I’m happy to report that our 13 month old is going strong with infant potty training! To be clear, she still wears cloth diapers and our only focus is getting her to poop on the potty. She started pooping on the potty at around seven months and her progress is continuing. It means fewer poopy diapers to wash and strong steps toward actual potty training when she’s ready. We even toted our little potty seat to Maryland with us on our family vacation and she used it many times while at her grandparents’ house.
During the trip, she started using the sign for “poop” which was even more exciting. While we were driving home after nearly twelve hours of travel, she did the sign in the back seat along with the sign for help. We were so exhausted and shocked that she would be able to tell us, that we didn’t stop. When we did arrive home, she had pooped in her diaper and we felt horrid that we didn’t listen to her.
That’s the down side of this infant potty training business. Yesterday we were on our way to blueberry picking when she needed to poop so we trooped back home, only to find she wasn’t ready. She then filled her pants at the blueberry patch. We have just the one potty seat so I don’t plan on toting it with us everywhere, especially when she isn’t always comfortable pooping in public restrooms. Still, every chance that we make it to the toilet is one less poopy diaper to deal with!
I only share these stories because even though I used cloth diapers with my first child, it didn’t even occur to me to begin potty training until right around 2 years old. He was trained by 27 months, but if I would have started sooner, I think it would have gone even faster. In many other parts of the world, people don’t even use diapers and potty train their children very, very early. If you have a potty seat and time on your hands, why not give it a try?
I’m bone tired. The kind of exhaustion where you sit and look at all you have to do and then just sit some more. After seven rough vacation nights full of nighttime nursing and a full day’s journey back from the East coast, I can’t seem to get anything done.
And green parenting requires us to get things done! There’s a garden to water, cloth diapers to wash, food to prepare and summer produce to pick and preserve. How do we keep up with all this while so very tired?
And when will my baby resume sleeping through the night? For now, I have just resigned myself to serving my family pantry food and scrambled eggs so that I can avoid grocery shopping or intensive cooking. I’ve watered enough to keep the garden alive, but the berries will have to wait.
Are any of the rest of you facing the battle between your green ideals and your need for rest? Did you get a nap today? Please feel free to give yourself regular breaks. This green parenting gig is a marathon, not a sprint!
It may sound difficult, but making homemade organic baby food has tremendous benefits for baby, the environment and your budget. Also, it is by no means difficult to plop cooked food into a blending device and swirl it up. Both Rebecca and I have conquered the art of baby purees despite the fact that both of us felt totally overwhelmed as new mothers for the first year. Have you given homemade baby food a whirl? If so, what are your standbys and how did you get started? What challenges have you faced? We find that like many other green lifestyle pursuits, most people gain the confidence to make the shift when they have friends or family who have tried it before. Hopefully our readers can provide that online community for each other. Thanks for sharing your baby food secrets! And for more recipes and tips, check out our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide: Down to Earth Ways for Parents to Save Money and the Planet.
I had every intention of weaning my child at one year. Breastfeeding while working had been burdensome and I dreamed of the days that my body would be fully mine again. Then my son became very sick and had to be hospitalized for days. The only thing I could do for him was offer the breast, and it was a huge comfort as he underwent endless tests. After that I realized that I could feed him just in the morning and before bed, and wouldn’t need to pump ever again. Since my supply fit perfectly with whatever demand we worked out, it wasn’t such a burden. I ended up breastfeeding him until he was two. I’m glad I did it as long as I did, and was also at peace with my decision to stop.
Are you trying to make up your mind about how long to breastfeed? Are you glad you weaned when you did or wished you would have continued? Are you successfully breastfeeding your toddler? Please share your wisdom with our other readers who may be pregnant or in the early stages of motherhood! (and please be gentle–there can be a lot of judgement either way on this one.)
In our new book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, Rebecca and I recommend the “slacker” method of cloth diaper laundering. It doesn’t involve intensive prewashing or excessive toilet dunking, and it should keep your nursery smelling fresher than it would with disposables. (Remember that with cloth the feces is properly disposed of in the toilet rather than smelling up your home.)
So, what happens if your cloth diapers seem to give off a distasteful odor of fermented waste? Try these handy tips.
Any other ideas? Are you also struggling with smells this summer?
Shocking Truth #1:
No matter how many limits you put on the playthings that enter your home, you will find yourself amazed by how the toy paraphernalia builds up.
Shocking truth #2:
Although you may beg people not to shower your tiny infant with a million rattles, shiny singing doodads and plastic xylophones, they will. Then they will do it again annually.
Shocking truth #3:
Your child will play with just ten to twenty percent of her toys.
Am I wrong? I hope so, but in our household we have been amazed by the sheer quantity of stuff that entered our lives with our children’s arrival. I co-wrote The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, a book in which we clearly state that voluntary simplicity is the way to go with baby for a myriad of economic and environmental reasons. And yet, somehow gifts found their way into our lives and my son’s room was overrun with clutter.
