Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Every life is precious

Every day, all over the world, people go missing.

I see them on the backs of envelopes in the mail, in the foyers of grocery stores or turning up in my Facebook news feed. I have to admit, I never pay much attention to them. I don't know them. I don't know their families. I don't recognize the names of the small towns, "somewhere up in Northern Ontario", where they are from. Even when it happens in Hamilton- I don't really look. I don't really pay attention. Fifteen year old girl goes missing  on the mountain only to be found a day later holed up at her boyfriend's house. Another day, another runaway.

Even in this most recent case- when posters telling of Tim Bosma's disappearance first appeared in my news feed, I didn't read them. I'm ashamed to say that I scrolled on past, chuckling to myself at eCards and the status updates of my friends. Within a few hours, there was nothing funny left to read. One by one, the status updates changed, begging people to share the information posters, recalling how they went to highschool in Ancaster with Tim, how they knew his wife through church, how he was their neighbour. The city had gone to work and in no time at all- everyone knew his name, where he was from, what had taken place. Everyone memorized his face, memorized every detail of his truck and scanned the streets with hope and vigilance. I read the information on the poster and I felt the sting of tears behind my eyes. The details of the case were very familiar to me and a sickness bloomed in the pit of my stomach. Tim Bosma's wife, Sharlene, and I are about the same age. We both have a child, two years old. We both have a vehicle listed for sale on kijiji and auto trader. When folks come to the house to check out the car, it's Wes that goes out to speak to them, not me. It occurs to me that he could be taken from me easily, on the whim of a criminal. He's no bigger than Tim, no less unassuming. I think of it and the thought is terrifying. I look at this woman and I think, "That could be me, but it's not me. That could be my family, but it isn't". What stands between her and I? A make and model? A roll of the dice? I don't know and I don't know what she's going through and for that I ought to be thankful, but I'm just sick about it instead.

I watched all of the updates and press releases, waiting, wishing, hoping to hear that he'd been pushed from the moving vehicle, out in the middle of nowhere, wandering around, thirsty and beaten, but alive. The days passed and it started to seem less likely. I watched Sharlene's statement- her plea to Tim's captors on behalf of their baby, with tears rolling down my cheeks, wanting to throw my arms around her, wanting to snap my fingers and end her nightmare. Wes said to me, "Don't watch it, baby. It's too sad". But I watched til the end, out of respect, as a peer, as a witness to her grief. On Sunday evening, I read a printed version of Mary Bosma's statement- a desperate Mother's Day wish to be reunited with her son. I looked at my own son and I felt her crushing heart ache. Wes said to me, "Come on, baby. It's your day" and I said, "I know. But it's her day, too." He nodded, "It's terrible. It's a nightmare."

This morning I came downstairs and saw a link in my news feed for a Hamilton Police press conference to take place at 10 am. The link was for a Joey Coleman live feed, the same live feed broadcaster I've been following during this whole tragedy. A few minutes before the press conference, he posted an update that, due to the seriousness of the matter, all comments would be disabled. I felt that I knew right then what I was about to hear and I watched the entire feed with my head in my hands. This family that I do not know, this man that I've never met, a death that is in no way related to me, has affected me as it has affected this entire city: with startling depth. On the phone to my sister this afternoon, I said "I don't know why I'm so sad. It really has nothing to do with me." She said, "It's sad because it could have happened to you. It could have happened to anyone. Usually bad things happen to bad people, but he did nothing wrong. He wasn't involved in anything to make this happen, it just happened". She is right. I feel for Sharlene Bosma because she is so like me. I feel a sadness as if our husbands had gone away to war; mine came home and hers did not- only there was no war, no choice or opportunity to fight, just a life blown out for material gain. I think of the men who committed this crime and I am at a loss. What kind of lives have they been living where taking a man's life in order to steal his truck is an option? How could they see his wife and child in the house and still go through with it? How do you look into the eyes of an innocent stranger, who has done nothing, who has taken nothing, who has hurt no one, and kill him? Fran McKechnie asks, "What happened to their souls?" What, indeed? And what is left?

