Pillow Protector

I have outwitted one of my children. I am going to tell you how it went down.

Henry will not keep a pillowcase on his pillow. I have explained to him the reasons for pillowcases. I have reprimanded and scolded. I have monitored the situation and required him to put the pillowcase back on each time. But every time I check, the pillowcase is off the pillow and crumpled up on the floor. I had just about given up: I don’t want to add “Put Henry’s pillowcase back on” to my daily chores; nor does this feel like a hill to die on. But it BUGGED me.

Then I had a thought: wouldn’t it be great if there were ZIPPERED pillowcases? Because I think the main issue is that the pillowcase keeps getting scrunched up or halfway falling off the pillow, and then he gets frustrated and flings it.

I could not find zippered pillowcases, but I found THESE:

(image from Amazon.com)

pillow protectors, which are basically the same thing. Target had half a dozen different kinds, all with helpful little circles cut out of the plastic packaging so I could feel the material. The organic one felt the nicest and most like a regular pillowcase to me (the others felt a little more slippery). Naturally it was also the most expensive at $7+. But I was at the paying point, and so I bought one.

I laundered the new pillow protector, and I put it onto his pillow. It zips on, and the zipper is mostly tucked out of the way so it’s quite discreet. But did I leave it at that? Heck no: I then put the pillowcase back on OVER the pillow protector. Henry will take it off as usual, for whatever reason he does so. And then he will feel victorious. But I will be victorious! ME! Because his pillow will still have a case on it! A case I can remove and launder!

33 thoughts on “Pillow Protector

  1. Matti

    Highest. Of. Fives.
    Also, isn’t being a parent weird? I know when I imagined having kids it didn’t include fooling my three year old into eating blueberries by rebranding them “frozen candy.” Any yet.
    Blueberries are delicious little dude! Also, you like blueberries and eat them willingly when you don’t think they’re blueberries.

    I enjoyed the first paragraph of this post IMMENSELY. My brain actually supplied the Law and Order “BAH-DUN” sound effect.

    1. Alexicographer

      Haha. We used to call chunks of (frighteningly healthy low-sugar) banana bread, “cookies.” It doesn’t work now that my son is approaching double digits, but even a temporary victory is a victory. Someone introduced him to Honey Nut Cheerios and while I haven’t said we will NEVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES buy such things (though perhaps I should have), I mix them about 30/70 with plain cheerios and store the mix in the “serve yourself from this” container so that he’s not dumping quite as much sugar into his body.

      1. Matti

        This is genius! My three year old will also only consider Cheerios as “cereal,” and will only eat other kids dry beside the bowl. One day, in desperation, having promised cereal for breakfast and only having Honey Nut Cheerios in the house he realized they existed and has refused to go back. Now I can ease him back into the real world :)

  2. Phancy

    Huh. Taking a pillowcase off is like a new world to me. Imagine that! Buy me and my brother have horrid allergies, and have used these type of cases forever, so I’m a big fan.

  3. Nora

    My 7 year old son does this same exact thing and it’s baffling. Why? WHY?? Totally stealing your idea.

  4. Slim

    Holy Moses, the “outsmarting supposedly rational life forms” thing never ends, does it?

    I grew up in a pillow-protector using household and just assumed it was The Way Everyone Does Things (which would please my control-freak mother to no end, I am sure: ours was the one true way!).

    Anyway, my husband does the laundry, and he always removes and washes the pillow protectors as well as the pillowcases, and I feel as though he is missing the whole POINT of pillow protectors. Between the two of you, my belief in the proper use and care of pillow protectors has been shaken to its foundations.

    ::shot of me, staring numbly ahead, then cut to credits:: <– just to keep to Matti's Law & Order theme.

    1. Laura W.

      My house was a pillow protector house too so I assumed that’s how everyone does pillows. I do wash the protectors but only occasionally and definitely not every time I wash the pillow cases.

    2. Shawna

      I wash the pillow cases weekly, but the pillow protectors probably every other week. Even then there is noticeable yellowing of both cases and protectors in a surprisingly short time (I’m side-eyeing my husband on that one. Why do his pillow cases turn yellow so much faster than anyone else’s, WHY???). The protectors MUST be washed to try to at least keep them free of drool marks (the side-eye on this one goes to both my husband and my delicate flower of a little girl).

      We’re a classy family.

  5. Holly

    My kids have all done this too! Whyyy? I love your idea. It hadn’t even occurred to me to try that.

  6. Anna

    When I saw the title of this post I was going to suggest THIS EXACT PRODUCT, but you outwitted me!

  7. Tommie

    I love this so much! Finding ways to outwit our children and yet let them think they’re outwitting us…priceless!

  8. Sian

    I will also add that since we got these, sickness and allergies in our house have lessened markedly so…double win!

  9. Tori

    Yay Swistle! Can I just say that I have this problem, not just with the 6 year old, but also with My. Husband. A complete grown adult who at least once a week manages to throw at least 1 pillowcase on the floor (out of the 2-4 pillows he sleeps with on any given night). It drives me batty! Thank you for the solution!

  10. Natalie

    We use these because we are um, a drooly family. But we put a regular pillowcase over it, and I seem to only have the kind with a foldy flap thing. So they get scrunchy but never pulled all the way off. Also I definitely do not wash the protectors as regularly as the sheets/pillowcases. Mainly because I can’t quite get things washed in a timely enough fashion to put them back on before they are needed again.

    1. thefluter

      Yes! I was going to recommend the pillowcases with the envelope back/foldy flappy back as well. In case the annoyance of “having to put pillowcase back on at ALL” is worth avoiding.

  11. Alexicographer

    Can I just add what I consider to be a madly cool pro-outwitting strategy for an almost entirely different realm? It’s this: suppose that you are home one evening with your smallish kid(s) and for whatever reason, you need a kid to have an early bedtime. But! One or more of your kids can read clocks and has an opinion about what clock-defined time equals bedtime. Well! Here is what you can do: clandestinely change the clocks. It work a charm, particularly in the winter months when all plausible bedtimes fall after dark anyway. I have used this to very good effect from time to time. And if the kid is, in fact, tired yet insists on waking up at 6 (real time) every morning, regardless (hypothetically speaking) then — well! They get some extra sleep and hopefully are less cranky (the following day) as a result. An annoying detail: just how many appliances (etc.) have clocks these days. So it can be a bit tedious to make the needed changes (but if you miss a clock, just reply that the time is defined by the majority of the clocks, not an outlier), also, you need to remember to change them back. But still, well worth it IMHO.

    1. Shawna

      We did this for the first half-dozen or so of my kids’ New Year’s Eve celebrations. I believe we made midnight around 9:00, so they got to stay up later, and it felt like really late to them.

      Now that they are no longer fooled, we have switched to officially celebrating Hogmanay, which is the Scottish New Year’s Eve. We still tell them it’s midnight in Scotland at 9:00 and they’re happy with that, though it’s actually a 5 hour time difference since we’re in EST. But no 8 or 11 year old child wants to go to bed at 7:00.

  12. Ruby

    Now I’m wondering why they don’t make zippered pillowcases.

    You also might want to try the style of pillowcase that has an opening down the center of the back (sometimes with a button) instead of along the side. I have that style, and they stay on much more securely.

  13. Maggie

    No one ever told me before I had kids how much of my brain space was going to be dedicated to getting around their bizarre issues. The fooling of my kids that I am most pleased with was convincing Oldest to eat salad with kale by telling him it was really salad with seaweed. One would think it would go the other way, but no because kids…

  14. Gigi

    Any victory with children is a victory to be celebrated!

    My son had no problem with pillow cases…his fight was with the top sheet. He hated to have his feet “tucked in” – never mind the fact he HAD to have his feet encased in socks while sleeping. I finally gave up and began making his bed sans top sheet; all while muttering “weirdo”.

    Kids…they will make you crazy in no time flat.

    1. Swistle Post author

      YES. Some of my kids hate the top sheet too, so they just do bottom sheet plus comforter.

    2. Rachel

      I am 32 years old and still hate the top sheet, lol. My husband and I don’t even put one on our bed.

    1. Swistle Post author

      ONLY TIME WILL TELL. But right now there is a pillowcase on the floor, and a pillowprotector still on a pillow.

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