Dappled Diapers

Diaperrack0001 On the first sunny day of spring, I carried my drying rack outside. This was a bit of an act of rebellion, as I live in a neighborhood which prohibits clotheslines. If I hadn't been very pregnant and in desperate need of a house near my hubby's new job all those many years ago, the prohibition would have been a deal-breaker. Now, it's just a thorn in my side.

Anyway, I took the drying rack outside to hang the diapers to dry in the sunshine. A neighbor wandered by.

"You use cloth diapers?" she asked, with a look that said she thought I was truly bonkers.

"I do!" I enthused, gushing a bit in my self defense. "I love the way they feel, and smell, and–honestly– the way they look, hanging there in the sunshine." I stopped myself just short of the full gush, as her eyes were glazing over.

So…you get the full gush.

I love to change diapers. I love to lay Karoline on a soft, pink changing table, with a beautiful picture of the Blessed Mother and her Child hanging there for us to ponder. I love to make her feel good. I love to take away the wet diaper and to wash her bottom with warmed cotton wipes that smell faintly of peppermint castille soap. I love to rub a bit of homemade herbal salve on any tender spots. I love the occasional times when I rub her bottom and legs with a powder of cornstarch and crushed rose petals. And I love to wrap those fat, delicious buns in softness. I love it–the whole sensory experience of it. I love to coo at her and make funny faces. I love it when she coos and smiles and even giggles in return. The drudgery of diapers? Not here.

I'm not so sure that cloth diapers are less expensive economically or ecologically. I've seen compelling arguments in both directions. All that washing does cost something, in terms of time, money, and resources. And it certainly takes longer to hang clean, sweet smelling diapers to dry.On the other hand… Call me crazy, but I like the look of those nappies all in a row on the drying rack. It sings, "Baby lives here! Thank God!"

It also takes time to take the diapers from the rack and stack them neatly in a handcrafted picnic basket that sits beside the changing table.They look beautiful there in that basket, waiting to swaddle my little cherub.Time. These diapers slow me down a bit. Yes, they do. That's not a bad thing at all, slowing down to make something that could be a negative into something altogether pleasant and happy. I could not get all that with a plastic bag of Pampers, and they definitely wouldn't be soft and pink.

And that's what the whole diaper experience is for us: soft and pink and dappled with sunshine.

When she's not hanging out diapers, Elizabeth Foss blogs at Real Learning: Education in the Heart of My Home


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  • Guest

    You go girl!  I don't use cloth diapers but I know what you mean about diaper time with the baby—they get all of me at that time and with each successive child I make that time last longer and longer and longer.  I smiled all through your blog.  You love your job….me too!

  • Guest

    Thanks for the article, CE!  It is great that we can go from the sublime to the mundane — and it all fits together and makes sense!

    Either of you two diaper changing fans are welcome at my house. I would lay down my life in an instant for any of my eight children, but they all had a knack for having blowout, stink-o-rama, up-the-back-and-down-the-legs diapers of mass destruction at the worst possible times and locations. Each and every one of them! And they've been breaking each predecessor's records for nineteen years now! The full gush, indeed.

    I am still entertaining the possibility that one of our two currently still in diapers has an alien parasite of some sort which emits a stench detectible from the mother ship hiding behind the asteroid belt. [I certainly don't want to think they get this trait from me, do I?]

    Or they get a rash so they don't tell us when they are soiled, and they scream like an Abu Gharaib alumnus when I go in with the wipes to make all things new. That is some saint-making opportunity right there, buddy-boy.

    I'll grant you that when volunteers for stinky diaper duty are scarce, there is a certain shared hardship which bonds people. But "soft and pink and dappled with sunshine" is not my experience.