Wash Me.

I paid the Teenager $20 so that I could shower.

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To be more clear: I paid the Teenager $20 for two hours of babysitting so that I could vacuum and then take a long, hot shower that was worth every penny. (Also, there are like fifty filters on that picture because that is NOT how I look freshly showered.)

While in the shower, I realized that I have not added the cost of Babystar’s latest baby soaps. We bought the two-pack of Honest Creamsicle (or vanilla orange whatever) at Costco again, months ago. We are almost out of both, but they do almost last forever. Which is amazing because both because Babystar considers it a snack food AND she gets a bath every night. $14.99.

(I am lucky to get two showers in the same week. How did this happen?)

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(There are zero filters on this picture because my bathroom tile is SO PRETTEEEEE.)

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I haven’t added in laundry detergent since last May. I estimate I use about one extra box per month washing Babystar’s clothes and diapers. Sometimes less, sometimes more, but it’s a good average for now. And now I know that a box of Arm & Hammer from Harris Teeter (literally all we buy) is $8.46 with tax. So, $8.46 from June of last year is $109.98. I’ll add a box of laundry detergent each month to her monthly food post starting in August.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $19,761.37

 

 

Two Years in (and out of) Cloth Diapers.

I wrote about cloth diapering after a year in cloth already, and it is full of good information that is all still true.

All of the lessons I had learned still apply: diversify your stash, buy a diaper sprayer, resist the aftermarket (if you can and want to but at least be aware of it but maybe don’t completely resist the aftermarket because I will hopefully be selling some diapers within the year).

I still wish that I had used covers and flats for the HUGE money savings. Especially now that Babystar is wearing so many disposable diapers (yep) while the pretty easy-to-use all-in-ones sit quietly in the drawer.

Cloth diapering an infant is super easy and almost fun. The only downside is the extra laundry but I was doing laundry anyway. In fact, I barely had time to get dressed so there wasn’t really extra laundry, since I never changed my clothes. Infants have like one hundred diaper changes per day. (Ok, maybe fourteen-ish.) I enjoyed seeing my sweet newborn baby in cute cloth diapers and if there is any way at all to enjoy changing diapers, CARPE THAT DIEM.)


Cloth diapering a growing but relatively stationary baby is still pretty easy. Yes, the poop gets grosser, but the volume of poop is still reasonable. You know, for poop. And sure, it smells bad, but y’all, toddler poop smells REAL BAD.

Ok, I’m going to stop talking about poop now. Probably not forever, though.

The biggest challenge I’ve faced in cloth diapering my toddler is all of the tiny adventures every day. Between parks and libraries and soft play rooms (and Target), we go ALL of the places ALL of the time. Toddlers gotta GO, man. Babystar will just put on her shoes and head to the door talking about a ‘bye-bye.’ With no regard for pants.

When she was smaller, the diaper bag was mostly full of diapers. Cloth diapers and wet bags for the dirty ones take up a lot of space, AND REMEMBER, you have to carry the dirty diapers around with you at least until you get back to the car. (And they are heavier  once they are used.) Now that she is a person with opinions and advanced nutritional requirements, the diaper bag is full of snacks and her water bottle and my water bottle and at least two changes of (bigger) clothes and sunscreen and bug spray and sunglasses and books and probably some toys that she MUST HAVE but will not play with and there isn’t much room left for the cloth diapers. (And the disposable diapers are SO LIGHT. But yes, they will sit in a landfill until the end of time so I still try hard to use the cloth at home and during our shorter adventures.)

I use a cute striped Steve Madden backpack as a diaper bag. It has a lot of pockets but it was NOT AT ALL made to be a diaper bag. It looks like it belongs on a trendy tween in 2008.


I bought an actual diaper bag long ago that I literally never use. It isn’t a backpack and I NEED my hands free. The actual diaper bag is cool in that it will hang on a stroller but Babystar refuses strollers with me: this is the hidden downside of baby wearing. So maybe the answer for me is a better backpack-style diaper bag? Does anyone have recommendations?

I haven’t added in the cost of diapers in awhile (but they are still on the list). We bought the giant Aldi pack for $10.89 and I ADORE that price. The diapers are fine, but they do not at all work for overnight use. As long as you change the diaper after each pee, they are fine. Just beware of blowouts. I usually buy Target brand Up and Up diapers. I had been buying them by the 28-pack but after a good look in the mirror, I started buying the larger boxes. It’s a great deal at $14.99 and the diapers work well for Babystar. We never have overnight leaks and blowouts are super rare. (I’ve bought two boxes since the beginning of June. I have a bunch left so I’m maybe doing better than I think with the cloth.)

