Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Happily Never After

I know why Rapunzel's parents locked her in a tower. Snow White's stepmother? She got a bum rap too. Cindy doing lots of chores? The parental units in these tales were dealing with little Princesses like my Sadie. If I had a tower handy, I might be tempted to lock her up there myself.

You see, if the bloodcurdling shrieks weren't enough to set you off, the mischief that small whirlwind of diva and sass and ornery could generate would be enough to leave you grateful for bedtime and when said child finally sleeps! Or make you wish for a quiet, state-run padded room somewhere far far away, and maybe in another galaxy.

Most of the time it is my sweet angel clobbering her little brothers. Now, why anyone would want to clobber those two sweet and sensitive little boys is beyond me. I could understand her taking a whack at the older two, but Adam and Nathan? Quite frankly, her behavior I would expect from the boys - not from my curly haired Princess with a capital "P". She started out okay, sweet little baby girl. Her hair started coming in red and curly, to go with her clear, clear blue eyes. Beautiful little girl. Then she turned two. She brought new meaning and extremity to the term "terrible twos". I consider myself a fairly patient woman (good grief, you have to be with half a dozen kids - either that or seriously sedated) but this pint sized wonder tries me harder than the other five combined - and I have a couple boys who are like 3 children in one. If she isn't clobbering her baby brothers - she's drawing on them. Yes, I mean literally drawing on them. With markers, crayons, pens, dry erase markers, marshmallow fluff . . . If something happens she doesn't like, like say, a time out for drawing on her brothers or painting the wall with red nail polish, she flings herself on the floor in a full body fit. Now, her older sister could throw a fit - one even lasted 3 hours over the wrong pair of pink socks once. Even at that though, she would have been no match for the ones Sadie pitches in volume or tenacity. Jessi grew out of them by the time she turned three. Sadie will be five in April and I am still waiting. Tonight she started crying because I told her to put her pajamas on for bed. Once she finally headed off to put them on, I caught her stopping by the mirror first to watch herself cry and carry on. Oh puh-lease!

We nicknamed her our little chemist. If it came in a bottle, tube, can or any type of storage container - she was more than happy to dump it. She liked to mix things together too. Usually on her bed. I threw out two sets of sheets thanks to her 'spearamentation. (She had promised me too, "No more 'spearaments mommy.") One that she managed to destroy with a full container of Cinnamon, hairspray and my favorite body wash. When she mixed them together, they hardened into something they probably could have coated the space shuttle with. Great for outer space exploration, but not so conducive for bed sheets. Parts of her rug are still sticky (and oddly cold), one part is completely bleached out, another part that is very stiff and crunchy and there is some kind of funky smell in there that I haven't been able to come up with a name for, even after a year. Though, the rug is very pretty and sparkly thanks to the gold glitter she dumped all over it. A princess just needs a gold sparkly rug I suppose.

Then there was the "Sybil Phase". I could fill a book just on that phase alone. There were at least three personalities with names - Fifi, Lola and Jasmine. Now, Fifi I could live with - she was generally somewhat pleasant, liked Shania Twain songs and fairly easy going. Jasmine was a bit of a drama queen, but there too - not too difficult to get along with either, though, she had her diva moments. Lola - now there was a girl I could happily have avoided. Lola could peel paint off the walls with her shriek. Lola was unreasonable, muleheaded, bossy and opinionated. Neither pleasant (unless she was getting her way) nor easy going. Lola was the one who also liked to run around naked. I know some kids go through a streaking phase developmentally - but Lola/Sadie did it with panache. I would run after her through the house - her doing her best Lady Godiva and me with her clothes in hand. Me yelling "come back here and get dressed!" Her "I'm sassy! I'm sassy!" One particularly trying morning I asked her "Are you Fifi or Lola today?" Her response? "I'm psycho." I kid you not. This girl has a vocabulary befitting a princess too. "Would you like some more mashed potatoes Sadie?" "Yes Mother, that would be luscious." When did preschoolers start using words like "luscious", "remarkable", "delightful", "scrumptious"? She uses words even I would have a hard time spelling, and I was an alternate for the State Spelling Bee in Jr. High. Fifi and Lola moved on at the age of three and left Jasmine behind. Jasmine hung around the longest, but eventually she agreed to being called "Sadie Jasmine" and then finally, just Sadie. I could not call her pumpkin, or Sadiebug or Ladybug, no pet names, names of endearment - that was NOT her name. Now we have to call her Sadiebug4 because that is her online name. Yes, her online name at the Care Bears and BellaSara websites. (Note, that is BellaSara as in the horse trading cards NOT the wine!) She refuses to wear pants and has not since the age of two. "Princesses, " she informed me, "do NOT wear pants."

