Monday, March 6, 2017

March 2017 - Part 1

March 2017 – Part 1

Sleeping or not as the case may be.

Not been able to find the time to write a blog recently, as I’ve been doing some moonlighting for a friend whilst Francis naps. I was hoping to sit down and write a chirpy and witty prose about nappies and other things, but feeling a bit too tired. But we’ll soldier on and see how we do.

Although it now seems like four months ago, I think it was only last weekend when Francis had two nights in a row where he only woke up once. We were pretty stunned. Cue the phrase “ calm before the storm”. 

Since then, for the past countless nights he’s woken about 5-6 times a night JUST between going to bed at 8ish and 1am, as well as his usual wake ups at 5am and then at 6:30am.  So about 8 times a night. I'm normally quite elegant when I return to bed so as not to wake up Ananda, but last night I was like a tree being felled in the forest. Each time I just keeled over once I got close to the bed. More by luck than planning that I never head butted Ananda or the head board!

Lack of sleep does not seem to faze Francis as he’s as bright as a button through the day, unlike his Dad, who can barely recall conversations he’s had with people. That’s if they are real people and I’m not just hallucinating.

Some remedy for me would be to nap when he does, BUT I’m useless at that. So we just soldier on. Maybe I should go out clubbing with him? Some friends have told us about the 18 month sleep regression so maybe that’s it. Some other friends with a 4 month old are worried their child is sleeping 10h a night. Embrace it while it lasts, my friends, embrace it with two bear-hugging arms and cherish it. Store it as a memory for the future when you forget what sleep is.


Young Francis has started to take some tentative steps in his walking. He can do about 4 or five steps and you can clearly see the enjoyment he takes from it. I’m sure that’ll not last long once I get him signed up to his first morning paper round. Do they still do that? And how much do they pay?


We decided right from the get go we were going to go the re-useable nappy route, for a whole bunch of reason such as environmental, cost, etc. Not going to go into those two subjects right now, but if you’re contemplating going the same route we did, then hopefully the following description will help clarify how it all works. I know it sounds pretty simple, but when we first started looking into it, there was a bewildering rang of types, and nomenclature to deal with, so hopefully someone out there will find this helpful. We also found a bunch of other good reusable tools too and wanted to pass on some of the tips as well, that help keep Francis clean at both ends of his alimentary canal!


There's about four types of reusable nappies and we’ve tried them all, but had most luck with the following three types:

1) Pre-fold – rectangular absorbent pads (ours are made from bamboo)  that are held in place by a waterproof outer layer. We use a “Flip” outer layer and a “reusable liner” –see later explanation.  The pads sit directly against the babies skin. The picture below shows the inside and outside and how it looks when put together.

They seem to work pretty well, but probably the type we use the least.

2)   Pocket nappies – as above rectangular absorbent pads that fit inside a pocket in an outer layer. This helps hold the pads in place really well. Again we use a liner. We normally put two pads inside each pocket. Some pocket nappies come with the pads attached to the pockets, which can make drying a bit more arduous.  With this style the absorbent pads are not in direct contact with the babies skin.

As you can see from the pictures, our nappies after 16 months of hard wear and tear - (a euphemism for lots of piss and shit on them) -  are still very white and look  as good as new – despite not using bleach on them – see Laundry section later for details. The brands we use are Babyco that we bought in New Zealand and Bum Genius which we got in the States. We also used Baby Mio earlier one but found their velcro tabs were uncomfortable for Francis.

Reusable liners

I’m not sure which one of us first stumbled across this idea but we had started out using “Water Wipes” to clean Francis’ face after feeding etc, and also at nappy changing time. Awesome chemical free wipes.

We discovered you could launder them many times before they fell apart. So, after we used them on his face or butt we washed them and they became our nappy liners.  They keep on getting re-used until a) they become too thread-bare or  b) the poop on them is too wet and loose to simply fall off into the toilet bowl after we change F. Hmmm did I forget to tell you not to read this whilst eating?

I think we only buy maybe one packet a quarter.

Bum Wipes

With our imagination fuelled by a friend of ours who told us she used to “re-purpose” the little hand towels from business class travel trips as face wipes, (and by re-purpose we mean steal), Ananda found these great soft cloths that we use on Francis. So after we’ve detected F-bomb has dropped a S-bomb (either by smell, sound or intuition) we grab a few of these cloths from his nappy draw and wet them with warm tap water (if he’s lucky!) and then take them to ground zero in a re-used ice cream tub. I also keep a dry one for drying at the end of cleaning.  Once Francis is all cleaned up we spread a little Weleda barrier cream on his cute little butt and we’re all done. The dirty wipes get put in his nappy bucket with his dirty nappy, and hopefully not too dirty liner.

Face Wipes

Same process as above really expect we have a separate set of cloths for that – these nice and colourful ones, that get laundered with his clothes.

The Nappy Bucket

I guess this could conjure up visions of a cesspool of pee and poo stenching away in the corner of the laundry, but to be honest it ain’t all that bad. The bucket is dry – i.e the nappies are not soaked in anything, and has a tightish fitting lid. The pads are removed from the pockets and placed in the bucket with the liners and outer shells to await laundry day. I think we’ve only cleaned the bucket two or three times since we had it.


We do the nappy laundry every other day – we could stretch it out to three days as he gets older and requires less changing, but for the most part we have enough nappies (about 20 when all types are taken into consideration) to make that a good cycle time for us.

It’s a basic 60C wash with a pre-wash cycle and three rinses and we use EcoStore laundry powder. The wash takes about two hours which we do through the night, so they are ready to be hung outside to line dry first thing in the morning. 

We did have to “strip” the nappies once in the past. Ananda had been home in the US for an extended period of time, and the nappies started to smell a bit like ammonia. So we did the stripping process there. Maybe it was the different wash cycle, the different water or the different detergent.   

On as side note, a few weeks ago I thought I would have to do the stripping process as the nappies were smelling really bad when I took them out of the washing machine one morning. I had placed most of them in the laundry basket for hanging outside when I realized they had not even be washed! I had forgotten to close the door to the machine properly! Phew – well kinda - since I had to give my hands and the laundry basket a good scrubbing!

So, that’s how we roll in our house. Francis has maybe had mild nappy rash twice. First time was when we weren’t using barrier cream after washing him after a poopy nappy, and I’m not sure if we figured out why it happened the second time. 

A guilty caveat to this is that we do put Francis in a disposable at night time – although I’m not sure why since he doesn’t pee at night – so maybe we need to change that……..yeah, let's mess some more with his sleep routine! LOL.

All in all super happy with the choice we made to do this, and as the parent that does most of the messy end of the laundry it really is not all that bad – just practice good hygiene and wash your hands. I wash my hands after loading the machine and BEFORE I close the door, or add the powder or press the buttons!  Considering the fact that we plan and hope to have more kids to re-use the re-useable they cost and environmental savings will then double!


Francis is getting such a kick out of stacking things and I mean anything on top of each other.  It really good for his hand eye coordination and is hopefully also teaching him to place things gently on top of one another.  So now when Francis goes all quite his is now doing one of three things : 1) Having a poo; 2) doing something he knows he shouldn't be; 3) stacking!

Here are some of his more note-worthy stacking achievements.

Campervan stacking on a pretty un-level surface.

Stacking the cargo trucks on the train set he got for his birthday....

.... and being embarrassed at the praise he got.

His forthcoming entry for the Tate...
... and contemplating what he'll call it.

Train stacking!

The Shoe Illusion was one of F's first attempts and still one of hie finest!

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