[Disclaimer: might be TMI for those of you without children who are not yet used to discussing poop as casually as tomorrow's weather forecast or the latest big Red Sox news]
[Disclaimer #2: Holy long and rambling post Batman. I need an editor, stat]
Way back when I was pregnant and trying to navigate the whole "what do we need to procure in order to care for a baby" landscape (thanks to Erica for ALL her help with that!) I spent some time flirting with the notion of cloth diapers. I loved the idea of them, but was worried about implementation. I was so overwhelmed by all the choices and just didn't feel capable of doing "the research". A few weeks before Lily was born someone gave us a package of newborn huggies and I basically let that gift make the decision for me.
Then Lily came along and turned out to be a very easy infant in a number of ways. We heard a lot of horror stories about newborn diaper blowouts and the like but honestly, we have no real experience there. Lily's output was pretty predictable and pretty easy to clean up. I could be exercising selective memory here, there is after all this bit of photographic evidence:
But all in all, we were totally in control of the diaper/poop situation. So in control that I decided to start "shaking out and flushing" the messy diapers before disposing of them. I did this as "practice" for using cloth. I figured - if I can deal with this extra step with disposables, then it'd be an easy transition to cloth. I kept it up once I realized that the diaper champ smelled far less this way and that I wasn't really comfortable with piles of poop sitting in a can in my house even if it was airlocked away. (See previous post on my tendencies in this area)
Then one day a smart, capable friend of mine (Hi Jen B!) sent an email to a little "parents" email list that we've thrown together explaining everything you'd ever want to know about cloth diapers. It was informative, well-written, comprehensive and scared the living bejeezus out of me. I mean I knew I didn't really understand the cloth diapering options, but I had no idea HOW MANY options there were to not understand. So I read the email, marveled over what a star my friend is and vowed to stick with my "scraping out the huggies" approach.
Okay now a little segue. At Lily's 15-month appointment her doctor talked to me about potty training. He suggested that we just sit her on a potty and see if she peed or pooped on it here or there - no pressure, just giving her the experience. This idea sounded fun to me and - hey - I'm always looking for new activities - so "potty time" became a regular part of our evening. I bought one of those rings that sits on the "big potty" and she had a blast sitting there every night before her bath reading magazines. Yup - not even kidding - she sits there and thumbs through magazines - it's hysterical.
Fast-forward to now. We're at a point where Lily nearly always poops on the potty. It seems like she's modified her schedule so that she goes after dinner, when she's up there. On days that I'm home with her we get on the potty more and I pretty much never have to clean poop out of a diaper anymore.
Coinciding with our happy potty moments a new kids boutique, Twinkle Star, just opened up in Somerville. A woman named Salina is running her business, Diaper Lab, out of this boutique. She's basically a cloth diapering consultant and she's awesome. She's very approachable and knowledgeable and has been the little hand-holding that I needed to give this cloth thing a shot. My plans were always to wait until we have another baby (no, nothing to report, but we would like Lily to have a sibling one of these days) and to try cloth diapering then. However last week we were in Twinkle Star and I found myself completely drawn to Salina and her colorful collection of cleverly named cloth diapers. You know - brands like: Bum Genius, Happy Heinies, Thirsties - the list goes on. After taking up like an hour of her time I managed to convince myself and Gordon that switching to cloth NOW might get Lily training quicker - since she's already well along a path there - AND give us some head start practice for cloth diapering a second. Salina has a program where you give her $20 and she gives you 8 different types of diapers to take home and try for two weeks. So we walked out of there with our courage up, confidence high and a big bag of fleece/hemp/poly goodness.
Today, we're about a week into it. And I don't know what's happened, but I'm finding myself all kinds of out of control of the situation. I could write a whole post about how I drove to Porter Square on Monday night in order to find the "right" detergent in which to launder these diapers. And then spent at least a 1/2 hour doing web research to figure out how much of this detergent to use in my front-loading high efficiency washing machine. And how I had to do a cold-water rinse cycle first before washing. I mean I don't MIND the extra laundry - but it's extra laundry with an evil difficult twist. There are entire forums out there about using too much detergent, not enough - how one gets the soap out, etc etc. But what I really want to talk about is the fact that Lily is now refusing to put on diapers altogether.
The issue might be the diaper rash that she seems to have developed from the cloth diapers. I went to see Salina today and she's got some theories and new stuff for us to try. Right after the butt paste I bought today does its job clearing her up. It could be that she finds having a TON of material hanging off her butt uncomfortable. It could be exacerbated by the fact that she's obsessed with her new Baby Bjorn little potty. "Lily's Potty" she said all the way home from the store. But the end result is that Lily spent a good hour of this afternoon roaming around the house diaper free, while I followed her around obsessively asking "Do you have to potty? No, how about now? Do you have to potty now?". I swear I could see the teenager that she will become when she'd look at me and say "NO" ("now lay off already Mom, don't have a cow").
We're totally in uncharted territory here now folks. Gordon seems much less freaked out than I am- but that's pretty par for the course. Today she peed on the potty before we went to the park. I wrestled her into a diaper (disposable was all she'd let me use) and we went to the park. Upon our return she went straight to the potty, peed, made the more sign and then peed again. Then she went diaper-free until dinner without an accident. We insisted on a diaper for dinner - because hello - how could I possibly enjoy my baked cod casserole while wondering if she was peeing all over the floor the whole time? After dinner - she went right back to the potty - with a totally dry diaper - and peed some more.
So tell me - experienced ones - is this just a case of the toddler being ready before the parent? Does the diaper-free, peeing on the floor stage last awhile? Is it time to buy pull-ups/underwear or something else? And more importantly, how hygienic IS it to ride a rocking horse bare-assed?
UPDATE: I wrote this post Saturday night - and here we are Tuesday and she won't sit on the potty to save her life. I contemplated not publishing this, but what's the use of a blog if your friends can't have a good laugh at your expense?? Current state: diaper rash is nearly gone and we're back in disposables.