Category Archives: Greeny & Crunchy

Addicted to Diapers

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(Photo Credit: Someecards)

Do you ever wonder what it would be like to go back and play 20 questions with yourself, sometime in the past? For example if almost 30 me when back and chatted with 17 or 18-year-old me, I can only imagine the reunion would go something like this…

Teenager Me upon seeing Future Me arrive: Gasps…where did those 30 pounds come from and what happened to your hair, it isn’t blond anymore? What are you doing to future me?????????? Note that teenager me was a little vain and suffered from rather nasty eating disorder toward the end of high school.

Future Me: Yeah about that, the question is where did those 15 pounds come from, because you could gain at least 10, and it was a small price to pay for future children, and surprisingly, unfortunately, in reality blond you sticks around for quite some time.

Teenager Me: Taking in this information and glancing at Future Me’s wedding ring: WAY TO GET MARRIED!!!! What’s he like? (Can we say one-track mind?)

Future Me: NO NO NO, no giving away anything you’ll have to do that on your own, but he’s perfect for you, that’s all I’ll say!  Now I’ve got a few questions for you…How do you feel about diapers?

Teenager Me: UGH diapers smell bad, and aren’t they really bad for the environment? Teenager me already cared about the environment, just not her own body, what can I say, nobody’s perfect. Teenager me also had no idea what cloth diapers were except something her parents or grandparents used and were believed to be extinct much like a triceratops.

Future Me: Yes diapers, don’t you think they’re completely addicting…don’t you care about your future children?

Teenager Me: Umm perhaps you should seek therapy, meanwhile I think I’ll have a diet coke.

Future Me: Okay but make sure to STUDY!!! and don’t drink too much!!! (what can I say I’m a mother)

Clearly teenager me must think I have some kind of weird obsession with poop if I love diapers this much. You might think I’ve lost my mind, but then I would have to ask you, do you use cloth diapers? Because you probably don’t. They are super addicting. Not just because they are actually cheaper than disposable diapers (albeit your initial investment is a bit higher), they are better for the environment (don’t get me started on my insane theory  that someday we’re going to send all the disposable diapers from the landfills to a black hole without actually knowing the effect this will have on the universe), better for your baby’s bottom (think less chemicals) and honestly they are way cuter. I think it’s this last bit that has so many of us addicted. There are so many different options and kinds from cotton babies including the well-known bumGenius and flip to best bottom  to FuzziBunz to Tiny Tush (From WI <3) and so so many others, those are just some of my favorites. Cloth diapers come in a never ending sea of colors, patterns, styles and materials. There are cloth diapers for all occasions.  To the point that I have to refrain from adding to my stash simply because I want her to have that super cute pattern or color not because she needs another cloth diaper. That’s what’s so great about them though, they are not just functional but adorable, easy to use and wash as well and who doesn’t love adorable.  I think we may have to start support groups, alternatively perhaps some kind of diaper swapping program because at this rate,  when you just want to keep buying it’s not so much the savings that cloth diapers give you but the hug that your giving mother nature by using them and the ability to keep the chemicals typically found in disposable diapers off your baby’s bottom. But seriously how does THIS in lovelace not make your heart swoon. Clearly I need help, I wonder what they call an addiction to diapers?

Anyone else out there have this problem, perhaps we could start a support group  buy in bulk together for some kind of discount? =)

English: Cloth Diaper

English: Cloth Diaper (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Disclaimer: None of the above links paid or gave me anything for mentioning them in my word vomit, think of this as merely the 1st step in admitting my addiction at which time I mention some of my favorite cloth diaper manufacturers. If for any reason you buy something for reading this, lucky them, if you continue to keep reading this, lucky me!

