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Written by Mama Monday

Blog posts written by mamas on cloth diapering, green living, natural parenting.

daycare

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I’ve headed back to work after an extended maternity leave. There have been tears, and will be more, but we’re so, so lucky that my husband’s mother is taking care of our little girl, just like she has for our son. For many families going back to work after maternity/paternity leave means using cloth diapers at daycare.

I thought it’d be fun to talk about cloth diapering and your sitter (whether it’s a relative, family friend, or daycare). I’ve already talked about the fact that CDing didn’t work with our son, but I’m dedicated to it this time around. One of the reasons it failed? We didn’t want to bother our MIL with one more worry. Not only had she not cloth diapered her sons back in the day (which, for some reason, fascinates me), but our son had bad tummy issues, so was a difficult baby to care for.

I’m hoping to broach the topic after she gets the hang of juggling both kids (and, some days, a third baby!). So, today, I thought it’d be fun to check out some tips on getting your sitter on board with fluff!

Broach the topic with kindness. Start by simply asking whether or not your sitter supports cloth diapering and/or whether they’d be willing to try. If they seem hesitant, use empathy. “You’re so busy with all these children and you do such a wonderful job, I know it seems like cloth will make your job harder. That’s the last thing I want to do.”

Then, state your case. Use your own personal experience to ensure how easy cloth diapering is and your reasons for doing it. Some do it for the cost savings (which, hopefully, any daycare provider would understand), others do it for eco-friendly reasons (again, knowing how just one child’s diapers pile up after a day should be an understandable concept to a sitter), still others even do it for medical causes (no one can argue with this, and if they do, move on). Every state has different laws and standards regarding the use of cloth diapers at childcare facilities, but only mention this after you’ve exhausted all polite, open methods.

Make it easy for them. We all know that everyone prefers different cloth diaper styles. No matter what style you prefer, you become comfortable with it by developing a routine. So, of course, we know that cloth diapering is easy after a bit of practice! But, many non-believers still hold tight to the stigma of difficult, time intensive diapering.

So, don’t fight it. If you’re used to using flats or prefolds with a cover, MAYBE your sitter will want to give it a try after you show her how it’s done. But, maybe it would be wise to show her some all-in-ones to introduce arguably the easiest version of cloth diapering. I know many who know the old-fashioned way of doing things are often shocked at how simple AIOs (especially ones with aplix) can be.

And while I appreciate it when my mother-in-law tosses my son’s jelly stained shirt or muddy pair of pants in the wash, I will be requesting – firmly but cheerfully – that she not wash a single diaper. Far easier for her and far easier for us not to have to teach her our some-would-say complicated wash routine.

Tout the similarities to disposables. Outline what diaper changing time would look like and compare it to the changing of disposables. If you give your sitter the AIO option, the only real difference would be that the diaper should be put into a wet bag for you to take care of at the end of the day. If you prefer disposable wipes, these can be tossed wherever they dispose of normal diapers.

Should the daycare center provide disposables for children, you can always mention the cost savings on their side of things. You’ve already made the diaper investment for them!

Try it out. There are always nerves trying out a new sitter and entrusting anyone with the care of your child. Fighting the battle for cloth can add to this anxiousness. Try to be patient and suggest a trial period – for the sake of your child as well as reusable diapers.

If the sitter is impatient with you, inflexible, or is overall insulting about any attempts to cloth diaper, this will also give you insight into the relationship you will have regarding other possible issues. If they give it an honest go but still have issues, it’s up to you as to whether you want to try a different facility. Good daycare is hard to come by, of course, but professionalism and kindness go a long way.

There are TONS of resources that have already covered some of these topics, so here are the links to some of my favorite write-ups:

http://clothdiaperguru.blogspot.com/p/cloth-and-daycare_19.html

http://www.fluffloveuniversity.com/special-circumstances/daycare-centers-and-cloth-diapers/
http://realdiapers.org/images/print/Daycare-tip-sheet.pdf
http://www.cottonbabies.com/blog/2012/04/real-mom-talk-cloth-diapers-at-daycare.html


What are your experiences with daycare? Are you lucky enough to have a cloth-friendly sitter, or have you tried to persuade a daycare to give it a try? Feel free to comment with your own experiences and advice!

Fun Spring

Happy Spring, everyone! In our neck of the woods, winter has been pretty…non-wintry. Here in upstate New York, we’ve had maybe one not-too-bad storm TOTAL (compared to a dozen or two), and while we’ve got some chilly temperatures this week, there’s no sign that spring isn’t well on its way. Woohoo!

So, with more sunshine and spring breezes ahead, I thought I’d share some simple, fun activities to celebrate it with your little ones.

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Sugar Aunt’s Flower Scissor Skills Craft
Great for getting little hands used to handling safety scissors, this super simple craft comes out super cute. Just use cupcake holders and any colored paper you have on hand.

nature-names-craft
Little Family Fun’s Nature Names Craft

Do you have a little collector in your family like I do? Every walk turns into a “put this in your pocket” adventure.
Now we have a use for all of nature’s odds ‘n ends!

