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

 

Funscreen.

Ok, we all know that I mean sunscreen but does ANY TODDLER like having sunscreen applied? Maybe it just needs a new name? Funscreen. Like when I call bathtime, splashtime. No?

MAYDAY MAYDAY: Does anyone have any ideas on how to apply sunscreen to a wiggly ToddlerMonster in a fun, laughter-filled manner? Or at least in a way that gets full coverage with zero tears?

I ordered the Target Baby Box last April ($5) with some great intentions of reviewing products for all of you wonderful people that take the time to read my little blog. I wanted to give something back to you, even if that something is just more of my opinions. I did not do that. Mostly because I’m lazy. But I did discover a wonderful baby sunscreen through that Baby Box so it was totally worth it.


I highly recommend the Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sensitive Skin Lotion Zinc Oxide Sunscreen SPF 50. I have read a lot of scary articles this past spring about all of the poisonous crap in a lot of sunscreens out there in the world. I even found out that my SPF 15 face lotion was most likely going to kill me.

MAYDAY MAYDAY: Does anyone have and love a grownup face moisturizer with an SPF of at least 15?

I used the entire tiny bottle of Aveeno Sunscreen that came in the Target Baby Box and just recently had to replenish ($10.49). It goes on not-too-thick and it’s not at all greasy, but it definitely works. We have been in the sun quite a bit this summer and my little pale blond super white ghost baby has not had a single sunburn. Babystar is the whitest little marshmallow ever, so this stuff is legit!


RAISING BABYSTAR: $19,349.41

Clean Mama: the Greatest Gift of All!

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. I had a wonderful day which included an uninterrupted shower. I’m not saying that was my favorite part, but it might have been my favorite part.

(Ok, just kidding. I get to take uninterrupted showers at least once a week per my sentencing guidelines. Um, I mean, because my two older children are wonderful creatures that will distract Miss Babystar for twenty minutes so that I can wash my hair.)

While in the shower, I realized that I never added the Arbonne ABC Baby Soap to this list.

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DON’T WORRY I’M NOT GOING TO TRY TO SELL YOU ANYTHING.

I know, I know, some people freak out and run screaming (or scrolling since we are all online here) when mamas say ‘Arbonne’ or ‘Lularoe’ or ‘DoTerra’ or ‘Shakeology’ or so many other trigger words. Those poor hustling mamas are just trying to do their thing. Even if their thing is sometimes annoying. You know what else is annoying? The fact that Target emails me every single day about SOMETHING and their Cartwheel app is stupid and difficult to use. But I still love Target and I still love my #momboss friends.

Ahem. Fun(ny) fact: I accidentally became an Arbonne consultant.

Yep. I ordered shampoo and conditioner and body wash and hand lotion and mascara (PS the Arbonne mascara is crap) from a friend at a party and then offered to HOST a party for her. Then, at MY party, my teenager wanted to try the entire freaking skin care line so I ordered a bunch more stuff for her. And me. And I ordered the baby soap for Babystar. In the weird pyramid scheme math, if I paid twenty bucks or something, I could get a save even more money and get a free thing AND get 35% off of my purchased for a whole year so DUH. Of course I did it. I did not realize what was going down* until our products arrived along with a box of ten catalogs and some cool samples (yay!) and a Welcome New Consultant folder. Whoops.

*I am sure my friend explained it to me but it was the end of the night and I had several glasses of prosecco.

I don’t even know how much it cost because I paid money for a discount (does that even make sense?) and I had to spend a minimum amount to get some ‘free’ stuff so I’m just going with the basic retail price which is $21.

Babystar still prefers to EAT the Honest Creamsicle** Soap. But she likes the Arbonne ABC soap because it barely lathers. Babystar hates bubbles. Well, she LOVES bubbles outside with a bubble wand that she drips all over and gets herself all sticky so that she needs a bath. She DESPISES any bubbles in said bath. She gets all mad at them and tries to pop them all saying, ‘no bubbles, no bubbles, no bubbles.’ Like she’s on some Baby Bathtime version of Press Your Luck.

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**It’s actually called Orange-Vanilla-Something but it’s basically a Creamsicle.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $16,923.99

Cold!

