Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Why parents are afraid of the quiet

You've all heard parents telling a story about their little one say, "and then I realized it was too quiet." After you've heard a few of these stories, you know that this is always the indicator that their precious little darling has gotten into some sort of mischief. Well here is mine. This afternoon I have a card table set up in the dining room to write a paper, allowing me to write and simultaneously keep an eye on J as he plays and wanders around the house. He loves that he can walk a big circle from living room, to dining room, through the kitchen, and back into our living room, occasionally taking a detour to open and close the study door repeatedly or to stop by and watch a few minutes of the never-ending stream of PBS kids on our tv.
This is what he was doing this afternoon, and I settled in with my laptop and books to write. In the background, I his hollers and jabbering let me know where he was, and I began to follow a train of thought in my paper. As I finished typing that paragraph, I noticed... quiet.
I glanced up.
He wasn't in front of the tv.
I called his name.
No response.
My mind began to race.
I got up and tried to find him. an open gate on the staircase up to the bedrooms stops my heart. I called his name.
Then...from somewhere upstairs, a giggle.
I raced up the stairs to find him very happily playing on the floor of my room. My heart rate is finally slowing down and I'm grateful that he's ok, but I realize now, all parents of toddlers are a little bit afraid of the quiet.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

trying to be green-ish...

My brain is working ahead to a possible Earth day event our church may be hosting or co-hosting this spring, and I'm thinking about the ways our family is trying to get green...er.
When I was pregnant, I wanted to go VERY VERY green. We signed on for a cloth diaper service (with coin laundry, doing our own seemed like guaranteed failure) and I decided to go with glass bottles when I returned to school and J needed to be bottle fed.
We did the cloth diapers for 2 weeks, but then my illness set in and... well, that all fell by the wayside. As for the glass bottles. My mom reminded me how much they would weigh in my diaper-bag as I tried to commute with baby... and we opted for something a little different. (Which would've happened anyway with our life situation, and because J only liked the playtex wide nipples, which don't fit on glass bottles)
But... months later, after moving into our parsonage and settling back into our lives, we did take some steps to "re-green" our parenting, but we're taking it in baby steps. (pun definitely intended)

In my illness, we had turned to playtex drop in bottles. They were perfect because they were easy to put in, fill, use, and throw away. After life started to settle down, we made the very easy switch to playtex ventair. J could hold them easily, and the wide ones use the same nipples he was used to with the drop ins. In addition to cutting down that horrifically plastic-y trash, it cut our costs, which was nice, especially since formula already costs so much. Then, we began our move towards greener diapering. We bought a gdiaper set up with gcloth inserts. We bought 6 outer pants, 36 gcloth inserts, and 2 extra snap-in liners. We already had a diaper champ, which can be used for cloth diapers (though if you're starting from scratch it isn't the BEST option out there)
Our experience with them has been pretty good overall. The gcloth had to be washed and dried 6x before use to "break them in" but that wasn't a big deal at all- a mere weekend project. We initially had some problems with a faint ammonia smell remaining in the diapers... I can't handle that. I got on the University of Google, and learned that we could use baking soda in the wash and vinegar in the first rinse, then a clean water second rinse. This solved the ammonia problem BUT... you should NOT USE VINEGAR ON THE OUTER PANTS OR SNAP IN LINERS... especially not the liners. This has resulted in the liners not remaining waterproof. Bummer.
The good news: I can replace them all for only about 20 bucks.
I am learning that some detergents can actually make the ammonia smell worse, so at the suggestion of some of my more devoted cloth diaper friends, I'm considering a trial of Maggie's Soap Nuts. I'll let you know if we get brave enough to try cleaning our laundry with tree berries!
There are definitely times when we still opt of the traditional, very un-green disposable diapers. When we travel, disposables really are easier. We have purchased some travel size wetbags, and had reasonable success gdiapering away from home during our Christmas vacation. We still use disposables at night, though I might like to make this switch as a part of my Earth Day pledge. Finally, from time to time, *Stuff* happens... lots and lots of it. When J was cutting his molars and reverted to 5-6 nasty, sticky, stinky, poopy diapers a day, I was not interested in rinsing that many cloth inserts in the toilet. On top of that, I've screwed up those snap-in liners, so, the gdiapers are getting a break until we get new ones.

So what's my point? There are lots of ways to go green, and many shades of green parenting. If you are a parent, or a parent to be, take it one step at a time, do what you can to go green, and when that becomes natural, take the next step. Going green is just like any other lifestyle change, it only works if you do it in a way that you can sustain in your less than ideal real life.