Diaper Duty

Erin and her son Lincoln

Diaper Duty - Join Erin on the journey of a lifetime.  Along with her first born, Lincoln, (born in 2010), Erin is learning the "art of being a baby mama"




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Go ahead and ask me why

Written by Erin Hill. Posted in Diaper Duty

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Lincoln started karate classes this week, and at the end of each class they have a "talk." Part of this week’s talk was about listening to your parents. The instructor went on about how your parents know everything and you should always listen to them. It kind of made me cringe. Why? Because I don’t think kids should assume their parents are right about everything.

I would not be the person I am today if I didn’t question some things my parents tried to teach me (and I like me). Today, we have very different opinions on politics, people, and many (many, many) other things, and I’m glad I went my own way at times. They tried to raise me the way they thought was best just like I’m trying to do with my kids, but some of their lessons were just bananas, and I’m glad I recognized that – sometimes it was right away, sometimes it was much, much later.

Now, I'm not talking about constant defiance or lack of respect. There are things Linc and Reagan MUST listen to us about for their own safety (strangers, drugs, not letting the dog lick your mouth, not walking in the middle of the street, etc.) and how to respect others, but I want to encourage them to ask me "why?" on other topics. (Your definition of "other topics" may be different than mine. That's cool.) I get asked "why" now by my four-year-old, of course, and I ask “why do you think?” I want him to ask questions. I want him to obtain different viewpoints and opinions other than mine and my husband's. When I was growing up, I was TOLD what to think and struggled when my gut feelings were different. In my opinion, we're here to guide, not to drill all our beliefs into them so they spit back out what we say. We tell them what we think and feel, and they can do what they want with that. If they think mommy and/or daddy are NUTS, then go ahead and go off and find a way you think is better for you and we'll discuss. If you think mommy and/or daddy are the smartest people alive go ahead and think what we think. It's cool either way. I don't have all the answers!

I just want a discussion to flow. I want open communication. I want questions asked of everyone. ("Why did Billy say this? Is it true?" and "Why do you believe in this? What if I don’t?") I want my kids to be themselves, to be kind, to have experiences. Just like my experiences have formed my thoughts and opinions, theirs will blow their minds and shape them as human beings. I want them to know it's all OK.

Do you always want your kids to believe and think what you do or ask questions?

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Basics for Baby

Written by Erin Hill. Posted in Diaper Duty

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There are so many articles on what you need for baby, but, in reality, it’s really a very personal decision. Once you have the kid you realize right away what you really need and what you don’t, but to prepare for baby, it’s important to think long and hard about your life. No, not your purpose in life but what you’ve got going on. What do you do? Where do you go? Where will baby go? What season will baby be born it? Answering questions like these realistically will help you avoid getting crazy with that scanner at the store. Come on, it’s not your wedding registry! (P.S. Go nuts with that one. YAY!)

When I was pregnant with Lincoln I wanted every baby item ever made -- in blue. Then I started asking friends who told me what I’d use every day (nail files) and what I’d never use (a newborn snowsuit). I followed their instructions and was pretty much set with stuff I used frequently in gender-neutral colors and not a lot of random baby swingers and rockers and bouncers all over the place. This was an amazing help when Reagan came around. There wasn’t much I needed. I didn’t even have a baby shower. When people asked what I needed, I told them if they MUST get something, I’d take burp clothes, receiving blankets, and clothes bigger than six months. I needed those! (Oh, and money. No one gave me money, though.)

Having experience from the first, I knew to base what I was getting/keeping for number two on what babies do: eat, sleep, poo, and wear clothes. Now, sure, there was a good chance Reagan may not have liked something Lincoln liked, but going minimal with this one and waiting until I actually met the kid was key to having baby number two on the cheap (and keeping my house orderly enough for my four-year-old to still run around).

Eating

Y’all know I’m breastfeeding (and went back to work). So, Reagan needed bottles for daycare, and I needed a pump and some accessories. Currently, Reagan eats three times at daycare. That means three bottles a day. I have six for her so I’m able to rotate and not wash bottles every day. I had a pump and got new tubing for this time around.

Sleeping

We are co-sleepers by accident. We do have a crib, which was given to us by someone at work when we had Lincoln, and we have a co-sleeper my husband made for Reagan. A bassinet or something else small that could go in a bedroom the first few months would be good if you want baby close (but, not as close as in the bed with you) and a crib for later is perfect. We have a pack ‘n’ play from when Lincoln was little that we never took anywhere and never put Linc in to play. We have that downstairs just to change her on and lay her in if she’s asleep and we’re all downstairs and want to put her down. I’m still not sure the real reason for a pack ‘n’ play or how much use they get at someone else’s house. But, again, it’s all in what YOU need.

Pooing (and peeing)

Diapers – any type. Wipes – any type. Done! We do have a diaper genie for the stank.

Clothes

Borrow, borrow, borrow! Take, take, take! We are very lucky (in more ways than one) to be good friends with a family with three boys. I’ve never had to buy Lincoln more than a few pairs of pants or shorts and some shirts when he changed sizes or seasons. My friend commented on how she tried to give these clothes to others but they scoffed and only wanted new clothes for their new babies. Not me! Give me the sleep ‘n’ plays that have only been worn twice. I’ll take the outfit sets with the tags still attached! Pass on the semi-faded play clothes that my kids will, well, play in. Everything is as good as new with a little spin in the washing machine, right?

For Reagan, we’ve acquired lovely little girl things from another good friend who has a daughter a few months older than Reagan, and, again, I’ve had to buy very little. (And she looks GORGEOUS!)

Other stuff

Babies need stuff to look at and “play” with, but nothing is a good as your face and hands the first few months, right? Reagan can’t get enough of my stupid face when I sing songs or talk to her about our day.

