Whenever we go to the grocery store, our last stop is always the snack aisle for the kids to pick out a little treat, provided that they’ve earned it with good behavior, of course.
Someone else needed to pass by us, so I urged the kids to make room for her to get through. She smiled and said, “You’re so lucky to have a lot of kids.”
Ten years ago when we had our first baby, the general attitude from strangers was the complete opposite — a constant stream of criticism and judgment. Heck, even my health care providers for my prenatal checkups took it upon themselves to lecture me about the virtues of birth control, and treated me as if I had committed some great failure of responsibility. I felt as if everyone in the entire world hated fertility.
All of a sudden this year, I’ve had multiple people say that I’m lucky to have six kids. It’s weird, but refreshing.
I very much feel lucky. It’s been so delightful to watch my babies grow and interact with my smaller babies. I think the best part of life is having people to love.
For people who have been following my blog for awhile, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that I use cloth diapers on my babies. I’m definitely more on the “crunchy” side of things, but I haven’t come across that term in ages, so heck if anyone knows what I’m talking about.
Full disclosure: I supplement with disposables. While I exclusively used cloth diapers with my first three babies, I eventually found it prudent to use disposables during the periods when I can’t keep up with the laundry. I’m not superwoman.
My favorite cloth diapering method is the pocket inserts. They’re convenient, and I don’t have to worry about stabbing baby with a diaper pin (which matters when they reach the extra wiggly stage). The covers come with some really awesome patterns, which also means that I’ve been teased about putting my babies in designer diapers. Ha ha.
However, I would advise that you avoid the microfiber inserts. They are horrible. Go for the cotton ones. Avoid letting dirty diapers sit for more than a couple of days, then line dry them in the sun when you can — it helps sterilize them.
Overall, the cost of diapering a child until 3 years old is much cheaper with cloth diapers, even when you factor in the ph neutral laundry detergent and monthly washing machine cleanings, but honestly, that’s not my main motivating factor.
I mostly feel guilty about the waste.
Even in a supplementary role, the disposables add up quickly, and we have to take the garbage out more often during the periods when I use them. The idea of throwing away so many diapers a day, every day, for three years, per child, is a little too much for me to bear. That’s a lot of waste.
In 2020, it became painfully obvious that no one cares about such concepts, so it feels more important now than ever to hold to my values.
Not to mention, we’re saving a lot of money, and we don’t have to worry about diapers the next time there’s a crazy run on the stores.
They’re called titties.
Babies love ’em.
I’m officially nine months pregnant. I know from experience that waiting for the baby to come is the worst way to spend that final stretch … which is why I’m doing exactly that. XD
Given the number of viruses going around, we’ve opted to seclude ourselves already for the sake of being extra careful — don’t want a tiny newborn getting exposed to anything. Of course, with being so heavy and tired, it’s hard to keep up with my regular daily activities, and I’ve gotten to the point of deciding that if I haven’t deep cleaned it yet, I don’t need to. Heck, sometimes I wish that I was more in the habit of mindlessly killing time, but I just don’t have the stomach for too much internet.
So I’m waiting.
One of the things that I dislike about the homebirth community is that, like all groups, most of the members put up a front to make everything seem better than it is. Personally, I think that the very last part of pregnancy is supposed to be miserable, with hormonal changes and the overwhelming feeling of being so done that you can’t even … basically, it’s nature’s way of motivating you to embrace labor and the pain of pushing a human being through your *ahem*. I often feel like I’m the only one who openly says, “This part sucks.”
There’s nothing wrong with hating something — the pleasant and unpleasant are of equal value, and life is best spent honoring both.
Not that I expect anyone to understand.
Personally, I think that it’s a very small price to pay for the sake of gaining a lifetime friend.
At the end of my third pregnancy, I commented to another mom my age that all I ever wanted to eat was brownies made with real butter. She reacted like I had said something weird — along the lines of, “What else would you make brownies with?”
I didn’t bother to explain that shortening is frequently used as a substitute, or that box brownies usually call for vegetable oil. I’ve always had a lazy streak when it comes to conversations, and I thought that she was the one who was being weird.
Anyway, after months of craving a variety of foods, the last few weeks of pregnancy always boil down to carbs and fat. Like brownies. Baby needs to come out chubby, you see.
Today, I decided to make cast iron brownies.
I use a normal brownie recipe, then bake it in a preheated cast iron pan soaked in butter for extra deliciousness.
