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Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

*This post was started a few mos back.  I finally got around to finishing it.  😉

As I sit here and type I will end up getting up about 10 or so times, and I probably won’t finish this post without saving it for at least 2-3 days.  Dinner is in the process of being made, I am supervising kids doing homework, watching the baby monitor as the little one wriggles around fitfully trying to avoid her afternoon nap, doing laundry and keeping an ear out for the sounds of dogs misbehaving.  They do that a lot lately, but that’s another post entirely.

It’s cold outside and we just put up our tree.  It’s times like these when I feel very blessed to be able to be at home with my children.  Being a mom comes with some of the most complex of feelings.  You can be so incredibly thankful for the ability to be a mom, so grateful for the precious gifts that come along with motherhood; yet you can feel less-than, utterly behind in everything you do, not good enough, the most tired you’ve ever been in your life, unattractive and just plain worn out.

It’s no secret that motherhood and the art of mothering is not valued much these days.  Try explaining to your boss that you need to leave early because your child is sick, or worse yet try calling in to work when you have a sick child.  Stand in line with your children while waiting to board a flight.  Try to wrangle a screaming toddler who is having a fit in the center of the grocery store and you will feel the eyes upon you.  You can feel the loathing, the disapproval, the general dislike. It’s a common thing nowadays in our society, to look down upon having children and being a mother, much less a stay-at-home mom.  Which is in large part why our society is generally spiraling down the crapper, in my opinion.  The value needs to be out back where it belongs.   Not on the almighty dollar but on caring.  On respecting mothers for all they do rather than making them feel like second-class citizens.  How many times have we as mothers apologized to someone for something having to do with raising our children?  Your child is crying while you’re in the checkout line at the grocery store and you can hear the people behind you commenting.  People generally have an intolerance for mothers, children, mothering and motherhood in general in our society.  I wholeheartedly believe this.  I actually had a dr refuse to see me because I brought my one-month-old with me for the consult (which included no exam) and he began to twitch in his carseat and made a whimper.  The dr looked at me in exasperation, got up and said, “I can’t work like this.”  He left, instructing me to come back when I had a babysitter.

So is it any wonder why we mothers feel so worthless at times?  So unappreciated?  We are undoubtedly doing THE single most important and most difficult job there is to do, so WHY is it not seen for what it is and valued as such?  It has been said many times; how much moms would be worth $-wise if we collected a paycheck for everything we did.  How much does a Chauffeur/Personal Shopper/Personal Chef/Life Coach/Accountant/Personal Shopper/Nanny/Teacher/Manager/QC Supervisor/Housekeeper/Motivational Speaker/Nurse make?  Add all of that up (I’m sure I’ve forgotten something) and get back with me on how I’d be THE richest person on the planet.  Do I command that respect?  No.  In fact, moms end up paying far more than they will ever see in return.  We worry, we give ourselves headaches and backaches and we age far faster than we should.  We give of our bodies, our souls, our hearts.  We give everything.  That’s what moms do.  Go thank your mom.  Hell, stop any mom on the street who looks like she’s about ready to snap, and tell her she’s doing a great job.

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You have your cute cloth wipes, now you think to yourself , “How the heck do I use these?” Well fear not, it’s not nearly as daunting as beginning to investigate cloth diapers.  Some mamas prefer to keep their cloth wipes wet.  I am not one of those mamas.  I tried that with my first child and did not like it.  Too much propensity for them to mold, even if you just use water.  There are plenty of articles and videos online if you want to investigate that route.  I am going to concentrate on the spray bottle method.  This is where you keep your wipes dry and use a spray bottle to dampen them for each use.

You simply fill a spray bottle with plain old water or the cloth wipe solution of your choice.  Cloth wipe solutions are easy to make.  Many online shops carry wipe solution cubes that you simply dissolve in a larger container and add to your spray bottles as needed.  I keep a spray bottle on my diaper changing table and one in the diaper bag.   You can also make your own solution using pure essential oils (never use synthetic oils), vitamin e, baby wash, oatmeal soap cubes or many other ingredients.  Tea tree, lavender and chamomile are popular choices, and I believe the common ratio is 2 drops of each oil per 2 cups of water.  The first solution I ever tried was tea tree and lavender with a few drops of baby wash.  It smells yummy and the benefits of the essential oils are a plus.

