5,000 down . . .

Introduction

It’s been a little while since we passed 5,000 diapers.  True to form, we were going through a spat of mud-butt at the time and the 5,000th diaper didn’t dissapoint.

Recalculations

First off, I need to set the record straight.   My earlier calculations on the amount of landfill we’d be generating were actually overly conservative!   In the last 6 months, we’ve up-sized little D’s diapers and have noticed that (even as disposables) they take quite a bit more room now.

This uptick happened at around 3,000.  At that time, we had diverted an approximated 75 cubic feet of waste.

Right now, we are filling 2 hampers of diapers per week (even though the number of diapers has decreased slightly).  This has helped us reduce the stink a bit (we close up one of the bags halfway through the week).   At 2.5 cu. ft. per pail, we’re running about 5.0 cu. ft. for our 65 weekly cloth diapers.  That’s about .08 cu. ft. per cloth diaper(130 cu. in. or 5″ x 5″ x 5″ roughly).

However, a disposable is less bulky and therefore has a smaller waste volume  (75 cu. in. / 0.0434 cu. ft. or approx 4.2″x4.2″x4.2″ packed together with the wipes).  At 70 diapers per week that’s about 5250 cu. in. or 3.0 cubic feet.  This is about what we saw when we temporarily switched to disposables for the week we were in Kauai.

So, the last 2,000 diapers (upsized) occupy disposable-equivalent volue of of 0.0434 cu. ft per diaper.  This brings the waste volume for 2,000 diapers to 86.8 cu. ft!    You see, even through the number of diapers has gone down, the waste volume is roughly constant (and the stink is exponentially worse).

tl;dr:  The Grand Total So Far

After 5,000 diapers we’ve probably diverted 160 cubic feet away from landfill!   In rough equivalents, take the bathroom in your house and fill ‘er up with packed-solid diapers.   Or raise the floor in your bedroom by a solid foot of stink.

Will We Ever Escape?

Here's a chart with TMI. At this rate, we'll have gone through 60,000 diapers by the time Dagny turns 18!!! Thankfully the number of leaks as slowed down.

A long time ago, a naive Red was hoping to be out by 5,000.  Guess what?  Didn’t happen.   Will 6,000 be a reality?  Dunno….. but we do have miss D sitting happily (and nekkid) on the potty.  She gets the idea, but can’t seem to make it all work.  What has worked, however, is outdoor time with a fresh breeze.  Turns out she’s just finally starting to be able to hold it for a few minutes before watering the grass, and that event is a suprise to even her (It’s funny and cute actually).

Why I jailbroke (unlocked) an iPhone and How

First, the mini <rant>: F-U Apple & AT&T.    You pissed me off this weekend, and I’m a bloody self-admitted Apple fanboy!  Why on earth can’t I take an iPhone and yank the SIM chip and have an effective iPod Touch?  Why doesn’t this work?  Why do you force me to sign up for AT&T or brick the phone?  Why would you both do such a stupid, shortsighted, retarded, AT&T monopolistic thing.   It’s time for the federal government to once again break AT&T up into little bitty pieces that actually serve customers.     While I’m at it, WHY THE F@#& can’t I forward text messages from one phone to another???  I can auto-forward my phone calls, why can’t I forward text messages!  ARGH.  </rant>

Which brings me to the post.  Disclaimer….if you are from AT&T or Apple Legal, then be advised that this entire post is a work of fan fiction from one hell of an angry ‘fan’.

Why?

So I have this extra 2G iPhone lying around that was gathering dust (reason #1).   We like to keep it around as a backup, so selling it off on eBay was not an option.    Dagny is cute (reason #2) and always tries to play with our phones (reason #3).  In fact, Dagny has learned how to unlock an iPhone without missing a beat.  She’s so good at manipulating our iPhones that we can no longer let her near them (reason #4) (deleted apps, random dialed calls, removed contacts, etc).

I figured I would simply back up, then do a factory restore on this old 2G iPhone and hand the new baby rattle over.  Without a SIM card, Dagny couldn’t dial out, and who cares what else she did, ’cause I could just restore it over and over.    But that’s where AT&T and Apple screwed me and my toddler over.