I guess my only new lesson is to be prepared for the bulkiness. I know I need a better diaper bag and a better system. I am loathe to buy a crazy expensive diaper bag now that Babystar is already two, though. But a better system could be free! Maybe I can pack less in the diaper bag and have a wet bag full of more emergency rations in the car?

MAYDAY MAYDAY: Do you cloth diaper a toddler? What are your tips for diapering on-the-go?

 RAISING BABYSTAR: $19,550.73

 

Out, Damned Toxins.

Out, I say. Get thee chemical self beyond my house!

Yes, perhaps I am being over-dramatic. But maybe not.

As I have mentioned over and over again, our home had the Plague for a full month. Many plagues in succession, actually. So I bought some Clorox bleach wipes and cleaned everything. Every. Thing.

What is better for Babystar to lick — bleach or germs? I genuinely don’t know. I DO know that the bleach destroyed the skin on my hands. The infinite hand washing likely did not help either. (Oh snap, I AM Lady Macbeth!)

I love Babyganics high chair and toy cleaning spray, but it has been out of stock at Target and Babies R Us whenever I have checked for the past two month. We ordered some from Amazon and seriously WHY didn’t I just do this earlier? It was $7.98 for two bottles.

During the height of the plague, Babystar got a diaper rash. She rarely gets diaper rash, and it could have happened for many reasons: she was sick, she was wearing disposable diapers for weeks, and she had a LOT of extra poopy diapers which meant a LOT of wipes against her skin. I can fix two of these things.

She’s back in cloth diapers. (I do not know for sure that the disposable diapers CAUSED her rash; Target brand disposables do not usually cause a rash and we use them as her overnight diapers. Ironically, Babyganics diapers DO cause a rash along the elastic edge but I think she is just sensitive to something in those particular diapers. Anyway.)

And after lots of research, we ordered a box of Water Wipes for $31.79 from Amazon. We had been using the Costco wipes with no issue, but I think the recent extra diaper changes using these wipes could have caused the rash. I totally, scientifically, tested one of the Costco wipes on my own (clean) bootie to see how it felt. It stung. Poor baby. Hopefully the Water Wipes will live up to the hype. (I totally tested them on myself already and there was no sting at all. It was a bit cold, though.)


Can we start a freaky internet challenge like planking and tebowing and owling (w.t.f.) called, um, wiping(??) where we test baby wipes on ourselves? Probably not; it would get X-rated pretty quickly. But I highly encourage every parent (DADS TOO)  to test your baby’s wipes on yourself. You know, in the privacy of your own bathroom or youtube channel or whatever. It totally stung and kind of blew my mind.

Yes. YES. I challenge you all to try using your baby’s wipes on your own bits. Report back. Let’s get real.

Oh, also relating to this dark time of winter, we bought a humidifier ($49.99), we bought an extra 3-pack of pacifiers to switch them out more often ($6.99), and we paid a $15 co-pay at the doctor’s office. Y’all. The humidifier is an elephant. Meet Elly.

RAISING BABYSTAR:  $15,272.14

Back to Cloth.

With few exceptions, Babystar has been in disposable diapers for about a month now. I started when I packed the bag for the Women’s March last month and disposables were so much lighter. I kept her in disposables through a bathroom renovation that took away my access to the diaper sprayer for a week. Then we all got sick and now we are better but yet the disposable diapers remain on the baby.

I’m not gonna lie — I don’t hate them. They are not as cute as the cloth diapers, but they definitely have their benefits.

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But today we are back in cloth. Let’s do this!


We bought eleven packs of diapers during this glorious, lazy month. The Target brand was somehow always on sale for $4.99. Score! So $54.89 for almost a month. Eh. The fancy cloth we use costs $30-35 each. I think you CAN save money using cloth but I definitely did NOT.

(We still have disposables left but we also still use them at night and on Sundays in the church nursery.)

RAISING BABYSTAR: $14,738.38

Babies Having Babies.

So apparently little Babystar tried to shoplift a Bitty Baby from the American Girl store at the Grove while we were in LA last month. Ok, I wasn’t there, but the Teenager says she picked up the box that was almost as big as her and was like, see ya.

Don’t worry. The taller, more law-abiding family members present intervened.

