Monday, November 26, 2007

Adventures in Diapering - Saving the World One Diaper at a Time

My sister and I figured this out the other day - on June 29th of this year, I will have spent a full dozen years on diaper duty. There has not been one year, not a span of just a few months or even weeks where I have not had at least one kid in diapers. This is not taking into account the diapers I changed babysitting or as the oldest of eight. I have seen things that cannot be spoken of, things that defy all sense of civility, sense and sensibility, beyond comprehension - stuff that makes potty training seem like the holy grail of parenting and something to be achieved as quickly as possible. (I would love to develop a program to help pottytrain in utero . . .) I have endured a great deal of diaper changing! I would claim professional status, but professionals get paid to do what they are proficient at - and I have yet to see a paycheck . . .

Now, most parents don't give diapering their kids a second thought - you have a kid, you go to the store, buy some diapers and put them on the kid. Pretty straightforward. When that diaper goes bad, you put a new one on and get rid of the yucky one. Simple and easy - botta boom, botta bing. Now, there is a wee bit of drama involved in picking the "right" diapers - there are numerous brands and parents have their preference (velcro or adhesive tabs; Pampers, Luvs or the store brand; etc) but once you find the one you like and fits your budget, you stick with it. Sometimes the child chooses for you - my newly minted 3 year old won't wear anything unless it is pink and has a princess or Care Bears on it. Even that is easy though - there is plenty of pink, princess and Care Bears or whatever bears to be had in the diaper aisle at Walmart. So, why is it the last kid who always mucks up the routine? I have tried every brand diaper available and after a year (yes, I am slow sometimes!) it became evident that the diaper aisle and my youngest tushy in the house were not kindred spirits. So, I begin the adventure of cloth diapering, just when I am nearing the end of my diapering days.

I have some prior experience with cloth diapers, my mom used those with my brother, or brothers - don't ask me which or even which ones - there were so many of them . . . brothers, that is, and come to think of it - diapers too. We had one bathroom, there was always something really icky lurking in the toilet and if you were the unfortunate soul to need to use the facilities when a diaper was soaking, you got to PICK IT OUT AND PUT IT IN THE BUCKET. Ewwwwwwwwwwwwww . . . I use to be able to make it from Colorado to Utah by car without needing a bathroom break. Now you know why. Oh, there's a diaper in the potty - well, I have school tomorrow, I can wait until then . . . Then there was the washing of the diapers and the folding of the diapers. Oh, and don't forget the putting of the diapers ON the child. My dad taught us this neat trick for stabbing a sticky safety pin through several layers of cloth diaper - you run it through your hair and the oils make it slide right in. Yes, the pin would slide right through all the layers - but don't ask how many times I poked myself in the head doing this! Also, there was a specific way to pin - you put your fingers between the sharp pin as it went through the diaper and the skin of the baby. Again - don't ask how many times I poked myself in the fingers doing this. You fastened the pins towards the outside so the baby wouldn't get poked if they popped open - but hope you weren't holding the baby balanced on your hip when this happened . . . don't ask how many times I got poked in the hip either - or peed on, or worse . . . So, putting cloth diapers on MY baby?? Dread, fear, anxiety . . . why me? I am happy to say - the cloth diapers of today are NOT your mama's diapers. My new favorite word? VELCRO! Let's say it together - VELLLLLL-CROOOOOOOOO. No pins - that's right, no pins - not one sharp pointy thing to hold everything together. Zip, zip - nice zippy sound - oh happy day! Cloth diapering is now painfree - diaper pins can be used to hold your jeans together when the button pops off and you are too busy diapering your kid to sew it back on.

Several, several hours of research on the internet late at night whilst my kidlets lay sleeping and I have learned more about cloth diapering than any one woman should have to know. Now, instead of Pampers or Huggies? CareBears or Dora -it's AIO or AI2? Do I use mf toweling or OCV? CPF or fitteds? Pul, Windpro fleece, Snappis, pockets, suedecloth, sherpa, flannel, old wool sweaters , hemp (is that even legal?) bamboo, terry and even silk . . . do I use the FuzziBuns pattern or the Honeyboy? Or wait - the PooPockets or the Wooly Wonder's pattern? Design my own? Don't forget the care and washing - no bleach, no phosphates, brighteners, specific enzymes and don't use a lot of soap and never, ever use fabric softener. A dryer is okay - but a clothesline is better and a little vinegar in the rinse can eliminate any residual "wet, yucky diaper" smell. Now my mama's diapers are looking a bit easier . . . white cotton rectangle, fold it in a funny kite shape, pull it up, pin and botta boom, botta bing - simple! I can even get a special sprayer attachment and attach it to my toilet's water supply line and spray off any yuckies into the toilet and then stick the diaper in the bucket. No more soaking diapers - just spray, toss into the bucket. I am sure my kids would love that - I am sure we could come up with even more nifty uses for a sprayer attachment on the toilet. Boy, I never had it so good when there were cloth diapers in my house growing up!

Finally though, after much research, a little sewing, even some crocheting - I think I have a cloth diapering system, the materials I like, the pattern I like and best of all - a little boy with a happy tushy. And we all know -if the tushy ain't happy - ain't nobody happy . . . ! :0)

 ***Originally posted May 15, 2006

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