I mourn for the Bosma family. An injustice has been committed against them. More than that. I mourn for Sharlene, who has lost her husband. I mourn for Mary Bosma who will now face every mother's greatest horror- that of burying her own child. I mourn for Tim and Sharlene's daughter, who will grow up without a single persisting memory of her father. The city grieves for you.

After the press conference ended I went upstairs and climbed into bed where Wes was sleeping off his night shift.

"They found him," I said.
"And?" he asked,
"He's dead," I said, "They burned his body." I burst into tears.
"They're monsters." he said, eyes still closed. "But now she knows. And knowing is better than not knowing. Some people never know, and their nightmare never ends".
"I know, I know. But it's just so sad. I just can't stop crying about it. I don't even know them."
"Something like this..." He said, falling back asleep, "It doesn't matter if you know them. It's just... it's because... you know, every life is precious".

Every life is precious.
Every life is precious.

Rest in peace, Tim Bosma.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Out with the old, in with the simplified

Once upon a time... in January of 2010... I discovered that life, as I knew it, was about to change.

I was pregnant!

In those nine, glorious months, I found myself becoming very conscious of chemicals in my life and  I started the process of eliminating many of them. The first and biggest change, of course, was quitting smoking. On the day I discovered that I was pregnant, I quit instantly. It was surprisingly easy- I just threw away my cigarettes and never gave them a second thought. Following that I chose to use cloth diapers, wanting to reduce my new little bundle's exposure to nasty chemicals. Cloth diapers got me thinking about the mountain of waste I was sending to the landfill every month with feminine hygiene products and so I gave washable feminine pads a whirl (Thanks Fuzzibunz!) That led me to the endless joy that I call The Diva Cup, the virtues of which I extol in great length on my Facebook page every month. I also started eliminating chemical cleaners from our household. It was around that time that I stumbled upon the hero of natural cleaning: Baking Soda. Oh Baking Soda, how I love thee! Baking Soda has a seemingly endless number of uses- you can read about 75 of them here. Over these past two years, I've whittled down my arsenal of cleaning products to just four ingredients: baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and tea tree oil. I love being able to scrub the tub with a baking soda-vin combo and just a quick rinse later, I can fill up the tub for my son's bath without having to worry about some residue in there that's going to give him a rash. Using natural, gentle ingredients to clean my home gives me peace of mind. Having said that, I can't believe how long it has taken me to discover and embrace the use of baking soda as a shampoo. My sister was the first to tell me about it. She casually mentioned that she was no longer shampooing her hair and my response was:

Ew. Disgusting.

I have to admit, "Ew. Disgusting" is my classic response. It is my catch-phrase. My famous last words, uttered right before I jump on that very band wagon that had me saying "Ew. Disgusting" in the first place. I said "Ew. Disgusting" about cloth diaper pails and spoonfuls of Apple Cider Vinegar as a pregnancy-safe cure for heart burn. I said "Ew. Disgusting" about cabbage leaves in my bra to relieve clogged milk ducts and I even said it about (don't judge me) extended nursing. I definitely said "Ew. Disgusting" about Fuzzibunz and The Diva Cup (no wait, that was "OH HELL NO!"). I guess I'm just wildly reactionary like that, first I'm grossed out, then I'm intrigued, then I'm a diehard fan.

So it went with baking soda shampoo.

I held out for a long time, mainly because I didn't think it was possible for me. I have fine, thin hair that demands to be shampooed every single day otherwise I tend to look like I just combed my hair with the deck of an oil rig. I just didn't think that baking soda stood a chance against my greasy, disgusting hair.

Well, I was wrong.

I have not shampooed my hair in seven days and I probably never will again. I followed the instructions found on Tea for Tamara's blog here

1 tbsp baking soda, dissolved in warm water to cleanse.
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, diluted in warm water to condition.

It's just that easy. I've spent the last week trying out different variations and tweaking the measurements based on my own hair history. For those with oily hair (like me), use more baking soda and less vinegar in your rinse. For those with dry hair, use less baking soda and more vinegar in your rinse. I love the apple cider vinegar- although it stinks to high heaven when you're in the shower, it leaves your hair feeling absolutely silky and, once dry, there is no odour whatsoever. As my hair is on the oily side, I just use it on the ends of my hair. I've read that it also is used as a remedy for dandruff. For those who experience itchy scalp, a few drops of tea tree oil added to your baking soda mixture will solve the problem. For those who miss the sweet fragrance of store-bought shampoo, try adding a few drops of lavender oil. For a truly invigorating shower experience, add a few drops of peppermint oil, rosemary oil or BOTH! Why not? For a deep conditioning experience, skip your vinegar rinse and opt for smoothing a little coconut oil over the ends of your hair instead. The beauty of this natural method is that it is fully customizable. Whatever your hair needs, mother nature has it. It's out with the old and in with the simplified, people.

