The Mom Files
Okay. I knew it was going to happen. I did the math; I watched my two year old turn his nose up at the potty we parked in the bathroom months before—a plastic, frog-shaped, no longer gleaming symbol of hope. The truth is: my son was not an early walker, or talker; he weaned from the breast late and with a fight; and it looked liked he might reach his third birthday in a large perfect size only-diaper-that-still-fits. Moreover, my burgeoning bump promised that he would have a fluffy-bum baby sister to share this imminent milestone with. But—hey—I already had the outgrown onesize diapers, a well-practiced laundry routine, and some quick change cloth experience under my maternity waistband. And that was a good thing. No doubt about it, I was on a careening path toward a life of two in dipes.
Now, this is not the first time I have had two in diapers. But the last time was back in 1998, the year before Tereson Dupuy patented the FuzziBunz, reshaped the world of pins and plastic pants. Or maybe it was before I developed this nagging conscience. At any rate, my old diaper genie was out of commission. This time around, we’d be doing things the newfangled old-fashioned way. And, as I kept up with the often stomach-turning task of spraying out a 2 year old’s dirty pocket diaper, battling the ammonia stench of morning, and keeping my bathroom walls from becoming a bacteria encrusted battleground, I often had this one ray of hope: a little mustardy mess: no problem! This was already about as stinky—in the most literal sense—as diapering could get. Not to mention—it would also be the first time I had a newborn in cloth. The prospect of a wrapped up itty bitty infant bum in fluff made my duly giddy.
Then, as promised, the baby arrived. Seven pounds and three oz. of mencomium filled joy, ready to go through a low ball estimate of twenty diapers a day. I forgot how babies are little tricksters. They wait until you have them all snappi’d wrapped and ready for the action shot, and then they give it another little go. I was right as rain about one thing though—a paper pamper cannot hold a candle to a newborn in cloth. As for me and Little Miss Mustard, we had about two dozen total of prefolds, fitteds, and pockets. If she didn’t go crazy, this might be enough to get us through two days between washings. Hmmm. The more I thought about it, the more likely it seemed that as soon as I got myself to a computer, we’d have to double that lot!
Meanwhile, as we were in the hospital basking in the bliss of our new arrival, big brother was at home with my mom. The new baby had done a brief and dusky holding her breath exercise that earned us a short stay in the NICU. Not only [insert shame] were we resigned to using the hospital provided sposies, but on the homefront, my mother had also pulled the half empty box of too small sposies from what I’d hoped would be their final resting place in the closet. Anybody who uses cloth knows that caretaker situations can get a little sticky. Even the seeming simple task of “insert baby, snap in place, remove when wet” proves daunting to the uninitiated. I mean, a BumGenius 4.0 pocket has a total of 35 snaps, including the one on the insert. And that is before you even get near the issue of ‘what do you do with the poop?’ That’s the one that really gets people tripped up. Of course, any mama worth her salt in cotton knows that federal regulation stipulates that all human waste be flushed into the sewer, whether out of sposie or Swaddlebee. That said, I have left my mark on landfills in two states, and that hazard mark flashes with ignorance.
So: fast forward. It’s homecoming time! Baby’s in a little KL0 under an Weehugger Owl. I get all excited and post the picture to Facebook. Stella’s first cloth! Now, my family and friends had perhaps begrudgingly agreed that the cloth diapers I had been using on my son for the past six months were ‘cute’ and ‘didn’t seem too hard to change’. So, I was a little taken aback when the comments were along the the likes of: Wow, that’s a big butt! My first lesson about having two in cloth, then, was that I would have twice as many opportunities to defend my decision and be an advocate. My second—and this one should come as no surprise—is that I would pretty much spend most of my day thinking about, spraying out, and splattered in poop.
Having two in dipes has its pluses. Unless your babies are multiples, it means one of those children qualifies as a toddler. As I have mentioned: toddler diapers are nasty; toddler diapers stink. On the flip side, infants go through a lot of diapers. When you combine these two factors, there is a surprising upside. Hear me out. In my case, the overwhelming positive was that I washed diapers every day. You may wonder what is so wonderful about that. Especially since I have known many mamas who would otherwise use cloth opt out because they ‘do not want more laundry’. I personally love diaper laundry. There is no basket of clean clothes I would rather see than one overflowing with bright white clean diapers. As a result of a stint of regular laundering, I managed to get through the newborn stage without the need to add more to her stash; and without the stench of a toddler diaper that had been sitting in the pail for three days. A house with no stink whatsoever. Score!
