Month: April 2014

5 Commandments of Offering Parenting Advice

“Thou shalt not criticize the parenting methods of others.”

“If asked, thou may givest thy opinion.”

“Once thou hast given thy opinion, in a respectful and intelligent manner, thou shalt shut thy mouth.”

“If thine advice is not taken, thou shalt not take offense and thou shalt henceforth remain silent.”

“Above all, thou shalt not undermine the parental authority of others by mocking, degrading, harping, arguing or criticizing said parenting methods in the presence of said children.”

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A little Bath and a whole lot of BS

I’ve had a thought brewing for a few days now, and it’s a rather heavy thought.  I’ll try to phrase this so as not to sound like a total jerk and incite the hatred of all of Internet Land, but if I do, so be it & here goes. 

WARNING: possible trigger reading!

The other day I gave my kid a bath (Boy /boi/ noun.  noise with dirt on it) and rather than scramble to get out as fast as his flailing arms could manage, he sat in the tub & splashed like a curious little mad scientist.  YAY!!!  Total parenting win!  Of course he also tried to drink it & I was like ‘no way Dude, you’ve totally peed in that.’

Anyway, like any proud mama, I took a picture & some video of this mad splashing.

Then, like any sleep deprived insanely proud mamma who had just captured the uber-splashy-shreeking-giggling-cuteness on film, I went to share it on the largest social media site in the world.  And paused.  And thought about it.  And read the Terms Of Use.

I’m still rather confused as to whether or not this video would violate FB’s terms of use or not, but that is a total side-note because I decided not to post the insane water cuteness partly due to the absolutely rabid response I got from my friends.
“OMG some perv might exploit/abuse pics of your son!”
“Someone might THINK bad thoughts about your kid!”
“AACK baby naughty-bits are naughty!”
“It’s illegal to take pics of your kid in a tub!”
“Haven’t you seen that news story about that girl who’s photos went viral?”

Whoa there!  Hang on a minute Internet Land!  Can we please inject some sanity into this situation?  Perhaps a garnish of reality on our paranoia platter?

– First, it is NOT illegal to take a picture of your baby in the bath.  Google it if you don’t believe me.
Yes, some people have been tossed in jail overnight or arrested and even went to trial for bath pictures, but the vast majority of those cases got thrown out, and the ones that didn’t had a lot more to them than splash time.  CPS is not going to steal your kids over a snapshot.  Truly.
(BTW, the thing that made me decide not to post the video is the auto-play feature on FB’s news feed.  To be honest I just think it’s obnoxious and it’s a long video, 20 seconds, which will take 2 flippin’ days to load.  And I get that not everyone is going to want to see my Mad Natural Scientist discovering the liquid properties of bathwater).

– Any picture you put on the internet – anything in fact – has the potential to go viral, get stolen, shared, used as an advertisement without permission, etc.  Once it’s there, it’s there forever and that’s all there is to it.  It’s the internet.  Just so we all understand that. 

