On June 26, my second nephew, Aiden River Zoutendam, was born!
On June 23, my brother called me in Sioux Falls, saying, Melissa (my sister in law) is getting uncomfortable, could you come and watch Finley (my 2 year old nephew)?
Sure! I exclaimed from the garden I was weeding outside my solo apartment, then I studied for my class and slept in peace.
I arrived in Cedar Rapids on the 24th to Melissa ready to go to a doctor's appointment. We couldn't figure out how to get the car seat strapped into my car, so I handed off my keys, tore a screaming Finley from her arms, brought him into the house, and locked the door. As soon as his feet touched the floor, he unlocked the door and ran out, almost reaching the driveway "Mommy!!" before I caught him. Securely in my arms, we went inside where, luckily, bubbles were on hand. Finley saw that he could only blow the bubbles when not screaming, so, eventually bubbles won. Bubbles and the neighborhood park made us fast friends.
On June 25, we went pre- baby shopping. In one maternity store, displays of five different reusable diaper systems were on hand. Melissa, exhausted, was sitting in a chair in a corner, trying to keep Finley from tasting the organic sunscreen. I began asking David, "So, you know I wanted to get you guys something for the baby, have you thought about reusable diapers?" "We thought about it, but we didn't have the time and energy to do it" came his reply. "Could I get you guys a few and see if you like them?" what were they to do... ? So I happily listened to the sales pitch and figured out what a bare bones starter pack would mean and we got a few.
At 7:30am, June 26, Finley woke up and came downstairs to wake me up as well. I was still contemplating rolling out of my feather top air mattress at 7:50 when Melissa looked at me and said "My water's breaking, I need to get to the hospital." That got me moving, and I selfishly got dressed and brushed my teeth before loading up the car and Finley. After David got to the hospital from work, Finley and I were on our own. We went straight to the park, making breaks only for bananas and crackers. The baby came in the evening and we went to see him. When Finley entered the room, David and Melissa looked at each other and sniffed a bit. I changed him in the bathroom and tried to clean out his reusable diaper, full of poop, with toilet paper, while he tried to run around the bathroom and smear poop. At one point a nurse asked if we were ok, and David said, "We're doing reusable diapers." The nurse's reply was telling "How's that going?" "We just started" silence.
Finley and I had two and a half days to get a better handle on our diapers and on life together before the Aiden, David, and Melissa returned home. David and I went to Menards to get a sprayer for the reusable diapers so we could spray the poop off into the toilet.... and big gloves for other contingencies....then Monday, David returned to work. Finley watched his mom hold and feed Aiden with big, wondering eyes. He kissed the baby but also wanted to get between mom and baby, something he learned wouldn't work. Several times, his bottom lip projected from his little face as he learned that his mom was paying attention to someone else. Once we just had to sit together and listen to 15 minutes of toddler jams (yes, sitting down for 15 whole minutes!) because he was so sad. To his credit, Finley cared about little Aiden quite a bit. He soon learned that Aiden needed his pacifier and blanket and brought them to him instantly. He also offered his own favorite sleeping sheep. One day when Aiden was fussing, Finley stroked his arm and offered "it's ok, kay, it's ok, kay?" Aiden took the cue and calmed down. I was watching the painful transformation from an only child to a caring big brother. I had undergone it when David was born.
The day before I left, Finley and I passed a neighbor's house with several new toys next to their trash on the edge of the lawn. I stopped and looked. Several glistening toy trucks (Finley's favorite) tempted me, and I put them in my car. Under the piles of toys there were four child sized cabinets. I dropped off Finley and the first load at home, then rushed back for a second, and a third. The neighbors' door was open, their screen door was shut, behind it, they watched me brazenly dumpster dive. Later, while washing the toys, I counted 14 trucks, one boat, one marble works set, one car ramp and two battery operated learning toys. After David came home and I showed him the toys, we laughed about his dumpster diving days in high school. One summer, he found two sleds and a grill. He couldn't fit them into his old Buick Skylark, so he tied them behind it with rope. I guess when Santa Clause comes on trash day in July, you are part of this family.
That night, we watched Frozen together and David and Melissa gave me a thank you card. They thanked me for my time and help and dumpster diving. No one mentioned the reusable diapers.