My husband has had his eye on a new flat-screen TV for over a year now. But the budget is tight, and at any mention of this hypothetical flat-screen, I'd begin reciting our list of higher priorities. Okay, my list of higher priorities. We disagreed on some of the finer points (a new stroller or a bigger hard drive for the server... anyone?) but overall we were in accord. That is to say, baby on the way = no new flat-screen for daddy.
At the same time, I knew I wanted to try cloth diapering again, even though we had planned and budgeted for disposables. Like many others, I'd helped to cloth diaper my baby sister many years ago (for a given value of the word “help,” and mothers of preteen daughters know of what I speak). I had even occasionally used chinese prefolds when my son was born seven years ago. For all that, I'd never really seen cloth diapers as anything more than a rainy day backup, and my husband didn't see them as anything more than a pain in the yeah-he-did. It didn't help that seven years ago, while we had access to some of the softest water in the country, we were living in military housing with a washing machine that had been drafted at some point during the Vietnam Conflict. Our Ol' Hippie simply refused to provide a clean load of laundry for “the man”.
This time around, though, we would have a washing machine that hadn't been agitating since the Nixon administration, and even more importantly, we had seen ADS. Ads for Rumparooz. Ads for Fuzzibunz. Ads for Bumgenius. After the last go-round, my husband wasn't keen on cloth diapering our new baby, but these new pocket diapers intrigued even him.
I started out with an odds and ends assortment of covers and prefolds, piecemeal remnants of my original little stash that had to be hunted down and collected from various sisters - sisters who had left my chinese prefolds in random lawn-sized garbage bags full of random baby clothes, at seemingly random points in their children's early childhoods. Miraculously - albeit covered in the dust of three different basements and crawlspaces - I was able to retrieve all of my original two dozen prefolds, and most of my covers. Not intending to more than supplement our prefolds, my husband and I decided to splurge on 7 new Happy Heinys OS diapers.
Two months later, it would take me less than one day of part-time use to feel me some pocket love. By the time my baby turned four months old, I was cloth diapering full time with a stash consisting of my original Happy Heinys, some Thirsties Duo Size 2 diapers for nights, and 2 Flip covers stuffed with home-made inserts.
At some point during this transition between part-time (read: tiny financial investment) and full-time cloth diapering, my husband and I decided to sit down and crunch numbers. We knew now that the laundry itself wouldn't pose a problem (our current machine had no problem working for “the man”), but we remained skeptical that modern diapers represented a significant savings over disposables. Convenient or not, at $10-$25 per diaper, they are far and above more spendy than our perfectly serviceable prefolds. Was it ridiculous even to consider them?
After adding our start-up costs, and giving myself a reasonable allowance to purchase supplies and an occasional replacement diaper (where's the fun in cloth diapering if you can't buy an occasional new print?) I had a conservative estimate of what we were going to save.
And shared my joy with my husband.
You can see where this is going.
Meet our new TV. We've named him, “Huggies”.
Author: Angie S. is the mother of two, Andrew (7), and Kate (8 months). She's passionate about her techie husband and cloth diapers.