As I was getting the batter mixed together, one of my kids asked, “Can we put marshmallows in it?”
And I thought to myself, “Why not?”
So, I put mini marshmallows on top of the brownies for the last five minutes of baking.
They’re so delicious, I’m certain that I have invented a new type of sin. ^.^
I haven’t been writing about this much, but I’m currently in the third trimester with baby #6. I’ve given birth naturally to all of them, with the exception of the first — through an unfortunate turn of events, I got to learn firsthand that epidurals don’t always work with blocking pain, but they’ll still leave you paralyzed from the waist down. Lucky me!
I don’t really fancy myself as having a higher pain tolerance than others. I’m not remotely the sort that peacefully breathes the baby out either. Heck, I firmly believe that anyone who tries to tell you not to scream while giving birth needs to be promptly cut out of your social circle for good. Go ahead and scream, cry, punch the man responsible, and whatever else you have to do to get through it. Just remember: you are strong enough.
In the homebirth community, it’s common to spend time preparing yourself for labor. Women who are more socially-oriented than I am like to hold blessingways. Instead of bringing gifts for the new baby, invited guests bring positive birth stories and affirmations to bolster the expectant mother through labor, and it’s a wonderful way to come together and support each other in sisterhood.
But I don’t do that, ha ha.
I’m pretty high on the introverted scale, so I prefer quiet introspection over parties with henna tattoos. This isn’t the sort of thing that I want to go into while feeling drained from socializing.
For me, making a “costume” for labor is important. I even plan out which color I’m going to paint my toenails, and how I’m going to style my hair, in addition to what I’ll be wearing. That way, instead of feeling like a tired mom who’s first contraction hit while heating up hotdogs for lunch (true story), I can quickly transition myself into a beautiful Goddess in the process of Creation.
Rituals are important tools in influencing mindset. They can be as simple as lighting a candle, or as elaborate as you can imagine. The important part is to establish what you are setting out to do.
And when you’re on the verge of popping out a watermelon, having a firm idea of why you’re doing it helps enormously.
I said to my one-year-old, “Be my baby?”
She shrieked, “NO!” and ran away.
Guess I’m just going to have to have another one.
When I was a teenager, my mom took me to her hairstylist for a complete makeover. She braided up my hair, chopped off a full foot, then proceeded to push me into one of the most awkward stages of my teenagehood.
I’ve always been a “wash ‘n go” sort of girl. Never really could get into the habit of using blow dryers, let alone curling irons. Yet I gave that new hairstyle an honest shot, because all of the adult women around me kept going on about how “mature” it made me look, and I was scared of standing up against people back then.
I hated that hair cut. Loathed it. There isn’t a single picture of me smiling with that stupid style. I eventually drifted back to “wash ‘n go,” because that’s my fundamental personality type.
We’re talking about two decades ago here, so I can’t remember the specifics, but I do recall feeling bombarded with criticism from the hairstylist. She went on and on about split ends and breakage, then proceeded to donate my hair to Locks of Love … *eyeroll* The stylist was bad enough I remember asking my mom about it afterwards, and she told me that it was best to ignore the criticism.
But it still bothered me. It bothered me badly enough that I switched over to going to the local college for haircuts, then eventually started doing it myself. When I turned 30, I vowed to never cut my hair again, and I’ve been much happier with my appearance ever since.
I’ve been married for over a decade now. My husband likes to help brush and braid my hair when we get ready for bed, and he always praises how silky and shiny my hair is. Sometimes he even recites poetry. He doesn’t see the split ends or the wispy bits that stick out awkwardly, even though he’s perfectly aware of the horrible things that happen to my hair in the cause of motherhood. He sees the beauty, not the flaws.
That matters far more than the nitpicking opinions of near strangers.
One of the fun things about 2022 is that it marks a solid TEN YEARS of changing diapers multiple times every day. The habit has become so ingrained, I barely notice doing it anymore. And despite the stereotype, I love hogging all the diaper changes for my little babies, because they only stay tiny for such a short while. 🙂
I very much like children.
You see, before marriage and family, I had the full time job, my own apartment, and a collection of shoes that I never had time to wear, and I would never go back to that life for anything in the world. I prefer having drawings and crayons scattered all around the floor, spending my days comforting small sorrows, and loving the big smiles on little faces.
It’s so wonderfully sublime.
Even when they drive me crazy.