Lucky Won

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No, I did not misspell won, that was not meant to be one. This is not a Britney Spears song. If my life starts to resemble a Britney Spears song, please put me out of my misery. It says Lucky Won, because quite simply, I was lucky  or I like to think I was and consequently I won the original oval tree swing from The Original Tree Swing’s Facebook giveaway. Lucky me!!!! This swing can bring nostalgic childhood memories to people who didn’t even have nostalgic childhoods, it’s that quintessential american childhood. We have exactly one tree that is not on our curbside, and this beautiful tree swing now hangs from its largest branch. Muchos gracias to my husband who literally climbed the tree to hang it, in his work clothes, like a freaking monkey. Apparently once an eagle scout always an eagle scout, rule number 923. If you like nostalgic, natural wooden toys or Waldorf dolls or are just looking for something unique check out http://www.theoriginaltreeswing.com, they have amazing toys, I really want one of the slingshot making kits, possibly more for myself than even my child and don’t even get me started on the Waldorf dolls, adorable.

Here are some pictures of how we do tree swings in the City….

He climbs trees like a monkey, it’s just hidden talent no. 753 I didn’t know about it…. just be careful if angered he may throw coconuts at you

and now to test it out….

WHEE!!!!!!

OH MAN THIS IS HARDER THAN IT LOOKS!!!

Disclaimer: The Original Tree Swing did not pay me to write about them, I did win the tree swing out of I believe pure luck and liking them on Facebook and commenting on a post and not because they had any idea that I would incorporate them into my word vomit, in fact had they known that they may have tried to take it back…but now they’d have to fight my two-year old for it, and trust me he fights dirty, with puppy dog eyes and alligator tears!!! P.S. does anyone know what alligator tears even means?

The Great Food Dilemma

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If there was one thing that my husband and I unequivocally agreed upon with respect to how we wanted to raise our children, it was that we both wanted them to have better eating habits than we do. This encompasses many things, it is not as simple as just “eating healthier.” It’s also not to say that our parent’s failed us either, but science has changed, we’ve evolved and there is a lot more knowledge in the areas of food science and nutrition than when we were children. Our primary goals with our children are first and foremost that they are exposed to new and different foods and are encouraged to try new foods including foods of traditional of other ethnicities. Trying foods needs to be fun and we wanted it to be something that our kids were always open to. Beyond that our goals in no particular order were that they ate healthier foods, ate fresh and/or organic foods and finding the balance between enjoying eating and knowing when enough is enough. What does that mean, to us it means trying to cut down on processed foods, reading ingredients, understanding what toxins or fillers we don’t want in our foods, letting go of the clean your plate mentality (we we’re both glad to see this approach go out the window as we’re both total failures who never cleaned their plate) and approaching food with a whole new attitude. In doing this we realized that this is a lifestyle change, you cannot simply force your child to engage in better eating habits without active participation on your behalf if you want to make changes that will last a lifetime.

This began first with the choice of breastfeeding our children, this is not a light decision to make and involves an incredible time commitment on the mother’s behalf. However the nutritional benefits of breastfeeding far outweighed the convenience of formula and other than admittedly some okay maybe a lot of whining on my part at times, this is a decision we have never regretted. When it came time for Brecken to begin eating solids we really began to look at what was in the foods we were eating and what foods we were going to be feeding him. I was still commuting 70 miles each way when he began our transition to solids and consequently our eating habits were not particularly conducive to Baby Led Weaning (BLW) and admittedly still a colossal work in progress. They still are a work in progress and probably always will be but we’ve made leaps and bounds. Instead we joined a Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA) bought a summer share of organic fruits and vegetables and begin working on our own eating habits as well as using the fruits and vegetables we received to make purees which we froze in 2 oz cubes for Brecken. For anyone who is looking to expand their food  knowledge, needs to make baby food purees for their lithe one, wants eat healthier or buy fruits and vegetables for less, I would greatly encourage you to look for a local CSA.

