Friday, July 17, 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
Every year I hold my breath when we get to the three weeks. One year, on the Shabbos before the ninth of Av (so what on earth was I thinking taking my kids to the park that morning????) My son fell off the zip line and broke his humerus. He needed 3 pins to hold the bones in place. Another year ( this was just as we were entering the 9 days), we were driving home, and on the on ramp, our youngest daughter began a 20 minute complex seizure. Needless to say that was the first time I have ever driven backwards on an on ramp... so yes, when the three weeks approach I tend to get a little nervous. Last week, one of little ones spiked a high fever with a 24 hour virus. Watching her, I knew that if the baby would get it, there was a good chance of a fiberal seizure..... now if I was a betting woman.....!
last night, I carried up a very tired little one off to bed. We curled up together under the covers and she began to nurse. After a few seconds somethings didn't feel right. She was still sucking, but even in the dark I could see her eyes open really wide and she gave a fixed stare looking up and to the right. Those wide eyes scared me. I had seen that stare before. Her neck stiffened a bit. I called her name, stroked her head and adjusted her position. With her eyes open wide, she continued to stare. As soon as her neck started twitching I knew something was wrong. Watching the clock, I yelled for my husband. We took her temperature and sure enough she had a fever. It wasn't so high, but a fever nonetheless. Her hands twitched a little, but that stare, that stare was really all it took for me to know. We rushed her downtrairs. I stroked her, called her, I felt myself getting a little chocked up. We were 5 min in and her lips were blue. By the time the parametrics came, just a few minutes later, it was over. We called her pediatrician and asked him what to do. This may sound funny or obvious to you, but having gone through our share of seizures, once this was over it almost seemed like a walk in the park. I felt like, "oh! It's over! Few! Thank G-d (a million times over)! And just a fiberal seizure, nothing fancy like our other child." (She pulled so much shtick and needed to spice things up with her seizures, as if life wasn't exciting enough.) Needles to say, our wise Dr said it most likely is just a fiberal seizure caused by a virus, bit they don't like diagnosing those things over the phone, especially since hers was about 6 min long. So off we went with the EMT. As expected, she was still quite out of it, but I was relieved to have an additional set of watchful eyes, keeping a close eye on her.
It was almost 4 am. My husband woke up Yehuda, one of my brothers, to come over and watch the kids while he went to pick us up. As my brother walked over in the dark in his pj's, slippers and button down shirt, and approached our house, he heard some crying. Yes, our toddler had gotten up and needed her passionate and intense toddler world to calm down. As much as I dream of living on a farm, I know we would kill the roosters with insomnia. Perhaps my son's idea of getting a chinchilla isn't such a bad idea after all.....
Well, all's well that ends well, thank G-d. I should add here that this was the second time we called emergency this week, but the first time was much less eventful, except for the fact that when the paramedics asked me for the name and birthday of our toddler, of course I panicked and completely blanked. Our toddler just gave me quite a scare, enough for me to be in tears and call 911, my entire being and all of my brain cells are focused on her well being, and your going to throw the name and date thing at me? With a panicked and probably a bit of a sorrowful look on my face, I turned to my husband for help, who thankfully came to my rescue. Flawlessly I might add.
I thanked my brother for coming over in the wee hours of the morning at such short notice. I was so grateful he came with his usual layed back happy self, despite being suddenly woken up. In no way did he make me feel like we had inconvenienced him at all. Smiling, he looked up at me and said, "It seems you have very religious kids who hold the Jewish calendar close to their heart."
Thank G-d for the little things.
Photos by Mendel B
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Monday, June 22, 2015
How do you handle messy diapers?
How do you get all of the poop off?
How do you change a cloth diaper when out in public?
What do you do with the dirty diaper when out in public or at a play date?
Can you bleach them?
What if the baby has a yeast infection?
Umm, diaper creams, lotions? Can I use them with cloth diapers?
How do you wash them, on what temperature and how often?
Do you put them in the dryer?
How many do I need?
How do you get stains out?
What name brands do you like? (My head was spinning with the choices.)
My parents did cloth diapers, using a local diaper service for many years, so the concept was not foreign to me, however I still never thought of cloth diapering as something I would do. My parents, having been cloth diaper pros, gave me some great tips and pointers which were very helpful. So after a few months of reading, asking questions and reading some more I was finally ready to start. I would like to share with you how we do it, all the way from the liquid laundry soap that we use, to handling those messy diapers on the go.
