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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Official hiatus

Is hiatus the right word? A break . . . I am taking an official break from blogging.

In the past month or so, I have fallen in love with my job! Trite but true, I owe a lot of it to good ol' Flylady! My home had become such a pit of clutter and yuck that I was actually very, very depressed over it all. Slowly but surely, I am digging my way out and I feel amazing. Not just amazing - I feel at peace, contented, and effective for the first time in well over a year. Additionally, in the past two months or so, Dacey has become such a JOY to be around that I find I just cannot sacrifice time away with her to be online. And in the time that she is asleep (Hello, Gorgeous! Two and half hour nap in the afternoon!), I am working on a mulitude of projects (writing, decluttering, yada yada) and this sad little blog has definitely been suffering.

So I am signing off officially for now. Let me get through the holiday madness and the big birthday at the end of January and I will be back! I promise!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

It's too much

Oh wow. If anyone even still checks in here for updated entries - well God bless you! There is actually no end to the things I think of blogging about, but much of it has nothing to do with natural family living (the whole premise for this blog) and most all of it is extremely self-absorbed. It's too much to put in words right now . . . hopefully someday soon I can put some meaningful words together.

In the meantime, I gotta tell you, I made the most DELISH peanut noodles tonight. I darn near ate the whole thing myself, and even Miss Picks-A-Lot ate a respectable amount. From a site I haunt regularly - VegWeb, you must check out the Kids Choice Yummy Peanut Noodles. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Love me, love my friends . . .

FIRST - thank you SO much to all who responded with helpful words and just commiseration vibes on the discipline issue. I so appreciate all the links. This is very much an ongoing issue between DH and I and I feel quite sure this topic will be revisited.

Secondly, many in the blogosphere are familiar with the NaBloPoMo concept.

Some of my sweet, dear friends are blogging it up all month, and I want to point you in their directions . . . They are already on my listed on my blog links; I just want you to know they will have much depth and insight to offer you this month (much more than I have to offer, I assure you!) - so don't miss out on the worthwhile reading!

Kudos to Kulia, Meghan, and Ingrid.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Train me? Teach me? Help me!

Oh wow. I cannot BELIEVE it has been so long since I blogged. It's all dadgum dial-up's fault. Accessing my own blog is painfully slow enough . . . it's even more difficult to carve out time to read the thoughts of others! I know I am missing out on so much. Forgive! Forgive! Hopefully these dial-up days will soon end.

Anyway, something that weighs HEAVILY on my mind these days is the subject of discipline. Gone are the days when a stern "NO" could stop D in her tracks. Now she seems to delight in that word. Rather than allowing herself to be redirected, she seems determined to find the next no-no that she knows will get Mommy's attention.

Here is the main problem in our home. Kyle comes from a home where the praises of Dobson are sung: a spanking-friendly, training-oriented approach to parenting - to put it nicely. But ya'll! I am just not down with it! It goes against my heart in the same way Ezzo's Babywise did. But Kyle feels strongly that stern punishments for misbehavior are what are needed to create a child who is pleasant to be around.

Another concern - I am woefully awful about doling out negative consequences. A huge weakness in my life is that I hate for anyone to be unhappy or displeased with me. This was a problem when I was teaching - I had a hard time following through with consequences - and it's a problem in relationships - I have a hard time speaking the truth when it needs to be spoken.

So, my lovely readers, talk to me! I would love to hear your thoughts on how Kyle and I can come to an agreement on approaches to discipline, as well as any book recommendations you want to share. I welcome thoughts from everyone - parents of kids of all ages as well as those without children.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Eat, child! Eat!

Sorry ya'll. I have just not been feeling very bloggy lately. :(

But here's something I want to throw out there . . . Kyle and I are still very much into our healthy eating thing. I have been trying really hard to make sure we are eating lots of fresh, whole foods and putting a lot of thought into every meal. The problem? D is so not on board. And here's my quandry - if I am hoping that this whole foods kick is not, in fact, a kick but rather a lasting lifestyle change, how hard should I be pushing D to eat what I am serving? She loves fruit and veggies - that's never a problem. It's the other stuff - like rice, beans, and tofu - that she is not into.

Before I had kids, I swore up and down that our kids would eat whatever was served. But it is so hard to watch a toddler (who I am not just positive can really understand the concept of "this is what we are eating . . . eat this or go hungry") sit and pick at a meal when I know she needs the fuel for her active little body.

What do ya'll think? What do you do when it comes to meals? (Keep in mind D is 20 months old.)

Friday, October 06, 2006

This I love

I love this.

Tucked into a shady grove next to the river is the Purple Dinosaur park.

Protective branches arch overhead to provide respite from the stubborn Texas sun.

Ellies and Caitlyns and Daceys mingle with Dakotas and Aidens and Jacksons as each begins to navigate playground politics.

Mommies and Daddies and Grandmas and nannies strike up easy conversation on the benches in the shade.

(Conversations interjected with "No, ma'am! You need to wait your turn!" and "Come here and get a drink, baby, your face is all red!" and "Good job! You went down the slide by yourself!")

How thrilling, how divine to become so grounded while swinging on a creaky old swing with a lap full of your heart.

This I love.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


I recently had to make the very tragic downgrade to dial-up. Just testing this out to see if life after cable-modem will allow for time to blog . . .

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Let's talk about SLEEP, baby!

O bed! O bed! delicious bed!
That heaven upon earth to the weary head.
~Thomas Hood, Miss Kilmansegg - Her Dream
Ah, yes. Bed. Is there any more treasured place of solace for a mama to little ones? It really is a heaven on earth to those who are "on call" all day, every day. But when we these little ones make their grand entrances, the Mommies and Daddies often have a dilema about where the babes will sleep (when they do sleep, if they do sleep . . .).
Before D was born, I was very solidly in the sort of "mainstream" camp that says babies should sleep in their own bed (crib or bassinette) so Mommy and Daddy can keep their bed special and privated. I just swore up and down that our "marriage bed" would not be invaded by our children. I held fast to this belief all throughout my pregnancy, only begrudgingly allowing my in-laws to buy a bassinette for D to sleep in our room.
Okay, so fast-forward to our first night in the hospital after she was born. D was born at 5:43 in the morning and I finally came out of OR recovery about 7:45 or 8. Our hospital is all about rooming in, so she had been in my arms or right beside me in her hospital bassinette all day. I shoo'ed everyone out of the room for the night. It was just D, me, and the nurses. I tried and tried to let her sleep in that hospital bassinette. I just knew that was the "right thing" to do. But I tell - I felt a physical ache over her being even 2 feet from me! Finally in the middle of the night, I pulled her into bed with me and discovered the joys of shared sleep.
Over the next few weeks, I constantly beat myself up because our lovely bassinette was getting no use at all (except as a diaper holder - disposables back in those days). BUT, D was content to sleep between her daddy and me and Kyle loved it, too. We never felt she had invaded our bed -- quite the contrary, it seemed as if that is exactly where she should be. Since we found it to be really very natural and very right for us, we went with it until she was about 6 months old, when it became very obvious to us that she wasn't sleeping well in our bed anymore. From there, we moved into a time where she would start out the night in her crib, then join us in bed anywhere from 2 to 4 in the morning and wake up with us. Oh, what treasured times! It is such a DELIGHT to wake up to the smiling face of your precious love. We continued with that sleep situation until just very recently when she started sleeping through the night.
It's nice. I miss her at night, but I know she is getting great sleep in her crib and is confident and secure in knowing that we are there for her if she needs us. It's also nice to not share your bed with a windmill. :)
Now that I have shared our story about sleep decisions, I would LOVE to hear ya'll's thoughts on babies and sleep. Where did your babies sleep? How did you come to that decision? Do you/did you feel at peace with that? Did you/will you do things differently with future children?
*** this post is brought to you courtesy of Sesame Street, that lovely, lovely program that has been both entertaining and educating D for the past 15 minutes so I could write!

WFMW! - "Playgroups USA"

Yep, a day late and a dollar short, as usual!

My tip for this Works for Me Wednesday is a wonderful resource for anyone looking to organize a playgroup. Playgroups USA is a site that can help mamas connect to an already existing playgroup or get a new one up and running. Remember that sweet mama I met last month at the library? Well she has done an amazing job of getting a local playgroup up and running and this site has been spectacular for keeping everyone organized and up-to-date. All you do is join the site (it's free!), search by zip code or other search parameters, and find out if there are playgroups in your area with which you can connect. There is an interactive calendar for events to be posted and you can RSVP if you are going to be there or not. Very, very handy tool for mamas looking to connect.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

This is just to say . . .

This is Just To Say
by William Carlos Williams
I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

I don't know why, I just love that poem. Perhaps because I use the phrase "this is just to say" quite a bit in my thinking and writing. Who knows. Maybe it's because I love plums, too. Especially cold, sweet, and spoken-for ones fresh from the icebox. And they are about to go out of season. How do I know this? Because I just stumbled on the most amazing whole foods resource: The World's Healthiest Foods. I am all flushed with nerdy giddiness about this little gem. I could spend waaaaaaaaay too much time reading through the A-Z list there. Delish!

Fun babywearing moment from today --
I always have to pop D in the Ergo (we call it The Backpack around my house, although it most certainly COULD be worn as a front carrier, too; linkage in the We Love It list on the right!) to shop the farmers market because said market is set up at the far end of a very large parking lot and the aforementioned toddler has no qualms at all about taking off running through this parking lot, much to the horror of her mother. So the Ergo saves my life. Again. So anyway, today I was loading her up into the Ergo and I noticed an older woman (mid 60s-ish) getting out of the car next to me. I kind of braced myself anticipating a scolding for attempting such a dangerous maneuver with no help (it looks way more scary to others than it really is), but instead she just smiled and said, "I always wanted a papoose like that when mine where little. But back then, they didn't even have such a thing!"