AT&T Executives:  “Sorry, consumer.  That phone that you paid $200 for a few years ago is a stupid glass monolithic brick.  You don’t reallly own it…think of it more like an extended $60/month lease with a big down payment.  In it’s current state, it wouldn’t even interest a 6 month old.  Would you like to buy a data plan and a hefty 2 year contract?”

Me: “Screw you, AT&T and Apple.   I’m jailbreaking this thing so that my toddler can play with it the way Geek intended.  After all, the iPhone 2G is a marvelous baby rattle and a baby rattle needs no cell tower access!”


How I did it

Disclaimer:  This post is for informational purposes only….and might even be a work of fiction. Any instructions in here are merely illustrative of what one could do if one lived in a realm free of retarded government regulations, Bristol Palin and AT&T.  Don’t do anything illegal, okay, even if you own the device outright and want it to just f’ing work without needing a 2 year contract to a horrible service provider.

As of November 2010, unlocking a 2G iPhone took about a day of dedication, as the jailbreakers out there don’t actively support the older phones (e.g. the 2G iPhone).  I had to piece some things togther, but managed to get it done with a few tidbits of luck.   Those sneaky details are below.

Step 1:  Gather ye tools

You will need PwnageTool 3.1.5 (the 4.1 line doesn’t support the 2G).    I am told that google has said links to said torrents.  On the mac, Transmission.app is seemingly decent at getting ahold of torrent files.

You are also going to want a copy of the iPhone1,1_3.1.2_7D11_Restore.ipsw file.   The IPSW (iPhone SoftWare) file can also be found around the net.  You could use 3.1.3, but I stuck with 3.1.2 out of blind luck and stubborness.  PwnageTool will take this off-the-shelf .ipsw file and create a custom one capable of unlocking your iPhone.

Step 2: Create your custom .ipsw file

I then followed a great post on iClarified on how to use pwnagetool to unlock your 2G iPhone. The most important step here is to use the Expert setting and make sure that openSSH is installed with Cydia.   We’re going to need this later to fix some Cydia crap.   I eventually learned that Cydia is like the AppStore for unlocked iPhones, there’s a lot of cool free and paid stuff in there, and it serves as a sort of central distribution point for getting things on and off the unlocked phone.

While I was at it, I installed some other packages. However, not all packages work with 3.1.x and they won’t tell you this until too late, so be careful here.

Now, finish up and create your custom .ipsw file and save it where you can find it.

Step 3: Load your custom .ipsw file

Follow pwnagetools guide for getting your iPhone into DFU mode.  In this mode, iTunes will ask to restore the software, and that’s exactly what we want.   Once again, we’re following iClarified and their sweet post.

So, you’ll launch iTunes and it will ask you to restore the phone.  The little trick here is to hold the option (or “alt”) key down when you click the restore button.   This will get iTunes to ask you for the location to your custom .ipsw file.   Thanks for loading my hacked file onto the phone, iTunes.  You’re like a free piece of music software to me.

Step 4:  Allow your phone to do its thing

This isn’t really a step, but your phone will get all the bits onto it, then it will reboot (with the hacked pineapple logo from pwnagetool) and then it will upgrade stuff for a few minutes and then it will reboot again and you will have an unlocked phone in less time than it took to read this long runon and poorly structured sentence.

Step 5:  Now the fun begins

This is where the instructions leave off, and my possibly fictional help leads you to unlocked bliss.

First, get your wifi connection up and running (just as you normally would).

Second, launch the Cydia app that is on your phone.  It’s slow as a dog, but eventually should show something.    But when I tried to apply it’s upgrades or install packages, I would keep getting error messages, and this is where it got interesting. (If your Cydia app works fine at this point, then there is no reason to read further…)

After much stumbling, re-installing of the .ipsw file, re-tweaking of the installed packages, etc….I pieced together some posts and figured out a sequence of events that mostly worked.

