Friday, June 15, 2012

The Great Experiment: Cloth Diapers for A's A

If you thought that me still nursing at 12 months was unreal, then this is really going to knock your socks off. Or your Pampers, depending on who you are...

I'm trying cloth diapers.

Now, before you get all hot and bothered, start patting me on the back for being such an amazing mom, and think I'm better than I really am, I have to admit that I have not totally committed to this. Really, this adventure is still in the experimental phase. It could go either way. Only time will tell. But here's the thought process (and the math)...

Disposable diapers (we've been using Target brand during the day, Pampers Sensitive at night) are wonderful for many reasons. They are super absorbent and, if you know your kid and change them on time, almost never every leak. They are also thin and fit comfortably under most of Audrey's clothes - even the 6-month-sized pants she is now sporting as capris. You can buy them just about anywhere. They come in easy-to-choose sizes and the velcro-ish tabs make them adjustable. They are probably the one invention that single-handedly created the stay-at-home dad phenomenon. And that made it possible for the Teen Mom moms to survive.

BUT. They are not all rainbows and unicorns. They are horrible for the environment. They do not biodegrade. At all. Ever. Okay, maybe in 500 years they will be gone. But that's a long time for my baby's poop to be hanging out in a landfill. They are also filled with chemicals (hence the super absorbency) and give lots of kids diaper rashes. Plus, they are pricey. Even if you buy the biggest boxes possible and even if you use Target brand most of the time, you will probably spend close to $2 a day on diapers, if not more (especially when they are really little and poop all the time). $60 a month. $720 a year. Yikes. We don't spend that much on her food (because remember, I'm a pureeing genius.) And, the real kicker, a lot of disposables are horrendously ugly. I do not care for Sesame Street or Dora characters on my child's undergarments. (That's what sold me on the Target brand and the sensitives - they have unoffensive designs...) My daughter can only wear cute diapers. Really.
Our stash of cash.
So anyways, taking all of these pros and cons of disposables into consideration, especially my loathing for Whinnie the Pooh on Audrey's poo pants and all that cash spending a millennium in a landfill, I got to thinking. And I thought to myself - "I'm just going to give this a try. I will spend no more than $100 on some of the essentials for cloth diapering and see if I can do it. Even if I only do it on the weekends (our daycare will cloth diaper, but it's a LOT of extra work for us and them), I could make that $100 back. And, if we have more children, I can re-use the same cloth stuff and start making cash money for my family. And, besides, I can definitely afford to be a little more earth-friendly. I'm just going to give it a try."
And the I did some research. And I almost gave up before I got started. If disposables made it possible for dads to stay home and care for kids, cloth will send them (or at least Audrey's) back to the office asap... There are a bunch of options when it comes to cloth and it has its own lingo. I still don't have it all down. And if I ever start talking about stripping in my laundry room, it's NOT what you think. Making it even more difficult is that every cloth diaperer has their own opinion on which is best and there is no clear winner. I just wanted one that was easy. And cute. And that I could just go buy at one of the big box baby stores. I'd lose my nerve if I had to wait around on Amazon or eBay (the used cloth diaper market is raging on second-hand sites).

So, I put down the internet and just went to the baby stores to see what my options were. The two that I could find were gDiapers (Babies R Us) and Bum Genius (Buy Buy Baby). The difference between them is huge. With gDiapers, there is a cloth outer part and then an inner liner and padding that snap into the outer part. You can reuse the outer part all day long and just change the inner liner and pads. All the parts can be washed and dried with your normal laundry (though I keep them seperate and treat them gently). gDiapers makes cloth pads, disposable pads, and papery liners that can help to dispose of any poop. Bum Genius is all one piece and from what I can tell, you slide the cloth pad into a pocket on the inside. Since the pocket on the inside gets wet or poopy, the entire diaper needs to be changed each time. Based on this assessment, I thought I would try gDiapers. I didn't want to have to buy 5 or 8 of these things and do laundry on Saturday night in order for the weekend-cloth-diapering experiment to work.