I won't go into the pink phase - that involves personal public mortification in the women's restroom at Walmart. I think I am still trying to recover . . .

There was the tiara phase - she wore it everywhere - bed, bath and beyond. The first photos of her with her newest baby brother Nathan have her with baby in lap and crown on head. Then one day, it just disappeared, replaced by red sparkly shoes. Red, sparkly shoes go with everything - including your best church dress, so long as you wear them with fuchsia and blue plaid Care Bear anklet socks with pompoms on the back.

I had to call Poison Control on her more than once - she would eat anything, and I do mean anything - Deodorant, dish soap, lip balm, rubber bands, the list goes on. As a matter of fact, her latest infraction involves eating something one shouldn't, only this time she wasn't the one doing the ingesting. I was putting baby Nathan down for a nap and heard choking, coughing and gagging. Ran out to find Adam with both hands up to his mouth coughing and gagging rather hard. I pulled his hands out and watched to see if he would get it up or it would go down or I would have to perform some sort of maneuver on him. Whatever it was finally went down and I asked Sadie what he had in his mouth. She smiles sweetly and opened her fist to reveal several pennies and said in her best angelic tone, "a penny". "You're not supposed to eat pennies." I said in my best mommy voice. She gave me this look that seemed to say "I just GAVE him the pennies, it was totally HIS prerogative to EAT them." Sure enough, the ER confirmed by x-ray his net worth had increased by one cent.

Sadie turns 5 in April. All I have to say to her future kindergarten teacher is "Be frightened, be very, very frightened."

Maybe her teacher will have a tower handy . . .

Monday, November 26, 2007

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

Whoever coined the phrase "sleep like a baby" must not have had kids, or had a very sick sense of humor. I say this because I have kids and currently have a baby, and sleep is not an activity I am familiar with. I haven't had a full, uninterupted eight hours since 1994. June 29, 1994 to be precise. (For those of you unfamiliar with my family - that particular date would coincide with my oldest child's birthdate.)

I've read that not sleeping for long periods of time can lead to hallucinations, slow response time, spaciness, delirium, among other things - that in fact, sleep depravation was akin to being inebriated. This could explain a lot. No, I'm not drunk - just tired! Very, very, very, very tired. I'm cranky and tired. I love my baby - I really do, I just really wish he could sleep for more than 30 minutes at a stretch. Now, in his defense - he has a lot going on right now - teething, a cold, constipation . . . Personally, I'd rather sleep all of that off, but that's because I am an adult now and I can fully appreciate the value of sleep. In fact, as I am sure any teenager will attest - sleep can cure anything. I tell my kids to take a nap - I wish I could. They want to bounce on their beds, they want to watch tv, they want to run around in circles and yell and re-enact the Battle at Bull Run. Me? I want to examine the insides of my eyelids. I've forgotten what they look like. I don't dare lie down and sleep myself unless they are sedated and tied to their beds. If I close my eyes - who knows what disaster will lay before me when I open them again.

