He Pooped — Kid’s a Genius

Yup. I’m that mom who’s going to tell the whole world about her child’s potty behavior. If you find fault, please get over it. It’s not like I’m going to get graphic or show pictures (um…which I DO have…I’m clearly a first-time parent ;-)). ANYhoo, welcome!
Hadman is just over 18 months old. If my very shoddy math is correct, that’s a year and a half. Firstly, I can’t believe the time has gone so quickly from his first birthday to his “half-year” mark, but I guess time in general does whatever it wants when children come along. This is my excuse for pinning 2nd birthday themes, and I’m stickin’ to it.

Over two weeks ago, while at his grandparents’ house (and Mommy and Daddy were enjoying a wicked meal at The Tailor and the Cook), he let Grandma know that he wanted to go potty. Mind you, he’s verbal, but not
that verbal — he has cues and he knows how to use ‘em. (Grabbing a pillow and a dipe, which means he wants his diaper changed/potty’s happening; pointing at the potty. Nothing too vulgar…yet.) He proceeded to go both “1 and 2.” Whoa.

I wasn’t totally shocked, although the fact that he “did” both was astonishing. Santa had brought him a super sleek, super comfortable potty (yup, Santa went with the deluxe “has a higher back and even spots for him to rest his arms on” model; he looks like an old man leaning back, I swear). We only got one since we weren’t sure if we’d need one both upstairs and down (the bathroom is upstairs, but we’re keeping it in the kitchen since we spend most of our non-sleeping time downstairs, and let’s just say that the flooring’s not carpeted).
“How ya like the chassis on that one, guy?

From the moment he saw it, he decided to lug this kinda clunky “chair” around and simply sit in it. We didn’t see any issue with him using it this way since I wasn’t sure when we’d officially start the potty-training process. Well, I’m guessing that he’d noticed his cousin using her potty, because he started showing cues that he was ready. He would sit on it and make noises and look like he was “pushing”. Eventually, he would just come and point to it, so we’d ask if he’d like to use it and he’d immediately say “uh-huh!!” (I wish you could hear it; it’s a very high-toned, adorable sound that occasionally borders on “of course, why didn’t you know I wanted to do that this very moment?” annoyed.) So, he went a little. Then, the next day, he went a little more. It’s been sporadic since then, but he’s gone a TON more at his grandma’s house (she’s his daily sitter, too).

Okay, so maybe this is getting a little graphic. Sorry!

As I see it, he’s kind of potty-training himself at this point. If he wants to, great (and we celebrate with a potty dance and high-fives and lots of praise), but if he wants to use his diaper, no big.

We didn’t push him into it. He showed us he was ready and quite interested. I’m going to get some poster paper and make a “chart” (just a half-sheet of poster paper that says something like “Hadley’s Chart” or something inconspicuous…y’know, for when we have the Fancypants family over and don’t want them to know we’re keeping track of his poops and tinkles) where we can place stickers every time he goes. It’s basic, but I don’t want to do a calendar (I may start jotting down on the family calendar the number of each that he does to keep track, though) to make him feel like he HAS to do it EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Now, as far as M&Ms or anything like that…well. Hmm. How do I say this? I don’t want to offend anyone, since I’m pretty sure I might have had a “treat” for going potty (although when I was fully trained, it was a let-down not to get something anymore…since pottying is pretty much a toddler’s only job, aside from not biting — which I’m told I failed at), but we’re not keen on using food (especially the dye-laden kind) to reward behavior. I might consider using raisins or his organic graham cracker bunnies if he falls off the wagon (er, potty) and starts needing additional encouragement, but for now I’m hoping to stick with the positive praise and stickers that he can put on himself (stickers are his thing…actually, they’re almost every toddler’s thing).

I MEAN NO OFFENSE TO THOSE WHO CHOOSE THIS METHOD!!! I’m also not judging you. Just don’t judge me for using something as boring, er, wonderful as stickers. Every parent’s different; there’s no right or wrong way here!

Anyhoo, all that being said, I fully expect him to regress. I’m not hoping for it, of course, but I find that it’s easier to be flexible and prepared in situations (especially such unknowns as kids) if you ready yourself for possible failure. Some might call it pessimistic, but I don’t intend to be. (I’d say I’m a realistic optimist, personally.) Besides, I’ve known other kids to hit a setback and end up needing a dipe here or there (or, heck, who need to hit the “reset” button on potty training altogether), anyway. Since he’s so ahead-of-the-game on this, I don’t want to make him feel horribly if he does have a setback.

