Wednesday, December 19, 2012

We're done with diapers! (... for now.)

No, eLeMeNO-Pee is not leaving the diaper business.

But my household--and washing machine--is, at least until March.

That's right! Two weeks ago, just half a year after my first go at potty-training (or potty-learning, or elimination education, or... you get it) our 3.5-year old, we decided to give it a whirl with Little Bit #2, who turned two at the end of October... and it stuck. (Hooray!!!)

Before you ask, I do attribute this greatly to cloth diapering.

Let me explain:

When my oldest was born, we used disposable diapers, gifted to us at our baby shower, for the first three months. When we ran out, we were purchasing them ourselves, and I was not exactly a coupon queen in those days. (Let's face it: I'm still not great at finding deals. Some of us have the gift, and some of us have to find other ways to pinch the pennies.) The expense broke us down: I researched cloth, and we made an investment. Every diaper in that original stash was stay-dry, and the Little Dude really just never seemed to notice that he was wet until I switched him to prefolds right before he potty-trained at nearing 3.5.

Enter #2, who was accidentally born at home (I know, I know--who does that?) and diaperless for several hours after her birth. We finally diapered her once we were admitted to the hospital and she was bathed. Her very first cloth diaper? A prefold and tiny-but-still-probably-too-big-but-I-just-couldn't-help-it-it-was-so-durn-CAYUTE Weehuggers cover (RIP, Weehuggers). 

Apologies. Humor me as I reminisce. That fresh baby is now two... and potty-trained!
If you've ever been wearing cotton and gotten caught in a thunderstorm, you know that it's anything but stay-dry. That has got to feel a little ooky, you know? As my milk supply was established and her little kidneys and bladder got going with the flow of life on the outside, Homegirl was crying to be changed roughly every fifteen to forty minutes, all day long.

That never changed much, even as she got older and began wearing stay-dry pockets and AIOs. By her first birthday, she was removing diapers as soon as she'd wet them. What I mean is: the pee was still hot. She didn't care where we were. Home, church, the park, Kroger (yup). I bought one of the last remaining Baby Bjorn Little Potties (RIP, Little Potty) for a ridiculously gouged price from an Amazon seller because she couldn't reach to sit on the combo-potty-and-step-stool we already had, and she started telling me when she needed to use it when she was fourteen months old. She got sick a few months later and quit using it altogether; she even quit worrying about demanding dry diapers for a few weeks. Oh, well, I thought. There went that.

But the news that we were expecting twins kicked me into high gear. Three in diapers would have meant more-than-once-a-day diaper laundry because of the load size--remember, she was diva-begging to be changed immediately every time she was wet, and she remained from Day One a light, but frequent, wetter. Her last day in diapers, she used 11 of them. All her favorites. The two Cupcake FuzziBunz Elites from the Diaper Talk series, the limited edition Strawberry Delight FuzziBunz print from last summer, her Tootie Frootie, Cherrylicious, and Starburst Tots Bots EasyFits (v2), her Lovelace bumGenius Freetime, her Spearmint FuzziBunz medium, her Glacier Blue and Goddess Pink gDiapers--all of these were in the mix. I wondered if she'd be willing to give them up even though she was clearly developmentally ready.

So how did we do it?

We used the Three-Day Potty Training eBook. My mom and dad graciously offered to take her older brother for the duration of the three days, and we thanked him and praised him often for being part of the 'potty-training team.' Then we just... did it. By. The. Book. No swerving, no departures, no variations (with one exception--we could not throw our cloth diapers in the trash can! But we did pack them up; I let her make one pile for one sister and another pile for the other). My rigid 'rule-follower' tendencies paid off!

Our Elf on the Shelf helped, too.

Although there were no accidents by the end of Day Two, there was a little anxiety about 'going #2.' Our Elf helped us out there, too, but in the end, what cured her was some good, old-fashioned Daddy Magic. He sent my exhausted self out of the house for the day on what was technically Day Four (but on Day One, she managed to not go #2 at all, so it was still Day Three in some respects), and when I came home, after a day of coaching and praise, her anxiety had melted away.

And that's it. She's done. 100%, overnight, during her naps, in the car, #1 and #2. Our (still-growing!) stash of cloth diapers is packed nicely into some tote bags in our master closet, ready for the spring arrival of our twin girls, and, yes, I'm already planning which especially adorable newborn diapers will accompany us to the birth center to be used during their first few hours. But I just get to look at them now, to unpack, admire, and then repack them. I don't have to wash them! Temporarily done with diapers for the first time in nearly four years. Whew! It feels good.

So that brings me to a final bit of news: This is my last blog post until some as-yet unknown point when I begin a new contract. My contract closes at the end of this month, so at that point I will be on an indefinite hiatus from managing social media for eLeMeNO-Pee as my family focuses on preparing for the birth of these babies and the subsequent adjustments to our household life that their arrival will necessitate.

Who's going to be doing the blogging? This is the exciting part: Our consultants! Please stick around and keep reading, because our consultants are bursting with insights, humor, tales of parenting triumphs and parenting mishaps, CD education, passion for their communities, and their own unique voices. I can't wait to see what they have to add to our blog!

