Monday, May 31, 2010

We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties ...

My internet went out last night.  I did the thing where I unplugged the modem, I rebooted, I tried everything.

Then I burst into tears and went to bed.

Today I called and paid the bill (wasn't really late, but I covered my bases) and then called and talked to a technical person.  Who had me unplug the modem ....

And then said a technician has to come to my house.  On Thursday.

Great.

So don't worry if you don't hear from us for a couple of days.  We're going to a library reading time for toddlers, a sign language class, and maybe lunch with some family.  We'll have lots of stories to tell, once we're online again.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

While We're Out Playing ....

... I thought I'd post some more "last year" photos.

This was us on Memorial Day last year:

In fact, this was our very first self-portrait (see, everyone sucks in the beginning.  It takes practice!)

Oh, wait, no, THIS was our very first self-portrait, a few weeks before:



Anyway, back to Memorial Day:




(I totally thought this posted before our internet outage.  So if you didn't see it until after we came back online, don't think you're crazy.  It was saved as a draft, but I went ahead and posted it for your viewing enjoyment!!!!)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Paging Dr. Perfect

So, how exactly does one go about finding the perfect doctor?  Or even, one that is as close to ideal as is reasonably possible?

When I was pregnant, I found a to-do list for expecting mamas (there are many out there).  One item was "interview prospective pediatricians".  I admit I was a little surprised at this idea.  "Interview" a doctor?  Why can't you just pick one close to where your apartment is, or the one your coworker takes her daughter to?

I now realize the importance of this step.  Finding a doctor whose views are similar to your own is pretty important.

I did the interviewing.  I asked around and got recommendations from lots of folks.  Working with a bunch of nurses was good in this situation.  I visited websites, drove past offices, Googled.  I narrowed my list to three to make appointments with.  Some offices will charge you a co-pay for this visit.  I saw two doctors individually and neither charged me a co-pay (although one office had some difficulty with the "father" conversation).  The third office had a monthly "expectant parents" meeting, which allowed parents to interview a doctor and ask questions about the practice in a group.

I loved the doctor that did the group meeting.  He was well versed in primary research (my background) and the practice worked closely with Cincinnati Children's on research protocols.  He had good information both as a physician and a father, and he answered one of my key questions with a slam-dunk answer.  He's the doctor that recommended The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD to the group, which was my lifesaver through colic.

The next doctor I wasn't too thrilled with.  He was recommended by a fellow faculty member (one of those nurses mentioned above) and was very supportive of breastfeeding (important to me in a doctor).  But I just didn't connect with him much.

The last doctor I met with was part of a new practice started by two women who were mothers as well as pediatricians.  The doctor I met with was close to my age, hadn't been out of residency long, and had a young child.  I loved their new medical office - they truly had separated "sick" and "well" child waiting rooms.  In fact, from the outside you enter a closet-sized entryway with three doors, one labeled "Employees Only" one labeled "Sick" and the other labeled "Well".  I've been in doctor's offices where "sick" and "well" waiting areas are just opposite ends of the waiting room.  These were truly separate, a big plus.

I went back and forth in my mind about the two practices that topped my list, and finally decided on the first.  It was a larger practice, so you may be less likely to see "your" doctor when sick, but I went with my gut.  And I was SO glad I did.

I chose the doctor that had led the group session as "our" doctor, since I liked him so well.  However, he was not the doctor from the practice that was on call the weekend that Wee One was born.  Instead, we got another amazing doctor from the practice that we later called "Dr. McDreamy" and had a bit of a stalker-esque relationship with because we loved him so much too.

Oh, I hated leaving that practice when we moved.  We saw a total of 4 doctors from that practice in the 4 months she was a patient there, and we adored 3 of them.  They were informed, patient, accommodating, and they took great care of my Wee One.

That was the worst thing about moving.

I didn't like making the pediatrician decision the first time around, and now I have to do it again.  We started asking people who they went to, and everyone said a different practice.  Everyone said their doctor was "great" but noone was particularly enthusiastic about their pediatrician.  Finally we ran into one mother at a consignment sale and she raved about a particular doctor.  It was the most "gushing" I'd heard anyone around here do about their kid's doc, so I paid attention.

Later, when reading about vaccines on the Dr. Sears site, I came across the same physician's name on their vaccine-friendly registry.  At the time, I had Wee One on the regular (accelerated) vaccine schedule, so I wasn't doing delayed vaccination, but I wanted a physician who might be open to an alternative schedule.

I "interviewed" him, and he seemed okay.  Didn't have a stellar answer to my big question, but everything else he said sounded fine.  The practice has separate "sick" and "well" waiting rooms, and he's the only doc in the practice, so until he got a nurse practitioner, we wouldn't see anyone else for sick or well visits, which was a plus.

He's fine.  But ... he's ... just fine.  He did let me delay her one-year vaccines because she had a sinus infection at the time.  He laughs at Wee One every time he examines her because she always tries to play with his stethoscope.  He asked her to stick out her tongue once and she just looked at him.  He said "she's so smart, it's easy to forget she's not quite mature enough for that yet" which made my heart swell up. 

But ... you know there's a but ... I'm just not totally comfortable with him.  Wee One has been exclusively breastfed (except for that one night in the NICU).  I didn't start out to be militant about breastfeeding, I wanted to do it as long as it worked.  I never dreamed it would go that well for us, or we'd still be nursing at almost 14 months.  When I first met with him, I asked him about extended breastfeeding, and he gave me a pat answer about "normally" weaning at one year, but some parents breastfeed "longer".  At her one year appointment, we talked about moving her to cow's milk.  I asked about extended breastfeeding, and he said some parents nurse to 18 months or even 2 years.  But he continued to talk about the cow's milk.  My mom even asked about DHA (I have beent taking a DHA and EPA supplement the entire time I've been nursing) and he said all the essential fatty acids she needs are in cow's milk (which, technically, DHA isn't in cow's milk unless its added).  While he didn't specifically discourage me from continuing to nurse, pump, and give breast milk - he did talk alot about switching her from that to cow's milk.

At an appointment we made to discuss food issues, he again pushed the cow's milk.  Again, not specifically being discouraging, just not being encouraging of extended breastfeeding either.