Oh, and is it weird that just about the time he started getting interested in potty-training, he started getting way pickier about food? He used to eat literally everything and anything put before him (“our little eater”); now, his favorites (like peas and corn) are left on the plate. At least he still likes things like carrots (for now), but it throws your mind and heart for a loop when you’re so used to his habits. I guess like I said before, I should prepare myself for all sorts of disappointments. 🙂

If you have a little one, when were they potty-trained? Or are you planning to start trying at a certain age? Do you have a method you tried/will try? Do share! And, remember — this is a no-judgment zone!

Side note: Given how “advanced” (early) he is on this thing, I totally expect any future kids to be wicked late and teach me a whole new lesson. Hmm. Okay, maybe I am a pessimist. Sometimes.

The Time Has Come

What a dramatic title. Probably overly so, but this is one of the biggest topics I’ve had to get a hold on since we even got pregnant in the first place. Yeah, THAT big.

We’ve been putting off using cloth diapers for a bit of awhile for a couple of reasons.

#1. We wanted to get the hang of H.A.’s feedings (yeah, sometimes I just feel like calling him “H.A.” as if he’ll one day be a fancy schmancy author or professor who goes by his initials. Plus, I gave them to him, so I can call him what I want. Fartypants McGee. Poopsalot Poutyface.)

#2. The confusion of what dipes to choose has been a tiiiiiny bit overwhelming.

#3. (singing) Time, time, tiiiiiiime. Time-time tiiiiiime. Time.

Yeah, those’re about it. We recently discovered the VERY encouraging option of purchasing a $10, 2-week trial at a local diaper store but thought we’d put it off until we have lots of time with Hads, ourselves. It wouldn’t be fair to make his caregiver do all the testing, especially since she’s got a pretty active 1-year-old on her hands, too.

Then we heard about the whole Japanese plant explosion that may cause a shortage of disposable diapers (read: jump in price)…and upon reading about the lack of chemical that will be causing the shortage, it was hard for our brains not to jump straight to “Mmmmmaaaaybe we need to switch over sooner rather than later.” I guess it was easy to force ourselves into a world of conveniently ignorant bliss, but to think of the chemicals we’re subjecting his “lil’ bidness” to…shiver.

In regards to the above challenges…#1 – we’ve pretty much figured it out, with exception to his uncomfortable gas situation. #2 – the trial helps here (and just jumping in with the ones I’ve purchased…although I’m up in the air as to whether I should just wash ’em all since the first time is an undertaking or just do a couple so that I can resell ’em if they don’t work out). #3 – while things are still hectic (or, shall we say, difficult to schedule?), once we get the hang of it I foresee it taking as much time as the disposables…maybe a tad more laundry time.

Up until this point, we’ve tried several kinds and found a favorite. While I’d like to say we’ve been Seventh Generation-ing it up, we haven’t. Pampers Swaddlers (not the other kind…and, strangely, it does make a difference) has been our go-to. It’s what FEELS the most like cloth. The other brands feel like, well, paper. I’d LIKE to make the switch to SG for those as-needed times (they weren’t HORRIBLE…just not what you’d like to put on your newborn’s sensitive bits), so we’ll see how that goes. A little at a time.

So, we may be finally picking up that trial package soon to get an idea of exactly what kind(s) we want to invest in — most likely to be tried over the following couple of weekends and overnight as not to overwhelm the sitter. And, when the moment strikes (ie during my next sudden burst of energy; that’s the only way I get anything done lately), I’ll be laundering the dozen organic bumGenius dipes that I bought pre-Hadley that have been sitting, in their packages, in a corner of the nursery. I’m nervous yet excited to get them on his bum and see if/how they work for us.

And, of course, I’ll be stopping back with my *honest* opinion of all the goings-on. Oh, and I suppose a “final” (is it ever really finished? And is there ever NOT an incoming bag of outfits messin’ the place up again?) nursery tour is in order. Especially now that he’s in the crib and we’re able to call it HIS space. 🙂 Now, we just have to determine where to hang a few final pieces of art…the hardest part.

*BTW, totally off-topic. Whatchya think of this font vs. my usual? Snazzy? Better or worse?*

Diaper Debate

I’ve been researching diapers for months. Months ‘n months ‘n months. Seriously, long before I found out that we’re pregnant. Strangely enough, I got away from my obsessive searching after I got the news, so it feels like I’m re-starting the search all over again. I had found so many incredible resources online that I feel like I’m sifting through big piles of…ahem, diapers.

Why all the diaper research, Meg? What question do you need to find out? Where to buy them? What brand is the cheapest?

