My friend Jen directed me to a very interesting New York Times article today, and I’d like to share it with you. In the piece, entitled Baby’s Latest: Going Diaperless, we meet a few parents who are totally over diapers. They practice elimination communication, which is a diaper-free method of child-rearing, and also maybe one day a dating show on MTV2. The idea behind E.C. is that diapers destroy the earth and your baby’s butt. Cloth diapers are messy and hard to clean. Your baby is smart and can learn to hold his poop. Let your baby poop in a bowl.
At first I was like, “ew,” then I was like, “well…” then I thought, “come on!” and then I checked my Facebook.
The first thing that caught my attention was the leading image of an adorable baby, Loren, being held above a toilet at a store. I mean, really cute baby, and great name. And oh look, there’s a shot of him with his dad, down below. He’s butt-out in an eco-friendly baby store, like a boss. But then I thought, how will Loren feel when he’s a teenager and all of his friends learn that a baby picture of him pooping was published in The New York Times? Probably not great, that’s how. He’ll be at a movie, trying to yawn his arm around a girl, and she’ll say, “Oh no you don’t. I’m not getting pooped on.” Her comment won’t even make sense. It’ll be so far from a “good one,” and yet still…
Against my lifelong instinct to only look at the pictures, I read the article. Apparently, there are “‘diaper-free meetups’ where parents exchange tips like how to get a baby to urinate on the street between parked cars.” So, that’s where all those girls in the East Village learned it.
The article goes on to describe how the mothers train the babies in Pavlov’s dog fashion, so that eventually Mom can make a sound, and baby does his thang “over the toilet or the sink.” Oooooooook. Not over the sink, please. That’s where I rinse my lettuce.
Luckily, the mothers “usually put them [diapers] on at night and for trips to stores, restaurants and the like…” Phew. “…though not necessarily for naps or going to the park, where it is easier to go on the ground or behind a tree.” Well, well, well. Looks like I’ve been damning the neighbor’s dachsund, when really Loren is to blame! There’s got to be a fine for letting your baby poop in the park. A spokeswoman from the NYC health department agrees that this is super gross.
Next, a woman claims that “at three weeks, her daughter could hold her bowel movements until she was put over the bowl.” That is either a) really impressive, b) terrifying, because that’s certainly a demon-baby, or c) going to cause a lot of trouble around breakfast time in a few years (“Bella, not on my Corn Flakes!”). Maybe all three.
A woman goes on to say that she has seen babies pooping in sinks at parties, which sounds like a really adorable version of Animal House. Also, I’m glad I’m not friends with those people. I’d leave all the parties.
The closing line of the piece, made by an avid E.C. practitioner, really sums it all up: “I don’t think you can walk down Fifth Avenue and just let your baby poop on the sidewalk.” No. You definitely cannot do that.
Perhaps E.C. is the way to go. If you have the time and energy to make faces and sounds at your baby until he learns to defecate in a bowl, then more power to you. But even just a few months is a long time to clean up baby poop, and at some point your kid might realize what’s going on and just start messing with you.