Handwashing

Friday, May 25, 2012
I am taking part in the Second Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry. For 7 days I will be using only flat cloth diapers and handwashing them in an effort to prove that cloth diapering can be affordable and accessible to all. You can learn more about the rules and why this challenge was started by visiting the announcement post. This year there are over 450 participants from all over the world!

You mean there is handwashing in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge?!


Yup.

There is.

And it is a ton of fun...

Errr......

Well it isn't horrible.

In fact, I'm pretty confident I'll have less arm fat wiggle by the end of the week!

So, how do I, you know, do the dirty?


Oh. I do the dirty well. And by hand!

Get your mind out of the gutter. I do the dirty diaper laundry. As in wash them. Duh. Sheesh.

How?
First I should state that I do this at night while Turtle-Love is asleep or entertained by our family that we live with.
I should also mention I'm not allowed to use hot water to wash the diapers because I wash right after/during/right before someone being in the shower for the night.

And I like in a house full of cloth diaper haters.

Yup. Haters gon' hate.

That's three adults - all of which are mothers, against me. My husband is pro-cloth but not feeling my handwashing duties at this time, because the challenge coinsides with "moving week". Which I completely understand.

Moving on...

To wash our diapers I...

•Rinse all diapers in luke warm water making sure to scrub any stains with a little soap.

Oh, I wash with blue Dawn.

•I do a preliminary wash with the soap applied to the stains and minimal aggitation effort
•Allow soaking

Usually at this time I am needed to assist with some household duty, or need to nurse Turtle-Love.

•Aggitate and then drain the water and wring out the flats and squeeze the covers
•Add a less than pea sized amount to each flat and work it in, scrubbing any stains well
•Aggitate them individually, as a group, repeat repeat repeat
•Add in a few scrubs per flat, specially addressing the stains

This part takes a while. It just does, I want to make sure they are clean. CLEAN clean.

•Drain the water, wring the flats
•Plug and add more water using teh water to rinse the flats as the sink fills
•Continue with the aggitating process

This is as much a second wash cycle as it is a cycle to remove some of the suds.

•Repeat
•Repeat

At this point almost all of the bubbles are gone.

•Fill sink one more time
•Aggitate each flat individually while dunking and swishing to ensure all suds are gone
•Rinse and wring each flat
•Hang to dry on teh rack

DONE!

I know it seems like a lot. It really isn't, it is just a lot to explain.

In the morning the flats are mostly dry. They are definitely dry when I get home from work. I snap and russle each one before folding it origami style and putting it in the diaper bag or setting it out for use.

This is a picture of our flats and covers soaking. For the third time because my arms were too tired... So I decided they needed a little extra soak here and there...

Also here is a picture of Turtle-Love eating pizza in bed in his flat and Thirsties cover. Life is hard!


Check out what the other bloggers participating in the challenge think of handwashing!






Favorite way to use flats

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I am taking part in the Second Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry. For 7 days I will be using only flat cloth diapers and handwashing them in an effort to prove that cloth diapering can be affordable and accessible to all. You can learn more about the rules and why this challenge was started by visiting the announcement post. This year there are over 450 participants from all over the world!

What is my favorite way to use flats?


Uhh... as diapers? LOL

No, seriously, I use our flats for various things....

•Dusting
•Wiping my window edges with vinegar or lemon (or both)
•Soaking up 'uh-ohs' from naked baby time
•Pulling spills out of the carpet (works like a charm!)
•Runny nose catchers
•Un-paper towels


Could also be used for...
•A tourniquet
•Impromptu clothing (no judging)
•Making fabric flowers
•Momma cloth
•Napkins
•A bandana to keep the hair out of my face while cleaning
•Flags for pretend play
•Splat mats to catch flying messes during meal or art time
...

The list really could just go on. I mean, its a flat. I single layer of fabric. You could use it for anything you use fabric for.

I'm thinking, natural birds eye cotton flats will re purpose well into fabric embellishments for a friends bohemian inspired wedding...


Anyhow - here is a set of pictures from earlier today. Nicole (my good friend and our baby sitter) took them for me. I was at her house picking Turtle-Love up after work. Of course the first thing he asks of me (which I appreciate after 8 hours...) is for milk and boobies. Which takes a long time, which I enjoy after work because we can relax and reunite peacefully. He also usually falls asleep while nursing around this time, and we were headed for a shopping trip before headed home so I wanted to get him into a fresh diaper.

Which is why these pictures are of me nursing Turtle-Love while putting him in an origami folded flat. In the interest of full disclosure, the flat was already folded and waiting for me in the diaper bag.



I have to say, it was a little tricky but I feel pretty talented after that!

PS... We usually use an origami fold, but I twist at the hips and jelly roll the thighs for a closer fit

PPS... I gave up on trying to locate any of my 3 snappis. They ran away.




