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Written by Mama Monday

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

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

1) You get crowded out of your king-sized bed by your three-year old, your six-year old, your dog and your husband so you sneak off to the empty queen-sized bed in your daughter’s room…only to wake up an hour later being crowded out by your three-year old, your six-year old and your dog while your husband sleeps alone in the king.

2) A child walks all the way upstairs, past several trash cans, a drooling dog, a toilet and two sinks to spit out a “yucky” food into your hand.

3) You’ve ever been interrupted so many times while showering that you shaved one leg twice and never shaved the other.

4) At least 23 strangers have seen you going to the bathroom because your child(ren) insist on opening the door in a public restroom despite your pleas and threats regarding the opening of the door “before Mommy is done peeing.”

5) You’ve ever let a child burn off steam in airport by running full-speed ahead of you, perhaps even out of sight for a moment, because you truly believe no one will kidnap a child before getting on a plane…because even bad guys want to have a peaceful flight.

6) Your visiting mother tells you to put on clean yoga pants and you reply indignantly “Mom, these are clean! Those are permanent stains not dirt!”

7) You feel like you are wasting time unless you are trying to do at least five things at once because that is the only way you will be able to sit down and catch up on your favorite show, read a book, flip through a magazine, meditate, put on make up or study for an exam when the baby is napping. But once the frantic-paced activity stops you are too tired to do anything but collapse in bed, the couch, an easy chair or the floor and fall-asleep.

8) You see any species of mother and baby animals snuggling, nursing or playing and you feel a fierce, instinctual, primal connection–except you feel a little jealous of the sow who is allowed to lay in the mud on her side and nurse happy, healthy piglets without worrying about how her hair looks or whether her mother-in-law will think the pen looks unkempt.

9) You can never shake the nagging feeling that you’re forgetting to do something.

10) You always quantify your goals in terms of “enough,”  (i.e. the house looks presentable enough, the kids are healthy enough, your toddler is dressed enough, the baby has eaten enough, your clothes are clean enough). This is because you haven’t actually achieved this goal in so long your are no longer certain what it actually looks like  and so you satisfy your self-doubt with the wonderful and all encompassing term that makes us all feel better. Enough said!

How do you know when you are a mother?

 

 

Bubble, boil
Drip, Plop!
Hissing steam of fragrant broth,
Awakening a mother sloth.
Faster, faster!
Percolate!
Any longer is too late!
Messy hair and shuffling feet,
Hurry towards my caffeine treat.
Dark and fragrant in my cup
Fill it to the tippy top
Room for cream and sugar, sure
I think I need a little more.
Wrap my hands around my mug,
Like a warm and loving hug.
Just one sip, a blissful sigh,
From puffy eyes to opened wide.
The sleepy fog around my brain
Evaporates like desert rain.
In my head the gears start churning,
Pistons pumping, engines burning.
Another sip and just in time
Of magic potion, so divine.
I tilt my head like mother hen,
And hear a thump (or more like ten)
And down they come, all three pairs,
Of small feet upon the stairs.

asleep

Dream-Baby-Child-Safety-Harness

On our most recent trip to visit my parents, I noticed more than a few toddlers walking around various airports wearing “baby harnesses”  which were then attached to their mother or father’s wrist. But let’s face it–it’s a leash. Don’t get me wrong–I’m completely in favor of these contraptions. In fact, I’ve tried them with all three of my children.

The babies at the airport all toddled along nicely on their tethers. They didn’t run as fast as they could only to be snapped back like a naughty puppy at the end of a rope. They walked next to their parents who were able to let their munchkins burn off some energy before boarding while checking their flight status on the monitors or getting a gate-check ticket for the stroller.

The irony, of course, about toddler leashes is this: the children who really need them–the runners and jumpers–don’t “walk nicely” just because they have a harness on. In fact, the several times I tried to use them on my own children, I found it was just as much work to finagle my child in a crowded public place than if I had not tethered said child to my wrist. My children all pulled and ran or walked with their bodies tilting forward at a 45 degree angle while I held on trying not to drop my end, thus giving my child-sized Clydesdale a real-life lesson in gravity.

Another fun and yet more peaceful way of protesting the indignity of the leash, is the old “I’ll lie on the floor of the grocery store or airport and you can drag me around.” We’ve all seen reluctant and stubborn dogs pull this trick—and I see it as evidence that children and puppies really are almost the same–read my blog on the topic by clicking the link. And then of course, if the harness-wearing child is a younger sibling, older siblings may take great delight in flinging, yanking or dragging their helpless younger sister or brother  in circles. In the wrong hands, this contraption can quickly go from safety tool to a torture device.

So while my opinion on the child harness remains positive for those they work for, we never had any great success with them. Would you or have your ever tried a child harness to keep your child close by in a crowded public place? Or were you ever leashed yourself?

