for the love of junk food

I remember the first time my oldest son ate a chicken nugget. We still lived in Brooklyn and he was not quite walking yet, so around the one-year-old mark. I used to push him in a stroller down the streets of Bay Ridge and that particular afternoon I was hungry so we went to McDonald’s.

I sat him down in the high chair and gave him a nugget. I felt the eyes of judgment from everyone around me. The shame of feeding my baby something genetically modified and greasy and unhealthy washed over me. I could barely look up for fear of eye contact with someone else. I was like a dog who’d made a mess on the rug and didn’t want to look at my owner.

Serious. I really felt this way.

E, for his part, ate it with no drama. He didn’t appear to love it or hate it. It was food. I justified it to myself by reminding myself it was a rare occurrence and surely other parents fed their babies fast food daily and so in comparison I wasn’t that bad…

I kept this snooty attitude up for many more years. We’d go to a playdate and I’d secretly roll my eyes when I’d see other moms pulling out cold McDonalds to feed their children. Why do we do this? I’m not usually a judgy person, so I am embarrassed to admit it. It seems like moms fall into two camps: the ‘real’ deal moms who embrace feeding their kids junk and don’t think much about it, and the sanctimonious crunchy moms (like me) who shame other moms and then on the sly feed their kids’ junk with a healthy side dish of remorse.

I’ve obviously relaxed since then.

I’m on the other side of it too. I remember talking with a passenger back when I was a flight attendant and his proclamation that his 5-year-old had never ever had McDonald’s prior to that day; that day of course due to weather delays there was nothing else at the airport to feed her so he tried to give her McNuggets and she absolutely refused to eat them, choked on them, and he was so proud of her.

What a pretentious asshole I thought. And, honestly, I hope he doesn’t ask me if my son has ever had a McNugget…I don’t want to admit to it….

Just last year, at the ‘bucks, a young pretty Mom came through the line. She was holding one of those fruit pouches we sell and asked in a rush, “Do you have any more of these?”

I searched and searched the labyrinth of boxes and cabinets for her, and told her no.

“What am I supposed to do?” she pleaded.

“Kids like Cake Pops” I offered.

She turned red. I could see the stress starting to build up inside of her. “I. Can’t. Feed. My. Kids. Chemicals.”

I really didn’t know what to say to that – I mean, chemicals sound scary and all, but I’m pretty sure the processed fruit gunk in the plastic pouches contained “chemicals”, and besides, what did she think, just because the pouch says “Organic” it meant a kindly old grandma was hand crushing the strawberry and apple puree in small batches?

Ok, I’ve gone off the deep end here, so if you are still reading, HI! The real reason and inspiration for this post is I had a moment of weakness at my favorite place, Costco, last week, and bought my kids garbage cereal. Like, junky, colorful, sugary crap. I don’t know what came over me. My kids eat plain old Cheerios like they are jelly beans, yet I’m opening the door for them to realize there is a whole other world of cereal yet to discover.

In my defense, my husband is gone for 10 days (away at upgrade training $wohoo$) so I figure the 90-odd servings of processed fructose can distract and buzz them up well enough on this long stretch of solo parenting.

Anyway, they are now requesting the “good Cheerios” for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and while I’ve managed to only let them have it for dessert, these moments of indulgence brought on a slew of emotions.

First, guilt. That terrible, specific to first-world-mommy-guilt. As I pour them a bowl of fruity colored “Froot Loops” and watch their eyes light up I start to question my every parenting choice and wonder if I’m leading them on a path to obesity.

And then I catch myself in that spiral and chastise myself. Kids have eaten cereal with cartoon characters on the boxes for decades and it’s totally normal and not going to harm them. Besides, I tell myself, it’s not like it’s an everyday occurrence.

And then I catch myself justifying it and feel guilty on top of that… and then start thinking about mommy wars and the rising waist sizes of society and how I wish I was disciplined enough to have my entire family on a paleo style diet and it all builds up. All this thought, worry, and emotion over a box of cereal. That my children love. And rarely have.