Step 6: Getting Cydia and installed packages to work

First, SSH into your device.  (Under your iPhone settings, to to WiFi and figure out your iPhone’s IP address).  On your mac, launch Terminal.app and type ssh root@my.ip.add.ress

Your terminal will freeze for minutes as the iPhone generates a series of ssh keys.   Eventually you will be asked to accept the fingerprint of the iPhone, and you obviously agree.

The password for this version of pwnagetool/cydia is alpine.  (You can change it from your iPhone’s command line by using the passwd command).

Wow…..you’re in!   If you’re a geek, you are excited by the fact that you are on the command line of your iPhone.   If you’re not a geek, you may never get this far, or are pissed off at having to type commands to get simple things to actually happen

On the command line of the iPhone:

  • su to get to root access
  • dpkg –configure -a to fix the messed up package system
  • apt-get update
  • apt-get install cydia (or  apt-get install cydia –fix-missing)
  • apt-get upgrade

But that didn’t seem to work completely for me.  I kept getting errors from other packages.  The super secret trick.

  • cd /usr/sbin
  • ls -a check to see if there is a file “nvram”.  Most likely it isn’t there
  • touch nvram create a file that apparently was missing in the first place
  • apt-get -f install
  • apt-get -f update
  • apt-get -f upgrade

That did it.   By creating the nvram file, I was able to re-run the other commands and get them to work.  If the “dpkg –configure -a” command still doesn’t work, you may have to remove some packages that aren’t compatible.  At this point, “apt-get install cydia” should work as well.

Step 7:  Final tweaks

I was still getting some Cydia issues when starting the app.  It would get stuck on some repositories, and make the app almost unusable (Dear Cydia, your timeouts are too long.)   First, try to figure out what repositories are not responding (Cydia will typically pop up an error message with the link names that failed).

Now, fire up Terminal.app and SSH into your iPhone.  On the iPhone’s command line:

  • cd /etc/apt/sources.list.d/
  • Depending on the version of Cydia, you will either see one file (“Cydia.list”) or several files.  I had to go through each of the files (using either “more” or “less”) to find the repository in question.
  • rm name-of-file to get rid of it.

Once you re-open/re-launch Cydia, it should no longer look for the repository you just removed.

Living with the jailbroken Baby Rattle

Dagny just loves her new phone.  However, we learned two things quickly.

  1. We desperately needed a soft case on the phone to keep her from chewing on the metal/glass.
  2. Once we give the phone to her to play with….. we don’t get it back!

Making the baby rattle better

I immediately signed Dagny up (using a junk email address) for an iTunes account without a secured credit card).  That enabled us/her to download free apps, like Animal Sounds Free and other age appropriate tidbits.

I also took a little Daddy time and played with Cydia and some of the nice apps out there.  After all, if I can be interested enough to play with a baby rattle, it’s a pretty fun baby rattle.  Note that there are some Cydia apps that supposedly enable backups of unlocked apps to be downloaded through iTunes — this should make restoring a bit easier should something go awry.

Keeping the rattle jailbroken

Once I had Cydia fixed and things stable, I immediately made a backup through iTunes.   Hopefully this will provide a parachute for when Dagny inevitably messes up some key setting.

That said, I also plan to never allow iTunes to upgrade the firmware on the iPhone. This is key to keep things unlocked.

Wrapping it up

Sorry if this wasn’t the most complete tutorial, and I hope soembody finds the last few command line tidbits useful.   After all (1) this isn’t a bad way to get some utility out of an older backup phone that you might have lying around and (2) it was kind of a fun side project.

Products we love (part 4)

Sometime in the last month Dagny managed to turn 1.  In spite of all our efforts and examples she is growing up healthy and happy and fairly well adjusted.  That said, time for another round of baby products we love (see previous post).

The Boon Flair High Chair

Is this the perfect high chair? We think so...

After using a clamp-on high chair for months, we had the opportunity to test drive several high chairs at friend’s houses.   One of the things we knew for certain is that we wanted a high chair that was easy to clean! For some reason “easy to clean” is not listed as the #1 feature on every single high chair.  WTF!?!   Have the designers only met clean babies that never soiled themselves?  Did these designers picture all little kids as perfect angels magically born without the instinct to set food free in the air?  Believe it or not, we saw high chairs with cushions that could not come out, or trays that could not go in the dishwasher, or impossible-to-clean crevices.