– “Someone” might THINK bad stuff about your kid.
Can we take a moment to analyze that?
“Someone” meaning my friends and family and their friends.  Holy Poop that’s a lot of people.  As it happens, the same number and the same people who see every other photo that I post of my kid.
might meaning they may or may not.  The possibility exists, yes; but realistically speaking it’s not much greater than if I never put myself or my child online at all.  My kid might die of cancer too, but there’s not a darn thing I can do about that, so I’m not going to stay up at night worrying about it.   I might regret posting photos of my kid or talking to other humans, but then I might not.  Life doesn’t run on might.
THINK  I am not responsible for the thoughts or feelings of other people.  Nor am I responsible for their actions.  I am responsible for my own actions.  I am sensitive to other people’s feelings and try to avoid hurting them, but an unfortunate side effect of life is occasional pain.  Other people’s thoughts are not my problem, nor are my thoughts their problem.
bad things.  Yup, bad things happen.  Statistically speaking the majority of abuse happens with your nearest and dearest: parents, siblings, neighbors, family, classmates & other direct associates.  These are the people who have opportunity.  Realistically speaking my kid is in more danger from his cousins than from Random Internet Guy.  Please note I’m not downplaying cyber bullying or online abuse, I’m just taking a real-world view of the facts.  1:4 girls, that’s 25%, and 1:5 boys, that’s 20% will be sexually abused before they hit 18, and the vast majority of that abuse is perpetrated by people they know well.  That is a staggering number.  When you consider the corresponding number of abusers out there it’s enough to make you paranoid – because there is no real ratio, let’s call it 1:10 or 10% of people are or have been sexual predators.  But from a survivor’s perspective, worrying about it is worse.  Realistically 75% of girls and 80% of boys will never be sexually abused and that IS a comforting thought.
Someone somewhere will have a fetish about almost everything, and that may possibly intersect with your kid’s lives at some point.  The good thing is that most fetishes are between consenting adults, and while my son will always be my baby, by that time I soooo don’t want to know about that.
Lastly, you are familiar with the thing called The Internet, right?  There are entire sites dedicated to saying & thinking bad stuff about other people.

-Baby bits are NOT naughty.  At all.  To make one part of a person’s body “bad” is pure stupidity.  It also plays into Rape Culture.  Saying “your penis/vagina is BAD” invites shame regarding that body part and shuts conversation down.  It is more likely to make your kid a willing victim, meaning they will keep secrets out of shame rather than coming home & telling you straight out that “Kenny Touched My Penis/Vagina On The Bus,” at which point you can either kick Kenny’s ass, or go through the proper channels & get that kid some psychological help before he abuses someone else.  That may seem a long time off, but it starts right now.
Now, my 7 month old does not know what his penis is.  To him, it’s far less interesting than his toes, which are AWESOME.  Occasionally he grabs it, but that’s his deal not mine; my job is to make sure he doesn’t have poop on it.  I just wait for him to let go & finish changing his diaper.  When we get to potty training it’ll be all about the penis (Lord, please let’s keep the pissing up the walls to a minimum – or at least confined to the bathroom… Pretty Please?).  Do you have any idea how many diapers the average parent changes in a day?  10.  Ten times you wipe your kid’s butt & corresponding sprinkler system.  If I had to worry about my baby’s bits being “bad” I’d go insane.  So stop it.

 

Realistically speaking, what can we as parents do to keep our children safe(r) from sexual predators?
1: Don’t abuse children.
2: Teach them what NO means.
3: Respect their NO.
That needs a bit of expansion.  That means if you are tickling them and they say “Mommy Stop!” you stop.  If you are playing Sack of Potatoes and they say “Daddy I’m going to throw up (if you don’t stop)!” you stop.  You do not make them kiss or hug Aunt Sally & Uncle Frank if they don’t want to.  Does that risk hurting Sally or Frank’s feelings?  Possibly.  But children do know who they want touching them and who they don’t, and IF you are paranoid about the possibility of sexual abuse, respecting your child’s mind & body as their own is the best thing you can do for them. 
ex: My nephew does not want me to kiss him.  I blow him kisses across the room.  If he still says NO (or ducks the kiss) I’ll “catch” it before it gets to him & give it to someone else.  If he’s really in a “don’t touch me” mood I’ll just wave goodbye & say “have a nice day!” not even “I love you” because that’s too mushy.  I’m totally cool with that.
4: Listen to them when/if they try to tell you that something is wrong.
DO NOT dismiss what they are saying as lies just because you have a hard time believing it.  You may love your brother, but he could very well be abusing your child/ren while you go out on Friday nights   ~ 1:10.  I’m not going to offer suggestions, but I will tell you as a child who was abused over a long period of time, I did try to tell multiple times.  I was ignored, brushed off, called a liar & felt abandoned.  Not having adults listen made it that much worse.  When the adults finally did listen and then didn’t do anything it was terrible. When the kid who abused me abused three other girls it was infuriating. 
If this happens, and it might (20-25%), you as the parent need to get your child some help.  I won’t tell you what kind, but therapy did help me.  It took some doing to find a good therapist, but it really did help.  I lived with a seething pit of black rage for more years than I care to think about, but little by little I was able to let that go.
5: Tell your kids not to sexually abuse other kids.
While it’s kinda horrible to contemplate, your kid may be that 1 out of 10 who ends up being the abuser, and they could be 10 or 25 or 50 when/if they do.  We tell our kids not to steal, lie, cheat, bully, etc. but we also need to tell our kids not to be rapists.  Trust me when I say I’m not looking forward to that talk but we will have that talk.

