Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow (or Soon After)

Zoe’s hair is finally starting to come in. She now has a downy little five o’clock shadow over her adorable noggin. My neighbors are almost all hispanic and birth babies with heads full of gorgeous thick locks. One neighbor peered at Zoe this past weekend in passing and asked me why I had cut off her hair. I said I hadn’t. Oh, it fell out? Uh, no, it’s just starting to come in.

I told my husband about this amusing exchange this evening as I watched Eli play in the tub. After Jeff walked out of the bathroom, Eli said, “You know, Mom, everyone has to get their hair cut sometime.” I agreed that that was true and asked if he had noticed today that a neighbor child had gotten her hair cut. He had.

“You know, Mom, youneed to get your hair cut sometime.” Eyes averted, fiddling with his bath toy.

“Do you think I should get my hair cut short?”

“Yes.”

“Daddy likes my hair long.”

“Oh.” Eyes still averted.

“Do you think I should get my hair in front cut short, but leave the back long?”

“Uh, yeah!” He finally looks at me, his eyes happy, hopeful.

Sigh… It’s not the first time he has asked me to get my hair cut in recent months. But this time I could tell that it is pretty important to him that I do so.

You see, I have wanted to have hair that was all long and that I could just braid back for many years, but each time I tried to grow out my bangs I could never get past the interminable awkward stage and would cut them again in frustration. Then I got pregnant again. And sick. So sick. For the first four months I did well just to get out of bed and wasn’t much seen by the public at large. That’s a great time to get a head start through a painfully awkward stage of hair growth. Pregnancy got a bit better, but with a couple of periods of bed rest and just being big and tired I still wasn’t seen much by the public at large, so I continued to let it grow.

And now, four months into my young daughter’s life, it is finally almost long enough to be caught back as I always wanted to do. I like having long hair, but I hate having to spend any time on it. I especially want to pull it out of the way of Zoe’s fingers or I may soon be almost as bald as she is.

But my son wants me to get it cut. I have to agree that I do think it looks better shorter. I’m just now a bit invested in the past year’s worth of growth, of finally getting beyond the stage where mirror experiences felt similar to those I had back in junior high, waiting for growth to bring things into proper proportions.

I told Jeff about my conversation with Eli. He said that perhaps Eli is prophetic, perhaps it is really the voice of God. So I guess I really do look better with bangs. In the eyes of my family at the very least.

The Experiment is over. The bangs shall return very shortly.

I never knew when I decided to have children that within 3 years my son’s opinion would be influencing my personal style.

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Getting Ready for Baby: Cloth Diapers

This week I decided it was time to take stock of my cloth diaper stash to see what all I will be needing before the new baby comes in a little over 4 months.

Eli wearing a gDiaper.

Initially with Eli I had planned to cloth diaper all the way through until potty training. Then I began to use disposables when we were traveling because keeping a big old musty bag of used diapers in the car for a few days on end just seemed to be a bit much (and the 10 day trip via airplane when he was 5 months old… UNFATHOMABLE!). Once the ‘sposies were in the house I found just how much more convenient they were in certain situations… like being out of the house for more than just a couple of hours. Since we often didn’t use a stroller, and I was already wearing Eli in a carrier I didn’t want to bring along a lot of bulky cloth diapers as unless I was out with my husband I was carrying both baby and diaper bag.

Then Eli hit the crawling stage at 6 months. He was already a very big baby for his age and squeezing the cloth diapers on him under his pants made for a rather mobiley-compromized baby. I was also finding it hard to fit him into his car seat for some reason. Perhaps it was just his personal body shape because I’ve never read anyone else discuss that issue on the cloth diapering blogs. So slowly, but surely cloth was used less and less, really only when we were going to be at home and then only during the day. (With all of the night waking issues we had, as soon as I discovered overnight disposables I was very happy to leave that little bit of early hour baby stimulation behind.) Eventually I found I was not accumulating enough to justify running the washer for a diapers-only load before they would begin to reek on day 3. So (feeling a bit like a crunchy-mama failure) when Eli was about 18 months old I packed all of the cloth diapers away to await our next child.

I had read often enough about the laborious process of stripping diapers when the ammonia smell begins to remain even after washing, but I had never actually done it. My diapers never got smelly. Maybe that’s due to the Charlie’s Soap Powder I use, the fact we have a top loading washer, or because I rarely used the clothes drier for them but let the Southern California sun work it’s wonders instead. What ever the case may be it wasn’t something I wanted to take on if it didn’t seem necessary. But seeing as the diapers had now spent a year in boxes in the garage, and they would be used by a different person it seemed like maybe now was the time.