Well, screw those designers.    We found better.

In our local baby boutique they had this supreme Jetson’s-like chair.   The smooth surfaces were rounded with generous curves and therefore easy to clean.   The chair comes with two removable tray liners that can be cleaned in the dishwasher (worthy of a Nobel prize).

Oh, and the chair rolls — so we can wheel our daughter around and she can watch us cook, or clean, or play piano, or go to the bathroom (yes, parents do need to do that on occasion and keep their kids in a safe place…).

Oh, and even better, this chair has pneumatic height actuation so that it can fit under our table completely or rise enough so that the tray is above table height as well.  How sweet is that?

Did I mention it was easy to clean?   Spaghetti-sauce tested and battle proven, this chair and its base still sparkles like almost new.  All that and a price that doesn’t break the bank!

The Ultimate Baby Rattle

It's simple, but its mysteriousness is only exceeded by its power.

Okay, maybe this isn’t really a product, but after more than a month, Dagny is still lovin’ it.   That’s about 2 weeks longer than most toys we give to her, so I have to say I’m proud of this little invention.

Let’s call it the BottleRattle (or for you hipsters out there, the ib0TTl3R@TTl3).

Take a discarded 2 liter bottle and strip off the label.  Wash it.  Dry it.  Throw 3 pennies inside and turn your child loose on the thing.  It spins and rolls on the floor.  It carries like a football.  And best of all, it makes a darn loud rattle noise when shaken.

If 2 liters is a quart too much, go for a simple 16oz ib0TTl3R@TTl3 (aka the gP!nTR@TTl3).    Except you may want to cut down to a single penny, lest the price to performance ratio get taken out of whack.

That’s it — seriously.   She loves the bloody thing!

Products we love (Part 3)

Continuing on from my previous post and product recommendations, we have a few more products we have grown to love.

Kelty Carriers (5 stars!)

The TC 3.0 by Kelty is a great all-around carrier with a small profile.

Dagny outgrew her Baby Bjorn a long while ago, and we inherited an older Kelty carrier and absolutely loved it.  Dagny enjoyed being up high where she could look at people eye-to-eye.  We immediately went out and bought Steph the smaller Kelty kids carrier, the TC 3.0 (we think “TC”is short for “Transient Child”).

The TC3.0 comes with a canopy (shown in the picture) and a changing pad (works well for on-trail field changes).  There is plenty of room and support and Dagny is comfortable in it for well over an hour at a time.  Along with plenty of storage space, the carrier section collapses when there is no child in it (making it a slightly larger than normal backpack).   Another super benefit is that the ‘burp cloth’ area in front of the baby disconnects and is machine washable (something a lot of the other carriers didn’t do).   The surfaces of the carrier wipe down easily (vomit tested – check).   Oh, and being built by an outdoor gear company, the pack is comfy with a well padded waist belt and is rated up to 40 pounds!

The FC 3.0 is all things good with more carrying capacity and even acts like a high chair.

We loved the TC3.0 so much that Steph got me the FC 3.0 for father’s day (in the “curry” color of course).  The FC (where FC must stand for “Feral Child” carrier) has similar features to the TC but has more carrying capacity with an additional bottom pocket that is big enough for two cantelopes!   The FC also has an awesome kick stand that expands when you take the pack off.  This essentially converts the carrier into a high chair (well, a low-chair actually, but perfect for sitting at a bench with your child in front of you as you sip a coffee).   The FC is rated up to a whopping 50 pounds, so it’s going to last us for quite some time and is a great way to get some excercise with your child.

There are a few annoyances present in the FC that we did not find with the TC carrier.   First, the ‘burp cloth’ area does not come off (we just tuck in a burp cloth instead).   The second annoyance (for me, a 6’1″ tall guy) is that the strap system is not designed for someone my height or chest width.   I find the strapping a little out of proportion and have had to fiddle with it for a bit.

