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Written by Mama Monday

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

potty-training-low-stress

Raise your hand if you’ve potty-trained a small human. Or are in the midst of doing so. Or plan on having a child not enter college still having bedtime accidents.

Then you know how daunting it may be. Especially with a super strong-willed child. (Should I finally admit here that my son is SO MUCH like me??? So. Very. Stubborn. I should be proud, really.)

If you read all the books and blogs and Facebook posts and advice handed down from generation to generation, you’ve literally heard every suggestion possible…including complete contradictions.

Offer a reward. No, wait, that’s bribery and never works. (Even though it worked on me as a kid. Not that it’s a good thing; it didn’t work with my son.)

Tell the child when to take a potty break. No, wait, let them learn to listen to their body’s cues. (In my experience, one leads to the next, but see my caveat below.)

Strip your child naked for several days and get the job done. Wait, what? We would literally be confined to a very small kitchen (hello, wall-to-wall carpeting), so…yeah. No, thanks. (And, um, I tried a very brief version of this…wasn’t pretty.)

The list goes on and on. And y’know what? All of these methods work. They must or else they wouldn’t still be making the rounds.

But not for every child. There is no “AIO” when it comes to potty-training rules (or kids in general). And that’s my one caveat.

pottyAs with all things in the parenting realm, no two children are exactly alike. Hence, no two experiences with said children should be generalized. So, when you see rules or methods touted proudly, don’t feel an overwhelming guilt when your kid doesn’t follow suit. “But, it must be my child. There MUST be something wrong!!!”

No, there’s not. You already know how incredibly unique and special your child is. Don’t let anyone else make you question this or your own intuition. If you push a child early on and they’re not ready, put the idea to rest for awhile longer.

This is not a time to keep up with the Joneses. Even if your child talked or walked before theirs, all kids won’t hit the same milestones at the same time, and this is a great time to realize it – and remember it through school and beyond.

The only generalizations I can make about potty-training, from the perspective of a mom who’s “successfully completed” a masters course in it (okay, I’ve got a B+ thanks to the rare accident) are that:

– Yes, he/she WILL get it in his/her own time…not our time, not their cousin’s time, not the kid down the block’s time, but his/her time.

– There WILL be setbacks. Just when you think he’s got it figured out, there will be wet pants…or sheets…or floor. (Gah!) Try, try, try to relish the successes and minimize these setbacks…as hard as it may be.

– As with all parenting, this challenging time is just a phase. It will pass, and you’ll one day be so proud that your child can recognize when it’s time to go, have DRY pants, actually go on the potty, pull up her own pants, wash her own hands…and not need you one bit to help. Kinda bittersweet, huh?

 

So, don’t rush it to flush it. Everything will be fine…until you realize you’re done with your cloth diaper stash. I can’t help with that. Sorry!

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(Not to be confused with Eric Carle’s The Mixed-Up Chameleon, although its theme of “you do you” would be right at home here today.)

mixed-up-stash


We recently shared a post about the fact that
there’s no one “right” way to cloth diaper, along with one discussing the importance of supporting the diverse reasons behind cloth diapering for #ClothCommunity Day. Whether you’re a part-timer (we still are) or a full-timer, use only one brand or have an array of options, there really is no wrong way to do it.


In my low-stress cloth diapering post, some were surprised to hear that we’ve been partial to all-in-one style diapers ever since my daughter was still a newborn. They thought that a Duo Wrap with a prefold or flat combination was the way to cloth diaper a newborn. It made me realize that literally EVERYONE has different cloth diapering experiences and preferences. While I hate the saying, it’s true; there’s more than one way to skin a cat.  

Case in point: our 3-month-old, Harper. We’re using a couple of different brands (although Thirsties is undoubtedly our hands-down favorite, even if I wasn’t affiliated with them!), mostly because we had a small stash that we used for the limited CDing we did with our son. So, between pure cost (and, admittedly, laziness – I’m totally devoid of any free time to pull the things out of rotation and resell) and necessity, most of our stash is made up of AIOs.

We also have a ton of prefolds that we use with covers and a Duo Wrap or two. So, all together, we use whatever we have washed and ready at the time: AIOs and prefolds/covers.

Thanks to a local green business (sadly) going out of business a few years ago, I own a couple pockets and AI2s. With such a varied stash (and so many types of diapers on the market), it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Yet, this is advice #1 offered by many sage, experienced CD mamas: buy (or rent) a variety of styles before committing to your favorite(s).

