It’s been a big week in our household.
It was my wife’s birthday, which required a little detour from our plans to go out to dinner as a family due to authorities searching for an armed suspect in the wooded areas outlying our neighborhood.
So, we ate at home, Meg insisting upon cooking a delicious dinner of breaded chicken, broccoli and mac and cheese, despite my offer and attempts to cook dinner myself. (Though admittedly, she’s a much better cook than I could ever hope to be). I gave the kids baths while she got dinner underway and we kept abreast of the events unfolding outside (a shelter in place was activated for the neighborhood and surrounding area, advising us all to stay indoors) via a scanner app on my phone.
Dessert was provided in the form of a yellow birthday cake with chocolate frosting (Meg’s favorite) courtesy of her sister who baked it and dropped it off the night prior. And I had taken the kids birthday shopping over the weekend, so presents were already on hand. A few candles later and we had our own little birthday party amid the chaos going on nearby, and an impending storm to boot!
In the end, it probably worked out for the best, as our little lady of one year was a cranky-pants and our little guy of four years was in that over tired-loopy-careless-so I don’t pay attention to anything around me at all mode, so a restaurant night with the two of them may not have panned out so well.
The kids were excited to unveil their gifts, which they picked out themselves – a scarf, an adult coloring book (“To calm you,” the little guy told her) and a book on Thomas Jefferson (“Because I know you like history, and books, and Thomas Jefferson’s your favorite president,” he explained) and a copy of Mike Nesmith’s new autobiography and the accompanying CD from me.
The evening wound down with the storm on its way out of the area, not as strong as once predicted and everyone settling in for the night after an evening of excitement, both good and uneasy (they still hadn’t located the suspect, who disappeared into some swampland and authorities having to pull out as the strongest part of the storm rolled in).
And believe it or not, that wasn’t even the biggest dose of excitement for our week. We had one other bit of energy running through the household as we told the kids, and then friends, that this Fall we’ll be welcoming yet a third little one to our home, outnumbering parents but making for an equal cat to kid ratio.
So how about that?
I know. Sometimes I question our sanity too. 🙂
The adventure continues!
When we were having our son more than 3 years ago and Meg brought up the topic of cloth diapers, I kept an open mind, but admit, my lack of knowledge on the subject made me pretty darn skeptical.
We tried , but as with many things that go with the whirlwind of a first child, it didn’t exactly go as planned and after a few attempts, ended up going the route of disposable diapers until he was out of them and into big boy undies.
When our little girl arrived four months ago, we had decided to try again. While I still was slightly skeptical, I realized this time that any skepticism was mostly due, once again, to my inexperience with cloth diapers.
I had questions
But how do you wash them?
What do you do with the poop?
Is this sanitary?
I had a lot of questions. But, as with many things when a second child comes around, parents find themselves a little more at ease having been through it before. So, this time, as my wife was determined to make this commitment, I was determined to learn more and get on board with it.
It took a few diaper changes to learn how, but man, was this learning curve easy. We’re not talking about the old cloth diapers from the old Disney and Looney Tunes shorts with a wrap of white cloth and a baby pin. No, no, no. Those still exist, but truly, I can’t believe how far cloth diapers have come. The material, the styles, the sheer variety (pre-fold, pockets, all-in-one – all phrases I never thought I would know, let alone use) is mind-boggling.
We stocked up in an effort to be prepared, because if you’re going to do this, you’re going to need quite a few. Think about how many diapers you go through in the course of a day, then think about if you had to wash and wait for each to dry before using.
So, there’s a lot of bins filled with these patterned and colorful diapers that look a bit like a bin of Easter eggs. As I say, variety, variety, variety.
I was certainly game and as I say, the changing of them was a quick learn. Unsnap/unbutton (yes, they have buttons/snaps these days!), fold up, put into a vinyl diaper bag (instead of the trash), wipe as normal, and then put a nice, new, cushy cloth diaper on those little buns. And voila, we’re changed! That vinyl bag of diapers fills up over time and when it’s full, the diapers get washed, dried, and if the weather’s nice, put out in the sun for some added sunkissed sanitation and whitening.
