Signing Beyond the Baby Years

"My child speaks clearly and often so we don't really encourage signing any more". I can't tell you how many times I hear that statement or something close to it.  And while I respect the choice, to be honest my heart sinks a little bit everytime.  Why? Well because, we believe that we can teach babies true American Sign Language vocabulary, that we can use to encourage communication and speach.  But, that is just the begining! Here are just a few of the highlights for me ...

  1. ASL gives me the mommy super-ability to remind my toddler to be nice, share, and say thank you from across the room without raising my voice.
  2. ASL is a fun kenesthetic language that I can use to help toddlers explore the world around them while engaging all their senses. 
  3. Potty Training at whatever age is easier and more fun when you can do it with your signs.
  4. Signing the manual alphabet and introducing fingerspelling can help develop early literacy and letter recogonition. 
  5. ASL is a living language that my child can use communicate with the many people for whom ASL is their first language.  (Not to mention Sign Language can be used as a bridge to help little ones more easily learn a third or fourth language.)
When I hear someone saying that they are finished with sign language it is like hearing them say they planted a vegetable garden, have seen a few sprouts but have no plans of harvesting the veggies.  The foundation is there ... don't walk away from your harvest!! 

Cloth DIapers On-The-Go

Two of my cloth diapering friends Krista and Miranda (Nuturing Nolan) laughed at my absolute fear of cloth diapering outside of my house.  They laughed in a loving, supportive, you can do it kind of way, but laughed none-the-less.  They clearly realized I was blowing the whole thing way out of proportion. And suprise to no one. I was.  All I needed was a plan and a diaper bag.  So just in case you are like I was and dread the thought of cloth diapering away from your home base.  Here is how I get ready and get a move on!

Day Trips
When I am heading out for a playdate or to run errands all I do is pack my Wet/Dry Bag and head out the door.
What's in the Wet bag?
  • My Charlie's Little Ark Changing Pad
  • 2 One Size
  • 1 Flip Cover with 2 inserts
  • Wipes
  • CJs Diaper Rash Cream
Where's the poop?
If my little has a poopy while we are out and it is reasonably solid.  I simply knock it off into a public restroom.  The Wee-B-Gone patch in the wet portion of the bag help shield the public from the remaining stink.  Then, hose it off with the mini-shower at home.

Overnight Trips
When we head out on overnight excursions, a little more planning is involved. For the travel day I bring along my packed wet bag.  Then I load up my suitcase with the necessities.

What's in the suitecase?
  • My Mini-Shower Toilet Hose packed in a Thirstie's small laudry bag.
  • As many diapers and inserts as we will need for the trip
  • A few sample Size Rocking Green Detergent Packs. (If the trip is longer than 2 days)
  • Thirstie's Large diaper liner (Also for trips greater than 2 days)

In  Hotel
When I'm planning a trip longer than 2-3 Days. I call in advance to figure out the laundry situation.  Many hotels will allow you to use thier laundry facility free of charge. Almost all of them have an awesome retractable clothes line in the bathroom for drying your shells and covers.  If you land at a rare one that doesn't, you can always  dry them over towel bars and shower rods.  -OR- There is always the option to disposable diaper for longer stays away.

At Family or Friends Home
If we are planning to stay longer than 3 days at a friend or family members.  I ask if they will mind us using there washer to launder our diapers and if they have a drying rack.  It's that easy.

My Biggest Mistakes with Cloth Diapers

Okay, so this is my true confession list of the biggest mistakes I made during my cloth conversion.  Heeh.  It's a working list so keep your eyes peeled for additions.

1. Not Buying Enough Diapers. I started with around 8 cloth diapers. If you are washing every ther day that volume really doesn't allow you to dry your shells before you need your diapers again.  I recommend if you can starting with 14-24 diapers. 

2. Using Fabric Softner in the Wash.  Think Rain-X for diapers.  This literally caused liquid to bead and run off our cloth diapers.  <Insert Emergency Call to Krista> It was atleast a really simple fix.  I just soaked the diapers in Rockin' Green overnight then put the diapers through 3 hot wash cycles.

3. Almost Tossing A Cloth Diaper.  Let me start by saying ... I'm not proud of this.  Before I invested in a wet bag or dry pail/liner, I used my arm and hammer poop scooper disposable bags to store my dirty diapers.  Sadly, to a pair of helpful hands giving me a cleaning boost this looked just like trash bags.  You guessed it they got tossed.  Fortunately, I was able to pull them from the bin before they landed in a landfill!

4. Not Setting up a cloth system.  Because, I got off to a bit of a half-hearted start.  I didn't really take time to fully set up a cloth diaper plan.  Once I got my 8 must haves for cloth diapering in order, cloth diapering became like second nature!  While the initial investment seems frightening.  Most of your purchases are a one time deal.  You recoup your costs pretty quickly.  Take a peek at my financial breakdown.


The Cost of Cloth

One of the biggest reasons I hesitated to start cloth diapering is that I was horrified at the upfront cost of cloth diapering.  Then, I decided to run the numbers.  I was shocked at how quickly I would re-coup my costs and begin saving money.

Here is how my numbers broke down ...

Cost of Cloth
Upfront Expenses: I added the cost for purchasing 20 bumGenius One Size and 6 Flip Diapers plus inserts; mini shower; wet bag; diaper pail and liner.
Ongoing Cloth Costs: I estimated (.02) per diaper based on our electric and water rate for washing diapers every other day and (.01) per diaper for the cost of using Rockin' Green to clean them. 

Cost of Disposable
I purchased environmentally friendly, sensitive skin disposable diapers and frequently use coupons.  When I looked back over my diaper expenses for my oldest son during the time he was 3 months - 1 Year old.  I spent an average of .29 cents per diaper. 

The Result
I discovered that I would recoup my upfront costs in 5.48 months.  Even better assuming I will continue to cloth diaper my second little over the next year and half I will save $941.77.

That sold me ... Good for the environment and Good for my Budget!! 

The Wasting Nothing Philosophy

Playing, cooking, reading, exploring, loving, laughing, and making a mess with your little one is NEVER a waste of time! It is priority one! It's not just about getting to know your little one. It's about letting your little one get to know you!