Mother’s Day

….or more like Be a Cry Baby Day.

I honestly don’t remember being this uncomfortable carrying Ruth. Sometimes I think the baby is so far down that it might already be halfway out and I’m just walking around with a baby’s head near my knees staring at people. So I spent the majority of Mother’s Day laying on the couch. I guess that sounds nice, doesn’t it. But then the thoughts and daydreams came… and I started to psyche myself out again about the impending labor. For those of you I’ve texted or emailed during these freak outs, I apologize, but thank you for your rah rah cheers. They’re what I need at the moment.

My pregnant friends and I are all discussing our upcoming plans. And when they start talking about getting epidurals, I  imagine a half-naked man waving palm leaves while feeding them grapes and giving them a pedicure. It sounds wonderful, but I know they still work hard and I totally get why women would want one. I have my own reasons for opting out of the hospital experience, some based on medical practices, but mostly it’s just personal preference. I hate staying in a hospital, period. When I had my appendix out, they strongly suggested I stay one more night, but instead I left and immediately went straight for my couch. I like being at home. That’s pretty much it. I just really like being at home.

So I spent Mother’s Day wondering how I was going to have the energy with a shot lower back and a toddler running around. And you can see it in my face.

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That’s part pain, part exhaustion, part I’m wearing a tight jean skirt to church because it’s all I have clean and I could really give a rat’s ass, part scaredy-pants, part impatience, part hunger, part gratefulness for a beautiful day, part love for my family. But I’d be lying if that last part had to be focused on intensely to even make it in the pie. Why is that the part that’s so easily removed?

It did make it in the pie, though. Because I didn’t change one dirty diaper all weekend. I didn’t clean up after any meal. I was not made to feel guilty for sneaking upstairs for naps. For watching Sesame Street when normally I’d be down in the trenches playing. For barely having any meal plans ready throughout the week. For letting Ruthie throw crayons all over the living room and then asking Ryan to help pick them up. For, in general, being a grumpy butt.

So thank you Ryan, even though you never read my blog. Thank you for picking up the slack without so much a grumble.

Sunday morning I watched my girl get so excited to wear a her red hooker skirt (sorry mom, it just kind of reminds me of those red Christmas candles you put in all your windows one year that made us look like a brothel.) She does love it so and asks to wear it every day. I told her that hooker skirts were not appropriate for church, unlike tight jean skirts.
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I watched Ruthie chase after a black cat. She so reminded me of Alice in Wonderland for some reason. Must be the white tights and black shoes. I’m sure she was hoping to go down the rabbit hole. DSC_7290But no, mean ole mom had to tell her it was time to get in the car. DSC_7293She stomped the whole way there. DSC_7294
And it made me smile. Oddly enough, when she throws a tantrum, those are my biggest laughs of the day.

We grabbed a pizza on the way home, listened to Ruth try to sing along with the cd, and talked about our faith and how it gets stronger every time we leave that place.  We came home, took a historically long nap, and then played outside a bit before watching the Survivor finale and wishing other people would watch that show too.

It wasn’t eventful, it wasn’t glamorous, it wasn’t exciting. But it was my day and my life. And I really do love it, even in a too-tight jean skirt.

A New Favorite Place to Read

A conversation of sorts:

Me:      What should we do today? I want to do something. Maybe we could go to the library?

Ruth:   [pointing at her diaper] Potty? Poop?

Me:      Yes, we’ll probably go potty and poop today, you’re right.

[Ruth walks over to where her toilet used to be downstairs.]

Me:      Oh, it’s upstairs now in the bathroom… your toilet.

Ruth:   [pondering for a second, then…] Book!

book toilet

At least she’s making connections.

Bathing Beauty

Ruthie pooped last night, so Ryan gave her a bath.

I didn’t help this time. No, I, on the other hand, was snuggled into this girl’s couch eating popcorn and watching the 1998 version of Les Miserables. This was part two of a Les Mis battle between us, which started with a passionate rant sentence on my facebook wall on how Les Mis did not need to be redone. I don’t think either of us were really excited about seeing the other’s preferred version. But we did and I think it’s safe to say, we liked both. A lot. Jesyka, I no longer harbor a grudge against your loving the ’98 better, but mostly because you made me a decaf americano and had chocolate covered bananas on hand.

It’s only taken us several months to finally watch these movies. Between listening to her husband play banjo in his band, discount baby-crud shopping, and reality tv marathons, we’ve had other things to do. And other things to talk about. These Tuesday night dates have led us into other, deeper conversations which were three-fourths serious, one-fourth making fun of Basketball Wives. Hopefully I’ll have an update on one particular discussion in particular.

