15 Aug 2006 07:31 pm

As a mother of two small children, I could tell FTMs (first time mothers) a million little stories about how the second child is not like the first. The first child always has her hair combed, always has a clean face, always wears designer outfits  blah-blah-blah.

This is not that story. This story has actual educational value. I wish someone had warned me…

Because, Oh My God, I just shaved 10 years off my life-expectancy.

My first child? Every stinky diaper was reverently placed in the Diaper Genie. For those of you without this creation, the Diaper Genie is a big tube that looks like a nuclear warhead. Considering its toxic content, that’s not a bad image to hold on to.

Anyway, This tube has a latch top and a plastic liner. You drop a dirty diaper in, push gently down the tube, then twist the mechanism on top so that the diaper is encased in plastic. It is kind of like creating a big, poop-filled sausage.

You do all of these things because as an FTM, you can’t imagine anything worse than the smell of someone else’s poop just sitting in a warm room all day. All that plastic and turning and twisting ensures that each diaper is hermetically sealed in its own pocket. The fumes are in no way able to get out and offend. Later, at your convenience, you can pull from the bottom of the Genie a big pearl necklace of stinkless diapers

By the second kid? The smell of room-temperature day-old poop is so far down on your list of annoyances that it barely even registers.

But here is where you need to pay attention and not fall into the serious mistake I did. As time progressed, I started just dropping the diapers into the Diaper Genie and not bothering with the whole twisty-plastic-encasing business. With infant sized diapers, this was easy – the diaper just kind of slid down the hole.

But with the passage of time, the diapers became wetter, stinkier and larger. To the point that instead of just sliding down the open throat of the Diaper Genie, I have to give them a little push to get them down.

I have gotten more and more squeamish as the diapers have gotten more toxic over time. So I am pretty much down to pushing it with one finger, in the area of the balled diaper furthest from the offending … stuff…  leaking out of it. And still? No twisting off each individual load.

Until today. Of course, I was palming off a diaper that was so full (early morning diaper) that the plastic on the outside was stretched to bursting  – it resembled an overfilled water balloon. And it was warm. Which. Is. So. Gross. I. Can’t. Even. Explain.

So, for these reasons, this diaper was a little bit larger than most. I set it on the top of the open mouth of the Diaper Genie and used my one finger method of pushing it in.

It wouldn’t go in.

I figured maybe the Genie was full to the brim. This happens a lot, naturally. So I proceeded to give it the college try without thinking through the possible consequences. I used my mighty motherly forearms, and jammed that hummer down.

Turns out, the Genie was half-full of diapers that had been stewing for however long they had been there. Not in a sanitized and air-tight depository, but more like floating in an open sewer line.

The diaper went down with an oomph! My hand followed. As I tumbled in to my elbow, I recollect hearing a strange noise as the diaper displaced all the sewer gas that had been fermenting in the hole. To be perfectly frank, just as my head got within range, my Diaper Genie farted in my face.

I am telling you that it was like being at ground zero for a nuclear bomb. Undoubtedly, someone will write and say, “You are very wrong for comparing Diaper Genie mishaps with a terrible nuclear accident.”

But I would have to write back, “that’s your opinion. This smell split my DNA, confused my chromosomes and damaged my liver. I have been peeing neon green and glowing in the dark since this incident.” And I would mostly be telling the truth.

After a few minutes of gagging and moaning, I did manage to take the baby off the changer and rest her on my belly as I lay on the floor in a semi-comatose state. The baby laughed and poked me in the eyeball with her fingers. It was good times.

So, FTMs, please heed the warning of an STK (surviving two kids). Let the second kid wear mismatched socks. Give up the idea that everyone needs his or her hair brushed before leaving the house. Don’t bother with laundry until you are down to your last pair of inside-out underwear. But whatever you do, don’t give up twisting the Diaper Genie.

45 Responses to “Curse of the Diaper Genie”

  1. on 16 Aug 2006 at 5:08 am Jessie

    Oh my. I have tears running down my face. Thanks for the good advice, and I hope you have fully recovered by now. Because that sounds painful.

  2. on 17 Aug 2006 at 6:39 pm Julie

    Oh. My. Heck.

    I won’t be having kids of my own, but cannot wait to pass this on to my dear friend that is going to have her first in October.

    This was just too funny! Thanks for sharing!
    (Found you through Jessie.)

  3. on 17 Aug 2006 at 8:07 pm Melissa

    Hi, I just saw your post on Parent Hacks, and I had to stop by and tell you that, like Jessie, I have tears running down my face. I am all too familiar with the diaper-sausage and the danger of not twisting the top!

    What a great piece! I’m dying over here!

