Potty learning success at 21 months!

toilet learning potty training 21 months early

the days of bulky cloth diapers are over!

Yay! Jack has finally graduated to full-time underwear!

Here is a recap of our journey as well as my thoughts about organic underwear for little toddlers:

Birth-1 year: we did elimination communication part-time, and used cloth diapers which I tried to change as soon as they got wet.

1 year- Jack started to be almost accident-free with pooping on the potty but was only peeing once or twice a day, and resisted going during the day if he was playing. He mostly went in the morning and after nap.

18 months- Jack started staying dry through the night all by himself!

21 months- I tried to motivate Jack to use the potty more often with a special song, keeping books by the potty, and with raisins. I was getting tired of doing cloth diaper laundry every 3-4 days so I finally started giving him half an organic gummy bear any time he sat on the potty and it worked instantly! He started only having one accident or so per day from then on.

22 months- now Jack has 0-1 accidents per day. He still doesn’t always tell me he has to go, so often I have to ask him. I try to see each accident as a learning experience and they have been decreasing. We’ve used his compostable little potty in the library and in the trunk of the car and it’s worked great!I’m SO excited to be able to do laundry once a week now!

It has been tricky to find tiny underwear though. There are some organic ones we tried:

H&M has the cheapest, and many have cute pictures

Burts bees has high quality little boxers which are mid-priced

Polarn O Pyret has great quality more expensive ones

For most of them I had to sew the waist to make it a little smaller since Jack is small (23 pounds) Also many of his pants don’t fit as well! The Kate Quinn ones fit well, but the H and M and Burt’s ones are pretty big now

Hand foot and mouth disease

toddler 21 months

Poor Jack (and his dad) caught hand moot and mouth disease a few weeks ago. It started with a fever for one night and then Jack got blisters on his feet and a few on other areas. My husband got the fever too and also felt muscle pain and like he had swallowed razor blades. I felt especially bad for Jack who at 21 months can’t really understand what is happening to him or how to tell us how he feels. I was thankful we breastfeed though because Jack barely ate any solids for a few days but nursed like crazy.

I tried a little bit of night weaning the week before but caved after Jack was waking up at night and not falling back asleep, but I was happy I didn’t stick with it because he really needed the nursing at night while he was sick. Jack was also really easily upset during the day, and would have a big tantrum at the drop of a hat. I’m so glad he is finally better because it was stressful for everyone! I’m also thankful I didn’t get HFM disease because it took my husband about a week to recover, and it would be hard to have anyone take care of Jack for a whole week. Whenever someone in the family is sick it always makes me feel grateful for our overall good health though, because we take it for granted so much of the time.

The main things that were helpful to survive HFM disease for us were:

  • new toys to keep Jack busy at home since we were not allowed to go to parks
  • finding household objects for Jack to play with (my hair rollers were a huge hit as well as an old coffee machine)
  • going on long walks in the stroller
  • making houses out of board books
  • letting Jack help in the kitchen a lot (putting items into a salad, washing things)
  • Tylenol at night even though I feel guilty giving it to him so often

Almond feta cheese recipe

almond feta cheese recipe

almond feta cheese

Jack and I have been dairy-free for over a year now, and the thing I miss the most is cheese. I’ve made cashew cheese before, but when I found out about almond feta I was excited to try something different. This cheese ended up really tasting like feta- creamy and with a little lemon zing. I think it would be even better with some fresh chopped herbs added in. I did the lazy version and bought ground almonds from trader joe’s, but you can make it with whole almonds too. If you use blanched almonds the cheese will look nice and white, but my ground almonds were brownish because they had the whole almond and it still tasted good. I followed the recipe below and let the cheese sit in cloth overnight to release extra water, but it barely released any so I think next time I will be even lazier and try skipping that step :)

*Update: I tried adding a bit less liquid and not straining the cheese and it turned out fine! Also I tried not baking it and it’s more the consistency of a dip but still tastes great!