Having two in dipes was even better than I expected. It was streamlined: all butts get changed now! It was coordinated: small spearmint FuzziBunz for you; large spearmint FuzziBunz for you. Most of all—like all things with our precious babies—the time was short and sweet.
These days, my little man spends most of his days in training pants. The frog pot has a prime slice of real estate in the middle of the living room floor. His baby sister retired all her infant prefolds, and now is immersed in her work of getting my money’s worth out of all of her brother’s old dipes. And, about every three days or so, you can find me in my old haunt: the laundry room.
Sondra Cardullo is in the midst of a fantastic stint as a stay at home mom in Pittsburgh, PA. She likes urban gardening,sewing, fine dining, and singing nursery rhymes off key. She is an active volunteer in her community; and an advocate for natural parenting. She earned her B.A in English Literature and Writing, and is thrilled to find every way to bring her love of language and cloth together.
I like to have an arsenal of ideas/objects to run to when things aren’t quite going right. I keep disposable diapers and wipes on standby (in case of power outages/snow storms/or bouts of stomach flu). I keep bags of crayons and notepads in my purse for long lines and bored kids. My schoolroom (we homeschool) has a whole drawer full of toddler activities in bags for times when my 3 year old has a meltdown.
But how does one prepare for the unexpected? Like playdates getting canceled, park plans ruined by rain, or the dreaded sickness that takes over the whole house and destroys EVERYONES social life.
My personal plan of attack against such things is a promise, a stocked pantry, and a secret money stash. My kids know that on rainy days, they get tea – loaded with honey- and popcorn. When playdates get canceled, they get 99 cent cones dipped in chocolate from Mcdonald’s. Sick days include a special “sick” blanket, jello, unlimited Netflix viewing, and frozen pizzas for the healthy ones. I save all these items and use them ONLY when these disappointing times arrise. Sure, there is sometimes a minor hissy fit, but then they remember that they get “that special treat” and it is all but forgotten. And, keep it simple. I found that if I promised them elaborate things, like trips to the aquarium, it would be harder for me to follow through. I kept it simple, but still special, and my kids don’t know any different.
We had the rainy drizzles at my house today. My kids woke up, looked outside, and yelled, “YAY! It’s raining!! Tea and POPCORN!! WOOOHOOO!”
So, find something special to treat them with on such occasions and STICK TO IT!
Do you have a special back-up plan to share? We would love to hear it!
A common New Year’s resolution is “simplify”. I jumped on that boat a few years ago and, thankfully, it is one thing that has stuck. One area in our house that seemed the most chaotic was our laundry room. We are a family of 6, including one baby in cloth diapers. If the laundry was not managed well, it poured out of the room and crept its way into every living space available. And, once it was washed…getting it put away had its own issues.
Here is what is working for our house.
1.I purchased an inexpensive laundry sorting system. I found a sorting rack with four linen compartments that lift out easily with nifty little handles for carrying. These are used to sort CLEAN laundry (because we all know folding can’t always be done right away). Each member has their own sorter, and when the basket is full, the items inside have to be folded and put away IMMEDIATELY by the owner of the clothes inside (baby excluded)! We also have a small basket that keeps all our clean socks. Once a week, we sit down in the afternoon and have a sock folding party (popcorn and hot chocolate are good motivators for sock party poopers).
2.Laundry is done by my 7 year old. Every day he is responsible for washing and drying two loads and sorting the clean into the sorting baskets. This is his one BIG chore. If your child/children are not old enough to help with laundry, don’t worry…they will get there and you will be a happier person! He has been helping since age 5 and took it on fully at age 6. He does not do the diapers, though. I do those every other evening.
3.For diapers I have a pail that I keep baking soda inside and when it is full of dirty diapers, I dump them in the wash, baking soda included. I rinse in cold, wash in hot w/ vinegar, baking soda, and detergent, and rinse 3 times in cold. In the winter I use our dryer, on medium heat, for 50 minutes. Summer time I like to line dry, weather and time permitting. I found that it was much better to do diapers at night. That way, if a pair of jeans is needed during the day, I don’t have to stop mid-diaper cycle to get a pair of pants washed.
