Saturday, July 31, 2010

I don't know HOW you do it...

Let me step up onto my soapbox for a minute...and warn you that I am doing so.
I have recently become aware that I am offended by the following statement: "I don't know how you do it. I could never stay at home with my kids all day long."
Why is this okay to say? I have heard it from multiple women. Usually said in a half-adimring, half-pitying kind of way, it's supposed to be laughed at. I'm supposed to respond by saying, "Oh, I know...I barely stay sane, at home with toddlers all day. Believe me, I envy YOU. Your identity is still intact."
Okay--deep breath. Let's back up. I am fully aware that my choice is my own, that my reasons are my own, and that no other woman is like me. I am not writing this to talk about those choices. The subject here is the inherent attitude these kinds of comments reveal: that women who stay at home with their kids have lost a part of themselves; are lesser women because they don't work; are doing something any sane person would avoid; are in a position to be pitied; or don't have as much to offer society and therefore just hang out at home.
Don't believe me? Think I am making waaaaay too big a deal out of this? What if I were to say "I don't know how you do it. I could never leave my children with someone else while I went to work." It's the reverse of the statement, and holds the same amount of inherent judgment and disapproval. I would NEVER get away with saying something like this! And I don't want to. Obviously, it's not loving. It's a sinful, judgmental attitude.
Maybe I'm just asking for a little awareness. I know it's easy to let comments like this slip out. Especially ones you hear others say all the time. But this one stings. It's a backhanded compliment. It's rude.
So, don't say this to me. Or to any other stay-at-home mom. And, if you stay at home, and have someone say this to you, respond
lovingly. But truthfully! Let's not allow ourselves to get bogged down. Respond with a cheerful, "I love it! Wouldn't have it any other way!" or even, "It's hard work, but it's the only work I wanna do."

Friday, July 30, 2010

Cloth Diapers: going with the G

great orange little gPants

I am not a very au-naturale kind of girl. I looooove makeup. I still use hot rollers in my hair sometimes (lingering effects of an eighties childhood). I like doctors, I don't generally distrust Western medicine. I was recently completely unable to have Lyla sans epidural, despite the desire to know what it felt like. I started--desperately--NOT wanting to know ANY more about what it felt like pretty early into labor. I also eat meat, prefer JuicePlus to many vegetables, wear leather and would wear fur if I had any.

So, I thought I would never, never be interested in cloth diapers. To me, they went in the "things mothers can do to make their lives needlessly more difficult" category. I was so wrong!

I don't even have a thoughtful reason for why I first became interested in them. I just thought they would look really, really cute on Lyla. (Of course, they do!) But I couldn't justify the (supposed) work, or commit to the whole thing based on the cuteness. So I started to do some research. And, wow, was I shocked. Not that disposable diapers are technically pretty environmentally unfriendly; I knew that. It's much more. Some of the most horrifying disposable diaper facts included:

Nearly 10 billion diapers are thrown away each year.
Disposable diapers take 100 years to disintegrate, because they are made largely of plastic.
Disposable diapers take up 1-2% of landfills.

There are more--exposure to chemicals, etc., but those three really stuck with me. Another surprising one: The average baby goes through around $2,000 worth of diapers before being potty trained. It doesn't seem like that when it's 20 bucks here and there, does it?

So, I was disturbed enough to start looking into whether or not there was a product out there I could handle. I didn't want to be stuffing and un-stuffing diapers full know. I also didn't want to be lugging dirty cloth diapers around in my diaper bag, but didn't want to resort to using disposables when I went out. If I was going to do this, I wanted to do it whole hog.

I won't go into what I didn't choose and why. Just tell you that the research I did led me to gDiapers. They're a California-based company that first set out to make biodegradable disposable diapers, then added cloth to their line. The diaper is adorable.

It involves three pieces: the outer, colored layer, alot like underwear. They call them gPants:

girly girl ruffle little gPants

 The middle layer, a waterproof "liner" that snaps in and out of the gPants and holds the third, inner layer, which is either disposable or cloth.  This is a photo of the disposable liner already inside the plastic layer:

gDiapers starter kit

The disposables bio-degrade within 100 days, and can be composted or even flushed down the toilet if you feel so inclined. I don't. The cloth are made mostly from hemp, and are so soft!

As you can see from above photo, the inner liners--the ones that do the job, so to speak--just lie down inside the middle, waterproof liner, instead of being stuffed in and out. This means two things: no pulling poopy diapers apart, and, usually, the other two layers of the diaper can be reused. With most other cloth diapers, you're using a whole new entire diaper every time. This takes up space, makes for more laundry (I have only 8 gPants, and 18 cloth liners, instead of having to buy 18 of each). But the best part of this is that you can go "disposable" without double crossing the environment. The disposables are a little bit more costly than a regular diaper--maybe 8 cents or so--but since I'm using cloth except for when we travel, it's still a huge, huge cost savings.

In the interest of full disclosure, I will tell you that the cloth inserts tend to make the outer layers a bit damp-feeling if they don't get changed every three hours or so. Not that they leak--Simon calls it "breathing." They are also supposed to get more and more absorbent with washing, so that may go away. The disposable inserts are literally just as good, as absorbent and as long-wearing as regular disposable diapers. AND I've never had the explosive baby-now-needs-a-bath thing happen with them, if you know what I mean.