What’s the magic answer for toy purging? For us it was talking about one (hypothetical) child who doesn’t get playthings because his family can’t afford it. We talk about what he might like, and how happy he’ll be to get it. If my son wants to give this imaginary boy toys but feels that he can’t get rid of them himself, he’ll even let his dad sort through the toys that aren’t being played with so that we can ship them off to Goodwill.
We also do a toy rotation, so that the items he doesn’t want to play with can be shifted out every month or so. It feels like he’s constantly getting new toys and there’s less to trip over and clean up in his bedroom.
As for the limiting of the gifts, for our baby we specifically asked for no presents at her first birthday party and will probably limit gifts for her until she’s about three and can actually know she’s getting something. For our son, we do ask family for gift certificates to children’s museums or swimming so that we can have experiences instead of stuff. It doesn’t always work, but it’s worth a try!
Any other ideas? Have any of you had success with actually keeping the wave of shiny new toys at bay in those first few years?
Do you like it? I’m blushing a bit right now, but we are really proud of our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, and are hoping that many of you find it helpful as you prepare for baby or select a gift for pregnant friends who are looking for eco-friendly, budget friendly solutions. Please let us know if you’ve read it! Also, if you have ideas on how to spread the word on our little gem, please let us know. We loved writing it and editing it hundreds of times, but marketing isn’t our favorite hobby. Still, we’d like to let expectant parents know how to save thousands of dollars while going green. Thanks for your creative ideas!
I see you everywhere, your bellies budging, your skin glowing, and your eyes lingering on my chubby baby. The secret smile we exchange signifies that we both know that you’re on your way to my new native land: motherhood.
For me, in the beginning, it seemed as though my baby would never arrive. And then, it happened. Suddenly we were hurtling forward in a free fall towards the biggest transition of our life. My biggest maternity clothes didn’t fit, but even more immense than my belly was the feeling that I might just not be ready.
Not ready to push this person out of my body, or settle it into the incomplete nursery. Not ready for the sleep loss, and not ready for giving up everything (and I mean everything) I once thought was my own. (That includes sleep, time, personal space, and clothes not covered in kid-generated goo.)
If you’re expecting a baby, you may feel the desperate need to buy more stuff to brace yourself for the shift. Don’t. Of course, we won’t be offended if you purchase our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, and give it a read, but if you’re short on time, here’s the summary. You can do this. You don’t need stuff. In fact, it will just require you to take care of a whole bunch of objects in addition to your child. All you really need is a few diapers, a place for baby to rest, a few clothes, the crook of your arm, and the croon of your voice. Welcome! You’re going to be great at this!
During my first pregnancy, I didn’t know the difference between a pocket diaper and a prefold, but after much exhaustive research, I finally decided on the ultimate cloth diapering system for our family. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the diaper diagrams and descriptions in The Eco-nomical Baby Guide to refer to because we simply hadn’t written it yet!
Four years and another child later, I have been given a huge assortment of absorbent and adorable diapers. My daughter Jovi often sports cow print happy heinys, homemade hemp diaper liners, prefolds with various covers, and even colorful fuzzibunz pocket diapers.
What have I realized after gathering up this diverse collection of cloth diapers? You don’t really have to choose just one type! Of course paying full price for all this loot could be prohibitively expensive, but if you’re open to buying gently used cloth diapers, you can try an assortment and know that you don’t have to rule out any one kind.
What is your cloth diaper philosophy? Are you strictly loyal to one brand or style, or have you too build up a variety of diapers? Have you been lucky enough to inherit hand-me-downs?
For the last four years I have clumsily struggled as a working mom. But here’s the secret: all along my heart’s desire has been to be at home folding cloth diapers and whipping up homemade delights. In fact, my yearning to get home with my baby is what started me on the journey towards being a published author and a blogger.
So was it our massive profits that finally earned me the freedom to take a one year leave of absence from teaching? Hardly. (Although we do expect our book to become wildly famous and translated into sixty four languages one of these days.) A robust savings account combined with my husband’s new job allows me to finally take a break from thirteen straight years of teaching adolescents.
Maybe I crave the opportunity to stay at home simply because it wasn’t an option all this time. I’m a highly extraverted person and a bit worried about how I’ll fare without structure or schedules, but so far it’s just sheer joy. If I still had a newborn it would have been harder, but since my oldest is nearly four and my one year old is now sleeping through the night, it’s glorious to be at home with them. (Note, although their ages are just about right, the photo is not of us!)
Am I torn about leaving my job? Nope. Because although I adore working with middle schoolers, I love this grand and humbling task of parenting even more. I know that I’m still in the honeymoon stage as a stay-at-home mom and that sometimes the tantrums and endless dishes will nearly defeat me, but for now I’m grateful that our lifestyle of voluntary simplicity has provided us with the opportunity to take this leap. If you are aching to work less and spend more time at home, read The Eco-nomical Baby Guide for tips on how to save thousands in the first year alone. It worked for us!