But the thing the I would most prefer in a doctor's office, I have come to realize, is electronic medical records.  I don't know why this is so important to me, and I feel like it shouldn't be.  But it is.  Dr. McDreamy's office had electronic medical records.  Everything in their office was electronic.  The doc would enter her weight on his little tiny laptop and immediately show us her growth curve.  In color.  (The visual learner in me LOVED THAT.)  They could, at the touch of a button, print all her past height/weight/head circumference stats (complete with percentiles) so I could keep track.  If you talked to the doc on call after hours, he had his little laptop with him, and could view her entire record and history right then.  It was efficient and effective.

Our new doctor doesn't utilize EMR in his office.  During our visit about feeding, he had to plot her height and weight himself on the little growth chart graph paper to see where she was on the curve. 

I don't want to bounce around from practice to practice.  I don't want to go from a doctor that is "ok" to a doctor that's worse.  But I would like a doctor that is truly supportive of extended breastfeeding, a doctor that supports alternative vaccine schedules, a doctor that has EMR, and a doctor that doesn't think attachment parenting is wierd.

How does one go about finding that?


(She loves the baby in the mirror at the doctor's office.  So if they have that, that would be good too!)


Friday, May 28, 2010

Two Peas In A Pod

I love being off for the summer.  My online classes start in about a week, and I have a TON of work to do for that.  But I have really loved spending time with my Wee One.

I've been looking back through some photos.  There are some that didn't get posted on the blog, since I started it 3/4 of the way through her first year.  So I may go back and share some of my favorites.

This is a photo taken the weekend of her baptism, last June.  After her baptism we had a party to celebrate, and I specifically arranged these photos close to one another.


The large photo in the back is a picture of me when I was a baby - about three months old.  The photo in the front is a photo of her taken when she was about 7 weeks old, maybe?

There are a number of other photos we have of the two of us together where we look alike - especially some of the self portraits.  But this shows that the similarity goes way back.

We joke about me just spitting her out.  Sometimes I wonder if I did!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bookworm

I love books.  I just love books.  Apparently it is genetic, since my mother also adores books. 

The first book I can remember reading that I loved was How To Be A Grouch by Oscar The Grouch.  I honestly tried sleeping with my head on the floor one night.  For all of 20 minutes.

Adolescence brought Are You There God, Its Me Margaret.  A classic for all young women in their coming-of-age phase.  And then DeenieHarriet the Spy was awesome (I never saw the movie - I didn't want to ruin it for myself).  Or the Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals that I used to search endlessly for volcanic rock in my backyard.  In Indiana.  (i.e. NOT near a volcano.)  A Wrinkle in Time stirred the scientist in me. 

As an adult, I read voraciously.  I tend to read fast, and skip parts that I find boring, so I can get the gist of a book in short time.  Whenever I've had a problem, I've checked out a stack of books from the library.  When I ran into a challenge in a leadership position, I read.  When I interviewed for other academic leadership positions, I read.  When I found out I was pregnant (and therefore stopped interviewing!) I read.  When I had a baby, I read.  When she became a one-year-old who wouldn't sleep or eat, I read.

I have always had bookshelves full of books.  When I move, I manage to cull a few boxes of books I can part with.  I try to take them to used bookstores to sell.  During one move, I I thought my dad had stowed the "get rid of" books in my moms car - instead he had thrown them in the dumpster, and I couldn't get in to retrieve them.  I have sortof never forgiven him for that.

If you have a child, read to them.  Every day.  Even if they are tiny.  Honestly, even if they aren't even here yet.  Read.  Read again.  Read more.  The research shows that it is exposure to books in the home that helps teach reading. 

BlogHer is giving away books to children who don't have them.  Go here and comment.  Comment again.  Books will be given.  Your heart will be warmed.  Someday one of those children will post on the internet about books that changed his/her life.  Maybe it came from you.  (Wouldn't that be awesome?)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Grateful

I've been reading some ideas about building vocabulary in youngsters, since one of Wee One's issues that concerned her doctor is how few words she "has". 

Our local United Way has a program called Success by Six, so I was looking through links and found some information by Born Learning on developmental milestones, ways to turn the everyday into teaching examples, and other information.  One brochure emphasized the importance of dinnertime interactions on teaching vocabulary to young children.  It is the adult-to-adult interactions that can help build the vocabulary the most.

On the evenings that the Wee One and I eat dinner as "just us", it's not silent by any means.  I keep up a constant stream of chatter with her while I get our food together, while we get prepared at the table, while we both eat (and she throws most of it on the floor), and while I pick up after.  So even if it were just her and I together for dinner most of the time, she would have tons of dinnertime conversation.

But it would only be me interacting with her, and her with me.  She wouldn't see an example of a conversation between two adults, or between me and anyone else, unless it were an imaginary friend.

If I had continued teaching at the college where I was, if I had stayed in my apartment, it would have just been me and her.  It would have been fine.  I know I would have made it work.  But dinners would have just been the two of us.  I'm sure the occasional friend would have the occasional weekend dinner at some point, but I imagine that would be the exception rather than the rule.

Instead, I moved home.  First, I moved Home home (into my parents guest room).  Then I moved down the street!  The biggest benefit?  My parents and I eat dinner together almost every night of the week.

At times it can be a little annoying for me, because I want to keep Wee One on a schedule, and my parents are like the anti-schedulers of the universe (hi mom, love you!).  At times it can be a lifesaver, especially when I was broke early this year because of daycare, and then when I took on extra classes and my schedule was crammed.  Sometimes we eat at their house (no dishes!) and at times they come down here. 

There is alot of talk about how the family dinner hour is disappearing, and there are many published benefits to a family sitting down to dinner together.  She would have those benefits no matter where we live, because I'm a firm believer in the Family Meal.  But having my parents so close means that she has three adults around her at dinnertime.  All interacting with her, and with each other.

And for that I am very grateful.