All this to say that I was sitting on that couch, heart hurting from the dang movie, when I got this text from Ryan:

How’s the movie? Ruthie just pooped all the way down into both feet of her pajamas. Les miserables! Je suis malheureuse.

I smiled and shoved another handful of popcorn in my mouth. Ah, to be the one not sending those texts. It felt glorious, my friends.

So Ryan had to tackle that one alone, but usually I’m there in the midst of bathtime.
DSC_7008 Ruth waits patiently for the bath to fill up.
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DSC_7014And then Ryan swoops in to play with her bathtub music set.
DSC_7018 What do I do, you ask?

I’ve got the glamorous job of cleaning poopy cloth diapers.
DSC_7021 Let’s all give a moment of silence to toilet sprayers.

Thank you.

So, yes, when I got that text, you bet I snuggled deeper into the couch.

Now I Know Why The Mayans Worshipped It…

Oh, glorious sun.. how I love thee. Not only do you clear up my face in the summertime and bleach my hair to make it look less graytastic, you also get poop stains out of my cloth diapers.

There seems to be a running theme in my posts lately. And yes, pun was intended. Leave me alone, I’m up to my eyeballs in Ruth’s diaper antics and must put other people through my pain as well.

Actually, it’s not all that bad. Even with cloth diapers.

Right now the poo washes right out, but after two rinse cycles as well as a wash cycle, it can still leave stains on them.

Here’s a close -up:

See the yellow stainage? Not horrible, but it’s still poo stains, and who wants to see that.

So I load them up on my expandable clothesline that is in front of a very sunny south-facing window. Did I mention how much I love this set up? It has made my life so much easier.

I basically wash the diapers once every other day, in the morning. I rinse, then wash, then rinse again. Afterwards, I throw them up on the line until dried. For those with stainage, I make sure they are front and center to soak up that sunshine.

And then only a couple hours later (maybe sooner, that’s just when I remembered to check)

….out came the stains! This is not a doctored photo, nor is it a different cloth insert. You can tell by that little cotton nub on the left-hand side.

Why does this amaze me? But it does.

Thank you Sunny McSunnershine!

WARNING: Graphic Content

Ruthie you really take us for fools, don’t you. But I’m on to you, little girl.

You slept in grandma’s arms all sweet and cuddly-like that night. Never a whimper, just a little smile here or there as you dreamt of your plan. You even had grandpa fooled into taking a nap. Though I bet he sensed the impending eruption of Mount Ruthsuvius and was only pretending.

Because before long, you “woke up”, if you were even sleeping in the first place. You knew what you were doing, because beneath those cries was maniacal laughter. “These fools will never know what hit them,” you thought.

To be honest, we should have seen the signs of this volcanic explosion. Maybe the fact that you hadn’t gone #2 in several days should have alerted us. But no, we stayed in our homes at the base of your mountain, blissfully sipping hot cocoa in front of the fire. Mount Ruthsuvius would not blow today of all days.

Then we had an earthquake, which caused some alarm. Not enough, though, because we continued chit-chatting as if we had all the time in the world. Following the earthquake were the aftershocks that only the person holding you felt. We laughed and congratulated you on expelling that gassiness. We had no idea.

You waited. Oh yes. You bided your time for, of course, the moment I started nursing you.

And as I sat talking with my mom about how laundry is caught up, how I just changed you, how I’m really glad we haven’t had a blowout for a while… out the mustard magma came.

Slowly.

So slowly that I didn’t notice that it got onto my hands.

But then I did notice, screamed and immediately yelled for the camera. Because that’s what you do in dangerous and scary situations, Ruth. Forget running for safety (that didn’t even help Pompeii), let me get a shot of that lava.

As we laid you on the changing table to wipe you down, that’s when I noticed the laughter and the “I got you, fools” look.

You were so smug about your joke. You laughed and smiled as your master plan unfolded in front of your very eyes.

It was funny, wasn’t it, hearing me scream and run around, then wiping you down from chest to toe. It was hilarious, right, when you heard your dad spraying that diaper down with our new diaper sprayer. You were tickled to death, huh, as you watched your grandparents stand there wide-eyed.

You got us good, daughter. But in the end we won.

Because there is nothing so fun as a baby taking a bath. Oh yes, you won the battle, Ruth, but we won the war.

Keeping it real, folks. Just keeping it so very real.

