Waving the White Cloth Flag

2 weeks

Charlotte has been in cloth diapers since we got home from the hospital. We were gifted a few months of diaper service, and we stuck with it.

Using a diaper service has been great for us. They provide almost everything—diaper pail, liner, deodorizer, and diapers. We provide the covers. Every Monday, Jose grabs our bag of dirty diapers from the front porch, blows kisses to Charlotte through the window, and then leaves us a fresh stack of crisp white prefolds.

For 19 months, we’ve been using a prefold with a snappi and then a cover like this. Prefolds are the only option the diaper service offers.

It was fine for a long time, but diaper changes turned to hell several months ago. These days, changing Charlotte’s diaper is like trying to wrestle an angry octopus into pantyhose. The other day, I ripped my finger open on the teeth of a snappi while she kicked one of her pictures off the wall and I tried to catch her lamp from crashing to the floor with the hand that wasn’t getting blood all over her fresh white diaper.

I am done.

We recently reduced the amount of cloth diapers we’re getting each week–a pretty regular occurrence as Charlotte has gotten older. This adjustment has actually left us short a few diapers by the time Sunday rolls around, so we’ve been falling back on the small stash of disposables we keep on hand.

I can get a disposable on this kid in half the time it takes me to try to get a prefold on her. I have started LOOKING FORWARD to running out of cloth.

This morning, I purposely didn’t change Charlotte’s diaper when she woke up so that the nanny would have to do it. I just didn’t want to deal with the fight. I listened to the screaming and the struggle while I was getting dressed for work, and let me tell you—I made the right call!

I called Catch on the way to work to feel her out. It went like this:

“Are you as done with cloth diapers as I am?”

“Yep.”

“Cool. Let’s cancel.”

When I was pregnant, it was actually Catch who was passionate about cloth diapering, so I was relieved to hear that she feels the same way I do at this point.

It would be different if we had alternate options available to us through our diaper service, but we don’t. We could change to a different service, but the ones that offer fitteds and AIOs are almost double the price we’re paying now, and that’s just not happening. And at this point it doesn’t really make sense for us to buy a new cloth diaper system. The preschool Charlotte will start at in August doesn’t allow cloth, so we’ll have to change things up then anyway.

So, we have about two pre-paid weeks of cloth diapering left and then we’re onto disposables.

Hit me with your smart shopping tips for disposables! Charlotte has done well in Pampers on the occasions that we’ve used them, so we’ll probably stick with them. We have Amazon Prime—I’m thinking that might be our best bet? Subscribe & Save maybe?

NoHo

Yesterday afternoon we took Charlotte to a friend’s house in our old neighborhood—right across the street from our old apartment.

We had plans to go out for dinner, but we asked our friend if we could take her dog for a walk around the block before we go to the restaurant so that Charlotte could run for a bit. She behaves better if she has some outside time before we ask her to sit for an extended period of time. (Not exactly rocket science, I guess.)

That’s how we ended up walking down our old street with three of our old friends/neighbors and their three dogs. Add the three of us and it was like a parade. We were a spectacle. Even more so when we met up with ANOTHER neighbor (former neighbor, I guess) and her dog.

At one point, I stood back to take it all in. Our people. Our street. Our furry friends. I made eye contact with Catch and she said, “I know.” And I know she knows. I know she felt it too. In that moment, we would have traded our house for that tiny little apartment in an instant if it meant we could have our people and our street back.

Unfortunately, the reasons we bought our house where we did are still valid reasons. We didn’t give up our old life on a whim. We wanted to own a house, and we couldn’t do it in our old neighborhood where the houses are being sold to developers for a million dollars cash. We needed more space because 2 adults, two dogs and a tiny human could not have functioned effectively in less than 600 square feet. We wanted to be closer to my parents for babysitting purposes and that decision pays off every single morning that my dad delivers our nanny to us or when my mom shows up on Monday mornings to spend the day with Charlotte.

Our move made sense, but that doesn’t mean we have to like everything about it. For instance, homeownership is providing us with a most excellent tax return, and yet we are going to spend every last dime of that money on a new roof. It’s like the house gave itself a gift. Whoopee.

Today, I am going to focus on the positives of our excursion. We are so fortunate that even though we’re not living there anymore, that place and those people still welcome us with open arms. It’s pretty special when you can be miles away, but still feel like you’re home.

