Thursday, June 24, 2010

Excuse me, miss, I think you left your pants at home.

Despite the fact that I'm almost old enough to be Justin Bieber's (great?) grandmother, I briefly tuned in to watch the Much Music Video Awards on Sunday, June 20th. Not because I really give a crap about this particular award show (or any award show, for the record), but because I was bored, and I'm too lazy to use the treadmill in our basement, and what else am I supposed to do while I'm eating chips? Anyhow, for some unknown reason, this Canadian award show was hosted by Miley Cyrus, a very American pop star, but that's not the point. The point is more about what Miley was wearing or, if you're a cynic like me, what she wasn't wearing. I watched her jump about the stage belting out her "Party in the USA" song (at a Canadian award show, but I digress), wondering what happened to teeny-bopper Hannah Montana? More importantly, what happened to her pants? As in, where were they?

Fast forward two days, and I'm in line at a local store wondering the same thing. No, Miley Cyrus was not in the lineup ahead of me; rather, another teenage girl was, and like Miley, it would appear she had forgotten to put on her pants that morning. I don't even know where to start describing what she was (or wasn't) wearing. I can tell you she was wearing impossibly tall wedges. And a hot pink tank top, with a lacey cardigan thing layered over the tank. I call it a 'cardigan' only to be kind; the same thing, if worn in a bedroom, would likely be called 'lingerie', but whatever it was, it barely covered her bum. I assume she was wearing extremely short shorts under the lacey cardigan thing, not because I saw any actual shorts, but mostly because I just hoped she was wearing them. My immediate thought was "Does her mother know she dresses like that?" That question was easily answered as this young woman was standing alongside her mother (and her grandmother to boot).

When I think back to when I was 17 years old, my perception is that girls our age were dressed more age-appropriate than the 17 year old girls of today. Of course, I spent my teenage years in a small town, it's entirely possible that I lived a sheltered life like the people in Footloose (and how the hell did Kevin Bacon ever get picked for a lead role in a movie about dancing anyway?), and while I was wearing jeans and t-shirts (can you even imagine?), everyone else was wearing hot pants and tube tops (were they?). Did you watch Degrassi Junior high back then? Remember how Stephanie would wear plain clothes to school (like jeans and a t-shirt), then she'd change into her 'sexy' clothes in the school bathroom? It was positively scandalous at the time, however, what was considered 'sexy' then would be considered downright demure next to what seems to be fashionable today. Given the lowriders, thongs, heels, and tank tops that teenage girls sport today, I wonder what will be in vogue when our daughters hit that age.

My oldest, at nine years old, is already pushing me to buy her a pair of 'short shorts' because her friends wear them. Being the mean, apparently prudish mother that I am, the answer to that request is (and always will be) "No". Wardrobe choice is not a new argument around these parts, a few years ago, I was horrified to receive a gift card for Maddy and Hannah (from my own sister, no less) to LaSenza Girl. The girls, on the other hand, were thrilled to bits. We went down to the store to see if we could find anything suitable for the girls to wear, 15 minutes and two distraught daughters later, we left empty-handed. I'm not sure why people think it's acceptable to dress children in mini-versions of adult clothing, but it's not something I'm going to allow, let alone encourage. Judging from my daughters' occassional moans & groans, you'd think I was enforcing a wardrobe of turtlenecks and culottes, however, I just want our little girls to look like little girls.

My daughters watched a portion of a rerun of the MMVA show this morning (that is until mean old mommy spoiled their fun), when they saw Miley Cyrus they commented on her choice of clothing (or lack thereof). We had a discussion about how she's still a kid, and it's not appropriate (or comfortable) to dress 'like that'. I think it's unfortunate that Miley Cyrus' parents don't sit her down to have the same conversation, however, I suppose that's none of my business. I don't think it's wrong to treat children like they're children -- there's plenty of time for them to behave like adults when they're actually old enough to be adults. Although I'm not going to lie, even now that I'm an adult, the likelihood of me prancing around in a lacey cardigan thing layered over a hot pink tank top while I may or may not be wearing extremely short shorts is less than slim to none!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Storing cloth diapers between children (figuratively, not literally!)