Can I get an amen?


For more tips on simplifying your life at home, check out http://simplemom.net

Friday, March 9, 2012

bumGenius Review: How my 4.0's are holding up 18 months later

As many of you already know, the bumGenius 4.0 snap closure diaper is my go-to diaper of choice. I love, love, love them. Did I mention I love them?
During pregnancy, I did painstaking research on cloth diapers and at the end of the day I knew I wanted a pocket diaper that was high quality, affordable and readily available in local stores. I decided on the bG and I've never regretted it. The claim from bG is that their one-size diapers fit from 8lbs to 35lbs, but as many connoisseurs of one-size diapers know, the reality as that they don't start fitting well until about 10lbs and tend to top out before the 35lb mark. This was true for my son as well, the diapers started to fit really well when he was about a month old and have continued to be wonderfully trim and cozy through to his current weight of 24lbs. Sweet baby is tall and skinny as a rail, therefore he is on the the last rise but still has a lot of room left in the diaper.

A few months back, I started to notice a few signs of wear on my diapers. For one thing, they were sagging around the legs. In fact, at one point, I noticed sweet baby playing on the floor in just his t-shirt and diaper and I could see his little baby bits rolling around through the gap in the leg. Secondly, I started experiencing problems with leaking which has NEVER happened in the past. I noticed that the leaking was happening in strange areas. For example, the whole seat of my son's pants would be wet, rather than around the edges of the diaper where one would expect any leaking to occur. It didn't take long to figure out the culprit: cracked PUL. I was truly shocked! I felt that I had taken immaculate care of my diapers: only washing with Claudia's Choices diaper detergent, stripping with Rockin' Green Funk Rock and using only natural laundry additives like vinegar and baking soda. Well as I mentioned in the previous post, it helps when a girl does her homework- and I did not do my homework. The Cotton Babies website recommends using a cloth safe detergent (check!) and refraining from using any laundry additives (fail!) and absolutely no baking soda or vinegar (double fail!) because it WEARS OUT THE LEG ELASTIC. Additionally, they recommend that you use 1/4 cup of bleach once per month which I had previously thought was verboten in the cloth diapering realm. Furthermore, I must admit to soaking the diapers, both inserts and covers together as well as - brace yourselves- putting the covers in the dryer. At the end of the day, it was beginning to look like I had unwittingly ruined my beloved diapers, which were six months outside of their warranty. With my emotions and pocketbook threatened by despair, I sent an email to Cotton Babies. As mentioned in my last point, they basically saved me from myself and shipped me brand new replacement diapers. I was thrilled! Just thinking it over again now, I'm still thrilled! Seeing the brand new diapers gave me an opportunity to do some comparing and contrasting and gave me a lot of insight as to how they hold up to the test of time. I was pleased with what I saw.

From the outside, they look exactly the same. Brand new dipe is on the left and the 18 month old dipe is on the right

Another side by side view. You can see how fluffy the brand new microfiber is! After hundreds of washes, you can expect your microfiber to flatten out but the good news is that with every wash, the cloth becomes even more absorbent.

Side by side view of the diapers opened up. You can see here how stretched out the elastic is on the right. Cotton Babies sent me a dozen of their refresher kits which contain fresh elastic so as soon as I get myself to a sewing machine, you won't be able to tell the difference between these two diapers.

Placing the new diaper on top of the old diaper gives a good sense of the elastic situation. The new dipe is about an inch shorter in length.

Even diapers need vitamin D. Okay... so the inserts have grown a little bit dingy. What can I say... it's winter!