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Photo A Day Project: Days 48-54

I decided to try to take a photo a day with my DSLR for 100 days. Here’s this week’s batch!

Note: I made it past the halfway mark! Proud of myself!

Day 48/February 17: She stacked blocks tonight for the first time ever. Usually she just wants to knock them over. She was so insanely proud of herself. Her joy was absolutely magical. (Also–teething & drool!)

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Day 49/February 18: Try to get her to wear a hat when she actually needs to and I guarantee it’s not going to happen, but she loves to run around the house in a backward baseball cap in the evening.

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Day 50/February 19: At the zoo waiting for the giant river otters to come back.

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Day 51/February 20: Grammy came over for dinner and joined us for bath time.

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Day 52/February 21: A few quiet minutes with mama after a long day.

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Day 53/February 22: She pulled EVERY. SINGLE. BOOK. out of her bookcase one by one. She’d open each book, glance at a single page and then toss it aside and reach for another one. No clue what she was trying to accomplish–aside from making a royal mess.

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Day 54/February 23: Charlotte is skeptical of her tricycle, so they’re watching YouTube videos of kids riding tricycles. Charlotte is intrigued, but still not sold on this whole tricycle thing.

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19 Months

Tomorrow, Charlotte will be 19 months old and she is absolutely my favorite thing ever.

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This kid does not know how to exist inside during daylight hours. Even as an infant, outside was her happy place. The answer to every single tear she has ever cried is to take her outside.

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Last week, we were in the midst of a monster downpour that produced 5 inches of rain in 24 hours. Streets were flooded. Power lines down. Trees toppled over. Sinkholes opened up and completely swallowed cars. Charlotte woke up, walked to the front door and said, “Outside? Jacket? Shoe?” Sorry, baby—it’s raining. Maybe later. “Jacket? Outside?” Baby, look out the window—it’s raining really hard. We have to play inside this morning. “Jacket? Shoe?”

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We have so many rainy days now that her shoes are constantly wet. We have to keep them on a rotation. We NEVER have rain like this in LA and I balked at the idea of buying rain boots for her at the beginning of winter because I was convinced they would be worn once and a total waste. Wrong!

I absolutely HATE going to restaurants with her. It’s so stressful. She won’t sit down. She screams if we even glance in the direction of a booster seat. She will stay occupied with crayons or whatever tricks we have in the diaper bag for about ten minutes. Then she’ll eat about 3 bites of food before she’s (literally—and I mean that) climbing the walls. And me. I usually end up covered in her food. It’s just not fun. For any of us.

We’ve been working with her on fine motor skills because she’s struggling a bit in that area. Mostly due to a complete lack of interest in fine motor activities. She is a gross motor kind of a girl. Last week, she successfully stacked blocks for the first time ever and she could not contain her excitement. She was SO proud of herself. I have been more diligent about having her use utensils, but dear dog it’s a mess. So much wasted food. She is really awkward with her hands. We’re working on it. Slowly.

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She’s totally in love with other kids. Especially the big kids, though she thinks all kids are babies. At the zoo last weekend, she took off after a big kid who was running down a hill and called, “Hi baby!” We’re in no hurry to correct her because we think it’s adorable. That said, the big kids are less receptive to being called baby. Catch was at the park with Charlotte one day when a little girl angrily told her, “I am NOT a baby!”

Verbally, I can’t even keep up with her. She has new words or expressions pretty much every day. This morning we were watching Sesame Street and she pointed at a monkey and said “monkey!” That was new. Then they did the number of the day (19) and after they were done, she said “ni-teen!” Not that she knows what 19 means, but the point is that she’s turning into a little parrot. These are some of my favorites right now:

I see you! (Playing peek-a-boo)

I get you! (Her version of “I’m gonna get you!”)

Thank you, mama! (Melt.)

Boobie? (When she wants to nurse. I die. Seriously.)

Sit down! (She says this mischievously with a twinkle in her eye as she is standing up when she knows she’s supposed to be sitting. Like in the bathtub. Or her high chair.)

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She sings, too. She is constantly singing. A particular favorite right now is the Bay City Rollers Bye Bye Baby. The nanny played it for her and she latched onto it. Now she runs around the house singing bye bye baby bye bye all day long.

