Unexpected Fuzziness

08 Jan

Yesterday was Jenna’s birthday.  I absolutely canNOT believe that she’s 3 already.  Where does time go??  Since we’re smack in the middle of cold and flu season, we decided to have a quiet gathering of family for her “birthday party.”  I have lots of pictures I need to sort and share with you, but first I have to tell you the story of the picture above and explain the title of this post.

From day 1, Jenna hasn’t slept well when she’s not in darkness.  She has a tendancy to be up with the sun and to refuse to sleep until the sun is down, as long as it’s shining in her room.  Her sleep-loving parents decided to put an end to that nonsense.  We cleverly hung dark blankets and towels from her windows and tucked them in behind her blinds to keep almost all the natural light out.  We did this 2 years ago when we moved into our newly renovated home, and they’ve been up, undisturbed since then.

Yesterday morning, Jenna was playing in her room and knocked one of the blankets loose.  As I was hanging it back up and tucking it in, I felt wetness on the blanket and behind the blind.  I lifted both up to discover the unexpected fuzziness of a complete overgrowth of mold.  Apparently, the blankets were trapping heat that led to condensation, and the trapped moisture led to the perfect environment for disgusting mold.  On top of the revulsion of this discovery, I was also immediately panicked.  Mold is a big no-no for Jenna’s lungs, and a huge problem for her allergy and asthma issues.  Her room is the absolute worst place to make such a discovery.  My next thought was that it would be super-gross to clean up – maybe we could just move instead.  Ha!

My wonderful dad pitched in beside me and we tackled both windows in her room.  I donned my blue, rubber gloves and, armed with a spray bottle of bleach water, Clorox wipes and paper towels, we eliminated the fuzz.  Now, I just need to keep an eye out for any regrowth.  And the blankets have to come down.  I either need to figure out another method for darkening the room, or we’ll only hang the blankets when she’s sleeping and make sure we dry off and air out the windows when she’s up, which will be slightly time consuming and a pain in the patooty.  Any ideas out there?  PsychDaddy suggested just letting her get used to sleeping with the sun shining in, but since he gets up at 4:30 to leave for work, he doesn’t see a problem with her getting up early too.  Of course HE wouldn’t be the one dealing with her crankiness (or mine) all day.

My main reason for sharing this is that I never even CONSIDERED the possibility of this happening as a result of our cheap room darkening method.  I know lots of other parents use this same method, and thought maybe I could save someone else from the moldy nightmare.  Of course, it may be that we’re the only ones with enough humidity plus old enough (poorly insulated) windows to have this problem.  In that case, I suppose you just endured a disgusting post about mold for no apparent reason.  Sorry.


Posted by on January 8, 2009 in Jenna, Parenting tips


23 responses to “Unexpected Fuzziness

  1. Kirsten/Mama Ginger Tree

    January 8, 2009 at 1:38 am


    And I am all about maximizing sleep for your kids no matter what environment they need.

  2. heartatpreschool (Kari)

    January 8, 2009 at 4:08 am

    We had a mold issue in our house one time – so I can relate. We think it had something to do with using, or over-using, hot air humidifiers in the winter.

    My husband was so freaked out by it, he actually threw out certain pieces of furniture, because he wasn’t convinved we’d gotten all the mold out. Oy vey…

  3. Kylie

    January 8, 2009 at 4:55 am

    We have light blocking curtains in our bedrooms due to Polish summer days being ridiculously long (3:30 AM – 10 PM). We have very low humidity here though, so I’m not sure that they would work for you.

    We’ve had mold issues too. My daughter is what we call the “mold detector”. She breaks out in hives and swells up if she’s in moldy environments for a half hour or more. My sister in law found mold in her closet in her first apartment because of my daughter and then mold under her carpet in her new home.

  4. anymommy

    January 8, 2009 at 6:09 am

    Oh yucky, sorry. We love the complete black out sleep and I had custom shades made for the kids’ rooms at home with black out lining. Not sure if that would solve your problem, we live in a very very dry climate!

  5. anymommy

    January 8, 2009 at 6:10 am

    Oh, I forgot, got distracted by the mold.

    Happy Birthday beautiful Jenna!!!

  6. Domestic Extraordinaire

    January 8, 2009 at 9:57 am

    First off Happy Birthday Jenna!

    Secondly, hubby hates any light coming in the room and since we have an east facing window and hubby works later and gets up later I had to find a solution. We got fairly inexpensive roller blinds. You can draw them down when she is sleeping and then a little tug and they are back up when she is awake. The best part is no cords to deal with. I also have a heavier curtain that is darker on the window as well that I open during the day when he isn’t sleeping.

    HTH and good luck on keeping that mold away.

  7. psychmamma

    January 8, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    Kirsten – I’m totally with you. More sleep = better for everyone! Myself included. Zzzzzzz………..