And while technically mommies and daddies have been babywearing for thousands of years before the Ergo came on the market, these dedicated babywearers were mostly limited to blankets, sheets, and shawls. So hurray! for the luxuries of modern babywearing! And hurray! for words of confirmation from mature mamas in the parking lot!

Monday, September 25, 2006

In the midst of madness

Sorry to be so negligent in posting this week. Over the weekend, I read Sidetracked Home Executives: From Pigpen to Paradise and I am feeling so inspired! For a few months, I have been utterly depressed about how junky and cluttery our tiny townhouse is and have also struggled with feeling so powerless to make any lasting changes. This book - written for born "little piggies" like me - has some great, practical, funny, and motivating words to say on the issue.

So Operation Un-junk Me has begun!

It's going to be a process of several weeks, I feel quite sure.

Anyway, that's where I am.

Feel free to share decluttering tips, tricks, and inspiration whenever you want!!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

WFMW! - Natural "bleach"

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My very first ever Works For Me Wednesday post!

I didn't know until I started cloth diapering that the sun can be used to "naturally" bleach stains out of clothing (and cloth diapers!). Well, I guess I kind of knew this based on having ruined more than one book's cover by letting it sit in the backseat of my car far too long, but I didn't really KNOW I knew, know what I mean?

But it's true! If you have a stain on some clothing and it isn't safe to use bleach on it, simply dampen the stain (after washing) and let it sit in the sun. It may not happen immediately (although most of the time it does happen within two hours), but it hasn't failed me yet. Everything from blackberry juice stains to all manner of stainage on our cloth diapers has magically disappeared thanks to our sun.

For really stubborn stains, try adding a little lemon juice before sunning. If you use the lemon juice on the cloth diaper, make sure to launder it again before you put it on the babe.

Check out many, MANY more "makes life easier" tips at Rocks in My Dryer.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Gather ye rosebuds . . .

. . . while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying . . .

Robert Herrick wrote this to The Virgins, encouraging them to make much of time. I have taught this poem so many times in my former incarnation as Senior English Teacher, but I find its words mean more - oh! so much more - now that I am daily reminded of how unceasingly and unmercifully time marches on -- stealing my baby away from me and leaving a toddler in her place. Devastating and inspiring at the same time.

To illustrate my point, obsevere:

Dacey at the beginning of September, 2005
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And my sweet "baby" just a few weeks ago, beginning of September, 2006:

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Oh, it just hurts my mama heart. But then God, in His graciousness, opens a window of grace to help me cope with Old Time a-flying. Like just tonight, as I nursed D before bed, I noticed that she has held on to one habit from babyhood that always makes me smile -- she has this wonderful habit of playing with and picking at her fingers while she nurses. I am not totally positive, but it seems like I can remember her doing this nearly from the first day she latched on for some mama milk. She has never been one to hold our fingers or play with beads or (thank you Lord!) pinch me. Her own lovely, perfect fingers provide distraction enough to keep her occupied for these ever-shortening moments together.

- - - - -

Thank you, Meghan, for the encouragement to not completely quit writing entries here. Honestly, a major project I am working on is some writing I have been needing to do for a long time. I think/hope writing up entries here will warm my brain and transition my thoughts so I can slip into my Writer Mommy skin.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


I have been cruising the blogsphere (is that the word? Is that how you say it?), and I am so utterly amazed at all the wonderful blogs out there. Not only the thought-provoking content, but also the sassy, fun, engaging designs and layout.

Thankfully, I stumbled across this contest at Bluebird Blogs. Sure am crossing my fingers and toes on this one!

- - - - -

Additionally, this old blog might be going dark for a bit. I have GOT to take some time away from my favorite hobby - wasting time on the computer - and get serious about the other projects that weigh so heavily on my heart. It is just SO much easier to plop in front of the computer when I have some down time, but also SO ineffective in terms of getting stuff done! Just wanted to let all five of my readers know . . . hee hee hee!

Coming soon!

I am so, so, so excited about two of our newest stash additions, I had to share it here. I hadn't totally made up my mind as to whether or not I would continue to do wool this fall/winter. Last year, I was so new to CDing and really relied on our pocket dipes for full-time CDing. Pockets do fit so well under clothes, but I was struggling because I am SO into our prefolds right now. Plus the fact that most all winter wool (like longies) is so expensive, I just didn't see a way to do wool in the winter. And it so rarely gets really cold here, that wool pants seem a bit excessive.

Then two wonderful things fell into my lap (a lap that, by the way, has been spending way too much time parked in front of the computer!). As I browsed around Hyena Cart, I kept coming across recycled wool longies that look so darling! Recycled wool is wool that has had a former life as someone's sweater and has since found a new reincarnation as pants for cloth diapered kiddos. I wasn't sure if recycled wool would be effective for us, but I read some threads at the HC Forum where some die-hard CDing mamas sang the praise of recycled wool, so I decided to give it a go.

I had the great fortune to come across Carson at Fuzzy Britches Diapering Duds while she was running a special - custom longies AND a free wet bag for $16! Considering the fact that most crocheted wool pants are going to start at $50 and knit wool pants are even more expensive, I was delighted to have found such an economical way to make the transition to cooler weather wool. After having snatched up a custom slot, I talked to Carson about what kind of applique we wanted to go with for both the wet bag and the longies. I browsed her gallery and found that I liked her idea for sun bursts, so I chose that for our wet bag. But I wanted something really unique to D for her longies, and after some agonizing mental deliberations, I asked Carson if she thought she could do a koala for my koala baby. Carson sent a sketch right away and it was PERFECT! I invite you to take a look at her gallery and click on the picture titled "koala1" where you will see the darling recycled longies that will soon be finding a new home in our stash! Woo hoo!

The next stash aquisition is nothing short of a miracle. Truly. As part of the Fiber Arts Avengers fundraising, a WAHM who makes Panda Pants fitteds teamed up with another CDing mama to put together a stunning set called Northern Lights. I happened to have just $3 left in my paypal account (after some heavy duty stash selling and buying), so I bought a ticket. And I WON!! Words can't express how shocked and excited I am about this.

You can definitely look forward to some Dacey pictures as we expand our expand our stash to include, for the first time, cool weather wool!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

All the little things (cloth diapering accessories)

Well, friends, I am about to wrap up the big posts on cloth diapering. We have talked about each of the major cloth diapering systems, so I thought I would conclude with talking about some of the little accessories that have proved to be useful in making the switch to cloth.

If you are using prefolds, prefitteds (prefolds that have been "converted" into fitteds), or flats, you need to fasten them closed somehow. My (very strong) personal preference is to use Dritz pins. I tried and TRIED to get the very popular Snappi to work for us, to no avail. I don't know if I never got it good and stretched out or what . . . just didn't happen. And to tell you the truth, I don't like the way Snappis look. *dodging tomatoes flying at my head* My deepest apologies to loyal Snappi users . . . I just prefer the clean, classic look of a pinned prefold over one that has been Snappi'ed. Plus, D can unsnap a Fuzzi Bunz with no problem, so I feel quite sure she could pull a Snappi right off, and those Snappi claws are SHARP. I personally would rather risk pricking myself with a pin than take the chance that D could get a Snappi off and harm herself in some way. And she would - have no doubt. She hurts herself daily in ways I never dreamed possible!

Additionally, you need some way to store dirty dipes. This can be done in all sorts of ways. I suppose you could do the wet pail method, but I have no idea how that works, so I won't speak to that. Most CDers use a wet bag/dry pail system. The idea with a dry pail is to get some kind of tall diaper pail (or large trash can) and line it with a washable, reuseable liner. Something like a Wahmies Diaper Pail Liner would work nicely. Or you could go the hanging wet bag route which is what I do. There are, oh, a TON of WAHMs making wet bags these days. I mentioned earlier that we have one by Nappsacks, but I have heard good things about or like the looks of: The Good Mama, SMJAE, Trillium Baby, and Happy Tushies.

I mentioned in my comments on the last post that I adore using cloth wipes. Honestly, if something happened and we had to switch back to sposies full-time, I would never give up my cloth wipes. The difference in messy clean-up is phenomenal! Plus, the harsh chemicals in sposie wipes always upset D's delicate skin. I mostly just use water with our cloth wipes, although I do sometimes use a homemade wipes solution as well. There are a kajillion people who make wipes. You can either look at the Pin's Cloth Wipes reviews page or run a search at Hyena Cart to see who has some in-stock. OR, you can just make your own! Most of our wipes are just cut-up hemp fleece and flannel. Or some cheapie washclothes from your local Mart work fine, too.

Some people like to buy pre-made cloth wipe solution, and there are plenty of delicious ones to purchase if you want to. Again, the Pin's Wipes Solution Review page is a good place to start looking.

Finally (I think!), if you want to add wool covers, shorts, or longies to your stash, you will need special wool care. If you remember from the Wool is Cool page, the lanolin in wool is what helps it to be effective in diapering. So in caring for your wool cloth diapering pieces, you need a lanolin rich wash and most of the time you will also need some kind of additional lanolin product to put on the dry wool to keep it effective. My personal FAVE that I just love, love, love is the Sheep Soap from Ignite the Senses. Ours is the Lavender Mint scent. Yum! I like a wool wash bar because if you have an active child who can manage to get wool stained with things like sidewalk chalk, macaroni and cheese, and just plain ol' diry, the bar can be rubbed directly on the wool for maximum stain fighting power. We also have the Sheep Balm from ITS - I believe in some kind of Rose scent. Very nice, extremely effective. Sudz 'n Dudz and Naturally Luxe (formerly Monkey Sudz) are also popular choices for wool care products.

Questions? Comments?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

All together now!

Thanks Julie and Jill for the great discussion topics! This is one of the last posts I will do on cloth diapering systems and I am quite ready to talk about something else!

