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Written by Mama Monday

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

Greetings to all Thirsties blog readers and users out there! A quick introduction today before jumping right into my first post – my name is Megan, and I’m over-the-moon excited to be chatting with you here. I hope that my topics and experiences will speak to you on many levels as we take this journey together. I look forward to getting to know you and hearing your own thoughts in the comments!


As a soon to be second-time mama, it’s sometimes hard to admit that I didn’t succeed at everything the first time around. I never got the hang of babywearing. My disciplining voice is still far from the gentle parenting resources I’ve read and admired. And, the biggest “shoulda-coulda-woulda” parenting moment of them all: I failed at cloth diapering.


For the cloth diapering pros out there, you may be chuckling to yourselves. After all, what’s so hard about cloth diapering? Once you get the hang of it, it’s so easy! You’re making it harder on yourself by not CDing. Yes, I’ve heard it all and, yes, I believe you. Yet, it still simply didn’t happen for us the first time. We had a fluffy-bummed child maybe a dozen times in total.

I think that we had a lot going against us from the start. We had a colicky little guy who put me, his father, and his grandmother (our angel who has watched him during the week from two months onward) through the wringer; the last thing I wanted to do was add the learning curve of CDs to the mix. The rigors and unexpected challenges of breastfeeding took their toll on my energy level and, at times, my sheer willpower to exist. Returning to work sapped me of any emotional joy for longer than expected. Plus, there was the fact that I was also a bit of an outcast as far as friends and family in terms of wanting to cloth diaper, who weren’t exactly supportive.

In addition to these pretty personal reasons for getting a big ol’ F in cloth diapering, I found that there were three overarching, overwhelming main reasons I didn’t stick with it:

* I put all my eggs in one basket. After doing countless hours of research (you all know I’m not exaggerating!), I decided to purchase a good amount of diapers being touted by my favorite bloggers. Yup, all one brand, all one style. This works for a lot of people, but in our case, with a chunky monkey son (10+ pounds at birth), the brand didn’t fit his thighs and the AIO style took FOREVER to dry. I later tried a sample box with a variety of styles, which is an awesome idea in theory, but I think I already felt like I was drowning and had invested tons of money. Enter “overwhelmed” status, stage right.

* I didn’t give myself a starting time. I wasn’t quite sure when I’d start CDing; just that I would, at some point. I had tons of gifted disposable diapers to use up first and never really set a date. Finally, I did a couple of cloth diaper tries, but for whatever reason (habit?), I’d go back to the old ‘sposies. Without a clear, official start date, I never committed. I guess it’s kind of like a relationship; you literally can’t move forward until you have your first “real” date.

* I allowed myself to let the white noise win. Y’know those countless hours of computer time I mentioned above? Any vast amounts of research are bound to fill your head with information: some incredibly useful, some not helpful or just irrelevant, and most simply white noise. The white noise, constant questioning of CD types/styles/troubleshooting and so forth, definitely left my head spinning. I was ultimately overwhelmed by it all.


Fast forward three years. For our second child, I am once again committed (actually, more so) to giving cloth diapering a serious try. I’m learning from my mistakes. Given the issues I had and the lessons I’ve learned, my goals have now evolved:

* Keep research wiser and more concise. Sure, I’ve joined a few cloth diapering communities on Facebook, but I’m doing well at tuning out the white noise and sifting out the gold-filled wisdom nuggets. From the best cloth diapering sites (which give a great, SIMPLE rundown of the CD types and brands) and reliable reviews for certain CDs, I feel I’m better able now to mute all the unnecessary white noise. Plus, I don’t have as much time these days to endlessly scroll through every CD website known to man. #toddlerchasing

* Know thyself and chill out. If this is your first time at the rodeo, cut yourself some slack. Heck, if it’s your 9th time, do the same. I know full well that I won’t feel like CDing in the hospital, or probably the first couple of weeks or so. Given the little one’s size (apparently, we grow ’em big), I’ll use that as a gauge and mark on the calendar the exact date that CDing will commence. I seriously need this kind of reminder to keep myself on track…and, yes, I will laugh at myself one day for doing that. Oh, and I’m reminding myself that one time falling off the wagon (say, tummy troubles strike or we’re traveling for a long while) does not a failure make!

* Get others on board. My husband is a total supporter of cloth, but his knowledge pretty much ends there. I don’t blame him for not spending HOURS researching; our brains just don’t work the same way and his interest isn’t quite as deep as mine. So, after sifting through so much info, I feel that it’s my job to let him know the basics and have a chat about how everything will go down. Just as he was uber supportive in breastfeeding, I hope that he’ll help by stepping up when we receive the negative responses or curious questions. Also, by talking with family (and knowing that there are online support communities – yay!), I hope to surround myself with the support to succeed this time.