Side by side fluff. Yes, the new inserts are ridiculously fluffy, but keep in mind that fluffier doesn't mean more absorbent. A few more turns in the wash cycle and that fluffy insert will flatten right out.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Then and Now: 18 Months of cloth diapering in review

This morning, as I was sitting at the kitchen table stuffing diapers, I got to thinking about when I first decided to use cloth diapers. Back before my son was even a glimmer in my eye, I always knew I'd use cloth. My mother has always told me how she had to use cloth with me because I was horribly allergic to disposable diapers. I'd just always assumed that if I had been allergic, my child would probably be allergic as well, so it made more sense to start with cloth instead of risking a nasty reaction.

At some stage, W and I were chatting about kids and I mentioned my cloth diapering inclinations. W, having two daughters from a previous marriage that he had seen through diapers and toilet training, raised an eyebrow and let out a somewhat patronizing chuckle.

"They don't work", he stated, simply.

"Oh no? What were people using up until 30 years ago then?", I said.

"Yeah, exactly- so let's be thankful for progress. I just don't see how they can be absorbent. The pee and poo will just get everywhere", he said.

"I just don't see how you can think that a few layers of paper and plastic could be more absorbent than CLOTH!", I sort of shouted.

"Ok baby- you use cloth and I'll use disposable. I guarantee that after one week you'll be over it", he said, chuckling away.

Well, as anyone who knows me can attest, the best way to get me to do something is to tell me that I won't, or worse, can't do it. Yes, I do love a challenge. Truthfully, I was a bit surprised and annoyed by W's reaction. It wasn't until I got pregnant about a year later that I realized how common his viewpoint actually is. A lot of people seem to scoff at cloth. I hate to point a finger, but the majority of scoffers were already parents. Parents. Man, they used to really get on my nerves back before I became one of them. During pregnancy, there were a lot of instances where I started a sentence with the phrase, "When I'm a parent, I will NEVER ". Nothing seems to irk an experienced parent more than when a soon-to-be parent makes all sorts of lofty assertions in front them. There was a lot of, "Ok honey, you'll see" followed by knowing chuckles and smarmy smirks. It seemed to me that the smarmiest of smirks were garnered by talking about cloth diapering ("You're going to touch the POOP?!", "You think you're going to have time to wash diapers?!", "Yeah...that'll last..."). No one seemed to really think it was realistic, except my mother, who came from the pins and rubber pants era and STILL thought it was a breeze. Looking back, I have definitely had to eat my words on a few things- but not cloth. A load of dirty cloth diapers is truly the only load of laundry that I'm NOT annoyed to have to do. In my household, laundry needs to be done every day, so I really don't find washing diapers to be an extra task- it's just part of the mix. I really love cloth diapering my son. I love the money that I've saved (literally thousands), I love the community of cloth diapering in Hamilton that I've become part of, I love how incredibly cute the darn things are and I LOVE that W has transformed from nay-sayer to unwavering advocate.

By the time my due date was looming, W was pretty much on board with the cloth thing. He struggled a bit with the newborn diapers (as we used flannel fitteds that were secured by pins with a cover over top- a bit daunting for me as well), but by the time sweet baby was four weeks old, we were into the bumGenius pockets and it was smooth sailing from there on out. A couple months in, sweet baby developped a rash on his bottom. It took forever to figure out that he was sensitive to vaseline and our diapers needed to be stripped, so in the mean-time, we used up a stash of disposables that had been given to us. A few days in, sweet baby had a major blowout of a poop. It was all up his back and down into the legs of his sleeper. W was cursing away under his breath and as he was cleaning up sweet baby, he said to me, "Baby, we have to get the cloth thing sorted out because these things are just...CRAP!".

Oh, sweet, SWEET victory.

