Stumbled Upon

In praying and thinking about different ways to raise funds for my upcoming trip to Thailand, I came to the idea that I could make and sell some of my homemade, all natural body care items that I make for my family.

Before this week I made only deoderant for myself, hair moisturizer/conditioner, and body butter.  Upon squeezing the last few drops of Boudreaux’s Butt Paste out of the three tubes we had lying about the house, I thought I would like to make some diaper cream for Clara.

I did a bit of research, looking up different diaper creams and what kinds of ingredients they had.  I, of course, am not a large company and cannot put all kinds of emulsifiers and preservatives in my products, but that’s really the idea isn’t it?  I looked for the main ingredients, the ones that truly heal the skin and protect it from the wet diaper it touches.

After a few days of research, I came up with a list of some key ingredients to make my diaper cream:  coconut oil, shea butter, beeswax, and zinc oxide powder.

I had found out that zinc oxide powder is most often the ingredient in diaper creams that heals any rash.  Unfortunately, zinc oxide powder is also the only ingredient in diaper cream that makes it incompatible with cloth diapers.  So, that wouldn’t be going into my own diaper cream.

So my three other ingredients went into a double boiler and were melted down; about 1 part shea butter, 2 parts coconut oil, and 1 tbsp of beeswax pellets.  After it was combined, I poured my newest concoction into a mason jar and let it cool.

The next morning, I had a wonderful test for this new diaper cream on my hands.  In the interest of not over-sharing, let’s just say that Clara has had quite an appetite lately, which means she is producing many more dirty diapers.  When she produces a lot of dirty diapers in a day, no matter how quickly we change them, she gets quite a nasty diaper rash.  Poor girl has some seriously sensitive skin.

Anyway, I saw her rash and thought “oh geez, this diaper cream doesn’t even have zinc.  I hope it works.”  I doubted this new cream could do anything to the rash I saw on her.

But I consistently applied it after every diaper change and used it liberally.  In one day, I saw almost half of her rash go away, and most of it shrank.  In two days, there literally is no rash left on her bottom.  I could hardly believe it.  This diaper cream worked as well, if not better than, my precious Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, for which I had been paying almost $8 for 4 oz.  This 2 oz. batch of my “Butt Goo” cost me pennies, literally.

Please feel free to use the above instructions to make your own “Butt Goo”, but if you’d like to wait a few days until I receive my containers in the mail, I will be selling “Butt Goo” through my blog.

And Sometimes, You Just Have to Give In

100_2690Just a day before this little Squish turned six months, Beard and I decided to start giving her solids.

Basically because the night before she was yelling at us while we were eating dinner, which I can only assume mean “Look, people; I’m hungry, too.  Feed me.”

So, we started with some solid foods.

The first taste of avocado went well, and then carrots went okay.

Soon, though, Clara started to dislike solids.  About a day or two into eating solid foods, this poor girl would scream bloody murder every time I would try to put a spoon into her mouth.  If she got some food into her mouth, she seemed to enjoy the taste, and she would swallow.

But then resume screaming.

Now when I say screaming, I mean, her sister was looking at me as if to say, “Seriously, Mom; can’t you stop killing Clara?”

I’m worried my neighbors may think I torture my babies.

But I don’t.  It was just sweet potatoes.

Sheesh.

Anyway,  the last couple of days we have given poor Clara a break from solid foods.

(Read, I graciously re-welcomed nighttime feedings into my life.)

The Squish seemed to do fine, until tonight.  We were sitting down to dinner, and Clara couldn’t take her eyes off of Madeline’s pizza.  So I thought I would give the solids another shot.

I had most of a serving of zucchini in the fridge, so I heated that up a bit for Clara, and she gobbled it down.

Score!  I thought, she was hungry.

And then she looked around for more food, so I heated up a cube of sweet potatoes, in hopes that I might coax her into something more substantial to keep her feeling full longer.

Clara took maybe a spoonful from me, then refused.

So I went out on a limb:  I put an ample amount of sweet potato on the spoon, then handed it to her.  That little Squish loved it.  She got a little in her mouth, a little on her forehead and in her hair, some on the wall, some on her stump.

