Friday, April 30, 2010

The cuddle quota

I've never read this in a parenting book.  Which means it must be wrong, because if it hasn't made it to a parenting book yet then it is either 1) a ridiciculous myth your mother told you 2) a lie you read on a messaging forum or 3) an idiotic idea you came up with yourself.  This falls under the third category.  Maybe I'll just go write a parenting book, so it will then be parenting-book-approved. 

See over in my side bar?  Where it says "about me" and it says my baybee sleeps a lot?  Through the night even?  No longer true.  That sidebar is now a liar.  For ~2 months now MJ wakes up at least once or twice a night.  I realize that's still pretty good in the sleep department, but we were spoiled.  I've adjusted to the new norm, it's fine, I get a little more MJ time, blah, bla bla (more lies I tell myself.)  But I have a new theory.  I call this theory the "cuddle quota" (sounds like a good parenting book title, no?)

She started sleeping poorly right around the same time that she became very active and alert.  And since she started crawling, about 2 weeks ago, putting her to sleep has been a nightmare.  She screams, she wails.  It's really, really awful. 

But yesterday, after an evening with friends that included lots of Moby wearing, she went to sleep instantly.  This morning she woke up at 5; I brought her into bed with me, gave her a bottle and she fell right back asleep.  I'm curious now if she hasn't been getting enough cuddle time.  She used to be held all day long; now she won't tolerate it, but by the end of the day, maybe her cuddle tank is empty.  I know that if I don't get enough cuddle time I feel... off.  Not as happy.  Could it be that my baby is experiencing the same thing?  By forcing her into the Moby, despite her desire to crawl around, I was forcing more cuddling on her.  By doing some early morning co-sleeping she gets even more cuddle time.

Right now this is one data point.  And ya'll know my love of data points. But thinking back, it seems the nights she gets lots of cuddling she sleeps great, so it's really one data point that agrees with heresay (is that better or worse?)  My plan is to put this plan into action.  And write a parenting book about it.  Even if it doesn't work.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ready for grandchildren


Have I mentioned how much I love having a baybee? Like, I think I want to have 9 more? Maybe it gets more difficult at some point, who knows. But being as my uterus might not comply with my desire to have 9 more, I've decided to start prepping MJ to provide me with grandchildren. She seems to be on board.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Grass


We may not have sand, but it turns out grass is just as fascinating. Happy spring!

Friday, April 23, 2010

I'm a cloth diaper whore; and now you can be too!

It is ridiculous.  One of the things that us cloth-diapering mamas can't put into words is the joy that cloth diapers bring.  We all espouse how they're good for the environment.  How they're cheaper.  How we don't fill landfills.  Blah, bla ba.  What we generally DON'T tell you is how giddy we feel when we get fluffy mail.  I think it's kind of like clothing shopping with the added component of morality: not only are we buying something cute and fashionable, we feel like good people for doing it (dangerous, I know.)

So imagine how much giddier one feels when gets a beautiful, glorious, FREE cotton-hemp fitted diaper.  And furthermore?   I get to offer a FREE diaper to one of you lovely folks as well.  It is a good day, people.



I'm probably walking on dangerous ground here. When a blogger is given something to review it is supposed to be an unbiased review, but it actually never seems to be. I have NEVER seen a review of an item given to a blogger that was negative.  Being as this is not, primarily, a giveaway blog, I don't need to rely on freebies from company's. So I will tell you what I actually think. Because I kind of enjoy pissing people off.

All in all, this is a very nice fitted diaper. For those who need a little background, a fitted diaper means that it goes on easily, almost like a disposable, generally with velcro or buttons holding it in place. But it is not waterproof and needs a cover put on the outside. I really, really like the theory of fitteds. Unlike something like BumGenius, you only change the inside and can use the cover several times, until it gets poopy or smells. With fitteds, covers generally last a long time. So, theoretically, a fitted diaper is super easy to put on (unlike, say, prefolds) and has the added economic benefit of not needing very many covers. The problem I have is that in reality fitteds are often as expensive, or even more expensive, than something like pockets or all in ones. And there aren't very many one-size fitteds, so you need to keep buying larger sizes.

