Shortly before her second birthday, my daughter became intensely interested in using the potty. She followed us into the bathroom to watch us go. She started pulling at her diapers after she peed. She sat on her little plastic potty and read books. One day after watching my husband use the bathroom, she ran around naked pretending to pee standing up with various “Wissssssssssssh!” sound effects. It was really the perfect time to start potty training her.
Her brother didn’t agree. I went into labor with him on my daughter’s birthday and all thoughts of potty training went out the window for all of us. I suppose it was for the best, since she probably would have regressed with a new baby in the house anyway, but I was slightly irritated at having lost the “window of opportunity” to train her. A couple of months later, when the water bill showed up and we were somehow shocked at learning that cloth diapering two full time uses much more water than only cloth diapering one full time, I bribed my daughter onto the potty with a couple of M&Ms (no judgment!) and suddenly, boom, she wanted to use the potty! Now that I had forced open a new window of opportunity, I found myself with another issue—what kind of training pants to use?
If you thought choosing cloth diapers from the millions of types available was hard, I’m sorry to tell you there are just as many types of training pants out there!
Breastfeeding is one of the experiences that dads don’t have, but they are still a part of the breastfeeding team. Breastfeeding can be difficult, and though it’s natural, sometimes it feels like a mom just can’t do it right. She is going to need her partner more than ever to help her get through the difficulties and discomfort that comes with breastfeeding a new baby.
Feeding Times Are Crazy
Aside from the soreness of breastfeeding and childbirth, new moms sleep less. New dads do as well, but moms need to be up every two hours to feed the new family addition. That doesn’t include the time she will spend awake worrying about every little hiccup your new little one will make.
Dads, we know that you work and come home tired, and that the new baby is going to wake you up as well. It doesn’t take much to help your new mom around the house. Try doing one chore per evening that she would normally do. Make sure she gets the rest she needs as well as plenty of fluids.
I thought I had avoided it long enough and surely it had to be the next step in my natural living adventures. It seemed simple enough in and of itself. Wash your hair with baking soda and water and rinse with diluted apple cider vingear for fantastic, healthy, chemical free hair. I had read the blogs and forum threads. I knew about the greasy transitional phase and I was prepared to wait it out for results. I was ‘well prepared’ and ready to give it a go… or so I thought.
So I raided the pantry, grabbed the household ‘baking soda’ and diluted it with water and filled a petri bottle. I was super excited to try it in my next bath. And I did, seemed easy enough, it diluted fully. I noticed at first it was not at all grainy. Hmm, I thought well that is odd. And it foamed up a whole lot like shampoo. Perhaps it was the build up of shampoo in my hair? And then came the burn especially on my spot of scalp psoriasis, which burns in contact with many things and I thought hmm well I hope it too gets better with time as I had read plenty of times.
After my bath I took to Google. Had I done something wrong? I Googled foaming baking soda shampoo, nothing just loads of comments about how it doesn’t lather. I Googled burning and did see some people with sensitive scalps don’t do well with baking soda on the sensitive skin, and then I made a post on DS asking if I’m right using sodium carbonate.
Cruising through Pinterest and ignoring the pile of dishes in the sink, I came across a neat idea—water walls! Parents stapled and glued funnels, tubes, and old soda bottles to boards and fences in the backyard, so kids could pour water in one end and watch it flow, trickle, and sprinkle down to the ground. It was a great idea and my toddler loves playing with water—but there was one problem. Backyards tend not to exist when you live on the top floor of a city apartment, so I tried to think creatively. Man, if ONLY we had an indoor wall that could get wet, and a way to easily drain the water so it wasn’t all over the floor…
Oh. Right. The bathtub.
I really hate bra shopping.
Actually, I hate clothes shopping in general. A size large in one brand fits like a medium in another brand and I won’t even talk about what gigantic size I am in junior’s department clothing. Mostly, it’s a huge pain and bra shopping is even worse. Some bras have underwire, some are cut high, some low, some stretch and some don’t, sometimes you want a mix of casual and fancy bras for different occasions and sometimes even if you get measured for your correct size, some brands will just fit weird on you.
And then you get pregnant.
Your hormones don’t care whether you’ve decided to breastfeed or formula feed. Your pregnant body simply starts producing hormones which tell your stomach to start aching, your nose to suddenly hate the smell of orange juice and pork, and your breasts to start preparing for nursing a baby. It doesn’t matter that it will be about three-quarters of a year before you actually have a baby in your arms to nurse, your body just hops on that preparation ASAP. Thus, even if you have decided to formula feed your child, you will likely need to shop around for new bras at some point during your pregnancy.
Nursing bras come in a huge variety of styles and colors, just to make your life THAT much harder.
I started my parenting life as a disposable diaper gal. It was fast. It was easy to dispose of. They were easier for babysitters to work with. I got many well meaning comments. Did I know how many chemicals were in disposable diapers? Didn’t I know that they could cause cancer? Disposable diapers aren’t Earth friendly.
Later I switched to cloth diapers for the sake of my poor little guy’s rump. I thought for sure that the comments would end. No such luck. Didn’t I know that cloth diapers didn’t absorb as much and they would make my child uncomfortable? Diaper pails were unsanitary. I should just invest in some rash cream. I was going overboard.