Thank you for this year of following along while I figured this blogging thing out. It's been incredible--humbling, an honor, and a real treat--to watch us gain readers and 'shares' and 'likes' and '+1s' in only our first year to have a blog. I can only hope that when I return, I can fill the shoes of all the brilliant Cloth Diaper Ladies who will be keeping this show running.

Until next time, friends!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Jingle bells, jingle bells, down your local streets!

Anybody who knows me knows that I talk a big talk about buying Christmas presents before December so that, in our home, Advent can be Advent and not "Christmas shopping season." For the most part, I succeed! But we have a big family. There's always that point where the summer spending cash runs out, and here it is almost mid-December, and I've got at least three gift recipients left on the shopping list and a couple White Elephant exchange gifts to figure out!

Luckily, everywhere I turn, a friend is talking about some awesome Christmas purchase she made from a local business or a small online boutique! I've gotten tons of great ideas this year, like:

A downtown Lake Charles cafe that features local talent!
1) A gift certificate... to a local eatery! When I procrastinate on shopping, I'm always tempted to pick up a couple gift cards to chain restaurants or box stores while I'm in the grocery check-out line. That's fine--there are plenty of wonderful families who own local franchise establishments in every town in America! But it can be super-fun to bless a local friend with a dining experience that is completely unique to our shared hometown. I like to pick a 'hole-in-the-wall,' but some place with lots of traffic in a funky location that doubles as a perch for people-watching, for the right recipient, can also make for the perfect treat.

2) Something handmade, green, cute to look at, and totally useful. Last Christmas I purchased rolls of 'unpaper towels' for some of my sisters-in-law from this shop. The WAHM behind the shop custom-made them to my specifications, using absorbent, textured fabrics that I selected from her listed options, and let me choose from her dozens-upon-dozens of (actually stylish!) in-stock prints. I was able to order a half-dozen for each sister-in-law, snapped around a PVC pipe to fit perfectly onto a paper-towel holder. Best of all? They were a total last-minute purchase, and she made and shipped them with more than enough time to spare. And were they ever a hit: the rest of the family was asking why we didn't give them to everyone!

Photo courtesy Wiki Commons.
3) Just the right kind of pick-me-up. My husband recently switched us to decaf. We love coffee, but it gives him the jitters, and I'm expecting twins and want to do everything we can to avoid low-birth weight babies. Decaf it is. But that doesn't mean I can't go sniff out the good stuff, right? There are a couple cafes around these parts with delicious-smelling coffees, some Fair Trade Certified, some locally blended, and a bag or two, beautifully packaged, would make the perfect contribution to, say, a work-related gift exchange. (Don't tell Allison and Todd, but that's most likely what I'm bringing!)

4) Support your local arts and music scenes. That band you saw last month when you were finally able to get out on the town? They really were that good! Look 'em up on Facebook, find out how to purchase copies of their latest release, and ask if you can have them autographed. Voila! Give them to the out-of-towner musicphiles on your gift list. That hometown relief artist who's gaining some notoriety in your crowd? Small prints from her latest collection will brighten the lives and homes of your non-local friends and family, and you'll be giving the gift of expanded exposure to the artist.

Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons.
5) Think outside the toybox. Quality toys don't have to come from a big box store! If you're into the 'classic toys' gig, or you just want to avoid gifting the latest in bright-lights-and-buzzy-sounds, pack up your Santa sack and head to a local toy store. I've often found one-of-a-kind or hand-crafted wooden toys, toys made with paints and dyes with impressive certifications backing up their claims of safety and quality, and toys that help munchkins make music or art, play imaginatively, build models, even do science experiments. A local toy purveyor is probably a toy expert, too. The teenager in the toy aisle at Target may be a pretty sweet kid, but he may not be able to help me determine whether my four-year old is ready for a rokkaku or delta kite or if he just needs to stick with a diamond.

6) Call up your Mary Kay Lady. Or your Avon consultant, your Premier Jewelry lady, your Stella & Dot stylist or Silpada jeweler, your Scentsy dealer, your Thirty-One consultant... You get the picture. Chances are, there's a "Get it in time for Christmas!" shipping deal going on right now, and she may even have some in-stock items for you to choose from and bring home with you today. As a direct sales company ourselves, we're pretty enthusiastic about the "personal consultant" model of doing business because it allows for unbeatable customer service for the client AND for moms to boost their household income or even work from home with their babies. Chances are, you've got a local friend who has her own direct sales business, and she probably has lots of gift ideas! (I had to send my Thirty-One consultant a frantic e-mail tonight asking if I can see her inventory on payday. Sshhhh!)

Not that you need the incentive, because, well... you're awesome, and you probably thought of all of this before I did, but just to say, "Thanks for shopping local!" the eLeMeNO-Pee retail location, located at 2102 W. Prien Lake Rd. in Lake Charles, will be offering 10% off ALL regular-priced in-stock items TODAY ONLY! We're open from 10-2, and we are so much more than cloth diapers. Come in and see what I mean!