Wipe out diaper need 

Diaper changing pad - Ten Thousand Hour MamaIt’s a cliche that babies go through a lot of diapers, and for good reason.

Eric and I had been through the ’round the clock diaper duty with Peeper, but somehow we had forgotten by the time Kiwi was born. It seemed as if just when we changed Kiwi, she’d wail, letting us know she was wet again.

Before long, we’d run out of those impossibly tiny newborn diapers (the one size I hadn’t stocked up on). So off the grandparents went to the grocery store—and came back with a package each of the leading brand. (Eric’s dad didn’t know which I preferred so he hedged his bets.)

Unfortunately, for too many families, the constant diaper changes aren’t just an amusing, if exasperating, rite of passage into parenthood. Diapers are crazy expensive and aren’t covered in assistance programs like WIC or food stamps, so moms and dads may have to make do with fewer than their little ones need.

In fact, a staggering 5.3 million children don’t have enough diapers—putting them at higher risk for infection and rash as their parents wait longer between changes and even dry out used diapers for reuse, I learned from the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). What’s more, the lack of disposable diapers sometimes keeps kids out of day care—and parents out of work.

AWHONN is partnering with Kimberly Clark and the National Diaper Bank Network to provide free diapers to the one in three families who struggle to buy enough diapers in the Wipe Out Diaper Need campaign, which runs this week.. If you have extras that your littles have outgrown, you can donate to food banks, assistance programs or a diaper bank (find one nearby here). You can also donate here (that’s what I did; $1 buys six diapers that go directly to families).

When I change Peeper and Kiwi’s diapers lately, I think about all those moms and dads who need to wait a little longer before changing their babies so they don’t run out completely. Instead of bemoaning another wet nappy or even a blowout, I’m grateful that we have enough.

This post was not sponsored or solicited. I found out about the campaign and chose to write about it because many people, like me, didn’t know about the problem of diaper need.

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Two months: Kiwi

If the first month of Kiwi’s life was figuring out what the heck we were doing with our newly expanded family, the second month has been about getting to know this beautiful, engaging, curious tiny person.

I can’t get enough of her.

Baby two months oldI memorize the locations of the freckles on her head. Before too long, her hair will grow longer and I’ll never see them again.

I admire the delicate curves of her ears. They remind me of the swirl of a seashell or the whorl of a knot on a tree.

I feel her gentle breath on my skin as she breathes in and out.

I know the telltale fussiness that tells me she needs to burp (which is different from her tired, hungry or overwhelmed fussiness). And I can feel the burp inside her before it bubbles up. (“Good burp!” Peeper congratulates her every time.)

Baby Sharknado Continue reading

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For the love of grandparents

Perfect love sometimes does not come until the first grandchild.” -Welsh proverb

To see my girls adored by their grandparents is to witness something pure and beautiful.

The four of them—Eric’s parents, Grandma and Grandpa Gregory, and mine, Nana and Grandpa Shempy—light up when they are with Peeper and Kiwi. Peeper’s shenanigans especially inspire laughter and the kind of fun unique to little ones.

Two grandmasGrandpa Oregon zooTwo Grandpas with granddaughters Continue reading

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Life > Blog

Balancing life with two kidsLong time no see, Blog.

I’ve been writing here much less frequently since Kiwi was born. Well, duh, you might think. I do, after all, have an eight-week-old and toddler to take care of, plus a husband to occasionally talk with, plus a full-time job writing. (Cleaning and cooking have completely fallen by the wayside, too. Our house is a constant disaster.)

My hiatus is perhaps to be expected, but that doesn’t mean I like it.

I like this blog. I enjoy writing it, sharing it, connecting with other people and building a community of other bloggers and readers. It doesn’t bring in a cent and probably isn’t advancing my career in any way, but it has become something that’s important to me.

As moms, it’s easy to let go of the things we enjoy—but that don’t tangibly contribute— especially in the hazy first months of a baby’s life. But we shouldn’t.

Even though this blog centers around my family, it’s for me. I am a writer, and writers write. Sure, right now I’m writing and editing full-time, but this is fulfilling in a different way. I get to say what’s in my heart (or in my sleep-deprived mind, at least).

At some point, I’ll regain some of the balance that’s missing. In the meantime, I haven’t completely forgotten about my tiny corner of the internet. I’ll be back.