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She loves to dance. She has absolutely no rhythm, but boy does she try. We say “shake your booty!” and she twirls or shuffles her feet and bobs her head to the music in the most awkward way.

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Overall, she is a happy, fun, non-stop bundle of energy. I say it every month, but I’m pretty sure right now is my favorite.

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The Post I’ve Been Trying to Write All Week

So it seems that everyone on the planet is out there planning or preparing for baby #2, and I’m still sitting over here trying not to let baby #1-and-only destroy everything from the house to my marriage. So that’s fun.

I won’t lie. I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster for a while, now. I don’t know if I’m going to do a very good job of conveying the mess that’s inside my head, but I’m going to try.

I am head over heels in love with my little girl. I love being a mom. The highs are everything I ever hoped they’d be. The lows are another story. I mean, I imagined the lows. I did. I just don’t think you can truly understand them until you’re in the trenches.

And that’s where I am today. In the trenches.

I don’t really struggle to mom. I mean, I have my moments. God, do I have my moments. But overall, I’ve got this. Diapers, tantrums, sleepless nights—you can’t break me, kid. (Um… mostly.)

I do, however, struggle to wife. I also struggle to be wifed. (I know I am making up verbs here, but you get it, right?)

Momming pretty much takes every ounce of energy we have these days. We try to spread what’s left between our full-time jobs and our house. It doesn’t really leave anything for us. By the time the kid is in bed, we are freaking tired. I don’t expect that is unique to us.

Mostly, we’re pretty accepting that this is just how it’s going to be for a while. There are moments, though, when it’s all just too much or not enough and we feel pretty lonely despite being inches away from each other.

Our pre-child life was not very child-friendly, and we spent ten years enjoying that life together. There was disposable income (eventually—not at first) and weekends away and wine and cooking up a storm for well-fed late nights with friends. We tried, but failed to insert our baby into that life. Instead, we found ourselves building a new life–and I think we’ll both readily admit that we’re not very good carpenters.

Someday, we will have our disposable income back. Someday, there will be weekends away and wine will flow from bottles that cost more than $8.99 and won’t languish barely touched in the refrigerator until they turn to vinegar. Someday, our daughter will be thrilled at the prospect of a weekend with her grandparents. Someday, my boobs will be fun again.

In the meantime, we keep trying. We keep trying as hard as we are capable of trying. Because us is worth it. Because 11 years of shared history is special.  Because we’re still in there. Somewhere.

Photo A Day Project: Days 41-47

I decided to try to take a photo a day with my DSLR for 100 days. Here’s this week’s batch!

Note: My camera is really struggling to auto-focus. I thought it was my go-to lens at first, but I switched lenses a few times this week and it’s an issue regardless. If anyone has any tips, I’m open for suggestions! I am missing shots because of it and it’s making me mad.

Day 41/February 10: You’ve got a little something on your face, kid. Catch was working a school dance, and I decided we were going to paint. Charlotte was more interested in eating the paint.

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Day 42/February 11: Out for a stroll on a Saturday afternoon.

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Day 43/February 12: “Please don’t climb on that!” #RESISTANCE

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Day 44/February 13: This shirt is so stained, but I will never part with it.

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Day 45/February 14: This is what we think about teething.

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Day 46/February 15: This, on the other hand, is what we think about bubbles.

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Day 47/February 16: I came home a bit early and we went to the park in anticipation of a rainy weekend. I wish you could see her face here. All smiles and totally fascinated by Spider Man. What? He said that’s his name. He’s 3.

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Photo A Day Project: Days 34-40

I decided to try to take a photo a day with my DSLR for 100 days. Here’s this week’s batch!

Note: I kind of wasn’t feeling it this week. It’s been a long week.

Day 34/February 3: She is going to be a bath expert when she’s an adult. She loves to lie back in the tub.

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Day 35/February 4: Feeding time for the elephants at the LA Zoo. It’s a bit blurry, but I loved the look on her face here.

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Day 36/February 5: Nana the tickle monster.

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Day 37/February 6: I imagine we’re going to see this face a lot more as she gets older.

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Day 38/February 7: It’s blurry, but I was a serious grouch tonight and this is the only picture I took.

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Day 39/February 8: Not feeling well and covered in hives after her 18 month vaccinations.