Ingredients:

1.5 cups ground almonds 
1/4 cup lemon juice (this makes it pretty lemony, use less if you want it milder)
1/2 cup water 
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 tsp salt

Directions:

-blend everything in the food processor until it’s very smooth for a few minutes

-then put it in 3 layers of cheese cloth or a layer of a cotton cloth and make it into a ball (you can tie it with a string or rubber band), and leave it over a strainer in the fridge for 12 hours

-the next day take the ball out of the cloth and put it in an oiled dish and bake for 40 minutes at 200 degrees until browned slightly

 

It’s delicious on a salad, with crackers, on a sandwich, and would probably be great on pizza too!

 

Thinking about night weaning options at 21 months

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Jack is 21 months old now, and we are thinking about trying to night wean (again). I am fine waiting until Jack does so naturally but my husband wants to do it now, so we are going to try a gentle and gradual approach. I have read so many different approaches to it, so here are some of the ones I was thinking about (I tend to overthink things a lot, and want to minimize sadness for Jack and imagine what I would prefer if I were in his situation). Any of the things we choose would NOT leave Jack to cry alone, ever. However there will likely be some crying because Jack is very “spirited.” The crying is always so hard on me especially because he doesn’t like me to touch him so I can’t hold him, but at least a loving parent will be with him to support him, so I think of it as crying in arms, not cry it out.

1. The method I’m going to try first is having Jack wait longer and longer periods until he can have milk. I think I will start at his first wake up after 11pm, so that eventually the goal is him sleeping from 9:30 to the morning without his every other hour wake ups. I will start with a few seconds of him waiting and gradually increase it to a minute, then eventually longer and longer. The goal is that at some point he will fall asleep during the wait and get more and more practice sleeping without nursing. I will tell him that the milkies are busy making more milk, but we can have some later. I think that makes sense to me, and also doesn’t rely on him understanding about the day versus night which I don’t think he does yet. I like that he knows he will get to nurse eventually, and that I can feed him if he gets too upset. I just hope he is able to wait long enough to fall back asleep…

2. My next option in case that never works is nursing him to sleep and then making him a little to see if he can go back to sleep on his own while very groggy. (If it didn’t work, I would nurse and  barely wake him the next time). Once that worked consistently and Jack was a little more used to falling asleep that way, I would try to nurse him to 95% asleep and take him off my breast to see if he could fall asleep, and then keep shortening it.

3. The next option I would try is letting him nurse a little and then refusing to nurse again until he sleeps and wakes up again. I tried this several months ago and only was able to get him to sleep in a baby carrier but then he would wake when I put him down and get upset again.

4. We tried once having my husband put Jack to bed, but that was a disaster several months ago. This could be an option if nothing else is working, but I feel bad having Jack lose not only his main way to get to sleep but also his favorite parent. I think if we tried this I would set a cutoff for how many minutes he could cry and then I would come back and we wouldn’t do this method any more.

Even though Jack waking every 2 hours is kind of tiring, it’s not that back because we cosleep. I’m really not looking forward to having him possibly get upset at night and then be up for hours because he gets all riled up :( I hope by some miracle he can just so gradually get used to something that there are no tears!

Amazing vegan carrot soup

vegan carrot soup

vegan carrot soup

 

I’m usually really bad at making soups- they usually turn out really flavorless or not creamy enough, but this carrot soup turned out so good that even my non vegan husband loved it! It’s pretty easy to make too, and I was able to keep Jack occupied “washing” carrots for me while I chopped some veggies and put things together in the pot.

Ingredients:

1 onion

1 potato

2 pounds of carrots (about 8 large carrots)

2 cloves of garlic

liquid- either vegetable broth, non-dairy milk, or water (I did mostly almond milk plus water because I was out of broth)

salt plus any spices you like (I added a bit of ginger and turmeric)

 

Directions:

Chop up the vegetables and saute them in olive oil in the soup pot until they start to brown

Then add the liquid and spices and cook for 20-30 minutes on low

Lastly puree (I used an immersion blender but any blender type thing should work)

 

It’s really pretty easy and is so amazing that I ate like 3 servings per day for a few days in a row until I ran out!