Like most things, a little in moderation is fine. I’ve even poured myself a delicious rainbow colored bowl for dessert the past few nights, and my kids and I sit around the kitchen table together happy and slurping and you know what? There’s something to be said for small indulgences like these, especially when you consider a simple bowl of kid’s cereal can make your kids so happy.

it’s 3 am

It’s 3 am.

I’m awake.

More aptly, I’m awake because H is awake. H isn’t happy, nor am I. His struggle is my struggle and as he whines and moans and kicks my inner dialogue bats around inappropriate words towards him (at 3 am even 7-month-olds are capable of being labeled ‘assholes’) but also that motherly instinct – I’m concerned for him, he’s obviously not happy as he whines and tries to sleep.

I’ve had 7 months of an easy baby, even at night. He wakes up 2 times a night, but I just feed him and put him back to sleep. Every once and a while he wants to snuggle with me, not sleep in his attached co-sleeper, which is fine. I’ve felt in tune to his wants and needs and I’ve bragged over and over on Instagram of his “Best Baby In The World” status.

But the past week he’s throwing me for a loop.

He sleeps a good clip, between 7-12, with a wake up to eat, but then around 3 am he struggles. He fits and kicks and moans, a sad “mmmmmm” over and over, next to me. No matter what I do to comfort him and settle him down, he stays up for at least an hour. I’ve tried ignoring him, coddling him, soothing him, patting his butt, rubbing his back … I’ve tried it all. Nothing works.

I wish I had some introspective, comforting thoughts about this problem. All I can think is it has something to do with him eating solid foods. His little tummy doesn’t seem to handle solids well at all, yet I keep trying. My daughter took to BLW (Baby Led Weaning) straight away and never looked back, H seems to want to play with his food but nothing excites him.

And why is it in the dead of night that discomfort hits him?

I found this really great essay,  here, which basically says there is no way to fully solve sleep issues. I agree with her. I could put H in another room and just let him cry, but my heart breaks over that. Plus, it wouldn’t solve the problem. He wants to sleep just as bad as I want him to sleep. Even though I’m not my best person at 3:30 am and wisdom is hard to come by when my sleep schedule is interrupted, I know he is really really trying to settle back down.

Hopefully, his 3 am struggle is just a short phase and it’ll pass. In the meantime, there is always coffee and lazy days to remedy this serious lack of sleep.

what we can learn from #aprilthegiraffe

I tuned into the live feed of April, the expecting giraffe, out of curiosity over a week ago. It really worked as a distraction from writing in here, plus I kept reading “breaking news” about it. I searched through the Facebook and once the stream was set-up, found myself somehow calmed by April’s presence.

She’s just a giraffe, in a pen, pacing around. Every once and a while she lifts her tail to poop, and you think— “oooh is this it?” and of course it’s not. She seems to eat a lot. It’s a silent feed so that adds to the zen magic of April. Watching this beautiful creature walking in clockwise circles around the pen (every time I watch her she’s pacing clockwise, not sure if that’s accurate 100% of the time or not) is hypnotizing. Plus, there’s the added bonus of her possibly giving birth at any moment.

So, I tune in now and again, not in any obsessive way, but just to have it on. When I first watched it through the Facebook, the comments were running aside the feed, live and quick.

One should never read public posts like this. It just depresses you. The grammar, the idiocy of people (who tend to be the loudest) and just the misinformation. But, like I said, the video is a quiet still camera shot of a giraffe in a pen, so I read along with the other 90 thousand people watching April and what they all had to say.

“OMG have the baby already”

“That poor giraffe why isn’t the baby here?”

“She seems in pain”

“When are they gonna have the c-section already”

Pretty much all comments had one of those themes.

And I can relate to it.

Two of my three kids came over a week “past due”. Being “past due” in pregnancy is hard, but, having everyone you know comment on it just piles on the stress. I had complete strangers sending me pitiful looks of sympathy at the end of my last two pregnancies. “Oh – you poor thing!” they’d say. “Waiting for updates!” I’d read online. And the absolute worst: “You haven’t popped yet?”