Cloth Diapers

Even though we had registered for them, I was absolutely terrified of using cloth diapers. I thought it would be twice as much work. I mean, there’s a reason they call them disposables, right? You can just toss it away, and that’s the end of your relationship with that particular one.

I have to say, though, it is incredibly easy. I have partly to thank Juice, a girlfriend of mine who has been using cloths with her little one. She was my cheerleader.

But first I had to get into a cleaning rhythm, which was easy to do, because I am hooked up in the diaper department. The more we have, the less number of times we have to do the wash. If you are expecting, and think you might get into cloths, be sure to register for them. It will save you so much money, it’s unbelievable. R’s coworkers went above and beyond with their gift to us.

It’s a gift that just keeps on giving. I guess Ruth is too. At least, she’s the gift that keeps on giving to the gift that keeps on giving. Nevermind. She poops, people. A lot.

We are using a combination of Fuzzibunz One Size, Fuzzibunz Small (I misread an ebay description and thought I was buying One Size. I like them, though. And will be looking for the Mediums/Larges/XL in the future), and BumGenius One Size.

The BumGenius ones are velcro which I didn’t think I’d like, but I do. It lets me adjust to her perfectly. See the Fuzzibunz in the photo above? And see the little gap by her thigh? This was taken before I really grasped how tightly to snap them. After two leakages, let’s all give thanks above that it was not a #2 leakage, I am now the snapper psycho. Once the velcro starts to lose its luster, it can be turned into snaps.

Look at her, though. She likes them. In fact, getting her diaper changed is perhaps the highlight of her day. No kidding. I’m slightly in awe, because I can go on a camping trip and not shower once, and be okay with it. She must have gotten her cleanliness from R. But then again, have you seen his goatee lately? Yikes.

We think that part of the reason she loves getting her bum wiped, is well.. because of the wipes. And the “wipe juice.” No really, that’s what’s it’s called. Baby wipe juice.

(source)

It smells heavenly and is organic. I’ve grown to hate that word. I love what it produces, but the actual word now just rubs me the wrong way. Every time I say it, I have to say it as though I’m an English aristocrat. Orgaaahhnic. (and be sure to put your nose in the air.)

I put a capful into a travel spray bottle and fill to brim with water. Ba Da Bing.

My sister had hooked me up with a gigantic tub full of clothes, blankets, burp cloths etc. There were quite a few receiving blankets in there, much more than I needed. So I cut them up in 8″x8″ squares. Ba Da Boom.

And my mom sewed two pieces together. No, I didn’t do it, she did. You remember the last time I took a crack at sewing. If you don’t recall that lovely creation, check it out here: The trapezoid baby blanket.

So, you either spray a couple times on the wipe, or spray directly on your child. Either way, I’ve found that I use less cloth wipes than disposable ones. Maybe because they’re thicker? I don’t know, but R and I both agreed that it hasn’t been a hard transition for either the wipes or diapers.

Now on to the dreaded cleaning part. Yes, I wash every day, but I don’t think I’d need to if I didn’t want to. That’s why the more diapers the merrier. It gives you breathing room.

You can either dry them on low, or air-dry them. The sun bleaches out any stains, so that’s the preferable way. Problem is, we don’t have a clothesline. All we have is an expandable one, which does not hold up well with this wind. I’ve had to rewash countless loads after finding it face-planted in the front lawn.

But then I discovered the perfect spot for it. Wait for it…. In our dining room! Now who wants to come over for dinner?  You know, and stare at diapers that 30 minutes prior was holding human excretions. Brownies anyone?

No, but this is perfect. This particular window gets great sunshine and of course it can be opened for the breeze on nice days. Plus, I’ve found my winter solution, which makes me ecstatic.

And yes, I’ll put it away if you come over to play spades. Promise.

Unless I lose. Then game on.

Nesting

According to my dad, if I start to show signs of nesting then I’m about to go into labor in 10 minutes and to please call them. He was pretty emphatic about it too, you know.. from his birthing experiences.

So if this is it, then you better come on down ya’all. And don’t forget your side dishes. We’ll need them for the BBQ.

R is excited. I, on the other hand, am getting worried. About important things too.

Like seriously, what if I forget to shave my legs/bikini area before going into labor. That one’s high on my list. So high, in fact, that I brought up the subject out of nowhere when over at a couple’s house for dinner. Right in between bites of cake. A charged silence ensued and utensils clattered onto plates around the neighborhood. I think I even heard a faint scream of horror a couple streets up. It was awkward, but I pushed forward. People have got to know. Forget about the baby’s or my health, if at any point I realize that I forgot to shave, someone had betTER GET A FRICKIN’ RAZOR, please, CAUSE I’M GOIN’ DOWN.