So I waited until Eli was at preschool, cranked up the temperature on the water heater,

We usually keep this set around 120 degrees, but for diaper-stripping purposes I turned it up as high as it would go.

began filling the tub with diapers,

and as the water filled the tub went online to double check the amount of Dawn dishwashing detergent that I should use. That’s when I found that, unlike the sites I had read before describing boiling diapers on the stove or soaking them in near-boiling water in the tub, I could just do the stripping in my washing machine!

The dreaded day of drudgery turned out to be ever-so-easy as far as the diapers were concerned, allowing me time to sew another baby nightgown before Eli returned from preschool.

For anyone needing to know how to strip cloth diapers here’s a link to the site that saved my day. You’re welcome. 🙂

Now with all of the diapers super clean, I’ve been sorting them by size and trying to figure out if I have all that we will need. Even though these diapers were used by Eli first, I do have a fair amount of girly diapers as when I made these I didn’t know who would be coming our way to use them yet. (Actually for a good portion of my pregnancy we thought that Eli was going to be Elianna 😉 )Between prefolds and the homemade fitted diapers I have about 30 in the smallest size. Figuring about 10 diapers a day and no more than 3 days between washes I should just have enough, but I will probably make a couple more to have on hand just in case.

My complete stash of small handmade fitted cloth diapers.

So little and so cute!

These represent one of my very first sewing ventures away from the realm of quilting. I remember Eli outgrew them so quickly as I made the majority of them with woven flannel receiving blankets repurposed for the outer fabrics. Fuzzy and adorable but they don’t stretch at all!

As for sticking with the whole cloth diapering thing this time around, I have a few ideas that will make things go a bit more smoothly. I will still use disposable (Earth’s Best or Seventh Generation) when traveling and probably for the first couple of weeks home from the hospital, especially if I end up needing another C-section. I am laying in a store of Mama-made pants created specifically for the fluffy-bummed baby. (Posts on those will follow!) Perhaps a better designed diaper bag would help with the schlepping of cloth diapers when we are out and about as once again I plan on wearing this baby.

(I am also becoming interested in Elimination Communication, but haven’t made any decisions about that either way at this point. Who knows? Perhaps in the end we might go diaper-free all together?! Not too sure about that one… But intrigued. Definitely intrigued.)

Eli Contemplates the Baby

ruby love

Photo license CreativeCommons noncommercial use.

When I first became pregnant I didn’t talk too much about the coming baby with Eli. I didn’t want him to begin feeling resentful of his coming sibling for the loss of nursing or the fact that I wasn’t doing much of anything with him anymore. Eli was simply told that Mama was sick. I did explain a couple of times that he couldn’t leap on my stomach when I was laying down because there was a baby in there now, and my husband and I would occasionally discuss the coming baby in his presence but that was about it.

Now however, I’m feeling much better, my belly’s starting to pop, we are nearing the pregnancy halfway point and baby talk has increased exponentially. Eli is becoming quite fascinated and excited about the whole thing. At least a couple of times a day he tries to peer in my belly button to catch a glimpse of the baby.

He also frequently commands “Baby out!” complete with a sweeping hand motion like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat. I explain to him that we have a long time more to wait and show with my hands that my belly will have to get bigger, and bigger, and BIGGER before the baby inside is big enough to be born. This always produces a round of giggles on his part. He thinks I’m joking… just wait, if this one is anything like he was I’ll be waddling around with what looks like an impossibly large  beach ball strapped to my front before we’re done.

I’m not sure if he’s excited about the baby coming for the sake of having a sibling or because he’s been told that when the baby comes Mama’s milk will come back as well. I don’t know if he will still want to nurse by that point but right now he’s pretty keen on the idea. He’s already designated which side will be for the baby and which side will be his. As he is a polite young man, he did assign the baby’s before his own.

Because for so long I stayed home to rest while he went out to play or run errands with his Daddy now Eli asks a number of times before leaving the house “Mama too?” He loves it when we are all together. Yesterday after the usual “Mama too?” as we were preparing for a fun trip to the Barnes & Noble he asked “Baby too?” I assured him we wouldn’t be leaving the baby behind.

I asked him if he thought the baby would be a boy or a girl and with no hesitation he proclaimed her a girl. When asked what he thought her name should be he answered “Baby.”