While I agree with it, this tip always bugged me. “But I want to be TOTALLY ready when baby comes!” I thought. In hindsight, I realize that this could very well be one of the reasons that cloth diapering didn’t work my first time around. I had pigeon-holed myself because I had read about a particular brand (that was used by my favorite bloggers – so, it MUST be awesome, right??), a brand that ended up being the least favorite in my stash. Blah.

So, this time? I’m making do with the variety I’ve accumulated and remembering to leave room for adjustments as the baby gets older. As with all things baby, I’ve learned that flexibility is key. When we finally try an overnight solution, I realize that it’ll be trial-and-error, and most likely completely different than our daytime routine.

Plus, there’s always B/S/T groups to weed and replenish my stash with what I’ve found to be my true love: Thirsties AIOs.

Are you a “one style” family or do you have a good variety of diaper styles? We’d love to hear what works for you!

 

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VALENTINE'S CRAFTS

It may not be the hippest thing, but our family is full of “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” fans. One of the interesting things they do is celebrate alternative holidays. In other words, they have a winter festival called Snowflake Day (Christmas/Hanukkah), Dress Up Day (Halloween), and Love Day (St. Valentine’s Day).

So, of course, our son doesn’t call it Valentine’s Day; it’s Love Day. I kind of like it even better. They sing about the different ways that you can say “I love you.” Hadley prefers hugging. Like, everyone. Family, friends, strangers… I know, we’re working on it. 😉

With “Love Day” coming up this weekend, I thought it’d be fun to share some fun crafts from around the blogosphere for you to do with your little loves.

shake-it-up-hearts

via Sunny Day Family

I can’t WAIT to try this one. It’s a great way to repurpose/recycle materials (I’d totally keep and reuse the jar for this particular purpose). I’d also do this one for St. Patrick’s Day after having the little man hunt for a “blarney stone” to use instead of the candy hearts. And, yes, I’d explain what the real blarney stone is. My maiden name is McCoy, after all. 😉

newspaper-hearts

via You Are My Fave

Hey, look! More repurposing! Who knew newspaper could be so pretty?

carolynsarrows

via Carolyn’s Homework

There aren’t any directions here, but it’s pretty self-explanatory: felt arrowhead/tail + twig (or straw) = super cute Cupid’s arrow. Maybe add some glue to the mix.

pocketofpreschool-heart

via Pocket of Preschool

There are some other awesome ideas on this post particularly aligned to literacy and math skills, but the project I like is the squares-in-a-heart one. Great for fine motor skills and simple enough for kids to try on their own. Add that “I love you to pieces!” and you’ve got a sweet, adorable card.

funkyhearts

via Little Bit Funky

We did this craft last year and it holds a special place in my heart (pun totally intended). I had or little guy do the painting and I cut them and assembled them since his skills were still minimal. We gave them along with a little candy and a card to grandparents and a beloved cousin. Add some string and you’ve got some fun decor, too.

Thirsties Love Day Crafts

How will your family be celebrating “Love Day”? Any super cute crafts in your futures?
We’d love to hear!

Hey, guys! I’m so glad that we could catch you in time to tell you about a fun day of celebration.

Tomorrow (Feb. 2nd) is The 2nd Annual #ClothCommunity Day! Woohoo!!

#clothcommunity

Image courtesy theinquisitivemom.com


The whole idea behind this day is for cloth diapering families to come together (in person and/or online) to promote the awesome idea that there is no right or wrong way to cloth diaper. It’s a great day of support and awareness that will also hopefully help #makeclothmainstream!

This year, the theme is FAMILIES OF CLOTH, with an emphasis on reaffirming our commitment to being a diverse, unified community. Isn’t that so empowering?

It’s super easy to participate. All you have to do is share positive affirmations through your favorite social media site(s). Pretty simple, right? Just handwrite or print a sign (which includes the hashtag #clothcommunity) telling folks that you support cloth and, if you choose, a positive reason that your family has chosen the cloth route. Snap a picture holding your affirmation and share, share, share away using your favorite social media, remembering to include the #clothcommunity tag so that we can see your support.