Our Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap
There are many recipes online for homemade liquid laundry soap, all similar to one another and very cost effective. Does it work? Well I think our sparkling white, clean cloth diapers, which have seen there share of the messy end of things speaks for itself. We pretty much used this recipe from Wellness Mama, the only difference is that instead of using just one bar of soap we use two.
What you need:
2 Bars of soap (We use Ivory.)
5 Gallon bucket
How it's Done:
1) Grate two bars of soap.
2) Add the shredded bars of soap to a pot filled with two quarts of hot water. Gently boil until completely dissolved. Set aside.
3) Fill your 5 gallon bucket with 4.5 Gallons of hot tap water.
4) Pour in 1 Cup of Borax and 1 Cup of Washing Soda. Mix well until dissolved.
5) Now add your dissolved soap mixture that you had set aside to the 4.5 gallons of water. (Now you have 5 gallons of liquid laundry soap.) MIX WELL!
6) Cover and let sit overnight.
7) Shake or stir, then pour into smaller containers so you can give it a quick shake before each use.
We use one cup per load. Enjoy!
I would like to add that on occasion I do add white vinegar and a scoop of Oxiclean. I understand that vinegar is not the greatest on the PUL fabric or the diaper covers, but we have been doing this for the past two years and the diapers seem none the worse for wear. One thing we do not do, is put the diaper covers in the dryer on high heat! Hang dry them to lengthen the life you get out of them.
How do we handle the poop factor?
This tip came from my parents. Many parents today choose to set aside the messy diapers in a dry / wet bag for a day or two until they are ready to wash. While this is what I typically do, I do things a little differently if the diapers are particularly soiled, or if there is a stomach bug going through the house. When my parents did cloth diapering, the soiled diapers were put into a bucket filled with cold water and some borax. (Of course you need to make sure this bucket is out of reach from little explorers. You don't want anyone going in head first! We keep ours behind the basement door.) This functions as a pre-wash so when you are ready to wash your diapers they wash out beautifully. Occasionally I will also add some oxiclean and baking soda. In the past I have added tea tree essential oil and/or oregano essential oil if I suspected a yeast related rash. The essential oils help kill bacteria and any residual odor. Although the oregano is more potent and is said to kill any bacteria a bit more efficiently, I prefer the tea tree oil because it's not as pungent of a smell. Again, I don't typically add the essential oils because after a while it can cause build up in the diapers.
I have since sold most of our Grovia and Bumgenius stash because I have found double gusset diapers to work much better for us, so these are pictures of our old stash. (In the pictures they are about one year old.)
From Left to Right: Alva, Grovia and Bumgenius all nice and white.
Cloth Diapering on the Go...and which diapers we use.
These are the items I bring when we are out and about:
1) Clean, ready to use cloth diapers.
We have tried quite a few different brands of cloth diapers. I have learned that what works best for our babies and toddlers, are diapers with a double gussets. They seem to do a much better job at catching everything. We started out with BumGenius and Grovia Hybrid. I loved that they were so easy to use, as pre-folds and flat diapers seemed so daunting in the beginning. I have since sold and replaced them, and we now use diaper covers with double gussets from Rumparooz and Thirsties, with pre-fold cloth diapers from OsoCozy (I have a few flat diapers). We also have a few diapers and training pants form Best Bottom. In the beginning I thought there was no way I was going to do pre-fold diapers. It just seemed way too complicated, however I have fallen in love with them. They are by far the most cost effective way of diapering and are really not so complicated after all. The diaper covers are also quite fitted, so I can get away without using any diaper pins or snappies. You do need to follow the pre washing instructions for the OsoCozy cloth diapers because it does help to ensure maximum absorbency.
2) A wet / dry bag to place any wet or soiled diapers into while on the go. (Yes, it's as simple as that!)
I like to add a few sprays of our homemade diaper spray into the wet bag. It has tea tree essential oil and lavender essential oil which helps enormously with any smelly diapers as well as with bacteria. Tea Tree oil also has strong antiseptic and germicidal properties. (I don't think your average person will even get so much as a hint of any smell from a messy diaper on the go.)