We live in an “on demand” society and it’s totally ok for a woman t0 schedule an elective induction at 39 weeks pregnant because they are “sick of being pregnant”. Somehow, the idea of a due date has led us all to believe anything past said due date is automatically overdue, a term that brings up images of rancid food, moldy dairy and at the very least, a super grumpy librarian charging you late fees.

I watched a video the manager of Animal Adventure Park, the home of April, posted this morning. He seemed tired and annoyed as he patiently explained they had only estimates of when exactly April conceived, and also that she was fine, just pregnant, they weren’t causing her harm or the baby harm by letting nature take her course. And watching April on the live stream, you can tell, the beast is happy. She doesn’t seem bothered by her late-term pregnancy at all.

My pregnancy days are past now, so I don’t have to worry about dodging “whens the little sucker coming already?” comments from everyone ever again, but I will make a valient effort to not bug my friends and family over their upcoming due dates. We need to take a page from April and her caretakers and just let nature be. Baby giraffe will come when it’s ready, and maybe I’ll be lucky enough to see it happen live.

Expecting mothers, be they humans or giraffes, deserve patience and kindness during the last days of pregnancy, not constant reminders of how “miserable” they must be. Pregnancy is tough enough without all the opinions from the peanut gallery.

my valentine day vbac birth story

In celebration of my daughter’s second birthday, I am sharing her birth story. Birth stories are among my favorite blog posts to read, as each birth is unique. I plan to share my other two kid’s birth stories near their birthdays this year as well.

Two years ago, I found myself on my back with many strangers staring at my naked bottom. This scene, with the bright lights shining on my nether regions, was my dream. I wanted and ached for that moment for the entire previous forty-one weeks of my pregnancy, bordering on obsession. It was in my second hour of pushing and feeling like all I worked for, dreamed for, was out of reach.

Having everyone yell encouragement at me kept me up, but things were not seeming to work in my favor …

But let’s backtrack, go to to the beginning.

From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I knew two things. The baby’s gender would remain a mystery until birth, and I wanted to birth this baby the old-fashioned way, out of my cooch: a Vaginal-Birth-After-Caesarian, or VBAC for short. Most of my peers and even some family members thought I was insane. People questioned the safety, the legality of it. But determined, I pressed on.

[if you have any questions about VBACs I suggest you look into vbacfacts.com or join a VBAC support group on FB. I could go into a tirade here about why VBACs are safe and reasonable but this is a birth story post]

To achieve this goal I chose a midwife group with a high VBAC success rate (anywhere between 85-90%!) and focused on my goal. I read VBAC stories from Facebook feeds whenever I logged on, I listened to hypnobirthing nightly, I saw a chiropractor. My husband’s cousin, who is a dear friend to me, offered her skills as a motivated natural birth advocate / doula-in-training for the birth.

I lived and breathed and stressed and prayed and worried about it. Probably more than was needed.

The motivation behind this stemmed from my first son’s birth. When I had him by c-section in 2010, I didn’t really question his arrival. Much. I was overwhelmed in general: a new mom, a new wife, living in a new city, trying to breastfeed and figure out what I wanted my life to look like as a new mom and wife – I didn’t have time to process or really think about what happened at his birth.

But, four years later, with fresh eyes, looking back I realized how plum wrong his entire birth was. I’ll share the entire story on his upcoming 7th birthday, but it’s fair to say I was never given a fair chance at a vaginal birth with him. Even my post-op report didn’t list a concrete reason for the section.

So, I just wanted a chance. I wanted a do-over of the entire “birthing experience”.

My parents flew in a few days before the baby’s due date of 2/7. They were with us, walking throughout NYC, walking the mall, trying to walk the darn baby out. Baby still hadn’t come after about a week, and my parents were planning on flying home when they came down with the flu, which grounded them even longer. I had the guilt of them spending a ton of money on a hotel room and food and airfare, waiting for a baby who apparently wanted to stay in my womb forever. I questioned why I didn’t just schedule a section. Surely that would have been easier.

A testament to them is they never once questioned my desire for the VBAC, never pressured me to just “schedule a surgery” for their sake.

