Friday, December 24, 2010


JUST TO CLARIFY: In the last post, I didn't mean anything by the ";)". It just meant, "If you think that 'looks like I'm breaking my streak' means 'I'm not pregnant this year,' you're right." As in, I'm breaking my streak of being pregnant on 12-22, not breaking my streak of not being pregnant. I totally overlooked the ambiguity. Sorry! That is all.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


It's December 22.

Last year, I was 37 weeks pregnant, retiring from most regular daily activities, waddling everywhere I went, unable to jam my feet into almost any of my shoes. I was pregnant.

Two years ago, I had just found out, nine weeks into my second pregnancy, that no fetus had developed. A sad sack on the couch, I awaited my scheduled D&C the next day to remove the "products of conception." I was pregnant. . .technically.

Three years ago, if I had taken a pregnancy test, it would have been positive. I was about four weeks pregnant with my first baby, a little fighter my inhospitable womb would eventually starve to death and expel. I was pregnant, but I didn't know it yet.

I don't feel like I've spent most of my marriage pregnant or anything, but three times in just over two years is technically quite often. And it only recently occurred to me that I was pregnant this time of year three years in a row. At almost one year, this is the longest stretch of my marriage that I've gone not-pregnant. That's kind of amazing!

Everything is amazing and weird. And I am so, so profound.

As for this year? Looks like I'm breaking my streak. ;)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I've had a lot of strange experiences in the ~49 weeks since my baby was born. Tonight is right up there!

Lily's bedtimes have been all over the place. In fact, it really makes me want to rethink how I spend my evenings so that I could always be there to help her get to bed at a decent time, but that's another post entirely. Anyway, our routine, such as it is, has been particularly out of whack recently.

Tonight she had what I could only call a very late nap, going to sleep around what would be a good bedtime, about 7:00pm. The only problem was we happened to be at my parents' house at the time. When she woke up a little bit, around 9:30, we bundled her up and took her home. She was groggy and cranky through the pj's and diaper change routine and then feasted on momma's milk before dozing off again.

Then she did the currently-typical "I'M ASLEEP BUT YOU CAN'T PUT ME DOWN OR I WILL SCREAM AND CRY" rigmarole. It's kind of like having a newborn again, only extra infuriating because I don't understand it at all. Multiple attempts to calm her down failed. She'd be floppy-asleep, but as soon as I'd start to lower her into her crib, she'd arch her back, flip over and start wailing. I found myself praying that if God would be so good as to bless us with more children, would He please also be so beneficent as to grant us a child who actually likes to sleep? Or at least doesn't fight it with every tiny ounce of her strength?

So, I gave up. Daddy's turn. He was ready for bed, so he tried calming her down to sleep in our bed. He tried going back to her room and rocking her. He tried everything before calling on me. We did the can't-fail, flank-the-baby-in-bed-and-let-her-touch-BOTH-of-our-hair routine that should do it. Nope, she'd calm down, act like she was asleep and then completely lose it if someone moved a muscle.

Exasperated, I offered her the breast one last time. She drank up, rolled over, eyes still closed, and then: was that a smile? Is this kid smiling in her sleep? And THEN:

"Pthbtp. Heh"

She was babbling. Happy babbling. She stuck out her tongue at Erich and then finally, dramatically, opened her eyes with a look of glee. Erich and I both did a double-take and then starting rolling around laughing. Lily joined in. I have no idea what happened. I still don't--but it was pretty darn funny!

I laughed and laughed until I nearly cried frustrated tears of exhaustion an hour later when she was doing the scream-cry thing again. I finally got her calmed down and, miraculously, in her crib. So I guess I'd better get ready for bed, slip into bed, and then be most of the way asleep in time for her to wake up again. Good night!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


The long-awaited laundry post. Since I started cloth-diapering, I've had a bit of a laundry odyssey, and I feel like I've finally come to a less adventurous stage of the journey and can breathe a little easier. Getting here was not always fun, but I sure learned a lot.

I first started washing the diapers in bumGenius cloth diaper detergent. It was the lowest priced cloth diaper detergent at my local cloth diaper store. It seemed to go well for a while, but after about a month, it seemed like the diapers were starting to lose their absorbency. I experimented with some of the pocket diapers and found that they were repelling. No! That's the opposite of what I want!

My first strategy was to strip the diapers. After washing, I washed them again on hot with a squirt of blue Dawn dish detergent and then rinsed until all the bubbles came out. This appeared to do the trick, but they were stinking and repelling again less than a month later. I did not want to have to strip the diapers once a month, since it took more than a day to do all the necessary rinses, not to mention the waste of water! I poked around a bit in the washing machine and upon opening the (never used by us) fabric softener dispenser, I found big globs of leftover fabric softener from the previous owner. Fabric softener is horrible for diapers! I was worried.

