cloth diapering? yup.

i went for a coffee date with my friend Melissa a few days ago (Hi Melissa!) (ooooh and if you’d like to check out her awesome blog, do so here) … we met through a mutual friend many years ago but haven’t really ever had a one-on-one conversation in person (not that we wouldn’t), it’s just the way things happened. well, this lovely lady is expecting her first little one in just 8 short weeks (or less!) and after many a facebook message regarding cloth diapering (and a few other fun mom-ish things) we decided we’d get together to make our conversing a little more personal.

we chatted for just under 3 hours (and likely could’ve rambled on more) but i wanted to get home to see my little guy before bedtime (yes, i still want that cuddle time; i know it won’t last forever so i gotta milk it while i can!). i must say, i had a great time visiting! it was nice to just sit and chat with a fellow mom (to-be) about all the things i found helpful, useful and my experiences thus far in this thing called parenthood. i firmly believe that the more you know going into a situation, the better you’ll feel, the more confidence you’ll have, and ultimately, the decisions you make will be based on your peers’ experiences rather than just facts found on the internet or in books.

let’s face it, we all love talking about our little ones! i love being able to offer advice and suggestions on things that i know worked (or didn’t) for our little family. especially when it comes to cloth diapering. a topic of conversation that can become heated  if not approached with an honest and open mind.

after the first few weeks of pregnancy sunk in (back in 2012), i started to think more and more about cloth diapering and how i eagerly wanted to try it. i had negative feedback and comments from friends, family and strangers alike. ewwwww, really? you wanna put poop in your washing machine? you’re actually going to try that? good luck! you’ll have so much laundry. disposables are easier. won’t it be expensive? i’ve heard it doesn’t work. once they start eating solids you’ll change your mind … the list goes on! despite all this wonderful feedback, i pushed forward. i truly believed that cloth diapering was the best decision for our soon-to-be bub, our wallet and the landfills. our little guy is 16 months old and still wears the same cloth diapers we purchased before he was born.

was it worth it? yes!!!in the beginning it cost between $300-$400 to build up our stash: shells, liners, wetbags, diaper pail, etc. but when you think about the cost of disposables and how many diapers you go through in a week’s time (especially when they’re really little and you’re changing them sometimes every hour and a half) it’s truly money-saving. consider this: for conversation’s sake, let’s say your 3 month old goes through 8 diapers a day; multiply that by 7 days a week and you get 56 diapers, and that’s your MINIMUM. that doesn’t take into account poop blowouts (through the diaper, pants, jammies, what-have-you). so let’s up the number to 10 a day; now you’re at 70 per week. the average package of diapers is anywhere between $20-$35 and usually has 30-40 in a pack (unless you buy in bulk, but still) … so you’ll need probably 2 of those a week. that works out to an average $40 minimum per week. multiply that by 4 weeks in a month; in 3 months you’ll spend around $480 in diapers alone. one article i found said that the average family spends $1500/year on diapers. seems to be close to my calculations … now think back to how i said we spent between $300-$400 on our cloth diapers; doesn’t sound so bad now does it? and let’s be honest, the amount of laundry you do with a baby is ridiculous anyway. bodily fluids will find their way onto anything and everything you (and they) wear. we do laundry usually every 3 days, which i honestly think is pretty good! we obviously have times where we need to do a bit more washing (when accidents and explosions happen), but overall, twice a week is ok by me. and since our little guy started eating solids we added Bummi’s disposable, flushable and biodegradable liners to our diaper routine and things are even better! no more scrubbing poop off of the cloth, just throw that little mesh liner into the toilet and by by poop! yay! (LOL) … plus, the cloth diapers that we chose “grow” with our little guy – from 8lbs up to 30lbs – so he should get to potty training while still using them (which hopefully will be sooner than later!)