4.Keep your room clean and organized. Yeah…right!? I know. But it helps! And, I found that the lint removed from the dryer makes a really nice dry surface “wipe” around the top of the washer and dryer. It catches lots of bits of dust and gunk.
Do you have a great tip to share or unique way that you have simplified your laundry routine? We would love to hear it!
I have only been cloth diapering for about 2 months now. And until a few nights ago, I was still putting Gavin is sposies at night. Why? Because I was SCARED! I know…laugh it up. You have to understand, my Gavin is a very, very heavy wetter. He even wets his bed with the overnight disposable diapers. We’ve tried giving him less to drink before bed…doesn’t work.
I had the scenario all worked up in my head. I would put his cute little behind in an equally cute cloth diaper. We’d go through our usual bedtime routine and say, “night, night!” Then, about 3 o’clock in the morning I would be awakened by the cries of my angel-face. Sleepily, I would walk to his room where I would find…PEE! Pee everywhere! Soaked through the mattress, pillow, blanket, down the dust ruffle, and on the carpet we just had cleaned. Then, I would have no other choice but to give Gavin a bath at 3 in the morning! I know it’s absurd, but this is what I had pictured.
I knew at some point I was going to have to get past all this craziness and bite the bullet, so to speak. So, I started asking around. I posted on Facebook, Diaper Pin, and Diaper Swappers. I didn’t get as big a response as I thought. I was surprised at the people who were like me, still putting their kids in disposables for bed. The suggestions I did get almost all included hemp inserts. So, that’s what I did.
After I said a prayer (LOL!), we went through our nighttime routine with Gavin. I put my Rainforest Babies cloth diaper on with a hemp snap-in soaker wrapped around a microterry soaker. Totally expecting to be awakened at 3 o’clock, I went to bed early. To my delighted surprise, I woke up at 8:00. I thought surely Gavin woke up and my husband changed him and just didn’t wake me up. So, I asked him. No, he didn’t change him.
Still doubtful, I walked to Gavin’s room. He was awake and as happy as could be. “Hi, Mommy!” he said. I replied, “Hi, Gavin.” I picked him up to change him and his clothes were DRY! Yes, I said dry! I was so excited. After that, I felt silly for worrying about it.
It is amazing how worked up I can get. But I let my imagination get the best of me. Now, I can keep my little man dry, healthy, and “green” at night too!
Leave me some feedback. What have been your nighttime experiences with cloth diapers?
Have a great day!
We’ve all done it. About midnight you realize that you stink and you haven’t had a shower in 2 days! Your hair has been in a pony tail for over a week. It’s been so long since you put on makeup, you don’t know if you remember how to do it. Your day consists of cleaning, cooking, laundry, changing diapers, playing with the kids, going to ball practice, helping with homework, working on that report that was due 3 days ago, or returning a phone call you should have returned yesterday
It is easy to get so caught up in being someone’s mommy, wife, or employee that you lose sight of yourself. We feel like bad mothers if we don’t spend every second of the day playing with our kids. We feel like bad wives if our floors aren’t clean enough to eat off of. We feel like bad employees (if you work outside the home) if we can’t take on that extra project or responsibility.
I know how you feel. I have been dealing with this myself lately. I feel that I have lost sight of who I am and the things I like to do. The one thing that is important to remember is that you can’t be everything everyone wants you to be. You are not designed that way. I guess it is a matter of priorities. Where do you rank on your list, or are you even on the list?
I want to encourage you today. Put yourself on the list! Even if you can only find 15 minutes, do it! I know it’s hard. Sometimes…well, a lot, actually… I can’t even go to the bathroom without the phone ringing, Gavin coming in and saying, “Mama!” or Tim walking in and asking me a question that could have waited 5 minutes for me to empty my bladder. We must find time for ourselves for sanity’s sake!
Leave your kids with your husband or a baby sitter. Get in your car and just drive. Go get a mani/pedi if you have enough time for that. Find a quiet place in your house, if that’s possible, and close your eyes. You can do what I do…I go to my office, turn off the lights, and close my eyes.
