Monday, March 29, 2010

Our Potty Sign (EC) and Baby Signs Rock

Life has really looked up for us (on the EC front) when the little guy started signing a few months ago. This is his potty sign. It was basically the first sign that he used consistently that we took to mean something.

After the potty sign started to work for us, a whole barrage of communication ensued. He is now working his way through the colors.

He seems to pull a lot of the signs out of thin air, but then I remember back to the Signing Times videos that we had him watch before bed from around ages 6 months to 14 months to help him calm down before bed. He has since stopped watching the videos, but remembers a lot of the signs. Yesterday he introduced bicycle.

As his speech is getting better, he is replacing some of the signs with words. He now babbles "peepee poopy" when it is time to go and only does the potty sign if it is an urgent need for #2 or if we aren't paying attention.

I was a little hesitant to do baby signs but am so glad he has a way to communicate with us. My favorites are potty, help, flower, bath, moon, blue, popcorn, exercise, and brown. His favorite words to say with words are broccoli, mango, hat, water, and baby (as in the baby tomato plants we need to water and be gentle with). I strongly recommend baby signing to anyone with the energy for it.
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Cloth Napkins

These are literally 4 pieces of fabric cut 17" square and hemmed (with my label added to each one). They were super easy to make, and a nice way to use some of the irresistible cute hard cotton fabric I buy sometimes.
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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Boba Carrier vs Ergo Carrier (Soft Structured Carriers)

So there are many, many carriers out there that seem to do the same thing.  The category of baby carrier is "soft structured carrier."  These wonders claim to be good from about 15 to 40 pounds, and you can wear them front or back, and some can even go onto the side with some strap switching (which I have never tried, but my sister-in-law seems to enjoy using her Ergo this way).

The difference between a soft structured carrier and a Mei Tai is that these carriers have buckles and snaps instead of longer straps and knots.  They also seem to have wider and more firm padding at the waist, but I don't see why you couldn't make a Mei Tai this way. 

The different soft structured carriers all seem to be slightly different than each other.

The Ergo is quite popular where we live (Berkeley, CA).  It has a sleeping hood and a great big pocket in front with two parts-- one with a zipper and one to tuck things into.  It comes in organic and regular cotton, and also a "sport" model, which seems to be lighter weight material for hot days.  I love my Ergo.  The pocket is just the right size for a change of pants, my phone, a packet of tissues, my wallet, and a few snacks.  Unfortunately, I have washed the Ergo many times and the waistband foam is not that supportive anymore, and it has lost some of its oomph. 

I was thinking of buying a new Ergo and re-selling my old one (they hold their value quite nicely-- used ones go for $40 to $60).  I got distracted online and found the Boba carrier.  It is also a USA product (Ergo is from Hawaii and Boba is from Boulder, CO).  It has a detachable hood that snaps onto the straps just like the Ergo.  Its buckles are like the Ergo's, except the waist strap buckles in the back instead of on one side.  The buckles and snaps feel heavier and sturdier than the Ergo's, but maybe it is newer.  It is missing the pocket, but it is kind of nice not to have it in the middle of the carrier.  But I do enjoy having somewhere for my essentials without needing to carry an additional bag.  The Boba has foot straps for the baby-- they hang off the waist and are like stirrups, supposedly allowing for the child to ride in more comfort.  I can't get my child to keep them on for more than about half of a block, but maybe he is just used to traveling in an Ergo or Mei Tai.

Overall, I am ok with both carriers.  I like that the Boba feels sturdier-- the cotton and the straps and buckles and snaps just feel more substantial than the ones on the Ergo.  But I miss the pocket of the Ergo when I use the Boba.  For that reason, I am going to recommend the Ergo over the Boba. 

Note posted much later: I recently got the new Boba, the Boba 3G and LOVE it. Read more here.

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Monday, March 8, 2010

Nonwaterproof Piddle Pad

So-- we are past "graduation" for EC. This means our nearly 19-month old son is potty trained, and has been since 10 months. However, we still have "misses," and these happen when sleeping, too. They happen infrequently enough that we no longer need for him to sleep on a waterproof piddle pad every night (don't worry-- we still have a matress protector under the sheets). But we do need something to put over the sheets so he is not sleeping on wet sheets for the rest of the night (and so we don't need to change the sheets right then~ which could wake him up).

Enter the nonwaterproof piddle pad. We had been using a towel, but they get soaked through.

This new piddle pad soaks from the bottom and keeps him feeling dry on top (unless he misses again, of course, on that same night).

These are made of flannel on both sides with two layers of Zorb in the middle with a layer of flannel sandwiched between the Zorb. The flannel between the Zorb is because Zorb is supposed to be able to absorb better with natural fibers on both sides.  They are quilted to help retain moisture.
We are so happy with these. They feel like sheets when he is sleeping on them, so if he starts to pee, he will feel the wetness (unlike on the traditional piddle pad, which has fleece on top to wick the moisture away).   They also do a great job of absorbing the moisture from the sheets while keeping it inside the mat and not feeling dry from the surface.  Their only drawback so far is that they take a long time to dry from the washer and dryer-- but hey, that's sort of the point-- they absorb moisture.
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This is similar to what we have under the sheets. Pin It

Saturday, March 6, 2010

onbuhimo japanese baby carrier

I read about the Onbuhimo Japanese baby carrier and it seemed to be as fab as a Mei Tai but with fewer straps to make (and have flopping around when you are not wearing it). So-- I decided to give it a go. I found a tutorial about how to make one from some table runners and placemats, and another about how to modify a Mei Tai pattern into an Onbu pattern (which I can't find again to link to!).
I decided to follow the second tutorial (the missing one), and my first pass at this carrier ended up in one that was way too wide. I used the measurements from the tutorial instead of from the Scandi Mei Tai pattern I like and have used in the past, and should have just used the template I already had (that I made from that tutorial). The first photo is of my child in the too-wide carrier. Notice I am holding him in.

So-- I took it back to the drawing board-- er, cutting board-- and made it thinner.

Even with my modifications, it is just ok. I watched some You Tube videos about how to use this carrier and tried a few times. I didn't really understand how to put him on without having the waistband secured first. He and I ended up doing a lot of fidgeting. I dedn't have the nerve to hurl him over my shoulder like they do in the videos, either. The carrier also made him feel heavier than when he is in the Mei Tai. All in all, I do not like it. I liked using rings from, but think that I need to try another type of carrier with rings to get some good use out of them.

Now for the gory details: The straps are made of lightweight demin from They are padded with fleece scraps from JoAnn Fabrics. The rings are 2" aluminum from The exterior fabric is a lightweight cotton from JoAnn's, and the cell pocket is made of the same material (top right on the second photo). The interior (not really shown) is white minky from Discount Fabrics, a local shop. Minky is super-soft one-sided fleece.
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