Ladies and gentlemen, we have molars. Four molars. The landing was a bit bumpy, but we are in the clear.

Babystar handled it like a little champ. It only really bothered her at night, and since she sleeps with me, I heard every cry. I ended up giving her Motrin and/or Tylenol to get her through the worst of it.

Babystar was also sick for a few days so we went through the Motrin/Tylenol cycle to bring her fever down. However, she will now actually TAKE medicine so I guess that’s good. Protip: measure in the dropper but give it to Baby in a spoon. It worked for me. Good luck.

  • Infant Motrin 9.99
  • Generic infant ibuprofen 7.99
  • Infant Tylenol 9.99
  • Children’s Motrin 5.99
  • Children’s Tylenol 5.99

The trying-hard-to-be-a-cliche husband bought the children’s versions by accident, but Babystar is in the right weight class so we used them in a pinch. The bottles are sitting mostly full in the medicine cabinet though. Hopefully they don’t expire before she turns two.

I have before mentioned my love and support for Hyland’s Teeting Tablets. But. That last, recent, round of articles finally knocked me down. I am not at all actually convinced that they are harmful to Babystar. But that *what if* in the back of my head finally got loud enough for me to stop using them. Ten points to Big Pharma. Jerks.

We did the cold washcloth trick for awhile, and she liked it until she didn’t. I had some teething rings given to her long ago, and she didn’t really like those either. She very much likes chewing on frozen silicon kitchen spoons. Once we discovered this, we bought more at Home Goods ($3.99) plus a pair of pink whisks to add to her kitchen utensil collection that have nothing to do with teething but she liked them so ($3.99).

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When she wants one, she tells us ‘cold! cold!’ and points to her mouth. Good communicating, Babystar.

Do you have any teething tips? What worked? What didn’t work? How are you feeling about the Hyland’s Teething Tablet controversy (if you care at all)?

RAISING BABYSTAR: $15,351.03

 

I’ll Never Feed THIS Baby Fast Food.

HahahahahahaaHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

I totally said this when I was pregnant. And I have no fucking excuse.

Babystar is my THIRD child. I love going to Chik-fil-A with the teenagers (their food is better than their politics but it is waaaaay better and chicken sandwich love conquers all). I don’t even really care that McDonald’s french fries aren’t vegan (even though they are potatoes, right, so how–nevermind, I don’t care). This is not my first rodeo.

But I said it. All smug. And stupid. Last December, Babystar had her very first kid’s meal of her very own. And in January she had, um, a few more.

(I currently have three ‘Corduroy Gets a Pet’ board books because our local Chik-fil-A didn’t think to diversify the toddler toys this month. Also, why does a bear need a pet? Who decides which animals HAVE pets and which animals ARE pets? Does this have anything to do with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?)

  • Chik-fil-A 1-strip meal $3.35
  • Chik-fil-A 1-strip meal $3.35
  • Chik-fil-A 1-strip meal $3.35
  • Chik-fil-A 2-strip meal $4.55 (no she didn’t eat the second one)
  • Chik-fil-A fries $2.89 (we shared but they were for her)
  • Chik-fil-A 4-nugget meal $3.35
  • McDonald’s fries $2.99
  • Elevation Burger grilled cheese and oranges $3.25, $1.95

She also still loves to share with us at Shake Shack or our local pizza place (omg she LOVES going for pizza, knows the way there when we are walking, and starts yelling PIZZAPIZZAPIZZA as soon as we turn the corner). She still never eats enough to justify buying her a separate meal.

 

January groceries purchased just for Babystar:

  • Blueberries $2.99, $2.99, $1.99, 4.99
  • Strawberries $6.99, $7.59, $3.00, $5.99
  • Graham crackers $2.99, $2.99
  • Clementines $6.99
  • Sweet onion $1.71
  • Bananas $1.46 (She still won’t eat them what is happening.)
  • Opal apples $6.70, $5.91, $1.88
  • deli turkey (Can toddlers eat this? She loves it.) $3.65, $5.17
  • eggs $2.89, $3.99
  • granola bars $5.49
  • cheese $3.00, $3.00
  • cookies (yep, the kind with m&m’s in them, don’t worry I ate most of them) $2.50
  • Trader Joe’s mac & cheese with the chilis $2.99, $2.99
  • Chia seed waffles $2.99, $2.99
  • Trader Joe’s Honey-O’s $2.59
  • chocolate ice cream minis $1.39, $1.39 (Shhh, her throat was hurting.)