One of my children would only sleep in his carseat or on me. If he was in the carseat - the car had to be moving. Fortunately he outgrew that after about 13 months, but every now and then, I have to be careful where I step in the middle of the night on the way to the bathroom. I might step on him, or his brother sleeping on my bedroom floor . . . then there is the other brother, the aforementioned teething, sniffly, constipated baby. He started sleeping through the night about a month ago. I was so happy! Then he started teething about 2 weeks later. Then he got the cold a few days ago - about the same time the pooping ceased. I fixed the latter with a little banana and yogurt juice - yay! We have poopage! A little baby acetaminophen for the teething and fever and . . . . I . . .. think . .. he's . . . . going . . . to . . . sleep . . . .. . . shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Tiptoe to the bedroom, carefully slip him into his bed. Make sure the pacifier is in place. Make sure the back up pacifier is in his hand. Make sure the back up, back up pacifier is in his other hand. Make sure the spare emergancy binky is next to the bed so mom can grab it in the middle of the night. I slide into my bed. Close my eyes . . .. SCREAM! Wait a minute, see if it will go away . . . nope, not happening. Get up, shush the baby, plug the baby, bundle baby in blankie. Baby is drifting off again . . . . wait a minute. Tiptoe back to bed, climb in and get comfy. Close eyes and . .. . SCREAM! Repeat this 5 times every 30 minutes until 6 am. At 6 am, the baby will fall asleep and stay asleep and you will finally find your bliss in time for the alarm to go off.

I'm too old to take a nap, and too young to not still need one . . .

***Originally posted September 21, 2007

Baby Love Handles

Most people join Weight Watchers to lose weight and look good in a bikini - me? I joined WW and ended up having a csection and an almost 8 pound baby! So much for looking good in a swimsuit this summer . . . but I digress.

My first thought was "how did this happen?!" Yes, I know how it happens, but not how it happened to me! You see, my first four children are fertility drug babies. Yes, I took drugs, drugs to help me ovulate so I could conceive because for a very long time, I did not ovulate and therefore, did not conceive. Kind of a nuisance when you are trying to have kids, but a nifty little built in form of birth control when you aren't. Or, at least, I thought it was pretty nifty until I discovered I couldn't count on it anymore not once, but twice and this after more than a dozen years of being exceptionally reliable. One oopsie, surprise you're pregnant baby is funny - two? Well, not as funny, especially when you had dedicated yourself to losing weight. Yes, I long ago gave up any aspirations of becoming a swimsuit model - but I did think it would be nice to be able to fit into my pants and possibly even smaller pants. Things obviously did not go the way I anticipated.

I am not much of a self-motivator, so I joined WW with a couple of friends, thinking we could help motivate each other, particularly me. They were very successful in losing weight - a few pounds every week. Myself? Ha - I was lucky if I could move a pound. We attended meetings, swapped recipes, discussed points and exercise options and yet, I found myself becoming more and more discouraged as the weeks went by. My bottom line (no pun intended) was not getting any smaller and in fact, my pants seemed to be getting tighter! Ah yes, what they say is true, denial ain't just a river in Egypt baby! You see, I could come up with a plethora of reasons why this diet thing wasn't panning out - none of which involved the stork even remotely.

**My thyroid sucks

**I shrunk my pants in the laundry

**I am PMS-ing/Bloated/Retaining mass quantities of water

**I have no self-control and sleep-eat

Then, I started feeling sick. Again, I had another plethora of reasons why I felt yucky:

**The stomach bug the family acquired as a reunion souvenir

**I don't "do" summer heat and humidity

**I'm exhausted from a long string of visitors/traveling/entertaining and taking care of 5 kids all of whom recently were puking

I even went so far as to have my doctor check my thyroid. Well, let's just say, my thyroid was okay. My blood pressure was a little high - but that's not unusual if you are PREGNANT. I was asked that age old question - when was your last menstrual period? I brushed it off - c'mon, I mean, who were we kidding??

But, it did make me take pause. I had a period in May, in fact, I was quite put out by it because not only did it start on a Sunday, that particular Sunday was Mother's Day. Ha ha - yes, I often feel I am the butt of most cosmic jokes. But, no, I could not possibly be pregnant because- my -periods -are -irregular -and -sporadic -and -have -been -for -a -long -time -and -I -just -had -a -baby -last -year- and -am -still -breastfeeding -and -besides -that -I -don't -ovulate. My doctor in all seriousness tells me "you can get pregnant even if you are breastfeeding." Umm, okay, I get that - but in addition to all the other reasons why I couldn't be pregnant, did you not notice the bit about not ovulating? Yes, I did get pregnant with Adam without fertility drugs, but he was a fluke - right? A fluke - an aberrant sort of spontaneous ovulation that didn't mean I was going to spend the declining fertility years of my life popping out a kid every 22 months. Right? Right? Oh . . . My . . . Gosh . . . it couldn't possibly happen again, could it? Well, let's just say it could and that at least this time, I didn't feel the need to take a total of 14 home pregnancy tests to finally convince myself.