another benefit to cloth diapering is less rashes and irritation – after speaking with fellow mamas, i soon discovered that our little guy had many less diaper rashes than the average baby/toddler (he still has them but they’re few and far between). so of course, i went on the googles and did some snooping around (yes, on the googles). what i found was in fact true; babes who are in cloth statistically have less irritation. the biggest reason? no harsh chemicals. if that’s not a good enough reason to cloth diaper i don’t know what is! … now, i will be honest, we use disposables every now and then. what?! yes, we do. i honestly do not enjoy bringing poop home in a bag (especially that of my toddler) so if we’re on an outing, at the park, the mall, away for the weekend at a hotel, etc, we use disposables. we chose to go with PC (President’s Choice) GREEN diapers. not only are they eco-friendly, they’re fragrance-free and super absorbent! AND they’re easy on the wallet compared to most eco-diapers we’ve found … we tried a few different brands before settling on the PC ones. every other diaper we tried gave our poor little guy a rash or irritated his skin, or just plain stunk. hello, big diaper companies? maybe try something different? just an idea.

if you’re considering cloth diapering, don’t be afraid. it’s an investment well worth the time (money) and effort … as much as i love using cloth diapers, i really am looking forward to no diapers at all. well, for a few years anyway; until we decide if we’re adding to our little family or not 🙂

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a little sickness here, a little sickness there

our little man has had a rough go this past week … last Monday he woke us up around just before 1am. i went into his room to console him and try to get him back to sleep but upon entering his room i saw that he was sitting up at the end of his crib looking rather sad and out of sorts. when i leaned in to help him lay back down i noticed he was warm, no, hot. really hot. and sweaty! i picked him up and my hubby came in to help change him out of his sweaty, wet jammies and a soaking wet diaper. he had a raging fever but our oh-so-helpful ear thermometer was reading that he had a normal temperature. everything in me said he didn’t. i know he had one. we gave him some tylenol to try to make him a little more comfortable and i sat down in his rocking chair to try to get him back to sleep. not even 5 minutes passed and i felt his little body heave and he got sick, all down my arm and onto the chair! i think it surprised both of us. hubby came in to help clean it up while i took the little guy into the bathroom to sit on the edge of the tub (just in case). thankfully we were in there because with his head back on my shoulder he was sick again. poor little dude. i’m sure he didn’t understand what was going on as this was the first time he ever really threw up (not counting little spit ups when he smaller and nursing). as i attempted to get him out of his sleepsack and second pair of wet jammies, he kept reaching and clinging to me. i tried to reassure him that everything was ok as i was stripping him down again. we gave him some advil this time (as i’m sure most of the tylenol came out but we didn’t want to pump him full of too much of one medicine) and tried sitting with him again. he passed out within 10 or so minutes and i sat with him for a while longer. i felt the tears welling up in my eyes as i held my little man and prayed for him to feel better soon. seeing him sick and confused tugs on my heartstrings. i decided to keep him home instead of going to toddler class on Tuesday morning as he awoke with a fever again (this time i used our other thermometer in his armpit) and he was out of sorts still. on Thursday morning he seemed to be back to his regular self but was starting to sneeze! by Friday he had a full blown, snot-out-your-nose-when-you-sneeze cold, accompanied by a dry cough. talk about not catching a break! thankfully the snot-face only lasted until early Sunday morning and he’s been on the mend since (whew!). he still has a dry cough every now and then but a little homeopathic cough syrup seems to be helping with that 🙂

dealing with a sick and sulky toddler is something that everyone should have to endure at some point in their life; just so that they know what it’s like to have a snot-faced little ball of cuteness clinging to them for 2 -3 days. you’re welcome.

frazzled, exhausted, and did i mention, tired?

it’s been a while since i’ve blogged, but i have some pretty good reasons (i think anyway). i’ve been keeping busy with a little freelance design work, wedding photobooks for photographer friends, and my son, who doesn’t want to sleep without my arms around him.

as i write this, my fingers, toes, and any other extremity that could possibly be crossed, are crossed, in hopes that my 15 month old son doesn’t awake from his slumber (as i watch him toss & turn on the video monitor). these past few months have been tiring for all of us. our awesome little sleeper has turned bedtime into something we’ve all come to dread (mostly). i used to look forward to the peaceful few hours that we had to ourselves, but now i start to worry in advance; how long will it take to get him to sleep? how long until he wakes up? will he wake up 2, 3, 6 times tonight? will he soak through everything and need a bed and bum change at the crack of stupid? will i fall back asleep? will my hubby have the mental and physical capacity to function properly at work without an adequate amount of zzz’s?