I wasn’t there THAT day (because I was at a taping of The Price is Right with my over-18 and therefore eligible son but no we did not win anything not even a new living room set or his and hers golf clubs but you can watch for me in the audience on October 25) but I WAS there a couple of days ago at Target when she spotted the baby dolls.

We take the toddlermonster to Target sometimes on rainy days to run out her wiggles. Sorry, Target. She sometimes rearranges your displays. I really do my best to fix them. Mostly. Anyway. We went there for a single pack of college ruled notebook paper for the Teenager and for some indoor sprintingfor Babystar. I somehow spent $100. Damn you, Target, you sorceress!

And now the Baby has a baby. And the Baby’s baby has a stroller. $12.99 and $9.99 respectively. (For comparison, Bitty Baby is $60 and her super fancy tiny jogging stroller is $58. Jeez, Mattel.) So I basically SAVED almost $100 because that is how shopping math works, right?

Babystar loooooves her baby. It is the cutest thing ever. I have had to be resuscitated at least five times now because I FREAKING DIE when she cuddles that baby. But then she eats the baby’s feet and throws the baby on the floor and the universe makes sense again.

Fun fact: I had to draw a belly button on the baby doll with a Sharpie because Babystar is obsessed with belly buttons and this baby didn’t have one. I bet Bitty Baby has one. Ugh.*

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I also bough a pack of Target brand diapers (highly recommend) for $6.49.

And the baby found a fort.

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RAISING BABYSTAR: $12,170.57

*I have nothing against Bitty Baby. Just kidding, I DO. $58 for the stroller?! $75 for a cradle?! The dresses are more than I spend on my ACTUAL BABY. I went down the American Girl path with the Teenager and I will.not.do.it.again. Ok, so I am HIGHLY PREJUDICED against Bitty Baby. Sorry, little plastic baby. NOT SORRY, Mattel.

Ikea > Disneyworld.

I went to Ikea again the other day. And by the other day, I mean two months ago. Or was it three? The POINT is, I went to Ikea and I was reminded how much I FREAKING LOVE IKEA.

I had read on dirtydiaperlaundry.com that Ikea was selling a thing that was not called a flat diaper but basically was a flat diaper so I went to check it out. I use all-in-one (AIO) cloth diapers for Babystar, but I have a stack of leaky BumGenius Elemental diapers and I was looking for a fix. I bought a two-pack for $4.99 (one is plain white but the other has stars – swoon) and just so you know — no, they did not fix my problem. Folding up the flat and adding it behind the attached cotton of the Elemental DID stop the pee from leaking but it made the diaper too puffy to be practical. I guess I could cut the flats in half. Or buy half-size diaper flats online somewhere. Or cut the cotton out of the Elementals to turn them into covers. But then I’m no longer really using AIOs which I have kind of gotten used to so I will probably just sell the BumGenius Elementals. I have enough Smart Bottoms and Blueberry Diapers now. And the stupid Smart Bottoms are leaking now too. Long live Blueberry.

BUT I DIGRESS.

Ikea is my bae. Which is teenspeak for luv-ah. I think.

I also bought a pack of popsicle makers for $2.99 to save for when Babystar starts teething. Which is right freaking now as she is getting eight teeth all at the same time. Poor Babystar. So I had to find the popsicle thingies which reminded me that I bought them hence this post.

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If you are wondering, I made the popsicles using some of the frozen baby food cubes from the freezer (thawed in fridge then repurposed) from her puree protest from the summer. I mixed pureed fruit with yogurt and swirled it a bit before refreezing. She enjoyed it but wouldn’t hold it by herself. Lazy baby.

I have loved Ikea since we met many years ago, but my love has def grown deeper wandering that Cave of Wonders with a smol one.

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First of all, there is nothing more boring than waiting in line while your mother returns something. Oh, but look, there is a cool giant toy thingy to play with over here. Nm, take your time, mom.

Did you guys know about this secret room for parents with a comfy chair for nursing and a play table to occupy older kids and a changing table with mobiles hanging over it and FREE FREAKING DIAPERS if you run out and books to calm a cranky toddler and this room is a miracle and I never even noticed it until I had Babystar with me and was looking for a place to nurse her. I think it’s some sort of Hogwarts-esque (or would that be Durmstrang?) Room of Requirement that you can only see/enter with a child. I am only 70% joking. (For those of you Woodbridge Ikea patrons, it’s near the restrooms that are near the restaurant that is near the children’s section.)

And speaking of the children’s section.