So, some sort of intestinal gumbo turned into morning sickness and hypothyroidism turned into gestating. Additionally, I had to quit Weight Watchers. I went to lose weight and ended up gaining several pounds of baby, a 40 pound diaper bag and bigger pants.

My husband, ever the pragmatist, pointed out how much money I had saved us in just fertility drugs alone.

So, here I am now, the mother of six children - four boys (oh my) and two girls. I still won't look any better in a swimsuit than I did last summer but my breastfeeding enhanced decolletage will make great flotation devices.

***Orginally posted April 18, 2007

Happy Birthday Trent!

Today is the 12th anniversary of the day I first became a mother. My firstborn was born at 11:29 pm on this day in 1994. I remember it was hot - a very hot day in Provo, Utah. World Cup Soccer was being played in the US and my husband was deeply engrossed in it. The day actually started quietly - I had been in the night before to the hospital in what I thought surely had to be labor. Not so, we were sent home after three disappointing hours of wandering the hospital corridors with no progress. They gave me a morphine shot before sending us home so I could rest. Matthew teased me about pink elephants the ride home. I woke up the next morning with not one single contraction and was quite upset by that. I was done! I was enormous! My waist expanding to twice its size literally. The pregnancy had been a long and very uncomfortable one. I spent the first 26 weeks losing my breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between virtually non-stop. There was a hospitalization at 15 weeks when morning sickness finally completely overwhelmed me and I had lost 20 lbs by then and was severely dehydrated. At last the vomiting stopped and while still feeling pretty queasy, started enjoying food again, all the way to a 36 lb weight gain - all in the last 18 weeks of pregnancy. Oh my - talk about stretch marks! But, this was the baby we had wanted so much. The seemingly easy task of getting pregnant seemed to elude us as it did not for our friends. Many doctors appointments, many tests, some fertility medications and many, many, many months later we were staring at our first ever positive pregnancy test. I was giddy, ecstatic - oh my gosh, I was sooooooooooooo verrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyy sick!

The pregnancy progressed, as most pregnancies do and soon we found ourselves very near the end. Matt had just graduated from College and we were hoping for a job offer soon and a baby as well. Everything seemed perfect - and so we waited, and waited. May went by with no job offer - though Matthew did go on interviews and submitted numerous resumes as he had been for a few months now. The transmission on our car died and I was still very pregnant - despite many episodes of false labor. Some that had my midwives worried about a preterm delivery - until, at last I was past 36 weeks, and then 37, and 38 and then they started telling me I needed to "have that baby soon!" as they figured he was going to be enormous! So, that morning in June, after finally receiving a job offer that would take us to Idaho, I sat disgusted - feeling huge and bloated and tired of waiting, playing a game with Matt, with nary a contraction. I think you are most anxious with your first - or at least that was how it was for me.

My husband is a major soccer fan - having played soccer for BYU as well as throughout his childhood. He was thrilled to have the World Cup being played in the States so he could watch the matches on tv. I warned him that I planned on having a baby in the month of June and it might interfere with his soccer viewing schedule. He said that was okay - but I was under strict orders that under no circumstances could I go into labor during two specific matches. These were the matches he most wanted to watch. Well, I missed the first one and nailed the second one. We finished our game so Matt could go watch his soccer match. I headed to the restroom, which happens pretty much every five minutes when you're that pregnant. I hadn't realized my water had broken a bit earlier - it being just a slow leak. I did notice I was beginning to have contractions - and these were NOTHING like the ones I had been having up to this point. These hurt - these were coming every 3 minutes and were 1.5 to 2.5 minutes long. Guess when I start - I start hard and fast! After becoming convinced this was the real deal - I make my way to the couch and am clinging to the edge for dear life telling Matt it is time to go. He is glued to the tv. "In a minute" I am beginning to feel like in a minute I am going to be having the baby at home. Okay - now give me some credit here - I was a firsttimer, little did I know . . . Finally, after what seems like an eternity to me and in reality, probably was only the space of maybe 2 contractions, I issue my ultimatum: "I am going to the car, if you are there when I get there, great! If not, I am driving myself!!" I head out the door. Matthew could have given me a 5 minute start and still beat me to the car at my rate of speed, but, we both get to the car and we both drive off to the hospital in American Fork together. I was glad to see he had his priorities straight - I didn't think I was capable of driving anywhere on my own!