We love both the TC and FC carriers for both strolling around town and on hikes.  In a crowded coffee shop, these packs take up much less room than a stroller and we find ourselves far more maneuverable as well.  On trails, both packs are comfortable for Dagny and have enough carrying capacity for her required necessities.

If I had a rating system, these Kelty Carriers would be at the top, for sure.

It’s Awesome

The Aosom is awesome!

The Aosom play pen (we think it’s pronounced “awesome”) fits its name.   This thing is a basic play yard without all unnecessary frills.   Here’s what we like about this thing:

  • It’s well priced.   In fact, it’s price per square foot puts it on the low end of offerings.
  • It’s made of unadulterated wood. Translation: It doesn’t have some unknown varnish applied in China (full of lead and melamine, etc) — it’s just natural, pleasant to touch and smell, bare wood.
  • It was simple to set up
  • It’s stable enough, yet lightweight at the same time.
  • Dagny can pull up on the bars without a problem.
  • There’s so much visibility and room that Dagny gets the illusion of freedom! This is the ‘hugest’ win of all and provides us with free time to do office work.

Celebrating 3k!

Whoa there, Biscuit!

About a week ago, we hit another parenting milestone — 3000 diapers!  It hasn’t been that long since 2000 and I’m starting to doubt we’ll escape this first child with only 5000. (Maybe 6,000 is more realistic).

For her part, Dagny saved up for a few days and celebrated in style.   Her little event involved fingerpainting with poo and even attempts at taste testing.  There was crying, squirming and in the end we ended up having to hold her down and give her a soapy towel wipe down.

The Landfill Count

So, what does 3000 cloth diapers equate to?  If you go back to our little 2000 celebration and look at some of the assumptions, we’ve saved about 75 cubic feet of waste to date.  (I’ll leave the calculations as an exercise for the reader).  That’s a lot of stink.

More products we just love

Background

7 months into this experiment, and I still can’t believe we have a child.    We’re on the verge of crawling and figuring out a good daily routine and I wanted to post about a few more products we are using and really appreciate.

Playyard

Essential for day-to-day survival.

Dagny spends at least 1 hour a day rolling around with toys while we cook in the kitchen.  She rolls around in the morning during breakfast and also as I cook dinner.

She does it in the safety and comfort of her own brightly colored playard.   We inherited this bad boy but I would gladly buy one!  The interior mat is soft and friendly to the little bonker and the rattling creatures on the side provide much enjoyment, too.   This this is essential to our sanity and we have even taken it when we go to other people’s houses so that she has as safe place for a nap.  We’ll even quickly collapse it and transport it outside so that we can work in the garden while the kid plays in the shade.

Play Mats

Interlocking blue foam mats for the rough and tumble infant.

Now that our little one is rolling like a mad person and trying to crawl, we have determined that she is too active to be bothered by little things (like controlling her head).  She has this habit of rolling and dropping her melon onto the hardwood floors.   Eventually she might learn, but my knees and hips won’t.   We needed something softer to roll around on the floor with her.    Carpet is nice, but vomit and spit-up can be tricky.  Steph found these killer and simple mats at a great price and we have invested in a large area to go on top of our nice carpet.  One of these days (when the spitting up has ceased) we’ll store these mats and reveal a clean carpet.  Until then, it’s blue kickboard foam mats for us.

PRODUCT IDEA & GRIPE: I have one gripe to settle with the manufacturer, they don’t make features to interlock with these tiles.  They have a “border” piece that you can attempt to source, but it is at the same level as everything else.   When Dagny rolls over the 3/4″ edge and onto hardwood (a spontaneous event when she has mo’) she invariably goes “thunk”.   We would LOVE to have a raised border of about 4 inches….enough to stop her from flying off the side.   Come on product engineers and bring out the add-on feature.

Digital Video Monitor

The Mobi Cam video monitor is another sweet "essential" device.

We inherited an audio baby monitor, but it was analog and the frequency drifted in and out and the range was horrible.   We really wanted to be able to go outside and do yardwork while Dagny napped (without having to check on her every 10 minutes to see how she was doing).  Once again, Steph did the research and we figured we would get a video monitor (audio doesn’t carry the “information” that you want… like is the baby asleep or just being quiet or just lying face down on their mattress).

