Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Honey Badger Turns One!

Honey Badger Baby has finished his first trip around the sun.  Well, his first trip as an independent entity.  He's been a little piece of life that I have carried since my own conception. 

If I could sum up my Son in three words, those words would be tenacious, inquisitive, and temerarious.

Tenacious means to be pertinacious , persistent, stubborn , or obstinate.  There are few words that could describe him better.  Now that we are reaching an age of testing limits this characteristic is even more apparent.

Inquisitive means to be given to inquiry, research, or asking questions.  Also eager for knowledge.  My Son is a scientist.  He wants to know what makes things tick.  Every time he dons his questioning face I fill will pride. 

Temerarious means to be reckless and rash.  Papa Bear can also be quite temerarious.  Honey Badger leaps first and decides whether or not it was a good idea after the fact.  Much to my dismay...

It has been a roller coaster ride this year.  Nothing really prepares you for the emotions and exhaustion of parenting.  The extreme vulnerability that you feel when you realize your heart is truly walking around outside your body.

This year I've learned that the tears of an infant can wound my soul.  That playful grins can brighten an otherwise awful day.  The best toys are the ones that were never intended to be toys in the first place.  Insomnia can be cured by listening to the rhythmic breathing of my sleeping Son.  Infants are wild creatures that will not be tamed by modern culture without a fight.  So many lessons.  To many to list.

I've had the opportunity to show skeptical people that breastfeeding, bed-sharing, cloth diapering, and babywearing are all possible and not all together too inconvenient. My Son is independent and learned to walk just fine.

I am incredibly lucky to have the wild love of this feral child.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

In Which I Write For No Reason Except That I Wanted To.

So there I was, in my living room pacing back and forth with my sleep resistant almost-toddler strapped to my back in a podeagi.  We are attempting to alter his sleep schedule to be slightly more convenient for Papa Bear and myself.  However, my sweet Son is a rouge.  It it's going to take some perseverance to make this new schedule stick.

While pacing back and forth in front of my couch, I'm also winding a center pull ball from some yarn I was using to crochet a blanket. I had not gotten very far before I realized that there was not enough of these yarns to complete a crocheted blanket.  A knitted blanket would be doable, but knitted blankets take soooooo loooooong.  Perhaps I will crochet a family of matching earflap hats to keep our heads warm when we move to the northwest.

My center pull ball is bring wound on the cardboard center of a paper towel roll because my nostepinne is nowhere to be found. And I was desperate. (Auto correct on my phone had to be taught the word 'nostepinne'. It is also not in the additional dictionary I keep on my phone.  Maybe I've gone a bit too deep into the fiber-craft underworld.)

While doing this mindless activity my mind is hopping back and forth between soaping and felting.  I'm all sorts of proud about my soaping skills.  Soaping requires fairly precise measuring and timing.  Those two requirements are the reason baking and I have such a strained relationship.  But my soap is coming out a lot better than my cookies.

Felting! An untouched craft for me.  Sculpting with wool! AND it seems to be the perfect medium for a project I've been gnawing on in the creative part of my brain-box: Month by month fetal models scaled up to two inches until reaching that point and then life-size afterwards.  I desperately wanted something more tangible than drawings or fruit to understand my Son's inter-womb development. 

Alas, learning a new fibercraft is not really priority. 

That is all.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Honey Badger is Nine Months Old!

Nine months old.

How did that happen?  One day he's a helpless little blob that does very little aside from eating, sleeping, and pooping... then all of a sudden he's a boy.  He's crawling and hollering and sprouting teeth like crazy.  He smiles and coos and squeals with glee.  He's a wibble wobble walking beast.  Figuring things out and exploring have become hobbies that he is most passionate about.

And me?  I'm figuring things out too.  It's been a wild nine months of learning all sorts of things just a few minutes later than when they would have been handy.

The biggest lesson that I have encountered time and again is listening to and working with Honey Badger, not against him, will make life easier for both of us.  My Son does not understand or feel bound by societal rules the way that I have been conditioned to be.  Time holds no meaning to him.  He is very primal and driven by unencumbered senses and emotions.  It is not his job to make my life easy by adapting to "modern" life.  It is my job to accommodate him as he grows in understanding and emotional maturity.  To guide him, not to push him.

And so we continue to share our bed with him.  Setting up a sidecar situation with his crib.  This satisfies his instinctive need to sleep near his caregivers while also giving him a space of his own to sleep.  Having his own space is something he very much enjoys.  He rolls away from me frequently to sleep in his own little space for short periods of time through the night, crawling back for nursies and snuggles when he needs it.

