Thursday, February 24, 2011

Last one standing

Before my son was born, I had a whole closet full of wipes and dipes ready to go thinking it'd be months before I'd ever have to buy any. Then they disappeared. Then we kept buying them. It was getting a little old, and long story short, we gradually switched to cloth diapers. We bought our last Pampers before Christmas and have only been using one here and there if he had a rash, etc. And now, at the end of February, we have ONE from that pack of 30-something of them left.
I guess the Pampers in the closet felt like a safety net of sorts. I kept thinking when I ran out that I would never buy any again, but I am fairly certain we will have to end up with some at some point. So, the big question is, how long will this single diaper last me? When will I give in and buy another pack?

It'd be pretty cool if I could kiss them goodbye for good.

Monday, February 21, 2011

You can't always get what you want

Let me preface this by saying that as I am typing I have a rambunctious toddler sitting in front of me watching Barney. Watching him never gets any less satisfying. Sometimes I am overwhelmed with emotion just at the sight of his smile, or the sound of his laughing or learning to say a new word.

But, there was a time when I didn't know him yet. A time when I couldn't see past his delivery. I thought about it constantly, assuring myself that I would be bad-ass. I wouldn't need pain meds or Pitocin or a C-section. I'd have the natural delivery of my dreams because I was tough enough. Because my mother delivered my 11-pound brother. Because I wanted what was best for my baby.

First photo with our little bruiser back on Oct. 31, 2009.
Sometimes wanting something isn't enough, unfortunately, and instead of the perfect delivery, literally right out of the gate I wasn't the mother I envisioned myself to be. Later, as I read more from the natural parenting movement that so often derides the C-section "epidemic," I have alternated from feeling guilty, embarrassed or ashamed to feeling defensive and pretty perturbed. While I don't always agree with everything crunchy, a natural childbirth was my ideal way to kick off parenting. What could be greener and better for all involved? But I failed.

Long, long story short (and one that's pretty hazy now, 16 months later) I went through labor pretty much every way possible before my son was finally delivered by C-section. I made it many hours drug free, then gave in and got a little IV relief. Hours later, I succumbed to the epidural. Hours after that, and I still couldn't deliver my baby. All told it was about 28 hours, my son was 9 pounds. We didn't set any kind of a record, he just simply was lodged at my pelvis and not coming out, regardless of how well I was or wasn't dealing with the pain. Immediately after, my thoughts were that if labor is always like this, one is plenty. Days later, I was asking the doctor if I would always have to have C-sections. Now over a year later, I am back to thinking I can someday have the natural delivery I wanted someday. There has been quite a roller coaster of emotions in between.

I'm left still believing that natural childbirth is ideal, but that I might not have had a healthy baby boy without C-sections. Sure, they are probably performed unnecessarily at times, but I believe that more babies and moms are surviving nowadays than ever before, and that can't be so bad. Next time, hoping there is one, I will be way more prepared to give it another go. It's going to take more than willpower to get through labor for me.

In the end, I am thankful for my C-section and confident I did the best I could given the circumstances. True, I didn't get what I wanted: That kid is more amazing than I could have even hoped for.
Search for childbirth

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What's for lunch Wednesday: So many uses for tortillas

A messy but tasty lunch at day care.
I've got a new staple in my pantry: Wrap-Itz.

I started buying these whole-wheat tortillas a month ago when I did a diet (The Game On! Diet) with some co-workers that challenged us to avoid white flour and sugar. I had tried other whole-wheat tortillas before that we didn't like at all, but these are awesome, not only for me but for my toddler.

Best I can tell they don't have any negative ingredients, but they taste good. I used them for the "toddler pizza" recipe, for a turkey and cheese roll-up and now that we've introduced peanut butter the possibilities are endless.

Here's one lunch I feel pretty good about being healthy for my son:

PB & C Roll-Up:

Take one Wrap-Itz whole wheat tortilla (, and spread on the following: 1 tablespoon reduced-fat cream cheese, one tablespoon natural peanut butter, and about half a jar sweet potato baby food or some
pureed baked sweet potato. Roll it up and let 'em gobble.

