Sustainably Single Parenting

Making the most of life's journey alongside my three!!!

I Just Forgot March 8, 2013

My little rebel - 2wks old

My little rebel – 2wks old

I forgot about the growth spurt that occurs between the first and third weeks after birth. The typically complacent baby now constantly fussy, red as a grape tomato, and clawing at my breast with small, jagged, never-before-clipped fingernails, suckling night and day to make my breasts produce enough milk to meet her daily intake needs.

I forgot how, insignificant as it seems, those tiny nails produce tiny scratches that lead to very sensitive nipples.

I forgot just how much poop can come out of a bottom the fits in my hand. While pregnant I figured, why set up the changing table? I can just change her diapers on my bed! I’ve been reminded of why changing tables are wonderful. I’d never needed to wash my linen on a daily basis before now.

I forgot that  I should have made time in my daily schedule to pump my breast milk. Even with an expensive electronic pump I’m spending up to one hour each day filling BPA Free 5oz bags. My freezer cannot hold much more.

I forgot the intensity of the nursing thirst. I feel like I can never get enough water. And the hunger, even at night I want to keep eating. I didn’t eat this much my entire pregnancy. And the cravings! Veggies are back on the menu, but for some reason corn, chocolate, and ice cream didn’t leave.

N2I forgot about the fatigue. I don’t know how I survived the majority of my pregnancy on three hours of sleep each night. Even though I go to bed shortly after putting my older girls to sleep, and even though I’m only waking to nurse and pee and change the baby’s diapies, even though we co-sleep, I still wake up low on energy. Like I haven’t slept a wink. What is wrong with me? By 1pm I’m always yawning.

I forgot how quickly the laundry accumulates when you’re cloth diapering. I’m happy to have made 35 gallons of laundry detergent before Baby’s arrival, but I’m still bewildered by the fact that I’m actually doing one load of diapers each day to keep the right sized fitteds, contours, pockets, and covers in rotation.

I forgot about the leaky breasts soaking an entire shirt in minutes. I forgot how time consuming burping a baby can be. I forgot how spit-up only comes out when you’re not protecting your clothing. I forgot how an onset of the hiccups can ruin everything.

But I also forgot how sweet those smiles can be, when they’ve fallen asleep after nursing, and they’re dreaming, but you’re hoping that they’re smiling because they’re dreaming of you.

N4

And I forgot how perfectly unscented their skin is, and how soft their hair, and how chubby their chins, and how round their bellies, and how sparkly their eyes, and how humbling their affection. I forgot how complete it feels to care for a baby. I forgot that my heart would expand and melt simultaneously.

And I never knew how incredibly cute two big sisters would be; eager to help with their baby sister, constantly wanting to hold her, kiss her, never wanting to miss anything.

I suppose there’s a reason I’ve forgotten many aspects of parenting an infant, but there are certain memories that I’ll work to keep with me from now on.

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Summer (Can’t Last Too Long) August 27, 2012

I cannot believe that summer is almost over. My plan, back in May, was to make it outside everyday, to visit the beach at least once a week, and to go somewhere new in the city each month. My summer plans were somewhat ruined by the The Big Incident (as were my plans for life in general), but I wanted to somehow salvage the sanctity of summer, at least for my daughters.

Between the cleaning, the cooking, the blogging, the legal proceedings, and the immensity of single-parenting I find it difficult to do most things that aren’t utter necessity. I understand, however, how vital undirected outdoor play can be for young children and I try my hardest to incorporate time for this during the day.

I’m grateful for the pool at our condo; it’s big enough and well maintained and always has a lifeguard, but even though it’s just a short walk down the parking lot I often cannot find the time and energy to utilize it. I’ve taken to folding my laundry outside on a Queen bed-sized blanket with weighted corners while the girls make mud pies, dig for worms, and try their hardest to pet the ducks. Thanks to wi-fi I can do computer work at the picnic bench on my laptop, and if we go to the park I always take a notebook with me. The backyard may not be the beach or a city adventure, but the girls really seem to enjoy their time outdoors and I love being able to be near them and still completing my work and/or household chores.

