Friday, December 31, 2010

The End of One Year, the Start of Another

Happy New Year!

Over here we're just starting to scratch the surface on a lot of things. It's fitting that it's about to be a new year because there are some changes happening in the Lee family.

We are finally cloth diapering full-time! It's too bad that it took us one-and-a-half years to overcome our fear of touching, smelling and seeing poop. All we could manage when we first had a baby was: take off stinky diaper, roll it up as fast as humanly possible, and discard into the trash can where the poo is no longer anyone's problem (except the trashman's).

Fast forward to now. Here is the new routine: take off stinky diaper, clean tush, take diaper to toilet and flush poo, use hand-held toilet sprayer to clean off the diaper, throw diaper into pail to be washed soon.

I'll be honest. It was really hard when we first started. REALLY HARD. Like, hard for me not to want to vomit. And for these reasons alone, I don't advise anyone to do it unless they are really persuaded with their own reasons (whether financial or environmental). There was a learning curve for us, and an upfront cost. I found myself needing to buy 18 diapers, special detergent to wash them with, a diaper sprayer, flushable liners, and waterproof bags to hold soiled diapers in. On top of this, I wash diapers about everyday now.

However, on the plus side, I really like putting Noelle in cloth diapers! The feeling of going to Target, and being able to pass right on by the diaper aisle without having to load up the cart with yet another box of diapers feels really gratifying. It feels really good to use the same, cute, clean, organic cloth diapers on Noelle over and over again. It's nice not to have a plastic bag full of dirty, disposable diapers to add to the pile of trash I'm sending to the landfill. It's actually fun for me to wash them. And I'll tell you a secret, it's really really fun to have a clothesline out on our upper balcony (where nobody but us can see). Hanging diapers out there in the California sun to dry! There's really nothing quite like it.

Of course now that we've got the system up and running in the way of cloth diapers, it's ironic that we've started to potty train the little girl! The good thing is that the diapers we have (Bumgenius Elemental All-in-Ones and Grovia All-in-Ones) are size-adjustable. They fit newborns up to Toddlers. They can be used as training pants, and they can also be used for the next baby. And they are going to save us thousands of dollars in the long run.

On another note, I'm looking forward to next year. I just finished reading The Plug-in Drug, in which Marie Winn studies the effect that television has on child development and family life. Really, I was trying to make a decision for what to do with Noelle during the time that I needed her to stay out of trouble. Putting on something for her to watch (Sesame Street, PBS, etc.) really became easy and T.V. was acting like a babysitter for me. If she fussed while I was trying to get dinner ready, it was becoming the solution. I noticed that she started to ask for it more and more, whenever she was bored, whenever she saw anything that reminded her of her shows.

So for December we made a resolution to get rid of T.V. and see what would happen. I was pleasantly surprised. It is forcing me to be more proactive in finding something for her to do. It is also forcing her to be more imaginative in her play. Kevin and I now read a ton more books. We are also reading more books to Noelle and to each other. I'm really looking forward to the new year to see what other fun activities, outings, and learning opportunities are waiting for us.

Lastly, because this post is so long, I just wanted to mention briefly that home schooling has been on our brain. Kevin and I are listening to a series of seminars on the advantages of home schooling as well as the difficulties that people encounter. It feels like the beginning of a wild adventure...And something for which I will have to share more about later.

Happy New Year!