Frozen Diapers & Baby Book

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Frozen Diapers & Baby Book

Baby Boy was keeping us very busy.  He was a hungry baby, nursing or taking six ounces of formula every two hours.

The Nurses told us before we left to take Scotty home that he had been keeping them quite busy.  They had brought him to me every four hours, but in between, they were giving him formula. So, they had sent us home with small bottles of formula with instructions of how and when to use.

Frank’s folks and his little sister came to see us the day after we had arrived home with Scotty.  With them, they had a multifunction stroller.  Of course, we all loaded Scotty into the stroller then took a long stroll to a Grocery store nearby.  The Nurses had suggested that we buy a pacifier for Scotty which we did while we were at the grocery store.  We all decided that the perfect pacifier would be a Nuk.  The Nuk was a new shape of a pacifier which was orthodontically correct and also hard to find if you should lose it and your baby would not take any other kind.  I know this from experience.

Nuk Pacifier in Baby Blue

The Nuk Orthodontic Pacifier

I have not mentioned how we took care of the glass bottles, nipple ring thangys, and nipples.  These items were all washed with warm soapy water, rinsed, and then put into a pan with water in it.  After setting this pan of water full of bottles, nipple rings, and nipples, on a stove burner, all items got sterilized as the water boiled. It was not a good idea to cook too long if boiling the nipples in a separate pan because if the water boiled out the nipples would begin to melt causing an awful smell and then you had to buy new nipples.  How do I know? Because I have experience with this, also.  Just believe me, this is not a memory smell you want to have.  We did not have little bags inside that were disposable. At this time, we did not even have a plastic baby bottle, but we would purchase some in a couple of months.

The Original Baby Bottle Sterilizer

The Baby Bottle Sterilizer

Life as parents was going along quite well.  Frank was busy going to classes during the day then working on most evenings.  I was busy taking care of Scotty.  Nights were as busy as the days but every minute I spent with our son was special.  About 6:00 a.m. each morning while Frank got ready for class, I would feed Scotty then place him in his carrier taking him into the kitchen with me while I fixed Frank’s breakfast.  There was a large window in the kitchen which looked out into the backyard.  After making Frank’s breakfast, I would take Scotty out of the carrier then hold him in my arms while we stood at the window.  As we stood there watching the sun come up and listening to the waking birds sing,  I would tell Scotty about the beautiful things he would soon learn about the world in which he lived.  He would look at me as his big dark eyes grew heavy for sleep and I knew that he felt safe in my arms.  Frank and I knew soon enough he would be too big to cradle in our arms then be on his own to face the world, but for those precious moments, I just wanted to hold him in my arms and sway side to side. After Frank dressed, he would join us at the window hugging us, rocking along with both of us, and saying he loved us.

When Scotty napped, it was my time to run outside to hang out clothes on the clothesline.  Since we only had cloth diapers, the washing machine had to be loaded up with baby diapers then run to wash a load once a day.  We had a diaper pail with water and dissolved Dreft powdered detergent in it which held all of the dirty diapers until wash time.  Tinkle diapers went straight into the diaper pail, but poopy diapers had to be dunked over and over in the toilet while holding on tightly to one corner then flushing the toilet which removed most of the poopy.  Only then were these “special” diapers put into the diaper pail.  We put soiled baby clothes in a smaller pail which had a lid with water and more Dreft detergent.

When it was time to wash the diapers, I would dump the water, dreft, and diapers into the washing machine then put it on the spin cycle to spin out the water in the diapers.  The next step was to put in new powdered Dreft detergent, a little bleach, and start the washer on a full wash cycle with a double rinse.  Since water was cheap getting all soap and bleach out of the diapers was very important.  Once a load of diapers was through washing, it was run out to the clothesline, give each diaper a good snap, and pop then hang each one the line and wait on them to dry.  Drying time depended on the weather.

Wooden Folding Clothes Dryer

Wooden Folding Clothes Dryer

One frigid morning, I hung the diapers on the outdoor clothesline to dry, but when I went back to take them off of the clothesline, they were frozen stiff.  I was not really sure what to do.  Finally, I took each diaper one at a time off of the clothesline then whip popped to release the ice in it.  I decided to not rehang the diapers on the clothesline, but to put them back into the basket.  After all of the diapers had been whip popped then placed inside the basket, I took them back into the apartment.  Frank and I were not strangers to having clothes hanging on clotheslines strung up in our home from one wall in a room to another.  We had not experienced owning an electric clothes dryer any of our married life together.  Although dozens of diapers were a more significant challenge, we met that challenge with a new kind of ingenuity.

