It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Just considering…

Two of the four children in the daycare at the moment are in cloth diapers. Cloth diapers, provided by their parents.

Some caregivers are astounded I’ll “do” cloth diapers. Me, I think: “Where’s the inconvenience?” Really. It’s not like I have to wash them. I just take them off the child, put them in the bag (also provided by the parents), and put a new one on the child. How does this differ from paper diapers, except in the receptacle for the used diaper?

Oh, the poo. Of course. Well, I tip what I can of feces into the toilet. Regardless of the diaper that contains it, I put the poo where it belongs. Which, clearly, is NOT my garbage can. Little packages of shit, wrapped in plastic? In the heat we’ve been getting, double- and triple-wrapped? Eew. And from there to a landfill site where, anaerobically wrapped in all that plastic, it will remain unbiodegraded as long as the plastic does, which, I believe, is FIVE HUNDRED YEARS. Several hundred packages of gift-wrapped shit, moldering for centuries.

Now, THAT’s a legacy to leave the planet…

So, really, when people say cloth diapers are gross, I just.don’t.get it. How could swishing a little poo into a toilet be anywhere near as gross as poopy diapers fermenting in my garbage can for a week, and then lingering in revolting, stinky piles for years upon years upon years?


So, as I say, two of four in cloth. And I got to thinking, as I took a particularly revolting paper diaper to the garbage, why not all four of them? Could I arrange a diaper service? How would that work? Would they be able to accommodate shifting enrollment? Would I be required to use a commercial service, and, if so, would that cost more?

I don’t know if it’s feasible, but I’m thinking about it. And then I read a post about choosing cloth diapers, and thought, “I should blog about this, too, and see if I can get some feedback.”

Are there any caregivers/parents of multiples out there who have used a diaper service? Did it work for you? The pros, the cons? What questions should I ask of a diaper service?

July 8, 2010 Posted by | daycare, health and safety, potty tales | , | 14 Comments

Normally I use duct tape for this

It was a hot, hot day here yesterday. Our first truly hot day of the summer.

We made our trip to the park early, getting home before the sun hit its skin-sizzling zenith. Not that I have air conditioning, but with judicious use of curtains, standing fans and ceiling fans, the house was quite decently tolerable. (It won’t be after a week of this, but the heat is supposed to break in a couple more days.)

But it was a hot day, and three of the kids sleep upstairs, so I stripped them down before bed, just down to their diapers. No sheets required.

And then I did my nap-time stuff: finish preparing dinner, tidy the house a bit — from waist-level and up, that is; no sense in doing anything lower than that till the Mini Masters of Mayhem have gone home — set out craft, prepare afternoon snack, read a bit, have a cup of tea, and waste time on the computer do some social networking.

Baby Lily was the last to wake. Baby Lily is becoming quite a favourite charmer. From her first wailful weeks, her glass-shattering shrieks, her “GET AWAY FROM ME AND BRING BACK MY MUMMY!!!” rages, she has evolved into a chirpy, cheery, smiling, chattering — not many words, but lots and lots and LOTS of happyhappy chatter — absolutely adorable little mite. When another baby cries, she does not crumple in empathy, but continues in her unflappable good humour, inviting any and all to join her in her to-the-bone love of life. I loves this child.

Noah had announced his return to consciousness with the lilting calls from his room. “Maaaary! I’m awake! Maaaaaary!” It’s very sweet.

New Baby Boy had woken soon after, announcing his return with cries of outrage. “WHY am I still in this bed? WHY did I have to take that damned nap? What took you so long? WHY ARE YOU LIFTING ME OUT OF BED, EVIL WOMAN??? AAAAAAAAAAAA!!!”

Emily, who, at four, snoozes on the couch on those days on which she requires a nap, simply sits up and, at a nod from me, proceeds into some quiet activity.

And Lily? Well. Normally I hear Lily moving about for quite a few minutes before she starts to call out. She wakes, she rummages about, she talks quietly to herself, and gradually, the volume increases until the happy babble becomes a call.

But today… today I thought I heard rummaging about… and then I wasn’t sure. Maybe? There it is again… no. Did I hear something and it stopped, or was there nothing? Hm. But there’s no chatter. This is Baby Lily, chatterbox of the decade. If there’s not chatter, she simply can’t be awake. The heat is just making her restless in her sleep. Yeah. That’s it.

Half an hour later, though, with all the other children awake and snacked, it’s time to wake the girl.

Lily smiles delightedly when I enter the room. “Up, up, up!” she greets me, her wee arms raised, her face a beacon of friendly welcome, her dark eyes sparkling. “Up, up, up!”

Her butt completely bare.

Her crib littered with teeny shreds of paper. (The paper liner of her cloth diapers.)

Her crib sheet wet with pee.

Her diaper on the floor beside her bed.

Baby Lily has learned to remove her diaper. Oh, happy day.

And THANK GOD it was just pee.

May 25, 2010 Posted by | health and safety, Lily, Mischief | , , | 7 Comments

Gotta get an Evenflo

Baby Lily is the sweetest little thing. Enormous black-brown eyes and a thck shock of dark, dark brown hair and a calm, observing disposition. She’s not walking yet, so she’s pretty easy to corral.

