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.


– 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.


– 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).


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.

Nature’s Way of Continuing the Human Race

4 03 2012

Throughout my pregnancy and Hazel’s infancy, I’ve wondered if my husband is going to agree to have another child.  You see, I like sleep.  And without sleep, I get a little… testy.  What with the minor discomforts of pregnancy and the subsequent minor discomforts of parenting an infant, I’ve been a little… ahem… irritable at times.  And it has made me wonder how people end up with more than one kid.  Surely my husband is going to remember the raging maniac I have been for the past year and refuse to go through it again, right?


The last few nights, Hazel has had a difficult time going to sleep.  As I settled onto the bed to nurse her, she wiggled and cried and fussed and writhed.  And I wondered what happened to make my little angel child suddenly hate bedtime.

After two nights of this, I really put some thought into what has changed and what worked previously.  And it dawned on me: for a few nights previous to this, she had an easy time going to sleep.  I sat down, nursed her, she fell asleep, I put her into her crib.

For a few nights in a row.

Which, apparently, became my impression of how my child “normally” goes to bed.


Five months of pacing around a darkened room, bouncing on a yoga ball, laying down with her when she seems to have settled, only to have her wake up and start crying again…  I mean, the yoga ball is still in our room and I trip over three times a day, so you think I might have remembered that I bounced her to sleep on it LAST FRIDAY NIGHT.  Not, you know, a distant month or two ago.

This has happened at least once before, when she was three or four months old, and again, having a difficult time sleeping.  I was remembering with nostalgia the period of time when she would nurse to sleep, then sleep for about three hours on her own.  Which I remembered as being, you know, most of her early infancy.  But when I really thought about it, I realized that was from the time she was five days old and my milk came in until she was fifteen days old and the reflux kicked in.

Again: my mind turned “ten days” of good sleep into “most of the first three months.”

This, then, is the secret of multiple children: severe sleep deprivation, lots of hormones, and cute baby photos ENTIRELY OVERRIDE REALITY.

Mystery solved.

Luckily, I have this written record to prevent me from getting pregnant again.  At least for now.

Pictures like this one are part of the problem. They make you think, "Oh! Babies are so sweet and fun! And they just sleep all night and look cute all day!" and generally melt your brain and cause spontaneous ovulation. Note to future self: this picture was taken after the baby slept for three out of twenty-four hours. And you were very, very tired. But... she's awfully cute, isn't she? Oh, my god... See? It's already happening...

Guess Who’s Coming to Town Tomorrow…

16 12 2011


…and she is stretching her lungs for him already.

The Evils of Television… Or Not

10 12 2011

There is a great rift in our household.

It is caused by one simple appliance: the television.

If I had my way, I would only have the television on when the baby is in another room.  If Jason had his way, well… the television wouldn’t be on all the time, and certainly she shouldn’t be left to entertain herself with it, but he sees no problem with watching a show while holding the baby.

As we’ve experienced the realities of child-rearing, I’ve had to rethink my position, as much as I hate to do so.  I got the baby this crib toy for Christmas: it’s a box that attaches to the crib and flashes lights and plays music.  Basically, it’s a primitive television.  For the baby’s crib.  Then there are all the Christmas lights that flash colors that we encourage the baby to look at, and the flames in the wood stove and the flickering of candles.  And those are all accompanied at times by the loud rap music the baby really likes.

So what is a box that flashes lights and sounds?  A television?  A crib toy?  What’s the difference?  What makes television the enemy?

From what I’ve read, a lot of the studies point to language: if the TV is on, adults are less likely to talk, so the child is exposed to less language.  I totally buy that.

Then tonight: Jason had the baby on his lap, and the TV was on, and he was chatting with her.  I glanced over, and the baby was looking at the television.  I panicked, snatched her away, chastised Jason, and proceeded to walk across the room with her, away from that evil machine and the father who would expose her to it.

Here’s the thing, though.  I had already spent 12 hours walking around the house with her, talking about the dog and the cat and the wood stove and the Christmas decorations and the dishwasher and the floor and the walls and the windows…  Just like most days at home for the last 3 months.  And I was too tired to do it anymore.  So we just walked quietly back and forth.