  4. […] Curse of the Diaper Genie […]

  5. on 24 Aug 2006 at 1:32 pm Velma

    So. Frickin’. True.

    All of it.

  6. on 26 Aug 2006 at 3:57 pm Mommy off the Record

    Ugh! Yucky!! I use cloth so I’ve never had to use a diaper genie, but I DO use a diaper bin and one of these days I SWEAR I’m going to fall in by accident.

    (Was referred to you by waya who left a comment on my blog about your post.)

  7. on 31 Aug 2006 at 6:19 am Jenny

    holy crap…I come here all the time. How did I miss this brilliant post? I owe Wakingupastonished a big thank you.

  8. on 26 Sep 2006 at 10:28 am Tom

    We used the Diaper Genie with our first child, and the odor of the poop sausages really disgusted my wife and I. That plastic doesn’t prevent the smells leaking out!
    With our second, we switched to plastic shopping bags that then get thrown into our trash compactor. Since we take the trash out every couple of days, we’ve not had to experience the smell of poop-sausages since. Yay!

  9. on 30 Sep 2006 at 7:35 pm HumanTales

    We had a Diaper Genie for our child, and I relate to this story! My husband (reading over my shoulder) and I both howled.

    Another warning for DG’s: toddlers have been known to put things into them as well. We had to rescue a tape measure from ours. As you say: toxic waste.

  10. […] Curse of the Diaper Genie. If you’ve got kids, you’re going to want to read this one. If you DON’T have kids, you’re going to want to read this one and laugh like crazy! […]

  11. on 05 Dec 2006 at 9:12 pm Life of Elle » 8:03

    […] So what do I do with my precious hour?  I’m on the hunt.  I need new blog reading material.  You guys are fun and all, but I need some additional entertainment.  So I started clicking through blogrolls.  I started at A Little Pregnant and found Anne Nahm.  Damn that woman is funny!  If you haven’t ever seen it before go read her Curse of the Diaper Genie.  From there I found The Random Muse and from some other link on Anne I found Finslippy.  Sure these are all long time bloggers, but many come from the infertile world.  And frankly I feel sort of out of place there.  I am of the “I might be infertile, but possibly not” genre of blogger.  I happen to be very much a part of the adoption world, but feel ready to move past that.  Not that I want to desert all of you.  See how I’m trying to suck up?  Not working huh?  So sue me. […]

  12. on 12 Feb 2007 at 2:50 pm TRL

    I’m all over that Genie thing. Here’s the blessed end for me, happily:
    http://deshousehusband.blogspot.com/ , see Monday, February 12, 2007
    Act 4, Scene 15: “Genie is Not Magic”

  13. on 06 Mar 2007 at 10:44 am Lynn

    That’s beyond hsterical.

  14. on 14 Mar 2007 at 3:48 pm Sam


  15. on 04 May 2007 at 12:40 am Squish Doll

    By our 2nd child I got used to the smell and the squishy diapers. Kinda like my uncle who owns a dairy but has done it for so long, he does not even notice the smell. We used a Diaper Champ for the second child because those plastic sausage wraps got a bit expensive and the Champ uses regular garbage bags. I did try that compactor method though and I really did not like that mess! I will never forget dropping in two, very wet diapers then running the packer. In only a few seconds, my whole day changed for the worse! Those two soaked diapers exploded like two dirty bombs into a giant mess of diaper-goo that began oozing from the machines front door. Just as this began my wife comes into the kitchen to witness the ooze now dripping onto the floor and changes her mind about needing to eat lunch. The mess inside the machine was even worse and took a nice chunk of my day to clean. The following day my wife was nice enough to show me a warning in the compactors manual stating that you should not throw personal hygiene items into the unit…You may want to think twice before trying this, especially if your child is a heavy wetter!
    Even our local garbage collector knows to take cover when running his trucks compactor on our diaper bags. I saw one explode in his truck a few weeks after my little episode and realized that wet diapers become messy, gooey bombs inside of a compactor. BEWARE!

  16. on 28 May 2007 at 9:26 pm Peety

    Hilarious.. Ha-Ha

    😉 Thanks

  17. on 29 May 2007 at 4:23 pm Skip

    I remember the DG! Greatest invention since…well…disposable diapers.

    Your post took me back a good 10 years to the days when my daughter was fillin and spillin.

  18. on 29 May 2007 at 5:00 pm Mike Cherim

    Haha, what a great story. Horrific experience, but a great story nonetheless.

    Next time, perhaps, set your kid atop the Genie, then release the diaper, and if it gets stuck, just use his/her already poopy tush to push 😀

    Btw, I am a daddy STK… they’re almost ready to fly from the nest. I speak from experience when I tell you this: If you think the Genie smells bad, just wait until they’re, um, fifteen.

