I’ve been cloth diapering my two youngest children for one year this month. My older son, who just recently turned three, is on his way to being fully potty trained and out of cloth diapers. My baby, who is eighteen months has been wearing cloth diapers from the time he was six months old.
I began cloth-diapering after a close friend of mine initiated cloth with her daughter who suffers from severe exzema. I don’t know what made me follow her lead exactly but I have pinned it down to a few factors: 1) My desire to be “green” and eco-friendly, 2) An eager effort to save money, 3) My love of fabric and textiles, and 4) Seeing my sons wearing their cloth, looking too cute and knowing how much more comfortable it was for them.
The past year of cloth-diapering my boys has been quite an adventure. I started out with G-diapers because I felt a hybrid diaper would be an easier transition from disposables to cloth. They were fun and definitely adorable but a little messy when my boys pooped. After my first encounter with seeing my friends’ pockets diapers in person–I had to have some!! I went ahead and ordered a few Bum Genius 3.0′s and I loved them! They were so much like a disposable only I had to wash them–which I absolutely loved doing because cloth diapers came out smelling so clean and fluffy–in the beginning. (I will devote my cloth diapers laundry excursions to a separate post) Over the past year my collection has grown and I own a variety of nappies. In addition to the G-Diapers and Bum Genius’s my boys have had the opportunity of wearing: Bummis pre-folds with Thirsties Duo wraps, Thirsties Pocket All-in-Ones, Fuzzibunz, Happy Heiny’s, Bum Genius Bamboo fitteds, Thirsties Fab-Fitted, Bum Genius Organic All-in-one (my favorite daytime diaper, and I have recently added Grovia Hybrids(which are nice!).
I have pretty much lost count but I believe I own about 30/35 diapers. It was pretty easy to rationalize the purchasing of cloth diapers in the beginning because it was costing me over $100/month to diaper both of my sons in disposables. To cut my expenses even more I took a few flannel receiving blankets, cut them up into squares and ta-da –cloth wipes!! Now that my 3 year old is transitioning away from cloth diapers and into underwear (I am proud of him), I am beginning to feel sad. I realize my (last) baby, at eighteen months is not too far from the same milestone. I will miss cloth diapering them greatly and hope to somehow inspire others to cloth diaper in the future.
Filed under: Being a Mom
Every night my two and a half year old climbs out of his bed, walks down the dimly lit hallway with his favorite blankie(he calls na-na) and caterpillar comforter in tow and finds his way into my bed. He somehow manipulates his way down that hallway even when it is cluttered with the toys, boxes, laundry and other evidences of our everyday life. In the dark! Although I would very much like for this soft cuddly guy to someday spend the entire night in his own bed, I do not turn him away. Instead I greet him with hugs and help him pull his toddler-self onto our grown-up bed: comforter, blankie and all.
With a baby brother and a big sister the middle child’s days are often hectic and sometimes I feel that this middle of the night journey that he takes to me is his way of acquiring whatever attention he may fall short of during the day. Maybe it makes better that moment when he’s asking me for something to eat and I make him wait so that I could nurse his screaming baby brother. Or maybe it eases the frustration he feels when I rush him away from his toys so we could hurry his big sister to school. Whatever the reason may be I am happy to provide the extra comfort this little guy needs in the middle of the night.
My creative, energetic, sometimes bossy in a loving way, four and a half year old began kindergarten this September. As a mom of three with two babies at home I could not wait for her to begin. She has so much energy throughout the day it has become difficult for me to keep up with her. While some moms cry as they send their first-born off to school for a full day, I quietly rejoiced.
She was slightly nervous on the first day but gratefully no real tears were shed and since then she has become a truly professional kindergartner. Not only does she enjoy going to school she dutifully does homework and then continues to “play school” through the evening until bedtime. When her homework is complete, her imagination takes over and she magically becomes the teacher. She talks quietly to her students, which are invisible, gives them assignments and lines them up. She has even asked if they could eat dinner with us, which of course I permitted. When my stepdaughter comes over or she has a playdate her bossiness prevails and she tries to coerce them into playing school—she cannot understand why anyone would not enjoy this.