Stuff was everywhere.

But I didn’t care.  She was glad to be eating.

Of course, I should probably stick to only feeding Clara solids once a day for a while, so as not to overwhelm her.  She gets frustrated and emotional quickly.

But now I realize the trick that I hadn’t seen before.

Sometimes, as a mother, I have to relinquish control of my children’s lives to them.  With Madeline, it has been mostly recently, with the “terrible twos” quickly approaching.  I hadn’t anticipated this kind of demand for independence with Clara, but I have a difficult time denying it.  If this little Squish wants to feed herself, far be it from me to deny her.

I can only hope I have the patience and self-restraint to allow her these necessary freedoms on things, years from now, that are more crucial.

Not Uncharted Territory

Ladies and gentlemen, first let me give my humblest apologies for my extended absence. The little people and I were visiting relatives in New Jersey, and I have a rule about blogging while visiting family: I just don’t. I never seem to find the time.

We arrived safely Tuesday, and Wednesday morning I promptly began what has been the most dreaded parenting task to date:

Potty Training

Or if you are vaguely British:

Toilet Training

That still sounds weird to me.

Anyway.  Madeline is quickly nearing her second birthday, and for more than six months now she has been able to tell us when she needs to use the potty and use it successfully.  She wasn’t consistent, and she might end up using the potty only once a day or less.  Nonetheless the signs were there.  This little girl is ready to start learning to get rid of her diapers.

But I wasn’t ready.  I hadn’t studied how to potty train a toddler.  I didn’t know what method to use, how long it would take, what materials to use (besides a potty, of course).  After months of mildly useless internet searches I have come to one conclusion:

There is no right way to potty train your child.

Differing advice comes from all over the blogosphere, as well as informational websites like WebMD and BabyCenter.com.  Some sites claim babies can be potty-trained by 18 months without the use of training pants, while others say waiting until 3 or later will ensure quick success.  I have read how some parents leave their child without diaper or underpants and simply put them on the potty when they see them going number one or number two.  I have read others who swear by complicated reward systems

Seriously.  It’s just potty-training.  Could there be that much variation?

Considering I have not yet successfully potty-trained any children I have little room to talk, but I will share how Beard and I intend to go through the process with our oldest:

  1. Training pants:  I felt these were nice to use because they allow Madeline to pull up and down her own pants but absorb more accidents than just plain underpants.
  2. Little potty:  Because, let’s be honest, the big potty is at eye-level with her.
  3. Reese’s pieces:  One for number one and two for number two.  Simple, yet effective.

We will not be disciplining any mistakes in potty-training, because that seems silly.  She is still learning this behavior, not willfully defying our training.

If anyone has any suggestions or ideas for successful and simple potty-training, please send them my way.  I would love the help!

 

Green Update: New Kinds of Adventures

This month marks 4 years that I have officially been a resident of the south, though I had been in Virginia for four years prior for college. I thought by now I had experienced all of the main southern things. I have drank sweet tea, been to a “pig pickin'”, purchased and used straw, made small talk with grocery clerks, and even got to be on a first name basis with the bank teller in our town.
Well, friends, I was wrong. I had another southern/country adventure to be had.
As I have shared before, I am growing rhubarb for my husband. The man loves the stuff. Really, it’s almost awkward. But I love him, so I grow it. My rhubarb experts (consequently my grandparents-in-law) advised me to use some cow or sheep manure on my rhubarb plant to keep it from getting “leggy” as they call it.
Now, I am no stranger to poop. I deal with all kinds of poop on a regular basis, but usually I am trying to get rid of it, not acquire it.
Since getting manure was new for me, I put my feelers out on Facebook, asking people where I could get some cow or sheep manure.
I got all sorts of responses, from suggestions to use other animal manure, to friends letting me know where they get their particular garden poop.
I decided to take a friend up on her offer of manure from her own calf.
The story goes as follows:
It was New Years and her and her husband nearly ran a calf off the road in a nearby county. Consequently, said calf was no more than a week old, as he still had his umbilical cord hanging on. Clyde, as he is known now, has been a part of their family now for over three months. He hangs out in their yard with their chickens, and occasionally their two dogs. If I had a cow, I would want him to be like Clyde; dude is the sweetest, most calm animal I have ever seen.
But of course, my visit to see my friend was not for the purpose of acquainting myself with her cow, but rather to gather his waste.
I brought my trashcan along with me, since Beard and I have yet to give in and own a pick-up truck. My friend lent me a shovel.
And there I was, friends. Shoveled cowpies into my outdoor garbage can, to put in the back of my hatchback, drive home, and put in my garden.
This is an experience I could not have enjoyed in my hometown in New Jersey. I’m not sure most people in that town have ever actually seen a cow that close up, let alone his poop.
But I, yes this little Jersey girl, collected manure and brought it home.
Mission: Accomplished.