One of the great things about cloth diapers is that they can be used with more than one child, however, in order to take advantage of this benefit, you must store your diapers properly between children to maintain the diapers when not in use.

The bulk of our diapers have lasted through all four of our children, while they have gotten thinner over the years, which is it be expected, they have held up remarkably well. In terms of storage between children, since I was such an efficient baby-making machine (with the help of my husband, of course), the diapers never went more than a six months unused between children (thanks to infant pottying, we never had more than one child in diapers at a time!).

If you're going to be storing your diapers longterm (months or years!), there are ways to minimize potential damage from storage (mold, mildew, brittle elastic, or insect damage). If you put your diapers into storage in great shape, you will increase the likelihood that they come out of storage in great shape:

  • strip your diapers before storing them to remove any lingering residues that may cause damage when they're in storage.
  • sun your diapers to remove existing stains.
  • clean the velcro of any lingering lint and hair

In terms of actually storing the diapers, you should keep them in a dark, dry, clean, well-ventilated area. Avoid storing them anywhere they will be exposed to extreme temperatures (like in a garage or an attic), extreme temperatures can damage textiles. If your diapers will be stored for a long time (years, as opposed to months), avoid storing them in plastic containers, which will not allow air to circulate.

If you use wool diaper covers, you will want to take extra care to avoid moth damage when they're in storage. First and foremost, clean your wool before storing it -- dirty wool is tastier than clean wool! Do not lanolize your wool cover before storing it, the lanolin can harden with time; instead, lanolize the wool after it comes out of storage. In terms of storing your wool covers, it's a good idea to enclose them in cotton (like a pillowcase, for example), with sachets of lavender, a natural moth repellent. Avoid storing your wool covers with mothballs, which can be fatal if eaten (what can I say, kids eat weird things!).

While they're in storage, it's a good idea to periodically inspect (and clean, if necessary) the storage area and your diapers. Your cloth diapers are an investment, be good to them, and they'll be good to you!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

And so it begins!

Boys, that is. Specifically, a boy calling a girl in our house. It seems early, but when I think back to when I was Maddy's age, I was definitely crushing on boys in Grade five -- Maddy is in Grade four, so I suppose it shouldn't come as a shock that boys no longer have 'cooties'. Quite the opposite in fact, Maddy has recently informed us that she only plays soccer at school to 'get boys'. Nice.... we're in trouble!

For the past few weeks, Maddy has been the recipient of a rash of phone calls from one particular boy. We're talking every 20 minutes, it's both sweet and sort of desperate at the same time. Initially, Maddy was cool on the phone, when she picked up, she'd ask "What are you calling me for anyway?", I'd be chastising her in the background, "Be nice!" These phone calls never last more than a few minutes, after all, there's not much to talk about when you're nine or ten years old and you've already spent the better part of the day together, and I suppose when you're calling every 20 minutes, there's generally no 'news' to report.

It's interesting to see how confident Maddy is at talking to a boy, at thirty-six years old, I don't have her chutzpah! She outright told B today "I know you like me", it was a bold move on her part, but it paid off, he confirmed as much (well, no duh!). Of course, even with this admission, nothing will come of it, there will be no 'dating' in this house for several years to come, Maddy informed B that he will have to 'wait for her' until she's 14 years old.

While 14 years old seems like it's light years away, I know it's really just around the corner, considering how lightning-fast we got from her birth to today -- it feels like the blink of an eye! I'm happy that her first interaction with a boy was a positive one, I'm glad I'm not tending to a broken heart just yet. I can remember the crushing defeat of liking a boy, and not having those feelings returned. My first brush with unrequited love came in Grade five when the object of my affection turned his attention to the new girl in school (Paul Coffell, are you out there? *This* could have been all yours!). It may be too early to predict, but I have a feeling Maddy (unlike her mother) will be the one breaking hearts when the time comes -- only time will tell!