Now a bit of a tangent:
Our society spends so much time trying to protect our kids from life it’s become a sort of pathology. 
– Since China imported lead-heavy toys (2009) all toy manufacturers have to send samples to be tested for lead to the tune of $3000 a pop.  This has put many small & micro-businesses out of work or driven up the costs so much that normal people can’t afford unique toys without making them themselves.
– Many people consider breastfeeding a type of sexual abuse or incest, (no, really, they do).  So much so that many states have put laws on the books saying that it IS LEGAL to breastfeed your child.  However, you may still be charged with trespassing in some states if you don’t go somewhere else to feed your baby.  This is all presumably because some older kid might see some younger kid trying to eat their lunch (which happens to be a boob – eew, boobs) and get traumatized by boobs or lunch, I’m not sure which here.  O-M-G it’s a nipple!  Someone kill it with fire before it leaks milk all over!
– A boy has been arrested & is facing jail time for his father’s fishing knife under the seat of his father’s car, which he drove to school, without knowing the knife was there.
– A kindergartner was suspended/expelled for talking about a Hello Kitty bubble gun.

There are reasonable safety precautions & unreasonable safety precautions.  Putting your kid in a rear-facing carseat?  Totally reasonable.  Snapping your toddler into a harness on a leash at Disney World – I’m all for that.  Bike helmets? Awesome.No running on a playground?  Totally not cool.  Being afraid to take/talk about a picture you took of your kid because someone/somewhere/might/think/bad things about him/her?  Please.  Check your paranoia at the door & step on in to reality.  You can’t stop your kid from getting hurt, that’s life.  But you can take joy in their childhood & show them that there is beauty and wonder in the world; even if it’s just a splash in a tub that they no doubt peed in.

Cheers!

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Homemade Children’s Books

(This is a bit of a cross-post, plus a little).
Original post at http://artbeautyandwell-orderedchaos.blogspot.com/2013/12/cloth-book-for-baby.html

cloth book

NOM cloth book!

Cloth books from the store range from $8-$30, and our Puddin’ Heads are going to gnaw on them, drool on them & probably puke on them.  If you are crafty and want to bulk out your baby’s library with some “made with love” books, here are a few options.

(0-2 yrs. estimate)

Pick a theme:
Colors, numbers, a nursery rhyme, animals, an activity (playing with a ball, eating), etc. and go with it.  Keep it simple.  Don’t fret.  Kids this age just like colors, contrast, things to touch and most importantly, things to chew on.  As long as everything is secure and there are no choking hazards it’s all good.  Double-stitching is good.

For the colors book, I used scrap fabrics in colors and little sections of lace or ribbon and sometimes a shape or two.  I tried for some texture but not a lot.  For the numbers book I just wanted enough contrast between the fabric & the number to be able to see it.  The flat binding was not my favorite.   For the cardboard texture book I used a lot of glue & some duck tape (more texture!)