So finally, the last CDing system to discuss is the All in One/All in Two. A true is All in One is just that - a diaper where the cover and inner soaker and material make up the diaper altogether. Does that make sense? It's just one piece - like a disposable diaper. No stuffing, nothing to snap in on the inside. An All in Two, on the other hand, has a waterproof outer shell, an inner lining, then a soaker that snaps in to the inner lining. The theory behind the AI2 is that you can trade out soakers during the day so you can keep the same outer shell on longer. That's the theory, anyway. If you have a heavy wetter like D, I can assure this won't work. The soaker gets pretty soaked and then there is leakage on to the outer shell, rendering it unusable even with a clean soaker. But I have a dear friend (Amanda) who primarily uses AI2s because her sweet daughter is not the high volume pee-er that D is!

By way of disclaimer, I am going to say that this is my least favorite system of CDing. Yes, it is by far the easiest in terms of not having to do much to get the diaper on. If you have a partner or day care provider who is hesitant to use/change cloth diapers, I think AIOs/2s can be great. These are just not diapers that work for us . . . or maybe we just never have found the right one. Every true AIO I have tried takes far too long to dry. There is a lot of material sewn into a true AIO - there has to be for it to be effective. But this can be a drawback to true AIOs because the increased dryer drying time can be hard on the life of the PUL outer. And as I mentioned above, the AI2 design is a marvelous idea and I know it works gorgeously for many, just not for us. Also, I have found AIO/2s to be some of the most expensive on the market. Again, if you find an AI2 that you can snap clean soakers into, then that cuts down on the cost for sure.

Because we have had trouble with AIO/2s, I don't have a ton of recommendations to make. I will tell you some of the ones we have tried and others I have heard mamas rave about.

Wonder Works Magic All is one that we have tried. I really like the design of this diaper, but again, the long drying time was a concern to me. Plus, the elastic left red marks on D's chunko thighs. I know many mamas are very happy with these, though.
My friend Amanda is a huge fan of BeccaBottom All in Twos.
Bum-Ware are very popular diapers that can be either true AIO or an AI2.
We have tried Daisy Doodles and I wanted these to work SO bad for us! But alas, not meant to be. I think her design is outrageously trim and she uses the most darling fabrics.

In the world of "hard to get" WAHM made dipes, several come to mind:
Mudpie Babies are well-made and usually have darling embroidery.
If you want REALLY hard to find, Bottom Bumpers are among the most hyena of AIOs (actually an AI2).
An up-and-coming WAHM that I hear many raves about is . . . and such is life. Definitely someone to watch and stalk.

I will do one more "official" CDing entry. Thanks for hanging with me through this!

Don't forget to tell me your favorites to add to the We Love It list! Doesn't have to be cloth diapering stuff only. Just Natural Family Living books, products, or sites we want to share.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Quickly . . .

Quick note to say I figured out a way to post on non-Beta blogs! If the blog allows comments from non-Bloggers, I can just sign in as other which allows me to leave comments. So excited about this (fairly obvious) solution!!

Only one blog I stalk doesn't allow non-Blogger comments . . . but that won't stop me from reading. :)

More diaper talk to come.

And that reminds me - after we finish off talking about different diapering systems, I am not sure what else I will say about CDing. Any other Natural Family Living topics anyone wants to discuss? If I don't get suggestions, I will just start blathering on about whatever comes to mind.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

We don't need no stinking covers . . .

(Just so ya know, still feeling quite miffed about not being able to comment on non-Beta blogs. Seriously considering opening another Blogger Basic account to get around this nonsense!)

Okay, so we have talked about flats, prefolds, and fitteds -- all diapers which in order to be "waterproof" (for lack of a better word), need some kind of cover. We talked about nylon, PUL, and wool covers for these diapers. So now let's talk diapers which already have a cover in place for you!

I have a special affinity for pockets. I really love a great pocket diaper! We use these for out and about, and when we use cloth at night, we use pockets.

A pocket diaper is a diaper which is made of a waterproof outer (usually PUL, but also could be fleece), a stay-dry inner (generally microfleece or suedecloth), and in-between the inner and outer layer, there is an open space - a pocket. The pocket opening is generally at the back of the diaper where the inner and outer materials meet, or there is a slit in the inner material to get to the pocket. When you are using a pocket diaper, you must have some kind of an insert which you stuff into the pocket. Inserts can be made of cotton, microfiber, or hemp. These close with snaps (front snap or side snap) or aplix/velcro. No need for pins or Snappis!

I think the reason I love pockets so much is you can customize the amount and kind of "stuffers" you put in there to meet the needs of your child.

Some people don't like pockets because they need to be stuffed; this, however, has never bothered me. I like to stuff all of my pockets when they come through the laundry so they are ready to grab a minute's notice (usually as D is running off, diaperless, to things far more interesting than a complete diaper change!).

By far, the most popular (in terms of brand recognition) type of pocket diaper is Fuzzi Bunz. These were my first pocket diapers. They are easy to use, WIDELY available, and easy to care for. Fuzzi Buns are often referred to as "the gateway drug" of cloth diapering because most people get their feet wet in the cloth world with these and then move on to more exciting dipes to add to the stash. Then again, some people use FBs exclusively to diaper each of their children! These are front-snapping, sized diapers. This means as your baby grows, you will have to buy/use different-sized diapers.

I have already shared my love for CottonBabies' bumGenius One Size Pocket Diapers. I find I get a much better fit for D in these than with FBs, but that may be because she is between sizes in FBs right now. These one-size diapers have aplix closures and work beautifully with the Cottonbabies microfiber insert that CB includes with each dipe.

Other pocket diapers that I have tried and like OR have heard great things about:
Happy Heiny's Great aplix closing pocket that comes in DARLING prints!

Superstars (used to be called Wonderoos) I haven't tried the newest incarnation of Wonderoos, but I hear they are great.

Swaddlebees are said to be some of the trimmest fitting diapers on the market. We tried one, but these are not great for the heavy-wetting crowd. Too skimpy through the crotch to catch a fast stream of pee, these are definitely for light to moderate wetters. VERY trim though - look just like a disposable under clothes. Available in snaps or aplix.

I'm not just totally sure if Drybees are mass-produced or if they are made by a team of seamstresses employed by this WAHM, but these are really great aplix closing pockets. I had a Drybee that the elastic along the pocket closure went bad on. I contacted Lisa and she had me send the diaper back to her so she could replace the elastic, and she even re-stitched the front of the diaper, too. She has wonderful customer service, and Drybees last a LONG time.

If you don't like mass-produced and would rather go with Work At Home Mom diapers, here are some good bets:

I have had many Baby Blanket pockets in our stash, but that was when they made by the original Baby Blanket WAHM. This company is under new ownership, but I am sure the design hasn't changed. Great fitting dipes - we had all aplix, but I think you can get these with snaps.

Green Acre Designs are fabulously made. Highly recommend!

Snap-EZ are the Cadillacs of pocket diapers, in my opinion. Amazing construction and design. You cannot go wrong with anything from this WAHM company! Snap-EZ pockets have a unique "hip snapping" design - not quite front-snap, not quite side-snap . . . definitely just right.

Finally, I know a WAHM diaper with a huge following in the CD world is Fuzzi Fannies. We have tried one of these, but it just wasn't a great match for us. However, like I said these are very popular and that wouldn't be the case if these were anything less than top-notch!

Now, there are quite a few parents in the CD world who don't like to use PUL covered diapers at all for their children. The primary reason for this is that PUL doesn't allow baby's bum to "breathe." I rarely use pockets in the summer for this reason; the main reasons D would be in a pocket from April to October is that it's nighttime or we are running a quick errand (or if she has diarrhea!). For parents who want a breathable option with pockets there are pockets with fleece outers. These fleece outers will help hold moisture in, but in my experience, these do not hold up between changing as long as a PUL pocket will.

Popular fleece pockets include:
Little Rain Dancers and Ella's Breathable fleece pockets.

So that should get you started on what you need to know about pocket diapers. Next time we will talk about All-in-One diapers, which are nearly self-explanatory!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Dear non-Beta Blogger friends

I am so frustrated that I am not able to post on ANYONE'S non-Beta Blogger sites right now. It won't let me be anonymous, it won't let me sign in with my Google account and do it, it won't let me sign in with my Blogger identity . . . so ARGH! Until I get it figured out, please know I am still reading. Just can't share my two cents with ya right now!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

What the heck . . .

was I even going to write about next?

I know we have been talking diaper systems. I got kind of side-tracked in the wool department. Does anyone want to hear anything else about wool? If not, we can just move on. . .

When my in-laws were here for the weekend, I whipped up some wonderful things from my Feeding the Whole Family book. They were okay with the Sunny Millet with Peaches (which I thought was delicious), but they really seemed to like the Tempeh Tacos. I was quite impressed with how they turned out. And they absolutely flipped over mangoes, kiwis, and raisins drizzled with honey. That wasn't a recipe, it just sound good! God did all the hard work on that one. :)

Friday, September 01, 2006

We love it! New list added.

Since I am in the talking cloth groove, I am adding a list to my page with links to cloth diapering related products that I and my readers love. If you have any you want added at any time, just leave it in the comments, or I think you can email me from my profile page.

Probably won't be around much as Kyle's parents are coming in to town tomorrow. Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend!


Thursday, August 31, 2006

*shaking an angry fist at Time Warner*

UGH! I hate our ISP! It's a stupid, dumb story, but basically everytime someone moves into our building, OUR cable gets disconnected. Big, BIG spankings to Time Warner - and that's a lot coming from a Gentle Discipline mama.

Anyway, I have a TON of stuff to catch up on, not to mention desperately trying to get the hacienda ready for the in-laws rolling into town this weekend, so I will try so very hard to get more about wool, et al., up soon.

