There have been some fairly awesome milestones met in our house. The most exciting being that Ashlynn is entirely potty trained! This happened simultaneous to the time she started preschool two days a week. Also, a huge milestone. I had been pretty adamant about starting Ash in a preschool program at the age of three. But the busier I got with my own work, the less time I had to engage her in the mornings and the more she was playing alone. Now, playing alone is a fantastic ability to have for a kid but I finally relented and decided to enroll her at Head to Toe for two days a week. It's been a few months now and she's enjoying it. At first she never spoke and seemed sad but now her teacher says that she's engaged and chattering away at school. It was a good decision.
As a side note, I'd like to say something about my commitment to cloth diapers. After using cloth diapers for 2.5 years, I am very happy with the decision. Yes, they were more trouble and yes, scraping big girl poop off them was disgusting, but it saved so much money that we would have spent on shipping in disposable diapers. When Ash was under a year, we washed at least once a day. As she grew it moved to every other day. I used a diaper pail to keep the soiled diapers in. I found that if I placed the soiled diapers in a basin full of water and let them soak and stay wet, they washed better. One thing I didn't forsee about the cloth diaper thing in Ethiopia is having enough hot water. Cloth diapers need to be washed in very hot water and our hot water heater in the laundry room is very small and is shared by our guards shower. I had to get clever about when to wash the diapers. Sometimes late in the evening was best when there was a full tank of hot water. But forget trying to get more than one load washed with hot water. If the hot water or water entirely was out at the house (yes, we have plenty of water shortage days where there simply is no water) the diaper washing became a priority and sheets sat for days. These few issues are very unique to a third world living experience. In the first world, most people can do as many loads of laundry as they want to each day. What a luxury!
The best part about the bumGenius all-in-one diapers was the infinite snap/size options and the dual inserts. The snap options let the size of the diaper change as the girls grew and the dual inserts meant I could place two in the pocket when Ashlynn was old enough to make a ton of pee at night. We have very few wet sheets. It took Bella longer to stay dry at night (each kid is different, man!) and she was able to wear the cloth diapers at night during that time as well. They truly were used in our house for both girls for years.
They held up too. Out of 21 diapers, I have two that have elasticity issues. The rest are fine. It was such a great investment. Remember when I first reviewed them here and here? Ashlynn was so tiny!
So Ashlynn started preschool, is wearing underwear and is sleeping in a toddler bed. We're actually leaving the toddler bed in Ethiopia so she will move into a twin size bed when we get to Jakarta. She's very independent and is dressing herself entirely as well as recognizing letters and numbers and using a pencil and scissors correctly. She speaks as well or better than Arabella. She plays right along with her sisters. Make believe and all. Bella and her have always played nicely, but I think Bella gets more enjoyment playing with Ashlynn now that they can have more detailed play.
We gave away all our baby items, the clothes, crib, blankets, toys, all of it. There were fleeting moments of sadness for me. But overall, I'm really excited for this milestone for our family. No more babies. We now officially have three kids and it's pretty marvelous. Each of our girls get more amazing with every passing month. It's such a privilege to watch them change. Everything is easier; from dinners out to the bath time routine. I loved my girls as babies. LOVED! But Justin and I have no desire to go back to that chaotic, exhausting time in our family existence. Right now, Ashlynn is at a wonderfully cuddly squishy toddler stage that just might possibly be my favorite. But it is so nice to be out of the baby phase. We're moving on!