So far, I like them. I'm still getting used to putting them on properly and preventing leaks, but they do what they are meant to do. I've saved my family maybe $8. Not bad. And by the end of the weekend, I'll have just about paid for one of the diapers. And hopefully gotten rid of Audrey's latest rash. Not sure where this is going to end, but it's started with good intentions. And I'm not giving up just yet. Every time I use a cloth diaper, I imagine the Pooh poop disposable that is NOT going to spend eternity in a landfill. And the 32 cents I just saved.
No Dora for this exlpora,

Monday, June 11, 2012

Full-Time Pluto, Planet or Not

There are a hundred genres of blogs. There are the scholarly ones where folks debate things like the planethood of Pluto. There are the do-it-yourself ones where people with lots of time and creativity show you how to do stuff. There are those published by corporationslaw firms, and not-profit organizations that promote goods, services, and causes. And then...

There are the mommy blogs. Milions and millions of mommy blogs. Of those, I read about three regularly - checking for updates daily from my desk while wolfing down my lean cuisine lunch. And there are a handful of others that I catch up on from time to time (when I have time). These blogs are as different as the moms who write them. There's the crazy-funny-hippie mom blog, the local-fighting-depression-great-photographer mom blog, and the young-Christian-trite-humor mom blog. The one thing that all of these mom blogs have in common (other than being written by moms) is that the moms are stay-at-homers. In fact, I am having a hard time thinking of one single mom blog that I've ever read that is written by a mom who works outside of the home.

I mean, I know that being a stay-at-home-mom is work. I know that a mom's job is never done. I know that stay-at-homers are, like a lot of moms with careers outside the home, underpaid and overworked. I totally cringed when I heard that Democrat make her tasteless comment about Mitt Romney's wife "never working a day in her life." I was glad that our President (or at least his staff and/or our First Lady) were smart enough to distance his camp from that woman. And I applauded Wendy Goffe, a busy lawyer and mom, for her article that attempted to dispel some of the myths surrounding stay-at-home moms.

But, I'm still jealous and judgey sometimes about stay-at-home moms. I'm not saying that I necessarily want to be one, or that I'd even have the patience or energy to if given the chance. But, on difficult days preceded by super early mornings and middle-of-the-night crying fests, and on days when Audrey is sick and can't go to school, I dream about being a stay-at-homer. When I am searching for pressed dress pants and ironically only finding clean sweats and sports bras, I wish I were preparing to settle in for a long morning of reading Brown Bear Brown Bear on the floor with Audrey rather than case law at my computer in my horribly uncomfortable office chair (in rumpled pants).

But, whatever. My life is what it is right now. A crazy constellation of obligations and opportunities. I know I'm missing stuff that Audrey does and learns. I know that I'm putting a lot of my time and energy into my work instead of my family. That some days I'm out of orbit. But I, like ALL moms - working or not - love and think about my baby all day every day. And, whether I work outside the home or not, I'm a full time mom. There is nothing "part-time" about how much I do for her, think about her, and love her.

And I think that most of us moms just do the best we can with what we have. The key is to not take it for granted. To not wish away the buried blessings. To not live so in the moment that we can't see the big picture. The forest for the trees. The universe for its moving parts.

All easier said than done. But, I'm up for giving it a go. I think it will make me happier if I can learn to just be thankful for what I have rather than wishful for what I don't. Want to help me? Two things you can do: (1) send me links to working mom blogs you like so I can learn how those moms wean their babies and manage cloth diapering and daycare and (2) up my numbers and formally "follow" my blog. Both may help me to pursue my Pluto, planet or not.

Thank you,

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Picking Pinterest Apart: Tie-Dyeing Onesies

Back when I had time (for like one day) to Pinterest, I pinned a pin about using RIT dye to color onesies. [Side note: the blog where this project originated makes me want to puke/quit my job and just do-it-myself, all day every damn day.] It sounded like a fun and semi-easy, semi-cheap way to recycle some dingy onesies and add some new color to the babe's wardrobe...

Enter: Audrey's impending 1st birthday.
Enter: her school teachers wanting to throw a princess party.
Enter: me needing something bigger and badder than a princess party.
Enter: the most glorious thing I've done in the creative category in perhaps years...

And you have tie-dyed onesies for Audrey's Flower Power Groovy Girl-themed first birthday party. Sweet. Really. They were sweet. But before you get all excited and start pinning this post away on your Pinterest board titled "Sweet Stuff"... read me out. I'll pick myself apart so that you don't have to.

First and foremost. This was not cheap. I decided I could not in good conscience give old dingy onesies to all of Audrey's friends as party favors. I also looked at the kids in her class (3 boys and 5 girls, Audrey is the youngest and smallest) and decided that they wouldn't fit in her old onesies anyways. So, I bought several packs of new, short-sleeved onesies. I prefer Carter's onesies over all others. And they go for about $15 for a 4 pack. I probably spent a total of $50 or so on onesies. The good news? Audrey now has a weeks' worth of tie-dyed onesies.