We were stoked when our Mobi Cam arrived.   The thing is digital and paired (so somewhat secure) and has an awesome range!  We can put Dagny to sleep upstairs and go downstairs and outside and garden.   You can set it to audio-only mode or watch the video now and then to check on her.   The night vision on the camera is excellent, too.     This device has greatly freed us from checking on her and has actually resulted in longer and better naptimes for Dagny!

NAG: The only nag I have is that the Mobi Cam operates at 2.4GHz, which means that it can trounce our wireless network signals.  To solve this, we simply put our airports into interference robustness mode and we keep the camera and receiver a good couple of feet away from our laptops.   Once we did all that it’s a non-issue.

PRODUCT WISH: You are a product engineer and you are making a digital wireless camera at 2.4GHz.   Could you please just put a DHCP client (or Bonjour capable) and web server in there and simply just serve basic video over the network.  Yes, I know that H.264 is an evil steaming pile of licensing issues, so do something else.   If you did this, then my iPhone becomes my baby monitor (save a web clip) and I only need the camera.       Yes, I looked into security cameras linked into our network, and these generally sucked or were 4 times more expensive than the Mobi Cam and painful to install.     Maybe in a couple of years, somebody will have solved this part.

Wrap Up

As we head into crawling and walking, I’m sure we’ll revisit this topic again soon.   Containment devices (gates and play pens) will surely make the future list.

Celebrating 2000!

Hazzah!

Dagny was in a rush these past few days.  In a rush to get to 2000 — diapers that is.  You see, she’s been battling a tummy-something and has been on the diarrhea bandwagon for a few days (“When you’re sliding into first and you feel something burst…….”)

So, naturally, there was much rejoicing a few minutes ago as we uncorked this vintage model to find yet another poopy mess.   Dagny was quick to reach down in an attempt to examine her work — an attempt thwarted by goalie skills and some handi-wipes.

That’s a Lot of Landfill

2000 diapers in 7 months.  That would normally be a lot of landfill (thank goodness for cloth and the cleaning service!).   Let’s see….about 60 diapers _fills_ a trash container that measures 12″ x 15″ x 24″ (2.5 cu. ft).  Since cloth is a little bulkier, we’ll round up and say that it takes 100 disposables to fill that container.  That means that in the last 7 months we would have generated more than 50 cubic feet of plastic non-degrading human-waste coated silicate-filled landfill wrapped in non-degradable plastic trashbags.    The average disposable trained kid (those that we have seen recently) seems to be in diapers for 3-4 years — that’s something like 300 cubic feet per child.  For reference, fill your living room with a foot deep of diapers and you get about 300 cubic feet.

Soapbox and Diaper Pails

But that’s actually not why I like the cloth diapers.   Environmental pats on the back side, after 7 months of heavy use, I can still soapbox (again) for a few bullet points on the benefits of cloth diapers:

  • Dagny can tell when she’s wet and she doesn’t like it one bit!  Tight feedback loops are key to training.
  • We can tell when Dagny is wet, which means we change her more promptly.   As a result, we see little or no diaper rash.
  • Cleanup is easy, and we experience very few blowouts (compared to the few times we’ve resorted to disposables).  Using the remaining clean part of the cloth for initial wipe down also significantly reduces the number of wipes we need to use.
  • Smell is not a problem, either.
  • The cloth service now also takes compostable diapers and compostable wipes in the same container.  This simplifies things whenever we need to resort to the compostable diapers for whatever reason.
  • In the end, I’m selfish and want to change as few diapers as possible.   There’s the belief (true or not, we’ll see) that cloth diapered babies ‘train out’ on average 1 year faster.

Here’s hoping that we’ll be “out” before we hit 5000!

Dagny’s Dislike for Doctors

Dear Doctor,

It’s not that my baby doesn’t like you, far from it.  Dagny actually enjoys meeting and interacting with new people.  She’ll smile and babble and reach for the glasses on your nose.   She’ll look around and laugh at random inanimate objects.   Dagny is generally a well behaved and non-fussy child.    Check out the attached graph created by trolling through reams of data with statistical sampling techniques.

