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Category Archives: Parenting

I remembered! 10 on 10

8am:  Morning Race (pardon the blur; those girls can move)

photo-9

9am:  School time

photo-12

10am:  Chickadee added to Norah’s nature journal

photo-10

11am:  Read aloud

photo-14

12pm:  My little ponies

photo-13

1pm:  Watercolors on the lawn; poetry for me

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2pm:  Tea time

photo-16

3pm:  Unexpected visit from a sweet friend.  Cedar loves her “goat lady”

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4pm:  Stray Cujo scared the bejeebies out of me *

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5pm:  Riesling in a jelly jar (classy), nag champa, and blog time.  I deserve it.

photo-19

*That dog!  I walked to the mailbox and when I turned to walk back to the house, he was standing 15 feet away between the house and me.  Where did he come from?  Stealthy fiend.

ten on ten button

Review of Cloth Diapering Trainers

Cedar has been (daytime) diaper-free for some time now. I had intended to do this review and, well, procrastinated.

First, some history.

Norah learned to use the potty like a dream. I didn’t do anything. We never used a little potty, training pants, or strategy. We never read potty books or watched DVD’s. She turned two and decided she’d had enough. C’est fini.

Lots of parents asked me how to potty train and I confidently responded, “they just do it when they’re ready.” This information was based on my case study of ONE.

With Cedar, I tried half-heartedly to do elimination communication. I stared into her baby blues watching for her “cue” while she stealthily pooped in my lap. Great bonding time. After dropping out of EC, I provided her with a little potty. At 16 months, she used it! Nice. Just like I remembered.

And then she never used that potty again.

Her two year birthday came and went. We had the big trip to Asia coming up and I decided she simply must be diaper-free by then. It is tough for me to admit but I checked out one of those “potty training boot camp” books from the library.

After dropping out of potty-training boot camp, I dealt with cloth diapering in Asia. Then I simmered down and let her “just do it when she was ready.” Guess what? She did.

I tried training pants this time around. I’m not sure it made a significant difference. I tried a bummi’s, flip trainer, and grovia trainer.

Bummi’s: This one did not get points on cute factor. It was huge and bubbled out around Cedar’s trim bum. There was no way this thing was going under pants. It would have to be for skirts and dresses. I bought a medium. Maybe a small would have been trimmer but I’m not sure the elastic would have been comfortable. This diaper takes forever to dry. I liked the flannel lining that would let her feel wetness quickly. Leaks were contained. I still use it–at night of all times–with an extra liner. I got it on sale and so, for the cost, it is fine as a nighttime diaper.

Flip Trainer: The flip trainer is an adjustable cover that comes with five organic inserts. The diaper can be pulled down or snapped apart. I liked the snap apart feature for the few times she pooped in them. A poop accident in a trainer that can only be pulled down? No thank you. It has adjustable snaps for sizing. The problem I encountered was fitting her skinny legs. I think the cover was so light and the inserts so heavy that it increased the leg leak factor. When I stuffed it with a BG microfiber insert, it worked much better. Cedar did have some trouble pulling the flip back up when she used the potty. Because the insert is on the outside (to feel wetness, I get it) and because I had the cover so snug to prevent leaks, the insert sometimes shifted as she pulled the diaper back up. The inserts require extra drying time. But, I still use it–at night of all times–with an extra liner. I bought mine used and so, for the cost, it is fine as a nighttime diaper.

IMG_1250Grovia Trainer: This trainer is darling. It won me over when I saw how trim it looked. Cedar was easily able to pull it up and down. The Grovia material is, in my opinion, the cadillac of the cloth diaper market. The core is a hemp/cotton blend which makes it fairly absorbent. It has a pocket for additional stuffing and I found the flip trainer inserts fit perfectly for nighttime. The big complaint, however, is the size. Cedar is small and she can no longer fit the trainer. She says it is too tight. Grovia offers extender tabs that snap in but with a trainer that already carries a hefty price tag, who wants to spend anything else? Also, if you have an early potty learner, the snaps can not be sized smaller. These diapers dry faster than the other two.

