Category Archives: choices

A bum in cloth.

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cute, soft and enviro-happy… Bo in one of her 2nd hand Itti Bitti’s

I never thought that I would be spending time seriously considering the pros and cons of different nappies, nor did I think I would spend time writing about them. But here we are, and here I am… writing. I have a confession to make. I have an unhealthy love of cloth nappies. I’ll admit it. Even from here in Indo I find myself using my slow internet connection to browse second hand (I try not to buy new, but that’s a story for another time) nappy sites and look at the beautiful cloths and dream about Bo’s little toddler bum running around in cloth. I don’t purchase, I just look, and dream.

I don’t purchase because Bo has enough cloth. We have thirty something nappies in a big red plastic bin in her corner of our house. 90% of these nappies were gifted to us and the others were bought second hand. We love our cloth.

When in Australia we used disposables most of the time… with a brand new first-time-mama baby, a husband overseas and packing for a move… we had enough on our plates, so I “learned” cloth slowly. Once we arrived here in Indo we went cloth, and we are using the last of our disposables just for night time sleeps (they last a super long time when you are only using 1 or 2 a day!).

I read a lot about cloth diapering before we started the cloth adventure. I joined MCN (Modern Cloth Nappy) forums and found out how to wash, care for and use cloth diapers of all makes and models – and you may find it hard to imagine, but there are a few.

We have our favourites. We love Itti Bittis and Designer Bums… but the China Cheapies we have are really just as reliable and Bo couldn’t care less which one we put on her. My husband loves them, I love them, they don’t leak, they don’t smell, they look cute and they are super easy to use and to wash.

Good for our pocket. Good for our environment. Good for Bo’s bum. And now we have our semi-automatic (yes that means it’s part manual) washing machine and we don’t have to handwash… there is no reason not to go green and use cloth.

When nappies are $40 a box in stores… it’s definitely something worth considering when thinking about your babies bottom.

xox

The resurection of the Easter Bunny…

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The resurection of the Easter Bunny…

Easter, it’s the first of the religious holidays to come around, and it brings up the first questions for me about Bo and religion. I am not a religious person. I don’t follow a prescribed faith, I don’t pray in a conventional way or believe in a religious God. I was however raised with Christian values and ideals that I to this day do uphold – they are just a little “flexible.” My husband is Muslim, born and raised – and a strong believer in his faith and for that I have great respect for him. He believes in a higher power, he prays and he upholds certain Muslim values and ideals – funnily enough they really are no different to my own Christian values of being good to humankind and treating people with respect, dignity and kindness.

For Bo, a child of the world, we will let her decide one day whether or not she “believes” in one religion or another… giving her the opportunity throughout her childhood to experience, learn about the worlds many religions and develop her own conscience so that one day she can decide what it is that she believes. So where does that leave religious holidays? For there are many. There is Ramadan and Idul Fitri in the Islamic calendar and Christmas and Easter in the Christian calendar, just to name a few. For now I suppose it is much of a muchness considering at seven and a half weeks old Bo doesn’t care about much except being warm, fed and cuddled.

I didn’t buy her an Easter present. And after watching many of my friends post photos of their infants with their incredible hoard of Easter presents, books, pajamas, fluffy bunny toys (and unbelievably chocolate – from ridiculous in-laws) I admit I feel a little guilty. Even my own mother took the time to set up an Easter hunt for Bo and I this morning… where in our pajamas we traipsed around the house collecting little golden eggs filled with sweet chocolate, Bo was a bit distracted with a bout of the hiccups, but I think she got the idea.

Easter for my Bo will never be about Church or prayer or Jesus – but it will always be about being thankful for what we have, for our family and our freedom to love and live the way we choose – Oh and Bunnies who bring books and chocolate, of course. Because, well… no matter how much you might want to you can’t escape the chocolate now, can you?

What if the newest “must-have” baby item was simplicity?

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What if the newest “must-have” baby item was simplicity?

I read a lot of mommy blogs. I read a lot of posts by other mothers, new clueless mothers (much like myself) desperate for some sort of advice/guidance/reassurance that they aren’t alone. Then I read articles, posts and comments by old-hat pro mums who have been around the block so many times their hair is grey and they mutter with some sort of baby-induced tourettes that seems to get gradually worse as they venture through toddlerdom and beyond.