Why are fitteds so expensive? I'm not really sure. Many of them are organic cotton or hemp, unlike the common microfiber you find in bumgenius and fuzzibunz (among others.) They are often customizable with cute prints, etc., and often not as mass-produced. They are also often very absorbent and make great night time diapers.

Fitteds are not the primary solution for us. Not only for the aforementioned reasons, but also because daycare in Minnesota requires that the whole diaper be changed at once (cover and insert). So it makes more sense to use pockets and all-in-ones. However, we do use things like fitteds and prefolds at home and overnight, and this makes a great night time diaper.

Another pet peeve of mine is this tendency of diaper manufactures to overstate their size range, and Baby Beehinds is no exception. They claim to fit 8-35 lbs, and there is no way this is true. It fits MJ perfectly right now, at 16+ lbs, but I'm sure it wouldn't have fit her before ~12 lbs.  And the other reviews of this diaper online suggest it doesn't go to he max end of that range, either.  The only brand I have found that doesn't do this is Thirsties. Here's my recommendation to diaper companies: don't do this, it pisses us Mamas off. I know you THINK you are doing us a favor by outlining the absolute upper and lower limits, because there are babies for whom this range may work. But we would prefer if you only list sizes that are almost guaranteed. And then, if it fits longer, that's a nice added bonus. If we think we are buying a diaper that will last far longer than it does we are upset. If you narrow the size range, we will still buy your product, but we'll be happier in the long run if it meets or exceeds our expectations. Get what I'm saying?

So all in all, here's my thoughts on this diaper. If you realize that the weight limits listed are bunk, and instead accept a more realistic 15-25 or 15-30 lb range then it's a good diaper. As fitteds go, it's a great fitted; you'll have to ask yourself whether fitteds are the right choice for you, though. As someone that owns mostly microfiber, the soft, organic fabric of this diaper feels luxurious. It has snaps, which I generally don't love (though I've been told once MJ can start taking her diaper off I'll change my mind on this), but the snaps overlap in the front, allowing the waist to cinch down tighter than snaps usually allow. It also has detachable inserts, which are great because they allow the diaper to dry much faster than if the inserts are sewn in.

If I had to give this diaper a star rating, I would say 4 out of 5.  And to be fair, I'm generally a pretty harsh grader.  I will use this as one of my primary night time diapers, paired with either a bumgenius flip cover or a thirsties duo cover

So, now that I have rambled on, some other things you should take note of:  this was provided by ecomom, a fabulous online store with all things green and crunchy (yay earth!)  I am excited to be able to offer a 15% discount to ecomom.com with code SBBL223 (this expires May 31st).  In addition, they currently have a $99 membersip that allows free shipping and a 15% discount off every order, with no minimum purchase. 

Okay.  We know why you're here.  You want a free diaper.  I believe in easy giveaways, so here are your options (each option should be a separate comment):

1)  Go to EcoMom.com and tell me a product you would love to find in your May Day stocking (if there was such a thing.)  This is a mandatory entry.

Additional optional entries:

1)  Follow ecomom on twitter (twitter.com/EcoMomCEO) and tell me that you did.
2)  Join EcoMom's newsletter and tell me that you did (they won't spam you, I promise!)
3)  Publicly follow this blog and tell me that you have.

That's it.  I can't handle giveaways with 15 different options, so I'm sticking to these 3.  This giveaway will close in one week (Friday, April 30th).

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Since I can't be productive today...

I had planned on a long, full day in the lab.  But the argon tank is empty (fascinating, no?) so I can't run anything.  So instead?  I'll update.

I sometimes forget that this blog is as much about documenting MJ's life as it is an outlet and soapbox for me.  And you know what?  I haven't done much updating lately.

Yesterday, MJ sort of crawled.  I'm not sure if it counts yet, but she's finally able to go forward.  For months now she has been scooting backward.  Back in February DH made a bet that it would happen within a week.  And you know what?  It didn't.  Man, I really should have bet money on that one.  And it is good.  I always said I'd be perfectly content if she was a late crawler, but in the past several weeks her grumpiness has been grumpier than my grumpiness (meaning: very grumpy).  She has been so frustrated by her inability to get at what she wants, but now that she can move in the direction she wants she's less grumpy.  She's still slow at getting where she wants to go, but she can manage it.

