Punkernoodle #1 had a rough night, and all because of a certain accident. The trauma, the drama. It was a sight. She had to go potty, but first she had to take her shoes off, and she wanted a snack. Suddenly it all happened too fast, and she peed. All over her clothes and on her stool that she uses to climb up to the toilet. She was devastated. She’s been fully potty trained for months.
All this time I was in the other room encouraging her to go potty on her own, one of the things we’ve been working on with her lately. From where I was, I heard an anguished cry, like something really bad had happened. I rushed in there, saw her pants down and her squatting there sort of half folded over. I couldn’t remember what she was saying. I wanted to laugh so bad, but it was all very serious and I was really trying to support her. Something about new panties, I think. I stripped off the wet clothes and tried to talk her down. She was adamant about keeping her socks on, which thankfully were dry.
The rest of her evening was an emotional roller coaster with her hanging on us all night, breaking down with another bout of crying at each slightest thing. It’s amazing what can set your children off when they’re almost 3. Little emotional firecrackers, that’s what they are. It must be absolutely gut-wrenching to live life so on the edge emotionally.
The whole episode reminds me how hilarious it is that we start a cloth diaper business and then Punkernoodle #1 goes ahead and potty trains herself early. No diapers for her. She won’t even try them on to model. It’s all about being in the “Underwear Club.” And she’s not afraid to mention that, after three months of her not wearing diapers, the rest of her class at daycare is not yet trained. And she says it with a little smirk. Such pride, such ego, for such a young age. What is that they say about pride? Oh yes, it goes before the fall…
It’s not happening right this second, but I have that feeling it’s coming soon- my nursing days are waning. And this time, it will be for good.
My baby turned 1 not too long ago. She’s one more stumble away from walking. She arches her back in toddler protest. She eats smoked salmon. She likes to breastfeed when she wakes up in the morning and still nurses before falling asleep at night, but I can tell she no longer really needs it.
Government studies show that only a fifth of babies are breastfed at age 1, and lots of people think that’s too long – although the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends it, along with a healthy diet of solids, for at least a year. But as any mother knows, nursing is hard work. I almost didn’t make it the first time around, mostly because of a lack of information paired with some mastitis, staph and a stubborn nursing strike I’d just as soon forget. What I won’t ever forget is the night, 5 days after Punkernoodle One arrived, when I sat in the bathtub crying hysterically, the picture of postpartum hormonal implosion, as my milk came in. I was engorged but, because I had never known anyone who breastfed, I had no idea why I hurt so much and why my boobs looked like footballs.
Thanks to a few amazing Seattle lactation experts and the unmatched support group First Weeks – http://www.communitybirth.org/classes&events.html – I found a community of mothers learning to nurse their babies as I was. We laughed, we cried, we looked the other way when someone accidentally sprayed milk through the air. I nursed through illness, through teeth, on the beach, in the bath, on airplanes, in probably a million Starbucks. And by the second round, it was cake.
Now my baby is old enough to eat cake, and suddenly a boob is not to her the treat it once was. She’s growing up. So one day soon, after a quiet and bittersweet last moment cradling my daughter’s babyhood in my arms, I will have to let it go.
The unyielding devotion of mothers is both an age-old cliche and a constant truth. What won’t most mothers – and fathers, for that matter – do for their children? When it comes to cloth diapers, this devotions means a whole new generation of parents is choosing to ignore the sideways looks of the unenlightened, retrain their own minds, and make a choice that is both good for their children and their Planet (which in turn will be inherited by their children).
Still, I am always newly impressed when I see a parent stubbornly determined to learn a new way of doing things when the old way might just seem easier. So I was amazed by the mom who came by the diaper lab the other night to look at some diapers for her 5-month-old son. She had been using a popular brand of cloth diapers but had been getting leak after leak after leak with them. She had worked with the company, gone through the arduous process of stripping her diapers multiple times in the wash to remove any soap/product residue that might have caused leaks, and had been through several rounds of online ordering and returning (how annoying is it to repackage and mail an online retail purchase?!) to try various diapers.
So on this recent night, she braved a freezing late-May Seattle rainstorm with her baby and his 3 1/2 year old sister to show up at my door. It was 7:30 p.m., the baby was fussy and the little girl was wild with excitement when she saw our Punkernoodle One – the perfect 3-year-old playmate and dutiful page – and our den full of toys.
But despite the weather, the months of leaks, and the handful her kidlets were, this mom was determined to find the solution to her cloth-diapering dilemma. As she fed her baby and kept one ear cocked to the mysterious crunching coming from the kitchen, we debated fleece vs. suede, cover vs. pockets. We assessed her chunky monkey’s juicy thighs and mulled the potential of hemp. All the while, the little girls-now a verified 2-member cabal-squealed and shrilled and streaked (literally). In the end, the mom settled on a few new options and a plan to come back for more once she found her foolproof solution. They packed up and headed out into the rain, leaving us with a few less diapers, one extra doll (the little girl left her baby) and one less serving of dog food. Yes, that was the crunching sound from the kitchen. I knew I should have offered those girls snacks…