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.
So you’ve decided to cloth diaper, and you have a baby on the way. You’ve decided on the style and brand of diapers to buy, and now you just need to decide how many to buy. As tempting as it is to get all of the styles and colors possible, you will discover that buying cloth diapers upfront can absolutely bankrupt you if you go a little crazy. Many people know this from experience. I, uh, may or may not be one of those people. So, before you drain your bank account, let’s explore the question: how many do you really need?
There are many, many newborn diapers to choose from!
If you’re a child, you might look outside and see skies that are a little more blue, breathe in air that’s a little more fresh, hear a few more birds chirping, and see the bright green buds of flowers unfurling from the ground. The world is changing and full of wonder. If you’re an adult, you might look outside and see sunlight still streaming through your child’s windows at bedtime, breathe in air that makes you sneeze, hear the incessant screech of birds at 5am, and see the unwelcome buds of flowers that promise to spray pollen at your nose every time you walk by. The world is changing and full of minor annoyances that only exist at this time of year. However you look at it, spring has arrived.
One fine spring morning, I decided we’d drive to the local university to see the cherry blossoms blooming on the trees. Then I actually pulled up the blinds and saw the dark clouds rolling towards us, plump with rain. The next day was the same, with an added bonus of extreme wind. The third day I was getting a little desperate and tried to point out the blossoming trees you could kind of see from our top-floor apartment window. My two year old glanced out, blandly noted that a city bus was driving by, then continued painting her limbs purple with a jar of tempura paint. I gave up and decided if we couldn’t go see spring blossoms, by golly we’d make our own.
- Tissue paper or colored coffee filters
- Sticks or branches
- Construction paper
- Glue strong enough to keep sticks on the construction paper
Okay. You’ve chosen between using hook-and-loop or snap closures on your diapers, or even a mixture of both. No more closure issues to deal with, right? Well, guess what—not all snap closures are the same, and different snap configurations can be the difference between you being able to use a diaper on your child or not!
I don’t mean to depress you, or send cloth diaper newbies away screaming at all the choices they have to make. But more than once, I have heard stories about parents buying a big-brand diaper that others rave about, only to discover that the snaps are too low or too far apart to get a good fit on their child, and they sadly return the diaper. Unfortunately, you won’t know what snap styles will fit your child until you are actually putting the diaper on him or her. Luckily, you can make most diapers work, but it can be frustrating when one just won’t fit properly and you know it’s because of snap placements. Let’s look at some snap styles below.
A colorful collection of snap diapers. I even use some of them.
One of the things on every new cloth diapering family’s to-get list is a wetbag. What is a wetbag? For one, it is not a bag that is wet; though it is a bag that will potentially be wet (I guess the name Potentially Wet Bag didn’t really catch on). Wetbags are waterproof bags about the size of a sheet of printer paper, give or take a couple of inches depending on the brand, that close with a zipper. You know how baby stores sell little disposable bags to hook onto a diaper bag or stroller that are meant to store a disposable diaper until you can get to a trashcan? Wetbags are the cloth diaperer’s version of that.
From that basic description, wetbags can really differ from each other depending on the manufacturer. Some have extra zippered pockets on the sides, so you can store dry diapers, wipes, and other supplies apart from the dirty diapers on the inside. Some have loops on one corner so you can hang the wetbag from a hook or doorknob, and there are a surprising number of varieties these loops come in. Some are a simple loop of elastic, others are made of thick fabric and have snaps so you can snap them on and off whatever hook or knob you have.
Wetbags: Made in as many prints and designs as cloth diapers.
Many parents proudly proclaim that they and their kids “went on a nature walk today!” Living in the downtown area of the city makes nature walks a little harder to do. I can’t even get to a park without driving there or walking ten blocks up a steep hill (hence, the driving). Rather than going on a “nature walk,” it’s more like “we went on a walk and accidentally ran into nature along the way.” Don’t get me wrong, I love that my toddler daughter likes to explore and learn what bits of the world aren’t just never-ending traffic and sirens and pavement and the skyscrapers she calls “da big, big houses!” But everything she finds comes home with us. Flowers? Rocks? Sticks? A worm? Bottle cap? They all come home tucked away in her crevices of her carseat, or pockets, or shoes, or the diaper bag; her hoarding is evident everywhere. The other day she carefully poured a scoopful of dirt into my pocket because she had no room for it in her own stuff.
One day, while browsing Pinterest (of course), I came across a project someone did for her daughter she named the “Fairy Loom.” It was the perfect solution to the nature hoarding issue, although I renamed it the “Nature Stick” for my daughter since she doesn’t care about fairies, but loves sticks. It works well as a storage solution, a toy, and a decoration.
Hyperemesis Gravidarum. HG. It’s a fancy way of saying “feel like death.”
Are you not familiar with what this is?
As a woman in childbearing age, I used to think pregnancy was cute. You’d get this cute little belly that grew, and people were happy for you, and you were all smiles as you walked around absent mindedly rubbing your growing little one. Every now and then, the happy pregnant mom might catch a whiff of something she might deem distasteful, and she’ll be off to the restroom to do some light gagging, but nothing too serious.
Then I got pregnant with my son, who is now 3. I had some light morning sickness kick in around 5 weeks. Okay, it was 5 weeks 4 days to be exact. I remember. I felt like I was going to be sick all day. I remember Googling everything I could, and I found B6 is supposed to help. Fabulous! I remember calling my husband and telling him to bring that stuff home, pronto!
B6 works, along with Unisom, to a degree. I puked all the time. I puked in the morning getting ready for work as a teacher. I puked in the trash can before the kids walked in the door. I puked before 1st hour, 2nd hour, and 3rd hour. I puked at lunch. I puked after lunch. I couldn’t even THINK of cooking dinner. We ate Jimmy Johns a lot. At 10 weeks I was hospitalized for dehydration, and was introduced to a beautiful, wonderful medication called Zofran.
Some people cloth diaper because they’re highly passionate about saving the earth, or they want to avoid harsh chemicals and advocate a “natural” livelihood (“natural” is in quotes because it means something different to every person).
I cloth diaper because I’m lazy and a pansy.
Um, okay, you may be thinking, aren’t cloth diapers MORE work than disposables? And what does the plant species viola x wittrockiana have to do with anything?
Surely there is a cloth diaper color called “Pansy” by now.
I am lazy in that I hate going to the store for only one or two things. Since I live in an urban area, “running to the store” for me involves getting the kids ready, then dragging them down the hall, down the elevator hoping I don’t lose my toddler to the stairwell along the way since she actually thinks hiking down seven flights of stairs is fun, through the parking garage hoping I don’t lose my toddler to the stairwell along the way since she actually thinks hiking UP seven flights of stairs is fun, cursing the person with the giant SUV who has the parking space next to us and thinks that she is supposed to park one inch away from our car so I can’t open the side door and have to crawl through the trunk to snap in the infant carseat, and then fight the traffic that turns what should be a five minute drive into a fifteen minute one. If I’m going anywhere it needs to be worth my time, none of this “let me just go pick up a bag of flour real quick” stuff. My experience with other disposable items in our home is that rather than “run to the store,” I was ending up substituting reusable items when we ran out of the disposable ones anyway. Out of napkins? Use a dishcloth. Out of paper towels? Use a dishcloth. If we ran out of disposable diapers in the middle of the day, I knew there was no way I’d want to run to the store and grab more real quick, and would have said, “Out of diapers? Use a dishcloth (really!)” anyway. I had briefly considered using disposable diapers with my second child, but knew there was no way I’d want to go through all of the above whenever we were out of disposables, so cloth it was.