Of course, I’m still going to admit how new this is to me. I have not yet actually done a load of these cloth diapers in the wash yet. Meg has. So I am sure there is a whole other layer to this I’ve yet to explore in my ignorance. But I will say that in terms of the changing, it’s been a piece of cake.
The proof is in the pudding…er…in the poop
The true test, though…what really pushed me over the edge and on board…was, well quite, frankly, the poop.
Like so many babies, our little lady has had her fair share of blowouts in the first few months of her life. You know what i mean. It goes everywhere. Up the front, up the back. Everywhere. And I can’t tell you how many outfits have had poop go right through, calling for a whole new cleaning and outfit.
But, knock on wood, not when she’s been wearing her cloth diapers. I certainly can’t rattle off the brand names to you, as I don’t know them all, but I have noticed the little tags on them while I’ve changed, and two that spring to mind are Thirsties and BumGenius cloth diapers. And these things are thick. Thick, yet soft. And puffy. And based on every time I’ve had to change a blowout diaper, I would take a cloth diaper over disposable to handle those explosions any day of the week. They absorb, they keep it all in, just where it’s supposed to be, leaving daddy to just wipe and change the diaper versus wipe, change the diaper, wash her and change an entire outfit that got soaked through.
I am all about this.
I now find myself a father and husband completely on board with the idea of cloth diapers.
They’re soft, they’re re-usable, and man, do they absorb and hold in so much more than the disposables. We all have our fair share of baby blowouts and I feel pretty confident now in saying that in those blowout moments, I’d much rather have her in a cloth diaper than a disposable, keeping in everything we don’t want getting out (if you know what I mean).
Things will change
And yeah, once she reaches the stage of solid foods and stops nursing, things will change – as poop from a breastmilk-only diet is water soluable, that solid-food poop – not so much. That will mean trips to the potty before the diapers can be washed to dump out each diaper and spray it with water when the time comes. So will I be singing the same tune then? I hope so, but, I admit, we will see when the time comes.
Don’t mistake my appreciation for a full-on lifestyle change or an implication that anyone else needs to feel the same way. As I’ll be honest, we still use disposable diapers during the overnight hours, we still use them at grandma’s house, and we still use them when we’re not at home and out and about.
It’s a balance.
But, the mere fact that they are an option to us, allowing us (if even a little) to cut back on how much we spend, how much we add to the trash pile, and to really soak up those baby poops a little better, I’m all for.
If I’ve failed to write as of late, it’s like the old saying goes, “It’s not you, it’s me.”
Or blame it on the sleep deprivation.
Yes, Meg and I have been up late once again, all for a wonderful reason – a little over a week ago, we welcomed our second child into the world – a beautiful baby girl.
Just like with our little guy three-plus years ago, we chose to be surprised about the gender of the child, and boy, were we ever surprised! We were convinced, almost entirely, that this one would be a boy, and when we heard the words “It’s a girl!” that morning, we couldn’t believe it. I think sometimes we still can’t. The awe still washes over me, realizing we have a little girl joining our little (though he’ll tell you “i’m a grown up!”) monkey.
While he was born a week and a half late and weighing over ten pounds, this little lady was a week early and just a little over eight pounds, making her a peanut in comparison to what it was like holding her brother.
All talk of lightweight/heavyweight classes aside, none of those little details mattered when I was holding her in my arms in that hospital room, seeing the tears of joy in Meg’s eyes as I had the privilege of showing her our daughter for the very first time.
I stared into her eyes the first night we had her home, and just thought, “Of all the people in the entire universe, I get to be your daddy. Me! How absolutely lucky I am.”