Her parents are lovely, too. Engaging and interested, and oh, so eco-friendly. Which suits me just fine.

Lily wears cloth diapers. This is not a problem. My son was in cloth. Not the fancy-schmancy easy-as-you-please pocket diapers with velcro closures that Lily sports, but the dirt-cheap big white flannel squares. Which I folded and secured with real, live diaper pins. So, pocket diapers? Even if they have velcro closures (I prefer snaps)? Nooooo, problem.

Lily’s parents — bless their hearts! — also provide flushable diaper liners, which make cleaning up solids soooooooo much easier. I love those things! (I love those things so well I bought some for Nissa, who’s also in cloth diapers (also pocket, but with snaps, yay).)

They provide organic milk in glass bottles. I like that.

They love that I buy organic produce. (Though the issue for me is not potential bad stuff in normally-farmed food, but that this way I’m buying local — but they’d like that, too!) They love that I make my own sugar-free applesauce, various kinds of bread, and sometimes even yoghurt.

In short, we get on like a house a-fire. (Which is a very weird expression.) A happy little bunch of eco-geeks are we.

Except for one teeeeny thing. This:

I really do not like this thing. I did at first. I mean, just look at it! Isn’t it pretty? I was not deceived by its shape, mind you. That thing only looks like a breast to someone who has a) no idea of the mechanics of breast-feeding and b) takes their idea of the female form from the silicone-filled jobbies in People. It’s supposed to make newbie parents think they’re giving their baby something almost like a breast, (assuming your breasts are the perfect spheres of a manga girl) but as any lactation consultant could tell you, a real, human nipple looks nothing like that, not once it’s in the mouth of a real, human baby.

But still, it sure looks nice, all those sleek curves. It feels nice, too, all soft and grippy. It practically adheres to your hand. A baby is not going to drop this thing by accident. This will not preclude them merrily flinging it across the room, but it’s not going to slip.

And to tactile me, it is a delight. I love the feel of the thing. It feels almost like it has a nap (for all you non-sewers out there: nap is what gives velvet its soft feel.) I love the look of it, I love the feel of it.

You hear the ‘but’ coming, don’t you? Now, I’m sure there are legions of people out there who use this system and love it, and to all you people, I saw God luv ya, but as for me?

This thing drives me NUTS.

You fill it from the bottom, see, which right there seems counter-intuitive, given that the top has a hole in it. But I know, there’ve been bottom-filled bottles out there for years, and there are all sorts of creative ways around that obvious design flaw.

For these bottles, it’s the cover. Snug the cover on, and it encloses and closes the nipple, so, no leaking. Just like in the picture up there.

Now, I don’t know if it’s the polycarbonate-free and bisphenol-A free P-Flex (a modified TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer)), or the equally bad-stuff free polypropylene copolymer, but the fact is, it grips like crazy.

You don’t ‘slip’ the cover on, you ‘wrangle it down’, and when you think it’s all the way down? It isn’t. Even if, like me, you shove it till you’re sure it’s down, and then give it another mightly shove or two, just to be sure. So when you slide man-handle the cover off — which is not easy, given how hard you just wedged that baby on there — the quarter cup of milk that has poured out the top while you’ve poured it in the bottom? Sloshes all down your front.

I’ve had more milk spattered across my chest this past month. It’s like those early weeks of breast-feeding all over again! Only just with the damp, sour milk shirt part and none of the fun bits.

If you luck out and manage to get the nipple far enough into the cover to seal the hole at the tip, then odds are good that, when you put it upright again, you won’t have screwed the bottom on properly, and you’ll get a half-cup of milk all down yourself. Again with the damp, sour-milk shirts.

I’m not sure why that happens. It’s probably not the fault of the bottle. It’s probably just me, though really, I’ve been screwing things all my life and never had this much trouble with it.

Wait. That didn’t come out right.

I’m not normally coordination-challenged, is what I’m saying, so, while willing to admit it could well be me being inattentive or something, it does also strike me that it shouldn’t really take that much attention to screw the bottom onto a bottle. Because, really. You’re filling a bottle for a hungry baby, who just might — it’s been known to happen! — just might be screaming their starving lungs out. It’s a tad distracting.

(Not that little Lily does that, mind you. She’s not a huge food-driven baby. She may get there when she gets upright and is burning more calories, but right now she’s pretty mellow about this whole ‘sustenance’ thing.)

But lots of babies do, is what I’m saying, and the last thing you need is a bottle that requires careful attention. You want something you can sploosh the milk into, pop the nipple on and plug into the baby, quick and easy.

And this system? For all its undeniably appealing design, both for the eyes and the touch, despite its lack of multi-syllabic Bad Things and the presence of lots of equally-syllabic Good Things, is not quick and it is not easy.

Appearance: A+
Feel: A+
Functionality: C-

Lovely, simple, easy glass Evenflos are calling…

February 11, 2010 Posted by | health and safety, Peeve me | , , , , | 9 Comments