Check out how the rest of the flats challenge bloggers use their flats!









Supplies for the challenge

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I am taking part in the Second Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry. For 7 days I will be using only flat cloth diapers and handwashing them in an effort to prove that cloth diapering can be affordable and accessible to all. You can learn more about the rules and why this challenge was started by visiting the announcement post. This year there are over 450 participants from all over the world!

Supplies
•12 DiaperRite natural flats
•4 flour sack towels from Target
•6 flannel receiving blankets
•6 Flip diaper covers
•1 Thirsties duo wrap diaper cover
•1 bottle of blue dawn
•1 wooden folding drying rack

I am able to diaper for three days on these supplies though I wash every night just in case something comes up.

Unfortunately due to our move I am unable to elaborate on today's post or really write anything at length. I apologize for this. Tomorrows post about the challenge will be more extensive for sure!

I'll leave you with a couple pictures Nicole sent me today :-)

PS... the snappi is still missing :-/






Why Am I Participating?

Monday, May 21, 2012
I am taking part in the Second Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry. For 7 days I will be using only flat cloth diapers and handwashing them in an effort to prove that cloth diapering can be affordable and accessible to all. You can learn more about the rules and why this challenge was started by visiting the announcement post. This year there are over 450 participants from all over the world!

Why am I participating?

Last year I explained how I found the Flats Challenge, and why I decided to hop on board. You can read about that HERE. Not much has changed. I'm still working towards starting a non profit that provides cloth diapering education and opportunities to low income families. I'm still advocating for cloth diapers. I still believe I can make a difference through using cloth diapers my self, showing them to my friends and teaching them all the little things you learn along the way.

I know for a couple of my friends things are really difficult financially right now. I'm hoping they will be able to see this is do-able and that choosing cloth diapers for their new babies or switching from disposables, especially flats, can ease things a bit in that department.


Let the Flats and Handwashing Challenge Begin!


This weekend we moved. Again. We had just moved in March. Ugh. Circumstances change, and so we make changes to accommodate. I spent all day yesterday vacuuming every square inch of the basement, then the dining room (our temporary bedroom) and cleaning the carpets in the basement. By the time I got finished Toad and Turtle-Love were fast asleep and I could barely stay standing to take a shower. I was exhausted but the shower rejuvenated me a bit, so as I lay in bed I hopped on Twitter to see what I had been missing over the weekend. I find a Tweet from Kim Rosas ( Dirty Diaper Laundry ) talking about using flats for the night because of the challenge tomorrow. Here is what my mind did...
Twitter... tweet tweet. ... oo picture... I'm surprised I have enough signal to get Twitter loaded right now... mmm Johnny Depp... oo a giveaway! Oh, I don't need that... man this is a lot to scroll through!... Kim.... flats.... .... crap what day is today? Crap I'm working tomorrow. Crap I have to pack the diaper bag. Crap I have to.. wait... flats... challenge.... Day? Sunday. Date? Date? DATE?! Crap.

And that is when I realized the challenge starts tomorrow (Today) and that allllll my flats are packed up. Insert unamused face here ---> -_-

I decided to deal with it in the morning. Insert sleep time. Insert me hitting the snooze button. Insert me turning off my alarm. Insert me waking up five minutes before I have to be at work. Insert the word Crap.

After fumbling around getting clothes on and brushing my teeth I remember my discovery from last night and begin re=packing the diaper bag so Toad wont have to. Partly because I want to be nice, but more because I'm worried he will forget even though I told him last night when he had to wake up to bring the giant curtains inside (different story). I find three covers, one that is a little too small, and all my other diapers but no flats. Eff. Then I realize the flats are still at the old house, in a fabric bin, in the living room. Then I also realize I stuck the flour sack towels I picked up at Target in the bag with some of our clean clothes. I dig those out, still in the packaging, and stuff them into the diaper bag along with the covers, wipes and a wet bag and tell Toad he MUST retrieve the box of flats on the way to drop Turtle-Love off. The flour sack towels haven't been pre-washed - but there are four of them and it is better than nothing.

And that is how I prepared for the challenge.
And recapping those events has made me realize I did not remind Toad that he needed to pack Turtle-Love a real lunch (instead of the snacky type first lunch we usually pack and then I feed him real lunch when I pick him up)because I am working late today. Eff.

Some days are more hectic than others.

And now.. drum roll please...


Nicole's first flat!
Looks like she may have used a diaper bag fold


Oops, I didn't pack a snappi! Errr.... where is the snappi....

Check out what everyone else has to say about why they are participating, and how the first day is going for them!



How I reacted to attachment parenting on the Today show

Friday, May 11, 2012
I logged in to Facebook this morning and immediately saw a status update from one of my best friends..

