Warning: super boring post alert. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Like some, I wasn’t sure I wanted to become a mom. I envied people, especially women, who knew with certainty that they wanted a kid. And those who knew they didn’t. I was so unsure. I could think of a million and one reasons not to: I would probably be a crappy mom, the kid could have health problems, Earth didn’t really need another human, it’s so expensive, I like to sleep. And I couldn’t really articulate a reason to have a kid. Other than that I thought I wanted one. In the end, of course, that one reason swallowed up all the countervailing reasons and we were beyond blessed with the monster we call Molly.
When I was pregnant, we took a free cloth diaper class recommended to us by AO’s friends. I’m sure it seems silly to old-timey folks to have to take a class on the art of putting cotton on a baby, but it was a new world to us and there are a billion choices out there. Plus, the class gives you pro tips like energy-efficient washers are not your friend in the cloth world where water is king. Anyway, the idea of wrapping Molly in cloth made me feel slightly better about the impact of adding a new human to the universe (yes, I know that sounds inconsistent with what I just said about water). Sure, it wouldn’t offset a lot, but it would be something. After the class, we told ourselves we thought we could do it, but if it proved to be too much of a challenge, we’d bail. We also told ourselves we’d buy disposables for family members who didn’t think they could handle the cloth if and when we had people look after Bear. Anyway, we plunged ahead with the most basic of the modern cloth diapers: the prefolds.* After Molly was born, we used disposables for about two weeks. We’d been given them as gifts, so we thought we’d use them. After two weeks, we were out and the cloth diapers sat perfectly folded staring at me menacingly. This coincided with the time that AO was going back to work. The world seemed cruel. Anyway, I plowed ahead and – to my surprise – I found that I loved the cloth diapers. They were super easy to use and easy to clean. I felt accomplished when I washed a load every three days or so. The world was great. At least when it came to diapering.
But then Molly got bigger and started sleeping for longer periods of time (thank goodness). This led to the problem of leaking. At night, she was soaking through her diaper into her pajamas and sheet. She didn’t seem to mind too much, but we did. And then she started getting a pretty nasty diaper rash that was really more blistery than rashy. After some research, I realized that what was probably happening was that she was not getting enough air flow at night and with all of the urine that was in contact with her (not a ton of wicking in the CD world), it was causing blistering. Poor thing. So, we swapped out our covers at night for more breathable bamboo and ultimately super awesome wool covers made from an Etsy shop. Problem = solved. Except that Molly kept getting bigger and was requiring more and more material to absorb all of her pee. Yikes.
Eventually, we upgraded to bigger and consequently more absorbent prefolds. But even these were no match for Molly’s bladder. Ultimately, we switched to super absorbent disposables at night and kept up with the cloth diapers during the day. This seemed like a good, if not ideal, solution.
Plod, plod, plod. Life. Went. On.
But then. Can you guess what happened? She started using the potty. More. And. More. We kinda just went with it. And by that I mean, we let her be potty trained at school, but we slacked in keeping up with it on the weekends. Then we had our May 2 parent-teacher conference at which we were told (a) Molly is pretty much considered a staff member (I think that might mean bossy) and (b) she’s ready for total potty training and we need to stop slacking (they did not use those words). So, because Molly was out at AO’s mom until early afternoon Saturday May 3, we decided to become serious about the whole thing May 4. We are nothing if not excellent procrastinators. Anyway, it’s been going pretty great since then and I’m kinda shocked. Yes, she has an accident now and then, but she’s definitely got a handle on it and I feel guilty for not listening to what we were being told earlier. Sigh.
What does this have to do with cloth diapers other than that of course potty training has everything to do with diapers? Well, now that we have her in a diaper for only her nap and bedtime, we don’t really think it makes sense to continue with cloth. It would be just one diaper a day. And because you don’t want to have dirty cloth diapers sitting around for more than a couple of days, and because ideally you don’t want to wash them with other soiled clothes, to continue with cloth would be doing a load of about three diapers every three days. That doesn’t seem very efficient. So, I think we’ve closed the chapter on our life with cloth diapers. It feels weird. They are still sitting in their bin in her room. They don’t stare at me menacingly anymore. Instead, they seem to stare at me pleadingly. “May I please become a dust rag?” “Will you send me to another family?” “Am I destined for something else entirely?” What do I tell them? I’m just not sure. Like I said, it feels weird. But that, it seems for us, is the way of the cloth diaper.
*Quick primer for those not in-the-know: prefolds are just a bunch of cotton cloths sewn together to make a thicker, more absorbent diaper. These days, you stick a prefold into a cover made of either PUL, wool, bamboo or fleece.