In the meantime, my long-awaited and much-anticipated new cookbook Feeding the Whole Family: Whole Foods Recipes for Babies, Young Children and Their Parents arrived yesterday. I am so thrilled! I have been reading it like it's a novel. Great book! Can't wait to try some new recipes!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

let's discuss

Great question from Jill in yesterday's comments . . . how does one dress a child in cloth diapers? I will get to that in a second. First I wanted to talk about why prefolds hold up better for us than most fitteds . . .

I did not start really liking prefolds on D until she was about 15 or 16 months old. I never could get a good fit or a great fold to work for us when she was smaller and not mobile. I know some of my readers have used prefolds on babies since they were, well, babies, and I would love to hear how they found prefold success with infants!

When I put a prefold on D, I use a modified version of the Angel Wing Fold. I basically tri-fold the prefold, bring it up through the legs, then pull the "wings" from the back forward, fold the excess OUT, and pin. When I do this with a premium (4x8x4) prefold, I basically have 16 layers of cotton in the wet zone. That stands the test of time (for us) far better than any fitted I have tried so far. Well, except for maybe Olive Branch Baby's Very Simply Nights, but those aren't easy to come by.

Now - dressing the Cloth Diapered Child. I will admit, when I first put D in a Bummi wrap with a trifolded premium prefold in it and then tried to snap her onesie around it, I just cried. Then laughed. It was ridiculous. I wish I had taken pictures! The truth is, there are modification that need to be made when you use cloth. Here's the thing - disposable diapers are filled with chemicals that both absorb and hold on to pee. Because disposables use chemicals rather than absorbent materials, they are very trim fitting. That's just how it is. And *most* baby and toddler clothes are cut to go over disposable diapers.

So what's a mom (or dad) to do?

1) Buy clothes with stretch. I have found The Children's Place to have clothes that accomodate cloth diapers quite nicely. I hear the same about Gymboree, but I can't afford those lovelies, so I have to take my fellow CDers word on that. I will admit that I have only found ONE cloth diaper I can put on D under jeans - Cloth Thoughts. At one time, we had a medium side snapping Cloth Thoughts that worked gorgeously under jeans. It has since gone on to another home. I personally don't dress D in jeans that much. It's rarely cool enough here and I just think they look uncomfortable on her. Maybe it's because of her thunder thighs (and I mean that lovingly!). I just prefer knits on her and I find those work nicely with cloth.

2) Size up. As Jill mentioned, sizing up is an option. You may have to roll up the cuffs, and once your babe is toddling/walking/running, this could get tricky. It works nicely with a baby though, or at least it did for my baby.

3) Wool as clothing! This is what I have done with D most all summer long. Her wool shorts and soakers are part of her outfit. Beautiful. Cool. Darling.
I will say that if and when the weather cools down here, we will probably go back to primarily pockets under regular clothes. As much as I would love, love, love to dress her in the darling "longies" I see out there ( as in Mango Flamingo's Fancy Flares, Llamajama's pink cargos,
Kool Sheep Soakers ANYTHING from her!, Mosaic Moon again - ANYTHING!, or the always darling Sissy Crabapple), I just can't afford it! I really couldn't afford one pair, let alone several to switch in and out of during the day. So alas, back to our functional pockets which work great under cute clothes from the store.

Anyone come up with any other great sites about wool for us?

Monday, August 28, 2006

In honor of Back To School - you have homework!

Yep - the ol high school teacher in me gets kind of itchy when school is back in session. I truly LOVE being at home with Dacey, yet I miss those wonderful, giddy, scary, exciting, NEW first days of school. So in preparation for our discussion on wool, you have some homework to do!

There is so much to say about why wool is a wonderful way to cover cloth diapers, and I don't want to simply regurgitate information from the comprehensive resources already out there. So here's your homework:

1) Read this article on Why Wool is Cool so you have a great basic background on wool use in cloth diapering.

2) See if you can find and post in the comments any other helpful resources on wool. Save your shopping links! We will do that next time.

On another note, we are currently on a cloth hiatus at our house. D has a urinary tract infection and the antibiodics she has to take do major damage to the tummy. (Yes, I have her on acidophilus as well . . .) Anyway, the revolting clean-up and inevitable staining of our precious dipes just aren't worth it to me, so she is in 'sposies for the time being. Since everything in the stash is clean and organized, I took a few minutes to take pictures of it all to share!

Here are our lovely woolens - from top left: Blue Purlz soaker, Llamajama soaker, Luxe Baby pull-on cover, KYBaby knit cargo shorts, Ah May Designs interlock shorts, Celtic Wolf Creations side snapping wool cover, Ewe Baby Designs side snap cover (wool jersey, I think!), Becca Bottoms Ultra Trim side snap wool cover
This is our changing area with my basket of wipes, liners, and spray:

Our hanging wet bag for the dirties:
Bird's-eye view of the stash:

And where the stash "lives" - D's hardly used baby bassinette:

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Thoughts on fitteds and covers

First of all - SO good to be posting again. Something funky happened with the blog, but once I switched over to the Blogger Beta, I was back online. Funny how that works, huh?

Anyway, to pick up where I left off - we need to talk covers. But I can't do that until we discuss one more type of diaper that also needs a cover - the beautiful, fun, lovely fitted diaper.

Fitteds are diapers that are made from natural materials, but there is no folding or pinning required. They generally close with snaps or aplix. Most every fitted on the market has some kind of darling fabric on the outside, generally a cotton weave, knit, or flannel (although there are many other possibilities). Some people question why have such cute material on the outside when this diaper has to be covered (it's not waterproof). Well, many mamas like to let their babes go around the house or out in the yard in a fitted with no cover. Again, these are all-natural materials so an uncovered fitted provides a lovely amount of breathability for baby's bum.

Personally, I do LOVE fitteds, but I find I am clearing most of ours out of the stash. They are fairly expensive to buy new (compared to prefolds) . . . or maybe that's just because I like to buy fitteds made from organic cottons. Anyway, I have only come across a very FEW brands of fitteds that can hold up the way a prefold can. It's so important to remember as you read about my personal tastes that D is an ultra-heavy wetter. So prefolds under covers are the workhorses of our stash, but fitteds are so nice for days when she wants to rollie-pollie away from a diaper change.

Some of my fave fitteds are:

Clothmopolitan (so wonderfully trim, extremely well-made, very abosorbent - kind of hard to get. Have to watch for stockings)
Laughing Lion (very similiar to Clothmo in my opinion - equally well-made, very trim, great fit)
Keester Kovers (she doesn't stock a lot of fitteds, but she made us an all organic velour one that was so scrumptious! I bet she would do a custom fitted for anyone who is interested. Super sweet mama!)
Blackbird Lane (also fairly hard to get, but AWESOMELY absorbent for heavy-wetting babes!)
El Bee Baby (dang near impossible to get - as in, two-year waiting list! Basically, if you want brand new El Bees, you put your name on the list for a child you hope to concieve in the future. I have two I scored off of For Sale Or Trade boards)
Dream Eze (the only fitted I am listing that is not Work At Home Mom made - I love Kim at Montana Diapers and she worked very hard to design this awesome diaper. Super, super absorbent and gorgeous trim cut)

So, that's about all I can think to say about fitteds. Oh yeah - there are lots of choices on fitteds: turned and topstitched edges or serged edges; soaker style - sewn-in, snap in, internal . . .; snaps or aplix; front-snapping or side-snapping . . . Everyone will have their own personal taste on those choices. As for me and my household, we like a side-snapping, snap-in or sewn on external soaker with either turned and topstitched edges or serged edges that aren't TOO ruffly. But to each their own!

Okay . . .


There are three basic kinds of covers: nylon, PUL, and wool.

Let me cover the first two today, because I want to devote an entirely new entry to wool.

The plastic pants that our parents used on us are not so much used these days. A very basic, very easy, very cheap way to cover a cloth diaper that needs a cover (flats, prefolds, fitteds) is with nylon. I hear great things about the Dappi cover. I personally have two Bummi Whisper Pant in our stash that I use from time to time. If you want top of the line nylon covering, you must have the Snap-EZ snapping nylon cover. These are all great choices, and nylon tends to breathe a bit better than PUL.

First of all, what is PUL? PUL stands for Polyurethane Laminate. It is a synthetic, waterproof material that you will find used in diaper covers, pocket diapers, All-in-One diapers, and diaper wet bags. Because of its synthetic nature, it is generally not breathable - but still highly functional and useful for all kinds of diapering needs.
By far the most popular (in terms of number of users) of PUL cover is the Bummi Super Whisper Wrap . It comes in basic white, but also has a few cute prints. Highly effective and user-friendly, these were an important part of our beginning stash. Many people also like the Imse Vimse Bumpy cover. I have tried Wiggle Worm Bottoms but they have got to be some of the most DARLING covers I have seen yet! There are a plethora of choices for PUL covers -- check out some for yourself at the Diaper Pin Covers Review Page.

Well, I have a sick chick who needs my attention. I can't wait to share with you all why I love WOOL in my next entry!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Gosh, really?

Has it been almost a week since I posted anything? I have written about five entries in my head, but then I am too tired to get it from my head to the screen. Huh - must be the constant, consistent, never-ending days of 100+ degree temps. My brain is as dried out as the parched earth outside my front door. *sigh*

So, I thought I better take a minute to go through the different types of cloth diapers before I go on to share my personal picks. You will notice I tend to link to my favorite stores. There is, however, a vast, amazing array of cloth diapering shops online and I have yet to have a bad experience with any of them. Most of the people who run diaper shops are passionate about cloth diapering and natural family living and are truly wonderful people!

Okay, so let's start BASIC.

The very first kind of cloth diaper is a basic flat. This is the kind of diaper Mary probably used to diaper the baby Jesus. Many CDing moms are a bit intimidated by the flat because it's, well, flat. It requires folding to get into the shape it needs to be in to diaper sufficiently. Fortunately, you don't have to know origami to fold a flat (although there is an "origami fold!"). I like the flat folding instructions at Gumbush. Since D is a toddler, I find I use the flats in our collection a little differently than I plan to with little babies in the future. I like to take one, fold it into a kind of folded-up tri-fold and just lay it in a Bummi Original Cover. It's just easier since she is bigger. I think a standard sized flat in any flat fold would work nicely on a little baby though.

