Archive for February, 2011

February 25, 2011

Cloth Diapering is Easy

No, really, it is! I swear!  But it can be a little overwhelming at first.  So many options and so many unknowns.  Where do you even begin? Well, here’s a very quick overview of how we do it and why.  I am not anywhere near an expert and have really only begun to scratch the surface of the subculture that is cloth diapering, but here’s the story of what works for us.

Step 1: Choosing your cloth diaper

Here’s a quick and easy breakdown of the basic types of diapers.  I decided to go middle of the road with pocket diapers.  A was initially sceptical, and maybe even intimidated, by the concept of cloth diapering so I needed something that was as easy to put on a baby as a disposable dipe.  Pockets require a bit more work than the all in ones (AIOs) since you need to stuff them, but that was worth it to me to save on the drying time.  And seriously, stuffing a pocket diaper takes 3 seconds. I can handle that.

Step 2: Put diaper on baby

Pocket diapers come in 2 pieces: the diaper itself and an insert (or two). 

You “stuff” the diaper by sliding that insert into the opening. 

If you have a heavy wetter or its for overnight, go ahead and throw 2 inserts in there.  And as with all things cloth diaper, there are multiple options for inserts (microfiber, hemp, a prefold, ect) but I keep it simple and just use the microfiber inserts that come with most of the diapers I buy.

Now its all ready to go on the baby.

And that’s all there is to that.

Okay, well there are 2 more things…pocket diapers come with either snaps or velcro to affix the diaper to the babe.  I prefer snaps because they hold up better and don’t get caught on other things in the wash.  Some people prefer velcro for a more adjustable fit.  It’s all in your own preference.

The other thing is that with pocket diapers you have the option of buying sizes (S, M, L, XL) or one size diapers.  The one size comes with extra snaps that allow you to adjust the “rise” of the diaper…which just means its shorter for a little baby and longer for a big baby.

We mostly have the one size diapers since they can fit both girls and will last through potty training rather than needing new diapers as they get bigger.

There are many brands to choose from, but we’ve had good luck with Fu.zzi bunz (well-known brand, quality diapers) and K.awaii (great price, great product).

3. Take diaper off baby

If it’s just wet, it’s as simple as taking the diaper off and tossing it into a wet bag, just as you would toss a disposable into the diaper pail. 

If it’s soiled and firm enough to dump into the toilet, do that first then throw it into the wet bag.  There is the option of having a diaper sprayer that attaches to the toilet to spray off the solids before putting it into the wet bag, but y’all know how I like to keep it simple and I’ve just never seen the need…even with two little girls who can make very messy diapers.

4. Wash the diaper

When you wash pocket diapers, you’ll want to pull out the insert from the shell so it gets nice and clean and dries faster.  Other than that, it’s just a matter of throwing them in the washer and letting it do its job.  If the diapers are particularly dirty I may do an extra long soak and second rinse, but most of the time I just throw them in there on the same cycle I do all of my laundry.  If your wet bag got dirty, go ahead and throw that in the wash too.

Here’s a good chart ranking the best detergents for cloth diapers.  We’ve been using Ecos for a while now so I just stuck with that for the cloth diapers as well.

For drying in the winter, I simply take them and toss them in the dryer at the medium heat setting (no fabric softener or static sheets!!).  In the summer, I line dry them which is awesome for getting out stains (especially if you spritz the stain with a little lemon juice then dry it in the sun).

5. Strip the diaper

After a little while, you may notice that the diapers start leaking or become a little stinky.  That means its time to strip.  It sounds like a process, but it really isn’t.  All I do to “strip” my diapers is to double wash them.  After the first wash (as outlined above), I run the second wash on the hottest setting – don’t add any detergent, and instead throw in about 1/2 cup of vinegar and a tablespoon of oxyclean free.   I’d say I do this about once a month. 

And that’s all there is to it. 