Mikki Morrissette, in Choosing Single Motherhood, drives the point home multiple times that single parents need to have a support system in place, and Choice Moms need to recruit male role models for their children.  I think that is true of any family, but it is especially true for single mothers.  It doesn't have to be family.  I had already had conversation with some of my male friends about wanting to have men around to be role models for my girl.  I had reached out to fellow faculty and asked lots of questions and formed networks.  I had close friends that were there in a pinch when I was pregnant, and would be there in a pinch for me once she came.  But for me, personally, noone in this world loves me and my wee one like my mom and dad.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Diaper Stash

I've seen some cloth diaper stashes (there's always a thread or two on the Diaperswappers board - check the Extra Fluffy thread) and there are alot of mamas that have alot more diapers than I do.

However, I do have alot more diapers than I thought I would when I started out.

Part of it is that they're so dang cute!  Part of it is that I went through a phase where I wanted to try lots of different diapers to see how they worked.  Part of it is that I had a stash that worked, and then we started daycare and needed a different kind of diaper.

So here is what our diaper stash looks like currently.  (After having done this little exercise, I have identified some things that I could get rid of, if I could stand to deal with FSOT again.)

The majority of our diapers are stored in fabric tote boxes in a short bookshelf, which looks like this:


The top left basket has the majority of our Thirsties Duo Diapers:

The top right tote has the rest of our pockets, Knickernappies, Swaddlebees, CDW, and a WAHM diaper that I really need to get rid of because I never use it because it leaks.

The bottom left tote has our Thirsties AIOs.  I bought these when planning for daycare, because they were discontinued and cheap.  Some of them "leak", but I keep them as backup diapers.  The top two are Fuzzi Bunz stuffed for nighttime.

The bottom right tote has fitted diapers.  Some of these might not fit her anymore, so I need to check.  I have thought about getting rid of the fitteds, since we use pockets so much now.  If we weren't using pockets, we'd be using prefolds.  But fitteds work so well under woolies, so I'm keeping them until next winter and seeing if I use them then.

The rest of our diapers are kept here:

On the hanging thing are Gerber prefolds (the icky ones with the polyfill stuffing that aren't good for squat but somehow I have hung onto), our infant sized prefolds (which are too small but prefolds, especially stained ones, don't sell well on FSOT.  Maybe I'll find some expectant mama and give them to her SARA!), some woolies, some extra microfiber (left) and bamboo/hemp (right) pocket inserts, and on the bottom are the prefolds we currently use - when we use prefolds.  In the tote on the right are diapers that are too big that we haven't grown into yet, a couple of Large Fuzzi Bunz and some Dry Bees pockets (that I really don't think I'm going to like but oh well).

I'm a big believer in using totes and baskets as storage, because you can kindof toss things in them.  If you toss one kind of item per basket, then you are automatically organized.  I have another area of her room with baskets - one for socks, one for babylegs, etc.  Using totes and baskets to organize diapers helps alot.

--

I don't know that my diapers have been this organized in a long time.  And I seriously doubt they will be this organized again in a long time.  However, sorting them out like that helped me to realize I'd misplaced a couple of diapers (at first I thought daycare might have thrown more diapers away, but after cursing them silently, I found the diapers in my car.  Ooops!)

It also helped me realize the things I've accumulated that we're not really using (we have ALOT of extra microfiber inserts just hanging around) so I'm thinking about doing a big listing to sell them.  Hmm.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Do You Fold Your Diaper Laundry?

This is such an interesting question if you're a cloth-diaper obsessed mommy.

My answer is yes, I do.
In fact, I not only "fold" the diaper laundry ...  I sort out the pockets and the inserts so the "right" insert goes in the "right" pocket.

That makes sense for the Duo's, right?  They came with a particular insert.  But I have pockets that I bought without inserts, and inserts that I bought without pockets.  Somehow I have "assigned" (in my brain) a particular insert to a particular diaper.  So after they are washed, they have to be stuffed the same way.

Right?  (Just nod.)

With regular laundry, I live out of clean laundry baskets quite a bit.  If the dang clothes wouldn't get so wrinkled, I'd never fold and/or put away clothes again.  I've tried this approach with diapers.  After all, it totally doesn't matter if diapers get wrinkled.  And they rarely do (how unfair is that, BTW?)

But when you just live out of the basket, that means every time you need a diaper, you are digging through tons of pockets and inserts, and sometimes a few prefolds, and all the cloth wipes, and ... you tend to put the wrong insert with the wrong pocket.  And then that just screws EVERYTHING up.

OCD much?

Ok, so to fold diaper laundry ...  first pull out all the prefolds, and make a stack of them.  As you come across covers, just throw those in a pile next to the prefolds (see, I'm not totally OCD here.)
Only one prefold in this load - been doing alot of pockets lately

Then pull out the pockets, and sort by type.  Knickernappies go in one pile, Thirsties go in another pile.  (I have relieved the Swaddlebees of their duties unless I run out or otherwise need them, since they tear up diapers in the wash and I have beautiful new diapers I want to take care of.)

Duo sleeves on the left, Knickernappies sleeves on the right, Duo inserts on my knee, and a small child's toy in the center.

Oh, the small child came to retrieve the toy, that's good.
A better photo, sans toy and child

Then pull out the inserts and sort.  The nighttime diapers get a Cotton Babies OS insert and the Mandi's Menagerie insert in a Fuzzi Bunz pocket.  Altho, since I only have two working FB pockets left, we may be readdressing our nighttime system.  But for now, these get stuffed and put in a pile.

Other Cotton Babies OS inserts, Nicki's diapers inserts, Knickernappies inserts, are used to stuff the Knickernappies sized and OS pockets.  Thirsties Duo inserts go in the Duo Diapers.  As wipes come up in this process, a pile is made of them.
More help from the small child.  And the toy.

And there you have it, diaper laundry is "folded".
I don't always arrange them by color, that was just for the big photo.

If I had a stash of all one kind of diaper and insert, maybe I could live out of a laundry basket.

But I'll tell you, there's something very fulfilling, and almost even relaxing, about stuffing pocket diapers and feeling like you did accomplish SOMETHING today.  Even if it is diaper laundry.

Apparently this is a very serious question - even the Knickernappies people want to know the answer!

Tomorrow, another very serious question: how do you store your diaper stash?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sleeping Update

So, apparently, all you have to do to help your little one learn to sleep through the night is make up a Sleep Plan and post it on the internet.  The universe will then take your Plan and whisper in your child's ear, and the next day they will be Perfect Sleep Angels.