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This is the greatest high chair ever and it’s only $19.99. Don’t be fooled by that sign that shows $14.99. The tray is an extra five bucks. We had this high chair long before I was even pregnant with Babystar because my niece visited enough that she needed her own place to sit. And it’s minimalist enough to just blend into the house without screaming BABYBABYBABY.

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Same deal with these bowls and forks and spoons and plates and stuff. So cheap. So useful for when Littles are visiting. I have bought a few more packs now that Babystar eats here daily. And I can toss a bowl and fork or whatever in the travel bag and if it gets lost, ok. Not ideal, but ok. They are so inexpensive and perfectly sized. Thank you, Ikea.

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This little boat is the best bath toy ever. My sister bought it while visiting with her son and left it and it is super cool. The little cups stack on top and one pours and one has holes in the bottom to make a shower in the bath when filled with water. Plus it’s a boat. Babystar loves it.

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The play area is the bomb dot com. Yes, I know they are trying to sell me these things. (Don’t worry. I’m sure will buy them.) It is clean. Clean. I’m telling you, I have recently been paying attention and most ‘kid’s play areas’ are not very clean. And it’s full of actual fun things. I did not post those random kids there. In fact, I had to wait until none were showing their faces because I wanted a picture but wanted to respect other’s privacy. It took awhile because the kids were having so much fun. (I just pretended to be texting.)

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These are the flat diapers sold as ‘burp cloths.’ Did you see the stars? You see the stars, right? Too cute.

I also bought Babystar a set of child-sized kitchen utensils for $3.99 that day a few months ago. I see one or two of them every once in awhile. She loves them but hides them all over the place like a squirrel. At least this one is in the kitchen, right?

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RAISING BABYSTAR: $12,141.10

 

Vacation, Baby.

We just got back from a looooong but fuuuuun vacation in California.

And boy are my arms tired. Or something like that.

And then right away school started for the Teenager and I’m just finding a moment with my laptop friend today. Hey, boo.

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Babystar sleeps with me and still mostly shares our food out at restaurants so she really didn’t cost that much. She’s under two and we flew domestically so she was even free to fly. On the way home we did have an extra seat that was randomly empty in one of our rows thank goodness but we didn’t pay for it.

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We did feed her though. Over half of the trip was spent in a super cool apartment in West Hollywood via AirBnB. It was very close to a Whole Foods. Guess what I learned? I really like Whole Foods brand diapers. (I did not bring cloth diapers because the other parts of the trip were in two different hotels and just no.) We also shopped at Trader Joe’s, Target and some oddly named store in downtown LA called Smart and Final. (WTH kind of name is that?) And H&M and we ordered actual food for her in restaurants a COUPLE of times.

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  • Whole Foods brand diapers $10.99
  • Chia waffles $3.29
  • ice cream sandwiches $4.39 (she was teething, shhhhh, i know.)
  • elbow macaroni $1.69
  • garlic alfredo sauce $3.69
  • clementines $2.99
  • bananas $2.03
  • cheese sticks $4.99
  • TJ brand cheerios $2.99
  • quart of milk $1.99
  • Luvs diapers $7.39
  • back seat mirror* $14.99
  • various Gerber-fruit-snack-veggie-puff things $16.82
  • Nuetrogena 60SPF baby sunscreen $11.69
  • Hyland’s teething tablets $8.99
  • Pampers $9.69
  • strawberries $2.99
  • children’s ibuprofen $4.99
  • pint of milk $1.49
  • cheese sticks $4.19
  • pear $0.72
  • bananas $1.70

Total for groceries purchased specifically for Babystar (even though we shared a little bit and she shared some of ours): $124.69

Meals out purchased just for Babystar:

  • grilled fish and fries $7.99
  • grilled cheese and fried $5.95
  • fruit cup x 2 $8.50
  • add 20% to all those for tip $4.48

Also we bought her a Venice Beach tee BUT NOT REALLY because it was Buy 2, Get 1 Free so we bought them for all of us girls. Hers was cheapest, therefore free. We did buy a few things at H&M though: a dress for $3 and a tank top for $3.

Who says babies are expensive? Oh, right. Me.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $12,021.13

*I already have backseat mirrors for both cars here at home, but I couldn’t stand not seeing her in her car seat. So I bought one, and it’s currently attached to the crib where she enjoys peeping herself while playing in the crib. Which she totally does for like five minutes each day (while I spray her diapers).

Shoes. Finally, shoes.

 

I have been trying FOREVER to find shoes for Babystar. She freaks out whenever I put them on her feet. I did buy some tennis shoes but I really really really wanted some sandals that she would allow near her toes before our sunny vacation.