CSA Haul the First

Typical CSA Share (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a CSA a group of individuals commit to purchasing a share in a local farm thereby supporting their local farmer through the growing season, as part of their share, purchasers receive a share of seasonal fruits and vegetables each week (sometimes there are also coffee, egg, milk, flower shares as well) throughout the growing season. Often many farmers will also have an option for a working share, whereby if you cannot afford to purchase a share you can assist the farmer and exactly as it sounds, work for your share. This is a fabulous way to support your local farmer and often has wonderful environmental impacts as well. Most CSAs limit their delivery zone and often generally deliver food to only certain locations whereby a purchaser then picks up the food at a central location. This limits the need to transport food beyond the local area it is grown, greatly reducing the emissions to the environment. Further, most CSA’s either grow their food organically (whether certified or not) or with very little use of chemical pesticides.

It was a great source of vegetables to make baby food, with more summer squash and zucchini than we knew what to do with and later carrots, broccoli, winter squashes. We tried a lot of new foods that summer including kohlrabi, kale, parsnip, spaghetti squash among others. While these may be the norm for some of you, I led a pretty sheltered childhood when it came to food. I can now say that I can make a mean colcannon and identify a parsnip in the grocery store, which admittedly I could not previously do nor had ever really aspired to. With Brecken we really pushed vegetables vegetables vegetables first. We were trying to get him accustomed to eating veggies before we introduced fruits and other things with higher sugar content. We also limited his liquid to just water and milk though after he reached about a year and a half we have allowed him to have some usually watered down juice sometimes just juice occasionally. Some people think we’re ridiculous, others don’t understand what we think is  wrong with spaghetti o’s and other’s don’t think we’re doing enough. Everyone has to find what works for them. Our goal in pushing vegetables was to simply build a good foundation of vegetable love for our son so that when we did introduce some of those less healthy options he wouldn’t lose all love of vegetables in favor of more processed or sugary foods. Ultimately this has worked well for us. At 26 months he happily eats steamed broccoli and cauliflower and most any vegetable placed before him. He tries things and is starting to develop his own taste buds, telling us when he doesn’t like things.

There’s always a however though. Trying to change your food habits nearly three decades after they began is not easy. Actually it freaking sucks sometimes. This is made more difficult by the fact that we simply cannot always eat at home. Whether it’s for social reasons, various commitments, or simply because we don’t have the time or energy, sometimes we have to eat out. This presents serious challenges. We live in an urban area with nearly 100,000 people in a sixty  mile radius yet it is still difficult to find restaurants that have things other than hot dogs or french fries on their children’s menu and sometimes the adult menu isn’t much better. When Brecken first became old enough to eat his own food at restaurants I thought we may be doomed to Panera for life, which while I enjoy their food, one likes/needs variety, see foremost goal above. We began to find that many of the restaurants that cater towards either convenience or kids still had some pretty awful selections for children with the food often being both high in calories and fat and extremely processed. While I would like to say as we work toward achieving our healthy eating lifestyle change we no longer eat at fast food restaurants, that’s not a reality, sometimes it is the easiest option and thereby being the only option due to other commitments/reasons etc. of feeding us. So kudos to some of the restaurants that are slowly offering healthier options in their kids meals including offering bananas at Dairy Queen, unsweetened apple sauce at Culvers and organic yogurt at Panera but our options are still very limited. Further there has to be another part of this meal that entices my child who does not like hamburgers/cheeseburgers (we are not Vegetarian this appears to be his personal preference, sometimes he’ll eat a little at home), and I refuse to introduce him to chicken nuggets or buy hot dogs, often leaving if we’re lucky grilled cheese usually with lots of processed cheese as an option. Does anyone else out there have this problem?  Am I the only chicken nugget loving mother who will not let her child eat them? (BTW I cannot help it, I became addicted at a young age back when they probably weren’t even made of meat, maybe they put crack in them, who knows, it’s something I’m working on). What has worked for other parents, are there any restaurant chains that I’m missing out on and that we might have here in western Wisconsin? If you have any tips for how you’ve helped turn your family’s eating habits around I would love to hear them!

 

Epic. Potty. Fail.