I have often been forced to see both sides of a Mommy War concern due to the changing needs of my children. Here is what I have learned.
I remember bounding up to the front of my kindergarten class one breezy fall morning. I was super excited and had bounced in my seat in the car on the way to school until my mom told me to stop because I was shaking the whole car. It was my birthday, and now I was five, but I didn’t care about that. What I wanted was my book. See, my kindergarten teacher had a huge box of shiny new books she pulled out on every child’s birthday, and you got to choose whatever book you wanted. Then she’d smile, and with a blue Sharpie write, “Happy birthday! Love, Mrs. O,” on the inside cover. I had watched other children beaming as they slid their chosen book into their backpacks—of course, there were a couple of kids who tossed their books in, hardly looking at them, which I never understood—and stared longingly at the box of books as Mrs. O tucked it back into her cabinet until the next birthday. I knew exactly which book I wanted, and when Mrs. O started morning circle by saying, “Let’s all sing to the birthday girl!” I instantly forgot the classroom rule of walking nicely around people and plowed straight through my classmates and yelled, “I want Chicka Chicka Boom Boom please!” I don’t even remember the rest of the day, if I had cake or ice cream or any of the other presents I’m sure I received. I just know I hugged Chicka Chicka Boom Boom to my chest with a giant smile on my face.
We understand that Mother’s Day is not really a time off for many mothers. There is breakfast in bed that was wonderful, but the kitchen was left a mess, there are sick children, and/or the kids need help getting ready for church services. There is someone who knows how you feel. Your own mom. Chances are she has been where you are on Mother’s Day smiling because her family cares while keeping their caring from going nuclear. It’s a bond that you now share. Here are a few ways to show her that you appreciate what she did for you, what you are now doing for your own children.
More Than A Phone Call
It’s important to call our moms on the day that celebrates them taking care of us, but go the extra mile to show that your mom wasn’t just an after thought. She may be far away. You may not be able to take her out to brunch or go get your nails done together. That doesn’t let you off the hook to show her that she is special. Take the time to buy or create a greeting card for your mother and mail it so that it will arrive in time for Mother’s Day. There could be a gift sent in the mail with it. Let her know that now you’re all grown up you think more of her than a quick scramble to the phone Sunday morning.
Use Your Kids
Grandchildren hold a special place in the hearts of their grandmothers. If mom lives far away, make her day special with a scheduled Skype call. Don’t plan it too close to bedtime or nap time. Make sure your children understand that grandma is your mommy and it’s her special day too. After all, they wouldn’t have a mommy without grandma. Send pictures. Be sure to pick pictures where your kids are playing with something granny has sent them or wearing an outfit she had picked out for them. This tells her her gifts are not only appreciated, they are special and used.
When I decided I wanted to use cloth diapers once I had children, I also decided I needed to Do It Right The First Time, as many first time moms feel that is an attainable goal. Prefolds and covers were what everyone said were cheap, and there seemed to be a decent enough fanbase of those diapers online. Like if I went to a cloth diapering convention there would be predominantly prefold fans shopping at prefold booths and attending prefold presentations and all the pocket, fitted, and all-in-one fans would have their own niches in the corners of the convention center. Anyway, prefolds and covers seemed cheap, popular, and durable, which made them the perfect cloth diaper for me to Do It Right The First Time. They would totally work, and I’d never have to use another type of cloth diaper, and I could feel smug about not spending $25 for a single all-in-one.
$125 retail price. Right there.
I think prefolds and covers worked fine on my daughter in the newborn stage. The memory of my first three months as a new mother is one giant blur of diapers, laundry, baby, and exhaustion. I remember moving to pockets around then, once she was large enough to fit into them. Oh, we still used prefolds and covers mostly, but I thought pocket diapers were cute and I liked how stuffable they were for nighttime, ignoring the fact that I could just pop a doubler into the prefolds. In my mind, that was Not The Right Way. Pockets at night were a part of Doing It Right The First Time.
My daughter grew fast. She outgrew one size of prefolds, then a month later outgrew the next size. I panicked a little every time I checked our bank account. Part of the reason we decided to use cloth diapers on our children was so that we would save money. I hadn’t counted on having a child that grew at Mach 5, though, and buying new sets of prefolds every couple of months was taking a bigger hit on our budget than I would have liked. This was not how I was supposed to Do It Right The First Time. My carefully laid out plans were not working!
When talking about diaper fabrics, you probably hear the same names over and over again. Bamboo, hemp, birdseye, cotton twill (commonly known as “prefold fabric”); less commonly you may hear about minky, fleece, and velor. These fabrics all have their pros and cons when it comes to diapers in terms of absorbency and softness. However, there is one fabric occasionally used in cloth diapers that I don’t hear about often and I think it deserves some recognition: cotton sherpa.
“Sherpa” is kind of a catch-all phrase for man made fabric made to resemble sheep’s wool (as opposed to coming from the sheep itself). “Man made” doesn’t mean it’s made from synthetic material, though; it’s often made from cotton, although there are some synthetic varieties out there. Of course the common use of the word “sherpa” is to refer to the Himalayan men who are expert mountaineers; how this word came to be used to refer to fabric I have no idea (but if you do, let me know! I’m always up for learning new things).
A tiny portion of my sherpa-related cloth diapering items: one minky/sherpa wipe and two sherpa inserts.