* Variety is the spice of life. I don’t think I’d be good at getting a variety pack of diapers after the little one comes and having to make the decision on brands/styles at that point. I wouldn’t feel prepared enough. Instead, I’m reading the message boards and sites for what will fit a variety of needs and what get the highest ratings, overall. After reading those solid mama reviews, I’m now pretty confident about growing a stash that’s practical, economical, and varied. (Although, if I hear the word “resale” one more time… What postpartum woman feels like selling, packaging and mailing ANYTHING? Just not something I enjoy, even on a normal day! ;-))

And, for the record, for everything I feel I “failed” at, there are a hundred more parenting wins we are glad to say we nailed. What are YOUR parenting wins, cloth diaper-related or not? And did you find your vibe with cloth diapers easily, or did it take some trial and error to get it right?

(And I’m still determined to babywear this next little peanut like a fiend the second time around, too.)

This is a re-post from July 23rd, 2012 by Elizabeth A. McKenzie

So here’s a little secret: I used to be a certified massage therapist. I actually only practiced massage for two and a half years or so, though because though I enjoyed doing it, I I found it was hard to support myself, pay off of student loans and pay rent because I couldn’t physically do 40 hours of massage a week. I ended up taking a part-time nannying job to supplement my income and a few years later, I found an incredible full-time nannying gig that I couldn’t turn down. And I haven’t done much massage since….except of course, trading shoulder rubs with my husband or massaging my babies.

Foot massage

My favorite type of massage to practice is Swedish. The long sweeping strokes from the end of the appendages, up towards the heart, are supposed to help with circulation, promote relaxation and depending on how much pressure is used, to ease muscles stiffness and tension. It’s also great to use on babies.

Touch is something that is highly important between a baby and his parents for bonding. It’s the most powerful gift of love that a parent can give to a newborn whose world has gone from warm, dark and safe to bright, noisy, too cold or too hot. Touch from a parent can be reassuring, comforting and the first way your baby experiences your presence.

When massaging my baby I like to use a mild massage oil. Almond oil, coconut oil or even olive oil will work quite well and will not hurt baby if he gets his hands in his mouth. Or you can buy specially formulated massage oils for use on babies though I never thought there was any need to spend the money on them.

Sitting in a draft free area, I’d undress baby down to his diaper, lay him on a towel across my lap and start gently massaging a small foot and gradually moving up the leg, towards his core with long, even strokes. Then I do the same for the other foot and leg and then move on to the hands and arms, always starting at the end of the appendages and imagining that I was pushing the blood back towards the heart. I’d also massage his stomach, clockwise from top to bottom, which is the direction that helps push what ever is in the bowels (stool or gas), out instead of in. This often seems to soothe a gassy or colicky baby. Another massage trick to relieve gas is to bend the baby’s knees towards his belly and move his legs as if he were riding a bicycle.

Tonight Cooper is having a hard time settling down. After I wrap up this blog I am going to break out some massage oil and give my little a guy a relaxing foot and belly rub. I have a feeling my big guy watching the news in the den will want his feet rubbed too.

Do you massage your baby? What oils or lotions do you use? Did it work to soothe your little one?

Father's Day 2015

Father’s Day 2015

Today we spent Father’s Day at the beach while visiting my parents in Florida. It was a great day and my husband did what he does best: he did the things the kids love to do that I just can’t because I’m too nervous. He takes them out into the water and jumps and floats and and lets the waves lift him and the kids off their feet for a second or two, or body surfs with them onto the sand. I, on the other hand, can barely watch because I can’t stop worrying that they’ll be sucked out to sea by a rip tide or rogue current. I am glad the kids have their dad to do those things with because he keeps them safe and they are definitely thrill seekers like he is. Their screams of glee and laughter tell me they are more excited than scared. While Burton, Kate and Cooper got their adrenaline rush, I walked on the beach with Lauren, our oldest and hunted for shells and interesting sea creatures.

My husband is also the one who has been teaching the girls to ski and he’ll be taking Cooper this year too. This is another task he’s taken on because to him, it isn’t a work at all. To him, it’s the best part of being a father and he’s been looking forward to teaching our kids to ski since they were born. For me, teaching the kids to ski would be a chore. It’s not that I don’t want them to ski but because I still have so many things to catch up on on the weekends that I’d prefer a few less kids in the house on a wintery Sunday than fifteen trips down a bunny slope at a ski mountain an hour away.