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I think I’ve been ready for potty training since we had to switch from cloth diapers to regular disposable ones because no matter how many natural butt creams, not so natural butt creams combined with diaper liners, diaper stripping, fleece vs. flannel we tried, Brecken got horrible blistering butt rashes from cloth diapers. We eventually had to choose between screaming, tantrum filled, painful diaper changes with a miserable toddler suffering through cloth diapers or permanently switching to disposables. That isn’t to say they magically cleared everything up but it was like 20x better with only occasional teething/heat rashes. So we cringed and started to buy “disposables”, honestly how can something that is estimated to take between 250 -500 years to decompose be called disposable? They should be called diapers we use and leave for our future generations to deal with, DWULFGDW for short. It literally pains me every time I buy a package, like I am personally stabbing some future generation of me with a knife, feel that, deal with it, it’s your problem. Maybe you think I’m over reacting but in 1998 the Environmental Protection Agency found that diapers made up 3.8 million tons of waste or 2.1% of U.S. garbage in landfills and that was 13 years ago, I was like a freshmen in high school, can you imagine how many more diapers there are now. Then there’s all the nasty chemicals and crap that goes into them that we are constantly putting on our children’s bums, have you ever seen the inside of a “disposable” diaper, those little beads are like alien substance made from god knows what to be able to suck in the pee and just hold it there.

diaper: absorbing inside

diaper: absorbing inside (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So now that I’ve given you a small glimpse into why “disposable” diapers make my skin peel,, I could go on, all night, it could be an entire post in itself, but I won’t do that to you, at least not today, but now you may understand what I mean when I say that I’ve been ready for potty training since we started having to use them  around when Brecken was 14 months old. He is now nearly 26 months old and I barely have any skin left.

Needless to say my being ready, doesn’t mean he is ready. We have danced, tangoed, waltzed, and hokey pokeyed around it for months now. We have talked potty, sounds dirty doesn’t it, it’s really not, we have potty cheered, we have tried to lead by example and gotten excited about the potty. If for some reason you’re reading this and don’t have kids, don’t let it scare you, just think of it as the “SHIT KARMA” someone did this for you, and one day you must pay it forward and do it for someone else. We started trying to get Brecken to go potty between diaper changes and he had him all excited right after Christmas but then he kind of fell out of it, so we left it alone, then recently he seemed to really get back into it. He would happily go potty during diaper changes, cheering, clapping and happily accepting a few jelly bellies for peeing. We even got him to poop once or twice. So feeling high on all this potty business, never thought you’d hear that did you, I decided to go for it, NAKED POTTY TRAINING. Never heard of it? You can read about it here.  I couldn’t follow the recommendations precisely because who the hell has three whole days to give up with their spouse to do this kind of crap. Clearly these people don’t work. So I naked potty trained solo, perhaps had I had my husband here and we came up with snappy cheers like “Give me a P-E-E in the P-O-T-T-Y  You RAH RAH YAY Potty”, then we would have been more successful, or maybe said song would have driven me to hiding in the depths of our largest closet, either are possible.

It didn’t go awful, we started out playing in the playroom and time just ticked away. After an hour I was like WTF there are no accidents, no going potty, no nothing. He claimed he didn’t have to go and wouldn’t try going. So I began, cringe, giving him juice. I’m not a huge fan of giving toddlers/preschoolers juice, it doesn’t have any particular nutritional value and I just don’t feel it’s really a necessary part of their diet but I knew that since he already had his morning milk that it was the one thing I could be sure he would suck down like his life depended on it. So he drank like a fish and we waited… that’s pretty much how the day went. After a couple of accidents, where he generally caught himself about half way through then wanted to finish on the potty I thought progress was being made. Then out of nowhere he decided he could only use the potty by himself and terrible screaming tantrums would ensure if I tried to help or be in the bathroom at the same time. When left to his own “business” he would pretend to potty and then wash his hands like 10x. As if that weren’t enough then out of nowhere he decides he is going to pee like Papa. This means he stands in front of the toilet, lifts his mini mandango up there so that it basically rests on the edge of the toilet because that’s about how tall he is and we have really short toilets. Thank GOSH he never actually peed like this or we would have really had an accident. By bedtime he was begging for diapers and absolutely refused to go anywhere near the potty.  I was not optimistic for day two. This morning he threw a total tantrum, real tears and everything, begging for his diaper, I’m pretty sure because he knew he had to poop having refused to last night and wouldn’t use the potty to do it. Regardless of my hate for “disposable” diapers, I am not going to force potty train my 26 month old under duress. I do not want him to hate the potty, at least not until he is almost 4 and still not potty trained, so we will chalk this up to an epic potty fail and wait, while I continue to take small stabs at my future generations every time we go to Target.