Bottom line: I’m not sure I’m sold on the whole concept of training pants. This opinion is based on my case study of TWO so what do I know? We’re all trying our best to figure this parenting gig out and, in the big picture, while potty-learning can feel huge; it’s really a tiny blip, a fleeting moment.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on potty learning or trainers.

;

Disclosure: I Love Natural Baby, a retailer of the above diapers, gave me a Grovia trainer when I was complaining about potty-learning in the store one day. The manager suggested I could write a review on the diaper. </e

January/February parents-to-be class

I’m beginning another series of classes for new and expectant parents for Natural Baby.  I love teaching these six classes.  We focus on the physiology of infants and mothers; learning the biology of postpartum and development rather than a checklist of tasks.  Click the link to rsvp on facebook or you can email me (j_byers@bellsouth.net).

Classes are 20.00/student or you may register for the entire series for 80.00/student.  If attending with your partner, you will still only pay for one space.  Babies are welcome in class.

Class 1 (Jan. 22, 6pm-7:30pm):  Try to See It My Way:  “Why is my baby crying? Is this normal? I don’t understand what she is trying to say!”  Come learn about infant communication and cues. We’ll also discuss birth bonding, attachment theory, soothing skills, and finding balance. Plus lots of tricks for calm parenting. Babywearing and swaddling lessons included!  This class is most appropriate for expectant families and new parents with babies less than 6 months old.

Class 2 (Jan. 29, 6pm-7:30pm):  Breastfeeding:  In our breastfeeding class, we’ll learn about the biology of breastfeeding. We’ll discuss common issues, finding help through community resources, and returning to work.  This class is most appropriate for expectant families and new parents with babies less than 3 months old.

Class 3 (Feb. 5, 6pm-7:30pm):  Now What?  Parenting the First Six Weeks:  The first six weeks can feel like a whirlwind of emotions and the learning curve may seem steep. Learn what to expect during the postpartum. For mom, we’ll discuss physical changes, healing from birth, and creating a postpartum plan. For baby, we’ll look at common issues such as jaundice and gastric changes. And we’ll learn about baby care basics, newborn procedures at the hospital, and vaccine choices.  This class is most appropriate for expectant families and new parents with babies less than six weeks old.

Class 4 (Feb. 12, 6pm-7:30pm):  Sleeping Like A Baby:  *Yawn* Who came up with the phrase “sleeping like a baby” anyway? Learn about the physiology of infant sleep. We’ll talk about naps and nighttime parenting. And, of course, tips and tricks for getting restful nights for the whole family.  This class is most appropriate for expectant families and parents of babies less than 9 months old.

Class 5 (Feb. 19, 6pm-7:30pm):  Having A Baby Without Breaking the Bank:  Having a baby does not have to put a giant hole in your wallet! Learn practical tips for DIY, saving money, and what is safe to buy used. In fact, saving money can also be a sustainable and non-toxic choice. We’ll talk about creating a lean and green baby registry.   What do you really need to raise a baby?  This class is most appropriate for expectant families and parents of babies less than six months old.

Class 6 (Feb. 26, 6pm-7:30pm):  Parenting the First Year:  Parents have many decisions to make the first year. This class will discuss solid-feeding, safety, teething, discipline, learning through play, and infant development.  This class is most appropriate for expectant families and parents of babies less than 1 year old.

Uncommon Thanks #3

#1:  That this guy,

turned into this guy,

#2:  Eating at The Lazy Goat with girlfriends!  I finally tasted brussel sprouts I like.  Butter and bacon are important.

#3:  The Dark Mint Chocolate bar from Night Own Chocolate.

#4:  Time for myself.  At a SPA!  Made possible by my amazing friend, Erin, who kept my children.

#5:  Norah’s diverse fashion style.  Some days, she dresses conservatively in a long skirt, head scarf, and cardigan.   And other days, she rocks out a 70’s style romper and tie-dyed thigh-high leggings.