And so, I am trying to become cleaner.  It is very, very hard.  As a working mama I have accepted that our house will be chaotic.  But now, I can't even do that.  Because chaos=not baby proofed.  And she loves to lick everything: the stool, the heating grate, my laptop, DH's shoe...  I realize these things won't kill her, and once she discovers something's not food she generally leaves it alone (kind of like the dog.)  Such as grass: at first she tried to eat it, but after realizing that even broccoli tasted better she became content to just play with it.  And by play with it, I mean rip out all the grass in her tiny-12-inch-arm-radius.  So we have little circles of torn out grass in the yard, (crop circles?  aliens?) but at least she's learning to like the outdoors, no?

In other baby news, she is a great eater.  Here is our list of things she will happily eat: peas, carrots, butternut squash, zucchini, sweet potatos, parsnips, green beans, avocado, bananas, and BROCCOLI!  (note: blogger wants me to add an "e" to "potatos" but I resisted.)  Broccoli is a huge coup for me, because I hate it.  In fact, I'm a bit of a picky eater (though SO much better than I used to be).  And so I have made it a goal to have her become a good eater early on.  As part of this goal, I have been making her baby food, which allows more texture and variety than what you can find in the jarred baby food.  My Mom (generously) bought us the Beaba Babycook.  It's spendy, I'm not going to lie.  And probably not necessary, but it does make the whole process much easier.  I can make a batch while I'm making dinner, and it's so whip!bang!boom! done.  Furthermore, unlike most grinders out there (we have the magic bullet) you have more control on how well ground you make the food.  It's not all or nothing, so I've been able to gradually make her food more lumpy.

And it makes me feel good.  Now that I'm not breastfeeding, I feel like this is one small thing I can do to make sure she eats well.  So I send her with food everyday to daycare, rather than relying on the food they provide.  And (one of the many reasons I LOVE our daycare) they don't act like I'm putting them out by slightly complicating their feeding routine.  They are always very good about honoring the requests of the parents.  We haven't introduced many fruits yet, largely because we haven't had to.  I really wanted her to eat veggies first, so that she didn't yet know there are tastier foods out there.  We added (lots of) formula and rice cereal in the beginning in order to make them more palatable, then gradually reduced it until now she just eats straight veggies.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Funky baby

Do you see what that says? Let me start with a joke:
What are the two funkiest animals in the barnyard?
(Cue 70's porn music) Brown chicken, brown cow. 
Still don't get it?  This adorable girl tells a version of the same joke:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtibDkCPeaE
This onesie was the very first thing I bought for MJ (other than a few cloth diapers I bought on clearance.)  I bought it way back in February of last year, when she was just a wee 2 month old fetus.  I could barely even conceptualize that she was human, let alone that she would one day have a personality and be this adorable, precocious child.  I tried very hard to bond with my child before she was born, but I can honestly say that I didn't really.  Maybe a little, but I never could imagine her as an actual baby.  And here she is. Every day amazing me in new and unexpected ways.

Monday, April 12, 2010

7 months...

... and what a month it's been. First tooth ::bam:: Second tooth ::bam:: First vacation as a family. First swimming.  First sand. First grass. First clap. First pull up (she pulled herself up guys! It was amazing...)


On Friday, MJ saw her first fire. Our neighbors, who have also become good friends, invited us over for a bonfire in their backyard. MJ. Was. Stoked. If she could have spoken she would have said something like this...

"You guys. Do you see this? Seriously! How can you talk at a time like this? Do you see what's going on over there? I have NEVER seen anything like this. And IT. IS. COOL. Man I want to touch it... if only Mom would move me closer. Damn these legs... why don't they work yet. Guys? Guys? WHY ARE YOU NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO THE AMAZING THING GOING ON OVER THERE!!"

Yesterday we *finally* put the swing away. I know. We are TERRIBLE parents for still letting our kid nap in the swing. DH wanted to find another, bigger swing; he did NOT want to give up on the swing. But it has a 20 lb weight limit, and she is now reaching out and grabbing hold of the bars to stop it, so it really wasn't working anymore. Needless to say, yesterday was rough. She would NOT nap in her crib. She usually naps okay in the crib, but I think she decided to go on strike.

