Monkey See, Monkey Do/A Lesson on Trust

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I debated on the title of this for a while. My child is not a monkey, I am not a monkey, but the saying is fitting all the same. We went camping a few weekends ago and it was a great learning experience for Caleb and I. I kept catching him doing things I’d expect from a child a lot older than nineteen months old. These were things that if I trusted him less, if I was assuming he COULDN’T do it, wouldn’t have happened and would have been incredibly hypocritical. Children are smart and capable. Anything an adult can do, chances are pretty good that the child can as well. Now I’m not saying he can fix a bike on his own. I’m just saying, he can help and he can try. He can understand that tools go ‘here’ when things need fixing.

The night before, he saw people loading fire wood into the pit. The next morning, he went over, lifted all of those heavy logs, and placed them in the pit. I was ready to jump on it and take the wood away before his poor toes got squished. Instead I stood back and let him complete the task he was so determined to finish. After he dropped each log into the pit we would clap for him and he would absolutely beam.

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My uncle had another bike propped up on the table to fix it. He was tightening a bold and had Caleb’s complete attention. Caleb reached up onto the table, grabbed a couple of wrenches, and went to work on this other bike. He knew that was where the wrench went and it would make the bike, “All Better.” He learned about the idea of fixing things by watching an adult and took it upon himself to do the same.

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Before bed he spilled a little bit of water on the floor. Now, I kid you not. He grabbed the mop, as he’s seen his Mimi and I do again and again, and mopped up his mess. Now this was, at the time, a nineteen month old toddler. He knows that when something spills, it needs to be cleaned up. He knew that the way to clean the floor is with a mop because he’d seen us do it. He took the responsibility upon himself, of course without being asked, to mop the mess he made.

Be a good example for your children. Trust that they will follow it. If they see violence, they will be violent. If they see you fighting or yelling all the time, that’s what they will do. If they see you using gentle hands, that’s what they will reflect. Children are sponges. They pick up on everything they see. So, what do you want them to reflect?

Daddy’s First Night Nappy

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Woohoo! This was just last night and it’s going to be a short post but this is a monumental moment right here.

Corey, finally, willingly put Caleb in his “night nappy” without even being asked. Until now he has thrown a bit of a tantrum every time I even hinted at him putting it on. He would put on a pocket diaper without much of a problem but a cover and prefolds? Not so much. So, yay everyone. Last night he properly, without being asked, got Caleb ready for bed and I’m so incredibly pleased.

The cover pictured, as well as the prefolds, are from Sweet Pea Diapers.

Fluffy Bum Doesn’t Fit? Custom it Is!

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I never imagined I’d ever order my child custom clothes. I’m the kind of person who thrifts for everything from clothes to furniture and in a way even food. What I learned very quickly though about cloth diapering is that pants no longer fit the way they used to. It’s getting warmer so it’s not a huge issue since a cloth bum and tee shirt is alright to wear anywhere and since body suits can be bough a size bigger and be fine as well. We live in Maine though so we still have our days that are just too chilly. Yeah baby leggings work great too, but we only have one pair and they don’t go with everything. So… Maxaloones.

Maxaloones are these awesome pants that grow with your kiddo and they have a stretchy fabric circle over the bum so that cloth diapers can fit better without being squished (which can cause leaking). What makes them extra great is at the waist and feet there is breathable, stretchy fabric that can be rolled up or down to change the size. This one pair will last him at least another year.

I ended up commissioning Morgan, from Crabby Pants (they have custom diapers!), to make us a Mickey Mouse pair of Maxaloones and ended up splurging for the matching hooded tee shirt. We, all three of us, absolutely love this outfit!! It’s so comfy, just warm enough, and fits like a glove. Plus, I mean, it’s Mickey Mouse. Caleb’s favorite thing in the world is Mickey Mouse. Which leads me to the next thing I wanted to tell you, he is constantly asking to wear it and actually helps put it on which is very different from how he normally acts when it comes to clothing.

Yesterday we went to Papa’s, a local sub shop, and I took off the tee shirt part to avoid it getting stained and he instantly started whining to get it back. Never before have I seen my child want to wear clothing. Corey and I got a good chuckle out of that.

Things are just going so well. Caleb eats like a champ even though he’s still nursing. He sleeps through the night right by my side. Thanks to Brittney, my friend, we are now the proud owner of an Ergo and Caleb adores being carried in it. Being a crunchy and attached mother just makes my life so much easier and happier.