The House Gnomes, or The Hals Noms

Remember in this post when I mentioned that I sold the girls’ play kitchen?  Well, they finally noticed.

Norah:  “Mom, where is the kitchen?”

Me:  (shocked) “What kitchen?”

Norah:  “Our play kitchen!  It’s gone!”

Me:  “Gone?  What do you mean gone?”

Norah:  “Ugh!!!  That house gnome took it!”

Me:  (Cheshire cat grin)

So what did the indignant Norah do?  She immediately went to her desk and penned a letter to the house gnome.

Please keep in mind that Norah is very new to writing letters.  In fact, this month marks the beginning of her willingness to try.  Before, she was too worried about mistakes.  I told her (back when Barbie disappeared) that gnomes read by sounding out letters.  They didn’t know “correct” spelling.  Suddenly, she was writing letters and even a few books!  Yeah, one of my finer ideas.  I’ll post the three-page letter and then I’ll post the translation under each page.

Dear gnomes,

I was

wondering

where is the toy

kitchen?

I am very

curious.

 Signed Norah.

And

Do you have

anything

to do

with it

because

I need

it.

Please give

a note

back.

Hope

you are

happy

with our

house.

 

Can I get a gold star?

My six-year-old asked for a chore chart.

You remember this child and her strange ways.  She also asks for steamed broccoli for breakfast.

I am not a fan of charts.  I’m not philosophically opposed to them or anything.  It is simply that we have very little routine or similarities to our days.  I fly by the seat of my pants most of the time.  To be perfectly honest, anytime I try to implement a schedule, it lasts two days.

I stalled Norah for a few weeks as I tried to decide what to do about this chore business.  I don’t want to frustrate her no-nonsense, black/white tendencies with my flights o’ fancy.  I also didn’t want it to feel like a reward chart.  As an adult who craves praise and  gold stars, I am keen for my daughters to avoid this behavior.

Finally I came up with this:

I can pick the day’s tasks each morning and clip them to the “do” clothespin.  This way I can customize them to fit the day.  I recognize that I’m prone to disorganization so I placed blank cards and markers nearby in case I need to create a new task.

So far it is working for both of us.  Norah enjoys looking at her tasks for the day.  And I enjoy letting the cards nag instead of me.

Full disclosure:  This labor of love was created in a hot mess of sobbing after the girls went to bed.  My darling man tried to send me out of the house for a lone drive to Dunkin Doughnuts.  Roll the windows down, listen to some good music.  I hiccupped, “No, I just need to, gasp, sob, do this.”

I felt much better when I had finished the task.  But the doughnuts would have been nice.

 

My first 10 on 10

Inspired by Rachel and Victoria, I want to do a 10 on 10.  One picture for ten hours on the tenth.  Who knows?  Maybe it will become a regular to-do.

Or maybe it will be incredibly uninteresting.

7am:  To keep my sanity during election madness, re-reading Jesus for President.

8am:  On my commute downtown, I spy someone’s pants waiting for the dry cleaner’s to open.

9am:  Toddler potty emergency led to an unplanned stop in Starbuck’s.

10am:  Visiting with Natalie as she beautifies Natural Baby.

11am:  Storytime

12pm:  Lunch.  Don’t judge.  I was craving that mean looking green pepper.

1pm:  Helped a newly pregnant woman pick out some beach reading. (No, not Orgasmic Birth)

2pm:  Evaluating the mess.  The mess this girl-child makes.

3pm:  Picked up Norah from school

4pm:  scuppernong snack

 

ten on ten button small

Natural Baby Parenting Series

I’ve scheduled the next round of classes.  All classes meet at Natural Baby from 6pm-7:30pm.  The cost is per student/couple.  If you are a single mom or your partner cannot come, you may come alone or bring a friend/family member.  The cost is 20.00 per class or you may register for the entire series for 80.00.   To register for the entire series, please email j_byers@bellsouth.net or stop by Natural Baby.  Please rsvp for all classes so that I have enough swag and handouts.