little man was always a great sleeper, right from the get go. yes, he was! i know people will say this about their child when it isn’t necessarily true, but he really was. around 6 weeks old he started to sleep in 6-7 hour bouts, wake to nurse and then fall back to sleep for 2-3 hours. it was pure bliss because i knew that when he finished nursing we could all get a little more shut eye. man, those were the days: stick a boob in the baby’s mouth, he was relaxed, full, content and wouldn’t you know it, sleepy. and then he started to grow, and change, and learn more and more each day. and he started to eat people food! not just his beloved breastmilk. around 8 months old (ish) he started waking at least once a night and wouldn’t go back to sleep without being rocked (insert very big thank you to my husband who has always taken his role as daddy very seriously and believes that i need breaks to keep my sanity! go hubby!). looking back, that wasn’t so bad. in fact, i’d take the once a night wakings if it meant that we could all get a little more sleep.

mid-march is when things started to go awry. the little guy went to sleep with his usual routine; jammies, snack and cartoons, then upstairs for teeth, bum change, sleep sack, stories and then cuddles in the rocking chair in his room until he fell into a peaceful slumber. and then he decided to wake up less than an hour later. we tried everything we could think of but no luck. he didn’t fall back asleep until the crack of stupid a.k.a. really super early in the morning, the time when usually you’re coming home from a fun night out of drinking and dancing, wait what? (see my post “sleep, what’s that again?”). basically things have been kinda off since then. the frustrating thing is he’s pretty good about going down for naps. we cuddle and rock in his room, he falls asleep and i lay him down, no complaints, no fuss, no crying. just sleep, usually for 1-3 hours.

over the past few weeks things escalated. he decided that he would not sleep at bedtime unless he was being held. this honestly came out of nowhere, or so it seemed. perhaps this was coming and we just didn’t realize it, i’m not sure. one Saturday the little guy decided to wake up every 2 hours and then stay awake for 1-2 hours. urgh. and at this point i have no liquid gold (a.k.a. breastmilk) to offer him, but boy, i wish i did. Sunday night was pretty much a repeat of Saturday. not fun.

my patience level was at 10% and quickly decreasing. i was ready to break. don’t get me wrong, i love spending all day with my son, but there comes a time, usually at the end of the day, that i need a little “mama” time and he was not co-operating.

i began reading books, articles and anything i could find in hopes that someone could give us a some guidance (and maybe teach me a little more patience) but the only things i kept finding were about letting my child cry it out (CIO). i am not a fan of this method. i have my reasons, which you may or may not agree with, to each their own. here are a few good articles to read 10 Alternatives to Crying It Out, Science Says: Excessive Crying Could Be Harmful, and ‘Cry it out’ isn’t more effective than ‘no cry’.

i finally found something helpful in The No Cry Sleep Solution book by Elizabeth Pantley. (buy it here). it was close to the end of the book (pages 207-213), for those of us parents, who are “at their wits end”, who are ready to snap and who really don’t want to use the CIO method. it didn’t solve our problems but shed a little light on the situation. i also found another great article or two online (and of course i can’t find them now to add links!) that talked about babies who were nursed and rocked at bedtime and a few different suggestions on how to get them to fall asleep on their own.

a lot of what i found was frustrating because they talked about creating a routine and sticking to it being one of the biggest things to establish. well, we have a routine. a damn good one if i do say so. and we’ve had a routine since little man was probably 4-6 months old (which we’ve changed as necessary as time goes by and his needs change). the articles & books that finally helped me to understand really what was going on basically explained that the reason our son may have decided he doesn’t want to be put down is that he only knows how to fall asleep by being held/nursed/cuddled etc. it made sense when i thought about it, and honestly, i don’t know why i didn’t think of it before! of course: 95% of his entire life he fell asleep in my arms (the other 5% belongs to his dad but it’s now closer to 70-30 as my hubby has been amazing with giving me “breaks” from mama duty). i started reading more about different ways to try to get my son to fall asleep on his own because this new “don’t you dare put me down” attitude was becoming mentally and physically exhausting for us.