So, what do you get when someone else does the folding for you? A prefold! There are several varieties of the basic prefold. The two most popular, widely-used prefolds are Indian and Chinese. Indian prefolds (like the ones I linked to) are made from unbleached cotton. Some people swear up and down these are softer than the Chinese prefolds. I don't know - I have both and can't really tell the difference in texture. Because they are unbleached, they will have a natural color to them. The "classic" white cloth diaper you may have seen is the Chinese prefold. It is bleached cotton and has colored serging that tells what size it is. Prefolds come these sizes: preemie, standard infant, infant, regular, premium, and toddler. (It is very important to note that the most reliable, effective prefolds are generally NOT the ones you can buy at your local Super Store. You want to make sure you are purchasing Diaper Service Quality - DSQ - prefolds.) This chart at The Stork Warehouse explains the sizing. Note that the "ply" column - the higher the middle number, the more absorbent the diaper is. A younger baby doesn't generally let loose with the quantities of pee that an older baby and toddler can, so diapers designed to fit younger babies generally have less "oomph" in the middle.

Finally, you should know that a flat or prefold is not waterproof on its own. These all-cotton diapers are wonderfully breathable, and as we sweat through the Texas summer, I will often let D run around with just a prefold on and change her when she wets. This, however, freaks out her Dad - he sort of flips out at the thought of touching pee. (Why are men so squeamish about pee? I don't get it. I would think their hands interact with pee more than most women on an average bathroom visit.) Anyway, when her Dad is home, I make sure she the dipe is covered.

Ah, covers. There is so much to talk about here. And D is waking up. So covers will be, ahem, covered in the next post.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Oh, hey . . . keep forgetting . . .

I changed my settings so anyone can post comments (for now), whether you have a blogger account or not. So any super-stealth lurkers (Julie!) can leave comments if ya want.

Stripping . . .

is not as sexy as it sounds, particularly when what is being stripped are cloth diapers. Good question from the comments about what stripping involves. Sometimes cloth diapers will collect a build-up for detergent residue. This can happen when you use a bit too much detergent in your regular wash, or sometimes, it just happens. No big deal, really. One way to strip is to just wash the diapers several times on hot water with absolutely no soap or detergent. Generally, if there is detergent residue, when you open your washer lid after the load has been through the agitation (with no detergent) you will see bubbles. This is the residue that is being lifted. Keep washing until no bubbles can be seen in the rinse cycle. Or, even better, here are some instructions from Cottonbabies on how to do it. Note that they also mention the Dawn Original - apparently, it helps break down the detergent so no residue is left behind. So far, I have never stripped my diapers, though I did buy some used that needed to have their hemp inserts stripped. As a side note - I hear hemp is much worse about detergent build-up. I have mostly gotten rid of my hemp inserts (for the pocket diapers) because the ones I had did tend to get detergent build-up.

So, that's it for stripping! Pretty painless, but a little time-consuming.

Speaking of stripping - it is so insanely hot I have allowed D to strip down and run naked for the moment. Even in our air-conditioned townhouse, it's hot. With the fans on. We are headed to the pool in a minute (for that she cannot go naked!).

And speaking of pools, we had a lovely time at the swim play date yesterday! I really hit it off with the two of the mamas who have little boys near D's age. I am glad I went and hope to get together with them again soon! You never know who you might meet at library storytime . . .

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Random natterings

Just some random things:

1) I feel I should expand a bit on my last post. It may have sounded like I hated prefolds entirely and now use pockets exclusively . . . and that was the case until last spring. Once D started walking, her body shape changed quite a bit. It was at that time I also discovered I really liked pinning prefolds on her - they are SO absorbent and I can get them on her in a really trim fold. (Ask if you want details!) Also last spring, I discovered the beauty of wool covers, and that led to the purchase of tons of fitted diapers to go under the lovely wool. I promise at one point I will do a whole entry (with links!) on the diapers I love to use, but that's going to be an undertaking. Right now in our stash, we have prefolds, flats (basically a prefold that hasn't been, well, prefolded for you!), fitteds, pockets, and one lonely All-In-Two. (Julie, if you are reading, I SWEAR I will also do an entry on what all these categories are!)

2) Good question, Rece, in the comments. (I need Rece's mama to show me how to get D to do the diaper laundry around here! LOL!) I actually don't dry everything. I usually don't dry my pockets - I let them air dry which happens fairly quickly, even in the muggy summer air.

And yes - getting that laundry routine down can be frustrating. We have really hard water here, so I tend to use a bit more detergent than others, but that's just one of those little quirks that each person has to figure out for their situation.

3) Non CD related . . . Today D and I went to the library for toddler storytime.

(Sidebar gripe - the librarian who does the toddler storytime stresses me out! She is all about "now make sure you are sitting down . . . let's everyone stay sitting on our bottoms . . . okay, make sure to sit really still . . ." UGH! D wants to walk around and explore and flirt and check things out. So half the time I take her outside the room until it gets to the part where everyone gets in a circle and sings songs. She LOVES that! But she always turns to me and starts doing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and signing "please!" And I have to tell her, "No, dear - she doesn't take requests." Anyway, it really bothers me that amazingly the majority of the other toddlers there DO sit still and listen quietly. I don't know - maybe she is gifted and bored easily. :) I actually think the others there are either younger than her and therefore not mobile enough to roam, or are older than her and have an attention span that lasts longer than, say, 10 seconds . . . but I have digressed badly.)

So at storytime, I met this really nice mama who has a little boy about D's age. When he started getting cranky, she just took him the back of the room and nursed him! Oh how I wish D weren't way too easily distracted to still go for that! Anyway, after storytime we were talking about signing - her son is really good at it. So then she invited me to join her and some other mommy friends and their kiddos for swimming tomorrow. I am kind of nervous because I barely know her and won't know anyone else and I sometimes have mild Social Anxiety Disorder in such situations, but I figure - what the heck? Worse case scenario - they are all gorgeous, model-thin mamas in bikinis and not a stretch mark to be seen (ahem, Meghan) with perfectly behaved children who don't even splash in the pool and at some point one of them politely tells me that my broken-out face (which, by the way, can only be described as GROSS) and ill-behaved nose-picker of a child won't be asked back to any more swim dates. What will I have lost, really, except perhaps a little dignity?

Monday, August 14, 2006

Okay, here goes!

The Ins-and-Outs of Cloth Diapering by a Self-Proclaimed Cloth Diaper Nerd:
(how's that for gratuitous capitalization?)

Grace mentioned in her comment to the Super(wo)man entry that I switched to cloth diapering in mid-babyhood. This is true. In fact, at the end of September we will have been a cloth family for one year!

A few disclaimers before I share "our way":
1) A lot of CDing is experimentation. The first day I put D in a tri-folded prefold in a Bummi Super Whisper Wrap, I literally cried because I hated how bulky it looked on her (not-so-little) 8 month old frame. So I experimented around and found some diapers I did like. And stopped dressing her in onesies every day - that helped immensely. Anyway - there is (in my opinion) a steep learning curve at the beginning, but there are also fantastic resources out there in the form of cloth diapering message boards to help you through.
2) Every baby and every family is different. I myself am a stay-at-home mom who prefers to keep D in cloth as much as possible. D is a heavy-wetter with chunky thighs, thin waist, and short rise. So what works for us is just that - what works for us. Your mileage may vary.

So, here goes:

In the beginning, I was looking for the cheapest way to CD. I didn't have a whole lot of money for starting a stash. In fact, that can be a big concern for anyone looking to make the switch. The start-up costs can be big. Ideally, if you are pregnant, you can start building a stash in those 9 months (or in D's case - 41 weeks, 4 days, not that I am bitter or anything). It's a lot easier to buy a few here and there. For that matter, if you do want to make the switch later in babyhood, I am sure you could buy a few a month and CD part-time until you have a workable stash. I personally don't have that kind of self-control and I wanted to do it all - NOW.

So I started with prefolds and Bummi covers from a lovely little brick-and-mortar CD store in the very lovely town just down the road from us: Full Circle Baby. It was a delight to work with a great CDing mama in starting my stash. But as I mentioned, we were in the full-on, nothing but onesies stage of babyhood and snapping a onesie around a tri-folded prefold in a Bummi cover was not only tricky, it looked ridiculous (to me). It was at about that time that some wonderful mamas on the forums at Diaper Pin shared some advice with me: take it slow, check out used diapers, dress D in t-shirts and dresses, and give it time. Diaper Pin has a wonderful For Sale or Trade forum and shortly after that I discovered Diaperswappers.

I know, I know - the thought of buying and selling USED cloth diapers totally skeeves some people out. I don't know what to say to that except that it doesn't bother me. I can purchase them so much cheaper gently used and wash them and dry them myself before I put them on D to make sure they are adequately clean. If you think about it, the people who use cloth diaper services are also using "used" diapers on their kids - diaper services don't send you a stack of brand new diapers each week - trust me.

I soon discovered I loved the ease and trim fit of pocket diapers. The most basic and probably most popular pocket diaper on the scene right now is Fuzzi Bunz. As you can see from the picture, it is a diaper that has a waterproof outer layer, a stay-dry inner layer of microfleece, and there is space in between for you to stuff your insert (which is what holds the moisture. oh who are we kidding? It holds the pee!). Though many, many CD retailers sell FBs, I linked you to Cotton Babies because I love, love, love their inserts! Anyway, my pocket stash has expanded and I have more favorites these days, but that's another post.

I believe Grace was asking as far as day-to-day CDing - what does it look like, right?