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Mum in the Madhouse’s Celery Flower Prints

All I can say is: How. Cool. Is. This?!

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One Creative Mommy’s Mini-Kites

Has anyone else had a hard time finding a good, old-fashioned kite not emblazoned with annoying cartoon characters?
This is the perfect solution. Plus, easier for small hands to handle and figure out. (Just watch out for little ones with string…but you already knew that.)

colour-changing-flowers-fun-and-pretty-science-experiment-for-kids
Go Science Girls’ Color Changing Flowers

Science meets art meets nature!

get-outside
Young Wife’s Guide to Getting Outside!

These are some awesome tips, simple to expert level, for getting the whole family into the great outdoors.

binoculars
Buggy and Buddy’s TP Roll Binoculars for Cloud Watching

Sure, you COULD observe clouds with your regular ol’ eyes.
But why would you want to if you could make these cool binoculars (which are a great example of repurposing!)?

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Bitz & Giggles’ Nature Hunt Bingo

Turn a normal walk into a super fun game.
This is also great for getting the WHOLE family outside.

What do you think? Would you try out any of these activities?
What’s YOUR family’s favorite springtime activity?

I’m pretty excited to try out the Bingo, myself. It’d give some fun structure and focus to our nature walks!

Celebrate

Yup, celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with children’s books! Boy, how our lives sure have changed since our younger days.

But, seriously, it’s never too early to read to children. My husband and I have both worked in libraries (I’m a school librarian), so we feel that it’s important to instill this love of books in our children. It creates a solid foundation of learning, opens a whole new world of imagination, and offers an opportunity for routine bonding time…honestly, the rewards go on and on.

So, today I’m sharing some favorite children’s books to help get your kids in the St. Patrick’s Day spirit!

curious-george
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Curious George – This is a favorite at our house! This series of Curious George holiday books has given us ideas for fun activities and broadened our son’s idea of what each holiday means, and this one is no exception. It actually feels like you’re checking out the parade and having a real Irish party with everyone’s buddy, Curious George.

jamile-o'rourke

Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato – I’ve used the word already, but this is MY personal favorite. There are other Jamie O’Rourke books, but I prefer this one’s potato reference (not that young kids need to know about the famine, but it was the livelihood for many in Ireland). Extra points if you read it with an Irish brogue; my students LOVE it when I do.

s-is-for-shamrock
S is for Shamrock – Another wonderful series that give a very different spin on your typical ABC book. This one will give your child a tour of the country itself, taking them to famous landmarks, all through Eve Bunting’s incredible poetical writing.

swallowed-clover
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Clover – A new take on a silly old story, the rhythm and repetition will have kids excitedly “reading” along. What does the old lady make this time with all the crazy things she swallows? Here’s a hint: It’s where you hide your pot o’ gold!

how to catch
How to Catch a Leprechaun – With fun illustrations and colorful descriptions of all the naughty tricks leprechauns will play on you (I mean, seriously, a green toilet?), your little ones will be giggling up a storm reading this book. Plus, it’s a great way to get their minds going to craft their own leprechaun traps!

Let’s not leave the older kids out! Here are some of my favorite suggestions for 2nd-4th grade.

leprechaun-in-late-winter

Leprechaun in Late Winter
– Follow Jack and Annie (of the Magic Treehouse fame) to long-ago Ireland where they must inspire a girl to share her creativity with the world. When she shows no signs of imagination, they take her to a magical world…where things go different than they had expected.

leprechauns-don't-play
Leprechauns Don’t Play Basketball – We all know something’s not quite right at the Bailey Elementary School, right? Things are no different in this installment (albeit a more fun, lighthearted read), where their new substitute teacher for gym class is awfully short and full of…magic?

mary-mclean
Mary McLean and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade – A picture book that blends Irish folklore with the harsh realities of an Irish immigrant family in the 1850s, my students had a hard time determining whether this was historical fiction or fantasy. Very well-written with perfectly-accompanying illustrations, this one’s just right for teaching slightly older kids a bit of Irish history.

How are you guys celebrating St. Patrick’s Day? Crafts? Books? Leprechaun traps? Do tell!

A week from today, I’ll be returning to work after a luxuriously extended maternity leave. I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to take more time off for our second baby (due to a miscalculation, I actually didn’t take the full leave – actually ANY time, since he was born during summer break – I should have for our first), to write and work on my own projects, to snuggle and experience the sweet newness of our sweet girl, and to help our son through the emotional transition.

But, now it’s time for my own emotional transition. No matter how much (or little) time you take when you have a baby, if you head back into the workplace, it’s Tough with a capital “T.” Okay, worse than that.

Today, I’m here with some tips that are helping me get my head back in the game and making the transition a bit less bumpy, a bit less emotional.

 

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– Plan in advance, if possible. If you’re anything like me, your mind will be on getting back in the work groove, dealing with any anxieties of returning, and, of course, the distraction of being without your little one. If you’re a breastfeeding mama, you’ll also be figuring out your pumping schedule. The last thing you’ll want to think about is stuff like cooking and cleaning.