As soon as we get home I scrape off what I can into the toilet and then transfer them to our larger wet-bag until ready to wash. If they are particularly soiled I let the diapers sit in a bucket of cold water and borax, baking soda and our homemade laundry soap. Again, this acts as a pre-soak and makes washing the diapers a dream. Our homemade liquid washing soap is also very effective in its cleaning ability and minimizes, if not eliminates the common cleaning problems that many moms face, like staining and residual smell when using the laundry soap on the market specifically for cloth diapers. Most of the time I really don't need the soak bucket, but one of our babies had particularly loose stool (until I figured out that gluten was the culprit), so those diapers typically soaked in a bucket for a day or two days until I was ready to wash them.
3) A spray bottle filled with our homemade diaper wipe spray.
4) Pre-cut paper towels (I use this instead of baby wipes), or cloth wipes.
A couple of months ago I was brave enough to switch to cloth wipes, but if you choose paper towels I want to clarify here that in order to make the paper towel soft against the baby's skin, I would first spray the paper towel with a generous amount of liquid and then wipe the baby's bottom with the moist paper towel which is now not abrasive anymore. It is so much easier to clean the baby's skin this way then with traditional disposable wipes. For a really messy diaper I find I don't need more then 4 small (half cut) pieces of paper towels or 2 cloth wipes. The homemade baby wipe spray also really cleans! I never smell any lingering evidence on the baby's skin of what the previous diaper was cooking.
5) A small tupperware or mason jar container filled with organic coconut oil or french green clay that I use as a diaper cream. Two of our children had very sensitive skin and were constantly getting all kinds of diaper rashes despite allergy testing, steroid prescription creams, eliminating wheat, soy, dairy and nuts, you name it we did it and nothing seemed to work, until my sister-in-law introduced me to french green clay. I found there is a little science behind using it.
In the event of a diaper rash, I like to air out their bum with one or two cotton training pants. This is the equivalent of wearing cotton diapers without the diaper cover so their skin can really breath. An hour at a time is what I can do since I need to be on the look out for little puddles to wipe up. Preferably two times a day but even if I only do this once a day and the rest of the day use cloth diapers, the rash goes away much quicker then with disposables. My favorite "creams" to use are coconut oil and french green clay, which I will tell you in a moment how we make it. We do experience dramatically less rashes in general with the cloth diapers then with disposables and since I have zeroed in on different food allergies and a little trick with the clay, thank G-d we have been rash free for quite some time now. If at any time I do notice a little bit of redness on the baby's bum, I immediately use the clay and by the next couple of diaper changes, the redness is typically gone.
My friend Devorah explained to me that there are certain ingredients that should not be used with cloth diapers when using diaper rash creams or barriers for extra sensitive skin. It's a good thing she told me that because it didn't even dawn on me that some ingredients would pose a problem. I also found more information on diaperwrecker.com.
Drying the Diapers
I always line dry. Many mothers have found sun drying them to help with any stubborn stains, but depending on where you live that may not always be an option. I would love to sun them, but often times the weather doesn't permit that, so instead they get the glorious view of our basement.
Let me know if I can answer any more questions!
Photos below by Mendel B
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
I am excited to say that this is exactly what I am now using for my 3rd, 6th and 7th graders! Nachman Marcuson has truly created a masterpiece for all ages! The first book (the brown one), is broken down into 16 lessons. Each lesson has a small list of vocabulary words to master and a few new rules to learn about how Lashon Hakodesh functions. At the end of each lesson there is a review based on the new vocabulary and rules provided in that lesson. Nachman Marcuson based his writings on the teachings of Rabbi Freilich, who discovered that by learning 230 key words, you will understand 93% of the words that appear in the Chumash! He heavily encourages complete mastery of the new words listed at the beginning of each lesson before moving onto the next lesson. Because it is definitely possible to use the same books for every child, especially since the author discourages writing in the books, I have found that when the children each have their own copy, it encourages them to truly "own" their learning.
Saturday, November 23, 2013
When we got there the crowd was pleasantly thin. I breathed a sigh of relief, not because it was empty but because we had survived the transition of home to museum in one piece and we made it without too many melt downs, band-aides, bathroom trips, changes of clothes, last minute diaper changes, spills and G-d only knows what else.