Now here we are, 18 months down the road and still loving our bumGenius. About a month ago, I noticed some cracking in the PUL and was really concerned that the diapers were wearing out and I was going to have to replace my stash. Twelve of my sixteen diapers appeared to be affected and that adds up to roughly $300- so it was looking pretty grim. I sent off an email to Cotton Babies (the makers of bG) and they responded immediately informing me that although my diapers were past their one year warranty, they would do me a one-time customer service of replacing all affected diapers. Joy of joys! I sent away my damaged diapers and my new ones arrived this past week. Nothing gets a cloth-loving mama more excited than fresh, fluffy new diapers. Cotton Babies also sent me ten of their Refresher Kits to replace the worn elastic in the legs of my older diapers so I can spruce up my existing stash. Comparing the diapers side by side has prompted this then and now post. I actually had no idea how worn the elastic had become until I compared my new and old diapers. The good news is that even though the diapers are pretty dingy and the elastic was pretty worn in the legs, I've never had any issues with the absorbency. In fact, they were still working perfectly. Reading over the information that Cotton Babies had sent me, I realized that I've committed just about every crime on the "Do not" list. Adding vinegar or baking soda to the rinse? Check. Soaking the covers? Check. Even the most heinous of crimes, putting the covers in the dryer? Sadly yes, I did it for months before I figured out that it was bad for them. I'm not sure why it never occurred to me to ask Cotton Babies directly about how to care for the diapers- I'm a little embarrassed to say that I truly never thought of it and instead went onto various diaper forums to ask my questions. Diaper forums are enormously helpful, of course, but the fact is that not everyone is using the same diapers and therefore the care regime is different for all the different types.

Well, lesson learned. I've got a second change with these new diapers and I'm confident that they'll last through to the next baby. W and I made the trip out to Ikea to pick up some stand-alone potties for sweet baby and we hope to have him out of diapers in the next six months.

Stay tuned for my next photo-post comparing a brand new bG diaper to one that's been beaten up for eighteen months.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cloth for Mama...and beyond!

Long ago, in the days of my girlish youth before I became a mother (read: about 2 years back), my sister and I got into a real bout of giggles.

What were we giggling about?

Well, she had been perusing online knitting/crocheting patterns and happened across one for tampons. Yes, you read that correctly, a woolly, little, handmade tampon. It seemed weird. It seemed silly. It even seemed... gross. We got a good laugh out of it and boy, the jokes were endless. We always try to make or bake as many Christmas gifts as possible, so we were saying how funny it would be to give out those goofy, little tampons as Christmas gifts to our girlfriends. I mean, who on earth would wash their own tampons???

Even after becoming a mother, it was still funny to me. I'd still think to myself, who makes those? Who USES those? I'd ponder these things to myself whilst standing over the laundry room sink scraping poop off of dear baby's diapers with W's trusty "shit stick" (which is, in fact, an old Home Depot paint can stir-stick- very classy). Eventually the irony sunk in, you'll be glad to know.

The home-made tampons were still a bit of a turn-off, but mainly for comfort reasons. I did, however, look a little more closely at the "For Mom" section of my local cloth diaper retailer, specifically at the washable feminine pads. What's funny is that a few of the brands that make cloth diapers for babies also make washable feminine pads for mommies. I thought it might be cute to be wearing the same brand as dear baby. It made me think of how modern cloth diapers are always advertised as "not your mother's cloth diapers"- well they may not be, but she sure could wear them when the tomato truck comes to town!

But I digress.

At first, I was a little offended by the price of these washable pads, but then I sat down and did the math. I have always felt that I am forever buying tampons and pads. Every month I go out and get that jumbo box and then when the next month rolls around, I have to go and do it again. That's the nature of the beast, I suppose. So I would spend maybe $15 per month on supplies. Obviously it didn't take long for me to realize the long term savings.

The two brands that I looked at were Fuzzibunz and LunaPads. The only reason I went with Fuzzibunz was because they popped up on Eco Baby Buys for half price. A 3-pack of Fuzzibunz washable feminine pads will run you about $12.95, so half price was a real steal (so obviously I bought three). When they arrived in the mail a week later, I was super excited to try them out. In fact, I can't remember the last time I was so excited for my period to hurry up and happen, except for maybe the very first time it happened. I'm happy to report that I am very satisfied with my Fuzzibunz pads. It really makes sense for a cloth diapering mama to use cloth feminine pads if she's inclined to do so because you're already washing diapers every second day anyway. I just give mine a good rinse and toss them in with the cloth diapers. It really couldn't be any easier and it is saving me $15 per month! I passed on my love of having fuzzy bunz to my sister and she has since ordered some as well. Who's giggling now?

