Diaper doldrums

It’s been 7 months since I wrote about Sir’s potty learning progress.  At that time, it seemed like we were very close to being completely, truly diaper-free!  In addition to a few months of daytime dryness under his belt, Sir had started staying dry at nap time and overnight, some nights.

That was in late August and early September.  After a few weeks, he reverted to wet diapers every morning and almost every nap time, and my diaper-free dreams went down the toilet.  ([Awake] daytime is still fine — he’s been daytime dry for almost a year now!)

As of a month ago, Sir is back to being dry at some nap times, i.e., the short naps (about an hour) that he takes at child care.  He is SO consistently dry at child care that Mrs. L puts him down for his nap without a diaper.  Brave lady, but zero accidents, so far.

On the other hand he almost always wakes up wet when napping at home, but he naps longer (about 90 minutes), so I don’t mind.  Nap time diapering is easy: a thick prefold and a Thirsties diaper cover.

Night time diapering is trickier.  Sometime after Sir’s first birthday, we discovered that fancy pocket diapers, with their feel-dry material, helped Sir sleep better and longer.  Good for him and good for us.  We bought four pocket diapers (3 bumGenius, 1 Fuzzy Bunz) which we use exclusively at night.

Except!  After awhile, I noticed that regular washing was not getting the stink out of those pocket diapers.  And the trick that so nicely and simply de-stinks my prefolds (a vinegar rinse) doesn’t work on the pocket diapers (vinegar would ruin their absorbancy or waterproofness or something).

Instead, you have to “strip” them.  Unfortunately, these instructions from Cotton Babies (an StL-based company and the makers of bumGenius diapers) are just a leeeeeetle bit off.

First, it does not take just two hot water rinses to get the stink out.  It takes many.  Like ten.  And all that time you’re using HOT water.  Suddenly the “environmentally friendly” cloth diapers are seeming much less so.

Second, the directions claim that, AT MOST (i.e., worst case scenario), you should have to strip your diapers “once every 3 or 4 months.”  In my experience, that is complete and utter B.S.  After following their instructions to. the. letter (plus eight more rinses), the stink went away for about two uses.  With four pocket diapers, two uses = eight nights, so barely over a week after stripping, I’m stuck with stinky covers again.

Unfortunately, whatever causes the stink also irritates Sir’s skin, and he’s had some nasty diaper rashes, despite the fact that he barely wears a diaper, except for overnight.

The diaper rashes necessitate using disposable diapers, since diaper creams and lotions are generally a no go with pocket diapers.  So we just cycle back and forth.  Disposables and cream to get the rash under control, then back to the pocket diapers until his skin gets irritated and forces us back to disposables.

On a side note, Sir almost always poops in the potty, but two weeks ago, we were a little off schedule, and he woke up in the morning with a poopy diaper.  Of course it was NOT a night when he was wearing a disposable diaper, but I swear I almost threw that $17 pocket diaper away anyway.  It was horrible, and I was literally in tears by the time I finished dealing with it.  If I never have to do that again, it will be too soon!

Anyway, I really prefer cloth diapers to disposable, in general, but not when they require this much work (and hot water) to keep decent.  I guess we could go back to the basic prefolds for nighttime, but I don’t want to sacrifice sleep.

It’s tempting to just stick with the disposables at night, and be done with the stinky pocket dipes, but for someone who’s used disposables very minimally, the idea of going through more than a handful of diapers a month is hard to swallow, both environmentally and financially.

I’m not sure where this leaves us.  There is really no end to night time diapering in sight.  It could be any day, I suppose, but it could also be a year or more from now, realistically.  I keep hoping that maybe this will be the last pack of disposable diapers I ever buy, but that dream has yet to be realized.

Sir speaks

In the last four months, Gabriel has made huge progress in the speech and language department.  The changes started in mid-December (just shy of 2 1/2 years old), when his vocabulary really took off — all of the sudden he was using a lot more words (language) though many of the words sounded similar and were difficult to distinguish (speech).

In mid-January, we started speech therapy, and between that and just finally being developmentally “ready,” he’s really taken off: greatly expanded vocabulary, phrases and sentences, and slowly making progress on articulation.

While we get a lot of, “Be careful what you wish for, once he starts talking, you’ll never get him to shut up,” type comments, I’m enjoying all of the talking, except what is uttered in a whiny voice (but there was whining before he was talking much).

