Cloth Diapers: A Perspective

I knew I wanted to use cloth diapers before my son was born. From being cheaper (not too much for us because being in an apartment we pay by the load for laundry) to keeping chemicals away from the cutest little tush, I knew it was the right decision. My husband needed some convincing. To allay the fears I had and to convince him I did research, lots and lots of research.

What I found boiled down to this: prefolds were for the hard core cloth diapers and if you were new to it or on the fence use pocket style or AIO (all in one) diapers. Pocket style diapers are more expensive than prefolds, but out of fear of the unknown that is what we went with. We started out with 4 Fuzzibunz, 4 Charlie Bananas, and 4 Bumgenius (2 of these were AIO because I ordered the wrong thing, but we went with it).

Having a newborn is hard so we used disposables for the first 3 weeks and then started using the cloth we had along with them. We found that the Fuzzibunz just were not absorbent enough. In light of this we ordered 6 more Charlie Bananas and 6 more Bumgenius. At first, at night we changed him every time he woke up. Then we slowly let him go longer and longer until he was going all night without being changed (although he was still waking to nurse, and still is). To accommodate the extra wetness we just added the infant insert in with the bigger insert. After awhile that started to not be enough. He was either super soaked in the morning or soaking through his clothes. So after yet more research we ordered some hemp inserts. They are more absorbent than the microfiber that comes with pocket style diapers. This worked for a bit, until night time diapering hell broke loose.

He started wetting through his diapers almost every night. At this point we were putting about 4 inserts into his diapers, we ordered even more hemp inserts, we bought wool diaper covers, we tried changing him in the night, we tried disposables. Nothing was working. Then I came across an article buried within the depths of the internet in my desperation to find answers. I sadly did not bookmark the article, and I don’t know if I would recognize it if I saw it because all I took from it was pocket style diapers are not the best answers for night time because they have no absorbency on the sides and if you have a side sleeper (ding ding ding!) there is nothing to catch the pee. The answer was prefolds with covers. We sped to the store and bought prefolds and covers (we use Thirsties duo wrap, and I love them). In my quest to get him absorbency in the sides I bought a Snappi and tried to attach the prefold around him, but our little chunker was just too chunky for that (even too big for the huge toddler sized prefolds). We don’t use a Snappi now we just lay the prefold in the cover and flare out the sides in the back. The prefold combined with two hemp inserts and a wool cover has solved our problems. We still have leaks periodically, but not most nights anymore. I also found that a fitted diapers (we have a Kissaluvs one) combined with two hemp inserts inside a cover works too, but not as well.

Our adventures into night time solutions led me to this: prefolds are not hard! Don’t be scared by them! They are cheaper, just as easy to use and wash, and the baby/toddler feels the wetness. Our Charlie Bananas all stretched out and instead of replacing them with more pockets we bought more prefolds and more covers. Since we’ve started using more prefolds, the munchkin seems to be much more interested in the toilet. We are still far from “toilet training,” but he’s getting closer and I think part of that is from our switch to prefolds.

The husband has even caught on to them with no complaints! He can even clean off a dirty one before washing. I’m so proud! Of all the things I have been proud of him for dealing with poop was not one I had imagined.

Another problem I have with pocket style diapers is that during the day they had a tendency to leak. When he was a baby he had the chubbiest of thighs with a second roll at the top. His pants would get in between this roll and his diaper and he would get big wet spots. Then, as he got older he would leave wet spots where he was sitting. It would come out the sides. These would both happen when he wasn’t super wet either. I think the problem is that on pocket diapers the soft interior fabric that is sewn onto the PUL to create a pocket sticks out the sides. I guess it doesn’t really “stick” out, but it is on the outside where the two pieces are sewn together. So when the interior gets wet it spreads to the sides on the outside and created leaks for us. Prefold and covers never have this problem (unless you accidentally leave the prefold hanging out). The covers are purely PUL so there is nothing to leak. The Thirsties Duo Wraps also have these awesome leg gussets that really make sure leaks don’t happen.

In short, flats and prefolds may seem scary, but they are just as easy as pocket style diapers. Each has a learning curve. Once you get it you will be cruising and never look back! And for anyone new to cloth this e-book is worth every. single. penny. http://thehumbledhomemaker.com/cloth-diaper-convert (not an affiliated link). I recently read it because it came with the Ultimate Healthy Bundle. I have been cloth diaper for 19 months and still learned a lot. She explains every type imaginable and what she has found works for her and for others she has talked to. She talks about laundering, night time, traveling, and everything in between. You could find all this information for free online, but you would have to spend a lot of time searching. Having it all in one place, like an e-book, makes it really handy!

