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Wednesday, 25 September 2002

baby

My friend is having a baby in February or so, which means all of her friends are busy debating what ought to be done with the baby. By that I mean exactly how this child ought to be raised. What should it be named? How shall it be housebroken, those sorts of things. She's the first in this clique to have a baby, so the rest of us are full of the opinions of childless people. One of the debates lately is cloth vs disposable diapers.

Those in the disposable diapers, let's-use-more-petroleum-products-and-fill-up-the-landfills camp point out that diaper services are wasteful water-wise and cleaning out your own diapers is a lot of work, which is messy and germy. therefore, after some thought, I have devised the non-wasteful diaper algorythm.

Ok, so your precious little darling is crying and smells yucky. You slip on some latex gloves (use natural latex if your a super green with a lot of money) and clean up your precious little darling and put on a new diaper. You then take the old diaper to the nearest bathroom and slosh it around in the toilet until it could reasonably be described as "rinsed." you think this is discusting, I know you do. you're thinking, "no you take it to the trash and are done with it." well, I'll admit it, I was raised on disposable diapers (I'm not proud) and my mom told me that it was necessary to remove the lining and flush it down the toilet since raw sewage does not belong in the trash. Was she correct? I dunno, but users of disposable have done these steps anyway. How much extra work is it really?

anyway, having sloshed the dirty diaper in the toilet, you then throw it in your handy bucket of soapy water along with anything else that's soiled from disper changing. this bucket has a tight fitting lid. You snap the lid back on. You take off the gloves. you go back to your life. you don't spend time thinking about the diapers until it is time to do laundry. then you grab the bucket with your hanper and head over to your washing machine. you have a washing machine because you are owning class. Sorry, I don't have such easy instructions for the non-owning classes. Owning class people get all the breaks.

Anyway, as a childless person, it is my impression that babies produce a lot of laundry. there's the crib liners to be washed, and the diapers and the baby clothes and the wipes and the endless towels and the five shirts of yours to have been thrown up on and all of your normal laundry and everything els ethe baby has gotten slime on. Babies are slimy. there's always something oozing out of one end or another. with that much slime, you've got a lot of laundry.

So start your first load of laundry. You have two of them. Just make one a small load. You want to wash the diapers seperately anyway. Ok, so you put more glvoes on after starting the first load and remove the dirty diapers from the bucket and put them in a large canning pot. you have the canning pot on top of a hotplate or other small stove which is on top of a heat-resistant tile, which is on top of your front loading dryer or your front loading washer. The large canning pot is filled with soapy water. You put the soiled diapers and wipes in it and put the lid on and bring it to a boil. Your other load of laundry is going at this time, so your time isn't really being wasted. After a couple of times, you'll know how long it takes for this boil, so you won't need to sit and watch it. It should boil for ten minutes, or fifteen if you really fear germs.

I know you're thinking about boiling poop. You want no part of this. That's because you, fellow childless one are thinking about boiling your own poop. This is baby poop we're talking about. They only eat milk. Their poop is different from ours. It won't smell that bad. And besides, it was oozed from your precious darling. anyway, once you know how long it takes to boil and you can be assured it won't boil over, you are free to leave during a lot of this process.

So you return to your boiling diapers and find that the first load of laundry is done! Yay! after ascertaining that your diapers have boiled adequately long, remove them from heat, or at least turn off the heat. Remove the lid. Start putting your cleaned clothes in the dryer. Now that you clothes are in the dryer, you have no excuse for further delay. Ok, so you have heat resistant tongs and you pull the contents out of the pot and add them to your front or top-loading washer. Or, if you have a top laoding washer, you have the option of starting the wash cycle and waiting for some water to get into it. Then dump the whole pot in. The cold water protects the washer from the hot water. It's just like brewing beer. Anyway, the diapers are in the washer. You add some natural laundry soap (do you want to subject your baby's behind to harsh detergents?) and you run the wash and then after the wash, they go in the dryer. they are clean, germ-free and ready for use. If you used tongs to move the diapers, you have a pot of hot wash water. You can dump it down the drain or you can use it as grey water. all the germs are dead from boiling, but you're still a cautious sort, so you pour it on your non-food producing plants. They love the fetilizer content and thrive. Really.

Up to this point you've used no harsh chemicals or bleach and your baby's behind and the enviroment have been protected. but now we get to the bucket of soapy water with the tight-fitting lid. Actually, we shoud have gottento it earlier, right after it was emptied. It needs to be returned to service. It must be cleaned and disinfected. At this point, bleach may be employed. One tablespoon of bleach to five gallons of water kills everything. That's not that much bleach. But since you're green, you can try oxygen bleach or iodine. It's just like brewing beer. The cleaned bucket is returned upstairs and filled with soapy water to await more dirty diapers.

See! It's easy! Not that much extra work a day. And us childless folks are anxious to help out those with new babies. We'll gladly sweep your floor while you deal with dirty cloth diapers. Well, some of us will be more useful than others wen it comes to helping. some of us may just provide invaluable advice. It's clear that the real strategy to employ to save the earth around diapers is diaper-use reduction. you won't find this in Dr. Spock. Well, maybe you will, I've never read him.

I read in an anthropology book that some groups of people train their infants to pee on command. That whole delay in potty training is about poop. Anyway, you probably can't train an infant to hold it when s/he has to go, but it you order them to pee frequently enough, you won't have to. just hold your kid over a sink, tiolet, bucket or your neighbor's patio and order them to pee. The tribe in question used a whistling command. Don't use the same whistle you use to call your dog. I have no idea how you would go about training your baby in this fashion, so it's left as an exercize for the reader.

But pee isn't the real problem here, it is? Well, it's no surprise when babies poop. They always do it right after eating. Maybe some other times too, but always after eating. Just perch them on a bucket or potty chair after feeding them and wait for them to go. you could cut your diaper use tremendously. The tribe I read about in my one anthropology class didn't use diapers at all and their babies slept in bed with them. they could anticipate when the bay had to go and put it in the right place. Doesn't that sound better than diapers? Keep them as backup, but make that baby go in more convient location and you won't have to boil poop nearly as often.

This is papublic service message broguth to you by Procrastination Productions

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