So since Fuzzibunz was giving me such a thrill, I decided to take it a step further. I'm sure that many of you have heard of the The Diva Cup. I've seen and heard of it many times over the years but never really understood what the deal was. Evidently, they are small, silicone cups that you fold up and insert like a diaphragm. Every few hours, you pop it out, give it a rinse, and up she goes again. They have recently come in stock at my local diaper retailer and just as I was thinking of heading over there to check it out, BAM, it went up on BabySteals last night for less than half price. As a lover of deals, I couldn't let a lack of education get in the way, so I naturally ordered one. My BabySteals purchases have a bad habit of taking forever to arrive, so I'll probably use that as an excuse to allow my blog to fall into woeful neglect for another 6-8 weeks. But seriously...stay tuned for a review!

Diadima xo

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Culture of One

Lately I've been thinking a lot about this club that I started back in elementary school. During the summer before I started grade two, my family moved to a new town which meant leaving old friends behind and setting about acquiring some new ones in the fall. Naturally, I had some fears about fitting in, but in no time at all I was standing in front of my three new friends suggesting that we start a club. We decided that the club would be about dancing at recess and wearing our hair in a specific way (high pony-tail and curled bangs, if you were wondering). I felt very serious about the club and spent hours one afternoon designing an ornate logo while spinning in an office chair at my mother's work. Each day during recess, my friends and I raced outside to work on our dance routines. We noticed that other girls were starting clubs as well and we felt very cosmopolitan for starting such a cool trend. I loved being in that club with those girls because I felt that we were all so like-minded what with our same hair, same age, same interests in dancing, etc and so on.

Then one day...

We all headed out for recess and I got right into the first position for our latest routine but as I started the count, I noticed that the other three girls were standing together with their hands on their hips.

"How come you're not in position?" I demanded.

"Well...we were talking about the routine-" one of the girls started,

"-Without ME?" I interrupted.

"Like I said, we were talking about the routine and we decided that it would look better if the blonde haired girls were on one side and the brown haired girls were on the other,"

"But-" I stammered, the warm sting of tears already filling my eyes.

"-so since we all have blonde hair, we'll stand over here and you'll have to stand by yourself because you're the only one with brown hair" she said matter-of-factly.

By the next recess, I was out of the club. The girls decided it was going to be a club for blondes only. I was completely devestated. It may have been a bit naive given that we were only seven years old, but I had hoped that we would cherish and support one another and remain close friends for the rest of our lives. It was a tough pill to swallow for such a little girl and it was my first taste of the girl-on-girl crime that I refer to as "the culture of one".

It seems like no matter where a girl turns, she is taught to mistrust her fellow female. In the culture of one, every girl has to be better than every other girl around her. In the culture of one, there is no sisterhood of women, there is only me vs. you. As young girls being schooled in the culture of one, we often look to grown women and imagine that the cliquishness we are experiencing is only temporary, we will be as cool and confident as those women one day when we grow out of this petty foolishness. Seven year old me certainly thought that was the case. As I got older, I began to wonder when I would find a group of like-minded women who rejected the culture of one in favour of supporting one another's differing views, celebrating our individuality and bonding through a connecting experience.

This brings us to twenty seven year old me.

Twenty seven year old me gave birth to a beautiful baby boy last year and twenty seven year old me excitedly headed out into the mothering community with a elated feeling that I had surely found a realm where the culture of one would not rule. I figured that we had all experienced pregnancy and the miracle of birth, we all loved our children enormously and we all had an interest in doing the very best for our children, therefore we would all be united in a supportive, non-critical sisterhood of mothers.

It's that whole fool me once, fool me twice thing all over again...

Yes, unfortunately, it seems that not only is the culture of one alive and well in the mothering community, but it reaches a level of ferocity for which my elementary-school-club fiasco did not adequately prepare me. I had hoped that the unifying experience of giving life would translate into some level of understanding, but instead I see a lot of me vs. you, us vs. them. There are so many labels by which mothers feel compelled to plaster on themselves. There are crunchy moms, trendy moms, stay-at-home moms, working moms, career moms and each group feels the need to explain why they are better than the other groups. Breastfeeding mothers critisize bottle-feeding mothers for not trying hard enough. Bottle-feeding mothers look at extended nursers as selfish. Co-sleepers are called irresponsible by the cribs-only crew. Baby-wearers quote the statistics of positional asphyxiation caused by toting your newborn in his carseat and stroller. Carseat and stroller toters quote the statistics of positional asphyxiation in slings and carriers. It goes on and on.