Nope. I feel like I’m about to “put my foot in it”, but I suppose part of being a parent is having your decisions questioned, and eyebrows raised. Go right ahead- this is a decision that my husband and I are making, and if it doesn’t work out for us, we’re willing to admit our mistakes. I figure this whole experience is one big lesson after another. Nobody’s an expert…except maybe Michelle Duggar, and even she gets raised eyebrows from time to time.

Anyhoo, the big “what, are you nuts?” revelation is the fact that we’d like to try cloth diapering. There are plenty of reasons, in our minds, to take this route:

Long-term cost. While the initial investment is just that – a major investment – lots of sources have indicated that the diapers that we’re considering will pay for themselves in comparison to disposables. From diaperingdecisions.com, it’s stated that over the course of 3 years, one will spend $2694.54 for 7,349 disposable, single use diapers – at a moderate estimate (nevermind if your kid has lots of extra blowouts and accidents). Depending on our budget (of course I’m researching every available option of purchase, and which diapers get the best reviews/last the longest), we’ll be spending many hundreds fewer than $1000 for diapers that will grow with our baby until they’re no longer needed. Also, when it comes to laundering, “Consumer Report estimates that the most inefficient washer and dryer system costs approximately $0.78 per load to launder whereas more efficient models will cost approximately $0.44 per load to launder. So wash your own, twice a week for between 44-78 cents including water, hydro and detergent or spend $16.94 to $22.05 for single use disposable diapers.” Woot. Besides, if I think about it enough, I know I’ll be doing tons of baby clothes (which are tiny), so we can wash them together. Kind of how we just throw our cloth napkins in with our usual white loads (which we’re still going strong with, thankyouverymuch).

Ecological impact. Lots of folks argue that disposables aren’t THAT ecologically bad when compared to the energy used when cleaning cloth diapers. Even with the dinosaur washer and dryer that we run, it’s greener. Further information from diaperingdecisions.com: “Consider the numbers: 36 cloth diapers, that are used over and over; most likely for more than one child, or on average 7,349 single use diapers per child. One time use throw away diapers are the single largest non recyclable component of household garbage, creating 1 ton of garbage per year per child.” The process of rinsing and flushing out diapers, then washing once or twice a week utilize sewage that will be treated and released back into the environment properly. Disposables…eh, well, I think they’re the devil as far as their biodegradability.

Comfort. After reading lots of personal blogs (none of which were perked by any companies for their reviews), a common thread is the fact that a lot of children don’t have diaper rash when parents use cloth diapers. Sure, every butt’s different (and how!), but between the good rash-free odds and the fact that no plastic-y, paper-y feelings will be on baby’s bum, I’m a happy mommy. I even heard that in 1970 (back when cloth was pretty much king) less than 10% of kids experienced diaper rash; today, it’s closer to 80-90%.

Longevity. We’re hoping to have a brood (ie more than one baby). Do you think those future babies will be able to wear their big brother or sister’s disposable diapers? Um, ew. Nope. But, if I learn how to properly care for these (plus the fact that I’m looking into the snap options rather than velcro, which tends to get weak over time), we may only have to purchase the occasional newbie. If that. 🙂

“If it was good enough for my mother…” My mom was pretty basic and old school – she raised 4 kids, all on cloth diapers. (Have I mentioned I love her for her simplicity in raising us??) She also worked as a hairdresser (using our front porch, of all places), so it’s not like she had all day to do laundry. PLUS, those were the days of safety pins and the old flat diapers as the only option, until disposable diapers came along – far too expensive for our family. While technology has changed (you can get 4-in-1’s, organics, pockets…holy crap, everything), I still love the idea behind ’em.

Arguments against? Well, the financials aren’t quite a drop in the bucket initially (more like the whole bucket), and time is a hard thing to control these days. Add that to the fact that we’d like to *try* to breast feed, and there’s a good chance I may never leave the house again. Hee hee, just kidding. We’ll make it work.

I’m still deciding between some brands and would prefer to just buy one, especially if I see iffy reviews here and there, so I’m sure I’ll let you know a) what we end up deciding and b) in the long-term, how things go. Lots of cloth diapering mamas on the interwebs share their disaster stories as well as their success stories, and I’m all about honesty.

In the interest of full disclosure, we’re talking about using some more eco-friendly newborn disposable diapers for the first week or two (especially if breast feeding works out), and will probably use the occasional disposable when traveling. Depending on our babysitting situation, we’d like to be able to continue with the cloth diapering if possible. 🙂

The Importance of Cloth

Dave and I had a bit of a shopping spree last weekend. From making a huge Hannaford haul to stocking up at the Christmas Tree Shoppe, we dropped some pretty serious change (for us). The best purchase of the day? We had plenty to contend, but the one that got us the most excited was (drumroll, please) …napkins!!!

