Flats and Handwashing Challenge Day 1: Why Am I Doing This?


This kept running through my mind as I sloshed the dirty diapers in the soapy water in my diaper pail. What was I thinking? Will I be able to do this all week? This seems like an awful lot of work. I mean, honestly. Is this REALLY necessary? And EEEW I JUST GOT SOAPY DIAPER WATER IN MY EYE!!

Since I had time (2 minutes per “agitation”, rinse, repeat, repeat), I reminded myself why I signed onto this challenge.

When I first started cloth diapering about 8 months ago, some of the women who helped me get started were talking about this “Flats Challenge”. It piqued my interest. I’m a person that enjoys a challenge (some would say that I like making things more difficult) and this certainly qualifies. I have two young children, am relatively new to cloth diapering, and a year ago, pretty much thought this is all there was to them anyway. Large pieces of fabric that you wrap around your baby, covered by ‘plastic pants’. Whoop de doo.

{As I’m sure I will rave on about in a later post, that’s not actually what it’s like any more. But back to my story.}

What really got me interested was hearing these sad stories: people washing disposable diapers and reusing them, babies with horrendous diaper rashes because their parents simply can’t afford to buy as many diapers as they need. What do you do in that situation? There’s no special assistance for diapers. Just food. What do you DO when you literally have to choose food or diapers?

That is why I’m doing this. I am not Donna Reed. I did not CHOOSE to be a homemaker. I got laid off. I’m not very good at this staying at home business. And frankly, if I didn’t know what I know about cloth diapers, I could very easily be in that same predicament. Diapers are expensive, and babies pee and poop a lot. I estimate that I would go through 480+ diapers in a 30 day period, with two kids being changed roughly every 3 hours. Paying about $.20 per diaper that’s $96 per month, and that’s not including wipes. Even paying per load to wash diapers, there’s still a significant financial savings there.

Again, why am I doing this?

To see if I can. To know that I can. To have the confidence to know that I won’t ever have to make a decision like, ‘Do we eat tonight, or get diapers?’ To know that if I come into contact with someone in that situation, I will be able to share this experience with them and help them know that they don’t have to make that decision either.

You may think I’m crazy, and I probably am. But I’ll be damned if I let that stand in my way.

Day 1 Notes:

I actually started Sunday because I apparently can’t read a calendar. Come Monday morning I had a pail full of lovely diapers to wash. After I talked myself out of talking myself out of this, things went fairly smoothly. What I learned is that my apartment is not a great place to dry diapers at all. After 7 hours of waiting , several panic attacks, and lots of moving them from room to room, I discovered they actually do dry fairly quickly, as long as they are getting air on them. The majority of my drying will be done in the basement from now on. Instead of being damn after 7 hours, they dried in about 2.5. The covers take a bit longer. I did 3 loads on Monday. I don’t want to have to do that again.


That post I mentioned…

The other day I started writing. I was really proud of myself, because I had been thinking about writing for about two months and never sat down to do it. And then, I DID IT. It felt wonderful. So I figured I’d keep a good thing going and make some use of this nifty WordPress app on my phone, and keep writing. Also, I figured out how to post pictures within my text, and was feeling a bit savvy. I worked on that post for a good portion of the day.

At one point I realized that switching from computer to phone and back was ineffective and I had to redo a lot of editing. I decided I was way less savvy on this app than I thought, and decided to stick to my computer.

A little later I realized I was writing about the same thing I had just written about, except now it had pictures.

Shortly thereafter I decided that even though the post I bragged about being “in progress” was strikingly similar to the one I had just written, it was less interesting and not nearly as amusing.

Finally, I sucked it up and deleted the whole thing. (For someone like me who-at one point-may or may not have been a borderline hoarder this is a huge deal.)
Then I panicked. I said I was working on a new post! Oh no! Now I have nothing! And no ideas!! Crap! Quick think of something, think of something…

WELL. It only took me a few days to come up with this brilliant idea. I’ll write about what I wrote about that wasn’t very interesting and hope this would be more interesting than the less interesting aforementioned and deleted post.
I hope you found this amusing enough to make it this far, because now I will include a picture of my adorable children holding hands. They are best friends.


The Horror.

As I lay in bed contemplating and planning my morning (there is usually about 5 minutes for this after I get the baby back to sleep for the third time and finish up my word games) my days usually look like something out of an old 50’s tv show. Everyone is happy and smiling, my hair, clothes, children, and home are spotless, and the day runs like a well oiled machine. We do projects, go to the park, we nap. Dinner is on the table by 5, kids are in bed by 7, and after a wonderful and insightful conversation with the bf, we retire, to sleep soundlessly through the night.

In reality, it’s more like a scene from Apocalypse Now. There’s a lot of screaming, crying, food, and bodily fluids EVERYWHERE. (Why didn’t they tell me about all of the fluids that come out of a child in sex ed????) It’s really not at all like I had imagined. It never occurred to me that pureed foods would leave such deadly looking splatter patterns, or that I would have to think of new and innovative ways to get a 2 year old to sit still long enough to eat. I was completely unaware that diaper changes involved acrobatics, or that it would take an average of 3 snotty, teary breakdown face wipe-offs on my shirt before I could even consider finding a new one to put on. And did you know that although toddlers are made of rubber, they require ice for even the slightest bump?? I did not. But they do.

By the time I get the little one off to dreamland for her first nap, DDa is hungry again. Usually (for the third time, because she couldn’t sit still long enough to finish her breakfast or post breakfast snack) I have to make her something to eat before she can take her nap. (I used to think peanut butter and jelly was perfect for this. Do not be fooled by its simplicity. Peanut butter and jelly is a messy, messy, awful thing to have to clean out of hair and clothing.) After a battle of wits and wills, and a sufficient amount of food has been consumed, I convince her that if she goes to sleep, there will be a wonderful surprise for her when she wakes up. (I try not to be specific, that tends to backfire)

Ok. Now they’re both asleep. I can doze peacefully on the couch and/or catch up on any number of shows I have on the DVR, right? NO! Because the second my cheeks hit the cushions DDz is awake and either wants to play or cry or eat or just sit and stare at me. Sometimes we watch Mad Men together. But mostly I just try to get her to go back to sleep so I can (PLEASE, BABY) nap for 20 minutes. That’s all I need. And the moment we both finally, contentedly, drift off…

“MOMMY? I need to go peepee on the potty RIGHT NOW!”


And it’s not even noon yet. 🙂

So I wonder, is it just me, or does your day look like this too?

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