I also spent $12 on RIT dye but quickly learned that it is not ideal for tie-dying, so spent another $30 on Tulip kits from Wal-Mart. Do yourself a favor, start with the Tulip kits. The squirt bottles make getting a cool pattern MUCH easier and the die sets better for some reason. One kit of 3 bottles would probably cover about 10 very saturated onesies.

Second. This was not quick or easy. I had to do two batches because the RIT batch didn't turn out as vibrant as I wanted. I spent at least an hour rinsing dye from the second batch and another two hours stressing over whether the dyed onesies were going to ruin my washing machine (they didn't). And, don't even talk to me about the set-up-clean-up stress. I did just about everything in the basement to avoid any mishaps on surfaces of my house that I actually care about and did at least 40 trips up and down the stairs with all the supplies.

But. Third. It was fun. And the finished product was pretty cute.

Here are some photos. And a few pointers.

Conduct project in a place that you don't care about. You will drip.

Wear gloves. That suff stains skin big time.

Wrap the dyed onesies in saran wrap. Leave them for much, much longer than the RIT or Tulip instructions tell you to and don't let them dry out.

Viola! I said, out loud, to myself "SWEET!" when I saw this one come out. Unfortunately, this was phase 1 with the RIT and it didn't last through the wash.

Rinse. Rinse. Rinse. Rinse really well. I used warm water and it worked just fine. I later cleaned the sink with a rough sponge and it is as clean as ever now. The shirts on the right are spiral and the ones on the left, bulls-eye.

I did several types of patterns, but prefer the spiral. To prep the onesie, just lay it out flat, pinch a piece from the center and twist until you have a little biscuit. Use three rubberbands to divide it into sixths. Alternate which section you apply dye to. I learned this from Tulip.

This is my favorite. The Tulip kit comes with three colors in each. I like the two-colored shirts the best though.

Here's the set! I also re-dyed some of the RIT ones with Tulip dye. Some of them came out pretty well, but I don't have any pictures.

Then I put them in plastic party bags, wrote washing instructions on little tags, and delivered them to the kids' mailboxes at school! Big hit!

And Audrey was the grooviest 1 year old you've ever seen.

Now, pin-away, if you must :)


Monday, June 4, 2012

WXY and Zzzzz

OVER A YEAR AGO, when Audrey was born, I started a series of alphabet posts that I thought would help to inspire my writing as I tried to capture the experience of being a new mom. I really thought I'd get through the 26 posts in no time flat. But here I am OVER A YEAR LATER, with four letters to go. I left off somewhere around our family vacation to Aruba... and really since then (or maybe even before that), my blogging has sucked. And that depresses me. So here I am, time to finish what I started and move on...

W.  Wild child. Audrey is a wild child. She's got unlimited energy, no time for naps, and is on the go go go. All the time. She can also be immensely sweet. Like when she kisses me on the lips and makes a "mmmmuah" noise or when she points to her tummy and tries to say "bellybutton".  But most of the time she's a wild child. Like today, she threw a legit temper tantrum. For no apparent reason. I mean, I know what she wanted (to nurse... I know what you're thinking: "Kate, she's over a year old." "Are you going to be like that lady on Time magazine?" "If you are, I'm not going to be your friend." I understand your perspective), but there was no reason for her to flail about and bury her head in my thigh as though sometime really horrible had just happened. I was fully planning to give her what she wanted (more on this whole still-nursing-thing another time) just not in response to her screaming. So I walked away. I walked away from my wild child, left her with her dada, and half cried half laughed. She stopped crying a few minutes later (I think she was distracted by Toby puking on the floor) and I walked back into the room and offered my wild child what she wanted. She nestled into me. I nestled into the couch. And for 20 minutes, she stared into my eyes, twirled her hair, hummed to herself and was the most unwild child  I could ever hope for.

X. and O. and X and O. Many millions of these to my husband to celebrate our 4 years of marriage. Hard to even believe all that has happened in the last 4 years. No, actually, hard to remember.

"Y is it hard to remember, Kate?" you ask? "Well, friends, it's because I'm so goddamn

Zzzzzzzzz. "

Cop-out. So what. Leave me alone. I'm going to bed. I have to wake up at 6 am to nurse my 1 year old.