Bipolar Parenting

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I have a bit of a case of what I refer to as bipolar parenting. I am in no way bipolar and do not wish to make light of what I imagine would be a difficult disease to live with, but it’s the best way I can think to describe this parenting style. I am either neurotically obsessed about something, researching to death all the ways BPA can harm my child or why television and electronics rot their brain, contributes to obesity, actually does nothing for their language development and stifles their imagination or I refuse to even think about, concern myself with or address any risk factors associated with say wearing synthetic clothing, giving acetametaphene or ib profen to an infant or educating myself on potty training techniques. (But I do really want one of these biodegradable potty training toilets). I’m not sure if this stems from some form of a survival tactic, as in if I approach everything this way I think I will eventually be living out the lyrics to Spanish Pipedream (preferably sung by the Avett Brothers) ” Blow up your t.v., throw away your paper, go to the country, build you a home, plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches, try an find Jesus on your own”

While on some level that sounds like a really great idea, nice little house in the country, organic gardening, some part of me just isn’t there yet oh and I still need a job. The part of me that still occasionally buys polyester and refuses to acknowledge or pay for things like organic cotton unless on sale or educate myself on the pros and cons of each.The same part of me that simultaneously loathes plastic toys but makes an exception for Legos because certain pros outweigh certain cons. The same part that refuses to educate myself on actual parenting styles so that I have options and tactics for things like discipline, other than skimming the occasional articles I come across on the internet or that one of the many parenting websites emails me and catches my attention. Yet, I did my first flip in parenting approaches, not necessarily on purpose the other day, and the result has me leaning toward reaching the neurotic again, packing it up and moving to the country. When Brecken was born I debated. endlessly. researched. endlessly. and asked. annoyingly. what everyone and anyone’s take on vaccinations were. I knew people who did, who didn’t, did some, changed the distribution, you name it I probably had heard of it done. For personal and what I chalk up to medical reasons including I knew my children would be around unvaccinated children and that certain diseases were again on the rise (pertussis) among the benefits of vaccines I felt outweighing the cons, I ultimately opted to vaccinate Brecken with all typical childhood vaccinations. I did however request a very specific schedule to limit the amount of vaccines that entered his body at a given time, delaying some vaccines over others. This worked well and other than a few extra trips to the clinic for shots we didn’t have any problems.

Then along comes Pippa and where that horrible second child syndrome comes in, the idea that “eh well the 1st one lived through it” bad mama parenting. I didn’t even give it a second thought really, I was too swept up in all that was parenting two children under 2, work, life etc. I vaguely thought of it at her 2/4 month appointments but in neither case did she really have that many vaccines and she made her way through each perfectly fine. Then Monday was her six month appointment. Pippa’s a little on the small side, nothing concerning more just a fact, she’s a little slight which may or may not have played a factor into what happened. When it was time for vaccines they told me she would get 3 shots and an oral and I remember vaguely thinking whoa that’s kind of a lot for a small tot to handle but then I had Brecken pulling at my leg and Pippa crying and I let it go. She was in a foul mood the rest of the day and felt a little warm. I gave her a Tylenol/ib profen rotation (Note another thing I am strongly resisting the urge to think about/medicating my six month old) which didn’t seem to be doing much good. She woke up about 2 a.m. burning up, for whatever reason fevers really freak me out in babies, so I was none to happy to find her temp was 101.3. Really!!!!! 3 months ago this would have required a trip to the E.R. Was she really that much more developed? Her poor little body must be seriously working to fight something. I gave her some more Tylenol and got very little sleep. The doctor’s office assured me this could be a normal reaction and should clear up in a few days. If not to come in. It took about 2 days for the fever to wear off which was just enough time to really beat myself up about not staying true to what I really believed and slacking on my parenting. While you might be saying, she could just as well got a fever if you had spread them out, I know that, but I will never know if that’s true because I didn’t and that’s what bothers me. On some level, I failed her. While ultimately it won’t be the first or the last time, it has made me realize how easy it is to sort of sink into this comfort zone of parenting for round 2 and just because she wasn’t first in line doesn’t mean that she doesn’t deserve just as much neurotic obsession as the other =)