Dagny's happiness over time

Dagny's happiness chart drawn from large amounts of sample data

Being reasonable parents, we do our best to schedule appointments taking into account the probability of a feeding/napping.   In other words, we know (thanks to Trixie Tracker) when Dagny likes to eat and sleep every day (see chart below).

Our goal is to nudge the timing and shoot to “reset” the happiness clock right before we put her in the car for a given errand.   Generally this works really well, and our child arrives rested, well-fed, dry and generally happy as a clam (and typically smelling better).

But so far happiness for just about any member of your profession has eluded us.   We wake her up, feed her and change her and get her in the car.  By the time we arrive at the clinic, we are well into the chilling phase with occasional bouts of smiling.    We check her in, and immediately fill out all the unnecessary paperwork.

We then sit and wait……

As we sit in the waiting room, Dagny will smile and babble and smile some more.    Around the time a nurse calls us back, Dagny is chilling again.  We’ll weigh her in and the nurse will gather all of the Viking Princess’ growth measurements.  So far so good.

At this point in the visit, nurses are obligated to leave you alone in the exam room with the door closed.  Dagny typically picks this time to start rubbing her eyes.   A few minutes of that (and requisite yawning) and her eyes will catch one of the “Don’t get HIV” or “Mommy’s on the Run” posters and this will kick off giggling and cooing like a crazy psychopath.  When manic, Dagny can get loud enough, that I’m sure the nurses in the hallway become fearful of the sounds emanating from inside our closed room.  Shortly into the manic state,  you (our doctor-du-jour) will knock and come into the room.

Too late.

The peak has passed and whining and nonstop bitching has commenced.    Typically, the only way out is to put Dagny down and reset the clock once again.  But you need to do things, and these things prevent sleep.

And this is why you must think our child hates you.   The nurses have seen the other side of that manic peak and think she’s a cutey, but the same is not true for you.  And so, at the end of the appointment, we put our child back in her car seat and she crashes and sleeps all the way home and the cycle resets anew.

Signed,

Dagny’s Parents

PS:  This cycle has become so predictable at any medical clinic that we no longer try to show up early (or even on time) to fill out the paperwork and grab a chair in the influenza-filled waiting room.   Since y’all are going to make us wait 30 minutes every time, we now just show up 15 minutes late and split the difference — this serves to shorten the amount of back end bitching from our daughter.

Dagny's sleep schedule is fairly predictable and can be nudged a little this way and that without too much effort.

Doing Something Right!

Well, we must be doing something right.

Tummy time head lift...... oooh the Olympian effort.

Just this last weekend we celebrated our 1,000th diaper.   I say celebrated, because Dagny insisted on screaming throughout the entire change, and I did a little dance with my arms in the air.

It’s also significant, because it shows that my daughter has survived my fathering (so far) and her output is significant.   This means that her input must also be significant (more on that later) and the difference is showing in inches of growth and pounds of weight.

It’s no secret that we’re using the local cloth diaper service and loving it.  <soapbox>With cloth diapers, we experience few blowouts and are happy to be utilizing reusable items and not to be loading landfill with tons of diapers.  I can change a cloth diaper as fast as a disposable, too.   The few times we’ve had to resort to disposables (because we ran out of the week’s allotment), Dagny fails to recognize that she’s wet and will sit happily in a dirty diaper.  While a content wet kid sounds convenient for parents, there are 2 things to be aware of:  (1) non-breathing disposables and a wet kid = diaper rash, (2)  children raised in cloth diapers tend to “train out” of them about a year earlier on average, most likely because they find a wet diaper uncomfortable!</soapbox>

Anyway, with cloth diapers, we hang on to the entire load in a plastic hamper, and it gets picked up every week.  This enabled me to take a little data a few weeks ago.  First, I weighed a load of 80 fresh diapers, and then took the weight of 80 soiled (ready for return) diapers.  Here’s what I found out.

  • We’ve been averaging around 75-80 diapers per week (10-12 per day).
  • Wayyyy too much information in a picture

    Celebration of parenthood!