So, what?  Had I really just pulled my daughter away from verbal and physical interactions with an adult and exchanged that interaction with the silent, weary pacing of a tired mother?


And here’s a dirty little secret of mine: sometimes, when the baby is in her bouncy seat playing with the toys on it, and I’ve talked to her about the toys and all the parts of her brand new body she needs to move to engage with the toys, and made encouraging sounds about her genius in grabbing said toys, well, sometimes, I pick up a book and read a little.  Silently.  While the baby plays with her toys.


There is a surprising lack of research on the language development of infants with parents who read while on the job.

I would still prefer that our TV remain off while the baby is awake.  But I was never much one for television to begin with, and that probably influences me quite a bit.  And there’s no question in my mind that both Jason and I have plenty to say to our daughter, and spend most of our time with her interacting with her.  And having Mommy and Daddy arguing in front of her about anything at all is probably more damaging than anything the TV might have to say.

So next time she’s sitting on her daddy’s lap with the TV on?

She’s probably going to stay there.

They Say the Darndest Things…

13 03 2011

For a long time, the funniest comment Jason had made regarding parenthood was during a conversation in which he was trying to convince me that he could work from home and care for an infant.

Me: What happens when you’re on a conference call and the baby is screaming?

Jason: I’ll just wheel it into the other room.

Me: They don’t come with wheels.


Equally amusing was his suggestion that I shouldn’t pump at work: “It’s a 45 minute drive each way,” he explained.  “Just pump while you drive.”


Last night, Jason asked what I was doing.  I told him I was researching baby carriers, and he wanted to know what a baby carrier was.

“You know,” I told him.  “Like a backpack but for carrying a baby.”

“We have plenty of backpacks,” he said.  “We really don’t need another one.”

“Well, baby carriers are meant for carrying an infant.”

“Oh, it’s silly to buy one when we have so many packs,” he insisted.  “We can just put it in one of those with some blankets around it to keep it from falling out.”


Today, I had been practicing with the wrap my sister-in-law sent me (along with the recommendation that I practice with the cat – clearly not understanding the half-feral nature of my resident feline).

Jason saw the yards of material and asked what it was.

So I demonstrated.

Wolverine seemed confused as I attempted to get him into the baby wrap...

...but there was no confusion when I tried to make adjustments - he was out for blood.

Okay, so here’s the deal: I totally make fun of my husband for the seemingly crazy and un-parent-like comments he makes regarding the care of our future offspring.

But the thing is?  I’m the one putting a cat into a baby carrier.

Or Maybe It’s Just Gas

11 02 2011

When I found out I was pregnant this time, I didn’t want to tell many people – or any, really.  Jason told plenty, but I only told a few – including a couple of people at work who would need to know if anything went wrong.

On hearing the news, one of my coworkers said, triumphantly, “I thought so!”

I must have looked puzzled, because she elaborated: “Well, a couple of weeks ago, I thought you were getting, you know, a belly.”

“Linda!” I gasped.  “I’m only, like, six weeks along.  I think you’re just calling me fat!”



Today, I announced to several people that my pants are getting tight.  Universal cheers to this.

Until I explained: “They are getting tight on my thighs.”

I paused.  Then: “Do you think I’m gestating this baby in my thighs?”

I was almost hoping for it, really.



I haven’t been doing belly shots during this pregnancy.  I’m trying not to be superstitious about anything this time around, but it’s nearly impossible.  Today, I placed an order for a few cloth diapers, and as soon as I hit the “Place Order” button, I immediately ran to the bathroom to check for spotting and began overanalyzing every twinge in my uterus.  In addition to my fear of causing spontaneous abortion by doing something reckless, like, um, I don’t know, actually acting like I’m expecting a baby in seven months, I am still recovering from this disappointment during my previous pregnancy: I spent two days absolutely fat with pregnancy – I mean, unquestionably so – and then, just like that, a good, long fart and I was deflated.



However, yesterday a coworker told me I was showing.  And I wanted to believe her.




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Here’s 9.5 weeks… Or maybe I just really, really need to fart.

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