He still drops most ending consonants, so, while we understand almost all of what he says, comprehension can be difficult for others.  The only consistent exception is that he really emphasizes the “d” at the end of “good.”

Me: How are you feeling this morning?
G: Goo-duh

Being able to talk means that he can tell us what he’s thinking.  For a number of mornings in a row, when I went into his room to say good morning, he would start to get up, pause, and, with a very thoughtful look on his face, say, “Thinking ’bout going somewhere.”

He can also tell us what he’s feeling . . .

Me (to a crying Gabriel): I know you don’t want to put away your toys and brush your teeth right now, but that’s what we’re going to do.
G (crying): Feel really sad!

I’m thrilled that he’s starting to verbally express his feelings.  However, such statements are no more effective than crying when it comes to swaying Mama.


He has some particularly cute and endearing phrases:

  • He uses, “Lil’ bit,” as a response to many questions, and, as Matthew describes it, he sounds like a little Southern girl when he says it.
  • “Love you soooo much!”  This one is pretty much self-explanatory.
  • “Want mo’ food,” which usually means, “I want different food.”

He surprised me by counting to ten last week.  I thought we were counting to three or four for rocket ship blast-off, but he just kept going, all the way up to ten!

He’s pretty good with manners, often using “Please” and “Thank you” appropriately, with no prompting.  He hasn’t quite figured out what to do when someone thanks him, though.

Me: Thank you for picking up your toys, Gabriel.
G: Thank you, too, Mommy.

He’s really into Curious George, and we started reading the books and pausing to let him supply certain words:

Me: This is . . .
G: Geor’
Me: He was a good little . . .
G: Mo-key
Me: And always very . . .
G: Cute-sy

Yep, “Cutesy George.”  This is one of my favorites, and, sadly, one that he already seems to be outgrowing.  He can’t completely get his tongue around “cur-i-ous” just yet, but it’s sounding more like “curious” than “cutesy” every day.

We are just now hitting the “Why?” stage.  The word started popping up in a few places two or three weeks ago, but it’s really been in the last week that he’s started using it all. the. time.  Sometimes, it works to turn the question around on him.

The “why’s” got particularly repetitive on a car ride the other day, so I started having fun with it, making up random responses.

G: Why going this way?
Me: Because this is the way to Papa’s house.
G: Why?
Me: Because the unicorn said so.

You have to be able to have fun with this, right?  Either that, or go completely out of your mind.


Toy bicycle preview

Shhhhhh . . . don’t tell Pookie, but the toy bicycles I ordered for him arrived.

While I’m excited for him to begin playing with them (and thus address his utter lack of toy bicycles), the kid doesn’t have any shortage of toys in general, and Easter isn’t that far away.  I think I can hold out for a few weeks.

I actually had to distract him when the packages arrived; he wanted to open them immediately.  I waited until he wasn’t around, which was just as well, because I opened the package to find this.


Some assembly required, apparently.  It all just snapped together, no tools required.  I did have to refer to the pictures a couple of times since it did not include directions for assembly, but in just a few minutes, we were ready to ride.


I assembled this set, which did not include Playmobil people first.  I was hoping the bicycles would work with his Lego Duplo people (pictured in the trailer) and some other little wooden people we have (pictured riding the bike), but they don’t really fit on the bicycles.

I was feeling a little bummed, until I looked at the other set I ordered.  It conveniently came with three Playmobil people . . .


. . . for a total of 3 bikes and 3 people between the two sets.  It actually could not have worked out more perfectly:  there is one adult for the one “adult-sized” bike and two kid for the two kid-sized bikes.

Gabriel is right at the age where he’s getting more creative with his play, and starting to incorporate some story lines.  I look forward to people on bikes being part of that play!

Note: These are marked as age 3+, and, since they come apart, there are definitely small parts involved.  I would really have been fine giving these to Gabriel at age 2, with supervision, especially because he’s never really been the sort to put [non-food] stuff in his mouth.

Raising a foodie toddler

In response to yesterday’s meal post, a friend asked, “Does your son eat all of these recipes?”  It was a great question, and I want to share (and elaborate on) my reply.

As a note, I conducted childhood obesity research in grad school, so I’m fairly familiar with (and perhaps take for granted) a lot of the basic tips for helping kids learn healthy eating habits.

