Thursday, March 21, 2013

Diaper Changes: Part Two

In January I wrote a post about our foray into the world of cloth diapering. At the time, I had signed us up for a $15 one-month trial of cloth diapers from the Changing Table, since we weren't sure how much we would like it and if we would have any skin/rash issues with George's sensitive skin. Several friends expressed an interest in hearing about our experience, so here is parte dos of the cloth diapering decision. Bottom line is: we love it.

One idea behind the cloth diaper trial is to take home several different types and brands of diapers and give each the good old college try. We were given 12 diapers, each different styles and brands, and within a few weeks BJ and I had a pretty solid idea of which ones we liked and which ones ranked right down at the bottom. As our month came to a close, one thing was clear: we loved cloth diapering and had every intention of making this initial investment. Our motivation is primarily monetary, and we figured that these cloth diapers, which cost roughly $20 apiece, will end up paying for themselves before George is officially out of diapers (I plan to begin the potty training process with George between age 22-24 months; Silas was potty-trained just after his second birthday and I know we could have started sooner). Add into the equation that we would be tickled to have a third child, and then it all seems like a definite no-brainer. We would need to buy some additional cloth diapers with a third child since younger babies require more diapers in a day than older babies do, but all in all the cost savings would be substantial.

Three days into the cloth diaper trial, BJ and I quickly realized the futility of trying to use disposable wipes within this process. Using reusable wipes made SO much more sense, it seemed! Take a wet diaper, for instance; I would drop the wet diaper into the dry-bag (a completely adorable dry-bag that hangs on his closet door), use a single disposable wipe to clean him up, and then what? I would have to walk all the way to the trash can and throw away this single dirty wipe. And poopy wipes were a different thing altogether because those smelly things couldn't just be thrown into the trash. They required a plastic sack, which seemed downright wasteful. Wouldn't it be so much easier to just have a cloth wipe that goes right into the dry-bag with the wet or dirty diaper? I'm already doing a load of laundry anyway, so what are a few wipes extra? Then, we realized, aha! They sell these things too! We purchased two types of cloth wipes, one of which is flannel and one which is soft cotton, in packages of 10 at a cost of just under $11. We also bought a bottle of Apple Cheeks cleansing spray, which smells delicious and sprays right onto his bum as part of the clean-up process, and voila! Now I don't have to buy disposable wipes anymore! If you've ever seen the spoof Galaxy Quest, please imagine with me Alan Rickman rolling his eyes and muttering, "What a savings." Savings indeed!

Extra bonus: the diapers are adorable. My little boy is the cutest little muffin running around in these! Our favorite brands were Tots Bots, which has a fleece-feeling interior, and Bum Genius Freetimes. Both kinds are considered all-in-ones, which means they don't have additional snap-in pieces or require any kind of construction after washings. We bought gender-neutral colors and a few patterns too; I simply couldn't resist the London theme Tots Bots!

 Tots Bots on the inside...

 ...and the outside. (You can choose velcro or snaps; we chose some of both.)

 The cloth wipes

 This is one of our night-time diapers, a little thicker with extra-absorbency. The terry-cloth part is what touches his skin, and the polka-dot part is the cover.

 I know this pic is a little hard to see, but it's the inside of one of the Freetimes. Two thick pads line it, one lifting from the front and the other lifting from the back. I like this kind a lot, but it's harder to clean poop out of than the Tots Bots is. We both really like the Tots Bots better, although they were a bit more expensive.

So, do I think this is more work? Yes, a little bit, but the workload is NOT a ton more substantial now that we have the hang of it. I really like the idea of saving money and helping out the planet in the meantime. I bet that we have filled a veritable dumpster of disposable diapers between Silas and George, and that's just gross. I honestly do get a little more poop on my hands through this process, but that really doesn't bother me. Water and soap take care of things like that. And speaking of water and soap, I compared our water and electricity bills and found essentially no difference between one month ago, one year ago, and now. This month, for instance, our water bill went up 41 cents. When I looked at the same month from a year ago, it was down $1.50 though. So far, no changes there, but I will update if I start seeing a difference. And as far as soap, we use Tide Free and Clear, which is safe for the diapers. Lastly, George is not having any skin aversions to the cloth diapers.

Oh! And our house doesn't smell. I guess some people get worried about their house smelling. Just zip up the dry-bag and I can't imagine a problem!

All in all, a great move for our household. Have I left anything out?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

From One Place to Another

Some days as a mom, I spend a long and busy day with my kids, somehow finding in the end that we don't have much to show for it besides a few memories. I stay on my feet chasing after them, playing with them, teaching them to be future responsible citizens/rocket scientists, and cleaning up in their wakes. This Tuesday, however, was not one of those days. We had a busy day alright, but in the end we were able to show that we had traveled 1,767 miles and set foot in four states together...just Silas, Georgie, and me. How's that for something?

The life and times of a single traveling parent have to include a couple of mishaps, albeit a humorous one or two to make up for the not-so-humorous ones. It seemed perfectly appropriate that our already-long family restroom trip in the Baltimore airport should be delayed; once Silas had done his business and washed up, he tested the automatic soap dispenser with his hand and then managed to stick his whole head under the soap ejector just as it shot out in a white fluff as I was changing George's diaper. Of course he screamed in horror about this. Rubbing it with wet paper towels only created a scene reminiscent of "There's Something about Mary," so Silas got an actual hair rinsing in the bathroom sink as the next family waited patiently outside the door. 

Sadly, he also woke up from a short nap needing to pee again on the second flight and accidentally wet his pants as the plane was descending, rendering us unable to leave our seats. As the gentleman seated next to me and I agreed, what can you do? The kid insisted he needed to go and wasn't allowed to get up, so good thing the seats were leather.  But we landed, made it through the Manchester airport, got our suitcase and car seats from baggage claim, nabbed our rental car with a free upgrade, installed the car seats, made yet another potty break in the parking garage, and drove the one hour to Amesbury, Massachusetts on a dark and rainy evening...Sigh. We had arrived, and we had done it all in a day!

Believe it or not, I write this post not to toot my own horn. I mean, obviously my kids are cool customers and I was able to rely on the kindness of Southwest flight staff, fellow passengers, moms, dads, grandmas, and single 20-year-olds to help us get to our final destination. I did my part though and I came prepared; I had a mental packing list going weeks beforehand and I was equipped for every scenario I actually encountered, from needing a fresh pair of pants and underwear for Silas to keeping my phone in "airplane mode" so that Adele (turned down so that even I could barely hear her and other passengers certainly couldn't) could serenade an antsy but tired George to sleep on the long flight. I ultimately write this post to encourage you young parents to get out there and do what you want to do even if you have small children. Take your journeys, whether close or far, and bring your kids along! Understandably, life must change when people have kids; however, BJ and I knew that having kids meant that they are going to join into our lives too, and that means them engaging in some of what we love and coming along for the ride. Well, we love traveling and being with far-away friends, so our kids are going to experience these things for themselves firsthand, and what I hope they learn from their days with mama throughout the years is that mama can roll with the punches with humor and patience, encouraging others along the way to do just the same. So I encourage you, and you can also encourage me at times. Let's make the most of this life; there are no years to waste waiting for the kids to get bigger.