I Am a Diaper Nerd.

10 08 2012

How many people know what brand of diaper they are going to use before they have met the man they are going to marry?

Well, at least one.  Yeah, that’s me.

When I was a nanny, my families used disposables, and frankly, it never really occurred to me that people still used anything else.  Had they started talking about cloth diapers, I would have been speechless.

Which is funny, because just a few years later, I was anything but speechless on the subject of diapers.  But there was still only one kind of diaper for me.

g diapers.

Oh!  The cuteness!  Oh!  The environmental benefits!  Oh!  The ease (they FLUSH, people, FLUSH)!  And in case you didn’t get it the first time: THE CUTENESS!

Of course, I eventually met the man I would marry.  And way too early in our relationship, I brought up the topic of (g) diapers, and he was totally on board, and I was, like, bring on the wedding cake!

Yet, up until 2 days ago, I had never actually used g diapers.  You see, that dream died when we bought a house with a septic system that was not compatible with the flushable inserts.

My friend and gMum mentioned I could use them with cloth inserts, but, you know, that just wasn’t my dream.  We have another friend with a baby a little older than Hazel, and she was using pocket diapers and all-in-ones, and that seemed easy enough.  And g diapers, for all that I dreamed of using them, were actually something of a mystery to me.

But recently, we needed to supplement our diaper supply, and I turned to my diaper guru – who is the above mentioned gMum and mother of 3 gBabies.  Little surprise that she finally convinced me to order some little gPants and some gCloth inserts.

I was so excited that I photographed their arrival.  I mean, who does that?  If you’re so inclined, note that Hazel is wearing a bulky, off-brand pocket diaper with missing snaps.  She obviously can’t wait to upgrade.

For those who stumble upon this post for an actual review of gDiapers, here it is:

gDiapers are simple, easy to use, and it’s possible to find great deals on used gPants and the liners that go inside.  So don’t panic when you hear they have 3 parts.  That threw me enough to avoid them for 11 months, and now I am SO SORRY.  There is the outer cotton pant, a snap-in waterproof liner, and a cloth or disposable (flushable/compostable) insert.  You buy the pant and liner together, and the inserts separately.  A diaper “change” consists of changing the insert and probably the liner as well.  The inserts obviously get washed after each use, and the liners pretty much as often (but they are easy to wash out in the sink and dry in an hour or two), but the pants only need to be washed every few days and can be washed with regular laundry.

Pros:

– Obviously, absolutely adorable on any bum (but especially hers).

– Very trim for a cloth diaper, and last as long as our pocket diapers.

– Hook and loop closures on the back instead of the front discourage ape-like-feces-finger-painting.

– Compared with pocket diapers, the set up takes up very little room in my diaper bag.

– I LOVE LOVE LOVE that we can use the disposable inserts when we travel.  I have never had the gumption to ask a host if I can wash my dirty cloth diapers in their washer, if one is available, and we have always traveled with disposable diapers.  With gDiapers, the insert is a lot less waste than a full diaper, the liners can be washed out in a bathroom sink, and the pants don’t need to be washed often, but can go in with any other household laundry.  It’s simple enough to take camping and other places I can’t do a load of laundry.  I’m really excited to be at least partial cloth when we travel now.

– Less laundry than a pocket diaper system, where the whole diaper AND the insert have to washed after each use.

– You can buy gDiapers and supplies at local grocery stores (where we live).

– gDiapers have really good resale value.  I found special edition gPants on ebay for four times their original value.

– The gDiaper community is awesome, customer service is readily available.

Cons:

– The 3-part system is not really a con, it’s really very easy, but it kind of sounds intimidating.  My advice is to get over it.

– The cost, if you choose to only use the flushable/compostable inserts, is nearly twice that of regular disposable diapers.  But you’re saving the earth.  And since gDiapers came out with their cloth inserts, you can use the system with reusable inserts for about the same cost as pocket diapers.

– g Diapers have a huge, loyal following.  However, you can read plenty of horror stories of people who bought $200 worth of g Diapers and could never get them to fit correctly on their babies.  Okay, that’s pretty awful.  But you can read the same horror stories in reviews of every other type of cloth diaper, too.  Anyway, this kind of put me off g Diapers because I didn’t know what I would need if I just wanted to try them – I figured I needed the whole system or whatever.  However, after my new g Diapers came, I went to our used baby gear store and found some little gPants with liners ($6 each) and extra liners ($2 each).  A pack of six gCloth inserts runs about $28, but you can find them cheaper.  So I could have gotten one to try, with extra liners and six inserts, for under $40, the price of two or three pocket diapers.  And with six inserts, you get at least three and as many as six diaper changes (Hazel is fine with a single insert, my friend uses two for extra absorbency).