  19. on 29 May 2007 at 5:52 pm MommaKnows

    You have a Diaper Genie? :) Those came out when I was pregnant with my fourth, and they were SO expensive that it wasn’t even a possibility. Babies #5-19 (we do foster care!) all had the same routine as the first ones: Diaper goes from baby, to a plastic grocery sack, to the outside trash can. Fun times, especially when it was snowing. Better than a hand full of goo from the Diaper Genie though. 😀

  20. on 10 Jun 2007 at 6:07 pm Colleen

    Loved this post! Hilarious! Watched all my friends and cousins with their crappy diaper genies…also saw how one friend had to buy a refill for it within about 2 weeks after her baby was born. So I bought a Diaper Dekor…didn’t have to twist, don’t have to put my hand in anything, just step on the pedal and drop it in…and the first time I had to put in a refill was when my son was nearly 3 months old! and the only time mine stinks is when it’s full and needs to be emptied…and it’s not so nuclear-warhead-ish.

  21. on 15 Jun 2007 at 6:27 pm Mr. Darcy

    Oh my gosh! This was hilarious! I’m sure it is a whole lot more fun to laugh at now. Although I don’t have children that is good information to have.

    Mr. Darcy

  22. on 11 Sep 2007 at 8:54 am Lisa (the girls' moma)

    That is too funny. No wonder you linked it to the very tip-top of your blog! Good choice.

    “my Diaper Genie farted in my face”



  23. on 02 Oct 2007 at 9:41 am Rachel

    I gave up on the diaper genie after my first child. Now they get thrown into a trash can in the garage that makes my garage smell like a toxic waste dump but at least I don’t have to deal with the horrible diaper genie.

  24. on 12 Oct 2007 at 11:11 am Mr Lady

    My very favorite post that I have ever written echoes your sentiments. I thought I’d share…

  25. on 12 Dec 2007 at 8:11 am Magpie

    Wow, funny. Like, seriously, funny! I will now stalk you by reading all your posts. :)

  26. on 16 Dec 2007 at 9:13 pm Deb (Missives From Suburbia)

    You have convinced me I have to ditch the DiaperWhatever we have and get the Genie. Because I smell that smell every single time we remove the bag. I have begun to sprout hair in odd places, and I think I now know why.

  27. on 11 Mar 2008 at 8:04 pm Greta

    Ok. Several years/months late. I comment. No diaper genie here. Plastic shopping bags left at the back porch for hubby to put in the trash when he got home (thankfully…we are beyond diapers now). One time…it snowed. I forgot the diapers were out there. Hubby ran the snowblower and sucked up 1 or 2 of the diaper baggies and flung them 1/2 way across the yard. GOOD TIMES!

  28. on 21 Mar 2008 at 11:28 am Allison Wonder

    So disgusting… so hilarious. How happy am I that I get to laugh about this, and that it was you and not me?

    Our Diaper Genie got its ass kicked to the curb fairly early on- the refills were too expensive, especially compared to grocery bags. I laughed SO hard at your description of the “string of pearls” phenomenon, because my mom and I used to call it that when she had one at her daycare.

    It’s a good thing this didn’t happen with your first kid, or your second could have had some screwed up DNA after that accident!

    (PS- totally linking to this from my blog. You are my hero)

  29. on 26 Mar 2008 at 12:00 am jndhuck

    Eff Diaper Genie and all its spawn. We have a garbage can on the back porch that gets emptied once a week. We used to throw them right in the trash, but once solid foods entered the picture the house always smelled like a giant fart. Guests grew weary of the colon-scented PlugIns I got on sale at the dollar store line, so we moved it outside. Although we may have to re-think that, since the weather is getting warmer all the time.

  30. on 26 Mar 2008 at 2:26 pm Nenna

    We had a Diaper Genie for our first and found it completely useless by the time he started eating “real” food. Little poop sausages indeed! Those things were the most disgusting little packages from hell by the time he hit 4 months old. The promise of the smell being hermetically sealed was broken from day one. Our solution for babies 2 and 3 (after a brief dalliance with a Diaper Champ failed and since hubby still has not installed the lead-lined container like I’ve asked him to a million times!) is a trash can outside the back door where the plastic bag-wrapped diapers are unceremoniously dumped as quickly as possible after removal from baby’s bottom. Dragging that nasty, stinking, fly-swarmed can to the curb on trash day is hubby’s job. The funny part is it’s still a more effective disposal method than the Diaper Genie! Though I am pretty sure that our trash collectors hate us…

  31. on 27 Mar 2008 at 9:15 am Catharine

    HAHAHAHA…i gave up on the genie when my 1st was like…a week old…lol…so much easier to just throw it out in the trash. I love your blog tho…i just found it yesterday and you are too funny!!!