It’s Always a Successful Day When..

Somebody poops in the tub.
That would be the Squishy Bean for the win this evening. My girls have both had huge appetites lately, and there is no longer any predictability about their bowel movements. Which leaves me in fear each time I put them in the bathtub.
But today, folks, I overcame that fear. The Little Bean pooped, and I *almost* calmly pulled the Bean out of the tub and put her in her little reclining floor chair, while having the Bits just hang out on the bath mat. I drained the water quickly, wiped out the tub, and refilled it.
I had only just shampooed their hair and hadn’t rinsed it yet.
While waiting for the water to drain, the Bean pooped again. In her reclining chair. Perfect. Luckily the fabric cover removes easily and is machine washable. It’s washing with the diapers at the moment. 🙂

I have these moments in motherhood when I think to myself “I really can’t deal with this right now; I’m hungry, tired, grumpy, etc.” But somehow God manages to give me grace. And a lot of patience. We get through a rough moment and suddenly the Bean coos at me or Bitsy Girl gives me a big ol’ kiss and none of it matters. What does matter is that I can enjoy them while they are small and form strong relationships with them now so that years from now they will remember that Mommy was the one who watched them play outside, kissed their boo-boos, read them the same book five times in a row, and gave them their favorite food for lunch.

Keeping It Cool

This afternoon I write you from a very calm state of mind.
About two hours ago, you would not have found me like this.
The scene:
Bitsy Girl had recently woken up from her morning nap and was pointing to her mouth, letting me know she was hungry. She needed a diaper change first, though.
Little Miss Squishy Girl had been hanging out (literally) in the Moby wrap for most of the morning, so I was sure she also could use a diaper change.
(The Moby wrap is basically a piece of cloth that can be wrapped around oneself in such a way that makes it easy to carry a baby hands free. Both of my girls loved it and would almost always fall asleep in it.)
I had Bitsy Girl on the changing table and was taking care of a particularly poopy diaper when I smelled something foul. And it was not, nor did it ever come from my daughter.
As a side note, I have noticed as a mom that I recognize the smell of my own daughter’s poop. Gross, I know, but handy in situations where there are lots of kids. It’s like knowing your baby’s cry, but more gross.
Anyway. I turn around to find that Bruno had also left me a steaming pile of his own feces six inches behind my heel. Without warning me he had to go outside, of course.
I pretty much lost it. There really is only so much poop a person can take at once. Bruno went outside, then right to bed. Bitsy Girl got lunch, then some free playtime. And somehow little Squishy Face slept through the ordeal.
In the middle of it all, Beard calls me up to see if I could bring him Squishy Girl’s birth certificate, which I am fairly certain I accidentally threw away. The poor man got dumped on (pun intended).
It took me almost an hour to recover from my mildly traumatic poop experience. Bitsy Girl and I baked a batch of muffins, because honestly, what ailment could homemade muffins not cure?
I really had to take a step back and realize this was not the worst thing that could happen to me. And that I should really learn to keep my cool in these situations. I love my babies, and am glad I get to enjoy their young years. That means I do have to change a lot of diapers.
And I do love Bruno, despite what I tell him sometimes, and having him around means occasionally I will have to clean up his accidents.
So really, I asked for these kinds of days.
These are the days the really test my patience and bring anger and frustration boiling out of me. But instead I have got to learn to just take a deep breath, dive in, and stay cool.