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How to help in the Syrian refugee crisis: reacting to Aylan’s needless death

how to help syrian refugees

-Warsan Shire, via UndocuMedia

Lately, I’ve had a really difficult time filtering out anything sad or upsetting. I faced the same thing when Peeper was a baby: My defenses are nonexistent, so anything difficult—from a mildly emotional TV show to a news story about yet another black person killed by police—floods me with the irrepressible need to cry.

As a result, I tend to hide from the news.

The other day, though, I was driving Kiwi to a doctor’s appointment and turned on NPR. I heard a reporter translate for a grieving father, who described the horrific moments that led up to the death of his entire family.

I had to turn off the radio: My eyes instantly overflowed, and it was hard to see the road.

By now, you’ve probably heard of, read about or even seen photos of Aylan, the 3-year-old Syrian refugee whose body washed ashore on a Turkish beach after the boat carrying him, his family and other refugees capsized. The image of his tiny lifeless form has broken the hearts of millions.

Aylan’s story has made it too much for me to simply tune out the negativity. I’m done just turning off the radio. I had to do something, even if it was small.

So yesterday I donated to Tearfund, a nonprofit that provides basic necessities like hygiene kits, water and camp stoves to refugees from the Syrian civil war—the “worst humanitarian crisis of our time,” according to a UN official.

It is overwhelming to sift through the number of organizations helping in Syria and the surrounding countries that are absorbing a staggering number of fleeing Syrians. That’s why this article from the UK’s The Guardian helped me: It briefly summarizes a handful of nonprofits that are working in the area and what they’re doing to help.

For any Portland- or Vancouver-area readers, you can donate used or new baby carriers to be brought to Syrian refugees, who often have to carry their children for hundreds of miles to reach aid. You can drop them off at Floating World Comics in Northwest Portland before September 15; here’s the link for more information.

Will you join me in doing something, no matter how small? Thousands of Aylans are out there, and too many people need our help for us to sit by.

What have you done to help? What other ways can we contribute?

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I am the coziest place in the world

Baby Kiwi sleeps on MamaKiwi spends a lot of time sleeping on me lately.

Whether it’s in the carrier on a walk, on my chest as I watch a football game or leaning on me for the now-requisite 30 minutes after each feeding, she rests with her face on that magical spot of skin beneath my collarbone and her ear pressed against my heart.

Can I blame her? No. After 40 weeks inside me, it’s no wonder she craves that closeness.

But I am tired. So, so tired.

Last night, for example, as she nursed or slept on me (I’m too far gone to remember which), I stared at a spot on the sheet. I couldn’t tell if it was a bug or just a smidge of something. If you had offered me a million dollars to tell if it was moving, I would have had to guess.

People, sleep deprivation would have reduced me to 50/50 at a chance for a million dollars. Continue reading

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Some days

Some days I wake up and take in Kiwi’s wide-open eyes and marvel at how lucky I am to be her mama. Some days I get Peeper out of bed and ask her, “Is it going to be a good day?” And when she says, “Yes!” I am all-in.

Today is not one of those days.

I feel wrung out. I spent part of last night crying and all of it worrying about Kiwi. It’s probably regular newborn stuff, but I’m anxious that her inability to stay asleep, her grunting noises, even the spit bubbles that collect on her lips, reveal something deeper that is wrong.

I skated by in my second pregnancy without the worries of my first. “I got this,” I figured, and I did. I found the answers to the things I’d forgotten about without spiraling into a bout of anxiety.

I thought I’d ease into new motherhood again in the same way. Imagine my surprise, then, when breastfeeding was still hard. Really, really hard. And when I asked things like “Does her belly look distended to you?” And when I found myself paralyzed over whether to unwrap Kiwi’s swaddle or not.

Motherhood, like anything, is riding the ups and downs that come like a tide—if a tide changed every three minutes. It just so happens that I’m in an ebb, and that means not wanting to get out of bed. It means I don’t want to do today.

Probably in five minutes I’ll see Kiwi smile—a new development that lights up the entire house. I’ll eat some breakfast. Peeper will tell me all about the zoo train she is building and the animals she remembers seeing the last time we visited. Maybe I’ll even drink a cup of tea to counteract the zombie brain of waking I-can’t-remember-how-many-times last night.

Will it be a good day? I’m pretty sure it will be. But for the few moments I steal in bed, typing this on my phone, I’d rather go back to sleep and let the day enjoy itself.

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