Ok, so maybe not.  But our Sleep Training has been going unbelievably well, so I thought I'd post an update.

I'm glad that I made a Plan (I've made some modifications to it - I dropped that part about "nap two hours after waking up and three hours after lunch" or whatever nonsense that was.)  because it helped me to focus on what changes I wanted to make, and how to do it systematically, but slowly.

I'm also glad that I made the changes slowly, because she adapted to them well, and we have made some real progress.

Most importantly, there have been very very few tears shed (some "fussing", but it's not crying.)  The times that she has been fussing, I have been right next to her to comfort her and help her to understand this is just a learning process.  I have felt really good about the gentle way we've done this.

Things that have worked: 

Moving nursing to earlier in the bedtime routine.  I used to rush through the bedtime routine because she wanted to nurse, and she nursed to sleep.  I'd skip the lotion, throw her jammies on, lay her down, and nurse her to sleep.  Our biggest problems started when she wouldn't nurse to sleep, but she would nurse for a bit and then be awake.  I was like "now what?".  Moving the nursing to earlier in the routine let her get right to the nursing that she wanted, but if it didn't make her really drowsy, then we'd read a couple of books or play a little.  It helped to separate "nursing" from "going to sleep", which the books say is essential for combating night wakings.

Not nursing her to sleep.  At first, she was still going to sleep in my bed.  We would do the whole bedtime routine in her room - after the bath I'd put her in her crib to get a diaper and jammies on.  Then we'd sit in the special chair to nurse.  We'd read, sing, play, whatever.  When she rubbed her eyes, I'd pick her up and take her to my bed and we would lay down to go to sleep.  Since she had nursed in her room a little while before, I wouldn't nurse her in my bed.  The first night she fussed a little.  She didn't always go right to sleep, so I'd let her sit up and talk and sing and whatever she wanted to do.  At first I'd gently lay her down every few minutes to remind her what we were supposed to be doing.  It wasn't an immediate cure - it was still taking her half an hour or 45 minutes to go to sleep once we were in my bed.  But she wasn't nursing to sleep.

Putting her in her bed "drowsy but awake" - but REALLY drowsy the first time.  The books all say to put them down "drowsy but awake" so they learn to actually fall asleep themselves.  I was really anxious about the first time I'd do that in her crib.  One evening when nursing in the special chair, she got really drowsy.  I nursed her until she was almost asleep.  Then I put her in her crib.  I thought "if this goes badly, we'll just go to my bed".  But she laid down and went to sleep.  So having them be pretty sleepy at first builds some success, and then you can put them down more and more awake so they learn to go to sleep on their own.

The Sleep Lady Shuffle.  I started out with the special chair unfolded into a sleeping cushion so I could lay down.  Since it was taking her almost an hour to go to sleep, that was an hour I could get some laying-down time in.  Then I put it back to a chair, and started moving it away from the crib.  Some nights I did have to stand very close to the crib and pat occasionally.  Some nights I could sit more than arms length away and she was asleep in 20 minutes.  But since I've been doing it SO slow (to be Gentle) I thought maybe I was making it so that she would have to have me in the room with her to fall asleep.  I was thinking of speeding it up some, but I like that this change hasn't upset her too much.  Last night, I actually left the room, and she went to sleep on her own.  She woke up after about an hour, crying pretty hard, so I went in and sat in the chair and talked to her for a few minutes, and she went back to sleep.

And of course, the bedtime routine, and the daytime eating, and those things have also helped alot too.

We still have issues with night waking.  Some nights she does sleep at least a little longer at first, but she's still waking three to four times a night.  And we still have issues with her wanting to nurse back to sleep in the middle of the night, also.  For now if she wakes after midnight I'm bringing her to my bed (so I can get SOME sleep) and nursing her if she wants.  The few times I've tried to NOT nurse her, she has screamed bloody murder.  I just wanted to make sure we had the bedtime thing pretty well established, and to see if we could lengthen the time she spends in her bed at the beginning of the night, before we tackle the night weaning (and screaming!).

I honestly thought it would be much harder than this to get her to go to sleep in her own bed, after cosleeping for the first year (plus) of her life.  Doing it in little steps, and doing the same steps, just rearranging a little, seems to be what has worked.  So night weaning probably seems worse than it will be, also.  I'll let you know how that goes!

Babywearing Adventures

While pregnant, I researched cloth diapering as well as babywearing.  Both seemed overwhelming at the time, since there was SO much information available on both topics.  But while I sifted through the cloth diapering information and sorted out the kinds of things I wanted to try, I remained overwhelmed about the information available on babywearing options.

(I think that has to do with how overwhelming the Babywearing site is compared to Diaperswappers.  I also think it's because I could buy a used diaper for 5 bucks and hold it in my hand and figure out how it worked - buying slings and wraps is a bit pricier.)

I registered for a Hotsling on a popular cloth diapering website.  Noone bought it for me for showers, so I bought it myself (on a laptop in the hospital!) while waiting for the wee one to arrive.  I pored over the sizing instructions on the Hotslings website, and then Cotton Babies sent me the wrong size.  I didn't realize it until after I had washed it, so I didn't bother to fight with them about sending it back.  It was fine at first (5 pounds 13 ounces doesn't take up that much room!) but I abandoned using that sling earlier than I probably would have if it had fit properly.

I didn't get into the habit of carrying the sling with us, so we ended up at the mall one day without a carrier or a stroller.  I ended up buying a baby sling at a kiosk in the middle of the mall.  It was a sling by Baby Bella Maya (they seem to no longer sell them, so no link), and it has an interesting design.  You adjust the size of the sling by velcro flaps.  This is supposed to make it easier to pass the baby in the sling off to someone a different size than you (so mommies and daddies can use the same sling).

Because of this, I found it to be a little hard to adjust for me.  She seemed to slip down all the time, and when I would check her (BECAUSE THATS WHAT RESPONSIBLE MOMMIES DO WHEN WEARING THEIR BABIES IN A SLING, CPSC) I would often have to adjust her.

At a discount store I found a carrier for cheap.  Because it doesn't adjust properly.  We tried it, didn't like it.

