Activist Mommy

{June 22, 2007}   Is that a towel?

cloth diapercloth diapercloth diaperThis morning I had to pick up a few things with my sons. Because there is a Murphy’s Law of parenting half way through our trip a tale-tell odor began to waft from my suddenly grumpy toddler. Sure enough, the bum was in need of cleaning.

So I pulled into the closest store that I knew had big bathrooms and changing areas, which happened to be a Wal-Mart.  Diaper changing can be tricky enough at home, but on the run it has a whole new level of hassle. I got lucky, however, that there were two other moms in the bathroom with their own young children. My preschooler was kept occupied chatting with a cute little girl with curls while I changed his brother. One of the moms was using the table next to me to change her own little boy and we chatted about kids and parenting and other typical mom conversations.

Suddenly the other mom went silent. I finished wiping up my toddler and open my bag to toss in the diaper and wipe. Finally, with a bit of hesitation, she spoke.

Is that a towel? Are you putting a towel on him?

I know that tone of voice. Half disgust, half uncertancy. Surely that wasn’t… That couldn’t really be… Maybe she just… The thoughts go half questioned, but still fill the air around us. Its not the first time, and most likely won’t be the last, that i’ve stunned and confused others in my diaper choices. I still recall when my second son was born. My oldest was in the final stages of potty training which generally meant a diaper at night. Our last minute, middle of the night hospital trip hadn’t left much time for him to use the potty. So not even an hour after my new babe was born I was changing my oldest son’s diaper. I wrapped it up in a plastic bag and set it next to my bag. The nurse looked confused, picked up the plastic bag, and offered to throw it out for me. “Oh no,” I smiled. “I don’t use dispossables.” I think she stared at me for five minutes before putting the bag back down, totally confused by what could be in the bag if not a dispossable diaper.

And here I was again, confusing another set of strangers. The second mom moved closer and peered over my shoulder as I fastened the new diaper on. No, you’re not seeing things. That is a cloth diaper. And cloth wipes even. Yes, I do know that dispossable diapers exist. No, we’re not too poor to buy dispoassables. Well actually, these are the “real diapers”. No, they don’t make a mess, take a lot of time, use a lot of water to wash, smell, or any of the other myth that I’ve been asked about. That is when people get past their shock enough to ask.

Want to learn more? Start here. Just wait till I talk about all the other dispossable products I’ve taken out of the bathroom.

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