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Colors book:
Each panel here is cut 7×7, made up of different fabrics, lined with cotton for more bulk and it helped reinforce the squares.  I made binding strips for the spine, then stitched right sides together with the binding strip flipped to the inside, clip the corners, turn and topstitch.  The binding strips were sewn together in nice sloppy lines.  Pin those buggers, that much fabric likes to squish and slide.  This is my favorite type of cloth book binding as every page opens evenly, the adult has something to hold onto and it’s kind to your sewing machine.

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Numbers book:
No lining (didn’t turn out as well as the color book), used the buttonhole setting on my sewing machine with a regular foot to applique the numbers & counting shapes.  There are turning tabs made from ribbons that he totally ignores.  The pages were “stacked” in order open in the middle, sewn flat to their counterpart (5/6, 4/7, 3/8, 2/9, 1/10, f/b), then layered right sides together (cover + 1/10, 2/9 + 3/8, 4/7 + 5/6) , stitch-clip-turn-press-topstitch and then all re-stacked & stitched down the middle.  I won’t do it this way again as it makes the book difficult to handle and always opens to the middle pages (5/6).  My sewing machine also complained.(9/10 not shown).

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The Texture book:
I used old Macy’s boxes from Christmas for this, but any clean cardboard box would do.  Cut them to size, marked the middle, glued random texture things on the pages, then glued the pages together & pressed them between 2 phone books.  Once the book was assembled, I rounded the corners and added a duck tape binding over the spine for ease in handling and more texture.  He pulls things off once in a while, but I just set them aside & glue back on later (or throw away).  The fuzzy fabric & tissue paper are favorites.  He also likes the corrugated cardboard.

Pre-printed cloth books:
You can also buy pre-printed cloth books from quilt shops, etc.  He has The 3 Little Pigs and one on Animals in Antarctica (that I’ve yet to sew together, hurum-um).  These actually end up costing more than store-bought books once you figure in the book fabric, interfacing & other materials, but they have the words and the instructions right there, and anyone who can operate a sewing machine and iron can make them.

Paper books:
You can also print paper books for your slightly older kids out of cardstock, or have them printed in a local shop or online store.  Snapfish & a few other photo printing sites do a great job (not cheap, but worth it for an individualized story).  Laminated pages would make a good cleanable toddler book.  Binding can be anything from staples to tape, spiral or even stitched.  Because kids like simple stories & smaller books, you are looking at maybe 10 pages front & back.  If you need to save on ink, do black & white line illustrations.  I highly recommend scanning in & printing any original drawings while reserving the “master copies” for when the current book gets munched.  Please be polite and don’t steal stuff, this is a great opportunity to write original stories for your children, take advantage of it.  Another option is to use their own drawings and paintings as the illustrations, but take care here because art is precious to children.  Before you do this, get their permission and respect their rights as artists, same as you would an adult.  (This may also be an option for out-of-print books that are too damaged to continue reading, but please check with the publisher first.  Some things are in the public domain, others are not).

Carring This Kid Around

“Ergo is a winner. Made it up to the OTHER corner & back. JR fell asleep before we got to the first corner & he was really snoozing. No sleeping in the other carriers. A little uncomfortable under the arms on me, but my back was loving it, so I’ll take it.
Lovely walk. Coltsfoot is blooming; too windy for animals, only saw one crow.”

 

We’ve been looking for good carriers and slings, and since one can’t really try before buying unless one borrows from one’s babywearing friends, “trying” can get expensive.  Like most new mommies my back is killing me.  I spend 1/2 my day bent over this kid & the other 1/2 holding him.  Going for a walk has become a daily priority as I hate being this fat and my cholesterol levels leave a bit to be desired AND it gets us out of the house which is critical.  So here’s yet another online review of baby carriers & slings, or at least the ones I’ve tried.  No, I haven’t been paid or offered anything at all, yadda, yadda; so this is raw, unbribed honesty.