Summary:

Worth a try.  Like me, you’ll probably end up haunting local gDiaper retailers and re-sellers and coveting the extra-cute special edition gPants your husband says you don’t need.  Like me, you will probably spend days (weeks?) dressing your kid in t-shirts and dresses with no pants because the little g on their bum is SO DAMN CUTE.  Like me, you will seek out people who will listen to you talk endlessly about gDiapers (thanks, Mom).

Anyway, Hazel has been in gDiapers for two days now.  I even bought a pack of disposable inserts to try the next time we travel.  And I signed up to be a gMum.

And there you have it.

Some dreams really do come true.





Toys, Toys, Toys. And Toys.

3 08 2012

Hazel has a play area in our living room, where she has three bins of toys.  Each bin has a stuffed animal, a couple of books, a “big” toy, and several small toys.  She also has a bin of “kitchen toys,” which are random items from my cabinets.  She gets one bin at a time, and it usually lasts a couple of days before I rotate it.  Which seems totally reasonable to me.

But, then there is the little box of toys to play with in the kitchen, mostly more random kitchen items plus whatever empty cereal box or yogurt container I toss down there for the day.

Then there is the little bucket of toys (actually, a couple of rocks and a length of rope) next to the counter where my laptop sits.

Then there is the pile of toys in her carseat.

And then there is the collection of toys next to the bathroom.

Oh, and a bin of toys in her bedroom, for when we are both tired but not ready for nap.

Oh, yeah, and the toys hanging from her stroller.

Oh, yeah, and her bath toys.

When we scored big at a garage sale a couple of months ago, I did put a bunch of toys in “toy time-out,” to hopefully become interesting again.  But with her birthday coming up, it was time to take a toy inventory and see how utterly overwhelmed with crap we have actually become.  So all those toys got dumped onto her playmat for evaluation.  This is what it looked like:

(And since this is a sort of toy-hoarding confession, let me add that we also have a giant bucket of stuffed animals and a shelf full of books that didn’t get included in the spread.  Neither did her bath toys.)

Don’t get me wrong.  I love having all these toys.  And Hazel plays with every single one of them.  I’m grateful that we have all this, and we have great fun with our abundance of stuff.  And most days this summer, in the heat of the summer afternoon, I count on this pile of baby paraphernalia for my sanity – and I’m sure the winter freezes will emphasize the positive aspects of having a mind-boggling amount of toys.

But before I was a mother, I imagined I would have a dignified shelf of classic and beautifully arty toys for my kid.  All of which would be developmentally appropriate, brain-power-enhancing, and encouraging of open-ended, imaginative play.  Instead, I have the typically American cornucopia of brightly-colored, world-polluting, off-gassing, imported plastic junk (although we also have some very nice toys, some classic toys, and some pretty wood toys).

So how did I get sucked into this toy vortex?  And when did I drink the brightly-colored, world-polluting, off-gassing, imported Kool-Aid?

Granted, most of our toys are gifts, garage sale finds, hand-me-downs, and loaners.  But when someone offers to loan us some toys, or when I pass a garage sale, I jump on it – yes!  Please!  We need more toys!  We love toys!

Of course, I married an ecologist.  So when the topic of birthday gifts came up, and I said Little People Farm!  Fisher-Price puzzles!  Maybe a Laugh-n-Learn Kitchen!, Jason had to slow me down and make me breathe some fresh air, away from those toxic fumes rising from Hazel’s pile of stuff.

Because what does Hazel really need?

Okay, I know the answer to that.  She’s not even a year old.  She doesn’t need much at all.

But then there is me.  And if I see something that will make my little girl smile, I want it.  I want to see her see it, and watch it catch her eye, and watch that slow smile creep onto her face, and see her tentatively reach out for a preliminary touch before she grabs it and grins and looks back at me to see if I am also as impressed with this magnificent whatever  it happens to be.

Well, I know when I’m being ridiculous, so these toys got washed and re-sorted, and some are being put in time-out, and some are being given away (um… free toy from getting her picture taken with the Easter Bunny?  Goodbye.), and some are being returned to their rightful owner.