Another option are soap cubes.  You can purchase them from online shops; many wahm’s make their own soap.  They’re usually quite inexpensive and last a long time.  If you have the time to make your own, this is a great option.  A nice hypoallergenic soap works well.  Oatmeal and goat’s milk soap are favorites of mine.  Just cut the bars up into small cubes (about the size of a sugar cube) and dissolve into a gallon of hot water.  I keep a large glass bottle on my kitchen counter for wipes solution and use it to periodically refill my small spray bottles.

 

Awesome, right?  Also saves a lot of money and is just one more thing you can do to be just a little greener.

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MIA…

Yes, I’ve been a little MIA lately.  Anyone who is a mom can understand how easy it is to get completely overwhelmed in the day-to-day.  I have to say I feel it is pretty well swallowing me up lately.  With three kids of differing ages  (one a baby who is committed to crying whenever I am not looking at her), the daily housework that needs done (yeah, good luck with that one), keeping up with kids’ school stuff (well, trying to) ,  constant pain/discomfort from various medical maladies, guilt over not being “good enough” for what my kids and husband need, trying to find time to practice sewing and keep up with a course I am (supposed to be) taking, I am pretty well wiped out.  I feel I’ve lost control of the train and it’s derailed, all the cars going off into different directions.   So that’s pretty much it in a nutshell as to why I’ve not posted in a while.  Even as I write this I have a million things to do and feel guilty for taking the time to post.  But writing has always been therapeutic for me and so I have to allow myself a little each day.  So for now I am signing off so that I can run back into Momland.  And maybe get a shower today.  That might be nice.

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Blueberry oatmeal

Before the days of those cute little baby food jars, every mommy made their own baby food.  In a nutshell it is mashed up/pureed adult food.  That said there are obviously foods you want to avoid giving your baby, such as honey, cow’s milk, nuts, peanut butter or anything hard or with a jelly-like consistency.  There are many resources on the web which tell what foods are age-appropriate.   Making your own baby food is really not as daunting as it sounds. 

I always go with organic. There are a lot of resources on the internet about the myriad of “acceptable” pesticide, hormone and antibiotic levels in our fruits, veggies and meats.  I won’t delve into that here.  Do a little research.  It never ceases to amaze me how many people don’t know that these things are acceptable (according to the FDA) in infant foods and formulas. 

That being said, consumers have gotten much wiser and have demanded more organic options, thus there are more readily available organic baby foods and formulas.  When my first child was a baby, organic formulas had just hit the market.  I was thrilled.  I had to order them and have it shipped to my door, but whatever.  I had the option.  Now you can walk into any grocery store and find one or two different choices.  Yay! 

Fresh is always best, but if you have to, go with frozen vegetables over canned.  The sodium content in canned veggies is unreal.  I was eyeballing some green beans the other day and the canned green beans had 390 mg of sodium per serving, the frozen had none. 

You don’t need any fancy equipment. A food processor, a really good blender or one of those hand held baby food grinders will all work great.  Some foods, such as bananas, can be mashed with a fork.  For a really good puree, though, I love  a good blender. 

You also need something to put your pureed creations in.  Ice cube trays work well.  There are also specific trays and containers made and available on the market for baby food.   Breast milk storage bags are also another good option.  Always check to see that whatever you use says “BPA-free” somewhere on the packaging.  BPA (Bisphenol A) is definitely something to be aware of, so I have included a link to more on the subject. 

Ideally food is best when it is fresh.  So if you have the time to make your baby’s meals fresh every day, then go for it.  I, however, like to make a large batch and freeze it.  It can keep quite a long time if stored properly.  But if you’ve just made a lovely meal for the rest of your family, there’s no reason why baby cannot enjoy the meal, too.  Just pick some portions out and puree.  Instant baby food. 

When I make batches of baby food, I usually puree say a bag of apples at a time, or a couple bunches of bananas at a time.  To keep bananas from browning, you can add a little organic lemon juice.   Some things you will find you have to add a little water to, others (pears for example) have sufficient water content and puree up nicely without being too thick. 

Now I have heard of people pureeing certain things raw,  such as apples.  I personally like to peel and slice them (being certain not to get any of the seeds), put them in the steamer basket and soften them up before pureeing.  So I guess you could called them “cooked.”  This is the way I’ve always done it.  Bananas, however, I like to just mash them up fresh.  You can get them quite smooth just by mashing them with a large fork.  I just like them better like this rather than freezing them, although freezing them is entirely possible and instructions for helping with browning can be found above.  Really ripe pears are another one that I have mashed without cooking them. 

I purchased some organic bananas at the market the other day for $.89/lb.  Considering one 2 oz jar of organic pureed bananas costs $.57, it can end up being quite the money-saver.   You can also mix fruits and veggies, such as banana apple or sweet potato carrot. 