We're enjoying solids a lot more recently.  I have been doing part-time Baby Led Weaning and part-time pureed foods.  I generally share a little bit of whatever I'm eating with him on a daily basis while Papa Bear gives him purees.  My little creature enjoys a wide variety of flavors from sweet fruit treats to savory hummus or chilli or peas. 

Breastfeeding an almost toddler has it's own set of challenges.  Sometimes he quietly focuses on nursing.  Most of his daytime nursing sessions are an acrobatic adventure.  He is quite skilled at alligator rolls whilst maintaining his latch.  Constantly his feet are up in my face and he can tumble foot first to the floor and continue nursing while standing in front of me.  His awareness of where the "nursies" are is fully developed and so we have a lot of tugging at the neckline of my shirt with his teeth, motorboating my cleavage, and booby grabbing when he needs his nursies.  It can be frustrating, but I would not give it up for any price.

We are still babywearing as well.  He spends a lot more time down and playing these days, but the easiest way to get him to take a great nap or get him to sleep for the night is to toss him up on my back and do some housework.  I have accumulated a variety of carriers at this point.  My favorites are podeagi and wraps due to their versatility and ability to accommodate newborns through toddlerhood.

I love this little Honey Badger that has entered my life.  He makes every day a bit more interesting that it could ever have been pre-motherhood.  He is loud and demanding with a mind of his own.  Exactly everything he should be.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Cloth Diapering 8 Month Update

Eight months of cloth diapers! Yay! We've made it so far!

And it wasn't even that hard...

I even did an entire week of hand-washing diapers as a challenge and to prove a point.

We started out with prefolds either fastened or pad-folded in covers for my little Honey Badger.  Then we switched to using primarily flats pad-folded in covers.  Now I have cycled back to prefolds, mostly pad-folded, inside covers.  I would like to get into the  habit of fastening his prefolds under his covers each change in order to make poopy clean-up a bit more simple.

Our system isn't complicated.  When using a pad-folded prefold, I set up a clean diaper by tucking a tri-folded prefold into a cover.  I then remove the soiled diaper, wipe his genitals down with a wipe, and apply the fresh diaper and cover.  Our covers have flaps to tuck a pad-folded prefold or flat into so that this is hardly any more work that a disposable.  I then set Honey Badger on the floor with some toys.  If it was just a wet diaper I put the damp prefold in the diaper pail and wipe the cover out with a diaper wipe before hanging to dry on a drawer handle of our changing station.  If he has poo'ed, then the whole diaper and cover get tossed in the pail.

Honey Badger's poo is getting more... poo-like.  So far it is still of a consistency that our washer has no problem getting diapers clean, but I feel like that is coming to an end soon.  Our plan is to use a diaper sprayer on the poo diapers, spraying off all the solids before the diaper goes into the pail.  I may even set up a small diaper pail in the sprayer bathroom to handle the poopy diapers.  There are few things less appealing than carrying a dripping poopy diaper back into the nursery.

Which brings us back to fastening his diaper under the cover.  A fastened diaper would mean that the majority, if not all, of the poo would end up staying in the prefold.  The cover would not end up being so filthy.  It would make my life a bit easier if I were just spraying off a diaper, not a diaper and it's cover.  I'm all for minimizing the amount of washing I have to do on any given day.


I've learned to love old fashion locking head diaper pins.  It tickles my inner pioneer woman and love of traditional things to use them.  They are not nearly as hard as one would think and that is coming from a woman that has to pin her wriggly eight month old with one arm and diaper him with the other.  Of course, if one were to be pin-phobic, there is always the option of using a Snappi or a set of Boingos.  With pins my hand is always between the pin and baby, so I'm the only one risking getting pinned.  Diaper pins also have nifty locking heads that require some dexterity to open, making it very unlikely that they would ever come loose.  I doubt that I could ever convince my husband to use pins, so Snappis and Boingos will continue to grace my home.



We've recently been able to share the love by allowing another family to borrow and use some of our newborn and small size prefolds.  They're hooked on cloth diapering now.  Aside from the warm fuzzy feeling that I get from helping others, I feel as though the sturdy nature of prefolds almost begs that they be shared.  We will definitely try to have another child in the future.  Possibly a few more children.  Prefolds are workhorses that can last through several children and then end up as rags or passed on to another family to use for their children if they are still in usable condition.  I don't want to waste the potential money-saving and Earth friendliness of my diapers.  If another family can use the ones that I am not currently putting on my baby, I am saving them money and saving some major resources.

Baby K wearing a small prefold and a Flip cover!

