Thursday Thoughts # 34

"Dressed in black silk pajamas, she resembled a licorice stick. Her cheekbones were sharp enough to break open a clam." - from A Nose for Hanky Panky - by Sharon Love Cook

'for Pete's sake'
Think about this for a minute. 
Why should we think or do things for the sake of Pete?
Who the heck is this Pete anyway?

another one: 'as happy as Larry'

Exactly how happy is Larry?
Is he over the moon delirious with joy? Grinning like a loon?
Is he just mildly happy? Content with the way his life is trundling along?
Or is he one of those people who are never happy and by saying someone is as happy as Larry they mean that someone is a miserable so-and-so who wouldn't smile even at Christmas and probably doesn't know how to smile!
Does anyone know this Larry?

There is a new advertisement here on TV about a baby named Larry who wakes up from his naps a very happy baby, because he is wearing a new type of disposable nappy (diaper) that keeps him dry and comfortable. The implication being that any other nappy wouldn't do the same job (ha ha!) and that a wet nappied baby is miserable and crying. 

Well, advertising people, let me tell you something. I've had four babies and not one of them ever cried because his or her nappy was wet. 

Babies do not cry because they've done a wee. They don't care. From the moment  a baby is born, he or she will spend several months weeing and pooing without a single thought on the matter. It's what they do, they don't know any different. 

Of course this all changes when they are older and become aware of what is happening, then toilet training begins.

In the meantime, a baby will cry if it is hungry, lonely, hurting or afraid for any reason. 
Not for a wet or soiled nappy.

Take a minute and think about your children when they were babies. 
How many times did you notice a baby or toddler, happy and playing, completely unaware his or her nappy was so wet it was almost leaking? 
How many times did your baby wake up in the mornings or after a nap smiling and reaching out for you whether the nappy was dry, damp or soaked?


  1. Well I'm going to have to disagree with you on this grandson used to throw a conniption fit the minute any wetness from his diaper touched his skin. He absolutely hated to be wet or dirty and when the grand daughter came along she was the very same. Goes to show you...they're all different.

  2. I wish there had been magic diapers/nappies when my children were babies. We used cloth, and I washed two loads nearly every day (my son was 2 when our little Mary joined the crowd.

    They did not like the cloth diapers, but they never cried when wet.

  3. Hmmm...I don't really remember. I think you are probably right for most kids. Especially does make sense.

  4. Below is what I learned about the origin of the saying: "As happy as Larry "......

    Larry - certainly the best known character in the world of similes. The expression he instigated is most likely to be of Australian or New Zealand origin. The earliest printed reference currently known is from the New Zealand writer G. L. Meredith, dating from around 1875:

    "We would be as happy as Larry if it were not for the rats".

    Almost all the other early citations are from Australia or New Zealand; for example, this from Tom Collins (the pen name of the popular Australian writer Joseph Furphy), in Barrier Truth, 1903:

    "Now that the adventure was drawing to an end, I found a peace of mind that all the old fogies on the river couldn't disturb. I was as happy as Larry."

    But who was Larry? There are two commonly espoused contenders. One is the Australian boxer Larry Foley (1847 - 1917). Foley was a successful pugilist who never lost a fight. He retired at 32 and collected a purse of £1,000 for his final fight. So, we can expect that he was known to be happy with his lot in the 1870s - just when the phrase is first cited.

    The alternative explanation is that it relates to the Cornish and later Australian/New Zealand slang term 'larrikin', meaning a rough type or hooligan, that is, one predisposed to larking about. 'Larrikin' would have been a term that Meredith would have known - the earliest printed reference is also from New Zealand and around the time of the first citation, in H. W. Harper's Letters from New Zealand, 1868:

    "We are beset with larrikins, who lurk about in the darkness and deliver every sort of attack on the walls and roof with stones and sticks."

    1. "For Pete's sake"......"Euphemistic variant of for Christ's sake, for God's sake; "Pete" perhaps invoking Saint Peter or perhaps influenced by for pity's sake"

  5. I have never heard "as happy as Larry"!!

  6. Nappy companies, and advertisers in general, go a long way to make "us" feel guilt... and to buy their products to assuage that guilt.

    True, I remember my boy playing happily in his cot with a wet/pooey nappy after waking from naps. There are the other, more important, reasons why babies cry. Although the nappy manufacturers would claim otherwise.

    I remember Barbara Steele - gothic horror actress from the sixties - being touted for, "cheek-bones that could cut glass".

  7. Quite right River re the nappy.

    'As happy as Larry', or 'As happy as a pig in......'.

    You've inspired my post for tomorrow.

  8. There's another saying that always amuses me "Fire at will". Why is it poor old Will that always gets fired at?
    I think you are correct re crying babies and wet nappies but I think there was a time when my baby son used to cry when he wet his nappy as he had a rash when very tiny that necessitated visiting a skin specialist to cure it. I am sure a wet nappy then was not pleasant for him. Otherwise, I feel you are so right about a baby waking up smiling, even though soaked through. Oh, of course, we didn't have those disposal nappies so maybe they are more comfortable than the cloth nappies we used.

  9. Delores; I have to say I'm surprised, do you mean from the very first day as tiny newborns? Or when they were a little older?

    Susan Kane; I used cloth nappies too, but I had 4 dozen and lived in sunny Queensland where things dried in an hour, so I only washed one load each morning after they'd been soaked overnight.
    I don't recall my kids eve not liking the nappies, although they did enjoy their naked times.

    joeh; I've never known a baby of any age who cried when they wet. An older child upset at wetting his or her pants when going through toilet training is a different matter, although even then, in the early stages of training mine never cared much, they would just change pants and continue playing.