 

 

 

Cooper at the Beach in 2013

Cooper at the Beach in 2013

Being at the beach today with my parents and my three kids made me think of when they were much littler, sand-eating, cloth-diaper-wearing cuties. Cooper made made tracks in the sand with his Monster Trucks and brought them a little too close to the water (RIP to the the two trucks who were washed out to sea), Kate never left the water where she jumped the incoming waves and Lauren split her time between hunting for shells and and playing in the surf.

Cooper was the only baby of mine who had the chance to wear Thirsties Cloth Diapers and I pretty much took them everywhere--including to Florida to visit my parents and even on the plane to get here. Click  here to read my blog about bringing my Thirsties while flying to Florida).  I can’t however, remember if I took them to the beach. Disposable swim diapers actually aren’t absorbent at all. They are only designed to prevent solid waste from escaping into the water. The fact that babies can, will and do pee in the pool  seems to be a universally accepted exception to the “Ool Rule” (as in, Please keep the “P” out our of pool). I do seem to remember having a simple little cloth diaper, which like disposable diapers, wasn’t designed to absorb urine but just catch potential floaters. I also remember being frustrated at the pools in Boulder who required disposable swim diapers be worn by all children under the age of three. Cloth swim diapers were not allowed unless a disposable was worn under them. I always thought this was extremely silly as the cloth swim diapers had much tighter leg gussets and the disposable didn’t. I knew which diaper would do it’s job better alone–and it wasn’t the wide-legged disposable swim diaper–but rules, even foolish one, have to be obeyed.

Now that my kids are three, six and nine, I don’t have to worry about anyone eating sea shells or changing diapers in the sand. I’m just stand in the middle of the surf like a mother hen, counting her chicks every few moments to make sure they are all in reach lest they get knocked over by a wave or get distracted and chase a sea gull too far down the beach.  Today was a great day and I was glad to be far from the snowy cold in Colorado that we’ll be returning to on Tuesday. But I did leave feeling just a bit wistful and missing the days of holding hands with a chunky toddler who was walking in wet sand for the first time and pointing at every shell and bit of seaweed like it was the most interesting thing in the world.

What does your baby wear when you go to the beach? Do you bring your cloth diapers? Do you have a cloth swim diaper?

 

 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The kids have been out of school since December 19th. Up until Christmas afternoon, the weather was mild, in the 40s and even 50s and we were all hoping for snow to help us get in the “spirit” of the holiday season. In my opinion, the snow waited too long to arrive and now has me seriously stressed out.

I grew up in Vermont and until a few years ago, my parents lived there most of the year but “wintered” in Florida. They rented their house in Vermont to skiers and they rented a place in Key Largo. But like all of us, they’re getting older every day. They no longer want to be shoveling three feet of snow off the walk or braving frigid temperatures every time they need a gallon of milk. And winters in Vermont are long and grey. None of their grown children live close by….we’re all in different states, and without the help of their middle-aged (yet still healthy and strong!) off-spring to help them with winter chores, nor grandchildren nearby who they would miss, it made sense for them to move somewhere warmer and more pleasant year-round.

Until I had children of my own, I don’t think I could have anticipated how important the “village” factor is in raising children. What I am saying is: I miss my Mom and Dad! I miss them because they adore my children and my children adore them. I miss the free help they would offer if I needed to drop everything and bring one kid to the doctor for an earache…instead, I have to bring all three. I miss the date nights my husband and I could have if we didn’t have to pay (not to mention track down) a babysitter and the sleep-overs the kids would be able to have at Grandma and Papa’s house. I hate that my parents have to miss every birthday party, every preschool performance and Lauren playing a harp solo at church on Christmas Eve. I hate that we see them two to three times a year and that it’s so darn expensive and complicated to make that happen.

The world is so different than it was fifty years ago. It is both bigger and smaller at the same time. Family units tended to stay closer geographically. But now it’s commonplace to live thousands of miles from where we grew up and have kids who only see their grandparents a few times a year. I had one grandmother who lived until after I had graduated from college, who lived in the same town I did for my entire childhood. The rest passed away when I was very young. I have so many fond memories of baking cookies, sleeping at her house, having her with us for every single Christmas. And I didn’t even realize how lucky I was. My other family members weren’t all in Vermont–but spread through out New England, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. They weren’t right around the corner but at least within a reasonable drive.

Why am I missing my parents so much right now and pondering the changing family dynamics in the US? Because the mild weather and green Christmas we had…have changed to snow, snow, freezing temps and more snow–and the kids and I are supposed to fly to Florida on a 6:25 a.m. flight tomorrow. As an admittedly nervous flyer, who has already experienced the misery of being stranded in an airport alone with children, I’m torn. Do we try it and risk being stuck in the airport or do we cancel our trip and try to reschedule at another time. We haven’t seen my parents since June. That’s too long in my opinion. And we’re limited to when and how long we can travel by Lauren and Kate’s school schedule. I can’t bear the idea of staying at home alone with all three kids, bored, incredibly disappointed and missing Grandma and Papa…and yet, I’m not sure I’m a fan of driving an hour to the airport in a snowstorm in the middle of the night to try to get on a plane that may or may not take off.

 Update: We made it! Hurray!

 

Happy New Year and Safe Travels!