Why can't we all just get along? Yes, it is true that parenting is an incredibly personal and passionate aspect of life and so it is easy to see how we have fallen into this trap of the culture of one. If we all believe that we are doing what is best for our children, then anyone who does it differently must not be doing what's best, right? What would be amazing is if we could all accept that just as every child is different, every style of mothering is also different. We cannot assume what is best for another child. We cannot assume that another mother is not doing what is best because she isn't doing what we would do. It doesn't have to be blondes on one side and brunettes on the other. It doesn't have to be crunchy on one side and mainstream on the other. It may be true that society has infected us with a mistrust of our fellow female, but that doesn't mean we can't recognize what has occurred here and choose the alternative.

So please. The next time you find yourself tempted to raise an eyebrow at another mother who gives her son milupa instead of organic brown rice or who rubs anbesol on her baby's gums instead of draping her in baltic amber- take a step back and remember that we are all in this club together. We all brought these incredible children into the world and we all love them like nobody's business. We deserve the respect, support and well-wishing of one another, not shame, judgement or criticism fueled by the culture of one.

I look forward to the day that this remarkable sisterhood of mothers sheds the itchy skin that is the culture of one and learns to embrace our fellow woman. We're all on the same side, after all, and we're not seven anymore.

Diadima xo

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Take the Flats and Handwashing Challenge

The most common question I get asked about cloth diapering is, "Isn't it hard to do with the pins?" and I always say, "Oh no one uses pins anymore! Cloth diapering is super modern now with velcro or snaps, the diapers look just like disposables and go on just as easily only you toss them in the washer instead of the garbage". Yes, I admit that the selling point I tend to push is the one where I say how much like a disposable the new cloth is. It worked with my partner, he was very aprehensive at first, until he saw how "like a disposable" they were. The only downside to these super modern, funky, cute and easy to use diapers is the price. My personal fave- BumGenius by Cotton Babies runs a very steep $24 per diaper.

Recently, I was checking out my favourite cloth diapering blog Dirty Diaper Laundry and she was discussing how although using cloth is great for saving money, the up-front expense (about $500-$900) is just not an option for struggling families. Additionally, many struggling families don't have their own washer and dryer and so the multiple layers of fabric in pocket inserts, all-in-ones and even prefolds make for a lot of work in handwashing and even longer to hang-dry. So what is the solution here for families who are having a hard time affording disposable diapers but don't have the up-front cash to get started in cloth diapering? Well, according to Dirty Diaper Laundry- the solution is flats. Yep, just as I mentioned in my last post, people are beginning to realize that going back to the way our great grandmothers did things (breastfeeding, making their own baby food, gardening, cloth diapering and using clothes lines) is really the most sensible. Flat diapers are truly economical. They consist of one single layer of cotton that can be folding in many different ways to create a diaper. You secure them with either pins or Snappis and add a diaper cover to keep baby's clothes dry. As they are but a single layer, you can easily wash them and hang them out to dry- they are excellent candidates for that fabulous sun bleaching that I recently blogged about and even in winter, they will dry indoors in a few short hours. As Dirty Diaper Laundry pointed out, flats are the most intimidating of the cloth diapering options, mostly because when you look at a big square chunk of fabric, it's not immediately obvious how to get it to look like a diaper and so there is some learning and acquiring of skill that is required.

Dirty Diaper Laundry has decided to challenge herself to one week (May 23-30) of using flat diapers ONLY and handwashing/hang-drying them ONLY to prove that it is a viable and economical option for struggling families, a BETTER option for them than expensive disposables. She has also proposed that we cloth mamas take up the challenge with her. Head to her blog post here to sign yourself up for the challenge and read over the rules for participation.

For those of you living in the realm of my favourite cloth diaper retailer Re-Diaper, Anj is offering 15% off of her Osocozy Birdseye Cotton Flats (which regularly retail for $15 per 6pk) especially for the flats challenge. So head on over to the store or website and get yourself a couple packs of flat diapers, roll up your sleeves and get in on the challenge!

Diadima xo