He has also taught the girls how to play chess, how to shoot a bow and arrow (with a beginner’s archery set) how to fish, how to do backflips on the trampoline and how to climb our rope swing in the backyard. I’ve been known to joke that husbands are more like having one more child to take care of but there is some truth there. Many dads seem to be great at re-living their childhoods when they have children and letting go and just having fun. It’s something I need to work on myself instead of constantly worrying about that load of laundry that needs to go in the dryer or what I’m going to scrape up for the next meal.

Now that our children are past the infant and toddler stages that often significantly limit the social lives and leisure time activities previously enjoyed by both new moms and new dads, my husband is able to really enjoy doing things with our children and it’s brought out the best in him.

He’s not the most patient person in the world, he can’t stand the whining (who can?) or the kids climbing the walls bored at home while we try to get household chores finished. But those are my strengths. I don’t always enjoy being the multi-tasking boo-boo kisser and fight mediator…but I am good at it. I’m patient, I’m forgiving, I’m firm but kind and I frequently use humor to ease tension. If one of the kids is in a funk or feeling emotionally fragile, they come to me. But for an adrenaline rush, for exercise, for tickle fights and anything outdoorsy and active, Daddy is the man. We don’t always agree but our parenting styles and strengths compliment each other and I think our kids are turning out ok.

What does Daddy do best in your family? Do you have different parenting styles?

It wasn’t until the 1960s when a typical middle class household had a television, but today, nearly all of us do—and not only that, but access to information and images of all sorts, all the time on our laptops and smart phones. One very useful and under-used tool that both the World Wide Web and Television can provide for modern-day children, other than keeping them entertained and quiet for a while, is the ability to look into the lives of others. What exactly do I mean by this? Read on.

“I am so hungry—I’m starving! No I do not want a banana or a sandwich or cheese and crackers or carrots and hummus….etc etc.”

To satiate this sort of starvation, I like to serve a hot, savory episode or two of “Survivorman.” “Do you see that man, there? He hasn’t eaten in three days and now he’s cooking up some juicy grubs that he found in a hollow log for dinner. He’s so hungry that even though those grubs aren’t the most delicious food in the world, he’s eating them because he’s really hungry and he needs to eat to stay alive. Oh, you think a banana sounds pretty good, after all? Good choice! I bet Survivorman wishes he had a banana right now too!” I am trying to teach Lauren, Kate and Cooper that food doesn’t have to be “their favorite” or the “one thing that they are in the mood for” if they are really hungry. Sometimes we need to eat for survival. You aren’t really starving if you have enough caloric energy to turn down half a dozen snack choices.

“I’ll clean my room later. It’s not even very dirty,” or “I’ll clean my room but I am emotionally attached to every scrap of paper I’ve ever scribbled on and every contraption I’ve ever made from paper-towel tubes, 8 feet of scotch tape, cotton balls and empty water bottles. That’s NOT trash. That’s a trap for bad guys!”

Time to Clean Your Room!

Time to Clean Your Room!

Time to watch Hoarders: Buried Alive. Yes, it is hard to throw things away sometimes and cleaning up isn’t always fun. But we do these things for a reason because if we don’t, we can actually be buried in our own possessions–just like that woman who can’t walk through her living room anymore on TV. I can relate to being emotionally attached to tangible possessions, books, my children’s artwork, old notes and souvenirs that I’ve saved since I was a child but I draw the line at holding on to actual trash. We don’t need to keep the ripped box Barbie came in—even though it is a pretty color pink and has pretty pictures on it. And the apple core under the bed? Yes, the way the mold is growing on it is really cool, isn’t it? It’s like a science project. In fact, it’s so much like a science project you can take it to school and show it to your class or you can throw it in the trash—where household science experiments involving old food belong.

“I hate brushing my teeth! Noooooo!”-followed by or while running away and/or kicking.  To combat the occasional  Toothbrushing Strike, I have Googled pictures of rotting teeth and shown them to the kids. I really have. Plaque, gingivitis, possible cavities and inevitable dental bills are something too abstract for a lot of kids to grasp and many remain convinced that toothbrushing is simply a cruel and pointless nightly ritual. Thank you Google for bringing Reality and Graphic Images into our home. A single close-up picture of rotting teeth truly does speak 1,000 words…while the 10,000 words spilling from a parent’s mouth often go unheard.

How do you use TV or the internet to convince your children to do things or to put things like “hunger” into perspective? Or maybe you don’t…but would you?


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