Anyway, while my parents were absolutely miserable with the flu in their hotel room, I went to my 41-week check up on 2/13 at 8:30 am. I had been timing contractions since the previous night, and they felt legitimate. I didn’t really know what “legitimate” meant because with my son I never felt a single, real, natural contraction. I was giddy with excitement: I’d get checked there, and an ultrasound. I was confidant I’d be at a 3 or 4 when they checked me.

We did the ultrasound first, and the technician was very quiet. When I finally asked what was going on, she told me I had no amniotic fluid. I inquired how much I had, and she said, “Zero”. The OB on duty and midwife conversed and told me to get undressed for a cervix check.

She checked me and I was a “barely one” with a “floppy cervix” (whatever that means!). Crestfallen, I asked what was going to happen. She told me I’d have the baby that day, and to make my way to the hospital. I wouldn’t need to go to triage, I’d be admitted right away.

Thus began the rollercoaster.

My spirits dropped. Going to the hospital and getting admitted and induced was never my plan. I knew, statistically, my chances of a RCS (repeat c-section) rose with each medical intervention. The so-called contractions I was feeling obviously were false contractions.

We went home, got stuff together, figured out childcare arrangements for our son, called Alex (the cousin/doula) and I had one last big meal at Burger King. We were admitted around noon. The nurses were in good moods, praising and cheering for my upcoming TOLAC (Trial of Labor after Cesarean). That was nice.

The midwife-on-duty told me we could try a few tactics since I was still feeling contractions. She offered a foley balloon or bulb, or Pitocin. Pitocin is what lead to my c-section with E, so I was adamant to avoid it at all costs, especially early on. I chose the balloon.

The hospital is a training hospital so I let a student midwife try to put it in. They all told me I was so tough during it- she didn’t know what she was doing at all and I kept thinking her botching it was helping me dilate more.With the foley balloon in place, I started to pace and sway through the contractions.

Because of hospital policy, I had to stay connected to a monitor the entire labor. There was a long wire that reached about 6-8 feet and they provided a fitness ball to labor with. My movements were only slightly restricted. I felt like I handled the contractions best by rocking through them, leaning against my husband. The contractions were getting very strong, and after a couple of hours the balloon fell out and I was at a 4.

Progress!

The staff left us alone most of the time. We played relaxing music, the lights were low, and the three of us had our own little bubble of birthing going on.

A few hours later they checked me and I hadn’t progressed. My spirits sunk low. Being a VBAC I knew the OB’s scrutinized every hour that passed without progress. I knew the time bomb ticked away, bringing me closer to the operating room. The midwife offered Pitocin again or told me to try nipple stimulation. I opted for the nipple stimulation.

This kicked up the contractions. Every contraction lasted about 2 minutes, and between them, I’d squeeze my nipples. I ended up with sore thumbs and gnarly red patches from the hours of repeated squeezing. We’d see the new contraction coming on in the monitor, and I’d grab onto my husband and start slow dancing through it. Both of us had achey hips for days after the birth from so much pacing and swaying.

My pain increased and with every new contraction, I felt confident the baby was that much closer to birth. I focused on positivity and good vibes. Several hours passed, and in the dead hours of the night, they checked me again. I’d made it to a 6. It was Valentine’s Day, around 3am, over 16 hours since admittance. But, still, positive progress.

We went on.

Around 6am they checked and I hadn’t progressed. Mentally and physically exhausted with chapped nipples, we decided to rest. I laid down, Alex left to take care of her baby at home, my husband napped too. My contractions slowed down to barely anything and I tried sleeping.

Around 8am on the 14th I started nipple stimulation again. 2 hours later, no progress.

They gave me two choices: Pitocin or section. I agreed to Pitocin only with an epidural, so we had to wait for the anesthesiologist to come in. They kicked everyone out of the room and I can say without a doubt I’d never felt so terrified. The entire previous 24 hours weighed down on me at that moment, the highs and lows of wanting something so bad and feeling like nothing I did helped at all. The Doctor was not friendly, he had zero compassion administrating the epidural, but there was a saint of a nurse who held my hands and then eventually all my weight as I sobbed into her. I gave up at this moment and thought there was no way the day would end the way I dreamed.