Well, I keep all of D's diapers in her (unused) bassinet in her room. They are all ready to go next to the changing area on her bed. When she is wet, I spray a cloth wipe with my homemade wipe solution, wipe, and put the cloth wipe and diaper in the wet bag. We have a NappSack that I got on ebay. I will let you read on that page about all that a wet bag is (I am getting tired, friends!), but basically you should know that no one really does wet pails anymore. Wet bags are a great thing and much easier with which to work.

Now, if we have a poopy dipe to change, I will make sure to wet down a few cloth wipes first. Then I lay her down, change her, put her fresh dipe on and let her play while I take said poopy dipe to the bathroom. If the CD gods are a-smiling on me, then I can shake that bad boy into the toilet and flush and PRESTO CHANGE-O, I am done! But as I mentioned in the previous entry, sometimes it's more involved. Anyway, when the clean-up is over, I put that dipe in the wet bag.

Laundry - I do laundry every other night after D is in bed. It's a routine I have had from the beginning and I don't really want to change it. I have enough diapers to go longer between washes, but I personally feel that washing every other night keeps our diapers stink-free and stain-free. Our laundry routine is cold rinse, hot wash with two tablespoons of Sun detergent and a few drops of Dawn Original dishwashing soap, followed by one more cold rinse to make sure the detergent is all rinsed away. I pop most everything in the dryer and then I am done!

Did I cover everything? If you have other questions, let me know. It's getting late and my head hurts, so I am sure some things have been left out.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

this will happen . . .

Grace (and other avid readers who just can't WAIT to hear about how we cloth diaper, step-by-step - hee hee!), I really am planning an entry to walk it through, it's just that life happens and I haven't gotten the time to devote to it that I want to. But fear not! It will happen! I haven't forgotten!

Friday, August 11, 2006

I'm no Super(wo)man

First, I wanted to tell you all thanks for all the positive feedback on our veggin' out experiment! Today was the last of the Ten Days Without Meat, and I can say I have learned SOOOOO much more than I ever dreamed possible. I am looking forward to having dairy and eggs in my life again (do you know HOW many recipes call for eggs?! Sheesh! Hats off to all the vegans out there - I am indeed inspired by your dedication to your principles). I am also looking forward to really, really focusing on using more whole foods in our meals. I cannot say enough how much better I feel physically since we started focusing on more whole foods, less processed food - and feeling better physically is always good for the ol' mental health as well.

Now, on to what is on my mind . . .

Yesterday, D and I went over to visit a neighbor who is new to town. She has a darling little boy who is a few months younger than D, so we tried to visit as much as is possible while refereeing two only children who are quite sure every object they encounter is surely for their amusement alone. Her son got into my purse and found a disposable diaper I had tucked in last minute - just in case. She noted that those were the same diapers they used, and so of COURSE I had to mention that we use cloth diapers - but that I carry disposables with me out of the house. She then did the Wayne's World-esque "we're not worthy bow" and went on about how awesome I am . . .

Well, as much as I would like to perceive myself as being awesome, I would be a big, fat, phony fake if I considered myself awesome for cloth diapering. The very real truth is that cloth diapering is EASY. Shamefully, surprisingly easy.

Let me share with you the few things about cloth diapering that I personally find challenging, and then compare that to how unchallenging the rest is (to me anyway):

(note to the squeamish: in-depth poop descriptions below)
1. I know you have wondered, and the truth is that yes - poopy diaper clean-ups can get tricky. There are two stages of a child's life when the poopy cloth diaper presents relatively few hurdles: the newborn/infant 100% breastfed stage and the older toddler stage. Babes who are exclusively breastfed have poopy diapers that are water soluble, so you simply toss the whole thing in the diaper pail (or wet bag) and everything comes out in the first pre-rinse of the diaper load. It washes down the drain, safe and sound. When a toddler is older and solids are well-established, poops are nice and solid and just roll off the diaper into the toilet and get flushed into the sewer just like yours does - safe and sound. However, gentle reader, there is a stage of life that proves to be a bit, ahem, icky in the arena of poopy dipes. And that is the stage dear D has been in pretty much since we started CDing almost a year ago. Because she is still breastfed and because she is a very picky eater, her poopy diapers are almost always of a sort of very thick mashed potato texture. And that means in order to get it into the toilet to flush away, I have to use a Poop Scraper (an old kitchen spatula that is now clearly and boldly labeled POOP ONLY). And to be honest, there are some poopy diapers that I wish I could just wrap up and throw away -- but since I have paid anywhere from $10-$20 for each diaper, I resist that urge and power through. But it ain't pretty. BUT, my house never smells like stinky toddler poop either! (more on this later)

2. Aside from icky clean-ups, it can be tricky when one first starts CDing to find the system that will work for you and your babe. This holds true as babe grows and her body shape changes, her poop consistency evolves, and her ability to soak a diaper with a power jet of pee reaches off-the-chart status. So there is always some trial-and-error involved in building and maintaining a workable diaper stash. (But, sometimes, that's half the fun. Or more than half for me! More later)

3. Finally, some people encounter laundering problems that can be very frustrating. Those who have front loading washing machines or water that is too hard or water that is too soft . . . these things can throw a wrench in getting diapers nice and delightfully clean. Again, it's just a matter of trial-and-error to find a laundry system that works for you, but once you get there, you rarely have to make adjustments.

(for me anyway)

1. I will openly confess while I originally started CDing to save money, cloth diapering quickly became a hobby of sorts for me. I love diaper shopping! One of the glorious benefits of CDing is the CUTE factor! No boring, standard, utilitarian paper dipes for our sweet D. Her cute buns are almost always in something pink or lavender or flowery (hmmmm, that reminds me - I might like to find something pink AND lavender AND flowery!). I kind of suspect that moms of girls tend to find the CUTE factor to be more alluring than moms of boys, but I could be wrong. But now on the odd occasion D is in a 'sposie dipe, I feel kind of sad for the lack of cuteness covering her booty region that day.

2. I think it's pretty fun to be doing something good for the earth. Yes, yes, yes - there is GREAT debate out there as to the actual environmental benefits of CDing. Many diapers are made from cotton and standard cotton growing practices are not kind to the earth. (The most posh and lovely of diapers are made from organic cotton which is both delicious to the touch and generally grown in an earth-respecting way.) Then there is the fact that most of the more convenient and popular diapers have polyester laminate outers - and polyester is made in factories . . . factories that contribute to pollution and other un-earth-loving things.

But what I like to remember is that every time I diaper D with cloth, that is one less 'sposie in a landfill somewhere. Remember the Oprah show on Global Warming 101 ? She made a huge deal over the statistic that "Americans throw away 49 million diapers every single day," and that "the diapers end up in landfills and could take 500 years to decompose." That's a lot of ick for a long time to come. Yes, parents could choose Elimination Communication or letting baby go "diaper-free," but the odds of that movement taking hold in Western culture seem a bit slim to me. CDing, on the other hand, seems to be the lesser of two evils.

3. As I mentioned above, since D's poop goes down the toilet, our house never smells like dirty diapers! Self-explanatory as to why that rocks.

4. It's great not to worry about the chemicals next to D's most delicate skin.

5. And it's really, really wonderful when I think about how uncomfortable I would feel in paper underwear and to be able to know that the vast majority of the time, the materials next to D's skin are much kinder to her very sensitive skin.

Please know, friends, that all of this is just my explanation as to why for US, the choice to cloth diaper is so fun, so easy, so worth it that I feel extremely embarrassed when people assume I am some kind of Super Mom for doing it. I am not - far from it, in fact! But I also know that it is not a choice for everyone and I highly respect every parent's right to make the best decisions for their babes and their homes.

Buuuuuut, if you ever wanna know more about the ins-and-outs and ups-and-downs of diapering with cloth, I am here for ya!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Something delicious happened. . .

I have a bunch of stuff percolating to write about, but it's all still floating around like so many dust particles . . . so I will hold off on that. I do want to say I am IMMENSELY enjoying our meat-free experiment! I have always had problems with blood sugar, but after the first two days of our non-meat protein based diet, I haven't had any problems at all. Another huge benefit for me has been the elimination of the 3-4 pm snack attacks. Usually in the mid-afternoon, I eat snack stuff almost non-stop, but a few days ago I realized I hadn't had the need to eat all afternoon.

Grace asked what we had for dinner the other night . . . it was yummy, let me tell ya! I baked some golden potatoes and we topped those with a recipe called Split Pea Splendor that I found. It was basically cooked split peas blended with celery, soy sauce, and pepper. Delicious! We had salad and veggies on the side. Another night I marinated some portabello mushrooms and sauteed those in the skillet and served some red beans and rice on the side. Very good and very filling. I have been so amazed at what having so much protein in my system has done for me. I feel really good! Kyle has said when our experiment is over (Friday is the last day), he wants to add a little meat back in our diet, but I am kind of thinking that I will continue to go meatless for the time being. We are currently not eating dairy or eggs - I miss my dairy!!! So I look forward to adding that back in after Friday.

Overall, going meatless has really challenged my thoughts about what makes a good meal. It has stretched my imagination in the kitchen - a very good thing, indeed! After eight years of marriage, I find myself making the same old boring stuff week after week. I am wanting to eat REAL food and make sure Dace is doing the same. The child is happy with cheese on a tortilla, so it's been a challenge to get her to try new foods, but I read it's much more difficult to introduce new tastes after a child turns two, so the clock is ticking on our attempts to help her have a wide and varied palate for food.

Two books in my Amazon cart that I hope to get ordered today:

Simple Vegetarian Pleasures

Quick Vegetarian Pleasures

Quick, simple, healthy - yep, sign me up!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Checking in

I am very, VERY frustrated with blogger right now. I am trying to post a Dacey video, but apparently that isn't meant to be.

