Monthly Archives: June 2010

The Motherhood Secret: Focus on What You DO Want

Teaching yourself to use positive language (using DO vs. DON'T) may be as important as teaching your children how to swim. At the very least, both skills will make your job easier.

At a recent trip to the pool, I observed a frustrated mother trying to discipline her young son. He was joyfully playing, splashing and squirting water out of his mouth. Over and over his mother demanded, “Don’t put that water in your  mouth!” Each time the order got louder until she decided he needed a “time out.” Her son endured his time out, jumped back in and immediately filled his mouth with water. By this time, all the children in the baby pool were sampling the water because “water in your mouth” was still echoing through all of our heads. I refrained from offering a brief  explanation on the law of attraction, but did coax my child into finding another place to put the water by giving her a bucket and some toys to play with.

What commands sound more effective? “Don’t run!” or “Walk slowly!” How about “No hitting!” vs. “Touch gently.” I’m guilty of uttering, “Don’t make a mess!” when I should be saying, “Please put all your toys away when you are done playing.” My point is, if you focus on the behavior you DON’T want, you will get more of it. It’s like those little brains automatically filter out the words “no” and “not” from everything they hear. Years ago, a preschool teacher recommended a book that more fully explains this phenomenon titled Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline by Becky A. Bailey, Ph.D. The book drags on in some chapters, but the basic information is very useful. If you can recommend other books on conscious parenting, please post them in the comments.

MOM DARE: Try to catch yourself every time you speak a negative sentence and turn it around to a positive. If you hear yourself using the words “don’t” or “no,” stop yourself and express what you DO want. This is one of the more magical tricks of motherhood/life, because when a child/spouse/coworker hears fewer “no’s” they are less likely to use the word in response to you.

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Beyond Babyhood: The Joy of Mothering Toddlers to Teens

I’m anxious to see the documentary “Babies” (see clip below), that chronicles the first year in the lives of four babies from across the globe. However, I can’t help but wish that the producers would follow up with a sequel, “Toddlers.”

I’m still surprised by how frequently new moms express a fear of parenting a toddler; sometimes openly critical of other moms with older children. I see it in the blogosphere over and over. All this judgment coming from parents who are used to observing a contented baby cooing in a baby carrier. I can only smile and nod, while silently praying, “Give strength to this mother, Lord, because she will certainly need it!”

I have definitely struggled to let go of the baby years; I was pregnant with my second child shortly after the first started to walk. And while I will always love being around babies, I’ve also embraced the joy of each passing milestone. This week, my five-year-old daughter lost her first tooth. I shared her pride and happiness, despite my memories of rocking her when she was teething. My seven-year-old girl watched in awe as an older girl got her ears pierced; asking again when she can do this. (Not before age 10, which will be here before I know it.) And I’m not afraid to admit that I will be incredibly grateful to be done with the diaper phase!

MOM DARE: For moms who are still at the beginning of this journey, your challenge this week is to imagine your baby as a toddler, a preschooler and beyond (as far as you can fathom). What will you miss and what will you be happy to put behind you? Conjure up that first moment when your child hugs your neck and proclaims, “I wub you.” And most of all, I urge you to practice patience and tolerance of moms who are mothering children at different stages than your own. If you’re a mom who has moved beyond the baby years, take some time this week to look back on that first magical year with each of your children. Look through some old photos or baby books. Sometimes during a rough phase in parenting, it helps to remember your child as that toothless, cooing bundle of love.

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Caring for Cloth Diapers in your HE Washing Machine

The ultimate cloth diaper pail: a stainless steel trash can with XL wet bag.

Ah, the front loading high-efficiency washing machine… nothing marked me as a MOM quite like this purchase. I had spent the first 10 years of marriage with a handed down washer with two settings: regular and delicate. While the new steam washing machine has many benefits over my old one, getting cloth diapers clean proved to be a challenge. After a lot of trial and error, I’ve come up with the solution that works for us.

The modified wet pail method: Most cloth diaper manufacturers advise against a wet pail (soaking dirty diapers in water until wash day). The wet pail wears down the waterproof fabric more quickly than tossing the dirty duds in a pail or laundry basket. However, high efficiency (HE) washers use very little water and over a short amount of time you’ll notice the distinct smell of ammonia lingering in the diapers. I never had this problem in the old top-load machine that sloshed the clothes around in gallons of water. I’ve tried using a soak cycle first, then running the hot wash/cold rinse cycle with limited results. I’ve also used the steam cycle, which works wonders on removing stains, but the smells are still noticeable. The best solution I’ve found is to simply rinse and wring the diapers out in the sink or tub either when you change them or at the end of the day, then toss them in a wet bag until you’re ready to wash. It’s a faster method than running an extra soak cycle, reduces any odor coming from the diaper pail and easily eliminates the ammonia smell.

Steam cycle or sanitize setting: I’m lucky enough to have the steam washer model and use this option frequently. Like I mentioned, it eliminates stains quite well, but still uses very little water and does not thoroughly rinse out the thick cloth diapers. And the sanitize setting is amazing at cleaning soiled sheets, sanitizing plush toys and prefolds or doublers with solids (okay, poop). The problem is that the heat setting is so high that it will break down the fabric on diaper covers and all-in-one or hybrid diapers. (Like BumGenius, Rumparooz or Bumkins.) So, if you’re spending the money on premium all-in-one diapers or diaper covers, skip the sanitize setting to preserve your investment.

Using the right detergent: This is still an ongoing experiment for us. My third daughter is sensitive to Tide and I recently realized most cloth diaper makers advise against Oxi-Clean and any free and clear detergents. I was using a vegetable-based detergent from Whole Foods that worked well, but with hard water it turns white clothes a light gray over time. So, I’m back to traditional grocery store detergents formulated for an HE machine. I’ve found one that does not irritate my daughter’s skin, but am not happy that it’s not as eco-friendly. Oh, and a word about vinegar. I use vinegar for practically everything (from killing weeds to cleaning counter tops to making cucumber salad) so I have used it often in the wash. Unfortunately, it really breaks down the fibers in your clothes and you will begin to notice  that vinegar makes your washed items scratchy and worn out.

All in all, I still believe that cloth diapers are the easiest diapering solution and without a doubt the most economical. I’ve used them on three children and washing them in an HE machine goes one step further in reducing our eco footprint. What methods have you developed to make cloth diaper care work best for you? Did you find an HE machine to be better or worse (than a top-loader) for this task?


Posted by on June 15, 2010 in Cloth Diapers


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