  8. psychmamma

    January 8, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    Kari – We have to run a humidifier for our house because of all our hardwood floors, and b/c of the recommendation of Jenna’s pulmonologist. The humidity just doesn’t do well with our old windows. Sigh. Throwing furniture out? Yikes! Although, I have to say that if I had suspicions about it growing there and wasn’t able to get it all off, I’d probably do the same. Thankfully our problem has only attacked the windows so far. When it creeps beyond the windows, I think it’s time to move.

  9. psychmamma

    January 8, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Kylie – I thought OUR summer days were long! Wow! Maybe we need to have your daughter come and stay to make sure that it’s not growing any other mysterious places. Her “gift” probably sucks for her, but sounds like it’s come in handy for others.

  10. psychmamma

    January 8, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    AnyMommy & DE – I think you’re on to something with the roller shades with blackout lining. I’m checking into pricing for that. Thanks for the tip!

  11. Deborah

    January 8, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    I used some stuff called window film for a while with my daughter. Even though she is significantly visually impaired, she does have light perception and the light would keep her awake. I found my film at Home Depot, but here is a link to something I found on the web:

  12. psychmamma

    January 8, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Deborah – Thanks! Checking it out now.

  13. Barbara

    January 8, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Yep, any window covering where the darkening is built-in – then you can open the covering during the day to air-out the space between the covering and the window. This will also accent the differences between light and dark.

    Also, look for something with decascent (sp?) – like the little packets that come with your shoes to keep the product dry. I’m thinking there are decorative items placed on the floor at doors to insulate a room – couldn’t those contain this moisture-absorbing material and be placed on a window-sill?

  14. Issa

    January 8, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    Happy birthday to Jenna.

    Sorry about the mold. I was glad to leave mold behind in LA. I swear to you, we had mold all over our backyard.

    How about foil on the windows? Shouldn’t grow anything.

  15. psychmamma

    January 8, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    Barbara – Brilliant! More stuff for me to check out. If nothing else, maybe I can save those little packets from shoes and purses to lay on the window ledges! 🙂

  16. Sweet Pea

    January 8, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    Happy Birthday Jenna!!

    What a great name, its mine also, lol.

    We are having a mold issue as well, and it sucks ours is from a leak. So we are going to have to replace the sheet rock. But for window we have faux wood room darkening shades, but some light can still come in around the edges. Maybe you can put up a canopy over her bed to help block out the light.

  17. Heather

    January 8, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    Yucky! Sorry you had to deal with the mold – I think I would have vomited, I hate mold, I hate in fridges, in bathrooms and would definitely hate it in the bedroom.

    Happy Birthday Jenna! Oh and by the way – where does the time go when you have kids. My “baby” just turned 4. I think having kids speeds up time.

  18. psychmamma

    January 8, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    Sweet Pea – So sorry that you’re having mold issues too! Having a major remodel that requires moving out is definitely worse. I like the idea of faux wood room darkening shades too. One more thing to add to my list of things to explore! The canopy idea is another option, although I’m not sure how much light it would block…..

  19. psychmamma

    January 9, 2009 at 12:02 am

    Heather – Believe me, I had to concentrate to not be completely grossed out and gagging. Blech. And the time thing?? I think when they hand you the baby, they should say, “You have now entered warp speed. You might want to strap yourself in.” 🙂

  20. psychmamma

    January 9, 2009 at 12:02 am

    Heather – Believe me, I had to concentrate to not be completely grossed out and gagging. Blech. And the time thing?? I think when they hand you the baby, they should say, “You have now entered warp speed. You might want to strap yourself in.” 🙂

  21. Kate Coveny Hood

    January 9, 2009 at 2:20 am

    Oh I’m sorry! That must have been awful to discover. Sounds like something that would happen in my house.

    But hey – happy birthday to Jenna!!

  22. Laura Bailey

    January 10, 2009 at 4:36 am

    You probably already know about this website, but I’ll throw it in here just in case you don’t:

    They have everything you could ever want to help control allergy problems and cleaning supplies to get rid and prevent mold, mites, etc., etc.

    I just ordered this:

    because of my heightened germaphobia that’s come with caring for a medically fragile child. I became a germaphobe in 1992 (not really, just seems like use more toxic cleansers than the average person), thanks to my college microbiology course and it’s only gotten worse since Tyler’s been born. Bleach anyone?! 🙂

    Anyway, I really like the allergybuyers website and thought that you and Jenna would benefit from it, too (maybe you already have!) Check out their air cleaners and bedding!

  23. iMommy

    February 3, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    You already have a thousand good ideas… so let me just say HAPPY BIRTHDAY belatedly to Jenna.

    I am so behind on blog reading! (Sigh)


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