RAISING BABYSTAR: $14,543.67

 

 

Airplanes and Dinosaurs.

Babystar is growing out of her pajamas. I was SURE I was set for the winter. I just gave away everything up to 18 months (except for one pair of Carter’s fleece pajamas because all of Carter’s clothes run small except the fleece or terry footed pajamas and we just have to accept this fact). I am trying to squeeze some more wears out of her 18-24 months pajamas but they are basically capris. Babystar is not tall; I don’t get it. But it’s cold at night. And she hates blankets. So I bought some 2T jammies to hopefully get her through the winter. The cotton sets were buy one, get one half off. I bought two of the same, so four sets of airplane pajamas. Babystar loves airplanes. She waves to them and blows them kisses. She knows the difference between and airplane and a helicopter. It is really funny listening to her trying to say helicopter. The fleece dinosaur two-pack was on clearance. She also loves dinosaurs. Yes, I bought these in the ‘Toddler Boys’ department but she legit loves dinosaurs and airplanes. Which she learned about from her pink laptop and the sky, respectively. Also, why are airplanes and dinosaurs for boys and not girls? Many girls ride in AND fly airplanes. Amelia Earhart, anyone? (Ok, maybe she is a bad example.) And I happen to know from watching Jurassic Park that there were DEFINATELY girl dinosaurs. So, what’s the deal?

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Also, I did LOOK in the ‘Toddler Girls’ section for airplanes. I found two shirts on clearance for $2.25 each, but no airplane pajamas.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $13,527.96

To Grandma’s House We Went.

I used to love Thanksgiving, back in the last millennium when I was but a wee little one. Thanksgiving meant a break from school, lots of cousins, and extra desserts. It was the beginning of the holiday season. My dad had a big family all close together, so I remember folding tables for MILES that stretched through doorways into adjoining rooms. We kids were running and tumbling everywhere, or more often banished upstairs or outside (depending on the weather), where we got into all kinds of mischief. Ouija boards and naked Barbie dolls feature prominently in my childhood memories.

But now. Everyone has moved away or passed away or simply doesn’t hang out together anymore. My husband is an only child. I live pretty far from most of my family. Air travel is so damn expensive this week. We used to have a LOVELY lonely Hard Candy Christmas type of Thanksgiving with just us and the cats, with the two older children at their dad’s house and the Babystar not yet existing. WHY does having a baby come with certain holiday expectations? My in-laws moved to Myrtle Beach about five minutes before I got pregnant with Babystar (or I doubt they would have made the move). And so we tortured the teenager and the toddler on Interstate 95 last week.

I despise I-95. Fuck that road. The actual visit was lovely, though.

We did break up the trip on the way down because the baby cannot stand more than five hours in the car. Total, all day. After that begins the screamy times. Also, it cannot be dark. Also, someone must hold her hand at all times. Also, people must be singing. People she actually KNOWS, not people from the radio. Dance music isn’t fun unless we can actually dance. DUH, MOM.

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So anyway, that $136.53 at the Hampton Inn is on Babystar’s tab. We could have driven straight through without her along.

Once we arrived, Myrtle Beach was a whirlwind of food and shopping. I wasn’t mad at all. My MIL is a very good cook, even though she always pretends not to be very hungry while she passing me the gravy. Or the butter. Or the cupcakes and ice cream with peanut butter cups on top. Of both.

