Without a doubt, Margot’s favorite activity is reading.  Todd and I are somewhat ashamed to admit that we occasionally hide books from our sweet daughter after we’ve read them two dozen times and just can. not. stand. to go berserk one. more. time.

But, given her love for reading (and mine) it’s no surprise that one of our favorite places to spend time is at the library.  It doesn’t hurt, either, that our library happens to have an awesome children’s room full of toys and usually, also, other children.

On this particular evening, Margot and her Daddy took a trip to the happiest place on earth while Mama did some work at home.  Lucky for me (and you), because her Daddy always remembers to bring his good camera.

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Why my kid is always naked.

The time has come, my friends.

I’m going to talk about Margot’s bathroom habits.

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If you know me in the real world, you will know that bathroom habits are generally not my favorite topic of conversation.  I can’t even say the “f” word.  No, not the one that rhymes with duck, the other one.  The one that rhymes with dart.

So, it seems unusual how passionate I am about discussing Margot’s business.  But, I am.  And so is Todd.  I regularly have to stop myself from actually taking photos of Margot’s offerings.  It’s hard though, because sometimes I am just so. damn. proud.

That’s because Margot (who, in case you haven’t been keeping track, is 7 months old) regularly poops on the toilet.  I won’t even mention how often she pees on the potty, because she’s been doing that for months and it’s old news.  Every morning when she poops on the potty, I literally have to remind myself that it is NOT okay to take a picture to send to Todd.  That is what crazy people do… and I’m not cra… well… I guess I should go back to the beginning before declaring my sanity.

Elimination Communication

What is it? The name is terrible, I know.  But, that’s what people call it, so I’m sticking with the lingo.  It’s also referred to as “infant potty training,” which is kind of an inexact description.  Basically, it’s about communicating with your child about their elimination needs.  Elimination being fancy talk for going to the bathroom.  I welcome you to do some web searching if you want to have your mind totally blown about how many other cultures practice this and in how many other countries it is unheard of for babies to be in diapers past their 2nd birthdays.  It has recently gotten some attention as there was a NY Times article about it.

Before I start retelling our journey… I want you to know that we have never held our naked daughter between cars on a city street in order for her to poop.

Months 1-2

When Margot was first born we used (gasp) disposable diapers for a while because she was too tiny for her cloth diapers and we were displaced from our home for a while and then I was in the ICU and things were generally a bit chaotic.  But, we had read The Diaper Free Baby while I was still pregnant, and we knew that we wanted to give it a try.  So, early on we would hold our tiny, tiny girl over her potty chair during diaper changes whenever it occurred to us to do so.  We were very laid back about it.  No pressure on her, no pressure on us.  We started counting how many times she peed on the potty, and we would celebrate every time.  We talked about getting a sticker chart so we could see our progress.  We never got a chart and we quickly lost count.

When we held her over the potty we would say “psssssssss” as a cue word letting her know it was time to pee.  It felt really odd to do at first.  Now, it’s second nature, but we’ll get to that.

Months 3-5

I decided 3 months was a good time to ramp up her diaper free time.  She had been in her cloth diapers for a while, and we were catching a lot of pees during diaper changes.  I figured we just needed to get more in tune with her signals to start knowing when she needed to go instead of just randomly catching her pees.  So, we started letting her roam free for a few hours when we were both home and had the time to dedicate to watching her for signals.  When she was diaperless, we were pretty good at catching her pees in the potty, except when we weren’t.  It seemed like we had as many catches as we did misses, but that did not make the catches less thrilling.  I tell you, every time your tiny baby pees on the potty and you save one diaper from going in the wash, it’s like a little party. It really is.

Margot was pretty much always in a diaper.  We would still sit her on her potty chair (or hold her over the regular toilet) during changes and upon waking to give her “pottytunities” (dude, I know, the lingo is really terrible…) and we got a lot of catches this way. We still cued with “psssssss” and added some sign language in, but she hardly ever made eye contact during signing.  Occasionally she would pee right on cue and we would clap our hands and jump up and down, but it was probably more of a coincidence than actual communication.

