The Subject, She Is Changed


Fifth disease. Ezra has it.

Ezra fifth disease

Now, if you're anything like me (read: insane), you hear the words "fifth disease" and think HOLY SHIT, DISEASE? THE FIFTH ONE? OUT OF HOW MANY? LIKE, ON A SCALE OF THE TOP TEN MOST TERRIBLE DISEASES YOUR PRESCHOOLER CAN GET? 

Not so much. It basically means: He had a cold, and then got a rash. Oh, and it looks like someone backhanded him across the face a couple times. No biggie. 


I recently ordered a retractable clothesline for our backyard, pledging to take my dirty hippitude to a new level: I was gonna hang my baby's poop-rags outside to dry, in the sun, in front of God and my dog and the one neighbor who can see into our yard. 

It started out well. It even made Ye Olde Annoying Instagram!

Line of fail

Aw, how pretty! Points deducted for not using vintage upcycled shabby chic wooden clothespins from Etsy, however.

I was only about halfway through the diapers when I posted that, and once I finished I sat up on the deck and admired my obnoxious hipster old-school handiwork. Look at me! I own a perfectly functional electric dryer but no, I am conserving! I am industrious! Fuck you, modern convenience. The old ways really are better when you think about it when we all got our hands dirty and slowed things down and DAMMIT I would so blog about this but THERE'S TOO MUCH SUN-GLARE ON MY iPAD OUT HERE.

Anyway, that's about the exact second when the tension gave out in the piece of shit line and the whole thing collapsed to the ground, taking two dozen freshly-washed diapers with it.

I tried again, after double-checking the instructions -- I mean, this isn't rocket science, right? Extend, wrap thingie around that other thingie, bathe in smug sense of wholesome green prairie-living pride, and...same thing. WHOOSH. Lawndiapers. 

I cursed a bit, collected all the diapers, and shook off some dirt and leaves. 

Then I went inside and put them all in the dryer.



I have exactly seven minutes to think of a third thing to talk about here, before I have to get Noah at the bus stop. Why do I need a third thing? I don't know. I JUST DO. Even if I tell myself that two is a prime number, just like three and five, it still feels wrong and incomplete. After five things I always feel compelled to keep going until 10, though, so at least I didn't come up with six things to talk about because then my eyelid would get all twitchy. 


Wait a second. I can solve that one. The rest of that six-thinged entry would look like this: 

7) Eeek! Eyelid twitch!

8) Explanation of compulsive need for 10-itemed listicle.

9) Vague, nonsensical rantings re: Dave Letterman.

10) Random pet or baby photo. Hooray!


Ceiba says 'sup. 






Drying in the sun takes care of poop stains better than pretty much any chemical bath you can think of. So ... hoping you'll try again.


You could always get one of those clotheslines that looks like and upside-down umbrella. I think some of them may even be collapsible. I am ALL for line drying my diapers when the weather cooperates. We have mostly BG 3.0s and the inserts take foreeeever to dry in the machine and I just think of the $$ going to the electric bill. That was of course saved on NOT buying disposables. You can't win.


The very first time I tried to dry my diapers outside, the whole system collapsed and my diapers ended up in a red ant hill. Biting red ants! I started drying them on hangers in the laundry room. Screw you, nature.


I have a clothes line, one that is on one pole and looks like and umbrella. Thing is probably 50 yrs old though, rusting and it leaves black marks on the clothes no matter how many times I try to clean the lines. I also have issues with crunchy clothes and diapers.


Looks like Ceiba's getting a few grey hairs! My dog commiserates. And he's only 3!

I think it's the addition of the baby. Our dog is a herder. And now with a baby crawling and crashing around it has seriously upped his level of frustration as the baby does not herd very well.


Fifths Disease....we've had it here.

CEIBA! You sweet faced little poochie! Look at how those babies(And "dirty hippitude") have aged you! She needs snausages.
(I have one gray faced pooch here, too. She is over the baby hype and just wants to sleep...all day long. )

Now...I must run to the busstop, too.


I have been line-drying my clothes outside - ALL of our clothes - for a few years. I just get a few drying racks. The work clothes go on the one with the mesh panels so they can lay flat, and the jeans, gym shirts, and anything else that can be folded over go on the regular ones. A few things blow away, but only if they're really light and small, like a sock.

I line-dry because a) I save $0.50 every time I do, and b) the laundry smells nicer.


This. This is why I freaking love you.


I's be gotten the old fashioned one Olivia mentions. I was going to hang my bras one day (for all the neighbors to see and end all their speculation about my sexiness) but figured a bird might place its newborn birdlet inside one of the cups b/c of the teeny tiny dimension or a kid would use one as a slingshot. For a pebble. Ba dump bump.