And that woman is FIRE at the mall. Do you remember that episode of Gilmore Girls where Lorelei and Rory run into Emily at the mall and everyone there knows her? And they know all about Lorelei and Rory too, just by association? It was like that, if Emily Gilmore was much nicer. The teenager and I just watched in awe. I am not even kidding. The dude at the Cinnabon kiosk had her coffee ready when she walked by. One lady at a department store recognized her immediately and told her all about the sales on the ceramic pumpkins that she has had her eye on for two months. A lady in the shoe department knew that the Teenager was a gymnast without being told, and had been thinking about the perfect boots for her since before the Teenager even knew that she was getting boots. A different lady at a different department store gave me hella free samples including actual travel sizes with my Kiehl’s purchase because I was with Emily Gilmore my MIL. I straight up asked her (out of MIL’s hearing) if she was being so nice because I was with MIL, and she looked me straight in the eyes, smiled, and gave a single nod. I buy Kiehl’s at home all the time and they maybe give me two samples of lotion. If I ask nicely.

We did pop out to the outlets once on our own and while the Teenager and I were standing in line, my sweet husband distracted the baby by going to look at the ‘dogs’ at the weird outlet mall kiosk. $13 later, we owned one of those yippy beasts.

We also took a walk one day and found ourselves at a playground and then at Barnes & Noble where we spent way too much time (and money) in the children’s section. We brought home three board books and one story book for $45.32. Yes, they probably would have been less on Amazon, but it feels good to support a brick & mortar book store. I never would have said that about a chain bookstore even ten years ago, but now even the chains are dying. RIP Borders.

Another day, we went down to the boardwalk for a bit. The sand was cold but the ocean was beautiful. We watched the sun set and then Babystar got excited about all the lights. She had fun running around the arcades pushing blinking buttons and getting some wiggles out. And I bought her a $5 piece of crap light up thingy that she IMMEDIATELY bashed against the boardwalk until it broke. It still lit up for another two hours or so. It is in the trash now.

The WORST part of the trip was that it would have been considered rude to binge watch the new Gilmore Girls and the Teenager is so busy during the school week and we will have to wait over a week to see what is up with Rory and Lorelei. We have cleared Sunday evening’s schedule and now I just have to avoid spoilers. I’m scared, y’all. I might google in a moment of weakness. Like a 4am insomnia moment of weakness. Please keep me in your prayers.

The ride home was straight through, though broken up by fast food play places and one actual restaurant. We had snacks from South Carolina and the food on our plates and the ever present mama milk so the only cost to feed her was the $3 cookie I bought her at the fancy grown-up restaurant to eat while we ate our actual dinner. Judge me, I don’t care. I was hungry and desperate. I do not recommend this at all but it TOTALLY works in an actual meltdown-avoidance-emergency.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $13,485.59

 

A Thank You Gift.

It is late November and all around Internet World, everyone is posting about Thankfulness. Over half of the posts I see are about Thankfulness and Pumpkin Spice and the Best Way to Cook a Turkey. (Answer: Let someone else do it.)

I am so very thankful for many things.

I am thankful that I am lucky enough to stay home to take care of this ToddlerMonster.

I am thankful that my teenagers are good at board games and my husband brings home random chocolaty treats.

I am thankful for dry shampoo.

And I am thankful for you. Every single person reading this. THANK YOU!

I got you a present.

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Enter here!

I bought an extra Smart Bottoms Rainbow Star (it’s not really called that but it should be) cloth diaper at MommyCon this summer and it’s been sitting on the shelf (unused, I promise), just waiting for you! I only have one, so we gotta do the raffle thing. (This diaper is so bright and pretty — there is no filter on that photo!) a Rafflecopter giveaway

I love this print! It’s a Lil’ Tulips exclusive print called Incandescent Adventure and I have it (or it’s horizontal cousin, Luminescent Adventure) in diapers, a wet bag, and a BEAUTIFUL Tula baby carrier. I love it. I kind of want to keep it. But I love you too so I want to share. The giveaway is open until the end of November, and I will announce the winner on December 1st. Good luck! (US and Canada only please. Sorry. Those shipping prices, tho.)

We have a winner! Congratulations to Marissa P.!

RAISING BABYSTAR: $13,282.74

Restraint.

The other day after a fun hour or so at Busy Bees ($15 but we also went today so $30 total), we popped into Target for granola bars. (We eat a LOT of granola bars in our house and they are cheapest in the big box at Target. Well, they are REALLY cheap in the giant box at Costco, but the teenagers won’t eat the peanut butter flavored ones so it’s not really a good deal after all because I don’t want to eat thirty peanut butter flavored granola bars. Ever, really, but certainly not every month. I digress.)