Try to See It My Way:  “Why is my baby crying? Is this normal? I don’t understand what she is trying to say!”  Come learn about infant communication and cues. We’ll also discuss birth bonding, attachment theory, soothing skills, and finding balance. Plus lots of tricks for calm parenting. Babywearing lessons included!  This class is appropriate for parents-to-be or new parents. Babies are welcome in all classes.

Breastfeeding:  In our breastfeeding class, we’ll learn about the biology of breastfeeding.  We’ll discuss common issues, finding help through community resources, and returning to work.  Babies are welcome in all classes.  20.00 per student/couple the night of the class.

Now What?  The First Six Weeks:  The first six weeks can feel like a whirlwind of emotions and the learning curve may seem steep. Learn what to expect during the postpartum. For mom, we’ll discuss physical changes, healing from birth, and creating a postpartum plan. For baby, we’ll look at common issues such as jaundice and gastric changes. And we’ll learn about baby care basics, newborn procedures at the hospital, and vaccine choices.20.00 per student/couple the night of the class. RSVP at the link to let us know you’re coming. This class is appropriate for parents-to-be or new parents. Babies are welcome in all classes

Sleeping Like A Baby:  *Yawn* Who came up with the phrase “sleeping like a baby” anyway? Learn about the physiology of infant sleep. We’ll talk about naps and nighttime parenting. And, of course, tips and tricks for getting restful nights for the whole family. 20.00 per student/couple the night of the class. RSVP at the link to let us know you’re coming. This class is appropriate for parents-to-be or new parents. Babies are welcome in all classes.
Having a Baby without Breaking the Bank:  Having a baby does not have to put a giant hole in your wallet! Learn practical tips for DIY, saving money, and what is safe to buy used. In fact, saving money can also be a sustainable and non-toxic choice. We’ll talk about creating a lean and green baby registry. What do you really need to raise a baby?  20.00 per student/couple the night of the class. RSVP at the link to let us know you’re coming.  This class is appropriate for parents-to-be or new parents. Babies are welcome in all classes.
Parenting the First Year:  Parents have many decisions to make the first year. This class will discuss solid-feeding, safety, teething, discipline, learning through play, and infant development.  20.00 per student/couple the night of the class. RSVP at the link to let us know you’re coming. This class is appropriate for parents-to-be or new parents. Babies are welcome in all classes

Staycation

It was fun.  It was exhausting.  I think we’ll stick with vacations away from home in the future.  Here is a summary (pic heavy):

  • Cider doughnuts
  • Lazy mornings
  • Paddling

  • Mimosas
  • Bounce House
  • Fort Building

  • Pancakes
  • Apple picking

  • Thrift stores
  • Slushies
  • Roller skating

  • Brie and baguettes
  • Sleeping until 11am one morn (thank you, Scott!)
  • Aquarium

  • Candy shop
  • Swimming

  • Mexican food
  • Keeping Cedar from falling into the sea urchins

  • Toy stores
  • Skating rink pizza
  • Soda shop

  • Strong coffee
  • Camping

  • Playground
  • Art

  • River tubing
  • Campfire popcorn
  • Dolphin show

  • Miles and miles of driving
  • Poprocks
  • Yoga with penguins

  • Not charging my phone (pretty sure I lost a voicemail from a person who needs a doula.  If I haven’t called you, call me back!)
  • Daddy lovin’

  • Not charging my iPad
  • Silliness

  • Strolling
  • Fiction, in teeny increments

  • Mountains
  • Marshmallows

  • Margaritas
  • French press (thanks Noelle and Zach!)

  • Bicycles
  • Learning here or there

And a tremendous, tremendous mess

Lost in 120 Hours

It’s been quiet around here.  Any guesses why?

a).  I’m terrifically bored and lack anything interesting to say.

b).  The kids are slave drivers and keep me too busy to blog.

c).  As the only people on the planet who never watched Lost, my husband and I (stupidly) decided to watch the entire show from episode 1 to episode [gulp] 120.