I hope Ezra isn't itchy. Can he still go to school?

Donna P

Ceiba be gray!


My Momma longs for Spring/Summer so she can hang clothes out on the line. That was always on my to-do list during the summer "Get clothes off the line" I hated that shit, but I do love sheets dried in the sunshine.


If it makes you feel any better, in my experience(*) line-drying cloth diapers can often give them all the softness of a wooden shingle. Not something I'd want up in my business.

(*)"My experience" involves living in an old barn in France where we did not have a clothes dryer for the first six months, until I basically grabbed our landlord's handyman by the collar and begged.


*trolling the interwebs for plagiarized use of "lawndiapers".

"Just as the Lord intended."
- You make me smile.


Posting in threes! I know why :-) the famous writing rule of three (and my favorite iteration of it:

And, Ceiba is so cute and bat-eared. She is becoming quite a mature little lady :-)


Oh for the love of all things good in this world, use that tumble dryer baby. Use it good. Use it for ME.

I moved to England to marry the man I love (cute accent) and you know what NO ONE told me before I made that decision? Most houses here do not have dryers. Nor space for dryers. IN ENGLAND. You know, where it kinda sorta rains, like, all the time? This could have changed things (meh, who am I kidding? His accent is really cute). I have two kids who like dirt and eating tomato based things. We have a lot of laundry. I end up hanging every single article of washed clothing on the hot radiators all winter long (so our house looks like an undercover dry cleaning business gone wrong) or in the summer, watching the weather forecast like a hawk and hauling loads outside (that I have to make sure go in the washing machine at 6am, because a cycle takes 2 hours), keeping a twitchy eagle eye out for clouds and hoping it dries by sundown... oh I could go on. Basically, the reason I DON'T use cloth diapers is because of the damn laundry situation. Ironic, no?

When I visit my parents back in the good ole USA, I hug that big ole Maytag dryer. Then I cry a little. Then I hug it again.

This is all to say to stop your silly hippy notions and please savor, relish, pray to, bow to, never take for granted and hug that dryer.



Dirty Hippie Assvice re clotheslines. All of the ones you can buy as clotheslines will collapse under average weight. You need to buy a 3 prong weight extension cord long enough and tie the ends to sturdy stuff and it will not fall. Bonuses: extension cord plastic is hellatough and cleanable the simple knots hold great. The plastic is grippy-ish and the bigger diameter helps hold stuff better with those pins. Mine is tied to swingset and a tree and I can dry multiple king comforters in sunshiney bliss. I put it up and take it down as needed. Also kids hang on mine all the time and have not managed to pull it down yet. Also, I have fun bright yellow cord which makes it highly visible which is not a usual selling point for a clothesline but it totally should be.



I'm... I'm sorry... I may have some issues around this subject.


I agree with trying the clothesline again. On a side note - when did Ceiba get so, ummmm... mature? Poor little girl has a little gray on her little head. Still adorable though.


So do you never ever sun your diapers? Watching stains magically disappear is almost as fun as buying them. Whee!

I have a retractable clothes line that's never been retracted, which I use for pockets maybe like 10x/year. Pretty much a spring-is-here! thing, then I'm over it for the year.

I've tried sunning diapers in the backyard on the lawn, but gosh darn, it doesn't work nearly as quickly or well as the path of my south facing driveway. Neighbors get a hoot out of us and our "hippie" (we're so not) ways, especially with our "foreign" (also Sienna '11) minivan. Nothing gets more attention though than the guest bathroom diaper sprayer.


I stopped hanging my clothes outside after I brought a bat in with my sheets.



Dawn B

Oh my geezus 5th Disease!!! me and my 4 year old daughter had that last year. I was working when I caught it and was surrounded by nurses and doctors (used to work in a nursing home) and they were ALL baffled. Apparently it's like the 5th disease you were expected to catch as a child growing up ..ya the "olden" days. Next to Scarlet Fever. Nice. the rash was the horrible part..and my daughter just took a bunch of benadryl. She also had SUPER red cheeks which spread all over her face. She really could have posed as a new zombie on The Walking Dead. Me? I caught it, had the cold symptoms and then ended up with the arthritis part of it. Dude, I was 32 at the time. lol The symptoms are different for adults so be careful. You get swelling in your joints. It was kind of painful. I can't lie. :( I hate to say misery loves company but OMG now I know that our family wasn't the only family to catch it. Good side of the whole thing- you catch it once and you're immune.... yay.....


