Sunday, May 6, 2012

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Do as I Do

It is the sound of happy splashing which once again alerts me to impending disaster. I hurriedly rush to the bathroom to find “Destructo”, his shirt sleeves wet up to the elbows with toilet water, educating a family of rubber duckies how to swim in the porcelain pond. It is a regularly repeating scenario of late, and I again swoop in to avert a potential crisis.

“Destructo, we don’t put hands in toilets,” I calmly explain to my 11 month-old son. I see the accusation in his eyes, and revise my previous statement. “Okay, you don’t put hands in toilets, but Mommy is allowed to.”

I can tell he doesn’t think this sounds very fair.

“Only when I am spraying your diaper off, okay? The toilet’s not for playing. It is only okay to put your hand in the toilet if you are cleaning a diaper.”

I can anticipate already that next time I catch him it will not be duckies being thrown into the throne, but Thirsties.

Apparently, I am not being a fantastic example to my littlest Munchkin in the “Great Toilet War of 2012”, but I feel privileged that I get to be a role model for my kids in other areas of their lives. Cloth diapering has definitely afforded me the opportunity to share with my kiddos about real life issues in a tangible way that they can understand.

In an increasingly throw-away society, I demonstrate to my kids the benefits of re-using with every load of diaper laundry. They are absorbing, as quickly as a hemp doubler (now there’s a simile only cloth-mommies will get), the values of making do, being resourceful and trying to avoid waste, which, considering the way our planet and economy are doing, are never bad lessons to learn.

“Pass me the yogurt, please,” I ask my 8 year old daughter, as together we change Destructo’s diaper. She giggles when I smear the thick white goo (Greek style, in case you were wondering) across the little white bumps on little man’s tushie, which I suspect may be a yeast infection after a course of antibiotics. Sure enough, it clears up within a few days! Coconut oil is for eating, and for hair (my daughter was adopted, and has the most amazing, black mass of curls) but also for using in the place of diaper cream overnight. The cloth diapering community is awash with so many of these long forgotten home remedies, and it is exciting to see them being resurrected and to share creative, old-fashioned approaches to problems with my kids.

To be honest, until we entered the cloth-diapering community, I had never given much thought to the laundry detergent we use. Now, though, I not only ensure our diaper detergent is environmentally friendly, but try to stick to safer alternatives to our other cleaning, too. I have been introduced to the wonders of baking soda and vinegar, and every time they excitedly watch this volatile (but gentle) cleaning combination fizzle, I know that my kids are learning that it is the little choices we make that can have a big impact on the world.

I don’t mean to over-exaggerate when I say that cloth diapering has helped me to learn new things and make better choices as a Mom, which I am now privileged to pass on and demonstrate to my kids.

And let’s be honest here; my son’s hands would have been down the toilet even if he was wearing disposables, right?

Bio: Belinda Lamprecht currently lives in Africa with her husband, working for an international missions agency and raising her two kiddos, one who joined the family through adoption and one…ahem…the old-fashioned way. You can read more about their experiences at www.reaboka.wordpress.com

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