We arrive and get settled into a room and they check me and I am, despite all the agony, only 2 cms, which I have been for 6 weeks at this point anyway! Now I am beginning to worry - they are going to send me home. If this is what early labor feels like - I am not going to survive active labor and they CANNOT SEND ME HOME! I don't want to go home. I want to stay and have a baby - I want my body back, I want to meet the little person who has been kicking the stuffing out of me and making me feel so ill. Just as I think they are not going to keep me, the nurse asks "did your water break?" Well, I really don't know - I haven't seen anything below my navel for 6 months. She double checks and sure enough - salvation! My water has broken and I get to stay!! We won't mention that about 2 hours later while still waiting for the epidural and slowly crawling towards 4 cms that I changed my mind and decided I just wanted to go home and pretend the whole thing wasn't happening . . .

So, to make a very long story short - I finally get the epidural , which at that point I whizz to 10 cms in less than 20 minutes, push for over 3 hours with no progress and get wheeled in for a csection. I turned into a mass of trembling, whimpy, whimpering jello who was more than happy to have things taken over by someone who was going to put an end to the insanity that was turning out to be my labor and delivery. So, I was numb from the neck down, Matt had a fancy blue paper suit on, the doctors joked, and soon they were showing me a red, screaming, cheesy looking wrinkly thing with a massive conehead. It is a boy! He's also a lot smaller than I expected given my girth . . . I told Matt to have them double check they got everything out. Apparantly I had blown up like a water balloon - all fluid, little baby. I had to wait 2 hours, through finishing up the surgery, recovery and then finally being settled in my room before I got to see my new little man again. While my doctor (who was too tired to answer my questions) spent 45 minutes discussing the day's soccer matches with Matt; I got to hold my baby at last! Poor little thing - his head looked so sore, the swelling starting to go down some, but a big bruise and blisters forming on it. But, he was beautiful - he was mine!

And now - a dozen years later, he's not as little anymore, only occasionally makes me throw up, but I think he's turned out pretty okay.

This picture is of Trent when he turned a year old. I can't believe how much he looks like our youngest Adam who is now the same age as he was. Like coming full circle almost . . .

Happy Birthday Tent-man! It's been a pleasure, and certainly not the end of the story . . .

***Originally posted June 29, 2006

Put Down the Cookie and No One Gets Hurt!

I joined Weight Watchers almost four weeks ago. So far, I have actually managed to lose a little weight, 5 pounds to be exact, which isn't much, but at least a step in the right direction. I did fine the first week, the second week was harder. The third week I didn't have weigh in, thanks to being out of town for a family reunion. However, a little bout with stomach yuck may have helped there.

My dear husband is trying to be supportive in his own way. Stressed and frustrated I asked for a cookie one night. He knows I am on a point system. He brought me one quarter sized cookie. I was offended. Is one tiny cookie all I am worth? I wasn't even thinking diet - I wanted cookies! Being one person fighting the tide of mess and disaster that occurs on a daily basis around this house, sometimes I eat my way to feeling "better". Of course, this is only a temporary better as when I next step on the scale or try to button my pants, that feeling of "better" turns into something a bit less, well, let's just say - less better.