Snuggli
The Snuggli is a small slice of hell. The newer versions aren’t much better.  No back support, hard to get the kid in & out, all his weight is on his pubic bones & he hates it.  Also not secure.  I will note that the Snuggli that was given to me is 20+ yrs old, easily adjustable & washable.  That doesn’t speak to durability, she used it once and stuffed it in a box.

Maya Wrap
We both like the fixed sling that I patterned off of the Maya wrap, and the Maya wraps are ok, but the rings dig into my neck – smaller rings are better. They were a favorite for the first 4 months.  The pseudo-maya is great for visiting, stores, events, up and down stuff. It’s more a holding aid than a hands free device. Not good for long walks. I can nurse in the maya, and while it’s possible to nurse in the pseudo-maya it’s not easy. Both are easy to just wear.  Washing is super easy.  Depending on the fabric you could carry your husband in one of them.  I’d call them fashionable for anyone.

Maya-style wrap

pseudo-maya sling, white linen stripe. 6 months old. (sorry, only picture I have of it, but VIKING BABY!)

Pseudo Maya Wrap at Letchworth State Park

Better pic of the pseudo Maya Wrap. This is our favorite sling to just get around in.

Moby wrap (brown cotton)
The Moby is good for short term, but doesn’t work for long walks. It’s a pain to put on but comfortable to wear. I can nurse in it, but it’s hard to fix my clothes after unless I’m just wearing the nursing camisole and hello, NY – it’s cold here. It is warm, which is a bonus, and I can cover his feet, but when he wiggles around the fabric slips and bunches so he’s in that uncomfortable upright carry with all his weight on his pubic bones. Also… not fashionable on a fatty like me. “squished layer cake” about covers it. Add in the disarranged shirt and I’m a candidate for “What Not to Wear.” It IS good for him to face front for a little while. He enjoys the heck out of it for about 20 minutes.  Despite the lower back wrap it doesn’t offer much real support there and I can’t walk very far in it.  Washable but takes a while to dry.

moby wrap, brown

Moby wrap at 4 months

moby wrap

Moby wrap, 2 month old

Ergobaby original
The Ergobaby is great with the one exception of it cutting into my underarms. It is not as stylish as my maya slings, but it’s a workhorse not a fashion accessory; and they do have prettier fabrics available, I just chose the brown because I figured when it got grungy (hiking!) it wouldn’t look as bad as the spiffy ones might. I won’t be able to nurse in it, but I won’t have to totally take it off to nurse either. He actually took a nap in it.  Let me repeat that:
>> HE WAS SO COMFORTABLE HE TOOK A NAP IN IT<<
I was able to walk 1/3 farther than I have before without being in pain when I got back. I probably could have gone farther, but I got thirsty. No wiggling for “down mommy down!” It has a baby-head-cover thing so they can tune out & go to sleep, or block the wind, or sun, or whatever. Awesome. And a pocket. It’s also rated up to 45 lbs.  Front side or back carry options; I’ve only worn it front.  Not highly washable, about the same as a backpack.

So far the pseudo maya and the ergobaby are the favorites.

Nursing: A Fountain of Boobajuice

WARNING: There’s a boob pic in this post (but no worse than you’d see in an underwear ad on the side of a bus, so don’t panic)

I want to get my son a onesie that says “I drinka da boobajuice.”
Maybe a bib because my little komodo dragon’s bibs cover the onesies.  Unless he wears them as superhero capes.

Nursing.  Breastfeeding.
Repeat after me “I am more than a milk factory.”

Breastfeeding was a no-brainer for me, we knew we were going to do this when we first decided to have a family way back in 2010.  We both knew it would be a 9 month commitment at the least, goal of 1 yr, possibility of more depending.

But ideals are find & dandy when they don’t have real life fussing in your lap at 3:30 a.m. attached to one boob while kicking the other & pulling your hair because he’s a multi-tasking kind of guy, with your left leg falling asleep & your right arm about to fall off and oh god he’s hungry again at 4:30 and 5:30 and 6:30 and FINALLY you can sleep in but your husband didn’t turn the alarm off and GAAH.  Oh wait, that’s “having a baby” not “breastfeeding.”  Sometimes I get the 2 confused.

