I am the Triantiwontigongolope.


One of the most vivid memories I have from my early school days is learning a poem by C.J. Dennis, called The Triantiwontigongolope.  I remember learning and singing this poem verse by verse and then writing it in my very bestest of best handwriting in my anthology book and then illustrating it with care.  I loved this poem so much and still to this day, whenever I am feeling like I have failed at something, I recite the Triantiwontigongolope in my head, tell myself to toughen up, take my concrete pill and have another go.  In fact, I say to my kids, ‘If at first you don’t succeed, then Tri, Triantiwonti, Triantiwontigongolope.’  They look at my like I have lost my freaking mind, but there you have it – a life lesson for all.

It’s funny actually because as a kid that is the message that I took away from the poem – don’t give up, but when I re-read it nowadays, it is really just about a made up insect.  I like my take on the poem better.  Break down your goals into smaller achievable goals and soon you will have your success!  Like learning to spell triantiwonigongolope…


Here is C.J. Dennis’ masterpiece in its entirety:

The Triantiwontigongolope

There’s a very funny insect that you do not often spy,
And it isn’t quite a spider, and it isn’t quite a fly;
It is something like a beetle, and a little like a bee,
But nothing like a wooly grub that climbs upon a tree.
Its name is quite a hard one, but you’ll learn it soon, I hope.
So try:

It lives on weeds and wattle-gum, and has a funny face;
Its appetite is hearty, and its manners a disgrace.
When first you come upon it, it will give you quite a scare,
But when you look for it again, you find it isn’t there.
And unless you call it softly it will stay away and mope.
So try:

It trembles if you tickle it or tread upon its toes;
It is not an early riser, but it has a snubbish nose.
If you snear at it, or scold it, it will scuttle off in shame,
But it purrs and purrs quite proudly if you call it by its name,
And offer it some sandwiches of sealing-wax and soap.
So try:
        Triantiwontigongolope .

But of course you haven’t seen it; and I truthfully confess
That I haven’t seen it either, and I don’t know its address.
For there isn’t such an insect, though there really might have been
If the trees and grass were purple, and the sky was bottle green.
It’s just a little joke of mine, which you’ll forgive, I hope.
Oh, try!

So what does The Triantiwontigongolope have to do with anything you ask.  What pearl of wisdom am I about to impart?  None really, I have no wisdom for you just a little story about how I failed, but tried again, and now I am Awesome Mummy.

I failed at cloth nappies.  I was a failure.  You could call me the Failure From Australia.  Past tense peeps, now I am rocking the cloth once more, and loving it.  And when I say rocking, I mean elbow deep in baby shit, because damn that sweet little girl can squirt some poo.

You may or may not have noticed that in any of the photos I have posted in the last few months, T has been wearing disposables.  Yeaaaaah, about that, I started off with the best of intentions, but then I hit 12 weeks pregnant and had to pack up house and move and decided to just have a bit of a cloth break until we got all settled again.

I wasn’t all that thrilled with the nappies I bought.  The fit wasn’t great and clothes were not going over his bulky big butt. Dave wasn’t getting on with the cloth and Mother-In-Law wouldn’t use them.  As I was working a few days a week at that time, it got a tad frustrating that I was the only one using them.  Come the end of the day, or two days there wasn’t really enough to warrant putting on a load in the washing machine, but I had to or they would stink to hell and back.  And that is a really far way.

So I kind of put them on the shelf with the thought that I would get back into it eventually.  I did have another go for about a week or so, but again, pregnancy laziness got the better of me and I shelved them.  I did however tell myself that when H came along I would absolutely start again, because 2 babies in disposables is basically like shitting on money.

There you have it – failure.  Miserable stinking failure.  If at first you don’t succeed, what do you need to do? TRI-TRIANTIWONTI-TRIANTIWONTIGONGOLOPE!

I had in my stash 12 Cushie Tushies, certainly not enough for 2 babies.  I had mentioned that I wasn’t over the moon about these nappies.  They were not a great fit for T and gaped around his waist.  They are a one size nappy that is supposed to fit from newborn until toilet trained, but I found them quite bulky for a newborn.  I decided that I was going to sell them on and buy a crap load of cheapies off eBay.  I am really really glad I didn’t!  I thought, hey, may as well give them another try seeing as though I have them.  They now fit T like a glove and never leak.  Today I changed him at 1:00 and was going to change him again at 4:00 but the kids came home from school and there was homework and snacks and babies and stuff and I just forgot.  I didn’t get to take that nappy off until before his bath at 5:45 and it was still going strong!  There was even a big ol’ poo in there hiding.  Full points to Cushie Tushie.