We are fortunate to have a beautiful Children's Museum relatively close by with lots of things for the kids to do. We walked in and hung up our coats. The children were so excited! Immediately the older children began to shepherd the younger ones to different parts of the museum and excitedly showed them all of activities that they could do. It was really cute to see. Sruly had an absolute blast. He looked like any other typical child, completely enjoying himself running around, exploring and letting the other kids show him "the ropes" with a big smile on his face. He thoroughly enjoyed touching, feeling, running, jumping and simply being a part of it all.
An hour later we found ourselves in the jumping room. This was a cavernous room with an equally large tunnel shaped moon bounce. The kids had a blast (I'm not sure who had the biggest smile - the kids or me watching them)! This was probably Sruly's favorite activity. After about 20 min on the moon bounce, one of my boys, who is known to be a real tough guy, came limping over to me crying. Just for the record, this is a child who never ever cries unless something is very wrong. Judging from his reaction and the look on his face, I knew immediately that our next stop was most probably going to be what we are beginning to think of as our second home - the emergency department of Children's Hospital. It just so happened that as he was exiting the tunnel, his foot somehow managed to find and wedge itself in the only exposed space in the entire moonbounce, a gap five and a half inches wide between the main structure and the landing mat. As his body continued forward his leg stayed put and twisted. I found myself on the phone with my husband who was five exhibits over begging him to drop - I mean grab everything and high tail it to the moonbounce room. As my husband sat there examining my son's foot and making the determination that it would be a while until the two of them would see the cozy interior of home that evening, the staff of the museum came over with an incident report form for us to fill out and a wheel chair to bring our now immobile child to the van.
Before leaving the lobby I made a quick head count to make sure we were all together.... Well to make a short story a bit shorter, I kept coming up with one child more then I thought we should have. This wasn't so bad, only that I honestly thought we had one child less then that in our family. When do I need to start worrying that I am loosing it? After counting the children for the fifth time I began to think, well, maybe I really do have that many kids! When did that happen?? ...But I could have sworn we had one less than I had counted.... So I counted again, and again I came up with one extra child! I was dumbfounded. How on earth?!?! Seriously, I could have sworn we were not up to that number just yet.
While I was re-counting and trying to de-clultter my infamous mommy brain, my husband was talking with the nervous staff about what had happened. I counted one more time and my eyes landed on the sleeping child in the stroller who was covered with coats. I checked to make sure he or she was still breathing under the mountain of goose feathers and it was then that I discovered that it was nothing more than a pile of coats. At this point my patience were beginning to run thin. I had counted the children a dozen times by then and had asked them to put on their coats at least half of that, but the only thing that they seemed interested in was how fast the wheel chair could take a corner without tipping and spilling its' occupant flat out on the floor.
Miracle of miracles, we made it to the car without any additional tears (or broken bones for that matter). On the way home my husband called the ER to find out which attendings were on for that shift. (Not that it would make a difference either way, being that my husband pretty much knows ALL of them on a first name basis, thanks to our "ever so passively calm and quiet" dear children).
After settling the rest of the family at home, my husband and our now immobile former Mexican jumping bean headed to what I am absolutely now convinced to be our home away from home - aka Children's Hospital.
After the standard routine examinations and x-rays he was given the diagnosis (of which my husband had already bet our life savings on what it would be well before we had even left the museum) of a fractured tibia (thank G-d for little things), which would need to be set and casted. Under normal circumstances this would render him pretty much immobile for the next eight weeks. However, once he figured out that he could drop his wheel chair and crutches and still ride his scooter, skate board, bicycle and play hockey without too much pain, he considered himself a free man. Six weeks, three shredded casts and a rather relieved chief of orthopedic surgery later, he was given the "all clear" to resume his "normal" daily activities.
"What??!" I said, when the two of them came home. "They sent you home without a rocker boot?? Do they know how active this child is???! He is going to break it again before tomorrow morning! He hasn't used those muscles in 8 weeks and they think that this is a typical child who will just ease those muscles back into use slowly and gently! Well they will be seeing him again!"
Sure enough, 4 hours after my husband and son returned from the hospital, they were on their way back once again with a freshly re-injured leg. This time, however, they had the sense to send him home with a rocker boot. After another six weeks and a rocker boot that was shredded and worn down to the metal base plate we had a healed and happy young man who was ready to do it all over again....