There will be a whole new set of adventures, a whole new set of lessons for me to learn, but I look forward to all of it. I just am thrilled that our family has grown once again.
And you know, the sleep may be few and far between and the poopy diapers may seem like they keep coming, but deep down in my heart, I wouldn’t have it any other way,
Sometimes I feel like there’s a bit of amnesia once a few years have passed from having a baby. It’s like we forget all about all the trials, tribulations, sacrifices, mental, emotional, and physical tolls that come with a baby, infant, then toddler.
Or maybe we just secretly miss it all and have an inherent need to start the process again.
I admit that I thought the biggest challenge of having a second child would be having to learn/remember how to raise and care for a baby all over again.
I was so wrong. Not even close.
No, I’m quickly learning that the biggest challenge with a second child is raising them while simultaneously raising your first.
Here’s one example – With your first child, those late night feedings, cryings, etc, wake you up, sure. They leave you a little sleep deprived for a while, of course. But the second time around (and I’m sure the third, fourth, etc, for those of you so inclined), you’re no longer the only ones who that baby can wake. So now, while you’re up at 2:30 a.m. changing a diaper, feeding, or generally just trying to soothe a baby to sleep, you’re also praying to high heaven that your first child isn’t going to wake up as well, adding an entirely new level of obstacles to the night. (Not to mention the crankiness that will come the next day from a toddler who doesn’t sleep)
All that aside, though (and fodder for future pieces, no doubt), it’s been incredible to welcome her to the world.
We’re all very happy, and we’re all very tired.
More to come…Stay tuned.
That was a piece advice given to me some years ago by a friend when I asked her how she and her husband knew when they were ready to have their first child.
And she was right. No matter how much running we did to prepare for our little guy more than three years ago already, when the moment comes, you’re never quite ready for just how much life changes after that.
Now, we’re here all over again.
Three years have gone by and the little baby I once held in my arms at the hospital is a walking, talking, potty-using little boy who wants to talk to me about animals and superheroes, and “all that stuff” (his all encompassing catchphrase). And very, very soon, we’ll be back in the hospital all over again, welcoming another little life into the world and into our lives.
Yet, it seems as though this has, for lack of a better term, snuck up on us. Like a whirlwind, these nine months have breezed by, snatching us up in its winds of craziness at the tail end, sometimes leaving us with that crazed “how can we possibly be ready?!” feeling.
Before our little guy, it was just Meg and I (and the cats, of course). So throughout the nine months leading up to his arrival, it felt like all the time in the world to prepare, to get ready.
Now, though, it feels like we’re all just trying to keep our heads above water, be it work, life, or just keeping up with the little guy. And it’s with that hurried-rush of each day that nine months went by in the blink of an eye.
Here we are. Any day now it happens. Sure, we’ve done a lot. We cleaned out the office. We moved in the crib. We’ve put up shelves. Pulled out baby clothes. Decorated. Made the house a home for a baby once more.
I’ll admit. No matter how much we cross off the list, how much running around we do to get things ready, it never feels like we’ve done enough, been ready enough, but ready or not, here they come.
Just like the warm breeze of summer is destined to make way to chilly winds of fall, so too go the years of our lives, moving, what seems, ever-faster the older we get. And when it comes to watching our children grow, that train of time seems to forever be speeding faster and faster away down the tracks of life.
We don’t tend to notice the day-to-day changes as they occur. Small increments of change are hard to pick out when you’re there along with it day in and day out. It’s the milestones, the transitions – those are the moments that really make us stop and take notice of how swiftly the sands fall through the hourglass.
For me, one of those moments came today, as we finally transitioned our little man out of his crib and into a toddler bed. It was overdue, yes, but despite that, it didn’t make it any easier – at least not the emotions of mommy and daddy.
A friend was getting rid of a toddler bed that their own children had outgrown and graciously passed it along to us. Meg sanded it down, painted it (with the little guy helping pick the color) and boom! We were ready to go.