Hopefully I’ll stick in the ‘please.’

That’s another important worry, (but obviously not as crucial as being well groomed): How nice am I going to stay throughout it all? Last night, R sat with his arm butted against mine during our bible class. A voice came out of me that sounded straight from The Exorcist,  “Your arm hairs are irritating me. Back. [pause] Off.” He looked into my eyes, widened his own, and quickly scooted halfway down the pew to get away.

I mean, really?

Poor R. I think the relaxation techniques we’re practicing are more for him than me. Who knows what force of nature will emenate from the depths of my being while in labor.

But man, will my legs look GREAT or what!

Another worry I had was baby clothes. My sister has been hoarding all of their clothes for when one of us finally got pregnant. Let’s just say, they’ve been down in the basement for a long time. So when she and her three kids visited last weekend, I begged her to bring some along.

It was immediately opened, and I pulled out a newborn outfit. Then promptly fainted. So I’m not going to have an 8-yr old, then? They really do come out that small? This whole, ‘I’m going to carry a fragile little body in my arms’ thing is being taken a bit too far. They’re like nerf footballs, though, right? Don’t answer that.

Along with clothes, the tub was overflowing with receiving blankets. Just those generic ones, which I plan to turn into baby wipes.

If we’re diving into the world of laundering cloth diapers (worry #4), it makes sense to do cloth wipes too.

I mean, I love laundry! Cough, ahem.

At first I debated about making my own solution, which generally includes baby shampoo, tea tree oil, and some other ingredient that I can’t think of right now. I wish that last ingredient were distilled vinegar. Have I mentioned how much of it I have? I’m sure it’s safe on a baby’s skin…. Or at least on a nerf football.

But then I found Lusa Organics “Baby Juice”. The name made me uncomfortable, which is why I just had to have it. (If only to holler in front of company, “Honey!? Could you grab the baby juice!?”) That was a joke because anyone who knows me knows I can’t stand terms of endearment. Well, at least the overuse of them. Once in a while they’re sweet, but if I have to listen to a constant barrage of them, I’ll grab the nearest thing to stick in my eye. Hopefully that nearest thing is string-cheese or something. Then it won’t hurt, and I can eat it afterwards.

But anyway, supposedly the bottle of baby juice lasts a year if you mix a bit with water and spray onto the wipes as needed. Sounds good to me!

So I guess this is where the nesting bit comes into play? I soaked the clothes with light stains in OxyClean and then washed them, along with the other 0-6 mos old outfits. It does make me feel good to reuse all of these. If it’s hard for me to buy new clothes, there’s no way my child will stand a chance. Poor thing. It doesn’t know what its getting into.

After I put those away, I turned to the diapers.

…and washed those as well. The newborn disposables caught my eye and I repeated to myself, “nerf football, nerf football.” Those are TINY.

By the way, I do like when a random garage sale item finds its way into being useful. Like the old clothesline hamper I bought for a pricey $10.

Don’t judge.

The lady threw me off by asking how much I would like to pay for it. I never know how to handle those people. All sorts of thoughts go through my head: should I lick my finger and feel the breeze, what is the weather like, are they hot and want to go inside – so are an easy sell, will I offend her if I go too low, but it’s a garage sale – I want to go low, but I don’t want to offend her, does she get offended easily, will she laugh it off, if she does – will she still be my friend, I know I only met her seconds ago but I think she’d be fun to play parcheesi with, did I put on deodorant this morning, hurry and make a bid – she’s staring at you.

And then I blurted out ten dollars. She was a little too quick to take me up on that offer, which means I failed. Oh well, I love it. Plus, it came with a matching cloth bag of clothes pins which are holding up the curtains behind it. Love details like that.

And then finally, the toy box. Get a good look at your life, kid. You’re obviously going to need one heck of an imagination because toys are not high on my  ‘must have’ list right now.

Yeah, let’s give that nerf ball some chalk to play with. Mother of the year already.

I’m sure it will fill up in no time once the endless ‘why’ questions start. I don’t think the “Ask your father” answer will cut it for very long. Instead, let’s play with Cookie Monster!

I know there has to be other worrying things that are suppressed by my subconscious. And I bet they’ll all come out in that moment when labor has begun. Wait, I really did need a crib??

This is starting to get interesting.