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Day 40/February 9: Usually, she pops up the minute you open her door. This morning, she just wanted to sleep. We hardly ever get to see her like this (except on the baby monitor.)

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Previous Posts:

Photo A Day Project: Days 1-5

Photo A Day Project: Days 6-12

Photo A Day Project: Days 13-19

Photo A Day Project: Days 20-26

Photo A Day: Days 27-33

What’s Up, Doc?

Charlotte had her 18 month well baby checkup on Tuesday.


She’s behind in fine motor skills, which we were aware of going in so it wasn’t a huge surprise. She’s excelling in other areas, and we know the fine motor things will come in time. Frankly, it doesn’t bother me in the least that she can’t take her own shoes off yet (one of the “milestones” the pediatrician expected from her) because if she could, there would be no keeping them on her damn feet. Not that I want to suppress my child’s development for the sake of my own convenience, but we all know that’s pretty much impossible, anyway—they grow whether we want them to or not! Still, no rush on the shoe thing, kiddo.

We were admonished for not yet taking her to see a dentist, but the pediatrician we saw at her 1 year visit (ours was on maternity leave) told us her teeth looked great and not to worry about the dentist yet. Whatever. We’ll get her to a freaking dentist.

I was scolded for night nursing because it’s bad for her teeth. This from the hospital who has breast is best literature plastered EVERYWHERE throughout OB, Labor & Delivery and Maternity. She actually had the nerve to say, “You can nurse her all you want during the day.” Don’t even get me started.

“Does she know who Minnie Mouse is?” the doctor asked as she prodded Charlotte’s tummy. When we replied no, she said, “Good. She’s not watching television, then.” I’ll just leave that one there and let you have your own thoughts on the matter. (For the record, I will totally deny the existence of an Instagram video of my daughter standing in her crib post-nap singing “Let it Go.”)

We were given “the look” because we haven’t weaned her from the bottle yet. We knew that was coming, too, but two 5 ounce bottles of milk a day is not going to destroy our 18 month old. We’re choosing our battles these days. I’m sure she’d have had some choice words about the pacifier too, but she didn’t see it so we were spared. It’s not that I don’t care about her teeth, it’s just that while I am still quite sleep deprived, I care more about my waning patience and mental stability.

At 34.75 inches long, she is in the 99th percentile for height. Also not a surprise. Weight was 27 pounds, which explains why I was really missing our Tula when she wanted to be carried at the zoo this weekend. (I just haven’t been able to bring myself to spend the money on a toddler one because it’s so rare that she wants to be carried.)

Three vaccinations later, we were out the door with a very, very upset little girl who absolutely did not appreciate being jabbed with needles.

Let’s skip to now. Our nanny texted us yesterday afternoon because Charlotte had a low-ish fever and a rash. She sent a few pictures of the rash. I decided I should go ahead and contact the doctor’s office just in case. It was getting late in the afternoon, and I was worried that if I didn’t reach out to them, I’d get home and things would get worse and the office would be closed. So I was trying to be proactive, which was good because by dinner time, she was rashy all over and totally lethargic.



The response I got was this:

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Now, I have absolutely zero medical training, but I actually knew that much. Shocking, right. Who knew I was so smart?

What I feel is lacking from this response is, “Let us know if it spreads.” Or “Call us if the fever reaches X.” Or “Is she uncomfortable?” Or “If it’s itchy, you can try X.” Or “No need to worry unless you start to see XYZ.”

This is not the first time I’ve been disappointed in an email response from a nurse at our doctor’s office. The last time I was in touch with them, they gave me the wrong dosage instructions for ibuprofen. Double the amount she should be getting. Fortunately, I knew it was wrong, but what if I hadn’t?

As I told Catch over dinner last night, I know these people are busy. Especially the nurses. They are overworked, underpaid, and expected to work miracles. I have a crazy amount of respect for nurses. I don’t think I would have survived Charlotte’s delivery (mentally, anyway) if it hadn’t been for one rock star nurse.

So I get it. Nurse is busy. I get a response that takes her two seconds so she can move on to the five thousand other things she has to do before she can go home.

What I have an issue with is that if the medical professionals cannot take the time to adequately (and safely!) address patient concerns via email, email should not be an option for contacting our providers.

End rant.

Spoiler alert: Kid is totally fine this morning. No sign of rash anywhere. Still, I feel I was justified in reaching out to her doctor, and I feel the response I was given was less than helpful.

