“No diapers in the new house,” my toddler says. She clambers into the family bed. We’ve been telling her for months that the diapers will finally go away when we make it to The New House and she’s sleeping full-time in her own Big Girl Bed. But we’re in transition, and the kidlet’s bedroom isn’t put together as cohesively as I’d like, yet, and co-sleeping is much easier. Diapers are still much easier. She is two and a half.
I make it a point not to gaslight the kid, but I’ll admit at first I try to fudge the details, like, “Yes, now that we’re in the new house, you’ll start learning how to go diaper-free at night, and soon…”
“No diapers.” She’s resolved. It’s time for bed, and Toddler is not going to put on a diaper possibly ever again, and I’m about to try to sleep-train her while simultaneously cluster-feeding her infant sibling throughout the night. There are going to be leaks. I quickly order a mattress-protecting product off of Amazon – a bed saddle that looks vaguely medical and not all that absorbent – but I already know what product I really need. It’s a few weeks before I think to try to get one.
WHAT IT IS
Liberator‘s Fascinator “Throw” (backpedaled from “Throe” in recent years) is a large blanket like a beach towel, sateeny on one side and soft on the other, coated in liquid-resistant magic. It’s not an absorbent product but a spill-proof one that will take huge amounts of liquid without letting moisture through to the blanket’s other side. It cradles the droplets until you shake them out or wash the blanket, or spill them – handling the puddle with care is imperative.
The Fascinator is beautiful and richly colored – it’s been available in vibrant purple, luxurious black, that deep Liberator red, a champagne tint, and several other earthy tones. You can get it in a velvish, shaggy, or microfiber texture. I have it in the original 54” x 72” size, that almost covers a queen bed; there’s also a king-size version called “the Lush” (because if your lovemaking includes libation, you need more coverage?)
The dual-layer feeling (there’s a moisture barrier between the soft and satiny sides) makes it lots of fun to caress and crinkle. It’s even more fun to dump cups of water on to watch the spill-proof reaction. Finally, it’s a genuinely comfy throw that wouldn’t look out of place draped over an easy chair. It’s not just a squirt-proof item that tries to approximate a blanket – it works perfectly well as a blanket, too.
In case you’re still wondering, the Fascinator isn’t marketed toward potty-trainers – of the child kind, at least. Liberator is a sex-furniture company and the Throw is a Sex Blanket, guaranteed to “slurp up love juices” (😕) and certainly not created with minor children in mind. (Or anywhere nearby.) Yet Liberator responded enthusiastically to my request to test out the blanket from this angle, and sent it to me in exchange for an honest review.
And since “love juices” include more than genital sexual fluids, I figured that some inquiring mind out there would also want to know. There are people (consenting, risk-aware adults) who play with pee. Surely Liberator means to help them out, too?
I first heard of the Fascinator on the job, as a retail switch in the little bayside California city where I worked for a queer, feminist, unapologetically femme Queen of Industry and manned her toy shop part-time. My coworker pointed it out in AVN (we didn’t have computers in the shop back then, which is my new favorite oldest thing I’ve typed) and exclaimed that she needed one for herself.
The Throe would fly off of retail shelves with the right kind of display: a claw-foot tub, a mannequin leg or two arching out, a Fascinator draped like a spill of water, a little handwritten sign peeping “A Gusher’s Delight!” The only thing is, you’d have to let customers dump a cup of water on the thing. Maybe this should be combined with a POP! demo, now I think about it.
But I’ve never sold a Throe directly, as I’ve never worked in a shop that stocked them. Even in LA, where you can walk down Sunset Blvd and find a people-sized birdcage or horse-sized speculum in a shop window, you’re not guaranteed to find a Throe on a shop shelf.
When we ordered it into our little boutique for the aforementioned coworker, we were stoked. Coworker took it home and returned the next day with a glowing review. “Everyone who squirts should have one of these,” she said.
That was not a concern for me in those days, and I didn’t think such a product had a place in my life. Until now!
Our nighttime potty training has been flexible – go twice before bed, we’ll try to wake you up and set you on the toilet a few times a night, but we can’t always intervene in time (accidents often catch me nursing). A mattress protector is a good thing to have, but it’s not a great first line of defense. You’ll have to either strip the bed, which one wishes painfully to avoid with two kids sleeping soundly, or you can lay a towel down and increase both the Ickiness and Laundry factors.
So the Fascinator fills the gaps. I can scoot it out from under the kid, bundle it up and get it into the washing machine quickly, and without disrupting anybody’s sleep. (I’ve found I can bundle the spill in the blanket, put it in the laundry room, and wash it in the morning with no lingering stink problems – more on that later.) If another accident happens while it’s in the machine… well, then we have the mattress protector. It’s that or overnight diapers until Toddler is night-dry, which could take quite a while. I’m interested in getting her something absorbent for bedtime wear that won’t make waste or mean that we have to wash sheets every time – like GladRags for kids? – but until then, the Throe is a great help.
It’s also been a real asset around the house for impromptu living-room picnics, watercolor adventures, etc. It’s really convenient to drape it over the high chair or sofa, set Baby on it, and let her enjoy diaper-free time without a care.
In the eight months we’ve had our purple Fascinator, it’s been put through the wringer, and not just literally. We’ve spilled milk, juice, and beer on it. We’ve used it to mop up other messes. We’ve taken it on an 36-hour train trip. And after weeks of daily pee-soaking followed by months of weekly pee-soaking, it doesn’t smell like pee.
It doesn’t smell like pee at all.
I mean, I’ve washed it. I’ve washed hell out of it. I’ve also soaked it in pee, a lot, and it’s still fine. I’ve deliberately let it sit overnight before washing, washed it with bleach and without, treated it well and roughly, and it remains unimpressed. Yes, there have been times I’ve noticed a tinge of an odor, and I’ve responded by adding a little bleach on its next wash. (I did this for Science and am uninterested in color integrity; you might not choose to risk bleach, but my Fascinator has stayed colorfast, and it worked.)
There is one thing to know – the blanket can be a bear to dry. It needs serious wringing, and our year-old washer doesn’t seem to work any magic in this department. Still, you’ve got to expect that from a product you’re using for its liquid-catching qualities. It’s not a big problem for us.
Throe remains soft on one side and sleek on the other. Nowhere does the stitching show any weakness. The soft fabric has taken to pilling a little, but it’s hardly noticeable. It doesn’t look brand new, but apart from a splotch of sparkly nail polish that I haven’t bothered to scrub out, there just isn’t any damage.
I love our Throe, and I recommend it. It’s just so durable and it makes an awesome travel blanket. I don’t know what else I could have asked from the product. Thanks, Liberator!