So, I am sitting on the floor feeling stressed and frustrated and my darling other half is proffering me the requested, albeit, tiny cookie. I know this dinky piece of fat, cholesterol, sugar, coconut, chocolate, graham and empty calories is not going to be enough to tackle the overwhelming mental and emotional YICK I am feeling. I pout. With a whine to challenge even my three year old's ability, I express my feelings regarding the lack of more cookies. My husband responds with "I didn't know how many points they were." He is paying attention! He cares about something that I am trying to undertake! Do I thank him? Do I profess my undying love towards him for supporting me? NO! I demand more cookies! I swear, I probably turned blue and furry and sounded like the monster from Sesame Street "Cooooooooookiiieeeesssss!" "I don't care about points right now!" He replies with "well, you should." He sticks to his guns and only leaves me with the one miniscule cookie. I head to the pantry to gather more - apparantly, a cookie craving mama has to fend for her own emotional needs. I eat two more, I really don't know how many points they end up being, I really don't care. However, I did notice, they didn't taste as good as I thought they would. I haven't had a cookie since.

Hi, my name is Julia, and I'm a cookieholic. It's been 2 weeks, 4 days, 17 hours and 23 minutes since my last cookie . . . .

***Originally posted June 11, 2006

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Yes - that picture says it all. Mom can't even go to the bathroom or compose an email to grandma without some disaster ensuing. I thought I had confiscated all the markers - but they always seem to find them. Seemingly daily, one or more of my children is running around looking like an extra from "Braveheart". Who am I to squelch creativity or a budding artist in bloom? Once upon a time we only had chalk and coloring pencils in the house - both are easily removed from walls, faces and clothing. Things change . . . obviously!

Okay - I will admit it - long before my children arrived, I pictured them - clean, scrubbed, rosy cheeked and dressed in pristine white, nary a hair out of place. They were quiet and well behaved. They never jumped up and down on the furniture and touch a pen to wall? Never! How cruel are the rocks of reality upon which our lovely dreams are sometimes dashed.

Sadie seems the most persistant in expressing her creative muse - her favorite canvas? Well, after the walls, herself of course and once she has used that, her brother will do quite nicely. Oh no, no - this isn't the first time one or more of my children has looked like this. (I have a feeling it won't be the last either.) If I ever need a pen - I just ask Sadie, or Adam - they seem to always know where one or more congregate. I can't find one to save my life - but I know they exist, I know they are here somewhere and one or both of my youngest will surely find them - regardless of how obscure they are, how carefully I have hidden them - poof! They will materialize out of thin air if Sadie has a yen to scribble . . . The bond between child and ink is a strong one indeed.

I made the mistake of letting Trent draw on my 7 months pregnant belly once when he pointed out that my protruding belly button looked like a nose. I thought it was kind of cute - so I let him draw a face on my belly. There were eyes with eyebrows and lashes; a mouth with teeth even! My belly button was the nose of course and there were ears that he artfully, realistically added. A very detailed rendering, particularly for a 2 and a half year old. I was very impressed by his artistic capability and his sense of realism - that is, until the next day in the shower when indelible ink proved to be just that - indelible. I scrubbed like a fiend - but this stuff was permanent! The pen was just a silly ballpoint - why is this not coming off?? I had to leave my house for a doctor's appointment, branded and mortified. You see, at every ob appointment they measure your stomach and listen to the baby's heartbeat - something that requires you to, oh yes, expose your belly. So, I went to my appointment, I lifted my shirt and exposed my belly - my belly with the one of a kind work of art scribbled all over it. I was measured and heard the baby's heartbeat. All I got was a raised eyebrow from the doctor as the tape measure paused in midair. He must not have been a lover of the arts.

Of course, eventually the face on my belly faded away - we painted over the scribbles on the walls and continue painting with each child who goes through the "grafitti phase". I've washed whatever can be washed out of the new couch slipcover, clothing and blankets; scrubbed painted faces , marker decorated legs and siblings and wiped away the inky handprints a
thousand times. For now, I just tell any visitors we are decorating
in early childhood - welcome to my "Louvre". A picture is worth a thousand words - but memories will last a lifetime. One day my walls will be spotless and there won't be a crayola ring around my tub - but I won't forget what it was like when my kids were small and the world was theirs to color . . .