The excitement on his face was palpable, jumping up and down, grinning as Meg and I turned the Allen wrench, both assembling his new “big boy bed” and dismantling the crib that’s been his overnight home since the earliest weeks of his life and moving it out of the room and across the hall to our office – one more step of preparation for the arrival of baby number two in the months ahead.
When the end of the night came, you would have thought it was Christmas morning. Instead of fighting the need to go upstairs and get into bed, he led the way, excitedly heading into his room and pulling out a book to read per our storytime routine.
Only now, he didn’t want to go into “mommy and daddy’s bed” to read as has been the case every night these past three years. No, instead he insisted we read in his room, climbing into his bed and pulling over the covers as daddy reluctantly took a seat next to his bed, opened the book and began reading, while simultaneously hiding the feeling of melancholy at his claiming his own, independent life.
A few precautions were taken. Our house has two floors, so we pulled out ye olde baby gate and placed it at the top to prevent any mid-night walking, falling and potential injury now that there’s easy access out of the room. Funny thing is, he never tried to climb out of his crib, something we consider ourselves incredibly grateful for. While the cats were initially puzzled at the presence of the gate on their nightly rushes up and down the stairs, it turned out to not be needed right away (though we’ll still keep it up at night regardless). We talked about staying in bed until mommy and daddy give him the clearance to do so and wouldn’t you know it, he listened.
He listened well.
So well, in fact, that when his stuffed ladybug (from Eric Carle’s The Grouchy Ladybug) fell out of bed, he called out to have mommy come pick it up for him because he’s not supposed to get out of the bed.
I’m proud of him. I’m happy for him. I love seeing him beam about the idea of going to bed or taking a nap because it means a “big boy bed.” But I can’t help but feel, as the cliché goes, that it’s all moving a bit too fast. I may never be okay with it. I’m sure these feelings will continue – the first bicycle ride, or a first day of school, first high school dance, or, perish the thought, move-in day at college.
It’s overwhelming to think about. So, the best that I can do is just try my best to not brush off the requests to play, to read, and to be around. There will be plenty of time as he gets older he’s going to have his own life. Moving to a big boy bed may just be a small sign of independence in the bigger scheme of things, but it’s enough for me to take notice, and to remind myself that we don’t get second chances at these things.
Work will come and go. Books to read will sit on the shelves. Projects to create can always be created. But this…this opportunity to be with my little boy while he’s a little boy will only last so long.
As painful as it can be during the transitions, it’s a reminder once again to cherish every single moment and not let the time slip by.
Like the warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, it is a sea of forgotten memories. Some that elicit the light of joy, while others are best left forgotten, begging the question of why we hung onto them in the first place.
We’ve been in our current house for six years and only now have we gotten to tackling what we thought would be a cinch so early on – cleaning, organizing and making the basement space useful. It’s required taking pretty much everything and placing it into the middle of the basement in one big clump so that the walls could be painted from gray to white and the floor I painted half off a few years ago could finally be joined by the other fifty percent.
I feel like this venture will eventually elicit several blog posts spurred on by the memories unearthed, but for now, I want to talk about baby clothes.
Yes. Baby clothes.
There we sat, my wife and I, with bins upon bins of baby clothes brought up from the basement and sitting in our living room like we were ready to open a store that rivaled Babies R Us. Between hand me downs as various family members have children that outgrow clothes, the clothes we had bought for the little guy, and the clothes purchased by family members as gifts that filled probably half of those bins, we had a lot to sort through.
We spent the night sorting through all those old clothes, both for organizational reasons as we try to make better use of space, but also in prep for the new baby to take stock of what we already have.
As I noticed how our piles and plastic bins were all sorted by the age ranges on the clothing tags, from 3 months to 9 months to 24 months, I thought, why not do this for adults?
Instead of going to the store and looking for a medium, we could tell them “I need a 30-35 years top. You know what. Make it a onesie. Cuz who needs pants?”