The First Leak-Still Loving Cloth

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For the first time ever, Caleb leaked through cloth today. I was so sad. What made it worse is he had to be in the ergo, had to take his pants off, and the fact he leaded was just disappointing. So what did I do about it? I went over to Eco Baby Boutique with my friends and got him a “cool dude” pair of baby leggings! These things fit really well, even over his ever so chubby thighs, diaper changes are a total breeze, and the best part is he can show off his ever so cute fluff bum.

Corey started off really reluctant to cloth. It started with, oh ew. Then he got to, I don’t know how to do it. Now his only real issue is with the cloth wipes so he still uses the disposable ones. When I first mentioned baby leggings to him it was a big no. I even made a pair… that was an even bigger no. When I came home with these today though he was totally into them. Yes, I totally picked the foot ball ones in hopes that he would like them and it worked.

Cloth has become a total blast for us. Searching out all the new patterns, trying to figure out the best deals and fit, and learning about the proper care is a new hobby for me. I’m still a newb when it comes to cloth but for all of my fellow newbs I figured I would share some of the things I’ve gathered from this wonderful new experience.

Brand wise price does not mean something’s better. The two cheapies I’ve tried (each about $5) are Sun Baby and Alva. I don’t really recommend Sun Baby as much as I’m not a fan of the fit and the bamboo inserts I like. On the other hand Alva diapers fit wonderfully, are super sturdy, just the right size, and the best part is you don’t have to buy six at a time. You can buy one and it’s all good. Another thing I’ve learned… CHARCOAL BAMBOO is the best kind of insert. You can get 8 for $20 on Alva’s website and you really should. It’s super cheap that way and they work the absolute best.

For a slightly more expensive brand but my absolute favorite, try out Sweet Pea diapers. Both their covers and All in One bamboo diapers are fantastic. They fit really well, have double elastic around the legs, and with double snaps they aren’t going to come off or roll down uncomfortably. At night all we do is double up on their prefolds in a cover and it lasts no problem till morning. I’m a little excited about this brand. They have really cute prints for both boys and girls (not that it matters) and they are really reasonably priced for such nice diapers. I’m meeting the people who make them next month and I can’t contain my excitement.

I hope that those of you questioning or thinking about cloth diapering take the dive. It’s a really great thing to do for the environment, your wallet, and your little one’s bum.

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Uh Oh, Discipline Vs. Punishment

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Before Caleb was born Corey and I had this crazy idea about spanking. What was so crazy about it? We thought it was a great idea. Why did we think that exactly? Why did we think that hitting a small child who can’t fight back would be a good idea? Why did we have no problem with that when hitting any adult would be considered assault and have a chance of landing us in jail? Well, it’s what our parents, like most parents, did. We didn’t seem to have any negative outcome from being spanked.

Caleb was born and we fell in love and after hearing the argument against spanking of, why hit a child when anyone else would be illegal, we decided spanking was a huge no. From there I wanted a better reason than just a gut feeling for when people asked me why we wont spank. Here’s a great resource: https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/Spanking-Linked-to-Mental-Illness.aspx

That left us with the question of how to discipline our little boy. I started to research the different methods out there and something that really stood out to me was the difference between Discipline and Punishment. The easiest way to put it I think is that Discipline is teaching a child how to act the way they are expected to in a positive way rather than making them feel bad about themselves without really learning a lesson. Punishment is often associated with the negative and ends up with a child thinking, “Mommy’s so mean!” Discipline often ends with a child understanding what they have done wrong and learning how to be “better.” I’m no expert, I really can’t put into words as well as I’d like to the difference, but it is an important one.

Right now Caleb is 18 months old and kind of a trouble maker. He has no fear which unfortunately means my daily level of fear has gone up three fold. Climbing, all the time, is all he wants to do and frankly it just isn’t safe. He’s already gotten himself a good shiner from climbing on his desk and slipping as he tried to get down. How do we keep him from climbing on things when he wont listen, like any normal 18 month old, to our requests to do just that?

This is where Discipline comes in. Frankly there aren’t a lot of things you can do. We’ve already said no to spanking (which includes popping or slapping any part of his body.) He’s too young to really understand how serious I am when we say no. So what is there to do? Science has shown a big reaction like yelling or freaking out will only reinforce the action. Children are looking for a reaction. Good or bad, any reaction will make them want to do the action more. That’s not to say when they aren’t being safe that you should just ignore it.