I had seen a video (link autoplays) about how to tie a Moby-style wrap.  But after spending 50 bucks on the mall sling, and getting a crap carrier, I wasn't up for "wasting" more money on a baby carrier.  While at a lunch with some friends, one mama mentioned that you don't have to buy one, just go buy some fabric.

I had heard this before on discussion boards, but had thought there had to be "more" that I needed to know.  She said just find some slightly stretchy material, get about 6 yards, and wrap it up.  She showed me how she wraps it, and it was just like in the video I saw.

The next time we were at the fabric store, I found a luscious blue drapey, stretchy material that I loved.  I forgot how many yards she said, so I guessed.  And I guess ... a little short.  I have to tie it in the back rather than bringing it around to the front, and it doesn't feel as secure that way.  I cut the fabric in half lengthwise (cutting 6 yards of fabric down the length - straight - isn't easy.  Especially in the back seat of a car!).

One day at Wal-Mart I found material I thought would work.  Okay, here we go, trying this baby carrier thing for the FIFTH time.  I got 7 yards (I think) and it was perfect (I'm a plus size mama, so if you're not, that might be a little too much).  This time, rather than just cutting it in half, I measured over 20 inches and cut that length, then cut another 20 inch length, and had another length that was 19 1/2 inches.  So I actually got three slings out of one piece of discount, clearance fabric.

One I keep in my car, one I keep in my mom's car, and one usually floats around at home somewhere.

That's the wrap you see in many of my photos, including our trip to the zoo, and others.

Now that my little one is getting bigger, I'm thinking about looking into ring slings.  If there's a way I could wear her on my hip, or at least to the side, that would be great.  Last night she wanted to be in the carrier, but I needed to cook.  I can't chop veggies very well if her head is in the way ...

So, suggestions about ring slings would be welcome!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Ok, so I'm OCD about diapers. Whatever.

I've been making a list of the rest of the Cloth Diapering 101 posts that I want to do.  I'd already done a post on how to wash cloth diapers, but I thought I'd do a fun post about folding diapers.  Some mamas stuff all their pockets so they're ready when they need one, some mamas don't, and it's always a fun conversation.

Then today on Twitter I see that the Knickernappies blog has asked the question - do you fold your diaper laundry.  And they want photos of your folded diaper stash.

I had just taken a load of diaper laundry out of the dryer, so it was the perfect time to snap some photos of folding diaper laundry.  Then I could get a post ready for Monday, and ...

Oh, but wait.  The pictures would be in her room, and her room isn't very clean.  So first I'd have to get the diapers out of the dryer.  Then I'd have to sort them all (and take a photo to show) and then I'd have to stuff them all (and take a photo to show) and then I'd have to clean her room, and then I have to put all the diapers away, and then I have to take photos of how they're all put away...

Damn you Knickernappies blog, this is NOT how I was going to spend my Saturday afternoon!!!

But Monday you'll see lots of photos!

More Duo Diaper Action Shots


I don't know what it is about that position for diaper photos.



Better, a "crawling away" shot.


Another "crawling away" shot.


Finally, a decent "sitting still" action shot.  Too bad all the diapers are now dirty and in the wet bag.

CD 101 - pockets I have tried

Okay, so you've decided on trying pocket diapers. But what kind? Here are some reviews of some pocket diapers I have tried, followed by some suggestions on choosing a pocket diaper.

Reviews start with my favorite diapers, and the ones that I most recommend.

Thirsties Duo Diaper

pros:
Seriously, this is my favorite pocket
-comes with an awesome 2-piece insert that is microfiber and hemp
-openings in front and back makes the pocket super easy to stuff
-nice and trim and fits great
-leg gussets - NO LEAKS or blowouts at all
-now come in super pretty PRINTS

cons:
-don't come in a snap version
-I like the colors, but I liked the old Thirsties Rainbow a little better (apparently, though, they have limited that to an 8-color selection too.  Interesting.)
--

Knickernappies sized

pros:
-VERY trim through the crotch
-side snap, and lots of them

cons:
-inconsistency in sizing on some, although I imagine with the popularity of this diaper now they have worked that out. It was mostly with the G1, and the G2 is all that is available now
-no leg gussets, so the occasional blowout has happened.  Like, at really inconvenient times.
--

Knickernappies OS

pros:
-very trim diaper for a OS
-side snap, and lots of them
-its a one-size diaper, so it will last through multiple sizes

cons:
-leaking issues, really runny poo can get out the side where the diaper snaps
-the microfiber inserts that come with them are kinda dinky compared to others I have
--

Swaddlebees side snap:

pros:
-very trim through the crotch
-side snap

cons:
-leaked badly - the leg elastic isn't topstitched or "cased"
--

Swaddlebees velcro with organic velour:

pros:
-nice trim diaper
-these have cased elastic and didn't leak
-cheap - I bought on clearance as seconds
-come as a COW PRINT

cons:
-industrial strength Velcro sticks to EVERYTHING and got pilly and nasty quickly (and is ruining my Duo diapers in the wash!)
-bought as seconds, so some stitches came loose in early washing

Note - these may be discontinued, as I haven't found any in their outlet store, or at other retailers' websites.
--

Green Acre Designs:

pros:
-pretty trim through the crotch
-side snap
-cute colors of fleece for the inside

cons:
-leaked once, I didn't use this that long before I sold - similar fit to the Swaddlebees side snap
--

Fuzzi Bunz sized
pictured here being used as a nighttime diaper
pros:
-nice big crotch lets you stuff alot for nighttime
-snap closure - but they are front snap and not side-snap

cons:
-they have changed so much even with a single "version" that finding the kind you want on FSOT is difficult - -you have to know if you want the "new size medium" or the "old size medium" and there are even now "old new size medium"s.
-everybody has some listed on FSOT so they are hard to sell, and mamas want to bargain you down to nothing
-lots of fake ones for sale on eBay - be careful
no leg gussets
--

Cloth Diaper Wholesale OS diaper
pros:
-high quality fleece
-snap closure
-cheaper than most pockets, but still well made

cons:
-the pocket is in the front, not the back, so the microfiber insert tends to rub her tummy
-not as large as other OS diapers, might not last into potty learning
-no leg gussets, but its never leaker
--

The only pocket that I have wanted to try and never have is the Smartipants pocket.  I was getting ready to try them when I heard the Thirsties Duos were coming out, so I waited.  Smartipants are a snap OS pocket diaper, that lots of mamas rave about.  If you're considering OS pockets, give them a shot.