There is very little that I would change in our system. I love the simplicity in use and in cleaning prefolds and flats. I love the very custom fit at each change. I love that I could hand-wash in a pinch. However, it would be nice to have a half dozen hook and loop pocket diapers to use for Dr. appointments and less diaper savvy caregivers. Stay dry fitted diapers or pockets for overnights might be nice as well. Next time around I will probably go with sized covers instead of one-size. Since I will have all of Honey Badger's prefolds left over for our next creature, I won't feel guilty about investing in a more expensive cover system like that.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Flays Challenge Day Seven

I made it!! One week of handwashing my Son's diapers!  I am glad to be going back to using my washer and dryer, though I feel that I may end up air drying my diapers from time to time to feel as though I'm saving a bit of energy.

How did it go?  It was  not hard, actually.  What was difficult was that, while it didn't take that long to wash and hang up diapers, it seemed to take a large chunk of time to manage to do just that.  My son required a nursing break halfway through washing almost everyday.  He also would holler for a variety of other offenses that needed Mommy fixing and was not very happy about being worn while I was washed most of the time (more movement than he is used to).  So the 20 minutes of washing would take about 45 minutes to an hour out of my day.  Time that is precious to me.  I suppose with time and practice we would workout the kinks and have a streamlined washing routine.

The sweat!  We try to keep our house warmer to save on utilities.  I was washing with hot water in a small bathroom with little ventilation.  Ick!  I felt all grimy after every wash.  Especially on the days that Honey Badger was okay to be worn on my back.  That's an easy fix though, I just didn't feel like setting up a fan every wash.

I feel like this is a valid option for the average family.  Once a routine is established it would not take much time at all.  Even if a family chose not to do cloth full-time, they would be able to save money on part-time cloth or have cloth as an option for tight months when disposables were not in the budget.  Camp-washers would be the method of washing that I would recommend.  I like to think that a camp-washer set up is really simple and can be easy to DIY.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Flats Challenge Day Six

Open topic today.

The almighty flat diaper!

I love my flats.

It really doesn't get much more minimalist than flats in covers, that is unless you do elimination communication.  There is no sizing, no elastic, no special care, etc.

I could have tidy looking white flats, flats dyed any which way I choose, or flats with nifty prints.

I could have a stash of flats for less than $10 by chopping up thrift shop xxl t-shirts and cotton sheets or I could spend $100+ on organic bamboo terry flats.  

My child will not grow out of them.  I my need to fold them differently and double them up as he grows, but they will last him until he is potty trained.

I can explore the many different folds and find the one fold that fits my son perfectly.  Absolute customization.

I can fasten them on with Pins or Snappis or Boingos.  Or I could just pad-fold them and lay in a cover when I'm not up for anything fancy.

Flats can be used as easy to clean stuffers for pocket diapers.

Flats are very trim.

Flats are much easier to hand-wash due to only have one layer of fabric.  They line-dry quickly.  Line-dried flats soften up easily with a little handling.

Flats are easy to get clean in the washing machine without having to do extra washes.  They dry very quickly in the dryer.  Energy efficiency is their game.

Every diapering parent should have flats in their emergency preparedness kit.

My flats will probably see two or more children through their diapering days and then be passed on to another family or find another use in my home.

I get a very Pioneer Woman / Little House on the Prairie / Tree-hugging Hippie vibe when I deviate from my normal pad-folding ways to fold a flat all fancy and pin it on my son.  I can hear my inner Earth Mother roaring... and I like it.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Flats Challenge Day Five

What is working for me? What isn't?

Honestly, I chose one method of washing (camp washer) and one method of drying (drying rack indoors with a fan) and it's been working really well for me.  I may even be getting my diapers and wipes a bit cleaner than my machine as I've noticed that my cloth wipes are absorbing liquid faster.  Perhaps it's that I can tell that I've rinsed all the soap out by the lack of suds in the bucket and my machine is leaving some soapy residue behind.  I don't know for sure, but I may be making adjustments to my machine washing routine after this challenge.

I've tried different methods of softening my flats after they hang to dry.  Twisting and scrunching them as though I'm trying to wring out water works well, but is tiring on the hands.  Holding them by one corner and pulling them through my tightly clenched fist is not so hard on the hands, but I can't help but think of the sweat and skin cells I'm leaving behind on his nice clean diapers.  Beating them against the crib rail a couple times is my favorite way to soften them up.  I hold one side bunched up in my hand and "whip" the rail a few times.  Then I switch to the opposite side and "whip" the rail a few more times.  Now I've got nice soft flats and my hands don't hurt at all.

We haven't deviated much from our normal diapering routine.  Before the Flats Challenge, we used pad-folded flats laid in covers and fastened on during the day and a large prefold with a hemp doubler at night.  These past four nights I've used a pad-folded flat laid in a kite-folded flat and fastened with Boingos.  This has been plenty of absorbency for us, though if he nurses a lot during the night his diaper is pretty darned soaked under the cover.