She's been a bit of a pill lately. I think she's frustrated; I remember a similar trend before she figured out how to roll over. This time, she sees things she wants but can't get to them, and it pisses her off. And so, for the first time, I find myself having to parent. I see her frustrated. I see why she's frustrated. Do I fix it for her? Or do I let her be frustrated so that she learns how to crawl? Ultimately, you go with your gut. I let her get frustrated, but not too frustrated. Where is the line? I don't know, but I know it when I see it. Is it the correct line? I don't know, and I'll probably never know.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I've turned on anonymous comments... do you know what that means?

I bet you think you know what that means, but I bet you don't, actually, know what that means.

Husband has been asking me for a while to let him write a guest blog.  Jokingly, he has been asking.  And I have, half-(mostly)-jokingly, said that I will only allow him if I get veto-power.  But today, I decided to allow it.  The caveat?  You get to request the topic.  It can be anything.  And if you don't suggest good topics, I will just submit them anonymously myself.  It's a win-win either way.  I will use some variant of random.org to pick the topic.  If random.org doesn't give me a topic I like, I will regenerate.  I don't even pretend that this is an objective and random topic assignment.

Friday, April 9, 2010

My view from here.


I may not be outside, but at least it's a nice view. Which is good, because what I thought would be a short day is looking like it will turn into a weekend spent in the lab.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dropping like flies.

So, I lost a follower yesterday. To the best of my knowledge that's the first one I've lost. Was it the laundry basket? I promise, I don't leave her in it. It's not like I go take a nap while she chills in the laundry basket and plays with matches. Was it prostelytizing about cloth diapers, telling you you're an evil person if you use disposables?  Maybe I went a little too far there... Was it my messy house? Or am I just boring you? I guess I'll have to try harder.
I've been on a little bit of a crack-high lately. After a week of antibiotics my cough was NOT going away. I was still waking up 2 to 3 times a night with a fit of coughing that made me fear I would stop breathing altogether. This, on top of coughing all night long intermittently and keeping DH awake, it was a bad scene. So I started a serious dose of steroids a week ago, and it's wonderful. I still have some minor coughing fits, but I've been getting full night's of rest (this is partially attributable to my mother-in-law being in town and taking some of the night wakings.) So not only do I have the added energy from all those steroids, I have the added energy from multiple good nights of rest. Thus, the crack high.
You know that feeling you get after you've been sickity-sick and all of a sudden you feel better? The bird's sing. Your food tastes better. Even just walking down the sidewalk is a beautiful thing. I go off the steroids tomorrow, let's hope the bird's continue to sing.

*I'm fully aware how riddled with misplaced apostrophes this post is. Is it okay to pull the "chemist" card as an excuse for not going back to fix them?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Who needs a pack and play?

Can we ignore how not-child-proofed our house is, and focus on yet another ingenius use of a laundry basket?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Heavenly Day

I warn you, this is cheesy.  But it was such a nice weekend, we had to commemorate it.

Why am I here?

Every. Single. Day. I think about quitting my job/ grad school. I dream about doing a gazillion other things. The irony is, I don't really dislike what I'm doing, I just don't want to be here. Does that make any sense? I think about writing a book. Or just blogging all the time. Or cooking and watching my baby grow up. About having 3 more babies.   I NEVER expected to like being a mom so much. 

The biggest problem, I suppose, is that I don't really know why I'm here. Why get a PhD if you don't plan to become a big research professor? I would far rather write a book than become a research professor. So why not just stop, if I don't plan on using it? I. Don't. Know.

Is it normal to obsess this much about quitting your job?

Monday, April 5, 2010

The tooth fairy stepped in for the easter bunny...


But there was some miscommunication about what should be left for MJ.
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Friday, April 2, 2010

Cloth diapers, revisited

I feel lately like I've been answering a lot of questions about cloth diapers.  I posted, long ago, our cloth diapering approach, but haven't reported back on how it's going for us.

In short, I love cloth diapers.  I would never go any other route.  How people can morally use disposable diapers boggles my mind.  I understand needing to use them occasionally, but consistently?  I don't get it.  Disposable diapers are evil, I challenge you to convince me otherwise.  Yes, I've read the studies that exist (and there aren't many) that compare the environmental impact of disposable and cloth diapers, and I've also followed the funding trail.  I have yet to find a real study that wasn't funded by someone related to the disposable diaper industry.  If you know of one, please do tell.