Anyone else use cloth diapers? What were your experiences?

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Opinions and Child Spacing

Why do other parents feel the need to tell you how far you should space your children apart? Don’t get me wrong I’m all for having an opinion, but when people get pushy about it and think that only one way is the right way then I have a problem. I think the hardest thing for me in these situations is to stay calm and just let them say what they need to say while looking interested. I guess this is good practice for staying calm while handling a frustrated (and frustrating) toddler.

Having an almost 20 month old (how did he get so old so fast?!) when to have another child is something Josh and I have talked about. I’ve even googled it to get others opinions, and it pretty much boils down to about 3 choices: have your children close together, have them further apart (3-6 years or thereabouts), or have them really far apart (to me 7+ years is far apart, but for some it may be further).

So, down to the pros and cons. Many people find having them close together means that the children will be able to play together at a younger age and are closer. This was the opinion that was pushed onto me the other day. The cons to this though would be more than one child in diapers, tandem nursing or having to stop nursing the elder sooner than you would like, and, the scariest, two toddlers pushing boundaries. The pros and cons of having them slightly further apart are almost the opposite: you don’t have two (or three or four!) in diapers, you don’t have to tandem nurse (unless you want to you, more power to you!), and the elder child would be old enough to be out of the toddler stage. Many though think that this age spacing means that your kids can’t be as close. This is where I disagree. There is a lot that goes into how close your children are, such as: their personalities, your parenting techniques for fostering sibling love, and the family dynamic. The person that offered her opinion to me even said she is close to her brother, and they are 7 years apart (so why she would be so opinionated about having them close together I don’t know). I think it’s also good for older kids to learn to help care for their younger siblings. In other parts of the world it’s common for older kids to spend time caring and helping teach younger kids in mixed age classrooms. This sounds like a great learning experience for attitudes about empathy and compassion for both young and older.

Now my brother and I are 10 years apart, and we are not very close. I think this is because we are very different people. This may be in part because of the age gap, but I don’t think that’s all of it. If we weren’t siblings we wouldn’t be friends because we don’t have the same interests. I also don’t remember my parents fostering a good relationship between us. As a kid he teased me all the time and that was our relationship. From this I’m not surprised we aren’t that close, but it also makes me realize that I do want my children to have good relationships with each other.

For our family, it will be better if we space out our children about 3 or 4 years apart. Our munchkin is still nursing with no end in sight and I want a break before I nurse another. I also have no desire to tandem nurse. He also still likes to have ALL of our attention, and I’m not ready to take that from him. By spacing them out they will each get their time as the youngest and get that extra special attention of being the youngest. I think sometimes when that’s taken away prematurely there can be jealousy, which isn’t a good way to start a sibling relationship. We would also like him to be out of diapers before diapering another. Our tiny apartment also factored into the decision. We have no room for another yet (our family bed itself doesn’t have room for more either).

In short, don’t expect any baby announcements from us any time soon! And remember to be gentle when giving people opinions. Most eagerly want them, like me, but we also want to get a word in edgeways. And in the meantime check out this cutie!

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Bon Appetit!

I recently read My Life in France written by Julia Child and Alex Prod’homme. It’s not so much a book about food as it is a book about her life. Over the years she recounted stories to Alex Prod’homme and he compiled them into this book. I was not prepared to love the book as much as a did. I gobbled it up while leaving my to do list untouched.

Julia Child’s voice comes through in the book. Her personality shines out of every page. It is light-hearted, but you feel the tension when it’s appropriate (like in her relationship with Simone Beck after many years of working together on the cook books). The book follows her life mostly from her move to France with her husband to after her second cook book is published and she is in the midst of her television show. Here and there she gives snippets of her life when she was younger, but the majority of it focuses on the period of her life that made her such an extraordinary chef.

Now I’m not writing this to tell you how awesome the book is (although it was, so go read it…like yesterday), I’m here to tell you that I want to learn Julia’s knowledge! If there is one thing I took from My Life in France it was that she put thousands upon thousands of hours of work into her cookbooks. She wasn’t content with merely saying, “This is a good recipe. Let’s put this in.” She wanted every recipe to work perfectly every time it was made. This required her to test recipes again and again and again.