I think everyone you come in contact with will be happier if you take a little you-time.
How do you find “me-time”? Let us know! Have a great day!
All parents who cloth diaper their kids have probably faced this situation at one time or another. You are having a casual conversation with someone, maybe in the grocery store or the pharmacy. She is asking you about your kids and somehow diapering comes up. You tell her you use cloth diapers. *Enter dramatic music*
And then it happens…she looks at you as if you are the most moronic person on the face of the planet. She then proceeds to spew stupid questions and statements at you as if it were her native tongue. Strangely enough this is the same person who asks a woman when she’s due, but she’s not pregnant.
The knee-jerk reaction would be to tell this person to keep her nose out of your business. Who does she think she is? And why is she worried about it? They aren’t her kids. Of course, this is very rarely the correct way to handle the situation, but it is the first thought.
You can also do what I do…laugh with just a touch of sarcasm. You can say, “It’s really not that bad.” “It’s not what you think.” Then, you can give her a short (or long) synopsis of why cloth diapering would be great for HER kids too! Still, the sarcasm may be a little too much.
Or, if you are just the most perfect, precious person on the planet, you can just let it slide. No biggie, right? You know cloth diapers are making a comeback. This lady just hasn’t caught the fever yet. Bless her heart.
Tell me about your experiences, funny, angry, sarcastic and the like. I want to hear all of them. How do you deal with the cloth diaper “haters” you come in contact with?
It’s inevitable. Even though you gave your child a legal name when he was born, you will eventually come up with a nickname for him. These nicknames may eventually be embarrassing for your child. By the time they realize it, however, it’s too late.
As a child, my dad, uncles and grandpa all called me Boo. Who knows why…but, they still call me that. I have never minded that nickname though. It’s endearing.
When we were trying to come up with a name for our son, we pondered a few different ones. We eventually landed on Gavin just because I like it and it sounds a little bit like my own name. His middle name is James after two people, my father-in-law and my mother-in-law’s brother. But, over the past two years, Gavin has gotten several nicknames.
The first one is Little Bud. My father-in-law named him this right off the bat. I think maybe before Gavin was even born. He calls my husband Bud and Gavin was just officially Little Bud. Gavin’s face lights up when he hears his Pepaw say Little Bud. It’s so cute.
I started calling him Butterbean about a year ago. I’m not really sure why, he just looks like a Butterbean. But, I also call him Angel Face. Sometimes he looks at me and I’m not entirely sure God didn’t give me an angel. Then, he does something he’s not supposed to and I remember that he is, in fact, a little boy.
The nickname that has really taken off recently is the Gavinator. This name was given to him by our Pastor. And, so now, everybody at church calls him the Gavinator. “Tell the Gavinator I hope he feels better.” “Tell the Gavinator I missed him today.” “What’s the Gavinator up to?” It fits him very well, actually.
What nicknames do you have for your kids? Do you think they’ll be embarrassed by them? We want to hear what you have to say.
Thanks and have a great day!
I always wanted to be a mom, but I never planned on being a single parent. I had dreams of rearing a bunch of kids with the man of my dreams. I never prepared myself for the possibility that this would not be my life. I was devastated at first when this became my reality.
I remember feeling like the world was coming to an end. I could not imagine how I was going to provide for my beautiful boy on my own. Truthfully, I was really angry. I had not signed up for single parenthood. I signed up to have help! So, I wallowed in self pity for about a week before I realized that I better get up and do something. If not, it was not going to be a good situation.
So I decided to take it one day at a time. Sometimes, one hour at a time. I started with changing my hair! I had always had really long hair and decided to chop it off. It was the best decision I think I have ever made! I cut it off to a little below the chin with the cute stack in the back. I felt like a new person.
Next, I decided to put together a schedule for my son and me. I enlisted Noah’s help and we made awesome Morning Routine and Evening Routine charts. It helped to have something to check off as accomplished for the day. Noah really liked having the visual. I think it helped him feel more stable.
Then, I decided that I would begin each day and end each day by making a mental list of all the things I had to be grateful for. At first, it was difficult to think of any because I was so focused on everything that was wrong in my life. After a week or so though, I realized that I didn’t have enough time each day to make a complete list of all the things I had to be grateful for. The funny thing is that what I had to be grateful for had not changed, but my outlook had.