I found the cutest holiday outfit for Babystar and I did not buy it. Repeat: I WENT TO TARGET AND DID NOT BUY ANY BABY CLOTHES.

You guys, it had stars (mandatory), sparkle, and it was not a dress! Perfection with matching shoes! AND I DID NOT BUY THIS.

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The outfit was $16.99 and the shoes were $22.99 but you know what? She already has a perfectly fine holiday outfit — the same one that she wore for her dedication. It’s a dress, but she will live. I don’t need to spend $40 for a new outfit. That’s not to say that I won’t crack change my mind and buy it later. Especially if it goes on sale. But for now: RESTRAINT. I bought my granola bars and went home.

And then the very next day? I went into Carter’s to return the extra Halloween costumes that I had stressbought (which should be a word) and once again I had so much restraint! Ok, so I did exchange the Halloween items instead of return them. I traded them for a five-pack of onesies, size 24 months, and a very cute long sleeve shirt. Babystar only had two onesies that fit and I like to layer in the winter. And just look at this long sleeve t-shirt. Everything was on sale and I only owed $1.28 at the register. Not bad. RESTRAINT.

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I don’t know what has gotten in to me. Or yes, I do. I have watched this adorable human grow out of season after season of clothes. I have given away items that I know she never wore — or only wore a couple of times. I have watched that number at the bottom of each post creep higher and higher and it is downright terrifying.

And I have another theory. I am finally getting enough sleep. My brain is more able to function properly. (Sort of. I still forget where I am going on the way to the park. And I kind of already forgot my point.) But sometimes, when the planets are aligned properly, I can use my deductive reasoning skills and my common sense and all of the other cool smart lady traits I know I still possess (somewhere) and stop BUYING ALL OF THE STUFF for this small creature that will wear the same clothes every day and not care at all and only wants to play with tampon boxes and the mixing bowls anyway.

Anyone else ever have a similar epiphany?

RAISING BABYSTAR: $13,266.46

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FURTHER RESTRAINT: I am not blogging every day per the NaBloPoMo guidelines. I don’t really have that much to talk about and I hate spam. Many of you doing NaBloPoMo are killing it. Good for you. I like following along. I am not killing it. And I am sort of fine with that.

 

Apple Hack.

Like pretty much every ToddlerMonster on the planet, Babystar loooooves fruit.

Autumn is tricky, though, because apples are in season. And apples want to choke my baby so very badly.

(Yes, I know about pears. I love pears. Babystar loves pears. But they are sosososososo SO SO messy. They are delicious and sticky and drippy and apparently VERY FUN to squish in a tiny fist before licking off of a tiny hand. So I’ve heard. We eat pears just before bath time. Or if we don’t have anywhere to be for a few hours. We rarely eat pears for breakfast because the clean up time is ridiculous.)

I also know that this is 2016 and I can get any fruit any time. I’m not a strict locavore, but I do like to pay attention to the seasons. Out-of-season fruit is EXPENSIVE. And even more importantly, out-of-season fruit is kind of gross and tasteless. So here we are: Apple Season.

Babystar thinks applesauce is baby food. I make homemade freaking delicious cinnamon applesauce but she hates it. Whatever; more for me. However, the grandparents brought us a peck of delicious yummy apples from an orchard in Maryland so we have apples for days WEEKS and I had to figure out a way to slice them that Little Miss Five Teeth could eat without choking. And I got tired of peeling apples all the time.

This seems to work.

  1. Use the apple corer as per usual.
  2. Use a knife to cut one regular human sized slice into three or four thin baby-bitable slices.
  3. Score the peel so that the bits are so small that she can swallow them whole.

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Voila! ToddlerMonster-safe apple slices!*

RAISING BABYSTAR: $13,235.18

*I am not a doctor or nutritionist or in any way qualified to tell you how to feed your child. Your toddler might choke on apples. Your very small baby probably WILL choke on apples. You know your kid better than I do.

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