Vaccine-in-leg

Vaccine-in-leg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just to remind us all how much shots suck, really don’t you just cringe looking at this!!!

I’m not Anti-Technology, I’m Pro-Kid!

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Our mommy group met today at a nearby restaurant for one of our snack and chats. One of the topics that came up is what does “Natural Parenting” mean. I think everyone has their own definition of natural parenting, for us it means that we try to use as much organic food as possible, especially with the kids, we use cloth diapers on our daughter (we used them on our son until he was a little over a year and then his bum just rejected them completely, we tried everything and nothing except disposables would make his butt rashes go away, even trying taking a break and going back to them after he would clear up) we prefer wood/natural made toys but have other ones as well, and we don’t let our children watch television with the exception of college football and have little contact with technology as a whole. You’re probably asking what’s so special about college football, but it really comes down to that we LOVE the Big Ten (GO BUCKY!!! or as my husband would say GO Hawkeyes) and it’s just nearly impossible to keep a toddler’s attention diverted for an entire football game. Of all of these things, I probably get the most slack and questions about why I don’t let my children watch television/play on the computer/have leapfrog pad thingys etc.. Here’s the thing I don’t judge you and the fact that you let your children watch tv so please don’t judge me because I don’t. Clearly we use technology, I am writing a blog. Further, admittedly I’m a technological junky and Jeff is even worse, so perhaps people judge us because they think we’re hypocrites. But here’s the deal, I’m an adult, I can be a technological junky. I can also recognize my dependence on technology, my limited ability to entertain myself without it and I know how much of my work day is spent in front of a computer.

If all parents were polled about what drives their parenting style, I truly want to believe that most of us want better for our kids. So for me that means I don’t let my children watch television or have much contact with technology as a whole. I hope that instead they will learn to use their imagination more, make up games, sing songs and learn to play on their own and entertain themselves without the constant need for technology to do it for them. Because I know what their future is like. So many jobs are completely dependent on technology, the world is dependent on it almost to the point its scary. So let them be little I say! Let them enjoy being kids and not having their day spent plugged in. And for the most part it has worked. Brecken plays by himself and can entertain himself. While I type this he is in his playroom by himself making a boat (he just yelled this to me) out of his Duplo Legos. See there’s some plastic. Further, as an added benefit we don’t have to deal with a lot of the marketing that comes along with television watching. Brecken is blissfully unaware of the majority of all Disney characters and other mainstream children’s characters. This can make shopping trips a whole lot easier and when he finds something he wants, I know it’s because he truly likes it and it appeals to him not because a commercial told his sponge of a brain that he had to have it. So there’s my rant, if you think I’m crazy that’s fine. Some days I truly wish I let my children watch tv, because I’m not going to lie, to a certain degree it can act like a babysitter and would probably give me a few minutes or hours to do whatever it is I need to do. But then I remind myself, is that really a good reason to let my kiddos watch tv, and for me it’s just not enough. I’m not everybody, so if you let your kids watch tv, I totally understand, there’s even some great shows out there with PBS and those that really focus on an educational component and learning. So let’s make a pact, if you let your kids watch tv I won’t judge you and just because I don’t let my kids watch tv, you don’t judge me.