Month 6 and beyond

Something important happened during month 6 that made us really ramp up the Elimination Communicating around here.  Solid foods.  Honestly, breastmilk diapers are lovely.  They have a slight (dare I say, “pleasant”) odor, and they are usually not very big because babies guts are made to digest breast milk and there’s really not very much waste at all.

When you start introducing food… it’s a whole other story.  We have liners that go in her diapers so that when she poops, we can just… lift it up off the diaper and flush it down the toilet (did you know you are technically supposed to remove any solid waste from disposable diapers before, well, disposing of them? Check the box.)  But, even that little task is not as pleasant as just dumping her potty into the toilet and flushing it away.  So, Margot and I started spending 90% of our time at home bottomless.  I put out a waterproof pad and we play and sing and read books and when she has to go she sits on the potty and goes.  And it works most of the time.  But, not all of the time (hence the waterproof pad).  Usually, when Margot pees on the pad, I know that I missed her cue.  To let me know she needs to go she usually just gets a little fussy and fidgety.  If she’s nursing, she pops on and off and I know to put her on the potty.  But, sometimes I’m not looking at her or I’m answering an e-mail on my iPod, or she was just on the potty two seconds ago and didn’t go so that can’t be why she’s fussing and then… she pees.

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So, it’s not fool-proof, and I honestly can not be 100% in tune with her needs at every moment.

But, the great thing is… she poops on the potty almost every day.  We wake up, nurse, cuddle, and then we go to the potty.  She sits down, looks me in the eyes, and poops.  I say, gleefully, “you’re pooping on the potty” and I sign “poop” and “toilet” and I refrain from taking photos and a diaper is saved from going in the washing machine and all is right in the world.

She responds to the cue, now.  We take her upstairs and take off her diaper and it is dry as a bone, then we put her on the potty and say, “psssssss” and she goes.  It really works.  She waits until she is on the potty and then looks you right in the eyes as you “psssssss” and she pees.  And it feels so awesome to be able to give her what she is asking for.

We don’t have any plans for her to be completely diaper-free any time very soon, but our feeling is that every catch is an opportunity to make an association for her.  Even when we miss her cues and she ends up peeing in the carpet or a towel or whatever, it’s an opportunity to say it and sign it and put her on the potty so that she makes that connection.  And, it’s not really any more laundry to do than if she had peed in a cloth diaper.

We always use diapers when we are away from home, and we do not EC at night because we are all three cozy in our bed together and not one of us is keen on getting out of our little heaven.

I am sure we have a whole new adventure ahead of us as Margot is starting to crawl and I am excited to see if she will use her new-found mobility to take herself to the potty once she’s mastered exactly how to get around.

But, we’ve been asked a few times to write about this subject, so there it is.  Now you know why my baby is always naked.

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Beautiful Margot Miriam

We happen to think our little Baby Girl is beautiful.

We think every little part of her is perfectly formed.

We have spent full hours studying her tiny little fingers and toes and marveling at how I GREW HER INSIDE OF ME.  We’ve pondered over how she was formed from the foods that I ate over the past 10 months.  Her delicate little fingers are nectarines, her foot is made of Indian food… her entire head is made of cheese.

Don’t all parents think their children are perfect?

We have gotten a lot of feedback which supports our theory.  In fact, the nurse at the Pediatrician’s office said, “all babies are cute, but she is REALLY cute.”  She commented about how her head was so perfectly round that she thought she had been a C-section baby.

I swelled with pride.

I also got the tiniest bit nervous… how am I going to teach my daughter not to place her self worth in her appearance when I literally can. not. stop. telling her how beautiful she is… and neither can anyone else!?

Aside from telling us how beautiful our Baby Girl is, we have also heard over and over again how perfect her name is.

