Mary-ed Life

Thoughts on love, marriage, children, and random trivia.

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Toddlers and TV: The Ultimate Question?

Every parent starts out stating certain ultimatums that inevitably fail to hold. A few examples include:

1. I refuse to buy my child toys with annoying flashing lights and sounds.

2. I will not give my child unnecessary sugar or allow her to survive on chicken nuggets and french fries.

3. I will limit my child’s exposure to TV and I will not spend a dime on Baby Einstein or anything like it.

Have you said any of these things to yourself? I’ve said all of them to myself. And I’ve broken every single one.

I can not deny that my daughter loves toys that make noise, have bright lights, and moving parts. She loves wooden blocks too, and stuffed animals, and crayons. Still, on a long car ride, bring on the bells and whistles.

I worked myself to the point of insanity controlling my daughter’s diet up until her first birthday. I did this for good reason: a family history of food allergies. After her fateful first birthday, I relaxed and now let her eat just about everything, within reason obviously. I am proud to say she ate vegetable pasta with homemade tomato sauce for lunch today. She had chicken nuggets and french fries a few days ago.

And finally, a couple weeks ago I bought her first Baby Einstein DVD. She loves it.

Go ahead. Call me a hypocrite.

I’ve been reading articles for months about the dangers of toddlers watching too much television. The fear mongers warn of obesity and stalled cognitive development thanks to good old television and a healthy dose of absentee parenting. The general concensus of these experts: TV = fat, lazy, uncommunicative children. Then I read an article a few weeks ago, written by the mother of a three-year-old, defending the fact her child has his own television. She described the mornings when junior would wake at 5:30 or so. She would then pop in a Disney movie for him and go back to bed for another ninety minutes.

Personally, I would rather my child spend half an hour a day watching TV, and have that half an hour to get something done that really needs doing, then have my child suffer through my horrible mood because I haven’t slept, showered, eaten, or whatever else. Thirty minutes of Baby Einstein means my daughter has my full attention the rest of the time. I’m not busy obsessing about what needs to be done, because I have an outlet for it. Incidently, my daughter is not a zombie. She loves music and spends a good portion of each viewing dancing around the living room.

So, its time to write a new set of ultimatums:

I will not allow french fries to be the most common vegetable my child eats.

This is naturally impossible because potatoes are a starch.


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Why I Love Cloth Diapers

I started cloth diapering my daughter fifteen months ago. Since then I have become an avid cloth diaper advocate. Appropriately, I thought I would share some of the reasons why I love cloth diapers.

1. We save money.

The average baby uses 8 diapers a day (or more). 8 diapers a day is 2, 920 diapers a year. Assuming that baby potty trains on his/her second birthday, that is 5,840 diapers. The average box of diapers contains about 100 diapers and costs 20 dollars. 30 boxes a year x 20 dollars a box x 2 years (minimum) =  1200 dollars.

I have an above average baby, so she went through at least 10-12 diapers a day her entire first year. She averaged a box of diapers a week for her first few weeks. If she had continued that trend, 52 boxes of diapers over 2 years would have cost 2,080 dollars!

My cloth diaper stash cost less than 300 dollars. Wash, rinse, repeat.

2. It’s healthier for baby.

Baby’s have sensitive skin. Unlike disposables, cloth diapers absorb wetness without relying on chemicals. No chemicals means less cause for irritation. There are also lots of different kinds of diaper fabrics, depending on your baby’s needs. You can have only certified organic cotton touch you baby’s bum, if that is what you want.

3. Leaks don’t happen.

Disposable diapers leak, a lot. Every parent has a story of the day the diaper failed and a wet lap (or worse) was the result. Switching to cloth fixed this problem for me. Cloth diapers don’t leak, especially diapers made from natural fibers (cotton or hemp.) In fact, cotton prefold diapers absorb so well, I frequently let my baby run around in just a pinned prefold with no cover. This is called “going coverless” in the cloth diaper world and it is great for allowing air flow and promoting healthy skin on baby’s bum. Even with no waterproof cover, cloth diapers don’t leak.

4. We never worry about running out of diapers.

I have never had to rush to the store for an emergency diaper run. More diapers are just one load of laundry away. I have peace of mind knowing that I will never run out of diapers, no matter how busy I get or how many my child goes through. I also use cloth baby wipes that I made myself. I never run out of wipes either.

These are just a few reasons why I love cloth diapers. I could write plenty more, but this entry would go on forever.

Going coverless.