Monday, May 30, 2011

Flats and Handwashing Challenge, It's Over.

We're done with the flat challenge! I was very happy to put James in my favorite diaper this morning. It's a WAHM mystery diaper. I got it at Elemeno-Pee's yard sale. The previous owner couldn't recall where she'd gotten it. The super absorbent material on the inside is what swept me off my feet! This is it.
The mama suggested I post on DS to see if anyone would claim it. I'm going to give that a try. I just want to know what it's made of so I can get more like it! Or order from the mama! Okay, I cannot order more diapers. Oh, the addiction!

Right, so I was posting about the end of the flats challenge. I never used flats before the challenge. Never even thought of using them, what with all the incredible cloth diaper options there are today. Why waste time folding and doing the old school when they have so many, prettier options?

Towards the end, I was pretty tired of folding the flats. I really should have looked into more than just the kite and origami fold. Maybe I wouldn't have gotten so tired of the folding. I suppose another contributor was the uneven blankets I used. I could have simply cut them down to squares, but I didn't. These are simple problems to fix for the future (and some I could have EASILY mended during the challenge, as well). Regardless, it did not hinder the participation.

I purchased some Gerber flats before the challenge started, in hopes of using them for the challenge (HA HA). I had to double them up and use a pad fold for them to be any sort of use. I think in the beginning I didn't think they were so bad. Maybe it was the newness or the pure optimism for a "true" flat. Well, guess what? A name alone does not define function. Regardless of my previous opinion, at the end of the challenge, they're okay for doublers, but work best as a love-y for James (he loves to snuggle) or a miscellaneous rag.

I wish I had taken more pictures along the way, just because I'm a visual person. But truthfully how many photos of an origami folded baby butt do we need to see? I didn't get creative. I left well enough alone and simply participated. Don't get me wrong, I wanted to participate and was happy to do so! (My sisters said I was crazy and how some kind of unusual idea of fun.) I dream of being more creative, and on the best ways to go all out, but in the end I usually just do what it takes to get by. Every now and then I'd try to do some new folding to fit better on my two wigglers, but that's just it, the wigglers wouldn't keep still and I just gave up and used the same old, trusty origami fold! Man, this is sounding so somber and drab. I don't mean to, honest!

What else? Handwashing, oh yes. The camp style washer was pretty neat. I happily plunged for the first wash. As the minutes drew on, the darn thing started to crack and break and tear. I bought a cheap plunger and didn't have the drill bits to make nice little holes, so I used some scissors and ended up slicing and dicing a bit too much. Needless to say the pressure and pumping tore it more with each plunge. Then for the lid I cut out the hole at the top with a knife. The rough handling of the plunger cracked the lid. Then cracked it some more. I did not take a picture of this, because, honestly I was quite embarrassed of my (non) handy-work. It takes me! Really, it still worked. I used the camp style washer a couple nights. Then it really reached the point that it wasn't plunging so much as thrusting a stick in a bucket. Handwashing in the tub became the next best option. And you know what? I really preferred it. Sure, it took a lot longer than the camp style washer, but probably because I'm a bit OCD. I tried washing them in the kitchen sink one night, and no way will I ever do that when there's a bathtub around. I feel like I wasted so much water that way, too!

James was already dealing with a rash that wouldn't quit. About a day into the challenge I read somewhere about coconut oil and we tried that. Tada! Rash gone. After that, I'm pleased to say we didn't have any problems with rashes throughout the challenge.

Drying time left a lot to be desired, but it didn't really bother me. I did most of my washing at night and dried on my drying rack. I usually would have two that were still clean and waiting for the morning change. By the time we needed another change, they were dry. Two less (we had about 12 in all, not counting the Gerber flats that I only used for doublers) and I would have been squirming though. Well, until I realized, Holy way to get creative Batman, you can use t-shirts and sheets and other things around the house! (You mamas really are awesome, you know!) I never had to tap into the around the house resources though.

I really wish I had some "real" flats (I've mentioned this once or twice before, I know) so that I could compare the dried softness to my dried not-nearly-soft receiving blankets. It was better once I used the fan and some vinegar. I know different materials would have been better for this. Okay, I think I know. Drying them out in the wind and sun helps too. Alas, no clothes line for wind popping here in my apartment. Just my humble drying rack, drug out to the porch, and strategically placed to get the most of the wind and sun.

I used a snappi, diaper pins, and most of the time none at all. I really wish I had more snappis. The pins wouldn't be such a downer if my babies weren't such wigglers. Well, that and to push them through all the fabric really did take some strength (I was probably doing it wrong!). I'll end up getting more snappis. At least one more. While the origami fold stayed in place without any fasteners with the cover on it, it was much neater when I did use one.

Covers. I want more covers. I want more covers that FIT. We have one OS cover, 3 larges, and 1 medium. The larges are too big for my 25 lb toddler and way too large for my 22 lb infant. We used them, anyway. But I think it would have been a better experience to have some more covers that fit. The medium always went out of the rotation and into the dirties way too fast!

The best part about participating in the challenge: just that, participating in the challenge. I did what could be done by thousands of low income families (did I ever mention we ARE a low income family and it's part of the reason we ever started with the cloth diapers?). Think of the positive ripples this could have if only there would be more folks out there willing to just give it a try. This has spurred a true interest in trying to get this word out to daycares. I think the majority of the families that need to know about this have their baby in a daycare. (I could be so wrong about that, not based on the slightest statistic, just my own guesstimates.) I think I need to do this. I'm determined to get the word out to those that need to hear it the most.

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