The entire RTS household has been traveling (More on that to come - worst travel experience ever. EVER.) and sick (Possible RSV outbreak at E's school - yet to be confirmed.) and generally off-line for the past 10+ days. It's been nice, in a way, but it also knocked me completely out of the loop. Since returning home on Wednesday, I've stolen hours here and there catching up on blogs which means I've been reading furiously but not getting off the expressway (aka Reader) to comment. My apologies, but I do believe I'm all caught up now.
Since I don't have time to write a proper post right now, I'll just take a moment to address a couple of questions that came up in my comments that I rudely neglected until now:
First, Inlocoparentis asked for more information about how and why we restrict E's exposure to fish. Fish is considered a highly allergenic food, but since we have no food allergies in either of our families, this wasn't really a concern of ours. We are primarily trying to limit his exposure to mercury. So, we give him fish at home, but we're picky about how much and what types, and it just seemed easier to issue a complete ban at school rather than try to get them on board with our system... and this was before the major food issues revealed themselves. :-) If you're interested in more information about safer fish, I have found this article to be simple and to-the-point, and this resource has also been quite handy.
Also, Tireegal asked about the cloth-diaper investment, and no my friend, I wasn't at all offended by your question. :-) Before I answer, I want to say that we did NOT take the cheap route, and you certainly don't have to spend as much as we did to get a very workable system. Cloth-diapers, like most things, easily become a hobby and you can spend pennies or hundred dollar bills on - it just depends on how many bells and whistles you are willing to pay for. In our case, we were able to buy most of our diapers as factory seconds so we paid between $8-12 per diaper. Those same diapers sell for $16-24 as "first-quality" retail. We also bought a lot of used diapers in the same (lower) price range. Used cloth diapers are awesome, if you can find some that have been well cared for, because cloth diapers tend to increase their absorbency through repeated use. The key is just making sure they haven't been abused too badly, because stripping (one technique for restoring absorbency) can only do so much for you! I wish I could give you a more specific answer about the cost, but the range is ginormous. For example, if you were to buy used/second-quality one-size diapers, you could theoretically invest as little as $300 to get from birth to potty-training. Prefolds and covers would cost you even less. On the other hand, if you purchased all new/first-quality sized AIOs, you could easily spend upwards of $1800. Then you have to add the cost of accessories (wet bags, wipes, etc.) and perishables (detergent, wipes spray, etc.) to both of those figures. We rationalized our investment by reminding ourselves that each diaper we bought cost less than a single package of disposables, and we could use them for any future children as well. When we looked at it that way, the bills were easier to swallow. Also, we continually reminded ourselves that it was a high up-front investment, but it would pay off time and time again as we continued to use our diapers, and that has been so true. In the beginning, we sunk a lot of money in to cloth diapers and accessories, but we haven't needed anything new in months, and our only cloth-diaper related purchases now are little things that we buy here and there for fun.
Hope those were helpful answers. If not, let me know and I'll try again. :-)
More posts coming soon about our travel and E's first birthday fun!