It can be as simple as “We are a cloth family! #clothcommunity” or more personal, like these ideas from Mindy Farmer at The Inquisitive Mom (the brains behind this awesome event):

– Our babies are treehuggers from birth. #clothcommunity
– Cloth diapers help meet our child’s special needs. #clothcommunity
– Instead of throwing away thousands of disposable diapers, our twins reuse cloth diapers. #clothcommunity
– Military families save money with cloth diapers. #clothcommunity
– Cloth diapers help support our family. #smallbusiness #clothcommunity
– Families of Cloth are diverse. #clothcommunity

Here’s mine!

clothcommunity

While showing support for the diverse, supportive #clothcommunity, we at Thirsties would LOVE to see some of your very own Thirsties-loving families represented. So, while you’re writing up your post, be sure to include #thirstiesbaby along with your #clothcommunity hashtag!

Hope to see you at The 2nd Annual #ClothCommunity Day!

winterfun
Now that we’re deep in the throes of winter, it’s only a matter of time before the kids start climbing the walls. (Okay, okay…parents, too.) As much as we’d love to live the life where we can summon the energy to bundle up and take full advantage of all nature has to offer on a daily basis, it’s just not plausible. Unless you’re Wonder Woman or Superman. In which case, you rock and I’m jealous. Reeeaaally jealous.

But, since most of us aren’t fictionalized characters, it’s nice to have some ideas in our arsenal to fight off kids’ cases of the “I’m Boreds” and the dreaded “How Does One Literally Bounce Off Walls?!” Many of these ideas are for younger kids but can be adapted for the older crowd, too.

If you were in the line of this past weekend’s storm, in particular, today’s tips for some indoor fun around the house might just help you restore your sanity.
COLOR SORTING HOPSCOTCH – This teaches colors and sorting skills to younger kids and is just a blast for the older ones. This mom made a race out of finding toys and assigning them to different colors (using simple colored construction paper). You could make it simpler by only using one or two colors at a time and having a pile of toys all ready, or more complex by making it a scavenger hunt. Either way, good times!

OBSTACLE COURSE – You knew this was coming, right? Look around your house with a new eye, asking yourself: “What can kids use to go over/under/around/through?” A footrest, a tunnel (or makeshift tunnel using chairs and a blanket), a laundry basket, streamers…the list goes on. If you have older children, give them the task of putting the course together; they’ll get twice the fun out of it.
 
PAPER BAG PUPPETS – Have your kids get their “art” on by creating their own puppets with whatever you’ve got hanging around the house – paper bags, socks, whatever. Up the creativity factor by having your kids name their puppets, giving them personalities and a storyline, then putting on a show with their new buddies.

PLAY HIDE-AND-SEEK – If your child’s too small to do this on their own, have them pick a partner and let the odd man out be “it”. When our guy was smaller, we’d also assign the on-limit rooms for hiding so that he didn’t end up in a room with breakables or something he could get into. And, he may be larger now, but we still do this trick: hide a toy rather than yourself. This makes it much more fun if you have a small house with few hiding spots. We may not be able to hang out on the bookshelf, but our dinosaur friend can!

DANCE PARTY – What better way to forget the depressing chill outside than to throw on some tunes and boogie out? Up the “summer” factor by trying out a Pandora station like The Beach Boys Radio or Oldies Party Radio and give the kids a firsthand history lesson while you’re at it. 😉 Sesame Street Radio and Broadway Radio are also popular at our house.   

handson
Hands on as We Grow (There are literally hundreds of ideas at this link!)
BOWLING WITH BOTTLES – Here’s a favorite that I loved when I was a kid, it’s exactly as it sounds: clean, empty plastic bottles can be set up as a “bowling set” and knocked down by rolling whatever type of ball you have handy (we used a tennis ball, but any play toy works).

HOT LAVA / PRETEND ISLANDS – Okay, who hasn’t played this before? Poof, the floor is molten lava (or water, if that’s less scary for the littles). They have to hop from pillow to pillow (or blanket) to stay “safe”.

boredom busters indoor activities for kids - toddler approved
TAPE TRACK – Lay out a design of painter’s tape on the floor and grab whatever little cars or trains you have lying around. There, you’ve got an instant track for the kiddos to “race” around!

MAKESHIFT BLING – Got some penne hanging around? “O”-shaped cereal? Grab some thick string and make some bracelets and necklaces! This is a great fine motor activity, and you can also have kids practice making patterns.

BUILD TOWERS – As kids, we used to do this with our Little Golden books (open, then stack the next open one on top at an angle), but Toddler Approved has a great idea to use cups for stacking. Heck, I’m sure you guys can come up with even more things for your kids to make towers out of, right?

WHAT’S YOUR FAMILY’S FAVORITE INDOOR ACTIVITY TO WHILE AWAY WINTER?