So, if you have the time before going back, try to do a bit of extra cleaning. Make a couple of extra meals for the freezer, or at least jot down a basic meal plan of your family’s simplest, favorite meals. Embrace the slow cooker. You’ll thank yourself when you walk into a picked-up house knowing what you’ll be eating that evening.

– Create cushions of time and fill them with simple joys. Find short, five minute spurts of time throughout the day to give yourself a mental break. Listen to your favorite Pandora station. Gaze at a picture of your child. Text the sitter to check in. Or even just have a child-free coffee break (which is now far easier than it once was) or some meditation.

And even on those crazy busy evenings, take a moment to listen to coos, splash together in the tub or write in the baby book. These will be your memories; not the meal making and diaper washing.   

– Don’t overbook free time. Evenings and weekends will be more precious than working-mom-computerever, so plan wisely. Sure, we all have things come up that are unavoidable. But, this isn’t the time for those extra activities that keep us running 7 days a week.

In our case, this means that we’re skipping a month or so of Saturday morning kindermusik. This transition will be just as strange on our 3-year-old son, who won’t have as much time from his grandmother (who sits for us) with sister tagging along, so this is a good time to take a break and make family time a priority.   

– Allow yourself the freedom to adjust. This is a tough one, especially for mothers (for some strange reason). We simply don’t cut ourselves any slack. We expect perfection out of ourselves. At least, I’m hoping I’m not the only one. 😉

Change is hard. It takes flexibility and leeway. Allow yourself that leeway and allow yourself to be sad. Just remember that it will get easier. Just with all phases of parenting, this, too, shall pass.

– Plan for something special. Having something for your family to look forward to, even if it’s a quick day trip or looking towards a holiday on the calendar can pick up your spirits. For us, it may be a trip to the farmers’ market or even just planning a family vacation.

And, for the more mundane, the fact that we’ll have a Superintendent’s Conference Day at the end of our first week back will throw just enough of a breather into the week that it won’t feel QUITE as long.

– Most importantly, ASK FOR HELP. You know how, when you have a baby, people tell you to ask for help? Not to take on all the tasks yourself? It’s totally true, and it doesn’t end after baby’s second week. This time is just a different type of challenge, and you don’t have to deal with it all on your own.

Be sure that your partner knows that you’re in need of just that – a partner-in-crime to help, whether by doing some dishes, picking up dinner, or folding some laundry. Mention oh-so-politely that you really love your mother’s tuna casserole…and you may find yourself with an extra meal. (If only my guys ate it, too. ;-)) Whatever it takes, help yourself by accepting the offers.  

What do you think – anything to add? If you’ve ever had to return to work after a baby, what are your favorite tips for your fellow parents?

 

 

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MEGAN MCCOY DELLECESE writes about her life as a mom and her family’s attempts at living a realistically green life at her blog, Meg Acts Out. She has a soft spot for DIY blogs, Katharine Hepburn movies, the Monkees, and community theatre. Megan lives in upstate New York with her husband, two quirky kiddos, and three rescued cats.

 

leap-into-cloth-2Happy Leap Day! This always feels like such a special, interesting day. It’s almost like a holiday that you only get to celebrate every 4 years. Just the perfect type of day to try something new!

Unless you’re a cloth diapering expert (and I know many of you are!), we all have an area of the cloth diapering world that we haven’t tried out. Maybe you only use cloth part of the time. Maybe you’re just in the “research stage” of cloth diapering and are too scared to give it a go. Maybe you’re only using disposable wipes.

Well, why not use Leap Day as an excuse to give something a try? You may find out that cloth is easier to get the hang of than you expected. You may find your *favorite* new style of cloth. Or, you may fall in love with Thirsties’ new organic cloth wipes AND get some free Booty Luster in the process. (Seriously, it’s the perfect time to give them a go.) Since the resell value of CDs is awesome, you literally have nothing to lose!

Personally, I’ve been doing well with our cloth journey, using it from sun up to sun down. However, for some reason, we haven’t taken the “leap” into nighttime cloth diapering yet. It’s kind of funny because I’ve noticed that our 3 1/2-month-old daughter isn’t a heavy wetter at night. So, what am I so afraid of, anyway? Plus, it’s totally time to try out those new organic wipes.

I also have finally decided on using more AIOs, so I’ll finally be purchasing some more of OS AIOs. While I’ve been juggling daily laundering just fine with my current, I’d rather have the option of not HAVING to do the laundry every day. 😉 Or even every other.

leap-into-cloth

So, how will I “celebrate” cloth this Leap Day? By finally trying some round-the-clock cloth diapering and rounding out my stash.

What new cloth diapering technique or product would you try out for Leap Day?
How else will you “celebrate” the day?

Megan McCoy Dellecese writes about her life as a mom and her family’s attempts at living a realistically green life at her blog, Meg Acts Out. She has a soft spot for DIY blogs, Katharine Hepburn movies, the Monkees, and community theatre. Megan lives in upstate New York with her husband, two quirky kiddos, and three rescued cats.