  32. on 27 Mar 2008 at 9:34 am b

    I think I will probably lose my job for sure now, after reading this post. I laughed so loud people from the dentists office down the hall came down to check on me!

  33. on 24 Apr 2008 at 2:25 pm Jen

    Oh my god. I haven’t thought of the consequences! I’m not neglecting the twist anymore. haha… I’m a 3rd time Mom, and with the first two I did the twist… This time (with a 5 yo, 3 yo, and 4 month old) I didn’t think I had time. After reading that, there will be time shaved from somewhere else for that damn turn! lol… Thanks so much for that post. It’s my first time at your blog, and I’m definitely subscribing now! :) Thank you stumbleupon, btw.

  34. on 25 May 2008 at 5:48 pm Allison Manfred

    I guess this is about the original Diaper Genie, not the DG 2? You don’t have to individually twist each diaper with the new version.

  35. on 29 Mar 2009 at 8:04 pm Cody Reese

    This is freaking hilarious and true! We just got rid of our Diaper Genie due to the smell peeling the paint off of the walls.

    Thanks for the laugh.

  36. on 01 Apr 2009 at 12:38 pm Claire Declairs

    BIG THANKS, Anne, for another tremendously funny story, it really made my day, or better my night here overseas!
    Plus it’s confirmed me in my decision of a still-only-theoretical-and-thus-maybe-too-idealistic mother of future-three-planned-so-not-at-all-guaranteed kids that medieval method of my mother (and a row of my mother’s mothers). I mean a washable and reusable cloth diaper from which is its fresh whatsoever content sent down the proper drain and flushed away (with or without a biodeg cellulose upper napkin) for good in a short time, no “toxic waste dumps”. I count with a stock of 20 to 30 pcs for a feasible turnover. Feel free to call me a fashion victim, but for most of my life I try to avoid single-use things.
    I know, know, less good times and MUCH less fun, but I think I can live with that now that I have bookmarked this great blog.

  37. on 21 Aug 2009 at 4:05 pm Curiosity

    I am still pre-kids, and have to admit that I had never considered that particular…um…problem.

    Although I am immune enough to cat vomit that it almost isn’t worth cleaning it up anymore if it isn’t actually on the bed.

    …Or is, but at the foot.

    …Or I’m tired.

    …Or I’m feeling in the mood for grains and salmon.

    You know.

  38. on 14 Apr 2010 at 2:16 pm Mindy

    My diaper genie has begun to reek the past month or so every time i insert a new diaper into the tunnel of horror. We have the new version where you don’t have to twist it, but after reading your post I wish I had the twisting one! I guess there is nothing we can do at this point except deal with it or buy something else!

  39. on 28 Dec 2010 at 11:22 pm Beth

    Wait… you’re supposed to twist it? Oh shit. Literally. I’ve been doing it wrong all this time!

  40. on 28 Sep 2011 at 5:19 pm A Mother's Thoughts

    What an absolutely fabulous post!! I am laughing out loud!! What a great reinactment! And you are so right, the second child really does get the shitty end of the stick because our tolerance has warn low!! Thanks for the great post!!


  41. on 08 Oct 2011 at 8:31 pm JKJ

    OMG TOOO FUNNNY. I see those thing all the time at thrift stores. Never had one never wanted one. Seemed excessive to a poor young couple starting out. By 2nd one most of my friends said they were more trouble than what they were worth and expensive. But I laughed so hard reading this.

  42. on 14 Nov 2011 at 7:03 am Ashley

    This made my day! I laughed so hard I cried. It is so true about the 2nd child. However, no one tells you this. I am the mother to a 6 week old and 17 month old…needless to say, all I do is change diapers.

  43. on 08 Feb 2012 at 8:31 pm Sarah

    Oh my gosh! That is the funniest thing I have ever read. I laughed so hard tears were running down my face. The best part is that it’s all true. Hope you have recovered from your Diaper Genie accident!

  44. on 29 Mar 2012 at 6:24 pm Stephanie

    Omg I just got the diaper genie a week ago to use for my dog’s poo. I forgot to twist, which is why I’m reading this post. I’m going to need all the strength I can get to conquer a weeks worth of dog poo!!!!! Any advice on how to prepare? I’m thinking dish gloves and some type of fabric mask over my nose/mouth area….

  45. on 10 May 2012 at 4:33 pm Natasha

    Sometimes it is the worst thing in the world that brings us the best moments. Perfectly written, executed and delightfully awful! Thank you for the warning.