Look Mummy, I can put on my 'gocks'.

Look Mummy, I can put on my ‘gocks’.

But what about H?

I couldn’t afford to buy a bunch of nappies new, so I hit a buy/sell/swap page and collected a few in different styles to try at a fraction of the cost.  I wanted to see what worked best before I spent a heap of money on something that was a bad fit.

T examines the merchandise.

T examines the merchandise.

I got a few itti bitti, some BabyBeeHinds, couple of BumGenius and Bambooty.

I must say that I haven’t fallen in love with the ittis.  These seem to be a really popular nappy because they are super cute and a trim fit.  They really are gorgeous and you can put normal baby clothes over them but these leak on H.  I can’t do them up tight enough around her legs without chopping her in half with the back elastic.  I would really like to keep my baby in one piece, thank you.

Itti D'lish Snap in Ones (Mediums).  Gorgeous, but no the right fit yet.  maybe when she puts on some chubb on her skinny legs.

Itti D’lish Snap in Ones (Mediums). Gorgeous, but no the right fit yet. maybe when she puts on some chubb on her skinny legs.  Also snap in inserts are fiddly and a pain, but make drying faster.

Itti D'lish All In Ones (small).  Same as the mediums - too loose around legs and too tight around belly.  Not a lot of size difference between the two.  Even though these are AIO, there is still a flap which makes them not as easy as disposables (not Dad-proof).

Itti D’lish All In Ones (small). Same as the mediums – too loose around legs and too tight around belly. Not a lot of size difference between the two. Even though these are AIO, there is still a flap which makes them not as easy as disposables (not Dad-proof).

The BabyBeeHinds are pretty good.  They seem to be much more comfortable but are a bigger nappy.  I still have had a few leaks with this one but not as much as the ittis and they take forever to dry.  Generally though, I am happy with these.

I haven’t tried the Bambooty yet, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE the BumGenius 4.0.  These are a one size nappy and they are really light and squishy.  They take up more butt space that the trim ittis, but because they are lovely and soft seem to be less bulky.  But the best part is they are virtuously leak proof, poonami proof even and are super fast to dry.  Seriously, these have no problem lasting 3/4 hours – and that is only with the smaller newborn insert!  They rock.  Only bad thing is I only have 2.  Sad face.

If I can’t get on with the ittis, I might have to sell them to finance some more BumGenius.  They, in my opinion are the ants pants of nappies.  The ducks nuts.  The cats meow.  I want moooore!

BumGenius 4.0 - pockets.  So far these are perfect.  They also come in some gorgeous prints but I don't have any of these.  Cry.  I want to try them with snaps.

BumGenius 4.0 – pockets. So far these are perfect. They also come in some gorgeous prints but I don’t have any of these. Cry. I want to try them with snaps.

I am so glad that I gave cloth another go.  I am really loving having my babies in gorgeous, money saving, tree hugging nappies.  Now that I am not loading up our wheelie bin with mountains of disposables, we can actually fit our kitchen waste in there.  I figure we have at the very least another 2 years of babies in nappies, if I can keep this up I will save this family a squillion dollars.  Then maybe I can wax my legs and dye my grey hair.

Things I have learnt:

  • Cushie Tushies ‘Poo Catcher’ does exactly what is says it does.
  • Fiddly bits and fold in flaps are a pain with an acrobatic toddler.
  • All in one styles that go on like a disposable are the only ones husbands will attempt to use.
  • Drying times can be a bitch in crap weather.
  • Cloth are deceptively good at masking the stink of poo.  Surprise!
  • Pocket style are my all round favourite because they are simple and pull apart for fast drying.
  • I love pretty things but not as much as I love things that do not leak.
  • Baby comfort is more important than looking good.
  • Velcro will ruin everything in your wash if you forget to put down the laundry tabs.
  • Snaps are the best but suck when your baby is an in between size.
  • People will pay top dollar for a pretty nappy or limited edition print, even if they are just going to be shit in.
  • Cloth nappies are addictive.
  • My favourites thus far?  Cushie Tushie and BumGenius.

See?  I failed, but I tried again and now I am a rock star.  And my babies can shit in style.

Thank you C.J. Dennis.

Yes T, that is her eye.

Yes T, that is her eye.

P.S. You can read my other posts about cloth here, here and here.

One response »

  1. I learnt this poem in grade 2 almost 20 years ago and it had the same meaning for me as well- if at first you don’t succeed. Especially with spelling. I’m not a teacher and if I can work it into a lesson on resilience some day, I will!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s