Where to find organic toddler clothes

Now that Jack is a toddler, it’s a little more of a challenge to find him organic clothes because a lot of places stop carrying organic options after 12 or 18 months. I hope to keep having him wear organic clothes until he decides he doesn’t want to though because of all the chemicals on traditional clothing (which have given me hives sometimes!) and the fact that cotton growing uses so much pesticide which is bad for the environment and the workers as well. I have been able to find a bunch of places to shop from, most of which I order from online.

  • Frugi is pretty expensive but great quality and has really cute organic options for boys and girls through age 9! The fit runs a little on the large side.

 

toddler organic clothes H&M

shirt from Frugi

  • H&M has a “conscious” line which has mostly shirts made of organic cotton. They are really inexpensive and go up to 10 years old. They fit a little large, and the store near us often has a small amount in stock so we go there to see what size is best and often order online.
toddler organic clothes H&M

Wearing a shirt from H&M

The tangerine tree has cute shirts and other items that are often on sale on amazon like the one Jack has on below that we got for $9. The one we have doesn’t have snaps at the neck but it is easy to put on and Jack likes the elephant on it which is printed on so it’s not itchy. They go up to 24 months but the sizes are a little large.

organic toddler clothes tangerine tree

tangerine tree shirt

  • Hanna Andersson also has some basic organic options and the non-organic clothes are oeko-tex certified at least which is nice. They always get rated as having great comfy underwear and their clothes go up to teen sizes.
  • Kate Quinn has really cute and more stylish options. They are generally a little pricier but often have $10 sales. The sizing is a little more random, running either true to size or small in our experience. The sizes go up to at least a 4.
organic toddler clothes kate quinn

kate quinn shirt and pants

  • Burt’s Bees is priced in the middle range and has some basic items as well as some cute things that are classic looking but not just solids or stripes.  They go up to a size 7 and run a little small. They have many hoodies and sweatshirts if you are looking for warmer clothes.

wearing a burts bees shirt as a 12 month old

wearing a burts bees shirt as a 12 month old

If you are on a budget, you can often find organic clothes on ebay, or join a facebook group for b/s/t of your favorite brand

Montessori board books

 

6.24books

I am always on the lookout for board book that have realistic looking illustrations for Jack which is in the montessori style. I think that having really cartoon-y pictures might be confusing once kids see the animals in real life, and I also prefer books which are not too busy if possible. 

  • My and Jack’s favorite book is the animals one by bright baby which is a great company in general. Jack learned many of his animal noises from the real photos of animals on the pages. It’s also relatively long and has lots of different animals.

  • Baby woof woof was one of our most read books as well. I liked the realistic photos and Jack liked that it was lift-the-flap style, and also that there was a picture of a ball which was his favorite object for a long time

  • Even though Where is Spot is more cartoony than I would like, the animals look pretty realistic, and Jack really loved the easy to lift flaps that were easier for him than the woof woof book above. It’s also nice to help label household items and to show the concept of a mommy and baby dog.

  • This first numbers book has realistic photos of different items and is lift-the-flap. I wish that two of the items weren’t a cupcake and candies, but Jack loves the balloon pictures. He also surprisingly loves to trace the large numbers.

  • We got this set of 4 bright baby books for our airplane flight across the country and Jack enjoyed them because they are touch-and-feel. They also have basic photos of items he knows like balls, cars, cats, and dogs. They are each fairly short but are a cute set.

I think that when your kid is in the board book age, it makes sense to also get books that won’t be annoying to you as a parent, so I appreciated that these books had few words and no annoying rhymes that get stuck in your head or characters doing things that don’t make sense :) Since we have a lot of books about animals, I’m excited to take Jack to the local animal sanctuary sometime so that he can meet more animals in person!

Vegan cucumber yogurt soup

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My mom used to make a cucumber soup that I really liked growing up, but it was definitely not vegan since it had yogurt and sour cream. I tried a few variations on vegan versions and liked this mixture I came up with.