***Orginally posted May 25, 2006

Adventures in Diapering - Saving the World One Diaper at a Time

My sister and I figured this out the other day - on June 29th of this year, I will have spent a full dozen years on diaper duty. There has not been one year, not a span of just a few months or even weeks where I have not had at least one kid in diapers. This is not taking into account the diapers I changed babysitting or as the oldest of eight. I have seen things that cannot be spoken of, things that defy all sense of civility, sense and sensibility, beyond comprehension - stuff that makes potty training seem like the holy grail of parenting and something to be achieved as quickly as possible. (I would love to develop a program to help pottytrain in utero . . .) I have endured a great deal of diaper changing! I would claim professional status, but professionals get paid to do what they are proficient at - and I have yet to see a paycheck . . .

Now, most parents don't give diapering their kids a second thought - you have a kid, you go to the store, buy some diapers and put them on the kid. Pretty straightforward. When that diaper goes bad, you put a new one on and get rid of the yucky one. Simple and easy - botta boom, botta bing. Now, there is a wee bit of drama involved in picking the "right" diapers - there are numerous brands and parents have their preference (velcro or adhesive tabs; Pampers, Luvs or the store brand; etc) but once you find the one you like and fits your budget, you stick with it. Sometimes the child chooses for you - my newly minted 3 year old won't wear anything unless it is pink and has a princess or Care Bears on it. Even that is easy though - there is plenty of pink, princess and Care Bears or whatever bears to be had in the diaper aisle at Walmart. So, why is it the last kid who always mucks up the routine? I have tried every brand diaper available and after a year (yes, I am slow sometimes!) it became evident that the diaper aisle and my youngest tushy in the house were not kindred spirits. So, I begin the adventure of cloth diapering, just when I am nearing the end of my diapering days.

I have some prior experience with cloth diapers, my mom used those with my brother, or brothers - don't ask me which or even which ones - there were so many of them . . . brothers, that is, and come to think of it - diapers too. We had one bathroom, there was always something really icky lurking in the toilet and if you were the unfortunate soul to need to use the facilities when a diaper was soaking, you got to PICK IT OUT AND PUT IT IN THE BUCKET. Ewwwwwwwwwwwwww . . . I use to be able to make it from Colorado to Utah by car without needing a bathroom break. Now you know why. Oh, there's a diaper in the potty - well, I have school tomorrow, I can wait until then . . . Then there was the washing of the diapers and the folding of the diapers. Oh, and don't forget the putting of the diapers ON the child. My dad taught us this neat trick for stabbing a sticky safety pin through several layers of cloth diaper - you run it through your hair and the oils make it slide right in. Yes, the pin would slide right through all the layers - but don't ask how many times I poked myself in the head doing this! Also, there was a specific way to pin - you put your fingers between the sharp pin as it went through the diaper and the skin of the baby. Again - don't ask how many times I poked myself in the fingers doing this. You fastened the pins towards the outside so the baby wouldn't get poked if they popped open - but hope you weren't holding the baby balanced on your hip when this happened . . . don't ask how many times I got poked in the hip either - or peed on, or worse . . . So, putting cloth diapers on MY baby?? Dread, fear, anxiety . . . why me? I am happy to say - the cloth diapers of today are NOT your mama's diapers. My new favorite word? VELCRO! Let's say it together - VELLLLLL-CROOOOOOOOO. No pins - that's right, no pins - not one sharp pointy thing to hold everything together. Zip, zip - nice zippy sound - oh happy day! Cloth diapering is now painfree - diaper pins can be used to hold your jeans together when the button pops off and you are too busy diapering your kid to sew it back on.