    Lee; nice to know there is/was a genuine Larry to base that upon. If the 'pete' reference is to St Peter, surely we don't have to do things in order to make it through the Pearly Gates!

    fishducky; again I'm surprised, that's twice in one afternoon. I thought that was a world-wide expression.

    Vicki; advertisers try to make us feel guilty, yes, I knew that, but I'm surprised by how many people fall for it. As far as I'm concerned a nappy is a nappy is a nappy, they all do the job if you change the baby before any leakage/rash is possible, the exception being if a baby has diarrhea. I used cloth nappies anyway and pilchers (plastic pants) that weren't loose around the legs.
    I've never heard of Barbara Steele, I'll have to google some images.

    Andrew; nice to know I'm an inspiration for at least one person :)

    Mimsie; I'd forgotten about Will.
    "With the enemy charging fast down the hill, the Sergeant barked "fire at will!" The poor young trooper cried, "they all look alike! Which one's Will?"
    I remember a baby girl, aged one when I met her, the mother was a bit ummm, slack, about changing her nappy, waiting until it was completely soaked, the baby had a vicious rash, little ulcers all over the nappy area, but never cried, I assume she had become used to the stinging as much as her mum assumed all babies have nappy rash and she would grow out of it. Myself and another mum spoke to her on the day we saw her changing a nappy and said the rash didn't seem normal, maybe she should take the baby to a doctor, but she declined, saying her older kids had had the same and they were just fine now. The family diet there wasn't so good either, with the baby drinking six or eight bottles of formula a day and not eating hardly any solid food yet as "milk is the food for babies" (the mother's belief)
    I don't know about disposable nappies being more comfortable, I think the comfort there is mostly for the mother with the convenience of not having to wash them. I'm astounded at the cost though. People think nothing of spending many, many dollars each week on something they throw away, just so they don't have to wash them. On the other hand, with so many working mothers these days, and babies in day care, I can see why this convenience is necessary, child care centres don't want to spend hours washing nappies or bagging them to be washed at home by a mum who is most likely too tired to want to.

    1. That is so sad that the mum you knew thought it normal for all her children to have nappy rash. I think Steven was sort of born with the one he had and it took a specialist to provide the cure which entailed using a special wash for the area and a lotion. I could never let a baby have a raw bottom. Nasty.
      As far as disposal nappies go I agree that cloth ones are the way to go and I used to use Velvet soap grated in the tiny Hoover washer I had. Was told it was better than any of the 'powder' washing products.
      I also find today that toilet training doesn't seem to take so young in the baby's life so the expense of buying disposal nappies for perhaps two or three years seems to me absolutely ridiculous when you could use the money for other necessities. If a mum is working then she could use a good nappy wash firm to do the washing couldn't she?
      Guess I am just being old fashioned eh?

  10. I liked cloth nappies too - only used Huggies in emergencies or when travelling.

  11. The moment my son could move he could get out of his nappy no problem, I used cloth nappies in those days, with my daughter I used both if we went out disposable and at home cloth my son was never worried by a wet nappy and my daughter spent a very creative time one afternoon painting her cot and any toys in it with the contents of her nappy was that ever a big clean up.

  12. Vicki; I had so many cloth nappies, they were relatively cheap when I was first pregnant so I bought four dozen and they were good quality too, lasted right through four babies. Disposables were available by the time I had #4, but I didn't bother with them unless we were travelling, like you.

    Merle; I've heard similar stories and laugh each time, my kids never managed to get their nappies off. I wrapped them fairly tightly and always had the pilchers over them.

  13. ...Hi River.... I used cloth nappies for my children... a lot of work but easy on the purse strings...... suited me fine.
    I love the Larry and Pete conversation ... I'd like to know why people say 'Bob's your uncle' ... has never made sense to me...
    I love your Wednesday cartoon... it's priceless..... :) :)
    Hugs ... Barb xxx

  14. Boo loved it when he had a dirty nappy. Meant that he had painting materials.

    1. oh my god! One of my babies only ever did this once, and once was enough! A friend of mine had a baby who did this a lot and she took to securing his nappy with duct tape.

    2. Ha Ha! She MacGyvered her baby!

  15. Barbara; I didn't find the cloth nappies much more work, I'd rinse then soak, after that it was just like doing a regular load of washing. Just more often that's all.

    Kelley; I thought of Boo when Merle left her comment, thank goodness he doesn't do that now eh?

  16. Disposable nappies, we never ever dreamed of such things. Cloth nappies and disposable liners which if only wet got thrown into the soaking buckets and washed. They dried nice and square on the line and I used them quite a few times until they disintegrated.

    1. I did the same with the disposable liners, they lasted quite a while.

  17. Hahaha, Larry made it into my most recent post too!!! I'd LOVE to know who he was and why he was 'happy' too!! Can't comment on the baby thing - haven't had any - but babies have survived without ultra disposables for aeons. Marketing has a LOT to answer for - individuals might be happy to ignore it, but the guilt and pressure laid on parents (ie they are BAD parents if their kids don't have X, Y & Z) is appalling. That industry should be FAR more regulated than it is!

    1. Lee somewhere in the comments above you, tells us who Larry was.

  18. I think you might be right - at least for my babies, I don't think they cried due to wet nappies. I used disposable nappies and I was very happy with them. I had twins and I gave not one second's consideration to trying to use cloth. The disposable nappies are also extremely absorbent and they do indeed "keep wetness away from baby's skin" etc. As a mother of twins and later also working as well, I had enough to do all day every day without coping with nappy buckets as well. No difference to the environment either - it's landfill vs detergent and the results (according to Choice) are the same.

    1. Twins and working! I'd probably go for the disposable option too. I didn't go back to work until my youngest was in school.


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