You can wake up now. We’ve been using disposable napkins as long as we’ve, well, been alive. For the past oh-who-knows-how-long we’ve purchased Seventh Generation’s brand because at least we knew that some trees had been saved in their making, being mostly (or 100%?) recycled materials. But it still seemed wasteful. The same went for paper towels (which, incidentally, are also SG brand in our household).

So, when we recently ran out of both, we were a) too busy and b) too lazy to purchase anymore for several days. It really made me notice how reliant I had become upon just grabbing a couple of paper towels to wipe up cat spills (water – they use it as a control weapon, spilling each other’s as a big ol’ neener-neener) and TWO, count ’em, TWO napkins just for dinner (that’s just for me, not including Dave’s). Granted, I used to reuse napkins when they didn’t get used much, but it added up. It was enlightening to notice that it had simply become a habit, hopefully slightly easier to break than the cable habit (and here‘s an update).

When I mentioned the idea of switching to cloth napkins for everyday use (we’ve still got a small package of disposables in the cabinet for guests – namely our families who will probably find us to be nuts for our quirkiness), I was pleasantly surprised at how willing and happy Dave was to comply. Sweet! So, while in the Syracuse area, we searched a couple of stores before Target finally had what we wanted – a dozen soft, plain white napkins for $9.99. Not on sale, not as cheap as I’d have liked, but just THINK of not only how much we’ll save in paper napkin costs, but the cost to the environment. I’m truly a believer in “every little bit helps”, although it’s sometimes easy to get dismayed.

Needless to say, I won’t be washing napkins (and towels/dish rags, which are taking the paper towels’ place – again, a couple rolls on hand for those messy cat emergencies) everyday. That would defeat the environmentally-friendly aspect of the switch, especially with no energy efficient washer/dryer living in our basement quite yet. We will be re-using for a few days. I’m excited to see how it goes.

The end of this thought brings me to the idea of cloth, in general. It’s been around for so many thousands of years, and it’s the modern society in which we live is finally reminding folks that it can help them to live a simple, uncomplicated lifestyle without the harmful impact of the easy, wasteful technologies of the last 100 years. Clearly it’s always been important (hello? We’re not nudists. Well, most of us aren’t), but when I see the commercials for the new disposable “hand towels” with their own dispenser, I start to get physically ill. I’m all for sanitation, but there’s an easier way. Ask the Quakers.

With this in mind, I’ll make public the plan that Dave and I have discussed to cloth diaper any future Dellecese bambinos (or baibins/wee ones, for the Irish side). I’m not sure about Dave, but I know that my three siblings and I were all cloth diapered – Pampers were su-spensive back then! I think that the idea of convenience has somehow married itself to need, becoming the new American entitlement – no matter what someone can afford, they deserve to have whatever they want. Sure, Pampers (sorry, Mom only calls them Pampers, like Kleenex or Xerox) would have been a hell of a lot easier on my mother, especially with a sick husband and three other kids of varying ages to care for, but a) she was used to cloth diapering and b) they only used what they could afford. For not being that long ago, I’m shocked that Americans have so quickly forgotten such ideals.

Luckily, these days, cloth diapers have come a long way. There are several variations on them, from the traditional get-the-pins-out ones that we were raised with to all-in-one diapers that resemble disposables, there’s a lot of research to be done – and I’m doing it. Currently, we’re thinking of using the all-in-ones, which give the ease of disposables with the eco-friendliness and longevity/durability of cloth. I’ve also heard that diaper rashes are greatly diminished (if not non-existent altogether) using them.

However, these are generally-speaking NOT your mother’s diapers, cost-wise. While they pay for themselves in the first 6-12 months (and even moreso in the years to come, if other babies are in the cards – mind you, we’re not even close to pregnant right now), the initial cost is damn near staggering. Aaaaand this is why we lurve eBay. 🙂 Is it wrong to bid on items before one’s even “with child?” 😉 Honestly, I figure we’ll start bidding WHEN that day comes, but it’s nice to see that there are used (and sometimes never-even-used, especially when a mommy gets them for a shower) options out there at reduced costs. *whew* ‘Cuz my superstitious Irish side knows that the second I ordered anything, my ovaries would shrivel up for good. Graphic, but true. It’s a powerful thing.

On THAT weird, TMI moment, I’ll bid adieu, but will be sure to give an update on something you actually may WANT to know about; the napkin use.