Anyway, our journey into eating whole foods is actually going wonderfully. I am really enjoying the amazing and diverse recipes I have found and am eating things it never occured to me to eat. For example, in the past, a typical lunch for me might be PBJ, some Pringles or fruit, and a cup of yogurt. However for lunch today, I smashed up some avocado and tofu together and threw in some salsa, spread that on my homemade wheat bread (which I was already making before our Less Meat Experiement began) along with some hummus, replaced my Pringles with cucumber sliced very thin and drizzled with roasted salsa vinagrette, and broiled some pear halves which I sprinkled with cinnamon, ginger, and brown sugar. Hello, delicious!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Crunchier by the minute - literally

I married me a carnivore.

Kyle's fave meal has always been steak, topped with steak, and a little steak on the side. I have been secretly delighted that Dace shows some strong vegetarian tendencies, which has perplexed and confused her meat-eating father. And really, it's no small miracle that Dacey loves veggies because Kyle makes a huge production about how much he hates eating anything green, raw, or that "feels sqeaky on my teeth."

You can only imagine my absolute shock when last night my carniverous husband approached me with the suggestion that maybe we should start cutting back on the meat in our diet. Beef in particular. After a sideways glance to the Eastern sky to see if the Lord was coming back, I said, "Um, okay . . ."

I guess I should share with you that my husband has been making lots of changes in his life lately. His spiritual life has become more deep, more real, and more important to him than ever before. A result of that inner growth has been lots of external changes. And this desire to eat more healthy, whole foods with an emphasis on less meat and more veggies is one of the more significant transformations yet.

I was so taken aback by this suggestion that I literally dreamed of vegetables last night! I have long thought that I could easily find fulfillment in a vegetarian lifestyle, but just never thought I would see the day when that would become reality. But I am pretty much freaking out at the thought right now. I have NO IDEA what I am doing. I do know of resources within the natural parenting community that will help get me started (my friend Noah will be a great place to start), but I am still pretty wide-eyed over it all.

And I just got back from the grocery where I spent $33 on vegetables - a first for me, I can tell you that.

So, gentle readers, if you have some ideas to share with me on how to make this transition, feel free to share! If you need me, I will be crunching on carrots while I clean out the fridge . . .

Monday, July 31, 2006

Muy malo mami

My mother-in-law has told me on many an occasion that Motherhood's middle name is Guilt.

In the past 18 months, I have struggled with maternal guilt about many things - some big, some small. And it seems that each time I come to a place of peace about the reality of who I am as a mother and manage to chase the guilt monster back out the front door, it sneaks back in through a window I didn't know was left open. . .

In Dacey's early months, I was a wreck over the amount of sleep she was getting - or more accurately NOT getting - each day. Her naps were only 30-45 minutes and I was just sure the lack of napping would eventually lead to lack of learning and she would someday figure out that all of her intellectual struggles found their roots in the fact that her mother couldn't get her to nap enough as an infant. When she turned 6 months old, her naptimes finally evened out and I enjoyed a long, long time of feeling confident in her daytime sleep schedule. In fact, I had begun to relish the fact that even as a toddler, she still took two naps a day. As her peers began to drop that morning nap, I delighted in the fact that "Dacey is a child that just needs a lot of daytime sleep" (as I so blithely told a friend last Friday).

And so in the last few days, as Dacey has clearly shown me that she is ready to transition to one nap a day, I have been inundated with emotions - most of them negative. Sad but true, I have felt a real sense of loss in watching this change in my child. I would love to be able to heroically reflect on how this transition to one nap is symbolic of the bigger transition from baby to toddler, how I am realizing that she really is a big girl these days, and other sweet, loving thoughts.

But the dark truth is the loss I am grieving is not the end of babyhood, but rather the further shrinkage of my Mommy Time.

For months, my days had been ordered by what I could get done during nap time. Dacey's morning naps afforded me time to take long, peaceful showers and spend time in quiet reflection on the Word of God and in prayer. Her afternoon naps were my writing time - a can of diet Coke and a keyboard provided sweet respite from the rest of the day. I loved naptime - not because I don't love spending time with D, but because I treasure spending time with myself.

And so this transition to one nap has brought about a real sense of loss and sadness for me. And for that I feel tremendously guilty. I know that ideally, I would be excited that more awake time for Dace means more interaction, more learning opportunities, more memories to be made. But the reality is that I am really struggling with having to create a new normal in light the light of our new schedule.

I know I will adjust. I know I will find ways to compensate. And in fact, in a few weeks I will look back on this post and shudder at my selfishness. But for now I just needed to confess my guilt . . .

Saturday, July 29, 2006

"A breast is a breast . . ."

There's nothing terribly profound about that statement. A breast is a breast. A nose is a nose. An ear is an ear. It sounds sort of like playing "Let's learn our anatomy" with Dace. And yet I am terribly troubled by that statement because of the words that followed it in a recent article Lactivists: Where is it OK to breastfeed? . A woman - a mother, actually - in Belton, Texas (a few short hours up the road from me, but a universe away when it comes to parenting perspectives) said of the recent Babytalk cover, "A breast is a breast -- it's a sexual thing." (She also said she shredded the magazine cover so her 13 year old son wouldn't see it . . .)

So a breast is a breast -- it's a sexual thing. Ironically, this issue of Babytalk (which sits, as I write, on my dining room table - unshredded) discusses some of the reasons why American women don't breastfeed, or don't breastfeed for the entire twelve months recommened by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The article - tagged as a Babytalk EXCLUSIVE! - summarizes the reasons that most moms are pretty much already aware of: nursing problems, time commitment, too much of a hassle when going back to work. Oh yeah, and negative public attitude. Huh - kind of like Belton Mom's proclamation that a breast is a "sexual thing."

I think Belton Mom's statement (along with other reader comments about the cover shot like "gross" and "inappropriate") tells much more about the dismal rates of long-term breastfeeding success in America than anything the Babytalk article was willing to say. In countries around the world, breastfeeding is not something to be hidden; women are not hassled or cajoled or dismissed to bathrooms to feed their babes. Countries where women have the highest success rate for both initiating and continuing breastfeeding are countries where the culture understands that breasts are not merely "sexual things".

Later, in the article Babytalk's editor references a "Puritanical streak" in which there is a "squeamishness about seeing a body part." Clearly, Babytalk's fearless editor has not perused a magazine stand lately where she would see lots, lots more boobie exposed on the covers of Maxim and Cosmopolitan than she would have dared to reveal on her magazine's cover. Perhaps Ms. Editor also doesn't watch TV, or surely she would see ads for Victoria's Secret that dare to defy America's "squeamish" attitudes about breasts by showing pretty much everything but nipples hanging out of lacy lingerie.

The last line of this article really irked me, too. A mom from Montana stated that breastfeeding is a moment that should "just stay between a mother and her child." Now, I am all about celebrating the beauty that is breastfeeding. It has been and continues to be a very magical, mystical, wonderful part of mothering my child. And yet it also serves the very practical purpose of FEEDING HER. And that was particularly the case when she was an infant and relied soley on my breasts for food. Montana Mom's statement that these moments should be kept private is ridiculous! Well, unless we are going to ask bottle feeding moms to also keep the moments they spend providing nourishment for their babies private as well.

A like-minded mama friend of mine recently made a statement that it's going to take time - maybe another generation or two - before American culture isn't so freaked out about seeing a mother nursing her babe. I know I personally didn't see a lot of breastfeeding going on in public when I was growing up. Our parents certainly didn't. I think the BEST thing we can do in this generation is to allow our children to grow up knowing that breastfeeding is a wonderful, natural, practical experience, that breasts are indeed more than sexual things, that a nursing mother is not deriving any sexual pleasure from the act of breastfeeding, and that there is nothing to feel embarrassed about when a mom chooses to feed her child this way.
I don't know. I'd like to think so. We'll see.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Well, so here's one thing . . .

Just went and checked the mail and was delighted to find my order from Cottonbabies! Woo hoo! We have been working our way back to using cloth diapers at night . . . Dacey is an amazingly heavy wetter, so we have had to use disposables at night for several months now. But finally the massive amounts of night pee seem to be tapering off and so I have turned to the most truly reliable cloth diaper I have come across . . . Cotton Babies bumGenius! diapers. I love these diapers so much because they are so trim, so bullet-proof, and so easy to use. I ordered two more and got colors this time - one Grasshopper and one Butternut. The Butternut is not nearly as yellow in real life. It really is the color of butternut squash - sort of an orangey yellow. Anyway, few things bring such a thrill to my soul as getting brand new diapers in the mail. I had to share my excitement!

This is just a post to say

I can't think of anything to say today. Dacey was up a LOT last night with teething. Bleh. So I am all brain-dead and bleary-eyed. I need coffee and lots of it. Maybe I will think of something profound to share after some caffeine intervention, but if not, you know why. *yawn*

Thursday, July 27, 2006

So, I have a confession to make . . .

Dacey turns 18 months tomorrow. How that is even possible is beyond me. But anyway, my confession is that today I went to my very first ever meeting of La Leche League . What on earth would posess me, you might ask, to go to an LLL meeting when I have already been breastfeeding for 18 months? Well, as much as I love, love, love my online community of mamas in varying degrees of crunchy-hood, I find myself yearning to hang with some real-life, reach out and touchable like-minded mamas. And boy did I find some today!

There were seven mamas there total, including the LLL leader. The leader is a cute, smart woman with a cute, smart name (Megan - hee hee). Of the seven, three were pregnant - very pregnant, like due any day now pregnant, and the other mamas had babes younger than Dace. So it felt kind of strange, but strange in a good way. Mostly because when I was pregnant, I would have never even dreamed I would be breastfeeding a toddler. Confession #2 for today - I used to think that breastfeeding past infancy was creepy. I felt quite sure that once teeth started to come in, it was time to get the babe off the boob. But then I HAD a babe who responded so enthusiastically to breastfeeding that, well, the creep-out factor has long since disappeared. And interestingly, the discussion topic today had to do with weaning! :) So there we were, living proof that just because your friends and neighbors all think that 12 months is the upper limit for nursing doesn't mean you HAVE to get put away (or burn) that nursing bra just yet.