Politics. Consider yourself warned.

I picked my daughter up from her crib this morning and together, we pulled back the curtains over her window to watch the rain. As I held her there, her legs suddenly seemed impossibly long, and she felt heavy to me for the first time. I kissed her cheek and she turned her face away. She is only 18 months old, but she is not my little baby anymore.

When she was an infant, I worried constantly about things like SIDS and weight gain and diaper counts. I’m just now noticing how long it’s been since I’ve thought about those things. The infant fears have rolled over into toddler fears. Are her fine motor skills developing properly? Is she talking enough? Sleeping enough? Social enough?

And now I have an entirely new set of fears. I fear for her future. For her rights as a young woman. For her education. For her freedom. For her safety. For her planet.

I used to find comfort living in a big city. Diversity. Acceptance. And heck—it’s Los Angeles—Democrats.

Now, I worry that living in a big city will make us a target.

Do you know what popped up in my Instagram feed on Friday? A Home Depot ad for BOMB SHELTERS.


A legitimate advertisement. For a DIY, dig-your-own-hole bomb shelter.

And I swear to you that this isn’t something I’d been perusing previously on their web site. I went on Home Depot’s web site a few weeks ago to look at light fixtures and there was nothing else even remotely along those lines in my search history. Maybe the key word marketing folks just saw someone who had visited a legitimate factual news story and said CLICK. SHOW HER A BOMB SHELTER.

This is our reality right now in the United States. Suddenly, daily life feels like the beginning of a work of dystopian fiction.

That’s the kind of thing that maybe I’d have said previously with a note of sarcasm and a roll of my eyes. Under the last Bush, perhaps. But there’s no sarcasm now. Just genuine concern for the future of my country.

It’s not only fear, though. It’s frustration. Anger. Contempt. Confusion.

Our lives are in the hands of someone who has no regard for what that means. It boggles my mind.

I have mostly abandoned Facebook politics at this point. I needed more of an outlet, so I’ve taken to Twitter (@houndmamas). I don’t even recognize myself in some of my tweets. Give me a vaguely anonymous platform and I’ll tell you how I really feel, apparently. Plus it feels really good to be able to put the caps lock on and call the Senate GOP imbeciles. Not productive in the least, but it’s like releasing a bit of steam so the pot doesn’t boil over.

I have no idea what the future holds for us, and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t keeping me awake some nights. I truly hope my fears turn out to be irrational. It would make me so happy to be wrong. At this point, though, I’m pretty sure that the best case scenario would be that I’m only half right.

Photo A Day: Days 27-33

I decided to try to take a photo a day with my DSLR for 100 days. Here’s this week’s batch!

I made it a full month! Pretty impressed with myself.

Day 27/January 27: “WayJoe” (AKA grandpa–my dad) spent the weekend with us and Charlotte was in heaven.

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Day 28/January 28: Proud mama face. Charlotte has really been struggling at swim class. She does not want to be there. This week was much better, fortunately. She pulled herself out of the pool from the side with no help from mama!

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Day 29/January 29: We ventured out to the park late on Sunday afternoon. A couple of teenage boys accidentally kicked a soccer ball over the fence, and it rolled right to Charlotte. She was so excited to play with the ball, but I explained that the ball belongs to the boys and she has to give it back. The boy who came to fetch the ball bent down to her level and thanked her for giving him back the ball. She MELTED. Her shoulders scrunched high and her cheeks flushed. She smiled the biggest smile. She never took her eyes off of him as he walked away. #smitten

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Day 30/January 30: Play time in the back yard on Monday after work. Her shirt says “Kindness Matters.” We all need that reminder–especially on a Monday.

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Day 31/January 31: She saw the new Elmo book and climbed into the back of the car because she just had to have it.

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Day 32/February 1: It’s almost time for bed, but mama is playing peek-a-boo and she can’t stop laughing.

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Day 33/February 2: I realize that I pretty much only post happy pictures of this kiddo, and really, she is pretty happy–but we get an almost equal amount of this these days. This epic meltdown was brought to you by, “Mama won’t let me play in the car.”

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Previous Posts:

Photo A Day Project: Days 20-26

Photo A Day Project: Days 13-19

Photo A Day Project: Days 6-12

Photo A Day Project: Days 1-5