Between the pitocin and epidural, around 9am I slept. They woke me up around 1030 and I still hadn’t progressed. Alex was still gone, and my husband and I decided to watch TV. I checked out, completely. They told me I had until noon to progress and since I’d been stuck at a 6 for hours, I just didn’t care anymore.I cried and tried to accept all my hard work was gone. I imagined telling everyone I didn’t do it, the VBAC, and the smug knowing looks they’d give me. I thought of my poor sick parents, stuck here and unable to see the baby because of my selfish desire.

This was the low point.

Alex arrived in the room around 11 and immediately turned the TV off. I argued with her, telling her the induction wasn’t working, and I was just waiting to see what would happen. I told her I had to admit the section was coming.

She slapped some sense into me. She told me it wasn’t over yet. She asked me to give it just one more hour, with concentration, just one more hour to see what would happen. She wanted me to listen to more hypnobirthing tracks, these insanely slow vocalizations with elevator music in the background. I’d listened to them for hours and I think I laughed at her suggesting it again.

But I consented.

Because of the epidural,  I could feel the contractions coming on, a dull pain, but obviously, they were nothing compared to what I’d endured over the previous 24 hours. So I really, really focused on the birthing tracks, on visualizing my body opening up. As each contraction lasted for 1-2 minutes, I would spend every second “in the moment”.

Around 11:30 a nurse in scrubs, with a hairnet covering came in to check my wristband. I could tell she worked in the OR. They were prepping for a section. But I was so in the zone I didn’t let it rattle me. I kept focus.

At noon the midwife came in- the third midwife on duty since we’d been admitted. I felt like she was checking me only out of courtesy, I could tell she had a pre-planned speech about “not enough progress” to give me to soften the c-section blow. She put her fingers in me and looked surprised.

“You are at a 9!”

Those three centimeters I’d progressed felt like miles. I couldn’t belive it. Once again the labor swung in a new direction. Suddenly, it was a real possibility again – I had another chance.

They gave me a few more hours to fully dilate, and I started “practice pushing” at 3 pm.

I pushed for two hours.

I started to doubt myself again.

It had been so long. And I’d read many TOLAC stories in which the mom made it to pushing, only to be brought in for a section after hours of pushing. I worked so hard that I developed a fever -which I knew meant the baby would be in the NICU for 48 hours. But I kept on.

I could hardly believe it when they turned those bright lights on – when they had me feel down to feel the babies slimy, slippery head. The midwife told me the baby was bald, which let me know I’d nearly done it. I had allowed a student midwife, and two nursing students in the room to watch the birth, and all the NICU staff there as well.

But, I did it. I pushed the baby out, to an audience of well over ten people. My husband yelled out, “It’s a girl!” and they whisked her way immediately – she aspirated meconium. I remember crying, throwing myself back in victory, just repeating over and over, “I did it!”. I could hardly believe it. I’d done the VBAC, and it was a girl!

I heard L’s weak first cry and they let me hold her for the briefest few seconds, for a photo, before her transfer to the NICU. The room emptied out and the midwife stitched me up.

I was frustrated at the wait between the delivery and when I was allowed to move from my room, it probably only took 2 hours, but I wanted my baby. I felt great, physically, and because of breastfeeding issues I had had with my oldest son I wanted to feed L asap. But I had to wait for the epidural to fade so I could walk.

I rode on a euphoric high for the next several days. The midwife on duty my second day at the hospital told me my notes said they thought for sure I’d be a post-op paitent, but I’d somehow pulled through. This news just added to my pride. I felt amazing, couldn’t believe how much easier the recovery from a vaginal birth was compared with that of a c-section.  My 41-week gestation baby was eight-and-a-half pounds and stuck out in the NICU, and we were discharged after 48 hours.

Looking back, I know the success of my VBAC is mainly due to the support system I had. The midwives were amazing. They gave me every chance to succeed. Having my husband and cousin there supporting me helped push me through the long difficult emotional toll the labor caused. I also have to thank my daughter. Had her heart rate dropped, or had she shown any signs of distress, they would have called for the section. It’s like she was a major supporter of me too throughout it all, even without any amniotic fluid and all those hours of labor.

So, that is the story of my Valentine’s VBAC. I know it is long, but I remember devouring posts just as long in my preparation for birth so I hope it helps someone out there. I had every card stacked against me at one point: no amniotic fluid and no progression for something like 7 hours, but because of the awesome staff, I was able to continue. Planning for my daughters birth taught me why birth matters, aspects of our broken medical system, and also taught me a lot about myself.

If you are even questioning whether or not you want to try for a VBAC, I highly suggest you do. Each c-section is progressively more risky, yet each successive VBAC is slightly safer. My experience was well worth the stress, pressure and drama of the delivery. image3image4

pink exploding

We celebrated L’s second birthday yesterday. L is the only female of her cousins here on Long Island, she’s the one girl among six boy cousins. Because of this, she is automatically gifted all the frilly, girly, pinky stuff* my sisters-in-law and mother-in-law can find. Which is understandable and all, but I still scrunch my nose up at it all.

I’m the same way with my boys. I am a believer of not pushing gender norms onto kids, and in addition to this ideal, I also don’t like the amount of commercialism we surround our kids with. The character tie-ins just make me sick. It’s everywhere. Try going to Target and buying a non-commercial character Halloween outfit. Or getting your kids a nice, plain backpack or folder for school without some flashy cartoon character on it. You have to dig and search for the non-branded items.

I did, possibly, too good of a job of steering my oldest away from the trends. Unlike most little boys, he could care less about superheroes. It’s not that I’ve actively avoided exposure to them, but I’ve never encouraged it. Now he is six-years-old and refuses any character-branded clothing or items unless it’s Elsa from  Frozen but that’s a totally separate topic. It is almost annoying just because when he is gifted said “boy” items he won’t use them.

Now, back to little L.

I guess I have only myself to blame. A few months ago she needed new socks, and Aldi was selling some Disney ones super cheap so I picked them up. She was drawn to the princess socks. Like, obsessed instantly. It made putting her socks and shoes on much easier, but I sensed this kid is gonna be a totally different beast when it comes to fighting the gender norms.

Which is fine. Even though I look at the plastic, gaudy princess gear she opened yesterday with distaste, I also know this is a losing battle. I can’t keep it away from her. The more I fight, the more she’ll desire it.

I’m torn because I know it doesn’t really matter for her future as a woman, but another part of me believes it does. I know that when I was 2,3,4 I would have LOVED princess dresses and crowns. Absolutely I would have. But there wasn’t nearly the amount of merchandise to buy back then. And it certainly wasn’t as readily available and cheap as it is now.

I was aware of the princesses and I loved them, but my exposure was mostly through movies and books. I had this large classic Snow White book and I would stare and stare at pretty Snow White and play pretend I was her but, at the risk of sounding like a major Grinch about it all, I used my imagination when I played Snow White but my daughter will never have to pretend to have a crown and a big fluffy dress. She’ll have an entire closet full of them.

Today she hasn’t taken a tutu off or her wings off. It’s cute. It is. Maybe I can adjust my scowl and spin it all in a positive way. She is expressing herself and so so happy playing dress up. I can always tell her Princess’s wear their gloves and eat all their vegetables and share with their brothers. I can let her “play princess” without actually calling her “princess” all the time. Little things like that. Who am I to turn all femi-nazi on a toddler’s natural attraction to all things frill and pink? Like I said above, resisting this will make her desire for it worst, so for now I’ll try and smile at the pink explosion that’s taken over our tiny little home.

 

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attack of the chiffon

 

 

*I would say crap but our friends and relatives spent a lot of time and money buying her these gifts and it isn’t crap, really.

 

how I cloth diaper 2 under 2

(without losing my mind)

If there is one aspect of parenting I excel at, I’d say this whole cloth-diapering-thing is my mic-drop-worthy task. Generally speaking, when I tell someone (crossing guard, gym babysitter, rando grandma-like lady in the grocery store line) I cloth diaper my two babies, I get a dropped jaw and shaken head in sympathy as a response.

Which is totally unneeded.

Here’s a little secret: the diaper laundry is my favorite household chore.

How is this possible, you may wonder. Maybe I’m just a masochist in the homemaking sense. The reality is no other task is as satisfying as seeing and smelling the sloppy mess that is a wet bag go into the wash, and taking it out of the dryer a few hours later clean, white, and fresh smelling. Nothing compares.

I’m not an expert by any means, and my wash routine came from fluffloveuniversity.com, but I’ll share with you how a typical diaper wash day goes at my house.

The wetbag  is stored at the top of our basement stairs, on a nail. I usually have a smaller wetbag in the bathroom with the diapers our daughter has pooped in too (poops from food, not just milk, must be rinsed off in the toilet before going in the wash). I take them down to the wash, dump all of it in our top-loading HE machine. The first several months of cloth diapering I would have to go through the mess to pull the inserts out of the pocket diapers I use, but I finally learned to extract the inserts the second I change a diaper. That way I don’t have to touch a single soiled diaper.

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oh beware the yuckiness this preppy bag conceals

 

I use the “Quick-Wash” setting, set all the buttons to ‘hot’ ‘heavy’ and ‘high-spin’ (oddly sexual seeing those settings all typed out). I put it a full cap of detergent (usually Kirkland Ultra, but sometimes Tide). That’s another thing; I am dealing with literal sh*t and piss, so using “gentle chemical free detergent” is not happening in this house. Give me the chemicals, the science please. I totally am in sync with keeping unneeded chemicals out of things I ingest, but I trust the folks over at Kirkland Signature as experts on what works to get my clothes actually clean and I say to them; “more chemicals, please!’

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diaper soup – do your magic Samsung HE machine -do your magic Kirkland Ultra

 

After about an hour of the quick wash, I go back downstairs, add another capful of the evil-chemical-filled detergent and do a “Heavy Duty” wash. This wash takes about an hour and a half. Then, depending on the weather and usually my motivation level, I dry the diapers. Hanging them on the line to dry outside is ideal. I know I was just bragging on science but the Sun does wonders on cloth diapers. It bleaches them and makes all those annoying little poop stains fade out. It’s been awhile since I’ve sunned diapers, though, so usually, I just put them in the dryer and in an hour or so I bring them upstairs to fold.

Folding the diapers is tedious. It’s the hardest, thus easiest to blow off task. I try to avoid procrastinating on it by allowing myself the most ultimate of guilty pleasures while stuffing the diapers: Real Housewives of (insert whichever city is in season here).

It never fails, as I shove microfibers and cotton into the pockets of the diapers, I smell them deeply and marvel. I pretend I’m in a Tide Commerical. That dad who’s daughter wears a princess dress everyday? HA! I put the diapers through the wringer every other day, covered in so much nasty and since I don’t want to put off the readers here, I won’t attempt to describe them, but anyway they come out smelling and looking like new! (usually. I’d say there’s a 95% success rate. The odd diaper or two has a stain. I’m okay with that)

Once diapers are folded and on display on the bookcase I use to store them, I channel Marie Kondo and thank them. The bulk of my stash is Kawaii brand, and I’ve used them practically every day for two years straight. They now cover both my daughter and my sons butts over and over again and they do an incredibly good job at it. Every diaper washed represents up to 25 cents saved of a disposable diaper I didn’t use. Every diaper washed and dried and folded up represents a full circle, deeply satisfying.

How do I cloth diaper 2 under 2? I just do it. It’s just laundry, after all. A double-wash every 2-3 days. Anyone can do laundry, and this does increase the load, but like I said before, there is something rewarding about this ritual of wash-dry-fold that hasn’t faded over the years.

My daughter is going to turn two next week and I’ve planned on toilet training her very soon. Going down to just one fluff butt to cover means less diapers and until H is six months old or so, I won’t need to worry about rinsing poop off, which will be awesome. But, all in all, the cloth diaper ‘lifestyle’ (haha what a lifestyle, I just have to giggle at that) is one that works great and I’m a naturally messy, disorganized scatterbrained lady so if I can do it, I know you can too.

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