Finally, the cost. I've spent about $300 getting this whole thing set up, including waterproof bags for nursery and diaper bag, 8 sets of gPants, 18 cloth inserts, a "case" of 180 disposable inserts, and the right laundry detergent. I could have done it a little more cheaply if I had done it in bulk right from the beginning, but I wanted to make sure I liked them before getting a ton! You can even get a Starter Pack at Whole Foods, with two gPants and two middle liners. Then you get a pack of disposable inserts (WF doesn't sell the cloth inserts).

So there you go. My thoughts and my story. Let me know what you think if you try them!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

When You're "Just kinda...not tired"

This is what Caleb did instead of sleeping today. After a while of being quiet, I thought he was asleep. Then I got the call: "Momma! My face hurts, Momma!"

That's Desitin.

It was also on his feet.


from The Office:
Dwight: Michael once said to me, "Dwight, don't be an idiot." Changed my life. Now, when I am about to do something, I think "Would an idiot do that thing?" And if they would, then I do NOT do that thing.

I have a second conscience. His name is Simon. I love him. He keeps me from being an idiot.

As a fairly emotional woman, I tend to want to fly off and do things without much forethought. It used to get me into trouble pretty often--mostly when I said things I shouldn't say to the wrong people. But it also included buying random, unnecessary things, wasting time in stupid ways, reacting badly or emotionally to something, and even just being selfish. Simon has helped me with this. And continues to.

If I can remember--and I'm trying to make it habit--I check back with Mental Simon before I do things I know might be...something an idiot would do. And then, I know what he would say. And I do not do that thing.

But, really, what this comes down to--what Simon has lovingly, almost wordlessly taught me--is being thoughtful of others. Being loving as God is love. Putting others' feelings and needs ahead of my own. Not taking the risk that you might be sinning, no matter how good it feels or how much you want to. Another name for it is self-control.

I need the bracelet: WWSS?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Back in our "homey home"

This weekend we were in the Dallas area with some old friends. It was the first time we've been away with Caleb and Lyla anywhere besides my parents'...and boy, was it work! Lyla cried half the way there, Caleb (and friend) stayed up till almost 2 am the first night, then didn't nap the next cetera. Needless to say, we were all exhausted by Sunday! The upside was that Caleb and Lyla both slept the entire way home, a never-before-accomplishment. We had a ton of fun, too...but might limit time with friends to one night in the future.
Being away like that always makes being home even more sweet. Now, we generally have great times at home, a fact mostly attributable to my sweet husband. Simon literally gets joy from being home. It's his favorite thing. And, while this makes it a challenge for me to drag makes for a joyous and contented home life.
Last night, Simon was downright giddy. Well, almost giddy. His happiness to be home overflowed into his interaction with Caleb and Lyla, and into our time alone--finally!--after the kids were abed. We were too tired to do much more than pop in our latest Netflix arrival and snuggle up, but there was something so nice about it. Just knowing Simon is happy is pretty much enough for me.
Caleb, probably picking up on Simon's attitude, calls our house his "homey-home," and woke this morning with a huge smile. During breakfast, he looked up at me and said, "I'm so glad to be back in our homey-home, Mama."
Me, too.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Anniversary Greatness

Did you know there are official present-types for each and every anniversary? I didn't. But Simon's Mom is into it, and he enjoys looking it up each year. This year, he brought out the big guns. He looked up each and every different "official" gift for a fourth-year anniversary. Included in the options: fruit, flowers and linens. Yes, linens. Weird, I know. So check out the photo of what I got. First, the gorgeous flower arrangement--he picked out the flowers himself. Caleb especially liked the purple snap dragons. Second, he and Caleb colored me an apple. Third, that candle is "Clean Cotton" scented! Isn't that great? A thoughtful husband is worth more than anything.
(Also pictured: the sweet card that came with the flowers. It made me cry.)

Caleb's Creativity

I had to share this one. Yesterday, Caleb's favorite buddy, Ben, came over while his little brother was at the doctor. We decorated cupcakes with colored sugar and candy. Caleb, all on his own, looked at the brown icing and said it was dirt, then sprinkled green sugar on "to make it grass," then took one end of a gummy worm and poked it down into the cupcake, "so it's crawlin' out." Pretty awesome.

Beginning the Fifth Year

Yesterday was the fourth anniversary of Simon making me his wife. Four years is so much longer than it feels! Trying to make sense of that number, I started looking back over all that has filled them. And, wow, have they been full! The biggest change is the to kiddos that have come, changing almost every aspect of our lives as they did. Another big one is the sweet little house we now own, and the new city I have lived in for the past year. Additionally, we've moved four times, Simon has changed jobs twice--from one to another and back again--and I've retired from a long, lustrous teaching career of two years. Alot has happened; alot of days have gone by.
And each day is a tiny, lovely blessing.
As a used-to-be writer, I go to bed almost every night, cataloging my experiences, thoughts and growth from the day, but never really recording any of it at all. I stay up, finding the perfect words to describe my exact emotion at getting the last of the carpet ripped up, or finding that perfect spaghetti sauce recipe, or peeking into the crib and seeing Lyla's huge, toothless grin. But those thoughts, like most of mine these days, dissolve away almost as quickly as sleep takes me, and I'm left the next day feeling like I really described those things well--but can't do it again.
And when I add up four years of that, well. A tiny tragedy.
I know there are literally millions of stay-at-home moms out there blogging their little hearts out, discussing the every day things like diaper rash and gardening. I ain't saying I got anything on them. I don't. I garden. Okay, I aspire to garden. But, regardless of the stereotype I am perhaps furthering, and the cliche I may be participating in, despite the fact that this may be a boring, nondescript little blog unworthy of much notice, I'm doing it. And I hope that, those of you who come with me, will enjoy it.