Nope.

No sandals. Nothing goes in between the toes. She’s a little weirdo but that’s fine.

I scaled back my dreams a little and went looking for some shoes that she could wear without socks. I sort of thought Crocs would be the answer, but I haven’t been able to find any (in a store) in her size. And I don’t want to buy them online without first having them pass the Scream Test.

The Teenager and I took Babystar to check out the local children’s resale shop that is going out of business. (Surprise, surprise.) I still hated them even at 75% off, but the children’s resale shop next door (slightly less awful but still not great) was also having a sale. And Babystar let me put shoes on her feet! And she walked around in them and did not even cry. I bought a pair of black Mary Jane-type shoes that she can wear without socks. Maybe she just needed another baby to break them in for her. Thanks, Other Baby. They are a brand called Scribbles and I cannot find them anywhere online. So she better never grow out of this pair. I also bought her a pair of $7 ballet slippers (actual ballet shoes OMG SO CUTE) because she wore them too and walked around and everything. Plus I just want her to feel comfortable in ballet slippers. I am Team Ballet and the Teenager is Team Gymnastics so I think this might give me an edge.

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Oh, and we bought two more outfits. They were on sale. $6 each and super cute.

She definitely digs the shoes. She insisted on toddling around Target while ‘back-to-school’ shopping with the Teenager. She did not protest the shoes at all.

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I think she wants me to buy her a slide. I did not.

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I did, however, buy her a cute purple shirt with a star on it ($4.50), a pack of Luvs diapers ($7.39) for the plane ride and to get us started on vacation, and a box of jumbo crayons ($2.99) to maybe entertain her for twelve seconds of our plane ride.

And I MAY have ordered two more rainbow Blueberry diapers when they were listed on Lil Tulip’s website last night while I was drinking prosecco and watching the Olympics. I had a $15 credit so they were ‘only’ $54.90. Shhhhhhhh. I’ll just put it here at the bottom of this post and hope no one notices. OMG I’m officially a cloth diaper addict. Ok. Here we go. Cold turkey.

So does anyone know where to buy Scribbles baby shoes? Or did Babystar actually decide she only likes this rare, out-of-print, like Icelandic or something brand of shoes? Ugh, she’s such a hipster. Any help is suuuuper welcome.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $11,834.93

Shorts for Shortie.

It’s too hot for clever puns.

It’s too hot to be funny.

And it’s too hot to wear pants.

We are about to go on vacation to a sunny locale for two whole weeks and I am so excited and if you know where I live, please do not rob my house. (Vin Deisel and seven dobermans are housesitting, btw.)

Do you use cloth diapers? We use cloth diapers. But I am not going to take them on vacation. I wavered back and forth because the cloth diapers are so cute and they are what she is used to and that airplane diaper blowout last year on the way to Vancouver scarred me for life. But I don’t really have the room to bring them and I don’t really have the desire to don rubber gloves and clean poopy diapers without a diaper sprayer and I don’t want to risk ruining them in an unknown laundromat. So. Disposable diapers it is. And that is so not the end of the world. (I’m secretly relieved. Sorry, Mama Earth.)

But I needed to buy Babystar some shorts. Her summer outfit of a diaper and tee won’t really work with disposables. She literally had two pairs of shorts before this weekend.

I had a credit at Gymboree from returning some pajamas sent by my very sweet MIL. She was sweet enough to send the receipt, too, and Babystar has tons of pajamas so we made a trade. All this (after the credit of about thirty bucks) for $6.90. The skirts have shorts underneath, the sunglasses are nice and bendy, and everything was on sale.

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I also bought these four pairs of shorts plus one tank top for $3 each on sale at H&M. Super cute, and now she’s all set for vacay!

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Have you traveled with cloth diapers? Would you do it again?

 

RAISING BABYSTAR: $11,729.64

 

Rainbow Bright.

Ok, this time I SWEAR I am done buying cloth diapers. I was really sad that I only bought one of these bright pretty rainbow Blueberry Diapers at MommyCon so when I saw them for sale at Holistic Parent, I bought one. Just one. So now I have two. I kind of want three. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!

(I’ve decided I have to sell the bumGenius Elementals. Love the colors. Love the prints. Do not love that she overflows them with pee. I am not trying to convince you to buy them or anything. I am really just trying to justify this purchase. To my family, maybe. Who might be reading this. STOP JUDGING ME.)

So pretty, tho.

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RAISING BABYSTAR: $11,456.81