" Attachment parenting on the Today show now.. "

Unfortunately I'm at work, and the status was posted an hour prior to when I saw it. Though I had a feeling what they would be talking about, with the most recent cover of Time magazine that just came out, and their article on attachment parenting. I went and commented on how I missed the show, but that I hadn't heard great things about the magazine coverage and that a fellow blogger that I read was in the spread! Then I noticed a comment on my friends status...

"I'm all for breast feeding but at 3 years old?!, there are better ways to form a strong bond with your child."

Immediately, I knew I had something to say. I thought about my words, and chose them carefully. I couldn't NOT respond, because I felt there was an opportunity to share the information I've gathered as well as my own opinion. I didn't want my comment to be seen negatively so I tried my best to be factual while stating my opinion in a non-pushy way...

"I don't see a problem with extended breast feeding personally. The average weaning age internationally is actually around 4 years old, so 3 is more than acceptable. Breast milk never loses it's benefits, after all it was specifically designed to nourish the child and continues to change with their needs. As long as the breast feeding relationship is positive I don't see an issue. Sure, there are other ways to bond with your child - but I enjoy the one on one time I get with my 17 month old son while we nurse. Also, I'm personally happy knowing that if my son gets a stomach bug or if for any other reason he is unable to hold down food, by still nursing him I can ensure that he will receive enough nutrients to keep him strong, he will continue to receive the antibodies I'm building up against illness, and he will be less likely to dehydrate while sick as long as he nurses. We will continue to maintain a breastfeeding relationship for as long as it remains positive and my son decides to self wean. That could be tomorrow or two years from now and either way is okay for our family. Everyone has their own opinion of course, and different things work well for different families. To each their own :-)"


How do you think I handled it? Not bad right? At least I hope.

Soon after posting that reply it occurred to me I might be asking for trouble - or causing drama on my friends page. So I started worrying, and mentally preparing a private message or text to her apologizing for causing problems... Instead I get a notification that she (my friend) commented on her status as well. It reads...

"‎Samantha - do a blog on this TODAY!"

Haha! I should have known! Nicole is my own personal cheerleader when it comes to my blog. In fact, she just finished organizing a planner for me - complete with blog topic suggestions and reminders to actually blog. I should have known that would be her response! And so... here I am. Blogging about it.

...and still mentally preparing the apology that may be necessary for causing trouble on her page, just in case...

I located the piece on Attachment Parenting by the Today Show. You can watch it here ---> http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/47385461#47385461

Once I started watching I had so many internal comments I had to pause, pull up my blog page, and prepare to take notes. So, lets begin this together...

Note: The quotes I provide were pulled right off the transcript provided by the video clip


I do agree that attachment parenting can seem overwhelming before you get started - or if you are an outsider looking in. However, for me most of it just seems like the natural, easy, and right thing to do. I'm still learning as I go, and I certainly am not an expert on attachment parenting. Not even close. In fact, while I was pregnant I claimed I would never put my baby in bed with me. Umm, yeah I changed my mind. At 17 months old, he has been sleeping with us since month 1.

I do not agree that attachment parenting is the new extreme in raising a baby - most likely because I do not see it as extreme at all, but I could understand how someone else might.

I do not agree that attachment parenting makes things more complicated <-- perhaps I miss understood her statement? If anything attachment parenting has made my life more simple. I wont get into that right now, this is specifically a discussion on the news coverage and how I feel about it. This particular snipit, really bugs me, they are referring to Dr. Sears

...his 1992 "the baby book" put a heavy emphasis on a mother devoting extraordinary time and energy to her baby. For some it raises a red flag.

Umm, what? I'm pretty sure nearly every mother, attachment parenting or not, puts extraordinary time and energy into her baby. That is her child. She is responsible for raising the baby. You can't just sit the baby in a corner and hope for the freaking best. You. Raise. The. Baby. You care for the baby. And raising and caring for a child is absolutely extraordinary, it absolutely takes a deep devotion of time, and energy. Regardless of the parenting style you feel you align with (or not).

The word training is mentioned in regard to 'training' the child for the real world. I just want to go on record here saying that I've come to dislike the word 'training' as it pertains to children. We teach, we encourage, we show, we suggest, we explain, we provide insight. We try to help them learn and grow, and in the process we do too.

The woman speaking at that point mentions it isn't good to let the child believe the whole world revolves around them, because the whole world doesn't revolve around anybody. And I agree. However,

you had better believe and understand just as my son does that MY whole world does revolve around him. And he can always expect that. As can any future children we may have. Can you not agree that your child(ren) are the center of your life?