Monday, February 14, 2011

One crisis at a time

It's taken me well over a year to figure it out. This Friday actually marks two years to the day since I got that earth-shattering positive pregnancy test. Wow, how life has changed. But, here I am almost two years later and I have finally figured out one of the important psychological truths of parenting (or at least how I've experienced and seen most others experience it): We obsess about one thing at a time.
It's always something. ALWAYS. There's always one thing occupying your thoughts, and as soon as it's solved, something else is waiting in the wings. For me, it has gone probably something like this since that fateful day I got a blue plus sign: morning sickness, kidney stones, nursery, baby gear, delivery, nursing/sleeping, going back to work, introducing solids, sleeping all night, crawling/walking/speaking, switching to cloth diapers, washing cloth diapers correctly, poor eating, getting Tucker back in his crib. ... There might have been some minor and major ones I am leaving out.'
The key thing is, and it's actually pretty funny if you think about it, is that our minds seem to have the energy to only focus on one crisis before it can move onto the next. Like I said, as soon as you get it figured out, then the next one is right there. I don't think it's that babies or pregnancy only actually create one problem at a time, that's for sure!

Realizing this, if I go about it right, can hopefully help me relax a little bit. The crisis always passes and I always pick something to obsess about. Maybe I can try to break the cycle a little. Nah, probably not.
With a blog about worry, I choose a photo to remind me of wonderful, warm, worry-free times. All winter long I have had plenty of time to be stuck inside sweating the small stuff, but there are brighter days ahead! This was June 2009, when I was 18-19 weeks pregnant with my baby boy.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Don't knock it 'til you've been there

OK, I couldn't think of a witty song title for this one. My excuse is that my son was sick last week, and now my husband is. I haven't had time to do the dishes, let alone be witty. I'll be so glad when this winter is over once and for all.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a situation we're going through that's made me think about the things I am saying/want to say on this blog: Our bed problem.

Yea, you're real cute 'til it's 3:30 a.m.and you're standing there.
From the days of pregnancy, as I have said a million times, I started formulating what kind of mom I wanted to be and what the rules of my household would be. One I was sure of is that I would NOT have a baby in my bed. I like my sleep. I like my bed. I like bending one leg slightly and stretching the other out as far as I can so that my foot is out from under the covers. A baby would cramp my style.And this has been totally fine for us, until now. Last week the little one had roseola, which meant a high fever that we didn't know the source of for a couple of days. Which meant we made an exception to the no-baby rule and put him in bed with us. And now he will NOT stay in his crib. Just like that - my whole routine is ruined. He still goes to bed on his own, but he wakes up terrified in the middle of the night and the only thing that seems to solve the problem is going back to my comfortable bed with a baby in my arms. It's the only way we're getting any sleep, at least for now.

I say all that to say this: I am not and never will be an expert. A lot of times I have grand ideas about what I expect and then they don't work out the way they do in my head. I think I know what's best and then I usually don't. So, as I struggle with where to go "green," I want to make it clear that I am just sharing the way it's happened as I have experienced it. To each his own, and, if you are making a choice I don't agree with, I probably haven't been in your shoes. I am clinging to the hope that most people do make logical, well-intended choices given the situation they're in. At least that's what I am trying to do. As for now, I am going to go get comfy in my bed until I get that wake-up call from the crib in the next room.

I have another recipe to share but just now remembered it's Wednesday. Maybe next week.

Search for baby sleep book

Saturday, February 5, 2011

So much to say

I can't emphasize enough all the choices that are out there once you become a parent. Within that, we face so many different approaches to making those decisions. What's best for my family's happiness? Efficiency? Wallet? And what's best for my neighbors and environment? I want to eventually talk about why I chose cloth diapering (better late than never), how the switch went, and what some of my troubleshooting has involved.

This is just one of our baby carriers.
For now though: Fortunately, many of the tenets of  "natural" parenting just make sense all around. A ground breaking moment for me happened in Wal-Mart of all places. We had run in for a few essentials (though we try to avoid Wal-Mart whenever possible, but that is another story). My son was maybe 8 or 9 months old at the time, and I had him on my hip with the support of our sling. During those months, when he was too big to haul around in the infant carrier or carry by himself, and too small to sit in a cart or walk along with us, the sling was my lifesaver. On any trip, no matter how small, I kept the sling in the floor of my car beneath his car seat. When we were making a stop, I'd open the door, whip on the sling, get him out of the car seat and tuck him between my hip and the sling. Voila! Hands-free shopping.

So, we had that arrangement going, when, a total stranger stopped me in my tracks and told me how nifty this was, and if only she'd had something like that when she was raising her kids. I didn't realize it was such a novel idea. Much later, as I have gotten more involved with cloth diapering, I've learned what a cult following that "babywearing," has among the people who like to call themselves "crunchy." Of all people, Mrs. Wal-Mart shopper is not one of these people.

I guess that's what I think is unfortunate. It seems like so many of the things that just make good sense look a little less appealing when the people who promote them come across as extreme.

I guess I was a babywearer, though I didn't set out to be. I don't really like the label. But, come to think of it, labeling a mom as just one thing or another, when she has so many choices to make each day, is leaving out so much of the story.

