You are bringing back some really old memories. I changed your cloth diapers, and those of your older sister. When your younger sister came along we had pretty much made the transition to disposables. I read your commentary and pondered your financial analysis of cloth versus disposables. The idea of our throw away society does impact our environment. But I was thinking about something else.
You and I are both men who have directly engaged our infant children. I think I have changed ‘dirty’ diapers on all of my grandchildren, except maybe your son, who lives in another State. Do you like the term, ‘dirty diapers.’ Doesn’t that conjure an image of something disgusting. Runny, smelly, nasty, ‘dirty.’
The cloth diapers were probably the central motivator in your mother and I purchasing our first washing machine. We were tired of packing bags of wet diapers to the laundromat. I am skirting the real issue here. The real issue is when we initially take a ‘dirty’ cloth diaper off from the infant – what do we do with it? Well, we have to empty the diaper. Hooray for solid foods.
The problem for me was always that there was some initial cleaning of the diaper before I could even put it in the laundry to wait its turn in the clothes washer. Whooeee! The disposable diaper probably had some affect on men’s attitudes toward changing diapers.
I was the first MAN in our church to volunteer to sit in the nursery during the Sunday Morning Sermon. That was in the early 1980’s. The ladies of the church worried the whole hour. So did I. It was one thing to change the dirty diaper of my own child – it was quite another the change the dirty diaper of someone else’s child. It was as if my children’s soiled diapers did not stink – and every other child… well, you get the picture.
I think the process of cleaning the cloth diaper is a bigger issue for people than saving money or saving the environment. Cloth diapers probably motivate parents to pay more attention to toilet training.