's instructions.  I usually wash our Evenflo Triumph in the machine on a delicate setting with a cloth diapering friendly detergent- BEWARE you can wash off the flame retardant- follow your manufacturer's instructions on what type of cleaners to use.

Step 4:

While the cover is washing, get down with the big plastic seat.  Remove any foam that you can- we can remove the two hip pieces but NOT the back/head piece.  We live in Chicago, it has been a miserably cold winter so we had to use the shower for this next part.  My husband did shake the seat out sideways, upside down, etc in the yard to get anything dry off of it (I rarely buy goldfish, but they breed in his seat, apparently!).  We had to put the carseat into the shower.  We just ran it on really hot for a decent amount of time- I put Shout on the straps since they cannot be removed and sprayed vinegar/water solution in the seat of the seat- does that make sense?

Here is our seat in the bath, don't judge my messy bathroom, did I mention we had food poisoning and 2 kids barfing this week?  This is in the fully reclined position and the water is still filling.  You may be able to see it actually coming through the crevices where the straps are.

*Your cover should be done being washed by now, we choose to air dry our cover so we don't have any shrinking, etc.  I just reshape it and hang it on a chair overnight, yes, it takes all night to dry.  Many covers can be tumbled on low for a short amount of time, I am not a risk taker, apparently.

Step 5:

Let dry.  BIG MISTAKE.  We didn't realize how much water would stay in the seat, and so the next morning, I opened the bathroom door to Barfville.  It. was. terrible.  DON'T LET IT DRY YET!

INSTEAD:  Make a hot, huge bath.  We sprinkled baking soda all over the seat, poured vinegar directly onto the seat, reclined the seat as much as possible to get as much of the seat part clean, and then ran the tub as full as we could with very hot water.  This loosened up so much gunk it was embarrassing.  I shook the seat a little to loosen more stuff.  Blegh.  Just let that baby sit.  We let it sit until the water cooled.

Step 6:

Drain the water- wipe down the seat as you do or some chunks will get stuck.

Step 7:

Not gonna lie, we soaked again in a vinegar bath for good measure.  We tipped the seat upside down so things could float out in the water- so gross, people, SO GROSS.

Step 8:

Shower it off, just to be sure you've released as much as possible.

Step 9:

Turn the seat upside down in the tub, and let it dry.  Do not leave it upright, it will not drain properly.

Step 10:

When seat is totally dry.... put your foam back on, your cover back on, and install according to your manufacturer's directions!

Enjoy your clean, fresh seat.  I am so, so happy we did this!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Free yourself, Mama

Free yourselves, moms.  Let go of your preconceived notions of what a "good" mom is, and be the wonderful mom that YOU ARE.  You are enough, Mama.  You are actually, MORE than enough.

Let the kid cry.  You are his Mama, you've already checked his vitals (diaper, fever, hungry, thirsty).  He will be okay.  Accept that you cannot be the only source of joy and fulfillment for your children.  Accept that we cannot control them.  Accept that, no matter what other moms tell you about letting your kid cry (sometimes.... I don't mean the screaming all day, or leaving a new baby for hours in the night, I can't handle that shit) that at times, there is nothing else.  Your tank is empty, your magic bag of tricks is depleted, and you just don't have the answer.  Let the kid cry- because if you try for hours on end to make him shut it, you're going to turn into that mom that you don't want to be.  The yeller.  The screamer.  The thrower.  The monster.  So let it go, let the expectation that your kids will always be soothe-able- GO.

Let them make the mess.  My son has this thing for ripping every book from our bookshelves. Every. freaking. day.  It grates my gears, and often makes me want to explode.  He doesn't even sit and look at them.  The kiddo pulls them out, to stand on them, to kick them, and just to make the biggest ridiculous mess he can.  When I sit to read to him, he just closes my fingers in the books, um.... OUCH.  Bedtime he loves stories.  Daytime, he will take THEM on an adventure, and show THOSE books who is boss.  So. I'm done.  Destroy my house, little people.  Take out every stinkin thing you have, and be proud.  Show those toys who is boss.  And mom.  Let. it. go.  You can clean them up- and hopefully you have a partner to help you out.  And heck, if your kids are big enough to help, make them.

Let them be little, like that Billy Dean song.  Kids all grow and change at difference paces, let it go, and let them be the little person they are.  (Of course if there are medical interventions needed, duh, do that.)  My son is talking later than I'd like- but I KNOW he is fine.  I can beat myself up and say that it is because I didn't read him enough stories, or I sometimes just wanted a quiet house so when it was just he and I, that is what we had.  I'm still a great mom, because I taught him other things in those moments like enjoying the quiet and stillness, independent play, and exploring his world.  I am so lucky to have my kids, and they're lucky to have me.

My children are loved.  My children are clothed.  My children are fed.  My children have opportunities.  My children are well cared for.  I am enough, I have done enough, you are enough, and you have done enough.

We can all try to be perfect moms, or, we can accept that we're imperfect moms raising imperfect little people.  And we're all going to be okay, if we'd just stop making everyone feel like we're not going to be okay.

Love to you, Mamas.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Internet Identities

So awhile ago I read an article about what to post on social media and what not to.

I'm finally going to say it.

What you say about your children matters.

What you say to your friends about them counts.  What you say to your other children about them matters.  What you say to your parents, to your neighbors.  What you say online about your kids, matters.

We have all had that day where little Lacey ramped us up a wall and we raged about it on facebook.  Ok, well maybe not everyone.  You could be like my mom who uses it only to keep up and never post, and that's okay too.  This is one less thing for you to worry about.  But for those of us who might word vomit on facebook- I want you to pay attention.

What internet identity are you giving your children?  Who are you telling people your kids are?  Because I can tell you right now, I do not want to babysit half of my facebook friends' children because either A- they're a little hellian who was sent here to destroy every life possible or B- they're so perfect I won't like my own kids after I'm around them.

Yes friends.  You do that.  And I can do that.

You make me not like your kids, and then I feel really, REALLY badly about it... and for your kids.

And, you make me not want to be around your kids, because they're so damned near perfect how could me or mine possibly measure up?

Cut. the. shit.

Some day our kids will have online accounts and unlimited access to internet- or at least access where you won't watch literally every move they make.  How will they view themselves after they read the things we have written about them?  I know that day in, day out matters most, so please don't get me wrong- but these little things count, too.  I won't put something on facebook that I wouldn't write in my child's baby book. And whether or not facebook is your medium of choice, it is about the habit that is the problem.  Let's make our children's internet identities positive, but not perfect, silly but not mean.

But I hate these kinds of posts, don't do this.  But do that.  I'm not better than you, I am convicted of different things than you.  And it is so apparent to my heart.  The words I speak to my children matter.  My daughter cannot go to sleep until I have whispered into her tiny ear, "You are my favorite girl in the whole wide world."  I'm not trying to toot my own horn, I'm trying to live differently for myself.  I'm trying to shut the mouth of the cynic in my head and only speak love to and about my children.  (And yes... I think overly making them perfect is not love.)

So friends, I challenge you- what internet identity are your giving your kids?  Where is your heart?  Who do you want to set your children up to be on the internet?  Moms, dads, I think it starts here- right now, who is your child to you?  Make them that- to the world.  (But.... let's not pretend their perfect.... k?)