Several, several hours of research on the internet late at night whilst my kidlets lay sleeping and I have learned more about cloth diapering than any one woman should have to know. Now, instead of Pampers or Huggies? CareBears or Dora -it's AIO or AI2? Do I use mf toweling or OCV? CPF or fitteds? Pul, Windpro fleece, Snappis, pockets, suedecloth, sherpa, flannel, old wool sweaters , hemp (is that even legal?) bamboo, terry and even silk . . . do I use the FuzziBuns pattern or the Honeyboy? Or wait - the PooPockets or the Wooly Wonder's pattern? Design my own? Don't forget the care and washing - no bleach, no phosphates, brighteners, specific enzymes and don't use a lot of soap and never, ever use fabric softener. A dryer is okay - but a clothesline is better and a little vinegar in the rinse can eliminate any residual "wet, yucky diaper" smell. Now my mama's diapers are looking a bit easier . . . white cotton rectangle, fold it in a funny kite shape, pull it up, pin and botta boom, botta bing - simple! I can even get a special sprayer attachment and attach it to my toilet's water supply line and spray off any yuckies into the toilet and then stick the diaper in the bucket. No more soaking diapers - just spray, toss into the bucket. I am sure my kids would love that - I am sure we could come up with even more nifty uses for a sprayer attachment on the toilet. Boy, I never had it so good when there were cloth diapers in my house growing up!

Finally though, after much research, a little sewing, even some crocheting - I think I have a cloth diapering system, the materials I like, the pattern I like and best of all - a little boy with a happy tushy. And we all know -if the tushy ain't happy - ain't nobody happy . . . ! :0)

 ***Originally posted May 15, 2006

Pet Rock Gives Birth

So pretty much this whole week I have spent with my ample posterior nestled squarely in the driver's seat. This would imply some sort of control, but really, it is at the whim of some higher power that seems to be in charge of my schedule. Zen attitudes about "becoming one with" aside, the seat in my minivan is becoming all too familiar a feel. There are just some things I would rather remain on less intimate terms with. Now, becoming one with my serger - that I could get into at the moment. Sewing though, is last on my list of things that I manage to get around to in the course of the day. Things like Kindergarten screening, pre-K, dinner, potty training and changing diapers seem to get in the way. Sad as it may be that bodily excretions (of persons other than myself) take precedence over all else. **sigh**

So while I am slowly losing grip on my sanity this week, my kids still manage to find humor in all situations. I submit to you the following evidence : Sadie is finding it most difficult to stay in her seat and so I made her the seatbelt monitor. The vehicle does not move until Sadie had completed the seatbelt checklist for all the occupants and then gives the all clear for take-off.

Mommy: Is Garrett strapped in?
Sadie: Check!
Mommy: Is Adam strapped in?
Sadie: Check!
Mommy: Is mommy strapped in?
Sadie: Check!
Mommy: Is Sadie/Jasmine strapped in? (Sadie's identity crisises a topic for a future date)
Sadie: Check!

At this point, Sadie is supposed to say "Mommy, you are cleared for take-off"The first time we do this - Sadie hollers "Take it off mommy!"We review the procedure and try again later.This time I get "Shut up and drive!" (I think her almost 12 year old brother had something to do with this)Today it was "just go already"

Music is my saving grace - most of the time. I have been known to load Laurie Berkner in the cd player a time or two, and I will sing "daddy's got a cow on his head" along with the best of them. Though, usually, it is all about me - at least in this arena! So I put my Queen cd in this time, inspired by their appearance on American Idol a couple weeks back. After a while, Garrett hollers from the back that he wants to hear the chicken song again. WHAT?? What chicken song? I don't remember a chicken song on the Greatest Hits album. I gamely queue up each song individually. This one? No . . . This one? No . . . This one?? YES! That's it mommy! That's the chicken song! "We are the Champions" is issuing forth from the speakers and while Freddie Mercury sings "we are the champions my friends" in his tenor, Sadie and Garrett are singing along in the back "We are the chickens, we are the chickens; no time for 'woosters' 'cuz we are the chickens - of the world!" Somewhere, good ol' Freddie is rolling over in his grave . . . somehow I don't think he wrote his music with the preschool set in mind.


Today after spending yet a third day in a row with my backside wearing a permanent groove in the van's upholstery, I find the end of errand running coinciding with the time to pick up Garrett from preschool. He climbs into the back and straps in and just as I pull away from the curb, he pulls a handful of tiny pebbles from his pocket and announces "Look mom! My pet rock had babies!" I know that grey hair does not a grandma make - but do baby rocks qualify??

***Orginally posted May 3, 2006