While I am overjoyed that My Little Girl has found an outlet for her overflowing energy I am trying not to count my blessings too soon. My Little Girl has a tendency to indulge herself so completely and full-force into things that oftentimes a melt down occurs. I am bracing myself and crossing my fingers that her intense enthusiasm for kindergarten does not suddenly crash. I hope, that instead, it tapers off into a pure enjoyment and appreciation for school.
When the weather turns cool here in the Bronx and our leaves are just beginning to transform we pack the kids in the car, each with their own warm blanket and take a weekend trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s house in the Adirondacks to enjoy Autumn a little sooner then the rest of the New York City. My husband hunts, so for him it marks the beginning of hunting season. In preparation, he starts to pull together his Mossy Oak gear, read hunting literature and engage the little ones in conversations about hunting. (My daughter wants to go hunting when she is twelve but “not to shoot anything just to watch Daddy”). Hunting is an age-old tradition so, for the most part, I approve. After all, we’ve descended from a long line of hunters and gatherers.
For myself, on our journey to the country, I am on a lookout for pumpkins, good photo opportunities, craft inspiration and colorful leaves. This year I managed to accomplish each: found some nice $3 pumpkins at Save-a-Lot, discovered Sun Classic powder laundry detergent to use on my cloth diapers at a Dollar General, took a few beautiful Fall photos, and yes I also found some inspiration.
Mostly, the trip is for the children. By driving four hours north with them we have found a way to nurture them with nature. It is in the Adirondacks that they break free from the confines of our sidewalk fence and are allowed to explore the entire seven acres of property. They are surprised that the pond which just a few weeks before was warm enough to swim in is now icy water– my daughter wants to know why I “forgot” her bathing suit. Instead of swimming in the pond they harvested rocks and threw them in. My son loves the gentle ‘Coon Hound that lives with Grandma and Grandpa and takes her for walks with Grandma along the stream at the back of the property. This year my daughter collected leaves, berries and wildflowers and turned them into a collage for her kindergarten teacher. This was my baby boy’s first Autumn in the Adirondack air and at eight months old the experience for him was to breathe in the earthy aroma of the woods and feel the brisk country air on his cheeks.
The next time we venture North it will be wintertime and my children will once again witness the transformation of the property. We look forward to their surprised eyes when they discover that the colorful leaves on the trees have been replaced by icicles, the pond resembles a skating rink, and the stream is buried beneath layers of snow.
Filed under: Going Green
Four years, eight months, and eighteen days ago I gave birth to my first child. Like most first time moms I wanted the best of everything for my brand new baby girl—especially clothes. At my baby shower I was presented with a complete wardrobe for the first six months of her life. When she was born family brought more gifts of brand-new clothes. Then three months later I returned to work so that I could buy her even more brand new clothes. To me, there was nothing better than seeing her in a brand new Gap dress or the latest pair of Stride Rite shoes.
Two and a half years later something changed: I gave birth to my second child, a boy. I knew that with two children I would not be able to afford childcare. I would not be able to drop two children off at daycare, go to work and bring home a nice healthy paycheck without handing most of it over to “child-care providers”. I decided to stay home with my children and develop a budget.
Lucky for me, my best friend, had already been a stay at home mom for two years and was a bit more savvy to a budget that did not involve Gap tags and full-priced Stride Rite shoes(not that she didn’t buy these items just that she never paid full price for them—an aha moment for me). She has a son who is a little younger than my daughter and her daughter was born one week after my son. We decided to do a clothing swap—her boy baby clothes for my girl baby clothes.
My first “shipment” arrived in three large diaper boxes and included an entire infant boy’s layette plus clothes that ranged from 3/6 months size to twelve months. I could not believe it! I would not need to clothes shop for my son for an entire year! This meant hundreds of dollars in savings.
So for the past two years I happily package up my daughter’s clothes as she outgrows them and send them to my good friend. I receive her son’s outgrown clothes in return. My first son is two years old now and I could probably count using the fingers on one hand the amount of times I’ve clothes shopped in a store for him.(I “shop” in his closet where I store all of these hand-me-downs) My second boy is seven months old and I enjoy dressing him in the same clothes that have managed to survive two babies before they’ve arrived to him.
The best part? Seeing her two year old daughter in my little girl’s clothes and realizing that my oldest baby was once small enough to fit in them.