Radiator Heater

Radiator Heater

Looking around some stores, we found a wooden folding inside clothes dryer thangy at a store in town and bought it.  This new contraption held many diapers, and since we had a radiator heater in our living room, I could set the wooden folding dryer with the diapers on it close to the heater. Our small apartment would become less maneuverable as we made our way moving from room to room ducking under the strung up clotheslines which crisscrossed from wall to wall while sidestepping the wooden folding clothes dryer, but we just looked at it as part of life.  Plus we did not have money for commercial dryers at a laundromat or disposable diapers,  especially when cloth diapers only had to be washed then dried, and our son needed clean, dry diapers every day.

Scotty would take his bath in a plastic baby tub that I sat in the kitchen sink.  When he outgrew that tub, we bought a larger tub which I would place on a towel on the floor in our dining/living room near the kitchen then fill with warm water.  He absolutely loved bath time.

Days passed then weeks went by, and Scotty was growing. When Thanksgiving came, Frank, Scotty, and I went to Van Vleck to spend the holiday with our parents.  We had Scotty christened the Sunday after Thanksgiving at the Van Vleck Methodist church where we had married nearly six years before.  This place of worship was extraordinary for us. In December we went home to Van Vleck again for Christmas.  It seemed like the holidays had such a beautiful, and new meaning to us.  Once again Frank and I were getting to see the world through a child’s eyes again, and we felt the pricelessness of each new experience Scotty had.

Frank and I had bought a baby book before Scotty was born and we were trying to go by it as much as possible, but our son was quite a bit ahead of most things in this book.   Scotty’s weight, height, pulling up, standing, crawling, and walking all came before he was seven months old.  Of course, let’s not ever forget that his extended tour of duty in the womb for nearly ten full months.   The Pediatrician put him on rice cereal, and lamb mixed in with his formula to be fed to Scotty at night only when he was only two weeks old because he was hungry and never satisfied with nursing alternated with a six-ounce bottle of formula for over two hours. So we cross-cut a nipple put it in a nipple ring then placed it on a small bottle full of lamb, rice cereal and formula which was mixed to be the consistency of pudding then we would tap on the bottle bottom while feeding it to Scotty.

Anyway, Frank and I tried to go by the Baby Book, except for one minor detail, if Scotty woke up during the night while sleeping in his bed, after changing his diaper and feeding him a bottle, we would sometimes let him sleep with us.  Seemed as though he slept longer and better and we did too.  So it kinda became a habit as time went on to just let him go to bed with us and bypass the crib.  Even though the Baby Book said that this was a very bad ideal and that our son should only sleep in his bed, we ignored it.

When Scotty was about six months old,  I reread that section of the Book then told Frank that we had been doing the wrong thing and that we should try to get our son to sleep in his bed.  That evening after feeding our son a supper of the best baby food we could buy, I gave him a nice warm bath then rocked him to sleep as he took his bottle.  I laid him in his crib, covered him up, and tiptoed out of his room then quietly went back into the living room to be with Frank.

Not sure if I even made it to the couch to sit down before Scotty started to cry.  The Baby Book had said to let him cry, and he would go back to sleep.  Well, the Baby Book did not know our son!  Scotty started whaling and screaming.  I got up from the couch and started to his room, but Frank told me, “Nancy, you are gonna make it worse.”

I told Frank, “I need to make sure he is okay.  I will go into his room and lay him back down in his crib then pat his back until he goes back to sleep.”

So off to Scotty’s room, I went.  All went well until I had sat back down on the couch after tiptoeing out of the nursery then all heck broke loose.  Scotty began screaming, whaling, and crying until he could not catch his breath.  I started crying too, but Frank told me to stay seated on the couch, and he would handle it.  Frank got up then went into the nursery.  He talked to Scotty and tried to calm him down but to no avail.

Frank came back into the living room with Scotty in his arms telling him not to be afraid because he would not let anyone harm him. Our son’s face was a mess from crying, and he was still whimpering.  Frank asked me to hand him the Baby Book, which I did then he placed Scotty in my arms.

With a quick movement, Frank tore that Baby Book in half, walked to the kitchen then threw it in the trash all the while saying, ” Nancy, we don’t need this book.  Our son doesn’t go by these rules, but he goes by our set of rules.  Scotty will feel loved and safe.  We only have this one child and if he feels safe and loved in our bed then who cares what that book says.  Now let’s all go to bed together and get some sleep because I love you two.”

My heart was so full of love for this amazing man that stood in front of me.  I told him how much we loved him then we all went to bed.  That night it was indeed “The Cuddling Three Musketeers,” and God’s loving embrace encircled us. It was our thang.

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2 Comments

  1. Well, it looks as if I have finally caught up on your posts again. I love the part where Frank took the book, ripped it up and threw it away. I’m sure books can be helpful at times, but no two babies are alike, even in the same family, so parents usually need separate strategies for each child they have. It’s so much fun watching babies grow and learn to do different things. They are so precious. God bless.

    • Thank you again Diane. Yes, Frank and I were not having any of that heartbreaking for no reason crying.
      Frank was an Amazing Dad, Husband, and Person.
      God Bless You,
      I love you,
      Nancy

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