[Sir] eats almost everything, though with varying degrees of enthusiasm.  Some nights he looks at his plate and announces, “Need mo’ food,” which translates to, “I want different food.”  We always encourage him to try what’s on his plate, and we rarely offer alternatives.

Finishing the meal with some frozen blueberries
Finishing the meal with some frozen blueberries

When he’s less enthusiastic about something, I’ve found that simple things, like letting him serve himself, or making a slight modification to the dish (e.g., adding some chopped peanuts), can really help.

While we don’t force-feed him, or make him eat everything on his plate, we do sometimes help feed him the first few bites of something he’s uncertain about. If he takes to it, great, if not, that’s okay, too.

Nature or nurture?
All-in-all, he’s a pretty adventurous eater for a toddler. I don’t know how much of this is nature, and how much is nurture, which would include our use of the Baby Led Weaning approach.

We’ve basically offered him the same food he sees us eating, right from the start.  While there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with offering some pureed food, I dislike the new trend of the “squeeze pouches.”  It’s one thing to use one every once in awhile, for a snack on the go, but using them at the table, as a substitute for eating real meals, is a slippery slope.

As pointed out in this post on getting kids to eat vegetables, constantly offering alternatives at mealtime is also a slippery slope.  If given a choice, most kids (Gabriel included, I imagine), would choose grilled cheese or pasta over a quinoa dish.  Offering alternatives is tempting, to make meal time “easier” in the short term, but it can quickly become a cycle that creates the so-called “picky” eater that most parents hope to avoid.

Finally, involving Sir in as many aspects of “food to table” as possible seems to really help.  During the growing season, he spends almost every Saturday at the garden with Daddy and Baba, getting a hands-on lesson in where his food comes from, harvesting and nibbling fresh green beans, broccoli, and cherry tomatoes.  You don’t have to have 3000 square feet of garden to get your kids involved.  A small raised bed is a great place to start!

He loves to help me get his oatmeal ready every morning, and I involve him in other meal prep and kitchen work, time (and my sanity) permitting.  Recently, he’s enjoyed helping tear arugula for salads, though he was eating about as much as he was prepping — just raw arugula, no salad dressing required!  While I’m careful about not snacking close to meal times, I’m always happy when he wants to nibble on the vegetables I’m chopping.

Terrible twos?

Don’t let that sweet smile fool you . . .


. . . this little guy’s been putting me through the wringer for the last five weeks.  We’re still some months away from the two year mark, but why be terrible for JUST a year, when instead you can be terrible for a year-and-a-HALF?

So, other than terrible, how is Sir these days?

Large and in charge, he’s right around the three foot mark, and he’d chunked up to the 81st percentile in weight at his 18-month visit.  He’s now over half my height and a quarter of my weight (good thing I’m hitting the weights at the gym!).

Given his height, we went ahead and switched his car seat to front facing, since the rear-facing height limit on the seat we have is 36 inches.

We’re also preparing to transition him to a real bed.  For over a year, the Pack ‘n Play served as his resting place (we never used it for “play”), but he’s more or less at the height and weight limits for the device.  He (knock on wood) hasn’t tried to climb out yet, so I’m delaying the transition a bit, hoping to smooth out some of our current sleep issues first (meanwhile, his new mattress is airing out in our basement, but more on that in another post).

He shows no signs of slowing on the growth front, continuing to eat vigorously and enthusiastically at meal and snack times, in addition to three short nursing sessions a day.

Three out of four of his two-year molars came in over the last few weeks, but as far as I can tell, that final tooth might be awhile yet.

He’s still not talking, and frustration with not being able to communicate what he wants may be part of the current behavior issue, though I think it’s more about frustration at not getting his way.

Speaking of not getting his way, my efforts to include him in the kitchen (more on that in a later post) worked a bit too well.  I thought I had a monster on my hands before, but that was nothing compared to the fact that now EVERY time I am in the kitchen, even if I’m only doing something that will take a few minutes, he must drag a chair in and be involved.  And if the answer is, “No, it’s not time for the chair to be in the kitchen,” much screamage ensues.

As it does many other times throughout the day when I thwart his very strong little will.  Sigh.

I know “this too shall pass,” but all-in-all, this phase is making working outside the home look VERY attractive again.