we decided to try one method that suggested rocking him until he was drowsy but not quite out and then laying him down to fall asleep on his own in the crib. sitting beside his bed, letting him touch us, hug us, etc, whatever it took to make him feel comforted and know that mom & dad were still there for him and not leaving him when he felt he needed our “touch”, just not holding him. the first night took 3 hours to get him to bed. 3 HOURS. we put his glow worm beside him and the soothing sounds seemed to help lull him to sleep. and so we thought, ok! the glowworm might be the trick up our sleeve that we need to help little man fall asleep on his own! along came the next night … one hour till sleepy time! the third night, one again! when we first put him in the crib, he whined and cried but only for less than 5 minutes. as each night went by the crying and whining stopped! we thought we may have figured things out and then the 4th night came along: 2 hours to get him down. the same for the 5th and 6th, etc … he would start out very sleepy and relaxed in my arms, i’d lay him down and he’d immediately sit up and then stand up at the edge of the crib reaching for me. i ignored him and started the glow worm in hopes of distracting him. this worked, sort of. and then he’d play with the glow worm, then stand up. then play with Mr. Owl (his cute little owl/blankie toy). then lay down. and repeat.

i basically was fed up and starting reading again. reaching for something and then i thought, he’s so young. he just wants to be held. what on earth do i have to do that’s more important than cuddling with my son and making him feel relaxed, comfortable, safe and loved? i decided to forget everything i had read and try going back to a modified version of what i was doing before. i rocked my son until he fell asleep and when i laid him down in his crib he stayed asleep! i tried again the next night and he fussed when i transitioned him from my arms to his crib, so i started the glow worm and patted his back; he relaxed and passed out again. we’ve been going strong since (knock on wood).

my son needs me. he’s my baby. the most important thing in my life. he’s my world.  i’m his support, his lifeline, his comfort, his safety and most of all, his mama. this cuddle time will only last for so long and before i know it he won’t want to be rocked. he won’t want to have so many hugs and kisses. he won’t need me like he does now. i think we, as parents, need to stop wanting our kids to grow up so fast, because when they do, we’ll miss these days more than we realize. xo.

the mommy truth

no one ever talks about the ugly side of parenting. sure, we all love our kids. whether you have 1, 2, 3 or 7 (or however many you decided upon) you love your children, it’s a fact. BUT there are many, many, MANY times where we don’t like them, errrr, i mean, their behaviour. it’s true and yes, i said it. being a parent isn’t always easy. i know that my husband and i have many years of parenting ahead of us (being that our little guy is still pretty young) but no one can prepare you for the roller coaster of emotions that you will feel.

when they first arrive you are elated; overcome with joy, love, fear and pure bliss for the little person you have brought into this world. you can never imagine being angry, upset or frustrated with such a perfect little being. and then they start to grow. and move. and talk. and learn. all day, every day. i love my son, more than anything i ever thought i loved before. he’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. he is my greatest accomplishment, my little teacher and tester of my patience and he just turned one in February! … but i never knew what true frustration was until i became a mother. sure, friends do stupid things, partners and siblings can be annoying but nothing can make the screaming banshee come alive like being a mother with sleep deprivation. every little thing starts to annoy you. you get to the point where you are ready to scream (and just might have to) and then tear someone’s head off (which you probably shouldn’t do). another thing that causes this is being with your child 24/7. every parent needs a break. whether it’s running to the grocery store, going for a drive or hiding out at a hotel and not telling anyone where you are (wouldn’t that be nice?).

i read an article today on the Huffington Post about kids and bedtime, and although my son is still young, it really hit home (read it here). one particular paragraph spoke to me, and i quote:

“One of the myriad problems with this parenting gig is that they save the hardest part for last. BEDTIME. Bedtime should be in the morning — when we’re fresh and kind and sweet — and decent parenting still seems like a very real possibility. But no, the hardest parts — dinner and baths and bedtime — arrive at the end of the day, when we have nothing left. When the truth is, we are counting the minutes. Counting the moments until no one is the boss of us anymore. Until we can sink into that couch, book, Internet or glass of wine — whatever our victory lap includes.”