What about meats?   Meats can be pureed just like fruits and vegetables can.   Always make sure that any meats that you prepare for your baby are properly cooked.  I like to use the slow cooker/crock pot.  I also only buy organic meats.  You may want to add some fruits to make it more palatable for your baby.   For example, I added some pureed apples to my chicken and vegetable medley.  

Chicken and vegetable medley before being pureed

 

After being pureed and poured into BPA-free plastic containers. Ready for the freezer!

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http://money.cnn.com/2010/03/24/news/companies/infantino_recall/index.htm?hpt=T2

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I always get excited (as I know other cd’ing moms do) when that big poofy package comes in the mail.  Today I was doubly delighted to receive both the used Blueberry covers I’d purchased from another mama off of diaperswappers as well as the new Kissaluvs I’d purchased off of ebay.  The Kissaluvs I’d received in the mail the other day were terry cloth; these are fleece and oh-so-soft.

The Blueberry covers are $16.95 each brand new.  I got these–which are in pretty good shape–for $10.00 each ppd (postage paid).   The deal on the Kissaluvs was even better, since these are brand new and I got them for $9.95 each from ebay as opposed to $13.95 each/$12.95 for unbleached as priced on Kissaluvs.com.   Sometimes you can find even better deals.  There is even a section of  diaperswappers entitled “FFS” (Free For Shipping) where all you have to pay is shipping.  You can also do outright trades with other mamas.  In this case, I used paypal funds from selling off diapers that didn’t fit any longer in order to purchase bigger sizes.   I’ve utilized the site for years.  It’s definitely worth checking out if you are considering cloth diapering your child.

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Yes, they still exist.  Yes, lots of people use them for their children, myself included.  Although it may sound daunting, cloth diapering is actually pretty easy once you get past all the different types of cloth diapers there are out there, how to identify them and how they work.  Gone are the days of diaper pins and ill-fitting rubber pants.  While prefolds (the diapers my mother used for me) are still in use, snappi fasteners have replaced the old diaper pins and waterproof covers with velcro closures replace the old, ill-fitting pull-up rubber/plastic pants.  And while diaper services still exist, it is relatively easy and much more cost-effective to launder them yourself.  It is a huge cost savings to line-dry diapers if you can.  Some people find that line-dried clothing can be a little stiff.  After they are dry, pop them into the dryer for just a couple of minutes to restore fluffiness.

Have you bought a pack of disposable diapers lately?  They are quite expensive.   Not to mention they are…well, papery. Who wants scratchy paper rubbing up against them ((shuddering)) when you can have buttery soft microfiber fleece?  There is also the impact on the environment and the use of toxic chemicals in the manufacturing process of disposables, much of which has already been documented and out there on the internet for some time.   I will provide links to some sites of interest and I do suggest grabbing a snack and hunkering down for a very informative read.

Other than getting over the hump of understanding all the cloth-diapering jargon (pf=prefolds, AIO=All-In-One, AI2=All-In-Two, etc.), one may initially be stunned at the cost of a single cloth diaper.  While initial cost outlay may end up being more than you expected, remember these are reusable.  Properly laundered and maintained, cloth diapers can last for years and be used for more than one child.   There are also a number of sites on the internet for swapping/selling cloth diapers and cloth diapering products (diaperswappers). That’s right, mamas.  When your little one outgrows a certain size, just trade up for the next size!   While it may be a hard-sell in the beginning for some, the convenience of  today’s cloth diapers and the sheer cost savings are usually enough to win over a doubting partner.

I have cloth diapered more than one child.  I have also used cloth baby wipes and made my own wipes solution.  While I can still be found with some ‘sposies on hand (there are now chlorine-free, more eco-friendly disposables on the market)  for some trips out or for those times when a family member is babysitting and just doesn’t want to deal with the many and varied cloth diapers and accessories in the nursery, I far and away prefer cloth.  I had a lot of fun (and still do) learning about all the different kinds of cloth available, and continue to be in awe of sahms (stay-at-home-moms) who create wonderful embroidered diapers, covers and cloth-diapering products.   Ooh, and when your little one’s cloth diapering days are behind them, the prefolds and cloth wipes make excellent household cleaning rags.   Recycle, recycle, recycle!

It’s a whole new world, mamas.  Check it out.

Diaperswappers

Green Mountain Diapers

Diaper Pin

Fuzzi Bunz Cloth Diapers

Kissaluvs Cloth Diapers

Disposable Dangers

Seventh Generation Disposable Diapers

Earth’s Best Disposable Diapers

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