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Written by Mama Monday

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

How can I teach my child to be thankful. Thirsties Blog

In approximately three sleeps we’ll all be gathered around a table filled with food, family and friends. It’s a day to give thanks, to reflect on the past year and all that we’ve been given. I don’t know about you but it’s been present on my heart this season that I have so much while there are others who have so little. And it’s not just in the US, although, believe me there are plenty of families who will not be centered around a table in a nice cozy home on Thursday. The US is the top 1% of wealth in comparison to the rest of the world. At times, we may not feel like we have enough but this fact is a sobering one.

Last week I was shopping in our local superstore with my kids. My son, Brennan, had just celebrated his fifth birthday so it’s not like he was lacking in the gift department. Plus, that upcoming weekend was his friend birthday party so even more gifts were coming his way. He noticed the Disney Planes DVD displayed conveniently by the check-outs. He asked if he could go and look at them and if you’ve ever been shopping with a young child you know where this is heading. In my moment of weakness, trying to avoid a kicking and screaming exit from the store, I allowed him to look at the display. Sure enough, looking turned into wanting and we had a meltdown in the car about needing and wanting the DVD.

Perplexed by his sudden greedy streak, I consulted my wise mother and she suggested that we talk about children in other countries who have little to nothing. As a family we happen to sponsor two children through a non-profit Christian organization. I went on YouTube, found videos from the organization and we spent the good part of an hour watching the videos. It was amazing to watch the light bulb go off in his eyes when he realized how much he had and how little our sponsor child, who lives in the Philippines, has. It also helped that we had received a letter from our sponsor child in the mail the day before.

That night, my son explained to my husband that there were some children who lived in Africa who had to walk to get their water and even when they got it, the water was so dirty that it made them sick. Then, we wrote our sponsor child a letter, colored pictures for him and sent him updated pictures of us.

Now, this isn’t to say that the little greedies doesn’t ever come over my child since that day, however, it has made it easier to remind him of all that he has. So this Thursday, as you’re sitting down to feast on Thanksgiving goodies, both sweet and savory, think of how you can teach your child to be thankful for all that he has. Of course, keep in mind your child’s age and development. My two-year-old daughter learned nothing from watching the videos but that doesn’t mean I can teach her how to say thank you and share her toys.
They’re little but you’d be surprised by the level of understanding that a child has and the compassion that is innately present in them.

Gifts or Memories. Thirsties. Bert AndersonHave you ever looked around at your house and wondered how on earth you acquired so much stuff? Seriously, we have so much stuff in our house that’s kid related; I think a pre-holiday purge is a necessary event this year. From hand-me-down toys to new toys, mismatched toys to full on sets, you name it my kids have it. And within 38 days they’ll have even more toys, games, books, puzzles, etc. I’m not knocking the generosity of our friends and family; I’m grateful for it but often I look around my house and think, “We could have less.”

This week on the Huffington Post one mom daringly wrote about how her children do not need gifts and she was going to tell her family this before the holidays. I was appalled at first at the thought of my children not receiving any presents for Christmas. How could I deny this right of passage? Then I read what she had to say and saw her point: It’s not the giving that’s the problem it’s the copious amount of stuff that they don’t need. Instead, the author makes a plea for family and friends to give her children the gift of quality time or experiences. So rather than giving my two-year-old daughter, Kendall, a toy farm because she loves animals my sister and her husband would offer to take her to the Minnesota Zoo. Not only are they giving her an experience that she’ll remember but they’re also building a relationship with Kendall by giving her the gift of quality time. 

She also writes that family members could also help contribute towards extracurricular activities that her children want to participate in. Sure it may not be something that the children appreciate at the time but I promise you that when they’re older, especially if the activity becomes more of a passion than a hobby. I’ve actually thought of this as an option for my “push present” when I have baby #3. (More on a push present later…) Rather than wanting a fancy new necklace or a nifty new gadget, I want for my husband to buy me a few sessions with my favorite personal trainer as a way to get back in shape post baby.

At first glance the article seems harsh but in reality what the author, Christella Morris, is doing for her children (and undoubtedly her own sanity) is giving them something that money can’t buy: a childhood memory. She’s giving them life experience and encouraging those special people in her children’s lives to cultivate a relationship with them. It won’t run out of batteries, it won’t become worn down and it won’t break. Memories; it’s something to consider during this gift giving season.

 

I’m a very visual person. I cannot envision anything to save my life. My husband is great at envisioning. He can envision changing the furniture in our living room and see every detail down to the spacial dimensions. I, on the other hand, cannot. This is why I like conducting this little experiment on my cloth diapers.

I had received three prefolds over the summer. I gave my sister two of them to use on her newborn son and I kept one for myself. She used them consistently (it should be noted that she loved using the prefolds and how effective they were at keeping that slimy newborn poop in the diaper); so the prepped prefold that I am using as an example to show you the difference has been washed and dried (not always in a machine as she lives in an apartment with coin operated laundry) several times since August.

As you can see in the picture below this is an overhead view of the prepped prefold laying on top of the non-prepped prefold. The prepped prefold is smaller than our brand new prefold which is fitting since both are a size 1. The non-prepped prefold would not fit on a newborn effectively that’s for sure. Like I said too, my sister rarely uses a dryer to dry her diapers because she has to pay to use one so often times her diapers can be found on a drying rack in her apartment. Her son was quite the skinny little newborn this prefold fit perfectly on him. (Also don’t mind the writing on the tag, I marked it so I knew which prefold was my prepping tester.