It has been a long journey, but I can say that it has been worth every step to see the happiness in my child’s eyes. There are days when I still feel overwhelmed, don’t get me wrong. But, most days I am overjoyed at the progress we have made. I love my son more than anything and he is worth all the struggles that come my way.
Potty Training can be one of the most stressful times in the life of a parent, not to mention the early life of a child. However, it truly does not have to be that way! I have compiled some of the tips that I used with my own son who is now 8 years old. These tips were lifesavers for me!
- The most important recommendation I can make when it comes to potty training is to make sure that there are no really big events going on in your life, such as a move or a new baby coming into the home. These events are stressful enough without adding potty training to the mix!
- Make sure to explain the “potty process” in kid-friendly terms. My son thought it was really cool to hear that our bodies make garbage. This really helped him to understand what was going on and took away some of the fear and uncertainty.
- Silliness makes the process much more fun and helps to make the process a little less stressful for you and your child. Praise ensures that they will want to go again. Silliness and praise can both be great motivators for those stubborn little tots who just do not want to go!
- Bribe them! Offer smaller bribes for when they go to the bathroom and larger ones for when they wipe. The wiping part can be the most difficult to get them to do. I offered mini M & M’s for bribes. You could also use pennies in a piggy bank or small toys, etc. Just make sure your bribes are something they really want so they will be motivated.
- Get your partner, a grandparent or close family friend involved! Sometimes just getting a new face in the picture will make all the difference.
- Make sure that you take them to the bathroom and consistent and frequent intervals. This was so important for my son. It keeps their minds on the task at hand and often heads off a would-be accident. Consistency may be the more important of the two because this is what gets their bodies used to going.
- Sometimes children are afraid to go. My son was one of them. It took me forever to find out what was causing him not to want to go! I solved this problem by using a large stuffed Diego doll to demonstrate the “potty process.” This was great practice for him and my son felt like a big boy because he could teach Diego how to go. It was very effective.
- I implemented target practice for my son. Now this may seem a little bizarre, but it worked better than anything else I had tried. I floated Cheerios in the toilet and gave him a sticker for everyone he could “hit.” This was a great way to teach him how to stand up while using the restroom.
- Above all else, do not turn potty training into a battle. A struggle of wills can only result in failure and stress. Make sure your child is ready and then make sure that you are ready to let them learn at their own pace.
- Patience! Patience! Patience! More than anything, be patient. Remember that potty training is a process that we all have to learn and some of us learn it more quickly than others. Your child will learn how to go! It is a normal process that takes time. Do not get frustrated and quit. Be patient!
I truly hope this will help you in your pursuit to potty train!
My son, Gavin, is the joy of my life. He makes me smile when I don’t think anything is funny. He is the brightest star, the happiest, cutest, most adorable, precious child on the face of the planet…and I’m not biased, of course! So, I wanted to write about some of the ways that Gavin makes me smile.
1. He cheers me on…One night I came home from church after a long day and an even longer business meeting. Gavin and Tim (my husband) were in the driveway and Gavin was chanting, “Mama! Mama! Mama!” That brought a huge smile to my face!
2. He’s always happy to see me…In the mornings when I go into his room to get him up and ready for the day, he looks at me, smiles, and with the sweetest voice any child could muster says, “Hi, Mama!”
3. He’s so affectionate…When Gavin gives hugs or kisses I know that he absolutely loves his mommy. I’ve never had a better hug or kiss!
4. He thinks I’m funny…It doesn’t matter if I’m singing the ABC song or Jesus Loves Me. If I’m tickling him or chasing him around the house, he’s always laughing. Sometimes if I just look at him sideways, he laughs.
5. He loves to pray…At the end of the day, just before we put Gavin to bed, we pray with him. We always pray for his health and salvation. We pray for God to bless him and to help us know how to parent him. Gavin puts his hands together, bows his head, and at the end he says, “memen.” That’s his version of Amen. I’m sure God knows what he is saying.
Being a mother is such a wonderful blessing. I pray I don’t ever take it for granted. What are some of the ways your kids make you smile?
Have a blessed day!