I hired a fence contractor to build & install 2 clothesline poles for me. They were welded aluminum with 8 lines & set in concrete in ground. Those bad boys could hold 2 king-sized beds worth of wash (comforters, blankets, sheets & waterproof mattress pads) & just barely sag in the middle.

Of course we've moved out of that house into a subdivision that prohibits clotheslines. Hoity toity a-holes.


Jo, I live in Switzerland and most basements here have special areas with clothes lines for drying. Unheated basements. Many apartment houses have extractor-fan type things in the drying room to draw the humidity out and speed up the drying. Our last one didn't, so I always had to bring up half-dry clothes to give the next person on the laundry day list (oh yes we have assigned days!) access to the room, so there'd be clothes across chairs, over doors, and on radiators! I once saw that in Scotland that they have ceiling mounted drying racks on pulleys that lower down to put the laundry on, they get hoisted back up to the ceiling where the warm air is. 'Cause Scotland is pretty grey and wet.
All that, just to say I use a massive fold out drying rack in the bathroom near the radiator. Lol.


@Heidi I do sun my diapers, either just out on a towel or drying rack, as-needed. But I figured this would be like, NEXT LEVEL shit. Or something.

Our HOA *technically* says no clotheslines, which is why I went with the retractable one that I figured I could use during the day when I'm literally the only person home, then hide it away like a ninja.

CURSE YOU GRAVITY!! *hurls throwing stars*


Dying, dying, *dying* to know how Ezra's Mini-Chefs camp went and if there were teeny aprons involved. Dying.


I live in Australia, and here every house is built with a clothesline, and everybody uses it for all their washing. Most only use the dryer during a rain storm. Clothes dryers take aggges to get everything dry! And your screwed if its a big load. It's just as easy to hang it on the line and it dries 4+ loads of washing in a couple of hrs. We don't even own a dryer in our current rental.

Mind you, our lifestyles are more eco-friendly then a lot of other countries. Houses are built with huge water tanks to conserve water, that are then piped into toilets, washing machines and outdoor taps. Most new houses heats with solar, and are built with many water and power saving devices.


Interesting anthropology of laundry here. I read your post in total astonishment as I'm English and (like the lady said) we all dry outside using those cheap wooden pegs you get at the hardware store, along with clotheslines that you tie with a knot at both ends. Then I suddenly began to understand why cloth nappying is actually quite simple for you. A dryer might be quite nice but there's no room in the flat (apartment) and don't they use shed-loads of electricity?


Oh my gosh, I had Fifth disease when I was about 8 (1986)! The doctor's office treated me like I had leprosy and made me go in the back door. On the bright side, I got to stay home until it cleared up! Hope he feels better!


i had fifth's in elementary school. it's so weird and random, isn't it? i was the only kid that had it too.


My niece (and maybe her twin brother, too?) had Fifth Disease. My brother told our parents that it's known as "slapped-face disease" (or something along those lines).

When my dad (a physician) asked "How did you learn that?" my brother (an attorney, as is his wife) said, "I googled 'Is my new nanny slapping my baby?'"


It's all happy, happy hanging until the birds shit on your nice, clean diapers! Berry shit! Red, black and blue berry shit! BTW, berry shit stains.


I can't believe how sad it made me to see how grey Ceiba has become! And it's not even time for my period!


Rats - I thought I'd be the first to say this, but someone beat me: we call fifth disease "slapped cheek" disease here in the UK. Also - we've always had a dryer (because it's England - it rains. A lot!), but I still hang my laundry outside if the weather obliges - it makes it smell delicious!


My youngest daughter, now 21, had Fifths in Pre-K. Remember the red cheeks, but she also had an occasional yucky feeling in her tummy plus for at least a week or two she would crash asleep at like 5 or 6:00 pm and sleep all night. Other then that she recovered fine.


Wow I have never actually heard of anyone actually getting fifths disease! Teachers around here get the year off as a preventative measure when they are pregnant, since it can cause miscarriages/stillbirths (rarely). So keep the kids away from any preggos you know. Hope he feels better soon and that the rest of you don't catch it.


Not to scare you, but if you get Fifth Disease as an adult, you are rrrreally sick. My husband and I caught it from our children, and we were absolutely miserable. My joints ached for a month from Fifth Disease. The kids, however, recovered really quickly. Let's hope you had it already when you were a child!


Oh, yes, Fifths Disease. My 2nd baby, who is now 35 years old, had that once and I was baffled, never heard of it. I remember describing it to the pediatrician over the phone and she said "does she look like somebody slapped her face?" Yes...then it is Fifths Disease.

Jaime T.