There are some that I've tried that I don't even recommend.  One is the Mommy's Touch OS pocket.

It's too hard to figure out the snap settings, and I haven't heard of many mamas having alot of luck with them.

Also, I ordered a OS pocket from a WAHM (work-at-home-mom) and it leaks badly too.
Choosing:
Your decision will be easier if you are diapering a baby you have. Trying to decide what pockets to use when getting a newborn stash ready for a babe that is one the way is more difficult. Prefolds are so much easier on a newborn, though, that you might decide not to try pockets until they are a little bigger. (See that Swaddlebees side snap photo above?  That's a size small pocket on a newborn. Not a good fit.)

That's one reason that the Thirsties Duo Diaper came out with two sizes - one for smaller babies, and one for bigger babies to potty learning.

I always suggest you read reviews, raves, suggestions, and recommendations by mamas on cloth diapering forums. See Mothering Dot Com and Diaperswappers. You will see lots of different opinions. As you filter through them, compare some of the information about their baby to your situation. Some diapers fit chunky babies better, and if yours is long and slim with skinny thighs, you might decide on something different. Age might be a help in comparing, but weight and size will probably make more of a difference.

--Decide if you want to use OS or sized pockets. You might try a OS on your little one and see how bulky it is before you buy a stash of 24 diapers.

--Decide if you like snap or aplix closure. The aplix closures tend to look gross after a while, lots of washing makes them pilly, curly, and not as neat as they once were. Snaps can break or fail or pull holes in the diaper after a while, but look nicer after lots of washings. My daycare person prefers the velcro to the snap closures, and my mom sometimes has issues with pain in her hand that makes snapping diapers uncomfortable for her. However, when your little one gets big enough to want to squirm, crawl, or run away from diaper changes, snapping diapers is difficult at best. A quick change using aplix closures helps.

Of course, my little one now loves to pull off the aplix on the Duo diapers.  We will be wearing alot of shorts over diapers this summer.

--Decide if you like leg gussets. The only pocket I know of with leg gussets is the Thirsties Duo Diaper, but there could be more out there.

Hope that helps if you're considering pockets.  As always, feel free to email me if you have specific questions!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Blog Etiquette. Or, Please Comment If You Were Here

When I first started reading blogs, an experience I wrote about here, I didn't know that much about the blogging world.  I especially didn't know that much about mommy blogs.  I was a mommy only in the sense that I had just found out I had a pea-size bunch of cells inhabiting my uterus.  I didn't have any ideas about motherhood, I didn't have anything to say, I was just trying to learn.  So I'd come across blogs, and read.  Often I'd laugh until I had tears streaming down my face, sometimes I'd just be crying.  Then I'd leave.  I'd go work on stuff for my classes, I'd actually go TO class, or I'd go home and sleep.

Those mamas, that made me laugh until I was crying, or who touched my heart and made me cry, or who did both, never knew that they had touched me.

Because I didn't comment.

I didn't think I had anything to say.  Hi, I was here, I read, I cried, thanks for sharing.

But that would have been enough.

In fact, that would have been exactly what they were looking for.

I know this now, because I blog.

I don't blog to get comments.  I am blogging to record events in our lives as they unfold.  But I have also begun blogging to maintain connections to friends I am making.  Friends I am making through comments.

But although I don't blog to get comments, I do like the comments.  It shows me the people that are coming by to read, it shows me their perspective on what I have written, and when what I've written is about a problem we are having, and they offer suggestions or resources, or just support, that helps me to feel better about what we are going through.

Other mamas also like comments.  Because it shows them who came by to read, it shows them perspectives on what they have written, and sometimes it gives them suggestions and resources and support.

Some mamas have had issues with commenters being rude, insulting, or mean.  Mamas can be mean to other mamas.  I haven't had that experience yet, but my goal is to be a big enough blogger one day that it happens to me.

So when you go visit a blog, please make sure to comment.  Even if you just say "hi, I was here, I read this", that gives that blogger information.  If you also have a blog, make sure your link is there.  If what you say is particularly witty or interesting or otherwise catches someone's eye, they can come read your blog.  If you found their blog in some particular way, letting them know that is helpful.  Just letting them know they were part of your day is meaningful.

And if it moves you to tears, or makes you laugh until you cry (or pee a little) PLEASE be sure to tell them that.  It will mean the world to them.  I know it would me.

Please comment if you were here, I'd love to know about you.

She is saying "you should comment more often, you know.  It's important"

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Thirsties Prints Are Here!!!!!! and other diaper stuff


The Thirsties Prints that I preordered, like, a month ago finally arrived today.  Snappy Diapers were the only ones preordering when I first found out the Duo Diapers were coming out in prints, so I jumped on the preorder bandwagon.  In fact, I was so excited when preordering, I didn't change the drop-down box to size 2, and had to email them and ask them to change my preorder.  Doh!  Kristen did an amazing job of keeping me posted as Thirsties delayed their release.


I washed them immediately so we could wear one as our nighttime diaper.  I used a previously washed insert, tho.  Since the Duo inserts have a hemp layer, multiple washings are required to remove the natural oils from the fabric and make the hemp absorbent.


Thirsties advertises that the prints match the shades of solids that the Duo Diapers are already available in, and they are right.


Blackbird shown with Honeydew, Meadow, Mango, and Ocean



Warm Stripes shown with Rose, Orchid, Mango, and Meadow



Cool Stripes shown with Ocean, Meadow, and Honeydew

The only solid color not seen in any of these prints is the Storm Cloud.  Not a single print has that shade.  Which is unfortunate, because its my favorite of the colors.

Can't wait to try the rest tomorrow.  Will update with photos then.

--++--

In other diaper news, I think we are going to have to retire this diaper:


One night last week, Wee One woke me up to nurse, and she was wet.  No, not wet.  SOAKED.  EVERYWHERE.  She was laying in a puddle and her jammies were drenched.  It was the diaper.  I changed her and laid a towel on the bed.  How much did she have to pee to outdo the absorbency of this diaper?  Only ... the insert wasn't that wet.  I guess the diaper had leaked somehow rather than the insert absorbing it.