I have owned Mastering the Art of French Cooking, her first cookbook, for a few years. In that time I’ve only made one recipe out of it, crepes. And you know what? They work every time! It’s the best crepe recipe I’ve ever used! Reading about her diligence and hard work has made me want to try more recipes, and learn the little techniques she used to make such wonderful food.

Something to aid me in my new found adventure is her show The French Chef. I came across it on Amazon Prime and she is such a treat to watch! You can tell things are carefully planned out, but there is also an air of unpredictability about it. Well, maybe that’s not the right word, unscripted-ness works a little better.

I’m just so enamored with her. This tall, brave (she moved to numerous countries where she didn’t speak the language), hard working, friendly, soft-hearted perfectionist. I wish I could have met her, but alas I must settle for watching her show and trying to cook her perfected recipes.

Surviving Toddler Tantrums…? Maybe…Someday

Articles claiming to hold all the secrets to handling, or dealing with, toddler tantrums abound. From ones telling parents to ignore them to ones telling parents to be sensitive to their child’s feelings. You could spend hours reading up on the topic, but at the end of the day do these articles really help us?

Well, yes, and no. I’ve read some really good articles about tantrums. Hell, I even have some printed out and plastered to the walls of our pocket-sized apartment. The problem arises when the tantrum hits. My mind goes blank. I forget anything I have ever read. I forget about those damn ugly pieces of paper with such helpful words smothering the walls. I forget everything.

Or I used to forget everything. Lately I have remembered one thing, stay calm. Now, just because I remember this doesn’t mean I’m always able to stay calm, but it’s a start, right? Before the age of Gollum vs. Smeagul I never thought about what I would do when Gollum gained control. I figured what to do would just come naturally. Naturally? Parental instincts? What are those? So I began to gobble up articles on tantrums: how to handle them, how to ignore other people when they happen in public, how to set your child up for success so they don’t have a tantrum, etc.

We are 19 months into parenting and only in the last couple months have I a noticed a difference in how I’m handling them. My ability to get calm and stay calm is growing (as is my patience, but that is a whole different can of worms). Does this mean that I can now focus on other aspects of dealing with tantrums? Do I dare try and add to my repertoire of tricks? Do I adhere more articles to the walls? My fear is that if I add to much to my tool belt at once it will fall down and I will have to slowly pick it all back up.

I think about how heavy my mommy tool belt is already, and then I think about how he looks when his emotions take over. “I will do anything to help him learn to manage his emotions!” my long lost instinct screams at me. I hope someday all of the tips I’ve tried to memorize will sink in and be second nature, but until then all I can do is keep learning to handle my emotions so he can handle his.

 

Zucchini Boats

I’ve been running across Zucchini Boat recipes on Pinterest lately, and decided it was finally time to try one. I looked at numerous recipes and wasn’t impressed. So, I decided to come up with my own recipe.

Ingredients

  • 3 Zucchini
  • ¼ of a red onion
  • ¼ to of a red pepper and a green pepper
  • 2 mushrooms
  • 6 slices of pepperoni
  • Ketchup
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Cheese

I wasn’t exactly precise in my measurements so add or take away as per your taste. For example, I only added the pepperoni and ketchup to 1 zucchini (2 halves) for Josh, and I would add more cheese next time.

Preheat oven to 375°. Slice the ends off the zucchini, cut in half lengthways, and scoop out the flesh. I used a metal teaspoon, but a melon baller would make quick work of it. Dice up the zucchini flesh, red onion, red and green pepper, and mushrooms.

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Heat olive oil in a pan, once hot add vegetables and sauté until soft.

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I separated out about and added diced pepperoni, ketchup, and cheese. I added just cheese to the remaining . Oil the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan, and don’t make the mistake I did and pull out your pretty pan that your mother-in-law got you for your wedding and then find the zucchini don’t fit so you have to pull out your stained Pyrex (creating more dishes to wash). Does anyone know how to get the stains out of Pyrex? Place your zucchini halves in the pan and spoon the cooked mixture into them.

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I baked them for 25 minutes. They were soft and just a little crunchy, which I liked. If you want them softer cook them a little longer.

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These were so good that I will admit there was none left. Josh even liked them so much he suggested eating them again and trying BBQ sauce instead of ketchup! Score one for more veggies in our diets! After eating them I thought some eggplant would have been good in them, or making them for breakfast with ham, eggs, and cheese. Yummm!