One thing I’ve noticed about mums is we like to buy stuff, it’s like stuff will make us forget our anxiety about not doing it right. I get it, this mother gig is bloody hard work – it’s like every day you get up to go to work and realise that you never left work. You don’t get to shower in between gigs and your hot and smell like spew. Your overworked and have no social life to speak of. Your boss is loud, demanding and speaks a foreign language and you’re forever trying to translate the cries. We are programmed to believe that stuff will actually make it better and solve all our problems. If one mum finds a particular item of clothing/sleepwear/noise making device or secret fairy dust  that seems to solve their problems then every mum between here and there will rush out and buy one.

But, what if we didn’t? What if we simplified life and got rid of all this junk and just lived? I don’t know, maybe we would all spontaneously combust, maybe I’ll be shot down by the all important marketing deities for even suggesting it… it is blasphemy against consumerism after all.What if instead of buying stuff to entertain our child so that we can go and do something else/watch tv/chat on facebook… we got down on our knees and played silly buggers with that little ball of dribbling innocence that kept us up all night?

Maybe less (of the plastic, light up, musical crap) truly is more (for them) and more (for us)… but then again, I have a six week old who won’t let me put her down, I still smell like stale spew, I’m completely sleep deprived and the shop was all out of magical fairy dust last time I checked – so I could be completely wrong.

 

Something borrowed, something blue?

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Something borrowed, something blue?

When Bo was a mere 48 hours old, we bathed her for the very first time in the hospital. After her bath the midwife supervising us looked at the little wondersuit in my hands with a look of disbelief. Who could have known a little suit could cause such surprise? It wasn’t the suit, as it was just the standard bonds wondersuit (a hand me down from my gorgeous little nephew), but the colour. Blue!

“Blue!” the midwife said, trying (not succeeding) to mask her surprise, “well, why not I suppose!”

Why not indeed! I could have told her that it was also a hand-me-down that I was dressing my newborn in, but that might have pushed her over the edge. You do know that pink has only been the girls colour since the 1940s? Before that it was actually the colour was considered to be more masculine (check out this great article from the Smithsonian). We may have embraced this relatively new trend but maybe we should rethink it. How much simpler would hand-me-downs be if all little people could wear any colour in the rainbow without raised eyebrows when the step out in public?

My daughter leaves the house dressed in wondersuits and the like in many colours. Pink, blue, yellow, purple, green, white, grey – gender neutral one might call it. I call them clothes. I don’t see the need to colour code my child. Gender is something that defines us for our entire lives. As much as I wish I could change it my daughter will many times be judged first (either good or bad) because of her gender. But the beauty of the infant stages is that gender doesn’t matter (except maybe when you have something that should be pointed “down” inside a nappy). We knew the gender of our baby from 20 weeks, but we didn’t tell many people – with the true purpose to avoid getting a whole lot of gender coded clothing… the last thing I wanted was a sea of pink. If Bo decides that pink is her favourite colour and that’s all she wants to wear (and let’s face it, she probably will at some point) then I’ll celebrate her choices… but for now, why not give her a shot at loving some other colours too!

I’m pretty sure that the below images have more to do with the parents than the children themselves.

"The pink and blue project" by artist JeongMee Yoon

People often peer into my stroller to see a dark headed beauty in a yellow suit wrapped in a purple muslin cloth and raise an eyebrow – “Boy?” the ask their voices peaking into a high question mark – where you can just hear their confidence waning. We are heading out to an event this weekend where we get to meet lots of other mums and babies who are very important to me – they are like family… I’m taking my photographic mother along with me to capture the moment, “she’s got to wear something pretty” my mother told me. I think she should be comfy, she has lots of time to be pretty, lots of time to wear pink tutu’s and red gum boots and fairy wings and pirate hats and batman capes and dinosaur tails. For now she’s just an adorable little blob who just needs something soft against her skin.

I’m a big believer of natural and gentle stimulation – so Bo’s little corner of the world is not blue or pink or anything in between, it doesn’t ahve anything that makes noise or flashes colours or whirrs or vibrates or does anything of the like. It’s full of soft blankets, furry toys, interesting textures, deep colours and great shapes that have just started to inspire and excite her as she begins to reach out and touch for the very first time.

Bo's world