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Boobajuice 12 course meal, minimum 1 hour

We had latching problems in the beginning because he sucked in his bottom lip (still does), popped off constantly, there were engorgement issues, and to this day I’m horrible at pumping.  I had thrush in my milk ducts (take your probiotics ladies!) which was so painful I’d just cry – it was like glass in my breast.  He had a milk allergy, so I had to cut dairy; which would be fine if I wasn’t allergic to everything BUT dairy.  My shoulder got wrenched during the birth and so holding my own child was torture.  And he’d nurse for an hour.  Now he’s the 15 minute king, but the first 3 months were this insane insomnia nightmare of boobs & pain & fussing.  Most of that fussing was mine.  We made it to 3 months which was nothing short of miraculous, and then 4 and now 6 and we’re like the Boobajuice champs!  Massage therapy took care of the shoulder, he’s gotten better at eating faster (sometimes he still sits down to a 12 course meal), the thrush cleared up (ty probiotics) and the latching issues are mostly resolved.  I can eat cheese & milk again, but ice cream still has the poor boy in hives.  No broccoli.  Broccoli is bad.  I miss broccoli.  Umm… broccoli cheese casserole…

Yes, breastfeeding is totally natural.  But don’t let anyone tell you that it’s easy!  It gets easier.  Not the same thing at all.
I’m a huge fan of it.  I think every mother should try it for at least 2 weeks – with a certified lactation consultant there as back-up.  If it suits, I think the pair ought to continue for as long as they can.  There are too many benefits to both mom & baby not to at least try.  But oh lordie I understand why people don’t!  It takes a tremendous amount of dedication, and — do you know my boobs thought that honking geese were the same as a crying baby?  I leaked all over during migration season!  Stupid boobs.  6 months later the geese are back.  Stupid boobs.  For which I’m a huge fan of nursing pads.  Reusable & washable nursing pads.  Get 12 pairs because you will go through those things like nobody’s business.  There’s also this weird little cup thing that will catch leaked boobajuice (why waste it?)

Alas, it’s late, I’m exhausted (what’s new?) and the bed sheets need changing thanks to an aging cat and someone who didn’t make the bed this morning with the anti-aging-cat cover on it.  But then my memory is shot these days so I’ll forgive me this time.

 

OH!  How could I forget?  (That’s right, MommyBrain)
When you nurse full-time, one of the lovely benefits Mother Nature provides is that you don’t get your period.  Time frame is variable, but NOBODY TOLD ME THIS!  Instead they dangled the totally false “you’ll lose weight” carrot stick in front of me – which isn’t true BTW, it’s only true for 40% of nursing mothers, the rest of us are fat till we stop, which of course no one will tell you because then 40% of us would stop nursing in hopes of dropping baby weight.  Don’t bother, you look fabulous with those sleepless eye circles.  Trust me.  But seriously – No Period While Nursing.  Far better than a stupid carrot stick.

Cloth Diapers

Let me just take a moment to say AAAAAHHHHHRRRGGGHHH!  And Yay!

Which sums up cloth diapering.  It’s awesome and confusing, and frustrating, and great and he’ll be potty trained before I get the hang of it.
If you want to learn about what diaper systems are available (ha), go to Mother Ease website.  They have the clearest summary I’ve seen so far (not a product endorsement, though I do like the product).