Also, it is a good idea to have a place to put the baby down once in a while. We have a bouncy seat for the kitchen and a jumparoo for the family room (before that was a swing). We’re never upstairs unless we’re going to bed so we just put her in bed (safely, of course).

We also have the minimal toiletries and some towels and wash cloths along with a little seat for the bath tub.

And, yes, a car seat and stroller, and though I believe in being minimal with baby stuff, I must be honest and say we have two bases for the car seat – one for my car and one for my husbands. It is SO worth it to us.

What advice do you have for a new mom who asks “What do I need for baby?” What can’t you live without? What did you think you needed but later found you didn’t?

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Instinctual Baby Behavior

Written by Erin Hill. Posted in Diaper Duty

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Yesterday the daycare called to see if they should wake Reagan to feed her. She had a cold and must have been growing because she was working on what turned out to be an almost five hour nap (LUCKY!). My answer was an automatic “no.”

Of course, I don’t mind that they called and asked. I appreciated it (even though I wrote on the “About Baby” form to never wake her to eat). No biggie. My bigger question is why would you wake a baby to eat?

I’m sure some babies should be woken to eat for medical reasons and such, but with a healthy baby, why not rely on instinct? Baby is gonna eat when she wants to eat, sleep when she wants to sleep, and do other things when other things need done, right?

I’m a HUGE believer on listening to your body, and I’ve carried that over into motherhood by relying on what my kids’ bodies are doing to tell me the state of affairs.

Baby still sleeping? Baby stay sleeping. Her body obviously needed sleep more than food. She did end up missing one bottle during the day, but it was only one day and she was her happy, normal self the short time she was awake (and she made up for it later). So, I let it be. Today, she’s back to normal.

Do you rely on your kids’ built-in instincts? What do they tell you?

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Returning to Work: A little easier the second time

Written by Erin Hill. Posted in Diaper Duty

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I returned to work this week after 12 weeks off, and I gotta tell you, I’m feeling all the emotions. I’m so sad and empty with loss, but excited and happy, too. My head and my heart are swirling.

Since this is my second time returning to work after baby, I am blessed with the fact that a lot of my questions are answered already. Things like "will my baby forget me?" and "will I be OK?" are already answered (the answers, by the way, are "No way" and "Of course, silly"). And while I cycle through everything I’m feeling for eight hours a day, I’m comforted (a little) by being an experienced working mom.

From experience, I know the guilt and feeling of loss don’t really go away, but that your head talks your heart out of it, and you press on with the day. I know I can call the daycare as many times as I want and check on the kids. I know that having Lincoln in daycare has only benefited our family the last four years and that it will probably continue to do so for Reagan. I know that I thought long and hard (AGAIN) about the decision to return and still thought it was what’s best for my family at this time. I also know how lucky I am to work at a company that supports me as a working mom and have a bunch of friends in the building.

But, I am sad. I miss my kids! Every second I’m away, I miss them. But, this time, I know it’ll turn out OK.

Did you working moms of multiple kids have an easier or harder time returning the second (or third or fourth) time?

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Daycare Devastation 2: Our REALLY Wonderful Center is Closing

Written by Erin Hill. Posted in Diaper Duty

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Well, my friends, we’ve done it again. The Hills have taken down another daycare.

Not really…but, that’s how it feels.

Yet again we are faced with the closure of another center we placed our trust into and got love out of for over two years. This time was much more difficult.

We got word of the closure the beginning of last year. I didn’t want to talk about it with you all for a few reasons: 1. I didn’t want y’all to think we were bad luck!, 2. I didn’t want to think about it, and 3. I thought maybe the decision would change.

Unlike our last closure, this was one I thought could be turned around. I as much as possible to make damn sure I could tell Lincoln I gave it my all to keep his school open. The last closure was due to abuse allegations. This one, in my opinion, was an abuse of power issue.

So, we’ve move on once again. Though the center we love even more than the first is still open for another six months, we decided to pull Lincoln out early so we didn’t have to worry every day that TODAY was going to be the last. Since there was no warning of a closure, I expected there to be no warning if they decided to close it even earlier than promised.

“They” are not those who work within the daycare, but those who decide its fate nonetheless. The daycare is within a vocational school where a board makes the decisions. They made this one last year with, what I gather, were zero facts on the impact of this decision. I’ve shown up to the board meetings time and time again to try to tell them what a gem they’ve got in that center, but it is the end, my friend.

How do we move on (AGAIN!)? Well, this one has been a doozy. Lincoln is older now (4 instead of 2) and had his buddies and his favorites teachers (all of them!). He can verbalize now and has an opinion and wonders everyday why the heck we’re going to this new school.

How would you explain such a significant change to a four year old?

We’ve just been dealing with this as a loss. We have no other options. We tell Lincoln his old school is closed, but he’ll see his friends from there still (we’ve vowed to have monthly meet ups), and he’ll make new friends at this new place.  

I used to think it was hard trying to figure out what he was thinking when he couldn’t talk. I know now it’s WAY harder to actually have him tell me what’s going on in his little head. And, while I’m comfortable with the choice we made in his new daycare, I long for the other one. I think about it and the teachers there several times a day and wish things could be different.


ErinHillErin Hill is mom to Lincoln, born in January 2010, and Reagan, born in November 2013. She's learning as she goes and is experiencing everything a new mom goes through the second time around while seeing the humor, irony, and enjoyment in her adventures.

Erin is a full-time technical writer and co-founder and writer for SlimSavers.com in her "spare time." She lives in Plum with Lincoln, her husband, Adam, their dog, Roxie, and five (yes, five) cats, Nirvana, Gary Roberts, Elvis, Talbot and Forrest.

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