Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cloth Diapering: Day 1

When I was pregnant I made Andy promise we would never use cloth diapers. I had always thought they were, well, icky. But now after using several hundred disposable diapers, and a good chunk of cash on them, we are trying out cloth.

I think seeing the sheer amount of diapers we were throwing away is what swayed me to give it a shot. I've always hated wasting things, and the idea of using the same set of diapers over and over appeals to me. I've also become much more environmentally conscious since Lu was born, because I want her to learn to be responsible and not wasteful.

So far the hardest thing about starting has been the sheer number of diaper systems out there! Prefolds, flats, All in ones, pockets...just a few of the many terms in the cloth diapering world, and let's not even get into the acronyms. I bought our first set of diapers a few weeks ago on ebay. Seriously you can buy anything on ebay. After some research, I knew I wanted some type of all in one diaper to ease the transition of disposable to cloth, and found some cheap ones on ebay. I was a little concerned that they made be poor quality, but after reading some good reviews, and eyeballing other all in ones priced at $25 per diaper (!) I picked Sunbaby diapers. They seem to be working great so far. We haven't had any leaks and Lu seems comfy. I'll let you know how the first washing goes, and the first overnight cloth diaper. If these work, we'll buy more (we started out just buying 10 to try it out) and save a bundle of cash, and save the world!
Luthien seems to like them!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Do kids make us happy?

I just read this article

Basically, it hypothesizes that parents are less happy than those without children while they are in the throws of parenting, but are more nostalgic and fulfilled in retrospect. It doesn't delve whether those without kids are without kids by choice or due to infertility, and I think this is a very important distinction since infertility is, from what I hear, really hard. The article spends quite a bit of time discussing why parents hate parenting and although I can see their points I do find some holes in the article.

First, I don't think you should have kids in order to make yourself happy. Of course you don't want having kids to make you unhappy, but kids are not meant to fulfill their parents. This article seemed to be getting at this when it talked about how much pressure American parents put on themselves to raise perfect kids, rather than shooting for good kids. It would be exhausting to try and sculpt a kid into a perfect, all-star, straight-A, Ivy League Doctor or whatever, especially since they actually have a say in the matter and will ultimately do what they want. All parents can do is try and give them stability, love and guidance not turn them into superheros. I can understand wanting the best for your kids and I tend to think that Luthien is the smartest little baby that has ever existed, but I try to remember that she isn't my little project, but rather a little human that needs my guidance and love.

Another part of the article I object to is the idea that kids make marriages worse. In essence, it says that kids place quite a strain on a marriage, although it only discusses one type of family--one where both the mother and father work outside of the home, and wait until their mid thirties to have their first kid (and possibly last kid). I have only had a kid for a few months, but it is a bit of a shock in the personal freedom department, and I am still learning how to balance my needs and wants with Luthien's. It's been hard figuring out how to be married and how to raise a baby at the same time. I don't see the logic in the article on this point though. Facing and overcoming challenges in a marriage should serve to strengthen it, not weaken it. But this article seems to say that once a couple has children their relationship is only about the kids. I have seen this first hand, but I have also seen marriages that are still awesome and fully functioning with several children. I think couples have to be careful not to let their marriage slide after having kids, rather they need to use the challenges to strengthen and grow their marriage. It reminds me how important it is to make my marriage a priority. I think that because Andy and I will have dealt with this balance between marriage and children from the beginning we will be able to learn the necessary skills to keep both healthy. This isn't to say that couples who have children later can't do this, just that for us it is good to do it early on.

I haven't been a parent for very long, but so far when the parenting gets tough realizing that I am doing something so worth while makes it much more doable. The article stabs at this at the end, but only clumsily so. I would pick meaning and purpose to my life over being a CEO with ample vacation any day.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Weeknight date

Andy and I went on an impromptu date last night. When Andy got home from work we went to our favorite fish store to buy a coral. However, our fish store apparently had a problem, a little fishy apocalypse. Fresh water accidentally got into their salt water tanks and killed most of their coral, crabs, snails and a lot of their fish too. We sadly left the bombed out fishy oceanscape, and went out to dinner instead. I was craving Mexican food, and upon walking into our favorite Mexican place. They were having a special, $1.99 margaritas, glorious day! We had a delicious little dinner, watched Luthien be a goofball, and talked. A really sweet waitress kept coming and talking baby talk to Lu in Spanish, calling her “Little love.” We are so silly with each other, and I love it.