.Search for sling baby carrier

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What's for lunch Wednesday: Toddler pizza

From the start, I knew that whatever the label (green, natural, organic or otherwise), I wanted to be selective with what I fed my son. I don't have the best relationship with food and I want my son to have a healthy one. In his first months of life, of course, that meant breastmilk, which I will talk about plenty I'm sure later on. Once food became involved, in our house that meant looking at ingredients on baby food jars and picking ones that didn't have any weird-sounding ones. A lot of the time, I found that meant that organic was the way to go. When I didn't buy organic, I watched out for added ingredients that he hadn't tried yet. Sometimes the labels shocked me! (Probably will talk about this at some point too.)

Later, a friend convinced me that making our own food wasn't that hard, so for a few good months I made sweet potatoes, green beans, peaches, apples, pears, peas and more in batches that we froze for him.

Before I knew it though, the baby food days were waning and my son still ate jars of things like broccoli, zucchini and even spinach, but wouldn't pick up a whole pea to save his life, despite having almost an entire set of pearly whites.

He chews like a champ, but favors chicken nuggets over corn or green beans.

So, basically I'm saying that the beginning was easy - we avoided salt and sugar and other things I saw no point in introducing too soon. Now, though, it's getting much harder to steer my son in a better direction than the typical American toddler diet.

One day he eats nuggets with ketchup. The next, he tosses them on the floor.
I've bought both of Jessica Seinfeld's books about sneaking purees into foods, and I think there's a little bit of something to that at least. We made her version of chicken nuggets, but he only really picked them up once I added some ketchup. The next day, I sent some to day care and they ended up on the floor. Oddly, he won't eat the typical toddler staples of mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese, either.

As I experiment with keeping his diet decent, I have discovered more failures than successes so far. Every day is a challenge. Some days I send things to day care that come right back home at the end of the day. I refuse though - refuse! - to start feeding him Spagettios!

So, I thought it might be fun to dedicate Wednesdays to my culinary experiments.

Here's one that I can count as a success and that I am thinking is better than what you get pre-packaged:

Toddler pizza:

1 whole-wheat tortilla
Furmano's original pizza sauce (not a lot of additives, it seems)
mozzarella cheese
cooked ground turkey breast

Put the tortilla on a baking sheet and spread on sauce just like you're making a pizza. Sprinkle with cheese and a little bit of ground turkey. Bake it until warm and melty in the toaster over or oven. Fold in half and cut or tear into bite-size pieces. Voila! (Also, next time I think I'll add some veggie puree to the sauce!)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Paper weight

My all-time favorite TV show, "Grey's Anatomy," titles each episode after a song. I had this idea that I'd do the same thing, or at least have each blog be a play on the name of a song. It's my even-if-it's-a-stretch way of tying in something I love (music) with something I have a love-hate relationship with (namely, writing and, already, this blog).

So, for today, we have "Paper Weight." In 2008, I did a really comprehensive story about all the recycling options in my newspaper's coverage area. What could be recycled, and where? Immediately after that, I started recycling for the first time. It was never that I had this huge conviction about saving the planet. It was that I had all this garbage, and if it could be put to use instead of just rotting, then why not? As I continue to write "Tangled up in Green," you'll discover quickly that efficiency and "why not" are my prime motivations in most any green or not green choice I make.

So, as I was saying, we started recycling.I bought a little waste basket for plastics, a big tote bin for paper, a large trash can for aluminum cans and one more little waste basket that we used for tin and glass. Our system wasn't that organized and things really piled up quickly. Our trash, however, cut down to almost nothing - maybe one bag a week. I was shocked at all the material that went through our household that we were just throwing away before. Paper, by far, made up the vast majority of our recycling. The second offender was big plastic jugs for things like laundry detergent and milk.

And so it went for a couple of years. We let the piles build and build until they drove us crazy and then drove it all to the recycling center. Until a few months ago, when it had all piled up just too much, and the man of the house set it all out with the trash. Life got busy and we took a break from it all. Now our trash is mounting again and I am feeling guilty.

I'd like to get a better routine going. The light bulb went off that maybe if I just reduce what we're bringing into the house then that might be another way to go about going green. When my husband grabbed a roll of paper towels at the store Saturday, I told him I was thinking of cutting back on those. He had a momentary freak out, told me I was taking "going green" too far, and said he refused to go without his paper towels.

Now, if you know me, you'd know that I took it as a challenge. If my husband won't give up paper towels, then I need to get a recycling regimen going again.

We don't have curbside. Any tips to share?

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