The saga thus far:

Pocket Diapers, NB
We started out using the Babyville diapers that we made with many changes & adjustments.  These are a pocket diaper or 2 piece diapering system with a PUL cover & stay-dry liner sewn together and an insert that is removable for washing.  The supposed leg gusset is great in concept, but is rendered useless by the absorbent layers being outside of it.  One touch of cotton onesie or bed sheet & it’s Soggy City.  Also, I-Hate-FOE.  Fold-over elastic wicks “water” like nobody’s business, making the diapers leak like a garden sprinkler.  The “right sides together & turn” version is the one to go with here.  Hands down, it’s the better design.  Make it front or back loading (for the insert) and you’ve got a decent diaper.  It’s also much more affordable, about $4 cheaper for materials than the FOE style.  Aplix (velcro) for NB up to 4-6 months is perfectly fine.  After that go with the snaps because the little darlings learn to take that off & they WILL finger paint (avoid the patterned snaps – they break, go for the smooth ones).
OK, so that was great.  We used them for a week or so & he grewIMG_4039 out of them.

Babyville Pocket Diaper

Original Babyville diaper with the liner & kinda leg guards that totally don’t work.

Altered Babyville pocket diaper

After saying to myself “self, that won’t work” I got to altering. Back loading, no more leg guard & in the final version I nixed the FOE and added velcro covers.

And we had a gap.  The Mother Ease that we had purchased (used) didn’t fit my skinny baby at that point, and I was still clueless about how the prefolds worked.  In fact, the prefolds my husband’s grandmother made for us (beautiful, using now) I honestly thought were burp cloths.  We used disposables, Target’s Up & Up and Premium Diapers, Dollar General brand – awesome diapers BTW, few leaks, very few blow-outs, no diaper rash, no latex, no dyes, no perfumes, biodegradable though not advertised as such, super-affordable – same diapers different packaging.

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Which brings me to… Mother Ease!
It’s a 2 pt. diaper & cover system, so you need the absorbent diaper and a fitted cover.  I do not yet have the covers.  So I can‘t really give you a good review.  But they FIT him now!  He’s 6 months old & 15 lbs.  They fit him OK at 14 lbs, but being totally clueless I didn’t realize we needed a cover & needless to say there was major leakage.  People who use them love them.  They are bulky, which is the only downside I can see, but less bulky than the prefolds with an insert.  (hiatus from these)
Update: We have the covers!  We got the Airflow covers, which are uber-cute and very, very bulky.  Forget slender pants with these babies.  However they are awesome and it’s a great opportunity to have your kid wear all those shirts he otherwise would not ever get to wear.  Most onesies fit over them, but not all.  It’s a good heads up on which ones will be outgrown soon.  I love the 3 snap adjustable leg & waist, which do not have to match up to work, which is good because my kid has killer thighs & a teeny tiny waist (gee, wonder where he got THAT from?).  No complaints, just be aware they are work-horse diapers, and not subtle about it.

Tiny Tush!
So, after using disposables for several months,  I bought some Tiny Tush Perfect Fit diaper covers because I got tired of trying to make something that fit this child (whole other saga – you try finding time to sew with this kid.  I mean, I’m a seamstress for goodness sake!  You’d think I could manage a simple diaper cover.  Apparently not with MommyBrain, it’s like sewing while drunk.  And with a kid crying?  Neurons scrambled like eggs I tell ya).
Anyway, Tiny Tush!  Made in USA! Fabulous.  I bought 4 covers to use with my prefolds & flats.
I’m still not keen on the flats, but like the prefolds.  I’m a bit clumsy with the snappi closure, but have the pins down pat.
So, again, a 2 pt. diapering system, the prefold & the cover, and a closure – snappi or pins.
Put the prefold on, with the snappi (which should be much tighter), then snap the cover closed, tuck any diaper bits in & wa’la! Diapered kid!
The leg gussets are awesome (they work), and it fits over any flat or prefold.  They do not fit over the Mother Ease, unfortunately, so I will be ordering from that company soonish.  He can sit like a champ in them, but the prefolds are bulky between the legs.  He doesn’t complain at all.  I change him when he’s wet, usually every 2 hours, but I check more than that.  Poo was not a problem, even the sticky ones dumped out in the toilet and a little swish-n-spray took care of any ickiness. Usually he’s a solid poo kind of guy, so no big deal.  Wash prefolds on hot, dry hot, no problems.  When it’s above freezing (ha) I’ll hang them out in the sun.  (Sun?  I’ve forgotten what that is).
I think I have about 15 prefolds & flats, which is enough to get me through a day & a half (this child doesn’t wet at night, how lucky can I get?).  As any number of people change his diaper, it’s anyone’s guess if he’s in cloth or disposables, but I’m a fan of the Tiny Tush diaper covers either way.  They’ll keep any kind of diaper on without aid of a onesie, which is awesome in my book, and he gets to be “nearly naked baby” which thrills him to pieces.

