Five Ways to Buy Joy and Simplicity Parenting in Action

Someone recently asked me how I ‘do it all’ with blogging and having young kids. It was an embarrassing email to read not only because I was reading it five days after it was sent but also, I had taken an unplanned two week hiatus from writing, blogging and most online activities.

If you’re a long time reader of this blog you know that I don’t do it all. My home is simply furnished, my kids are in just a few activities and we lead a pretty quiet life. I’m also fortunate to have my older child in part-time daycare so regularly get some hours of just me and the baby. It’s been four months since Wil arrived and I’m still having productive weeks followed by very slow weeks. Completely normal for this woman that doesn’t do it all.

Long winded way of saying: good to see you again, apologies for my unplanned offline time and thank you for continuing to read even when I am consistently inconsistent on the posting front. Have big plans for the next few months like creating my ultimate capsule wardrobe now that I am back in my regular jeans, and sharing some changes in our quest for the simple life. 

While I haven’t been writing for the last two weeks, I have been reading.

I even, shocker, picked up a hard copy of one of my favorite weekend papers. The kids and commitments didn’t allow me the leisure of reading all of it on a Saturday morning, post-workout with a coffee(s) as I did in my child-free life, but I did finish it over four days.

I love the easy pleasure of reading a great weekend newspaper. Even if it takes me longer than a weekend.

Just two reads for you today. Your time is precious so I’m just including the best of what has inspired me even more to live with less and spend more thoughtfully.

Simplicity Parenting in Action (via HoboMama)

I have extolled the awesomeness of this book many times. I was thrilled to read this account from a parent that put the book into action and saw excellent results. Another inspiring note from this post: after many failed attempts the author finally figured out a quick easy way to declutter her home.

If you are struggling to de-clutter your children’s rooms go read this post now. It will give you a little kick in the pants to get started today.

The Five Things You Can Spend Money on for More Happiness

We often talk about value spending in my house. It’s a constant back and forth between my husband I: what do we allocate our money to that gives back to us and others.

Travel, health and giving are currently at the top of our list. Things at the bottom: dining out and stuff (clothes, toys, housewares).

This article in the Globe and Mail gave me more insight into how we spend money to buy happiness. A lot of our decisions align with this list of five ways to buy joy:

  1. Buy experiences
  2. Make it a treat
  3. Buy time
  4. Pay now, consume later
  5. Invest in others

Travel hits both the first and fourth way to buy joy.

We love planning trips, scouting airfares, reading travel articles and discussing the possibility of taking our family to a new destination. Often we spend hours planning for trips we never take. That might sound disappointing but it’s actually fun. We get the high of trip planning without spending a dime. Someone once told me half the enjoyment from a vacation is the planning and day dreaming for it.

Are there ways that you buy happiness or joy? We spent on extra help when the new baby arrived and buying that ‘time’ was a great value spend for us.

Can You Go Minimalist With Potty Training?

 

Months ago another blogger asked me if I knew of or had any information on simplified potty training.

My curiosity was piqued. I started asking other parents how they trained their kids and read up on some popular methods.

There are so many, many ways to go about potty training.

What would make one potty training method simpler or easier than the other? That was the question I kept asking when I learned about the many ways parents teach their children to use the toilet.

So here is a brief guide to some popular methods of potty training, what’s simple about them and what’s not so simple about them.

Elimination Communication

Potty learning can start as early as hours after birth.

Elimination Communication relies on a lot of parent involvement and reading infant and young toddler cues. While it may seem a bit strange in the Western world, it is widely practiced in developing nations. Babies are held over bowls and encouraged to relieve themselves. Older babies are put on small potties. Eventually the parent and baby can communicate to each other on when the baby needs to go. The idea is that the child will be potty trained before two and you’ll save a bundle by not using diapers.

I actually did some EC as they call it with our oldest. From four months to ten months I sat him on the potty several times a day. We had some good success with it but at ten months our son started to refuse the potty and I was feeling some burnout from the work involved so I stopped.

The simple of this method: less diapers! A lot less diapers. Less garbage or less laundry depending on what you use. And a whole lot of savings.

The not-so-simple of this method: relies on a lot of parent involvement and the learning process can be long.

If you’re interested in Elimination Communication check out Andrea Olson’s book EC Simplified. Andrea is well versed in potty training for the under 18 months set and says her book can help anyone – even if your baby is in full-time daycare.

Early Potty Training (before 2)

Early, by North American standards, potty training does work.

Carli at OneFitMom used the methods in Oh Crap Potty Training to get her 17 month old into underwear.

You can read more here about how she decided Oliver was ready for potty training and get the full diary of their 12 days of potty training here. Carli’s son was in daycare part-time but she kept him out for two weeks while they potty trained. It also sounds like her daycare provider was able to accommodate an “early” potty trained toddler. Something to keep in mind.

The simple of this method: again, less diapers. A shorter window of potty learning than Elimination Communication.

The not-so-simple of this method: you may have to take your child out of daycare to train them and/or it may not be possible for your care provider to accommodate a toilet trained child that is being cared for with children that are in diapers. While your toddler may be capable of using the toilet they may not be willing.

The Three Day Method

I’d heard about the three day potty training method from a friend that did it successfully when her son was two and a half. He took to it easily and after three days he was not only toilet trained during the day but was toilet trained overnight. Potty Train in Three Days by Louis Kleint seems to be the most widely used book for this method.

