My husband and I bought our house about 5 years ago. There was an odd feature in the two bathrooms; a vegetable sprayer mounted on the wall next to the toilet. We joked that it was probably a bidet installed to save buying toilet paper. The previous owners had 6 children, so money saving was probably on their minds.
We envisioned our college friends coming over and coming out of the bathroom with wet hair saying, “Cool! You can wash your hair while on the toilet!” Luckily, this scenario hasn’t happened, but the sprayers have been conversation pieces for sure.
Three years later, we remodeled our master bathroom, removing one of the infamous vegetable sprayers while the second one still collected dust in the hall bathroom. Our daughter was born and I had no idea about cloth diapers or had any intention of finding out about them.
In 2010 my son was born. Like everyone, we are experiencing the pinch of these economic times, and I started to look at cloth diapers as a possibility. I was also encouraged because it was time to start potty training my daughter and I had heard that cloth diapers help speed this process along. I bought my Flip, some prefolds, covers and a few pockets. I was set. As I researched the blogs and forums, diapers sprayers were mentioned. The light bulb went on. That must be what the sprayers in the bathrooms were for!
My son was exclusively breastfed for 6 months, so the need for the sprayer wasn’t that great. The poop washed out fine in my washer. If there were stains, on the garden fence the diapers went. I travelled with my cloth, visiting my in-laws and my mom without problems.
My appreciation for my “vegetable” sprayer grew when my son started eating solids though. Clean up was made much easier and faster, however, my true gratitude for the hall bathroom device did not come until earlier this month when we visited the in-laws again. The first time we visited, my son was still exclusively on the boob. No worries about messy clean up – just throw everything in the washer and then out on the line. This visit however, my son was older and eating more solid food. And he had been reserving his poop deposit for two days already by the time we got onto the airplane…
The first morning there we woke to the excitement that he had finally done the deed. However horror struck the next moment as I realized… I don’t have a diaper sprayer here! Why not use a liner or the biodegradable inserts you might wonder? A cheapskate lifestyle is the answer… I would rather spend the money on something else (if I am going to spend it all). Besides, I have a perfectly good stash without adding something I would throw away.
Thinking fast, I decided I would use a cup and pour water over the “yuckiness” to simulate my sprayer. I set my diaper on the edge of the toilet and went to go get a cup. First mistake here… When I got back with the perfect cup, the weight of the loaded diaper had caused it to fall into the bowl – great. So I attempted the “swish” technique I had read other women do – those women are better women than me! I was already committed though at this point.
After a miserably failed attempt at ‘swishing,’ I went to use the washing machine. Hovering above the basin, I realized that I had forgotten my diaper soap. Second mistake… Oh well, I would have to use what was there and just deal with it. Have you ever heard a broken washing machine? You don’t hear water spraying out… what the heck was going on? I went to go ask my MIL about it, and she just laughed “oh yeah, that washing machine has been on the fritz. Just wiggle the knob until the water turns on, then hold it right there, and when it’s done you can let it do its thing.” Yeah right…
After a few seconds of wiggling the knob, I decided to fill the tub up by hand. Somehow I thought this was a reasonable alternative to the funky chicken knob wiggle dance.
Mistake number three… As I poured the first bucket of sink water into the machine, I watched in horror as the water quickly disappeared. My first thought was that the water had just drained out, but then I realized that my diapers had soaked it all up. While this was really impressive, it was also a real pain in the rear. No wonder these cloth diapers were used to clean up the gulf oil spill… Next time I have a water leak at home, I have the perfect solution! It took bucket after bucket after bucket filling up the tub to an acceptable level, and this was just the rinse cycle. I ended up doing this process for each rinse and wash, which was about 5 times. Okay, my diapers were finally clean and I’m ready to buy the MIL a new washer. With my arsenal of diapers, I thankfully won’t have to do this routine again during this visit.
Mistake number 4… The next morning, my bouncing baby boy delivered an even stinkier diaper than the day before. I couldn’t just let it sit in the bag until we got home the next day – the whole house would smell. Besides, TSA would have confiscated my bag due to toxic contents. So as I repeated the whole scene again, I thought fondly of my vegetable sprayer and how it was not a ridiculous addition to the house. I also realized that buying liners or disposable inserts for travelling wouldn’t break my bank, or at least not my back.
By Tammy Roby