The answer is (c).

Crazy, right?  Believe me, we have regrets but we can only move forward at this point and make the best of it by consuming good popcorn and excellent beer.  This Lost madness has left little time for late night blogging. *

Truly, this admission is the most pathetic thing I’ve ever written on this blog!  Readers are leaving in droves now.

To woo you into remaining and to force myself to follow through, here are some upcoming posts:

  • When your doula is not invited
  • Hiring a doula as protection
  • A review of the Grovia trainer
  • Cedar turns three
  • “I will not have a homebirth.” Oops.
  • My continuing refusal to be a homeschooler

I’m certain you’re all on the edge of your seats.

Meanwhile, my old fallback:

Adoring: Cedar’s lisp.  Especially when she says, “Smell these flowers, mom.”  Flowers sounds like flylersh.

Listening to:  A mix of broadway and I-don’t-know-how-to-categorize Trampled by Turtles.  Norah fancies the first.  Especially Cats.  Cedar will dance and bellow for hours to the second.

Seriously.  Watch that clip.  It makes me fret that the fiddler is going to collapse.

Proud of:  Norah’s art.  She draws constantly.  She still isn’t very interested in reading but her sketches are amazing.

Never Leaving Home Without:  Hmmm, I don’t have many necessities lately.  A map app?  I’ve had some prenatals in unknown territories.

Learning:  for the 15th time, how to thread my sewing machine.  It is pitiful, really.  I only use it to sew rice socks.  Meanwhile, why are sewing machines so complicated?  We progressed beyond the printing press and the butter churn.  Why is the sewing machine still so complicated!  Also, I need to learn to knit again.  I was at a birth recently that very much needed knitting.  Remember, I never produce anything.  I only knit in circles.  Perhaps someone could cast on and get me started again?

Appreciating:  an amazing massage I received from Blissful Massage Therapy last week.  Hot stones, loving hands, and a listening ear.  My body and soul felt serene.  And I felt somewhat selfish when I left as if she had taken some of my stress into her hands.

Nostalgic about:  Autumn.  I realize it will come again soon.  Still I’ve missed it.  And each Autumn, I remember skipping school to drive to Highlands, NC with my boyfriend.  We would drink fancy hot chocolate, window shop, and dream.  We still return each year to buy a single Christmas ornament but it is different now.  And the hot chocolate shop is gone which has left a hole in our lives.

Reading: The Birth House, The Happiness Project, Stalking the Wild Asparagus“I Love You” Rituals, Rootabaga Stories, and a bazillion old books for Norah.

Buying:  building materials for Scott’s workshop remodel.  Wow, wood is expensive!

Drinking:  coffee, of course.

Working on:  organizational structuring and plans for Upstate BirthNetwork.  Norah will be attending a fine arts program which will give me a weekly day in the UBN office to work.  If I could work it out so Natalie would be there, too, then Cedar and Naima will play while the mamas work.

Wishing:  for a shorter commute for Scott.  Miles and miles he drives now that his office has moved to Mauldin.

Giddy about:  my friend who is soon welcoming her Airman home!!

Feeling:  a familiar dissatisfied tug.  A feeling of impending change.  Go back to outside-of-home work?  Sell the house?  Buy a yurt and move to an intentional community?  Go paleo?  Adopt a pygmy hippo?  Exercise?  Paint my toenails?  Put the kids in school?  Try a new recipe?

Missing:  oh, my sister, my baby sister.  I hate when she’s sick and I can’t be there.  It makes me walk about distracted and irritable.  And my nephew turned TWO!  And also, they are healing at that lovely spot in Thailand.  Really, I need to go take care of them.  And eat yummy Thai food.

Grumpy that:  I say “yes” much too much.

*NO LOST SPOILERS!  That would be cruel and too awful to comprehend.

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