The method: you stay at home and get your child to drink a lot of water. You clean up a lot of accidents. You use positive words about the toilet, always encouraging and never scolding them when they pee on the carpet. The child eventually wants to use the toilet and has the confidence to do it themselves. You completely ditch the diapers, training pants or pull-ups with this method.

The simple: trained for day and night in just three days??!! Sign me up.

The not-so-simple: you’re not going anywhere for 72 hours. Anecdotally, for every person I have talked to that used the three day method and had success, I talked to or read about a person that it was a complete and utter fail for.

Wait Until They Can Do It Themselves

Mother of five Meagan just waits until her children are ready to train themselves. Meagan says she likes to take the easy way out on potty training. As a mother of five she’s done a lot of potty training and after some early frustrations decided to wait until her children were older for potty training. It sounds like her laid back approach means an easy week of work to get a child out of diapers between the ages of three and four.

The simple: less work for parents.

The not-so-simple: some children will happily stay in diapers for a long, long time. If you’re at all concerned about what other parents think, you may be uncomfortable with having an older child in diapers. The big one for me: more time wiping bums and dealing with diapers.

Here’s the thing: easy potty training is defined by the person doing the training. For some parents three days locked in a bathroom with their three year-old might seem easy. For others, holding a newborn over a bowl within hours of their birth and avoiding diapers entirely might seem easy.

Our simple method? The one that I am still in shock that it worked?

Let’s call it Slow Potty Training.

It was about four months between potty introduction to being in mini boxer shorts and down to one or two accidents a week.

It was low key, fairly stress free and worked well for the personality and disposition of our first born. It also suited how much time and energy we wanted to invest in it.

Our method: we used some bribery incentives – chocolate buttons or Thomas the Tank Engine episodes plus a lot of clapping and cheering by us – to transition to each stage. There was a lot of naked time at home in the beginning. Once he got the hang of using the small potty on his own, or telling us he needed to use the big toilet, he stopped asking for the incentives. We only got out of diapers outside of the house once our son was consistently using an adult toilet at home.

Yes, I skipped the whole bringing a little toilet out with us phase.

It was simple for us for many reasons that it may not be simple for another family: we only had one child (at the time), our son is in daycare part-time, we aren’t that busy on weekends so we got a lot of “training” in on Saturday mornings while Henry played with trains and my husband and I chatted and had one too many coffees.

After this positive experience I am totally open to the idea that our second born may be, or will likely be, a different potty learner all together. He’s already a very different baby. Maybe I have a three day trainer this time around… let’s hope!

If you’ve potty trained a child before was there a method that you used that made it simple or easy for your family? I’m also curious: do you think training a child earlier makes life simpler or harder?

What If Clothes Could Grow With Your Kid?

The new baby is coming up on four months old and he’s already outgrown two rounds of clothing sizes.

When you’re supposed to double your weight in six months it’s not surprising that you’ll outgrow your footed pajamas every six weeks.

That’s how it goes with children, right? They keep outgrowing clothes and parents keep supplying them with the next size up.

Ashlie and Erica from Nula Kids want to change that.

These designers are launching a line of clothing for girls ages two to eight with pieces that can be adjusted for growth. The playful, sustainable and made in the USA garments can be worn for up to three years.

Here is the Tyler dress from their first collection fashioned as a romper for a baby in the first year:

And here is the Tyler dress as a three year-old would wear it:

My take: I love this idea and the pieces in the collection are very sweet and stylish. This is something I could see myself gifting to a friend.

Hopefully their next collection includes some heavier weight items for colder climates and clothes for boys.

Nula Kids is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to produce their first collection.

If you’re not familiar with Kickstarter it is an online crowd funding platform for entrepreneurs. What this means to you: if you’d like to support Ashlie and Erica’s business, and buy one of their adjustable garments, you pledge funding for the campaign. For example, the Tyler dress will be gifted to people that pledge $58 or more. You won’t be charged unless Erica and Ashley meet their entire funding goal. Go take a look at the rest of this very sweet collection of clothing on Kickstarter.

I’ve posted about adjustable clothing before as a way to make a wardrobe more versatile: dresses that can be worn seven ways, sweaters that go from long to short and t-shirts that turn into bags.

What do you think of size adjustable clothing for children? We’ve made good use of waist adjustable pants for Henry but, besides the old roll up a pant leg or sleeve, everything else has been one size. I’d be willing to spend more on garments that were sustainably made that would size up, and down, if they were made to last at least through one child.

Use It or Lose It: The Case for Giving, Donating or Selling Instead of Storing

Use It or Lose It: The Case for Giving, Donating  or Selling Instead of Storing at lifeyourway.net

 

The phrase “Use It Or Lose It” came to mind recently as I organized our cloth diapering supplies.

They had been boxed up for close to two years and after one wash the elastics in the legs and back fell apart.

Admittedly, I was surprised.

I had naively thought that those sweet pocket diapers were eagerly waiting for our second child as much as I was and would be in as good a condition as when I packed them away.

The truth: the elastics had been aging even without use. Even the PUL outer of one of the diapers had felt the effects of time and the waterproof layer was separating from the fabric.

Time, gravity and the environment will age your things even if you’re not using them.

Those clothes you boxed up for a former or future lifestyle, they’re wearing out even if no one is wearing them.

Read the rest of this post at Home Your Way

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