Ingredients:

4 cucumbers (I didn’t peel them, just tossed them into the blender after cutting them in a few chunks)

about 10 ounces of plain yogurt (I used so delicious cultured coconut yogurt)

1 avocado

2 heads of chopped garlic

a tablespoon of lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste (can also add dill)

water as needed (I like thick soup so I didn’t use any water)

Directions: blend everything together and taste it and adjust the ingredients as needed

 

One thing I love about this cold soup is that you don’t have to microwave it, so you can eat it while your baby is napping and not have to worry about making too much noise in the kitchen :)

Jack also enjoyed helping wash the cucumbers and put them from their bowl into the blender.

Typical schedule at 20 months

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I can’t believe Jack is already 20 months old! In my mind when I thought of him being two or almost two he would be saying sentences and sleeping all night… haha. It’s more like saying about 20 words half of which are not super useful (like bee) and still waking up every 2-3 hours. Oh well, this way if we have another baby sometime I won’t even miss the 8 hours of sleep! Jack also still breastfeeds a lot more than most kids his age, but I enjoy it- it’s one of the only times I get to lie down during the day and rest. In general even though some times are hard, I love being able to stay home with him most days and am so so thankful for the help I also get from his dad and my dad.

Here is what a recent day looked like for us:

 

7:30- J wakes up and wants to pee on the potty

-I get changed and change him

-I might have 5-10 minutes to work out while stopping to throw balls for the dog or help J with a toy

8-put breakfast in toaster oven to heat, put laundry in, get everyone ready for a walk

-walk the dog around the block with J

8:20- have breakfast and feed the dog

8:40 J wants to go to the bathroom again

8:45- I try to finish eating while J plays/makes a mess

8:50- breastfeed

9- get ready to go to the library storytime, put new load of laundry in

-clean up dishes, clean up toys, make a snack to bring

9:30- leave for library

11:15 get home and put stuff in dryer

-breastfeed

-try to nurse or wear J to sleep for an hour

12:45- I can finally sit down and relax and watch a TV show while J naps

2-J wakes up, I nurse him

2:20 make lunch and J eats lunch

2:40 clean up from lunch

-errands around the house

3:20 Brian watches J while I write up notes from work and clean up

5- my dad watches J for an hour which I really appreciate! I get to eat in peace and do some clean up

5:45- J is back and breastfeeds

6- play with J, make him a snack, read books

7- nurse

7-8 walk with Bear and wear J in the carrier to get him to sleep

Dealing with ammonia in cloth diapers

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Jack “helping” with the diaper laundry

 

Ever since Jack became a toddler, we have been dealing with ammonia issues in our cloth diapers… Thankfully nothing bad ever happened like him getting a rash from it, but the diapers smelled really strongly right after he peed in them, although they smelled clean out of the washer. Our favorite diapers are these Bumgenius 4.0s which we use with organic cotton inserts (after having tried wool and giving up because you can’t really launder them).

Here is a list of everything I tried (unsuccessfully) to fix the ammonia issue:

  • Different eco friendly detergents like Rockin Green (and their special ammonia bouncer), Molly’s suds, and Eco spouts
  • Boiling all my diapers on the stove
  • Using Oxygen bleach
  • Bac-out stain remover
  • Soaking the diapers for 1 hour to overnight
  • Doing extra rinses
  • Running inserts through the dishwasher on high heat (!)
  • Sunning them
  • Tea tree oil added to the wash

On facebook groups I often saw people saying that non-eco friendly detergents worked better, but my family has super sensitive skin, so I was thinking about it but ended up not trying it.

The solution I ended up using when I found some at my dad’s house and decided to try it was sadly: horribly un-eco-friendly Bleach! I saw that they had it so I figured at least I wouldn’t be buying a whole bottle of something toxic, and I put in about 1/4 cup with the wash cycle, and it completely worked. Plus, the inserts were so bright white which I never got with all the eco friendly methods (not that it matters how diaper inserts look). I was obviously sad that I had to end up using something so bad for the environment and possibly your health, but I made sure to do extra rinses to get it out, and Jack didn’t have any reaction to the diapers. Hopefully we won’t have to use it again too soon!

Jack has been doing great with letting us know he needs to poop on the potty at 19 months now, but with peeing he still often prefers to play and doesn’t want to go to the bathroom. Hopefully by the time he is 2 we can get him signaling for pees more often and I can stop doing laundry every few days!