OMG, this is so true! i have often said, why can’t our son be full of attitude and frustration and incessant whining during the day? why does it have to be when i’m exhausted and at my wit’s end and ready to just have a little me time? especially when my husband is on afternoon shift and the whole afternoon, evening and bedtime routine is mom-only.

more parents (new and old) need to talk about the reality of being just that, a parent. the times when you have to go into the bathroom and scream into a towel just to get the frustration out because there’s no one else to take over for you (yes, i did that today). the times when you say things you shouldn’t to your kids (whether they understand or not) and the times when you just sit and cry your eyes out because you are just SO tired. the times when you can’t imagine your life without them. when they make you prouder than you ever thought possible. when they make you feel like the most important person in the world.

no one has, or is, a perfect baby, toddler, child, teenager, young adult or adult. if they say so, they’re lying. every parent has gone through hard times, they just might not admit it. we need to start talking more about what frustrates us, what we’re going through, the good, the bad and the ugly. i think if that happened, we’d all feel a little more normal. whatever that is.

first birthday bonanza

sort of … it really wasn’t a bonanza, but still a party nonetheless. a small-ish party with our parents, siblings and a some friends; actually, about 22 people, which filled up our little living room pretty good. we didn’t want to do anything big and crazy for the little guy since he wouldn’t really understand what was going on anyway. his first birthday is on Thursday, but we’ll be going up north ice fishing (about 6 hours north of here) so we figured an early birthday soirée would do the trick. first my parents and my dad’s mother arrived, the little man was excited to see them. then my in-laws, then my sister and her boyfriend, my brother-in-law and his wife, etc etc. as each guest arrived i could see the look on the little guy’s face like, what are you doing here too? you’re never all here at the same time, what the heck? he would squeal and chatter with excitement upon seeing the faces of his favourite people. however, as afternoon progressed he had a few minor meltdowns, likely due to the fact that we woke him up in the morning rather than letting him wake himself (in order to squeeze a nap in before the party started). we sat down to open his gifts with him but after maybe 2, he wasn’t really interested. he would pull the tissue paper out of the gift bags but had no desire to open any wrapped gifts! haha he just continued to play with his toys, so i opened them up for him 🙂

after the gifts were done we decided it was time to give him a birthday cupcake! this would be his first time having a cupcake so we thought it would be pretty fun for him, well it wasn’t as we anticipated it to be. he doesn’t really like having things stuck to his hands so upon squishing the cupcake (with a little help from mom), he looked at his hand with a disgusted face but then put it up to his mouth and gobbled up a few remnants of cupcake. this went on for about 5 minutes (with my hubby recording the whole thing and people taking pics). he kept looking at everyone like, why are you all watching me? why is this thing sticking to my hands? waaahhh! we all chuckled and said how funny this will be down the road when we tell him his first birthday cupcake experience was a flop, lol.

camocupcakes

the cupcakes, however, were fantastic! if i do say so myself. my hubby  helped me stay up late Saturday night making them and then we got up early Sunday morning to put the icing on. i needed his help because i decided i wanted to make camoflague cupcakes for the little guy. yup, camo. green and white and light brown and dark brown. very time consuming but well worth the end result! with hubby being a hunter, as well as my father and father-in-law, it only seemed fitting. we used piping bags and mixed up separate bowls to add the colours to the cake batter and then each took two to squeeze them into the cake pan. then pretty much did the same thing with the icing (but just 3 colours) and squeezed it all into my icing dispenser thingy – that’s the technical term for it – so that we could make the icing match. voilá! i don’t know how often i’ll make these, as they took alot more effort and much more time than even the little mini hamburger cupcakes i made a few years ago for a friend’s 30th bday (which were a huge hit too). those were more like a little assembly line (with one worker, me)

hamburgercupcakes

overall, it was a nice get together for our little man, but i definitely understand why people choose to go outside their homes to have children’s parties. we only had 2 other kids at our house and that was plenty for me. we were all pooped once everyone left, and after cleaning up the  mess and rearranging the dining room & living room back to their usual tidy-ish states, we were even more tired. hubby and the little man went down to the basement to snooze while i finished tidying up even more. although i was exhausted, having a clean house makes me feel better. especially the kitchen, when it’s clean i just feel like, ahhh.