Friday, July 9, 2010


I have an idea. Actually it was originally Andy’s idea, but he gave it to me very generously. I might become a realtor. He saw that the agency we bought our house with was offering licensing classes, and was thinking about doing realty on the side. I didn’t think it would be good for him to work full time, go to school full time, and do realty, plus try to keep up with his wife and daughter…but then I thought “maybe I could do it.” Apparently real estate is an increasingly popular career move for parents who want flexibility to be with their kids. It tends to allow you to work from home. Also I loved looking at houses when we were looking and still look at them as we drive places.

If I do it I would start an 8 week class in a couple of weeks then take the Virginia real estate agent licensing test. I have a meeting tonight with a local agency to ask the manager some questions to see if the vision I have is reasonable. If it is this could be a great thing for me. Luthien is five months old, and as much as I love her, I don’t want to be just a stay at home mom. I get antsy.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Parenting and all that jazz

Parenting styles: co-sleeping vs. crib sleeping, cry it out vs. cuddle to sleep, schedule vs. meeting baby’s every demand, cloth diapering vs. disposable, full breastfeeding vs. ecological breastfeeding vs. partial breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding (I need to do a post on just breastfeeding), and every other parenting decision out there. It’s all a bit insane. And each theory gives you the feeling that if you don’t do it THEIR WAY your kid will be messed up, and it will be YOUR FAULT! Huh, how awesome for us new parents.

First of all, in the parenting materials I have read you hear a whole lot about SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, basically this is when a baby dies in their sleep for an unexplained reason. It is thrown around in parenting materials like mad.

For instance, sleep—there are basically three camps, co-sleepig, crib sleeping, and some inbetwenny crib attached to bed type sleeping. Co-sleeping proponents say that their method helps bond you to the baby, get more sleep, breastfeed efficiently and ultimately prevents SIDS. Crib sleeping proponents say that your baby will die if it sleeps with you, and that crib sleeping encourages independence, more sleep for the parents, more sleep for baby, and better scheduling. The inbetweeners say you get the best of both. There are hardcore camps for every baby issue there is, from eating to diapers to toys. And do you notice the DEATH THEME? Great, as if new parents aren’t scared enough they are told that if they make one wrong move their little baby will die. I realize some babies really don’t make it, and this is tragic, and we should make sure we understand how to keep a baby safe, but for those things where conflict lies, listen to you doctor/midwife, maybe your mom, and your own gut feeling.

I haven’t been a parent for very long, but we realized quickly that we weren’t going to be strictly following one particular parenting philosophy. We go with what our gut instinct is and with what works. It’s a tricky balance between listening to the rest of the world and doing it how works for your family. I also think that the individual child has a lot to do with it, although for me this is mostly theoretical since I only have one kid. But crib sleeping may be perfect for one kid and not for another. I’ve used the example of how a baby sleeps through this post because I think the way we do sleeping perfectly exemplifies our parenting style. We started out co-sleeping, but at some point decided we wanted our bed back to ourselves, so we started setting Lu down in her crib when she fell asleep in the evenings. Since she is sleeping for pretty long stretches at night this usually means she falls asleep around 7:30pm at night and sleeps in her crib until about 4:30am when she wakes up hungry. At this point, either Andy or I stumble through the hall to her room, pick her up and deposit her in bed next to me for a lay-down, go-back-to-sleep feeding. (FYI lying down breastfeeding has been instrumental to our parenting sanity, particularly the first few weeks after Lu was born). Then I fall back to sleep while Luthien has her little night time snack, and she falls back to sleep after eating. Then she sleeps with us until we wake up in the morning. This system started mostly on accident. We wanted our bed back so total co-sleeping was out, but the first time Lu woke up hungry I just pulled her in bed with us and went back to sleep while she ate. So we aren’t against co-sleeping or crib sleeping, we do both, this combination just works for our lives, and for Luthien. I'm as she gets older it will change to fit her needs and our needs.

I think it’s interesting that the method that works for us is a combination of two divided sides. I also know that this method might not work for a different baby, or a different couple. I also know that I’m tired of being told that I am going to hurt my child if I don’t subscribe to some particular parenting philosophy.

This is Luthien at five months and she is happy, healthy, and super active despite our lack of a hard a fast parenting rule.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Married names

I'll admit it, I have residual feminist tendencies, and you know what? I think it's a good thing. I don't feel like I need to be an executive, or become a sharp shooter to prove myself, but I do believe in the equality of men and women, while maintaining that the sexes have their own strengths and weaknesses (very generalized but true). However, it really bothers me when someone refers to me as Mrs. Andrew Horner. I love being Andy's wife, it is intrinsic to my identity. I love that we are united, and yes I took his last name to show my connectedness to him, and the unity of our family. However, personally being referred to as Mrs. his name, makes me feel like my only identity in that name is Mrs. and um, I still exist on my own too. I realize that this may be more traditional than anything else, but it really irks me.