I, of course, forgot about this incident.  After washing a load of diaper laundry, I re-stuffed all three nighttime diapers.  I stuff all three the same way, so before her bath each night, I just have to grab one and go.  So I did.  And again, the pink one TOTALLY FAILED AGAIN.  Again, I was changing her at 2 am in the dark and laying a towel down.

This was one of the first diapers I ever bought.  I bought it used off the FSOT thread on Diaperswappers.  I had heard Fuzzi Bunz were good pockets (and they are - if you can figure out the crazy size changes) and this one was cheap.  In the back of the pocket, where the fabric forms the casing for the elastic, a thread had come undone.  However, it didn't affect the function of the diaper, and the mama totally disclosed it, and if I was more detail-oriented and could find a needle in a haystack, I mean, my house, then I totally could have fixed it.

We have used this diaper every third night since last summer.  It's kindof no wonder that it's kicking the bucket.

I'm giving it a chance, though.  I'm going to strip it and see if maybe mineral or detergent buildup is causing it to lose its absorbency.  I'm afraid the PUL might be shot, tho, and there's not really a cure for that.


Yes, that is a diaper in a pot of water with Dawn dishwashing detergent, just boiled.  That's the best method to strip a diaper.

--++--

And lastly, unfortunately I think I'm going to have to redact an earlier rave for these diapers:

I'm loving snap diapers because Wee One tries to take off velcro diapers.  However, twice in the last month I have shown up at daycare with poop dripping down her leg because these diapers are not really good at holding the runny stuff in.  When all we used was Thirsties products - either covers or the Duo Diapers (both have leg gussets) - we never had a blowout in a cloth diaper, only sposies.  With the Knickernappies, I've had two blowouts and it's not been pretty.

That sucks, because I have quite a few of them

(this isn't all - there are two in the wet bag that are dirty, and one is a backup that I keep at daycare.)  I guess I can use them when I don't think she's about to have a big poo. 

And this has nothing to do with the fact that I didn't win six of their diapers in their Facebook photo contest, either.

--++--

Oh, and I meant to celebrate my 100th post when I got there, but that was the previous one to this.  So, Happy 101st Post To Me!

Traveling

In June, I will be traveling with the Wee One and her Nan.  We will be in the car for about a 12 hour drive, and we will be gone for about 5 days.

I am afraid.

When she was little (teeny) and I was required to have blood pressure checks by my doctor every week, we made the trek back up to where we used to live.  I lived about 100 miles away from my parents, and had planned on continuing to do that after she came.  So our apartment, my doctor, her doctor, my work, and all my worldly belongings were 100 miles away from the woman who was helping me live through exhaustion and embrace being a new mother.  We made the 2-hour drive once a week for about the first six weeks, then a few more times after that.  Once was to move said worldly belongings into said woman's garage while my infant and I still covered her guest room in errant sprayed breast milk and baby puke.

My point is, the longest this child has been in the car is 2 hours.  And the last time we did that was December.  The last time before that was July.  She screams all the way home from daycare.  I can't imagine how 12 hours is going to go.

So, anyone who has traveled with a one-year-old, I'm totally open to suggestions and advice.  I do know this much:  I'm going to have to pack alot of crap.

We'll take the pack - n - play as a portable crib.  We'll take some sposie diapers, just because, but I think I have enough between the pockets and the prefolds to make it without diaper laundry.  I'm sure there would be a laundromat if really necessary, but I think we'll be ok.  We'll take 15 outfits, because there will be a party, and we will have to dress appropriately.  I should remember to take something nice too.

And ... that's about as far as I've gotten in the mental planning.

Help me!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Food

Food has been on my mind alot recently.  I've been thinking about it pretty constantly since I left the doctor's office at 2:30 on Friday.  It's been interesting the thoughts and memories that have bubbled up in the past few days.  I thought I'd try writing as a way to corral some of them.

I experience alot of anxiety about my Wee One's eating.  I have ever since the beginning.  As a nursing mother, you just Obsess from the first moment.  Is she latching on, is she getting enough, when will my milk come in, will the nurses EVER stop trying to push formula?  That was compounded by a night in the NICU where every time I nursed her, they would then weigh her, and if I hadn't given her enough milk, they force-fed her formula with a syringe.  I tried so hard to force milk into her that night, and the Obsession was born.

I'm reading books - because that's what I do.  Any problem or issue I've ever faced, I combat with a stack of reading material.  I had ordered Baby-Led Weaning at the encouragement of some mamas on the Diaperswappers forums when I first posted about my anxiety about her eating issues.  That approach encourages you to present whole foods - samples of what you are eating for each meal - to your child early on.  As they play with the food, put it in their mouth, gum it, etc, they learn the necessary motor skills for eating.  Meanwhile, you're still nursing them, same as ever.  As they develop, they begin to actually consume more and more food at each meal.  Eventually they will eat more and nurse less.

Oh, if only I could be that relaxed about it.  I guess you can be, when you're talking about a 6-month old, or a 9-month old.  But she's 13 months old, shouldn't she be eating MORE?  But then, I don't want to force food down her throat.  Hello, here's your mother laying the foundation for your future eating disorder.  Here's the name of a good therapist.  I'll go ahead and put money in the bank for it, you're gonna need it.

Maybe I can do it.  All summer, just go back to breastfeeding on demand, and give her foods at mealtimes, and as she begins to eat more (IF she begins to eat more) she will then just nurse less (yea right).  THAT will require finding a new pediatrician, as my current one keeps asking me when I'm going to "stop that".  Nursing, that is.  (Next time I plan to say something like "Never".  Or "I'm sure she'll stop sometime before high school".  Or "Stop?  They stop nursing?  I didn't realize that.  Hmmm.  I'll ask her when she wants to.  We'll get back with you on that.")

Sunday we were in the grocery store.  I had a partial list of things I knew I needed.  The doctor had said "just go through the grocery aisles and look for soft foods", so that was my plan.  Halfway through the store I realized ... I don't know how to eat well.  How in the world am I supposed to feed my daughter well (healthy) when I don't know how to feed myself well?

