My six-year-old son, who is slowly learning to be more independent during the night, recently told me in the morning that he had had a nosebleed in the middle of the night. I changed his pillowcase–our linen closet is in the master bedroom, so he couldn’t have done that without waking us–but he had taken care of the blood from the part of the nosebleed after it woke him.
Nicholas established years ago that when he has a nosebleed (he’s prone to minor ones), he covers his nose with one of the cloth wipes we used with his cloth diapers when he was a baby. They still are stashed in a cupboard next to his bed. The flannel side is soft and smooth against his nose, while the terry layer is very absorbent. He doesn’t mind that they have had poop on them–they’ve been washed thoroughly many times; they are clean now!
We all use handkerchiefs for runny noses, so it made perfect sense for Nicholas to grab for a cloth when his nose started bleeding, and it was very smart to choose the more absorbent wipe over a thinner hanky–but the first time I saw him do this, I was worried that the cute flannel print would get permanently stained.
Blood stains come out completely if you soak them right away in cold water. So I taught Nicholas, during that first nosebleed, that when your nosebleed stops or you’re ready to switch to a fresh wipe, you go into the bathroom and put the bloody wipe into one of the empty quart-size yogurt buckets among your bath toys, run cold water into it until the wipe is covered, and set the bucket where nobody will knock it over (between the sink and the wall). After letting it soak a few hours, you wring it out and hang it on the edge of the laundry basket so it can dry.
Nicholas often forgets to do that last step; he just leaves the wipes soaking, and I take them out later. That’s okay with me. He is still quite young and doesn’t have to be responsible for everything! I’m pretty impressed that he takes care of the first step himself, even when his nosebleed lasts so long that he’s holding another wipe against his face as he patiently sets up the bucket with his free hand.
One day when he was in preschool, he told me at the end of the day, “I had a nosebleed, and it was so gross! I had to use tissues! They stuck fuzzes on my nose! And the blood kept soaking through to my hand!” Yeah, I know how that is, with those inferior fake hankies! In fact, when I was in college and had a season of really extreme nosebleeds, and using cloth hadn’t occurred to me yet but tissues were infuriating, I got into the habit of just grabbing something to read and kneeling in front of a bathroom sink to let it all go down the drain. Using and soaking cloth wipes is much more pleasant than that.
And then you don’t have a wastebasket full of bloody tissues sitting around waiting to go to the landfill.
Check out Your Green Resource for other environmentally friendly ideas!