  • Dagny’s weekly output is something like 28-30+ pounds.  (This is probably lighter than actual, as evaporation during the week has to play somewhat of a role).
  • A pint’s a pound the world around — so let’s say there are at least 32 pints of weekly input.
  • 32 pints is 8 quarts.
  • 8 quarts is 2 gallons.    My daughter is getting at least 2 gallons of input every week.
  • Holy Cow! (pun intended) In order for Dagny to be drinking 2 gallons a week, Steph is outputting at least 2 gallons of milk per week!

Steph is doing someting right, that’s for sure!

2 “Custom” Baby Products

No Purchase Necessary

In spite of moving into a newly renovated house with Steph ready to pop, we still managed to do some nesting.   That which we did not receive as a gift or hand-me-down, we purchased.   Steph organized everything.   The nursery was set up.   We even did a final Baby’s-N-Crap run to get the last minute things.

And now with the baby, we have stumbled upon 2 very effective solutions to common baby issues.   I’d like to pass these along for the hopes that it saves some body a little bit of money/grief along the way.

Changing Pad Covers

What a crock.  We spent something like $10-15 each for a “soft” and “comfortable”  changing pad cover that goes on a changing pad that won’t see use for a few more months.  Thankfully, we did receive a wonderful Graco Pack-n-Play which has been the baby’s primary crib.   Note that it has changing area?   Turns out this works really well.  However, Graco will gladly sell you a functionless  changing mat that simply doesn’t work (it’s too small and slides around).

Our solution:  dog towels.    If you’ve ever had a dog, you know what dog towels are and you probably have a bunch of them, too.

No, I am not talking about an expensivespecialty” dog towel that you buy for your labradoodle name “Princess” (and costs more than your egyptian cotton bath towel that you use every day).   I’m talking about the ratty old beach towels with holes and stains on them that live a second life as hand-me-downs to dry the dog.

Since we no longer have a dog, we find ourselves with plenty of dog towels. In fact, we currently have 4 dog towels in the changing area rotation.  We routinely fill a sanitary load with 2 or 3 of them, since our particular child likes to cluster several open air #2’s in a given day.    The large terry cloth towels cover all of the blast area and are soft and comfy enough for the baby.   Even though they are not nearly as styling as an art deco changing pad cover, their functionality greatly outweighs their anti-aesthetic.  I anticipate continued dog towel use when we do start using the changing table and changing pad.

Dog Towels Part 2:  Nursing Pads

Speaking of dog towels, turns out they are great “nursing pads” as well!  Projectile spit up over your shoulder headed towards the couch?   Foiled again by the dog towel you are thoughtfully sitting upon.

NOTE, however, that dog towels are far too large to make for good burp cloths, unless your dog was a toy chihuahua and you used facecloths to dry it.

Blast Shields

Here is a product that we did not see anywhere on the market.   (Since you heard it hear first, and I’m giving the idea away for free, please do me the favor of visiting the ads that appeal to you on this page, or kicking some paypal coin my way.)

The product is what we call a “Blast Shield“.   You could also call it the Projectile Poop Protector, the Shit Shield, the Changing Coat, or the Bio Blockade.

The concept is simple:  your infant is guaranteed to have gas.  They will poop, toot, fart or even spray fire out both ends during a change.  This “event” is unnerving and can be somewhat unpleasant when the little output device ejects cheesy mustard colored poop with enough force to travel 9 feet horizontally (true story: happened all over yours truly at 6am and I measured the result to verify distance).    This poop-ejection will occur when you are freshly showered, have just put on your clothes to go to work, are too tired to deal with the situation, or simply are not paying attention.

The solution to the problem is also simple: use a “dog” apron.   Find your least favorite (easy to clean) apron in your kitchen and keep it hanging right by the changing table.  When you are the least bit concerned or scared for your (or your clothing’s) well-being, don the Blast Shield and change your little biohazard with peace of mind.   Bonus points if your apron has pockets below the height of the changing table (to catch the fallout as it occurs and keep it off the floor).

Hope these help somebody somewhere.  Feel free to comment and share your own solutions…