The worst place my son like to climb is our tv stand. It’s narrow, the TV could tip on him, and it’s higher up than he could fall without being hurt. Whenever he climbs up there, which is getting less and less thankfully, I take him down without saying a word or without any expression on my face. I sit him down on the couch with me and that’s that. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but please remember that he is only a year and a half old at this point. How much does he really understand? Right now the best way to keep him safe and out of trouble is to take him away from the situations.

Same goes for when we are out in public. The whole, I’m not getting my way and want to throw a tantrum, thing started a couple of months ago. We ignore it and walk away. That fit ends within seconds. He gets himself together and follows us after he sees that he isn’t getting a reaction and that we’re leaving. We could make a big deal about it, try to drag him onto his feet, yell at him… It wouldn’t have the effect that walking away does.

So, what happens as he gets older? Right now I watch a five and ten year old regularly. I have to take a very different tactic with them. They can understand when I say no. They know right from wrong. Again, hitting isn’t even on the spectrum of a solution. What is a solution, and has worked amazingly on both of these kids, is something that just felt right to me. If they lie, don’t listen, throw a fit, or anything else that requires discipline I tell them in an even voice to sit down. The first week or two that I was watching them they would sit down and have a tantrum in the chair. Yelling, hitting it, telling me how mean I am. I’d let them throw the fit and I’d just wait. Eventually they’d calm down and I’d just talk to them. I’d ask if they knew why I asked them to sit down. The five year old usually just shrugged her shoulders but the ten year old would tell me why. Either way I would tell them why I asked them to sit, explain why I didn’t like that action, and I’d ask if they thought they should be doing it. If they said no, they could go do something else. The ten year old I’d sometimes have do a chore like take out the trash. After that they wouldn’t do the action again. Months later, working with this form of Discipline, the kids have many an amazing transformation with me. I wish I could say more, but just know that the ten year old has become a whole different person.

It seems so simple, it almost seems like it isn’t discipline, but it works. There is a term I’ve heard used that I really love. “Train UP a child.” This means to show them how you’d like them to act and rather than telling them no all the time, telling them what you’d like to see instead. One great example is going to the grocery store. Rather than going in and saying to the children, “Don’t touch anything. Don’t run away from me. Don’t ask for anything.” try a more positive approach. “Please stay with me. Hand on the cart please. Sorry, we aren’t getting that this time. I understand you are disappointed but not this time.” It’s amazing what happens when you parent in a positive way.

These little changes, these simple ways of disciplining children, have made my life better and a lot less stressful and I hope it can help you as well.

Fluff Bums are so Dang Cute

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Disposable diapers… Who’s seen the video going around about the uses for what’s IN a disposable diaper? It’s crazy and just a little be terrifying. All the more reason to love this Fluff Bum journey we’ve begun.

Caleb had been getting terrible rashes from leaks and what looked like chemical burns. Seeing him in pain I said, “No more!” Cloth is an investment. You can use them for more than one child, they have less leaks (ruining less clothes), and lets be frank here… they can be absolutely adorable! Never doing or even really looking into cloth before, I was sure I wanted to start using them but had no idea where to start. Luckily Caleb’s best friends’ mum’s, also my friends, are total masters of the cloth bumming.

These lovely ladies took me down to our local Cloth Diapering store, Eco Baby Boutique in Sanford, ME, and the owner Stacey helped me get a good start. I ended up purchasing three diaper covers and six prefolds as well as some diaper safe laundry detergent. She showed how to set the prefold up in the cover and we went on our way. The first 24 hours using these diapers was awesome but completely chaotic. I was doing laundry every few hours to keep him in cloth and I learned that his normal outfit, a onsie and size 12 month pants, were NOT going to work over his fluff bum. The solution? Maxaloones for pants (or size 18 overalls) and either ditching the onsie for a regular shirt or a onsie extender.

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A few days later Amy, one of my friends, beyond kindly gave me six pocket diapers and I ordered charcoal bamboo inserts (which are apparently a great insert and really well priced on Amazon!). These diapers (with inserts) hold SO much pee and keep all of the moisture off of Caleb thanks to the fleece layer. Adding these extra six that don’t need to be changed quite as often helped a ton.

THEN my friend Brittney and I split an order from Sun Baby for their diapers… SO CUTE. I wasn’t a huge fan of their inserts so I really need to order more, but they are certainly cute and adding those three as well as one more cover has rounded it out so we only need to do one load a day.

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So what did I learn that might help you? For an 18 month old you need about ten-fifteen diapers and a washing machine available, covers with two prefolds work pretty well for over night but a fleece layer would make it even better, and gosh baby poop is nasty.