I researched a little and came across Charlie's Soap, which promised to strip washing machines of gunk as well as get clothes and diapers super clean. I ordered, received, and started using it. It got the machine sparkling, and the clothes and diapers seemed quite clean. The instructions said it would be pretty sudsy while it got old residues out of everything but that eventually it would be low-sudsing. I waited and waited and if anything, it seemed to get MORE sudsy. I started having to do multiple rinses on the diapers and they would still be shedding suds. Furthermore, stains on clothes and diapers alike seemed untouched. I was using Oxyclean on everything and was starting to feel adrift. What was I doing wrong?

Gradually, I came to embrace the great importance of one variable over which I had no control: the water. Though I live in the same town I've lived all my life, my address is now unincorporated and we actually receive water from a neighboring municipality. And it turns out, Chicagoland water is actually quite hard! And this neighboring municipality's water seems to be quite a bit harder than in the city proper. Detergents act differently when the water is chock full of extra minerals. That's why Charlie's still sudsed up like crazy; that's probably why the diapers would start repelling every few weeks.

Finally, I ordered a few samples of Rockin Green detergent, Hard Rock formula. I rocked the soak. I started washing the diapers full time in it. And? Months later, I have not had to do any stripping. Stains come out. The diapers never repel. They are just now starting to get a little extra stinky (the ammonia singes the nose hairs a bit), but I've been experimenting with water levels and rinses and they inadvertently got dried with a dryer sheet recently, so either of those could be the culprit. I expect a soak to knock out the stinkies, and if it doesn't, it's an excuse to try the new Funk Rock for ammonia stink.

I decided that this detergent is just a little too expensive to use on all our laundry, so I've gone back to liquid All Free & Clear with our clothes, as liquid works better than powder with hard water. I often use Rockin Green for towels and sheets, though, and they come out super fresh and clean. I'm considering using the leftover Charlie's to strip our machine from time to time, as it's gotten rather gunky again.

My laundry odyssey has made me more familiar with detergent, water, agitation, rinsing, stains, absorbency and stink than I ever thought I'd be. And I actually enjoy it way more than I ever thought I would. Your stains and stinks are no match for my arsenal!

Monday, December 6, 2010

State of the Stash

News flash: I still love cloth diapering. Especially now that I have laundry figured out and it isn't an ongoing puzzle, I just get a warm and fuzzy feeling from putting something warm and fuzzy on my daughter's bum. A few weeks ago, she had an uncharacteristic rash, which put her in sposies with rash cream for a day. This led to a rare moment when all the diapers were clean and neatly stacked, so naturally I took a picture:

So very beautiful.

So here's the line-up:

Upper shelf, back left quadrant: Three Happy Heinys one-size pocket diapers, usually used during the day; three bumGenius one-size pocket diapers, double stuffed with microfiber and hemp/cotton doublers for nighttime use; one bumGenius all-in-one diaper, size Medium, stuffed with hemp/cotton doubler for nighttime use.

Upper shelf, back right quadrant: Two Bumboo bamboo fitted diapers, rarely/never used (they're difficult to put on, don't fit well, etc.); two Flip stay-dry/microfiber inserts.

Upper shelf, front right quadrant: ~19 GroBaby snap-in soakers (one is actually already stuck inside a cover on the other side)

Upper shelf, front left quadrant, top to bottom: Seven GroBaby covers, some converted from aplix to snaps; two Flip covers (grass green and sky blue) for use with Flip inserts and small prefolds; two Thirsties duo covers, size 2, one velcro (tree print) and one snaps (green) for use with larger prefolds.

Lower shelf, left side: 12 infant prefolds, used by folding in thirds lengthwise and laying in a cover.

Lower shelf, right side: 6 standard prefolds, used by wrapping around baby and fastening with Snappis (the "old fashioned" way, except no pins) and then applying a cover.

By my count, that's about 46 diapers that get used regularly. That's a bit more than the 2-3 dozen that the experts recommend, but I think it's the perfect number. With the number of diapers I have, I could get a little behind on laundry/sorting/folding and still have some diapers readily available. 

It also means I virtually never have to use disposables. As a result, I've acquired an aversion to using disposables, even when traveling. When we recently made the mad scramble to get out of town for a few days for Thanksgiving, we had to do last minute laundry so that (a) we wouldn't leave dirty diapers to rot at home and (b) we would actually have enough diapers to last the trip. The call of the sposies was strong, but I resisted. Erich later commended me for my dedication to the environment. That comment was tongue-in-cheek, because we both knew that wasn't it at all. I resist disposable diapers and stick to my cloth because it's what I know. I don't have a knack for seeking out places to throw away a stinky diaper, and I'd rather not bother when in someone else's home. Yes, cloth takes up more space and I actually have to carry the mess around, but I'm in the habit of doing that and it's just normal.

Add to that, cloth is better for my baby's skin, and laundry is kind of fun. Cloth wins!