And Jason and I came to the agreement that we will only buy her one big brightly-colored, world-polluting, etc., plastic toy for her birthday.  Plus maybe a couple of small ones.

And when I look back on my fantasy toy box, with those beautiful wood toys and toys that encourage imaginative play, I will simply smile at who I thought I was a year ago, because (as I’ve already established) I knew nothing back then.  I didn’t know that when I would sell my soul for a moment’s peace, buying a lights-and-music flashy piece of plastic would seem cheap.  I didn’t know that while a baby is pretty happy playing with the same ten toys, I would get so sick of those toys I would pick up rocks for the toy box to add variety to our days.  I didn’t know how easy it would be to find new toys that would make Hazel super duper excited for ten minutes, and I didn’t know that those moments of my child’s excitement would be more addictive to me than any drug currently known to the human race.

Mostly, I didn’t know how much those damn wooden toys cost.





In the Locker Room

5 07 2012

Before Hazel’s swim lesson, as we stand in the locker room with my mother, I feel a splash on my foot.

“Is she peeing on me?” I ask, totally un-horrified, because I’m ten months into this gig, and piss on my foot is, like, nothing.  In fact, instead of saying like water off a duck’s back, I now nonchalantly throw out my newest simile whenever appropriate, Oh, I just let your judgement of my parenting roll off me like toddler urine off an experienced mother’s big toe.

Anyway.

I catch the eye of the woman changing into her swimsuit just behind my mother, and quickly correct myself: “Or is it just water from the shower?”

“Oh, no,” assures my mother, cheerfully.  “It’s pee.  I can see it running down her leg.  That’s okay, they’re all peeing in the pool anyway.”

Now assiduously avoiding eye contact with the stranger who is overhearing this exchange, I back slowly towards the showers.  “Maybe we’ll just rinse off again before her lesson starts.”

And then we all get into the pee pool, excuse me, toddler pool, put our faces in it, and learn to blow bubbles.

Parenting is gross.

The end.





She Will Wear Pink Dresses and Play in the Dirt

28 06 2012

Because life is short.

Because I have to do laundry, anyway.

Because all too soon, dirt won’t be as much fun.

Because she’s growing up too fast.

Because she’s almost too big for these clothes.

Because we have nothing better to do.

Because dirt means baths, and baths are fun.

Because of hidden treasures. Like sticks and rocks.

Because if you’re bored with a baby, put her down to see what she’ll do.  Then pick her up so you can run into the house for the camera.  Then start taking photos.  And an hour later, wonder how time went by so fast.

Because time does go by fast.

So she’ll wear her pink dress.

And play in the dirt.





The Old Man and the Sea

27 06 2012

These days, he can’t run as fast as he used to.

He can’t run as far.

He can’t run for as long.

But on a sunny, summer afternoon, with a whole beach to explore…

… and sticks to fetch…

… and seagulls to chase…

 

… well, it’s easy to see the puppy spirit inside that old dog’s fur.





FOOD!

25 06 2012

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We have reached a fun food phase for Hazel.  She’s blown past the organic-baby-puff treat stage and now shows unabashed enthusiasm for whatever it is her parents are eating.

Pizza?  Enchiladas?  Delicious!  Lingcod and clam chowder?  Sure!  Pate that her mom won’t touch?  Bring it on!

I know that she will likely come to a peanut-butter-and-honey-sandwich-for-3-meals-a-day stage, but, for now, she is epicurious for sure.

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When I was a nanny, my girls were diehard kid-food eaters.  Mac and cheese and applesauce eaters.  Tonight, I had the pleasure of eating out with them, now that they are teenager-and-almost-teenager.  I was worried when they rejected the kid menu offerings.  Maybe I chose the wrong restaurant?  But when the waiter came, one ordered the risotto, and the other the salmon.  And when their mother ordered the quinoa, I heard the younger mutter to her father, “Whew, good, now I get to try the quinoa, too!”

I need to remember that moment, so when Hazel at 4 years old orders chicken nuggets AGAIN, I know there’s still hope that the sashimi platter is just on hold for the moment – it’s not off the table for good.

The only downside is that I can’t eat anything in front of her that I don’t want to share.

I mean, sure, I shared my uterus with her.  She gets more than her share of my boobs, and more than her share of our bed, and when she backwashes into my water glass, I accept that as part of being a mother.

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But my pizza?

She’s really pushing it now.





The Best Toys

13 06 2012

… aren’t toys at all.








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