Like I said – easy! 🙂

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February 23, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Adventures in utensil learning (ps – turn away now if you do not like messy babies)

This post brought to you buy mashed cauliflower and turkey chili.  A toddler and mommy fave!

February 22, 2011

The Status of Things

My olders have been in care for 15 months 2 weeks and 2 days. 

No progress has been made towards reunification.

For the first time, there is some talk of goal change and transferring files to the permanency department.  Eventually.  Afterall, the case is still young.

There’s also been some talk of that cousin who’d like to adopt all three.  Where was she 15 months 2 weeks and 2 days ago?  And why does she have to live so very far away?

With each phone call everything changes and nothing changes.  We’ll just keep on keeping on.

New friends of ours are adopting their daughter today after becoming her foster parents more than 3 years ago. 

That glimmer of hope is sparked in my heart.  Maybe…just maybe…

February 21, 2011

I didn’t forget about you!

Thanks for all the love on the Valentine’s picture!  I really can not believe how stinking cute they are.  While I’m away from them, I stare at their pictures and get taken aback.  In awe, humbled, and grateful for the beauty that fills my life. 

The past couple weeks have been quite the whirlwind.  There has been lots of sickness (poor RB being the recipient of most), teething, case progress, hours in the therapists’ office, and a stint in sunny Florida on business.  I’m ready for life to slow down a bit…maybe I can look forward to that in approx 3 to 4 years?

Now to finish up a couple of those outstanding questions:

Q. If you could change 3 things about the child welfare system, what would you change?

A.  I feel woefully inexperienced to make an educated answer on this one, but I’ll take a stab at it, with the understanding that in 10 years from now, I’d probably have an entirely different set of answers.

1) Redistribution of funds.  The foster care system in my small state has a huge budget, but where is all that money going? Certainly not to the social workers.  We all complain about being overworked and underpaid, but social workers really do win that crown.  They have such an important job, but don’t have the proper motivation and support to do it well (forgive the sweeping overgeneralization).  Less files and higher pay would allow social workers to support the children in their caseload in the way that serves everyone best.

2) Open lines of communication/give foster parents more rights.  You all know the way we struggle with lack of information on this case – its been the thorn in our side all  the way through.  Foster parents need to be trusted with case information.  We also need to have more rights to care for the children in our home.  Just before Christmas sweet little Daisy was so sick and her pediatrician needed an x-ray of her chest asap – she was hoping for within the hour.  Instead, thanks to ridiculous hoops, it took me more than 24 hours to get the authorization.  That was 24 extra hours before they could begin treatment.  I’ve never been more frustrated, angry, and scared in my entire life than I was during that time.  A tiny 3 week old – my daughter – was sick and couldn’t breathe and my hands were tied to get her the care she needed.  All I could do was walk and bounce and kiss and pat while she screamed and screamed.  No mother should ever have to feel that helpless.

3) More oversight.  This goes back to #1, but due to the overwhelming amount of work, supervisors are just not able to have a good handle on all of their employee’s files.  The amount of power each social worker has over the outcome of the cases scares me (though they’d probably disagree).  I’d like more round-tabling and more joint decision-making.

If any fellow foster parents would like to take a stab at this question, I’d love to hear your input.  What would you change? What do you think of mine?

Q. Are you able to leave the kids with your parents or another adult like you would if they were your own? Or would those people have to get licensed, too? What about for a few hours (babysitting)?

A.  The rule on the books is that we’re not allowed to have any babysitters that have not been approved by DCF.  Also, unless it’s another foster home, the children are not allowed to be watched in someone else’s house under any circumstances.  We can get someone (family member, friend, ect) approved to watch the kids in our house, but it requires approval by congress.  Okay, not really, but it does require finger printing, doctor statement, references, background checks, a stack of paperwork an inch thick, and approval by 3 different people at DCF.  Needless to say, we haven’t had a date night in a very long time.