Update: More of the same really, but we are about 40/60 between cloth & disposables.  I’m really the only one who is interested in the cloth diapering, so it is what it is.  He’s cool with it either way & still loves his diaper covers.

So, there it is.  The diaper saga so far.
Really, if I’d heard about it before all this began, I’d have tried EC (Elimination Communication or Baby-led Potty Training).  I find that fascinating, but my 6 month old is a bit confused by the idea.

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Prefold diaper with Snappi closure

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Tiny Tush Perfect Fit diaper cover closed

How to clean children’s books

I was recently gifted a generous number of well-loved cardboard & paper children’s books.
Before letting my precious little darling commence to chewing on them I had the maternal need to DESTROY ALL GERMS from other people’s kids chewing on them, and scrape off the old cereal, **otherwise what is JR going to have left to finger-food paint?**

Anyway, I just spent several hours gently scrubbing and carefully scraping and meticulously drying about 30 lbs of cardboard fun while my husband got to play with, feed & entertain our bouncing baby boy.  I so totally got the better end of that bargain.

Should you find yourself in a similar situation of grubby literary bounty, you will need:

sink,
warm water,
large bowl,
Dawn dish soap,
bleach OR white vinegar
soft cloth,
paring knife
dry towel,
hand lotion or gloves
clean counter and drying space
babysitter

Fill the bowl with a squirt of soap, a cap of bleach/white vinegar and warm water.  Wet and ring out the wash cloth, and start gently wiping down the cardboard books.  They can take some scrubbing, but scrape any stubborn dried ick off with the knife because that cardboard isn’t indestructible.  Page by page, dry the book.  If it’s particularly icky wait to dry the whole book until you are done; it’s just enough moisture to soak stubborn stuff off without destroying the book.  Clean up any spots you missed.  Let dry overnight.

You can do a drier version with paper books, ring out the washcloth really well but don’t scrub at all, just wipe.  If a book is super wrinkled you can even iron the dampish pages on low.   If there id dried on ick, scrape it off while the page is dry.
DO NOT iron plastic laminate or tape!!!
Again, let dry overnight.  Tape or glue anything that needs it after it’s dry.  Personally I’m not afraid to cut off frayed edges that invite gleeful baby ripping, but that’s just me.

For cloth books, wash on cold, hang dry, cool iron.
For plastic books, use a water/white vinegar solution to wipe them down.  I don’t think bleach will hurt them, but at $7 a pop I’m not too keen on finding out.

Last:  Let your own precious darling chew on the newly disinfected de-crayoned, de-gunked, de-slimed and de-snotted books.
Oh.. I meant “read and enjoy.”

**As with anything found on the internet, don’t believe it without verifying with your mother – who is probably checking Google too –  But seriously, if in doubt, don’t.  Bleach can hurt, so be careful, yadda yadda.  No babies suckin’ on the bleach bottle, OK?  Geez…  Did that cover all the safety concerns?  Good?  Good.
PS. vinegar will work just as well to clean stuff as bleach.  Not as toxic.  Don’t let your baby suck on that either.  But if you do, send me a picture of their face after they taste it.  No!  Don’t do that!  I’m joking & sleep deprived and have an odd sense of humor!  It was a joke!  Really… but if you do…