signs

IMG_8114On Monday, I dropped Claire off at preschool for the first time in over a week after our vacation (more about that later). As I carried her in, she smiled at her teachers, saw that breakfast was being served, and rubbed her chest. “Please? You want some breakfast, huh Claire?” her teacher said. And that’s when it hit me…

It only took us three months, but we finally figured out that they’ve been teaching her baby sign language at preschool. And suddenly, what I thought were just funny things she likes to do with her hands, maybe pieces of songs from circle time (she loves the motions to Happy And You Know It and Itsy Bitsy Spider), became words with meaning– meaning we’ve been missing all this time.

Meanwhile, my mind flashed to what the last few months must have been like for Claire: More, please. Eat, please. Up? What is wrong with my parents? Do I live with idiots? My teachers understand me just fine! How many times do I have to say “more” to these morons before they refill my milk? She must have thought we were incredibly dense.

Now, though, it’s like a whole new world has opened up. This morning she pointed to a book and signed “please.” So I read it to her. Crazy!

Now I’ve got some catching up to do in the baby sign language department, because Claire is way ahead of me.

I must say, I’m super impressed with her preschool teachers– it absolutely makes sense to teach baby sign language at a special needs preschool where a lot of the kids are either nonverbal or speech-delayed. This puts all the kids on a level playing field for at least the bare minimum of communication.

Meanwhile, there’s at least one other area where I have to catch up with preschool: somehow, after a year of struggle, her teachers and her feeding therapist have gotten her off of bottles, the bottles she has preferred exclusively over any other type of bottle or cup since the NICU, and she now drinks from a sippy cup for them. Well, the jig is up now, Claire, and you’re about to switch to sippies at home, too. No more washing and reusing the same 12 disposable nipples that we nabbed from the NICU and have been reusing all this time, over 18 months now. How do I sign “sippy time”?

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cloth diapering update: into toddlerhood

tips for cloth diapering toddlers // the adventures of ernie bufflo

I’ve written about cloth diapering newborns and infants, but I figured now that the girls are 17 months, it’s time for an update on the toddler phase of this operation.

I still LOVE LOVE LOVE my cloth diapers. I still think they’re no grosser or more difficult than disposables. I still think they’re 10 times cuter ;)

One new development: a diaper sprayer is a must in the toddler years. (I’m about to talk about poop. There’s no way around it. You’ve been warned.) While newborn and infant poop is water soluble, once baby is really eating solids, you’re gonna need to get most of that off the diaper before you wash it. For us, this was around 13 months. Of course, you could be lucky and just have a kid like one of ours (not naming names because they’ll be Google-able someday), whose poops are just little turds that easily roll off the diaper into the toilet. No sprayer necessary, pretty much ever, if that’s the case. But for our other kid, her poops are just a sticky mess and must be sprayed off. We have a sprayer from BumGenius, and my husband easily and quickly installed it on the toilet in the girls’ bathroom. It works great, just like the sink sprayer you probably have in the kitchen.

Also, toddlers pee more. Their bladders hold more, so you may find yourself needing to up the absorbency in your diapers. This is one reason why pocket style diapers are my favorite. It’s super easy to add an extra insert, preferably in a natural fiber like cotton, bamboo, or hemp, when you need to add absorbency, like nap time, or when you’ll be out and about. I like bamboo inserts from Alva Baby and hemp from Thirsties.

This also means you might have to find a new system for overnights to keep baby from waking up soaked. Our girls are such heavy wetters that I have yet to find a disposable diaper that doesn’t leak overnight, so even if we’re traveling and using disposable diapers, I put a cloth cover over the disposable to prevent leaks. Meanwhile, through trial and error, I’ve found cloth diaper systems that help them go more than 12 hours leak-free. For our heavier wetter, we use a Flip cover stuffed with one Flip organic overnight insert with a Flip stay dry insert over that. For the other girl, we use either a Thirsties Fab Fitted stuffed with a small Thirsties hemp insert inside a Flip cover or a Green Mountain workhorse fitted with a small Thirsties hemp insert and a fleece liner to keep her feeling dry (I cut up an old sweatshirt) inside a Flip cover.

Another new toddler cloth-diapering development is that Claire goes to pre-school:

Cloth Diapering and Daycare or Pre-School

When considering cloth diapers and daycare/pre-school, remember: it never hurts to ask, and the ask is easier if you Show And Tell. I asked if our pre-school would consider cloth diapering, and they said they were open to the idea. So I took in a few of our pocket diapers for them to check out. Once they saw they were all one piece, just like a disposable diaper, they said they’d give it a shot. And it’s worked out great! Some other things to keep in mind:

  1. Make it as easy on the caregivers as possible. For us, this means I take pre-stuffed pocket diapers all ready to go. I also don’t require them to spray poops or unstuff the diapers. Since their changing table is right next to a toilet, they dump the ploppable poops in the trash, then fold up the diapers and stuff them in a wetbag. I unstuff them when I get them home and throw them in the wash. I also didn’t try to rock the boat with cloth wipes. Just getting them to cloth diaper is enough for me! I also made sure the only diaper cream we provide is CD safe, which isn’t a problem because each kid supplies his own cream.
  2. Ask how many times a day they change kids, and send enough changes plus a couple extras. Our center changes kids every 2 hours, and she’s there from 8:30-3:30. I make sure they have 6 cloth diapers in Claire’s cubby at all times, along with a medium wetbag (we have 2 medium wetbags that get rotated according to which is in the wash).
  3. Make sure you tell them: “Put it on tighter than you think it needs to be.” I have found that putting on diapers too loose is the number one reason non-CDers have leaks when they try cloth diapers. I explained that the key to keeping wetness in was a tight seal around the waist and legs, and while they had a couple of leaks at first, our teachers eventually got it down. I also reassured them that a little redness from the elastic is normal, but we don’t want deep red marks.

Do you cloth diaper a toddler? Have any tips to share? Any questions?