In college I developed an eating disorder.  In graduate school, during therapy, my eating disorder was diagnosed.  (By someone other than my husband-at-the-time, who found a bottle of ipecac syrup and believed me when I said I had it for my dog's first-aid kit.)  That therapist's suggestion was to remove the labels of "good" and "bad" from food.  Those labels just induce guilt and lay the groundwork for binge eating.  She wanted me to stop beating myself up when I ate something I wanted.  She told me not to go on diets, since diets restrict eating and lead to more binging.

Yay for me.  I get to eat whatever I want and I was told by my therapist not to diet!

Obviously the next step in therapy like that is to gradually learn more healthful ways of eating.  Somehow we never got to that step, and I just held on to "yay my therapist said no food is bad".

I have a book about zen cooking.  I adore shopping at Whole Foods, or farmer's markets.  I love the idea of cooking a meal based on healthy, green, wholesome ingredients.  But when it comes down to instinct eating - your default eating pattern that you turn to when you're busy or tired or stressed or you otherwise don't want to think about your food - well, it's not pretty. 

At the store, I managed to buy a mishmash of healthy things.  Then Monday night it was time to make dinner.

I ate healthy "stuff", but it wasn't really dinner.  I steamed vegetables, boiled some chopped potatoes, decided that I didn't want a meat, remembered that I wanted to try to feed her cottage cheese before it expired in the fridge.  So my plate had steamed veggies, boiled potatoes, and cottage cheese.  It wasn't even really "dinner", just a combination of unrelated things I'd cooked and put on our plates.

I feel so inadequate.  I don't know how to eat.

I know how to cook.  The times I've had my parents over and I actually followed a recipe and made a meal, they have enjoyed it immensely.  I have tons of cookbooks.  When I sit down and do it, I can make a week's food plan, and cook up some mean dinners.  But it means sitting down and finding recipes and making lists and a plan.  I don't mind making that effort, but my point is, I find it to be an effort.

It doesn't come naturally to me.

So how do I teach my daughter something that I don't know?  And if I can't figure out what to feed a fully grown human (I can get my Ph.D. in Biomedicine but I can't manage to feed myself healthfully) how do I figure out how to feed a growing toddler?  (I'm going to look into the website Betsy suggested in her comment the other day, I think that will be a huge help).

At the library, looking for books about how to feed your child, I come across Michael Pollen's The Omnivore's Dilemma.  One promise I have made is to try to stop eating high-fructose corn syrup, in all the foods it comes in.  I read label after label in the bread aisle until I found one with actual whole grains and no HFCS in it.  This book talks about how corn has come to be an ingredient in such a high proportion of food.  It also talks about cows becoming supermarket meat, but I'm not to that part yet, so I managed to eat a philly cheese steak with my dad tonight.

So I'm making progress.  (With the non-HFCS bread, I mean.  I guess the philly cheese steak isn't really progress.)  And I'm still reading.  My goal is to put together a collection of go-to meals that become instinctive.  Spaghetti and sauce.  Um ... yea.  Things that I can work into our dinners as staples, and then experiment with new recipes as I have time/energy.  I don't much like cooking meat, so ground beef is the most meat that I usually cook.

I want to start eating more locally-grown foods.  I want to start eating more whole foods, and raw where appropriate.  In the past when I've gotten the idea to eat "close to the source", I end up buying a bunch of beautiful food that I never do anything with.  I want to stop eating packaged food - but then I'm afraid I won't know how to do that, or how to eat. 

Eating isn't supposed to be this hard.  Why can't I just be normal?

--
Added:

A quote from The Omnivore's Dilemma (the Young Readers version, since they didn't have the Adult version at my library).

Standing in our giant supermarkets, we feel more last than someone standing in a forest ten thousand years ago. We no longer know for sure which foods are good for us and which foods aren't.   Thanks to our food industry, we don't even know what it is we're eating.  Sometimes it even seems like we've forgotten why we eat.  (Emphasis his).

Ah-ha.  Maybe I'm not so abnormal after all.

Please Don't Hate Me For Celebrating ...

Pre-pregnancy jeans:


Actually, they are pre-pre-pregnancy jeans.  The summer that I got pregnant, they were a little snug (muffin top!) and I didn't wear them.  But they are cute and I kept them.  And they fit again!  I even wore them to music class where we have to sit on the floor and I was comfortable.

Yay!

And now that I'm on the healthy "Feed The Baby" diet, and the "Walk The Baby To Expose Her To Light" program for the sleep plan, I'm hoping to lose a little more.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Don't Buy Panties at T arget

I have a ton of panties I bought when I was preggo.  A size too big and the wrong style and waaaaay too much fabric to go under shorts.

B.C. (Before C.) I used to wear thong underwear.  Truly.  Somehow I'm not sure that thong panty lines when you bend over to pick up your toddler are ... appropriate ... for an ALMOST FORTY SOMETHING mother.

So I've been trying to figure out what my new brand/style of underwear will be.

HAS to be comfortable.

HAS to fit appropriately, without billowing out of summer clothing.

Cheap is always good.

So I'm at Le Tarjais (T arget) and I'm perusing the panties.  H anes has these "guaranteed not to ride up" ones that look promising.  A plastic pack of 6 or a non-plastic pack of 3 with the "comfort waistband".  I make my selection (pretty much based on what they have in my size, because apparently my T arget caters to women who wear size 5 undies.)

I get home and begin unwrapping my panty purchase to add them to the laundry.

I notive that the package with the "comfort waistband" that is supposed to have 3 pairs of panties has only 2 pairs of panties.

Annoyed, I just throw all the panties in the laundry.

Yesterday, during one of Wee One's awesome two-hour naps IN HER CRIB, I fold laundry.  And notice something interesting about several of the other pairs of panties from the OTHER package.

Three pairs from the same package.  Two are very similar in size.  In fact, I would call them The Same Size.

The third pair:  not so much.

In fact, rather than being the "hi cut" style that the package proclaims, these ... are bikinis.  IN THE SAME PACKAGE. 

News flash: I have had a C-section.  I have a C-section scar that is sensitive and hurts when the wind blows the wrong way.  I will never be wearing bikinis ever again in my life.

So I'll probably still buy lots of other stuff at T arget, but I won't ever buy panties there ever again.