Every time someone compliments us on her name, I feel nothing but pure joy.  I have no reservations about the beauty of her moniker, especially because she is named after two pretty incredible women.

Margot is my Nana.  Her name was Margarita but her family called her by the nickname Margot.  My nana and I shared a birthday and she was a pretty amazing person.  She had a lot of passion for life and compassion for others.  She left this world far too soon and I wish I could have shared more of my life with her.  Now, I have her birthday and my Baby Girl has her name, so I know she is with us in so many ways.

Miriam is Mr. Moore’s Gram.  She is another amazing lady who is so strong of spirit that she still lives alone in her home in PA at the age of 92.  When she heard that we had given Margot her name, she marched herself to the Senior Center down the block and announced it to all of her friends with pride.  We were so sad to hear that just a few days after her victorious walk to the center, she fell and broke her hip.  She is now in the hospital and we are waiting for word about how her surgery went.  I hope she is still riding on that high of having a little girl named after her.

So, our little Margot Miriam has quite a lot of inspiration to find from her two namesakes.  I hope that she will be able to take more inspiration from them than she takes self-worth from the comments about how beautiful she is.

Although she IS really, really beautiful.

Toys for Baby

Lately we’ve been focusing a lot on events for Big Sister’s wedding (which is just over one month away!!).  But, we have a lot of projects that we were hoping to work on in preparation for Little Moore’s arrival (which may be just about two months away!!!!).  This weekend we moved forward on a project that we’ve been thinking about for a while.

It all started when I was starting to add stuff to our baby registries and saw this beautiful activity gym.  Mr. Moore and I don’t really LOVE baby toys made out of garishly colored plastic.  In fact, we kind of detest them.  Sorry, plastic toy lovers!  Our house is not very large, and most of Little Moore’s toys and furniture will be taking up permanent residence in the common areas of the house, we really want to have things that we won’t mind looking at.

We also really don’t like the short-lived nature of most baby items.  There are some things that really cannot be avoided.  Like baby clothes.  I don’t know if you know how fast babies tend to grow, but… it’s fast.  And you constantly have to provide them  with clothes that fit.  It can be a bit overwhelming to cheapskate minimalists  like The Moores.

But, when we can avoid one-use or short-use items, we do.

So, back to that beautiful $200 activity gym.  It really is beautiful, and something I wouldn’t mind having in my living room.  And, it could easily become a family heirloom.  And… I took one look at the photo and said, “We can totally make that.”  So, I sent the photo to Mr, and he agreed.

The plan was beginning to form.

As we were getting our supply list together, and discussing the structure Mr. Moore asked, “How long do you think Little Moore will use this thing, anyway?”  I hesitated to tell him how short-lived activity gyms actually are, and tried to distract him by saying how wonderful it will be when all of our children get to use this beautiful toy that we made for them.  I went on about how our grandchildren will also benefit from our handiwork someday.  I was really selling the point…

But, I knew he was right.  We were setting out on a project that might benefit our baby for only a few months.  We had to come up with a way to make it multi-purpose.

Then!  Inspiration struck!  In the car, on the way home from Home Depot, the light went off over my head!  We would make the structure roughly in the shape of a house.  So, when Little Moore gets older, we can hang a sheet from one side  to transform it into a play house.

Right now, the structure is still in the conceptual phase, but here’s a little preview of the plans.

I did,  however, start working on some toys that will hang from the activity  gym during Little Moore’s earlier days of playing.  I didn’t really do too much of a tutorial here, but Mr. Moore did take a few pictures of me stitching raindrops onto the blue cloud (Lazy Daisy stitches… if you’re curious), and stuffing it with batting.  The cloud also has a little rattle inside, which I fashioned out of some rice and scraps from around the house.


The orange flower and green leaf have crumpled up cellophane inside so they crinkle.

Maybe you’ve noticed the pattern?  It’s a rainbow… But, I still have to work on a red bird and something purple!

I can’t think of what to make with the purple felt.

Any ideas???