It isn’t the summer I’d imagined. I am not getting fit, but getting bigger. I am not relaxing, but stressing more than I have in my entire adult life. I am not in the ocean nearly as much as I’d hoped to be. But I am keeping my house fairly clean, my daughters are happy and healthy, and my to-do list is manageable (or…reasonably unmanageable, but well-organized). I cannot say that I will be sad to see Summer make way for my favorite season. I’ve got big plans for Autumn.

 

Homemade Laundry Detergent August 20, 2012

I’ve been trying to do my best to plan sensibly for Baby # 3. I saved all of the gear, cloth diapers, wipes, bibs, and burp cloths from my first two babies. I have plenty of clothing if I’m having a girl, but, for the first time, I’m going to find out the Baby’s sex so that I can prepare accordingly. I spent the first few weeks of my pregnancy making a Plan A and B and C for all of the bigger things (i.e. how to continue with my schooling after the baby’s birth, how to survive financially, how to make sure that my girls still get time with me and avoid sibling rivalry). Now that I am 16 weeks pregnant I have time to focus on smaller things. One of my first goals was to make several extra batches of laundry detergent. By several I specifically mean ten, and by batches I mean five-gallon buckets full; so yes, 50 gallons of surplus laundry detergent in all.

You may be thinking that 50 gallons of laundry detergent is excessive, but I reasoned with this: we usually use one five-gallon bucket every month and a half (give or take half a bucket depending on the season, number of bed-wetting accidents, and the amount of spills the girls make with their cups, or splashes that come out of the bathtub). I figure that since I’ll be exclusively cloth diapering Baby #3 we’ll be using a maximum of ten gallons of detergent every month. More than likely it’ll be less, but I wanted to be on the safe side. I wanted to know that I could go a full five months after Baby’s arrival without having to make another batch.

It’s not extremely difficult to make a batch of laundry detergent; tedious and slightly dangerous, but it could be accomplished while a baby is napping. However, I am quite sure that I will have a lot of needs pining for my attention while Baby is napping, and I figure that once I have the detergent surplus there will be one less thing I’ll have to worry about doing soon after Baby is born. Thus far, I have made five surplus batches. My goal is to make one batch of detergent each week until I reach my surplus goal. Some weeks I may be replacing one of my two in-use buckets, so it may take me another two months to be officially complete, but I am excited to be planning ahead and creating a sweet relief for my postpartum phase.

 

Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

 

Yields: Five-gallon bucket nearly full (approximately two inches from the top)

 

Supplies

1 five-gallon bucket

1 long-handled wooden spoon

Cheese grater

Enough pots to boil 6 quarts of water and a pot to heat 4 ½ quarts of water with room to stir ingredients

 

Ingredients

4 ½ Quarts of Water

1 Bar of Zote Soap, grated

1 ½ Cups of Washing Soda

1 ½ Cups of Borax

3 Quarts of Hot Water

6 Quarts of Boiling Water

4 ½ Quarts of Hot Water

15 drops of Essential Oil (Optional – I use tea tree oil)

 

Instructions

Start heating 6 quarts of water to a boil. In a large pot, mix 4 ½ quarts of water with the grated Zote Soap. Heat the mixture on medium and the soap will dissolve. Stir the Washing Soda and Borax into the mixture. Continue heating the mixture, but do not let it boil. Stir the mixture until it thickens (less than five minutes), and then remove the pot from heat.

Add 3 quarts of hot water to the bucket then add the soap mixture from the pot and mix well. Add the 6 quarts of boiling water to the bucket and mix well. Add an additional 4 ½ quarts of hot water to the bucket. If you’re using essential oils add these now. Mix the contents of the bucket.

Let the mixture set for 24 hours or until it thickens. Use 1-3 cups of the mixture per load of laundry (use more for heavily soiled clothing).

 

My mother-in-law gave me this recipe about seven years ago. I have used it consistently for six years and through two exclusively cloth diapered babies. It cleans everything, smells wonderful, and doesn’t leave residue or cause skin irritations. We love it, and if you try it let me know what you think!