I love that Dr. Sears repeatedly brings up balance. He is right - it (attachment parenting) is not extreme. If you balance your needs and your child's needs you will all be happy. All of life is about balance people!
I feel like the interviews went well. I could see how the reporter (Savannah?) was trying to stir up trouble (is that not her job? You can't fault her for it..) and that Dr. Sears, Jaime, and Jeffrey Kluger from Time Magazine handled the discussion and questions well.

There have been other comments on the Facebook status that I mentioned above, from a different person. The responses basically state that extended breastfeeding does not occur in Europe (ummm...) specifically in Poland. Also that responding to your child's every cry makes them a sissy. Also that the person 'tells the world how it is' and other people 'take things so personally'.


My responses...


#1
The international average as in taking the average year from each country, globally, and finding the most common age that weaning occurs. Now that I have explained it this way, the word 'average' is misleading, and for that I apologize. And there are plenty of women in European countries who breastfeed past the first year of life.

There is also a difference between responding to your child's needs and cries (attachment parenting) and doting on their every whim (permissive parenting). My son, while young, understands that he does not get everything he wants if that is what you are thinking responding to their cries means. As a mother who does practice many attachment parenting principals, when my son cries I respond to his cries differently, depending on what he needs. Because of my strong bond with him, it isn't hard to figure out. He doesn't have all of the language or understanding to express how he feels yet because he is still growing and learning what these feelings are. So, for example, if he throws a fit because I told him no I'm not going to walk away from him or expect him to stop screaming just because he is told to. I'm going to talk to him, and ask him to tell me what he needs. And even at just 17 months this works really well. And if he was told he can't have the remote and he tells me that is what he wants, he still doesn't get it. Instead I will provide him with an alternative and we will go from there.

Responding to his needs has not made him a sissy. I think Nicole can vouche for that ;-) as she babysit my son during the week. I also do not believe it will make him one. Being a 'sissy' also wont make me love him any less or treat him any differently - it will only mean I have to help him cope and understand the world around him, which it is my job as his mother to do anyways, regardless of my parenting style choice. I understand you (and many others) may have a different opinion on all of this, and I respect that.

I actually found this blog post about an hour ago that helps to explain attachment parenting to someone who doesn't quite know or really understand what it is. I hope that anyone who is curious will read it.
http://thegoodletdown.blogspot.com/2011/03/guide-to-understanding-attachment.html"

There are so many other things I would like to point out - about how Dr. Sears specifically mentions that he has yet to meet an attachment parent with a child who is a school bully. Which is great! But does this person believe that anyone who is not a bully is a sissy? It is hard to say. I would hope not. I hope to raise my child with balance and that he will be confident enough in himself that he neither feel the need to bully others or take abuse from someone else.

#2

I am glad that you feel that your child is growing and handling the world so well. I truly am, and I hope that your relationship with her continues to go as well as you want and that she flourishes in every way.

You are right, the numbers show that in Poland the number of women breastfeeding for the first 6 months continuing to breastfeed past 6 months is 10%. However, In other countries in Europe such as Sweden, at 53%, Norway at 50%, it is most likely more common. I realize that is just 'after 6 months' and does not specifically mention toddlers, but I can see where you are coming from as far as this 'not being the norm'. (numbers from kellymom.com who sites a reputable study) I know there are women I interact with on a daily basis outside of the United States that are breast feeding toddlers, so it does happen. Can I say specifically in Poland? No, but I can't say it absolutely does not happen either.

Just because something isn't the societal norm doesn't make it bad.

I have the right to make a decision on how I should best care for my child. Based on my child's needs, and the way I feel I should respond to him. Just as you have a right and the ability to raise your child differently. Does that make your child better than mine, or mine better than yours? Absolutely not. Does that make you a better parent, or me a better parent? Not in my opinion. It just means we have made different choices. I assume we are all after the same thing in raising our children. We want the to grow well, to prosper, to be caring, successful, and above all happy. However you feel is best to get your baby to that place, so be it. Different people make different choices and I'll stand behind that every time.

Because I respond to my sons every cry does not mean that he will need to hold my hand through all of life. In fact he is already quite independent for his age. He doesn't always need me. He doesn't even always want me. But every time he cries, I respond appropriately in a way that will encourage him to learn and understand him self and the world around him. I don't walk behind him constantly kissing his boo-boos, covering him in bubble wrap, or preventing him from truly experiencing the world around him. He is caring while strong. He is opinionated (already, yeesh!) and very much his own person, but loves to spend time with other people getting cuddles and hugs and kisses, or dancing like a fool. He is so happy and well rounded and generally a delightful little guy to be around, there is nothing anyone could say to me that would lead me to believe I am doing something wrong. Just as I would assume you feel the same about how you raise your child.

And so you know, I am not taking this discussion personally. I find this to be a healthy debate!





I'm sure I'll continue to have other interactions throughout the day, be on this particular post or others, regarding this issue.

Has anyone been questioning (or even attacking) your parenting principles lately?