Prepped vs. Not Prepped Prefolds. Thirsties

 

This next picture is the money picture. Look at the thickness; it’s almost not even comparable to the non-prepped one. The prepped prefold is soft to the touch and as you can see significantly thicker than the non-prepped prefold.

Prepped Thickness vs Non Prepped. Thirsties

 

We suggest that for all natural fibers you wash and dry them separately three times before adding them to your normal diaper laundry. The reason we suggest this is because the natural fibers have oils on them that can affect absorbency in your other diapers. You also want to get rid of the natural fibers so that the diaper can reach its optimum size and absorbency. Also, before you start using our prefolds prep them a minimum of three times; the diaper will reach its maximum absorbency capability after eight washes. Looking at the picture above you can see that this statement is definitely true. The prepped prefold had been washed and dried more than eight times. Remember, the more prepping you do the thicker and softer the diaper becomes.

Recently, one of my parents’ garage cats went missing. Now, they live in the country so their purpose for getting the cats was for rodent control plus, my mom is horribly allergic. Having the cats live indoors is just not an option.

What to say when a beloved pet dies

It’s been a year since they brought the kitties home and  my son, Brennan, has been influential in taking care of the cats whenever we go to my parents’. He named the cats and loves them. He even likes to Skypes with them when we’re apart.

Naturally, I took to a few trusted resources on the subject: Unfortunately, the cat that was missing has been found. A neighbor discovered that she had been hit by a car in the morning last week. Not knowing that she belonged to my parents, he placed her in the ditch so when my dad asked him if he had seen her he was able to show him where she was. Everyone in the family is heartbroken but the person I know who will take it the hardest is my sweet boy. So now my husband and I have the daunting task of  telling him that his favorite cat is no longer alive. I mean how do you explain that to a five-year-old?

The AACAP brings up the point that children who are between the ages of three and five-years-old will not understand the finality of death. It is because of this that we will most likely have to reiterate that the cat is not moving, cannot wake up and will not be able to play any more.  Click here to read more.

An article on WebMD suggests being brief and not using euphemisms such as “passed away” or “went to sleep” because it makes no sense to a preschooler who doesn’t have the developmental capability to understand the permanence of death.

So that’s the gist of everything out there.  Have you had to explain the death of a pet to your little one? What did you say?

 

nighttime cloth diapering solutionsIt dawned on me the other day as I was talking with my sister about nighttime cloth diapering that the tell-all problem leaks do have very easy solutions, however, it comes with trial and error. The more experience you have with something the more of an expert per se you become. I’ve cloth diapered two children and while that doesn’t make me an expert it does give me experience.

Problem #1 : The diaper is leaking up my baby’s back.

In my experience this means you need to use a larger setting/size on your baby and possibly add more absorbency. It’s amazing but with both of my kids at three months of age it was like their urine output doubled overnight! More often than not it took me about a week to figure out that the leaks I was seeing up my child’s back was because their diaper didn’t have enough room to hold everything in. Think of it like an overfilled sink: if there’s no where else for the water to go it will just spill over the edge. This is very relevant if you have a little girl who is a heavy wetter. And keep in mind that if you’re baby is young and not yet mobile they are spending a lot of time on their backs. This adds pressure to the diaper thus squeezing excess out.

Problem #2: My baby sleeps through the night and when I get him up he’s sopping wet.

This was my biggest problem with nighttime cloth diapering – figuring out that perfect amount of absorbency and fit. You want to max out on your absorbency but you don’t want a bulky diaper. When my oldest was in diapers I only used pockets. I cannot tell you how many times I got him up in the morning after he had been asleep for the entire night and he was soaking wet. I soon figured out that while I was using the correct number of inserts in my pocket I had created a major gap between his legs and the diaper. When he let loose it all went out the sides.

I think that if you’re having nighttime cloth diapering issues you really should look into using a fitted diaper. The thing that I love about a fitted is that it provides layers upon layers of absorbency without adding bulk. It’s constructed as part of the diaper. You’ll need a cover but other than that I’ve had great success with using a fitted at night.

The other thing to remember, especially if you’re needing to add a little more absorbency without the bulk to your nighttime diaper isThirsties Duo Wrap Snap Scottish Storm to use that good old prefold diaper. I just used one tonight in my daughter’s nighttime diaper. In my Duo Wrap I used two inserts with a prefold, folded into thirds on top. I just laid the inserts and prefold on the Duo Wrap and voila! A nice snugly fit nighttime diaper with the absorbency to withstand a 12-hour sleep. How do I know that it’ll provide enough absorbency? I know because my prefolds are Thirsties and they’re made from hemp; paired with the inserts (a hemp and microfiber terry combination) and you have a perfect setting for maximum absorbency.

Please, keep in mind that these solutions are ones that have worked for me and both of my children but every child is different. What works for one child may not work for the other; boys and girls are very different in where their absorbency needs to go (front versus the back).

What do you do with your nighttime cloth diapering? Do you have any tips to share?