Finally delurking to let you know that "lawndiapers" totally made my (otherwise crappy) night! You are awesome.


Some of my coziest memories of childhood involve gliding between cool wet sheets on a warm (Michigan) summer day (on the upside-down umbrella kind of clothesline).

Sadly, we have hackberry bushes across the entire length of our back fence and the birds find it necessary to stick around after eating until they have voided themselves all over the cloth roof of our gazebo. Maybe we could install the clothesline INSIDE The gazebo...


Awww, Ceiba has some grays! She should cover those up. And have some more wine. It's good for the grays, I hear.

Plus, also, I was able to leverage* this post to demonstrate to my husband WHY I haven't purchased the retractable clothes line that he thinks would be so useful. I did, however, purchase the folding clothes rack. But I don't have diapers, only shirts and jeans and stuff.

*And by "leverage" I mean "I let him read it directly from your site" because I wouldn't want to plagiarize, although I hear that's all the rage with the kids these days.


oh, shit, "Lawndiapers" just made me spit out my drink. Thank you for the midnight chuckle!!!


Grandma Ceiba, wow. My own dog's getting up there, but I'm trying to ignore that.


Oh no, Fifth Disease! I just cringed when I read that. My kids both had it in elementary school and came through it just fine -- they thought the lacy rash was pretty cool.

I caught it from them and I was SO SICK. I couldn't sleep for days, it was so painful (my carpal tunnel came raging back, joints swelled up, etc.) It took well over 5 years for me to get semi-over the 'hands/arms falling asleep at night' thing, and now I still sleep with my right hand up on a small pillow (my son is almost 22, so that's how long it's been). I really, really it stays far away from the adults in your family!

Oddly enough, my husband (with the suppressed immune system from a bone marrow transplant) never caught it. (Thank God.)


Lawndiapers......snort. So funny. And yep, I agree with everyone else - dried on the line means they're going to be all crunchy. My husband likes to dry towels outside when the weather's warm. Nothing like trying to dry yourself off with a stiff, crunchy towel.


Yeah, Fifth Disease is no big deal for kids, but worse for adults, and he should be kept far away from pregnant women.


Yeah, Fifth Disease is no big deal for kids, but worse for adults, and he should be kept far away from pregnant women.


I line dry everything except sheets and towels. I have always done it on racks. Both to save money, but also to avoid shrinking clothes. I put them in the dryer for 5-10 minutes, mostly to get the fuzz, cat hair etc off of them, and then on the rack they go.


feel better zah!

i always hate when the cloth diapering community says things like "you can dry them in the dryer, but no one does that really...". um, yes. yes, i do. me, over here. it works. well. and there is little to no chance of them being soaking wet again because mama forgot it was gonna rain.

hi ceiba! :)


Long-long-time reader here. Been offline a long while with health issues and the passing of my Mom and dealing with a 4YO (2 was CAKE compared to 4) and I just popped in to see how you're doing. Couldn't help but notice that Ceiba (what a gal) is going grey at the same rate I am, apparently.
Your babies are beautiful and I have enjoyed reading about their entries into the world and subsequent shenanigans very much. Keep up the great writing and thanks for your blog.

Amy in StL

Could you string white lights up - you know in a permanent fashion and then use them as a clothesline? I know, it'll look all tobacco road, but I've totally done that in a previous condo that didn't allow drying lines. Also, Ceiba!


I have the "octopus" drying rack from IKEA that works great for my Thirsties covers, worthless-unless-you-use-at-least-2-at-a-time gCloths, and FB covers/inserts - most of the time it lives in our laundry room but every once in a while I hang it on a south-facing hook on our patio and the diapers are magically clean and no longer smell - LITERALLY - like ass.

You could hang prefolds on it, but you'd need to use two hooks per, which means you could only dry 8 diapers at a time.


They don't hang low enough for me to hide under. The diapers, I mean, THE DIAPERS. I wanna make a fort! Waaaah!


I got 5ths disease as a tot in the 80s. I don't remember it.

What kind of dog is Ceiba? she's adorable! I have a 5-yr-old mini dachshund named Cupcake who is already white on the top of her head, and she sleeps all the time.


Just came across this in my reading...diseases 1-4 are: measles, scarlet fever, rubella, and Filatov-Dukes disease, based on the order in which the different rashes were identified.

Mom In Two Cultures

In Japan, they call it "Ringo-byo" or "Apple disease," (since the cheeks, they look like apples, apparently) which is way hard to take seriously. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out why they were sending him home from school.


I always hang my diapers to dry in the sun. Feels healthier coz the bacteria gets killed.

The comments to this entry are closed.