The only exception to this MAY be if you live in a drought prone area.  But for those of you reading from Minnesota, this does not apply to you.

Here's our wash strategy (specifically designed to minimize environmental impact):
1)  Separate liners from covers before placing in diaper pail.  Spray off poopy diapers before putting in diaper pail (we only started doing this once MJ started solids.  Prior to that we just tossed them in the pail.)
2)  Have enough diapers to only wash every 3-4 days.  (This is not only saves you time but reduced the environmental impact.)
3)  Dump diapers and wet bag in washer.  One full wash (cold water) with white vinegar.
4)  One full wash (cold water) with 1 Tbs Charlie's soap.
5)  One extra rinse cycle (cold water) to get the rest of the soap out.  Haven't tried skipping this step, may not even need it.
6)  Put inserts, prefolds and all-in-ones in drier.  Line dry covers and wet bags (I just drape them over chairs in our living room.  And my visitors look squeamish when they ask if all the diapers hanging on the chairs are clean.  Wow, I must be a bad housekeeper if you have to ask that.)  Now that it's getting nice out, line dry the inserts as well.
7)  Clean diapers!  Stuff pockets.

It's easy.  We have recently started to have some rash issues, I suspect related to the poopy diapers, because it started once MJ started solids.  I'm going to start spraying these with Bac-out to see if that fixes it.  For diaper rash we use California Baby Diaper Rash Cream; it's spendy but it works well, is cloth diaper friendly, and our one tube is barely used at all, so it lasts forever.

How many diapers do we have to get through 4 days?  Daycare requires that inserts and covers be changed at the same time, so we exclusively use all-in-ones and pockets at daycare.

 We have ~ 10 BumGenius one-size pockets (got lots on sale and lots as gifts).  We have ~ 6 small thirsties all-in-ones (which she has pretty much outgrown) and ~ 6 medium Thristies all-in ones.  I love the thirsties, we got them on sale for ~$9 or $10 each (they tend to go on sale in December and January), but they're sized so they don't last as long.  The Bumgenius work well, and if you don't put the covers in the dryer they will last longer.

Additionally, we have 4 FuzziBunz one size; these have snap closures, rather than velcro (like the bumgenius.)  Many people prefer this style, because the velcro frays over time and catches on things in the drier. But I hate that you have to choose your size setting each time with the fuzzibunz.  That annoys me.  And the daycare staff seems to have a harder time with them.

We have 2 gro-baby shells and 6 inserts. I love these diapers, but only use them at home because otherwise I'd have to have a shell for each insert.  They are the trimmest cloth diaper I have found, and since MJ is trying to crawl I think they're great for her right now.  The inserts do take a long time to dry, and the diapers are spendy, but you can get "gently used" diapers from Jillian's drawers.

2 urban fluff all-in-ones, which are just awful.  They contain nothing.  I need to just get rid of them, because occasionally DH puts one on and it leaks everywhere, every time.

Some assortment of Thirstie's covers.  I think maybe 2 small and 1 duo sized 2.  These are my favorite covers, but we don't use them a ton because we only use them at home.

2 medium sun-seedllings fitteds.  These are great night-time diapers.  Very bulky, but the quick dry variety dries quickly (redundancy is redundant.)

6 premium infant prefolds, along with some snappis.  Again, only for home use, when paired with a Thirsties cover.  A standard, no frills combination.  Not my favorite, but you can't argue with the price.  Good to have a stash for when you waited too long to wash your diapers.

Additional items:
Target Circo baby wash cloths for cloth wipes. $3 for 6.
Honey chunks dissolved in water in spray bottle for a wipe solution.
2 Planet wise diaper pail liners.
1 cheapy flip top garbage can for a diaper pail.
A few Leslie's Boutique wet bags for day care (medium or large).  We tend to just use plastic grocery bags in the diaper bag because we always forget the wet bags.

I think that's about it.  We have phased out some smaller covers (Thirsties were the best), smaller fitteds (kissaluvs, primarily) and smaller prefolds.  Other than replacing the 6 thirsties all-in-ones that MJ is about to outgrow, we won't need much else.  Ever.  All our diapering expenses have been made, and we only have to wash every 3-4 days.