I gotta tell ya, friends, these three women who were there who are pregnant are cuhhhhhhhhhhhrrrrrrrrrruuuuuunchy! They were a great reminder why I titled my blog "sorta crunchy." While I do try to incorporate natural living and parenting into our lives as much as possible, there are some areas I just can't give myself over to complete and utter crunch. Air conditioning, for example. One of the moms-to-be lives here - in sweaty south Texas - with no air conditioning. By choice. And she is great with child. Wow! I totally admire her for allegiance to natural living! But I can tell you right now that I would be loathe to spend a day with no a/c, let alone be preparing to give birth in such circumstances. And yeah, all three women are planning home births attended by the local midwife. And this is another area where I failed the test of granola-ific-ness. Confession #3 - I didn't even entertain the thought of a natural childbirth. Seriously. My suspicion that I have a tremendously low pain threshold was decidedly confirmed for me by the time I hit 4 cm of dialation and had labored for 8 hours. I formed a strong emotional bond with the man who got me my epidural. Really, I did - he was a great help and support to me through the c-section process. And so I applaud with reckless abandon the women who are able to deliver babies into this world without any medicinal relief. You should probably just know I am not one of them.

And all of this ties back into the article I posted earlier. Attachment Parenting, natural living, crunchiness . . . whatever label you want to put on parenting choices, does not (in my humble opinion) have to be a 100% sold-out lifestyle. As I discuss with you the natural parenting choices we make, I will be sure to point out the ones we have chosen not to and why. But like the article I posted reminds us, it really comes down to a state of mind. It is much more important to be authentic to who you are as a parent and as a family rather than to make parenting decisions based on that which is expected of you by your community.

Okay, one LAST thing -- I shamelessly put Dace in a sundress that I knew would show off her cute little lavender Happy Heiny in hopes of sparking some cloth diapering conversation. And it worked! One of the mamas stopped me afterwards to talk cloth! She is thinking of making the switch because it pains her to see all the disposables that go out in the trash when they so meticulously recycle most everything else. I had a hot pink Fuzzi Bunzin the diaper bag to let her touch and experience. :) So maybe a seed was planted . . . we'll see.

What is Attachment Parenting?

First of all - YAY to comments! I am so excited someone is actually reading! hee hee! Meghan - you sweet mama. I stalk your blog relentlessly so I can relive all those wonderful newborn moments vicariously through you and Xan. *sigh* Treasure those days, woman!

Okay, that's probably enough exclamation points for one day.

So yesterday I shared my thoughts on my own introduction to Attachment Parenting and why it was the best choice for myself, for my husband, and for our daughter. I know not everyone is familiar with the concepts behind Attachment Parenting, so I wanted to share this article by Diane West that I think sums up the philosophy wonderfully.

AP State of Mind

It seems to me that in a lot of AP communities, both on and offline, there is a lot of emphasis on the parenting choices that often go hand-in-hand with APing . . . things like cloth diapering, babywearing, choosing not to vaccinate or circumcize, etc. But as the article so wonderfully explains, Attachment Parenting is a state of mind that governs all parenting decisions, not just parenting practices.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

So, let's start at the beginning . . .

I have been thinking about what to share and when a lot in the past few days. I think Maria/Julie Andrews had the right idea when she sang that the beginning is a "very good place to start . . ." So let's start there.

I know I would not have chosen many of the natural parenting practices in our life if it weren't for the fact that I sort of stumbled into Attachment Parenting. I didn't choose Attachment Parenting - it chose me. I want to share on this blog some thoughts about this idea that I posted on a private mommy board I belong to. It's fairly long, but gives some perspective on how I came to find that for me and my household, we need to be AP:

September 18, 2005

Several years ago, when Kyle and I first started thinking about starting a family, his sister gave me her copy of Babywise. I read it several times because something in it seemed to make sense to me. (gasp! I know -- but keep reading!) On the surface, (and this is my opinion ONLY) Babywise appealed to the part of me that desperately wanted to do things the “right” way when it came to starting a family. My relationship with Kyle is extremely important to me, and BW made it sound like if you follow his plan, you can introduce a baby to the family without rocking the marital boat at all. PLUS, your baby will sleep through the night at 6 weeks! Or no later than 8 weeks! And, hey, what’s not to love about that? So I jumped on the BW wagon long before Dacey first danced for us on the ultrasound screen.

So, Dacey Allyse came into this world via emergency c/s at 5:43 am on Jan 28th. It was very scary at the end, and we could have lost her. Since I had no delusions of natural childbirth (I will be the first to admit I don’t do well with pain!), I wasn’t the least disappointed to have delivered through c/s. I was amazingly grateful that she was alive. So that first night, I asked everyone to leave to go get sleep -- really, I just ached to have some alone time with my daughter. By the end of the first night, I had pulled Dacey into bed with me, and already I felt guilty for breaking one of the “rules.” But I already felt powerfully attached to her. My bonding with her was instant and fierce beyond what I had dreamed possible. In those moments as she slept peacefully beside me in that hospital bed, I knew there was no way I could ever leave her alone to cry. . .

After we got home, I found I wanted to hold her all the time. I was struggling to make breastfeeding work, but thankfully my mother-in-law came for two weeks to take care of everything else so I could focus on Dacey. Sometimes she would suggest I might be holding Dace too much, and I sank deeper into guilt, because I so badly wanted to do the “right” thing and not spoil Dacey, but I was compelled to have her near me at all times! And so began the internal battles that mark so much of Dacey’s first months of life -- I desperately wanted to do the right things, but so much of what I read was “right” felt so WRONG to do!

I could go on and on about how miserable I was those first months -- constantly questioning my every decision -- should I have not rocked her to sleep? Did I let her cry too long? What’s going to happen if I keep rocking her to sleep? Why won’t she be content to stay in her bucket carrier while I grocery shop? I have her on a good feeding schedule -- WHY isn’t she sleeping through the night?? WHAT AM I DOING WRONG? Worse still, I felt I couldn't be honest with my BW-following friends. Yes, of course she sleeps in her crib at night (at 6 weeks . . . . yeah right!). Mmmm hmmmm, I let her cry to sleep if she needs to (not even for FIVE MINUTES!!). But on the inside, I was torn. I felt like a fraud and a failure everyday.

Kyle, bless his heart, felt helpless to help me. He did encourage me to let Dacey sleep with us at night. He actually preferred to have her in bed with us! I kept asking him, “what if she is still sleeping with us when she is TWO?” “I don’t care!” he told me over and over. . . . Finally, he DEMANDED I not pick up another baby book. He could see how miserable I was. I cried almost every day. I was so disappointed. Disappointed in myself for not being strong enough to let her cry. Disappointed in Dacey for not acting the way the books all but promised she would. And I was scared. Was my “indulgence” of her going to turn her into the fussy, miserable, demanding baby that BW used as the example for “what not to do”???

(One bright spot in all of this -- feeding her was never a concern. We got through the first few weeks of breastfeeding and we both were doing great. I demand fed her for the first month, but quickly found that a loosely structured schedule of feedings really did work for both of us. Nursing Dacey was the only thing I felt confident in during those first months!)

OKAY, anyway!! Kyle’s boss’s wife had given me her copy of Sears’ The Baby Book when I was pregnant. Of course, since I was into BW, I just put in on the shelf. There’s no way I was falling for that AP stuff!! I thought, I don’t know much, but I know what AP kids turn into -- spoiled brats! (Yes, that was what I really thought!)

But you know what? I finally allowed myself to read something Dr. Sears wrote in Babytalk a few months ago. It was about high-needs babies. When Kyle and I read that article, we stared at each other. He had described Dacey perfectly. My heart softened toward Dr. Sears because he knew what having a high-needs baby was about, and he offered a peaceful, compassionate alternative to parenting her.

So last night, I finally got out The Baby Book and started reading a little bit. I was actually in tears. If only, IF ONLY!! If only I had read THAT when I was pregnant. If only I had KNOWN about the benefits of baby wearing and shared sleep and that not only is it okay to follow what your heart leads you to do in parenting, it is THE RIGHT THING TO DO. I feel so stupid that the encouragement and direction I desperately needed in those early months was on my bookshelf the whole time!!

So, if you are still reading this (and bless your heart if you are!), I guess I just want to say THANK YOU to all of the AP moms on here. In reading your posts, I saw that it’s okay that Dacey isn’t totally sleeping through the night yet. It’s okay to not let her cry it out or become a self-soother yet if it breaks my heart to do so. (And, again, no judgment implied or intended to those who have found success with CIO -- it just never worked for us.) It’s okay to hold and carry her when she wants to be held and carried. She will not be a monster baby! In fact, the funny thing is, people CONSTANTLY comment on what a laid-back, alert, content baby she is!! (Of course, she wasn’t in those early months, but amazingly, she is now!)

I could still go on and on about how in reading The Baby Book, I have found parenting advice that completely echoes the approach that Kyle and I sort of stumbled into on our own. But, there isn't much support for AP practices in my circle of friends. If it weren’t for the online support and encouragement I have found here, I don’t know how I would have made it. So thank you for consistently and passionately sharing your thoughts on parenting practices on here. Your collective support of AP has made a difference in our family. I still feel bad about how miserable and ignorantly stubborn I was in those first months, but all I can say is, now I know better and will do better in the future!

So yeah, that's how Attachment Parenting found me. What I love about AP is at its core, it encourages parents to really get to know their baby so they can best meet the needs of THAT baby - the one God entrusted them both to be able to parent. And as I will share in the coming days, it's within the world of APing that I discovered so many of the natural parenting practices that have made our lives more rich (and fun!) today.