Jillian R.
Scarlett is now two weeks shy of turning eight months old. If you have been a long time follower/reader of my posts, you will know that I am all for the environment. However, because we live in a country where the greener option is not always available or if it is, costs at least three times as much; many times, I'm forced to go with whatever that is available.

Diapers happen to be one of my environmental concerns as far as I can remember. Way before I was even pregnant I decided that I was going to use cloth nappies at home and only use disposable diapers when we go out. However, since bringing the baby home, it quickly dawned on me that between cleaning up after two very active doggies, being a chef who makes three balanced meals a day, at least five days a week and pack a work lunch for the husband, make the majority of my cooking ingredients from scratch, do laundry without a dryer (I prefer air drying my clothes anyway) and ironing (I know, nobody irons anymore but I like crisp, fresh lines on my clothes), and a gardener who has to rake up leaves from our garden everyday leaves (Aha! Managed a homograph here!) me with very limited time for washing and drying cloth nappies.

So, Plan B quickly became finding a good diaper that does not cause nappy rash and could take a good amount pee pees! I really did not even want to try any of the local brands so we were left with only two choices (yay!); Huggies and Pampers. Huggies are about twice the price of Pampers, so Pampers it is!

It turns out that these Pampers Premiums (these are called Pampers Swaddlers in the US) are amazing! They have a "wetness indicator" which turns from yellow to blue when wet and no matter how wet it gets, baby's bum stays dry! And, never gave Scarlett a nappy rash, not once!

Although clearly a winner in my eyes, diapers however amazing are not environmentally friendly. So I really wanted to get her out of diapers as soon as I can. I decided very early on that as soon as she can sit up unsupported, we were going to potty train her. We decided that she was ready when she started crawling around the house and getting into everything!

Crawling from one end of the tunnel to the other is a very good workout, by the way

We've seen some fancy, expensive training potties but I kept telling Eric that I wasn't ready to spend so much on something that she might or might not like. So I set out to get the cheapest potty I could find. Of course, where else but at IKEA, I found the perfect one.

At $4.99, this is clearly the one! IKEA also has a $9.99 option but nah, the cheaper the better.

So, Day 1 of potty training; I sat her down on it, told her to go potty while I went potty myself and flushed. Nothing. Repeated the process an hour later, nothing, but by the third try, voila! I saw a little trickle! I clapped, hugged and showed her how happy I was. She laughed too.Throughout the day, even though I didn't have to go, I pretended to and I used the eco-flush (this is the small button on the toilet) because I think Scarlett associates the sound of flushing water to going potty!

She even made #2!

Today is Day 2 of potty training, it's 9.30 pm and baby has gone to bed. We've only used TWO diapers! Two!

I'd say potty training is a huge success, don't you think? 

Jillian R.
We're currently taking a break from life in the desert and visiting family in New York. If you have never flown 14 hours on a nonstop flight with a spoilt rotten, bratty, screaming toddler in the same flight cabin with no chance of escape, you will never know the mental anguish it causes. 

No, said spoilt brat isn't our Scarlett, who at six months did not cry throughout the entire flight, NOT ONCE! We arrived at the airport three hours early AND there was a two hour delay before we could get on board, bringing the total number of hours to 17 hours (of being a good baby)! The weeks leading up to this trip, I've been reading online forums, trusted literature about flying with young babies as well as asking our pediatrician for any tips we could apply to minimize fussing and crying while on board - something which most parents we've flown with obviously neglect to do. Anyway, with the knowledge I gathered, we set off on our adventure!

A sleeping Scarlett while waiting for our delayed flight

These are a few tips that might help in your next long haul flight with a young baby:

We had the usual things you will need in a diaper bag plus a few extra items (which we never ended using anyway). I had a tablet which we loaded up with an hour or so of nursery rhymes; our daughter LOVES watching nursery rhymes. At home, she gets to watch a few minutes of rhymes here and there up to a total of about an hour a day. So if she was fussy on the plane, the rhymes could keep her occupied at least for a good few hours. 

Another thing I would strongly recommend flying with a baby who might start teething at any moment is teething oil which you could rub on the baby's cheeks. Of course, you might want to try it out at home first for any signs of allergy before the flight. I used a lavender scented one which we rubbed on her cheeks right before we took off even though she is not teething to help soothe her.

I've posted before about struggling with breastfeeding and having to resort to bottle feeding expressed breast milk because Scarlett developed nipple confusion and I refused to give up and use baby formula. With the help of a very knowledgeable lactation consultant, I was able to revert her back to the breast about two months before this trip. Breastfeeding helped A LOT! Just as we were about to take off, I started breastfeeding her. It turned out that the changing altitude did not bother her and after about five minutes of suckling she was already asleep. Throughout the flight whenever she woke up from a nap she would want a few sips of milk to quench her thirst from the dry cabin air. I CANNOT imagine pumping milk then storing it for the next feeding and only using a little and having to discard the rest and how much milk do I heat up? And how?! I didn't want to slosh around hot water on basically a moving vehicle! So I am beyond grateful that I could breast feed without any issues.

Apart from the convenience, breast feeding meant that I could give provide the antibodies needed for Scarlett to flight off any sickness that she might have picked up from the recycled cabin air. I was so worried that she might catch a cold or fever from breathing all that dry, germ infested air on board, I have an unopened bottle of baby cold medicine as I type this - but she never did need it!

Anyway, for at least 10 hours out of our 14 hour flight, two aisles away from us sat a family with three young children who looked like they were the ages of two, four and five. The two year old spent the entire time sitting on the father's chest (not his lap!) and using his face as a toy (which they should have brought). She randomly shrieked high pitch screams that the father would try to soothe but that only made her scream louder. The five year old had his own seat but he too would yell randomly while wildly jabbing his screen. He seemed to have some anger issues. I never saw the other child but we all could hear him. What was the mother doing the entire time? Nothing. NOTHING at all. Ninety percent of the people on our flight were Indian and they were extremely experienced and polite travelers, the kind of people you would WANT to fly 14 hours with, but this one family (who happened to be Indian too) annoyed everyone!

Ok, so I started this post while we were in New York and it was never completed, now it seemed pointless to continue on, so I'll leave this as it. I'll write a bit more about our travels in a separate post.
 Scarlett's first yuca rellena. Nah, just kidding, she didn't get any *nom*nom*nom*

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