we’re going to try giving our son another cupcake, but on his actual birthday, and without the audience. we’ll see how he does. we might get the same results as yesterday, but who knows. either way it’ll make for some good pics!

my super man

it’s 9:25pm on saturday night and i decided to write this blog post because my son won’t go to sleep. after nursing we cuddled, as usual, for 20-30 minutes and i ended up snoozing only to find him looking up at me when i woke up (i was only out maybe 10-15 mins) … i sent my hubby a text to ask if he’d come try rocking the little guy. he was in there for probably 20 mins or so when he opened our son’s door and said, the laundry’s ready to run through a regular cycle now … when the little man saw me he reached for me so i took him and rocked him while hubby went downstairs to take care of the wash. he sent me a message saying it’s going through a cycle now, i’ll come back up and rock him. i told him it’s ok, i’ll do it. he said, i know, but you need a break. i love this man. it’s not just for tonight and doing the laundry and taking a turn rocking our son to bed (which he doesn’t do too often because of his swing shift at work) but for all the little things he does for me and our son. he works so hard, his regular hours each week and usually at least one shift of overtime on the weekend. right now i can hear our son on the monitor giggling because his dad makes him happy (despite the fact he should go to sleep, an hour ago). he does the laundry, cuts the grass, takes out the garbage. cleans up the dog poop in the yard (a task no one enjoys), helps do chores around the house (especially vacuuming!), shovels snow, rakes leaves. he gets along with my family and enjoys hanging with them, even going on vacations with them. he gets along better with my father than anyone i know (which is a pretty big thing if you know my dad). he takes care of me when i’m sick, hugs me when i’m sad and is my biggest supporter. he makes me laugh every day, and i love to laugh. he listens to my rants and raves, my loves and hates, and he actually does listen. he engages in conversation with me, regardless of the topic. he shows interest in the things that interest me. he respects me and loves me for who i am. we’ve been together for almost 7 years and i can’t imagine being with anyone else. he’s my drinking buddy, my partner in crime, my husband and my best friend. i’ll never be able to tell him how much he means to me and how much i love him.

Being a Mom

well, here goes! my first blog post. i’m sure some of you will understand the nerves and excitement that i’m feeling at this moment. it’s nothing big and crazy, just a little something to start off with. for those of you who are mothers you’ll understand.

while visiting a friend the other day, he asked me if i liked being a mom … of course my reply was yes. i said some days it’s hard but my little guy is well worth it.

as i was nursing my son at bedtime last night i started thinking about that question again, do i like being a mom.

i wish i had said, i love being a mom. it’s the best thing i’ve ever done. my son is my greatest accomplishment, the most amazing little thing i’ve ever created. i love seeing the look on his face first thing in the morning when i go into his room and he’s standing at the edge of his crib with a big smile on his face, his hair wild and crazy from sleep. i love sitting him on the change table, giving him toys to play with while i get his clothes out for the day; he squeals and chatters with excitement as i set each toy in front of him. i love the little smirk on his face when i tell him he has stinky feet. i love the way he plays with my hair and strokes my chest while he has nurses his morning milk. i love how elated he is with his dog and saying good morning to him. i love each little moment throughout the day when he smiles and laughs at the silly things we say and do together. i love the way we snuggle when it’s time for a nap. i love the way he gets excited over the lights on the microwave, or stove, or Keurig, or any device really. i love how he squeals and flails his arms in frustration when i tell him not to play with the dog food bowls. i love the look on his face when i give him my watch to play with. i love how he smacks the window of the patio door when he’s looking outside. i love how excited he gets watching his daddy pull in the driveway and walk up to the house after work. i love his facial expressions and reactions to every little thing we say and do. i love how he loves to do silly things to make his daddy laugh. i love how sweet and cuddly he is when he’s fresh out of the tub and in his little footed jammies. i love how he reaches up and grabs my face for a kiss instead of going to sleep when he’s supposed to. i love watching him fall sleep in my arms. i love him more than anything in this world.

that’s what i should’ve said.

babywolverine