And that’s today’s installment. On the horizon is my incredibly informal cloth diaper post for Mama Monica!

February 14, 2011

Protected: Happy Valentine’s Day!

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February 11, 2011

How Sad

A few days ago I spoke with the kids’ social worker.  I got some updates – some happy surprises and some scary surprises.  I’m going to wait for the dust to settle and decisions to get into writing before I share it widely, but things may be taking a very different turn for these children.  Or they might stay exactly the same.  We shall see.  In the mean time, I’ll just keep holding onto my thread.

On another note, the purpose of my call was to inform the SW that Rosebud’s eczema is flaring up again and that we had taken her into the pediatrician for a prescription treatment.  He kind of laughed off my update saying he’s never worried about the care the children receive in our home because we take better care of the kids than any of the other foster parents in his caseload.

Now I’ll take a compliment any time it’s lobbed my way, especially when it comes from someone who has likely felt I am the most annoying person on the planet, but I find that statement really very sad.

Sure, A and I care for the kids.  Get them the treatment they need to heal their bodies and their hearts.  We are advocates for their health.  Bring them for regular check ups.  But we aren’t doing anything different from what our friends are doing with their children.   Surely this must be what all foster parents do, right?

Well, no.  Which is why, despite needing a break badly, we probably won’t ever use any of the 14 days of respite care offered to us each year.

Of course there are great homes out there.  Ones that far exceed ours.  But the reminder is always there that some are just – not.

February 7, 2011

Why I Cloth Diaper

There are lots of reasons people choose to cloth diaper.  Environmental and financial benefits are two biggies.  I personally seek out any way to keep my children as chemical-free as possible which is why cloth appeals to me.

But when I come across pictures like the one below, all of that sounds a lot like “blah, blah, blah”…

Giving sis a big “mmm-wah!”

Let’s face it, I’m in it for the cuteness.

 
For anyone interested in the deets, the girls are wearing Kawaii one size snap pockets*.  I’m loving them right now.  They are very reasonably priced and the shot above is picture-proof that one size really does mean one size (Daisy is just under 10lbs, RB is pushing 24 and they can share dipes.)  I also tried a pure & natural pocket but was not feeling it nearly as much as the snaps – something about the ultra narrow cut didn’t work for my girls.
 
*insert disclaimer about having no affiliation or financial motivation behind my rec.  I just like ’em, that is all.
February 6, 2011

Scenes from our Sunday

We’re all sitting around the breakfast table enjoying happy chatter – ready to welcome another day.  I’m feeding Daisy when Sprout looks at me in the way that tells me something interesting is about to come out of his mouth.  He says, “When are we getting another baby? I think we’re ready.”

Mommy A chokes on her scrambled eggs.

* * *

I’m playing with Rosebud in the nursery room at Church.  I pick her up and smoosh a big kiss on her chubby cheek (most smoosh-able cheeks in the world!) and she responds with a sweet little “dank oooo.” [for those that don’t speak toddler, that’s “thank you”]. 

::melts::

* * *

To say we aren’t that into football is the understatement of the year.  I probably couldn’t name 5 football teams if I tried.  But wings, appetizers, and a picnic in the living room? That’s something we can get behind.  We told Sprout that today was a special day and that we’d be getting a fun dinner to eat while watching a movie of his choice (out of our collection of 3).  Considering its been weeks since he watched television, he could really get behind that idea.

We’re in the grocery store waiting in a long choose-your-flavor wings line and Sprout says, “Wow mommy.  Everyone likes to eat chicken with their Stewart Little.”

yes baby, they sure do.

February 3, 2011

Q. If they are reunified, would you foster again?

A. No doubt about it! Being foster parents has become an indispensible part of our identity.  We’re hooked and don’t have any plans to quit.  Even if we do have the opportunity to adopt, we won’t be hanging up our license.  We may take a good long hiatus, but for as long as there are children who need a home, I hope to always be able to find the space.

February 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday