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Insightful parenting: beyond what the eye can see (part 02)

April 13, 2012

I wrote in an earlier blog post that I would be talking about my blindness and how it impacts parenting. I waited a bit to see if anyone would comment with a burning question. No takers. so, I have decided to first tackle an easy (yet common) question. It has to do with laundry. The question is:
**”How do you know what color you — and your child are wearing? And, How do you match?”
First let’s talk about Me, because I was matching and wearing before I even started dressing my baby. some of these things work for baby and some don’t.
Strategy 1: I specifically buy clothes that “might” match. for example, I buy black or cacky pants/bottoms and light colored shirts. The color changed a bit when I got my guide dog, because he is a yellow lab. But, the premise is still the same. Buy bottoms that are nutral and make the tops more flashy. For me, I try to find blouses with a physical tactile difference so that I can associate it with the color. I have a red silky shoulder-length blouse with ruffles around the neck line. My black blouse has a print that you can feel. I have another black blouse with flair on the sleeves. My purple blouse feels like my blue one, but the blue has a square neck while the purple has a round neck. The white blouse gathers at the waste. The pink blouse has those little annoying hanger ribbons in the shoulder sleeves. I know that my crop top goes with the shortest pair of capris that I own. These capris only go to the knees while my others are midcalf. It is all about the feel.
Strategy 2: Someone gave me a black and a pink sweater. Both feel identical. If I do have two shirts that are identical (or a random red pair of pants that feel like the cacky ones) I cut off one of the tags or I put them in a mesh bag (or even hang it in my closet in a certain section deemed “need to be washed separately”) after I wear them. In this way, I know the oddball piece of clothing and after washing it, can get it back into the right scheme. If the blouse matches, I might even wash them together so that I can just dry and hang them together.
strategy 3: some people sew cloth labels into their clothing that tells the color. I have found this problematic for two reasons. First and foremost, I can’t sew. (smile) And, it would take me too long. But, secondly, sometimes, even when you know the color, “red,” let’s say, there are some things that might not go with red. If someone has had their sight for a while and then goes blind, I can see this strategy working. But, I have a hard time remembering the reds that might not go with navy blue and which exact colors go together. thus, a color label just does not give me enough information to match well. Although, I might be in the minority because, in addition to the color identifier and sock locks, the NFB’s “Independence Market,” has aluminum braille/large print tags that can be pinned to the clothing before washing. Ditto with a “color tester,” or “color Identifier.” If you have never seen or heard a color identifier, check out these sites. You will be surprised and intrigued. a list of three talking color identifiers — even one in Spanish. Here is an in depth article reviewing and evaluating the three most common color identifiers. A color identifier does come in handy if you are looking for that white shirt to go with your black skirt or if you have two pairs of shoes that feel the same, but are different colors. But, it can’t tell you if your maroon jacket will complete your outfit.
[note: it is fun to play around with a color identifier. when my friend got one, we went through the whole house identifying colors: “Your sheets are white: eggshell white.” My daughter’s skin is “rasberry chocolate,” while mine is just “beige.” and the way the female announcer said “Cherry Red,” made you wonder if the color alone put her in a certain seductive mood!].
strategy 4: It is important to secure the socks together in some type of manner before washing. some people use “sock locks,” or sock clips . You can also buy them on Amazon. and others just use safetypins (diaper pins work best). Other people, however, buy all of one color of sock and just wash them together. then, all of the socks can be thrown in a basket and need no sorting.
strategy 5: since children, especially babies aren’t in their little cute outfits all that long, you might not want to take all of that time trying to organize. The best strategy in this situation (hoping that the clothes can be washed together) is to either put the entire outfit in a mesh bag or to thread the shirt through one pant leg, (snapping the onezie like shirt so that the outfit is permanently looped together) for washing and drying. I can’t remember the color of each one of my baby’s outfits. They grow out of outfits so quickly that I can’t keep track. But, I do try to match. the pant/sweater set that his great grandmother (forgot the Urdu title) knitted him from Pakistan feels like no other piece of clothing that he has. My baby socks might not match the outfit, but when I take my baby socks off of my baby, I always fold them together. After all, the only time you need to wash 4mo baby socks is when they get soil upon (waste or vomit). so, they might not match the outfit, but I am sure that they match each other. And, did I mention that I love the AIO (all in one) outfits? They are great!!!
For now, I wash all of my baby clothes together. I wash all of DH’s Pakistani clothes, “shalwar kameez” together. (I don’t usually use Wikapedia, but hopefully, this will give you an idea of what he wears). I have baskets for the other clothes to go in and remember what goes with what. We don’t have or buy much clothes which makes it easy for me.
Have I adequately explored this subject? Do you have any other questions about doing laundry as a blind person?
Please ask questions and leave comments. .

  1. Kai permalink

    It sounds so complicated but is sure to be far simpler than standing in your walkin closet and staring at all of the options trying to figure out what goes with what for today. Regarding the socks: my teen does not match them. She doesn’t get the point.

    • jamily5 permalink

      Hi Kai, thanks for responding. Tactile identification is the quickest. I try to buy one color of socks to make it easy to wash and mate.

  2. My hubby has no sight and when he lived alone he was firmly of the ‘all socks should be black’ persuasion. I have some sight and actually find it easier to pair the socks if they are all different colours!

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