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Snappi Screams

Another old post - but a good one! Cloth Diapering

This is from way, way back! When we were living with my parents after a septic flood ravaged our home, and little, oblivious Charlotte was only 5 months old! April 20, 2008 (original date) Today is the day for prefold diapers. I’m not sure why they’re called Chinese prefolds – they come from Egypt, but perhaps since paper-making originated in China, they too, like the Japanese, have also mastered the art of Origami. So…here I am, with a stack of glorified napkins that look surprisingly industrial in nature. Honestly, they remind me of the automotive rags my son uses to fix and clean his lawnmower. I mean, we all saw Lady & The Tramp, and the beautiful clothesline full of downy-soft looking, perfect little white squares. A baby. A baby means diapers. And those looked so innocuous, so innocent. No word, of course, on how, exactly the elegant mother in this fairy tale was supposed to wrestle a squirming infant into what turns out to be the equivalent of a cloth origami reality-show challenge. My mother tells me cloth diapering is easy. Piece of cake, sweetie… you can do it. Right. Well, I am quite adept at Origami. After all, I’m the crazy mama-to-be who, even on her way to the hospital to deliver, was frantically folding Moravian stars, lest her baby’s nursery be incomplete. I could practically fold them in my sleep! You see, while I was pregnant, I had this dream about a nursery finished with paper stars floating above, (even wrote a song about it) which sounds just great in theory, but honestly, the execution was somewhat more difficult than one would expect. When I confidently purchased $200 worth of supplies from Michael’s craft store, way back when, I thought that I was surely overcompensating, but there I was, on my Labour Day, on my last attempt, after trying metal stars, gauze stars, purchased party lanterns, and papier maché, (which looked like a sick model of the solar system I attempted in third grade), and time was seriously ticking. What worries me here, is that those same stars are now sitting in a bag in the laundry room, and the baby’s crib is being used as a dresser because we didn’t send her dresser to be refinished in time, and the nursery is a mess, so the baby is currently co-sleeping, which I am constantly afraid will end up in her being squished like a grape while she sleeps, since I am so exhausted these days. Oh yes… my point? I rarely finish anything I start, and that has me thinking that maybe cloth diapers aren’t for me. It’s not as if I can leave this soon-to-be-stinking-bundle in a bag in the laundry room, if the going gets tough. So, focusing on the task at hand. First you need a baby. Check. Now I just need a place to fold these things. Actually, the baby, my little guinea pig, Charlotte, is lying exactly where I need to be folding, and according to the cryptic diagrams I have printed from some sadistic diapering web page, I have to assemble this floppy piece of hemp into a pseudo-diaper shape before laying the baby down. Crap! The bed is full of laundry, since we are still living at my mother’s house after our sewage flood, and I may be recreating my very own miniature sewage flood right here, if I don’t do this quickly. Of course, I have already removed the disposable diaper, and packaged it into a neat little time bomb that probably won’t open until I attempt to carry it downstairs to the garbage, since I have already, fastidiously filled my diaper pail with warm sudsy water, awaiting the first of what is supposed to be many eco-friendly cloth diapers, and there isn’t a plastic bag in sight. So, anyway, here we are, she’s cooing up at me, (and, I suspect laughing at my expense), and I have managed to lay her down on a comforter on the floor while I try to make a square of cloth ‘bloom’ from both ends. I stick the liner in place, and admire my handiwork… a little too long because it has just magically unfolded itself, and my little angel has just peed on my favorite duvet. So… refold, place liner, plop baby on top, and try to make it morph into a diaper shape. Now, I don’t know if any of you remember what diaper pins actually look like, but I’m thinking that this may just be a great way to skewer your infant. Of course, just as I come to this realization, I notice that the Snappis, (an odd looking hook-rubber band thingy, that are supposed to be safer than pins), are across the room on the night table. “MOM!!! I yell, abandoning any last vestiges of pride, and from somewhere, more peaceful than this room I hear, “You can do it, sweetie!” Thanks, Mom. Okay… grab baby and pseudo-diaper thingy, liner trailing, and cross the room to get the Snappi. Rescue said Snappi from under bed where it has fallen, and realize that baby has just peed on the floor. Well, at least it’s not – Shit! Scrape up crap using prefold with one hand, lift baby (still laughing at me), dump glass of water from night table onto liquid poop stain, remove pillow case from my pillow with my teeth, and my non-poopy hand, and drop onto the whole mess hoping, balefully that baby squash poop will come out of white shag carpeting. (Seriously, who buys white carpet???) Console self that, at least if things don’t work out I have $200 worth of great cleaning rags. (I suspected they looked a tad industrial) Place baby on new prefold, on floor, (these things are great, aren’t they?), make a new one ‘bloom’, place liner, place baby, morph magically into diaper, and hook rubber-band torture device into left side of diaper. So-far, so-good. Now hook Snappi into the crotch of the diaper, pray that she can’t feel that, and stretch Snappi to try and hook the right side into place. Success! I actually did it! So… cloth diapering from the 1800’s. Not so bad. It actually looks like a diaper! Use wipe to clean up hand, survey the ruined bedroom, and pick up cooing baby. Scream as Snappi lets go with a loud ‘snap’ and embeds itself into my nipple. Stifle a second scream, as the other side lets go. At least, now I know, why it’s called a Snappi. Re-attach Snappi, and get a *#^%ing diaper cover onto the child. At least these have Velcro. Put baby in crib, and gather stinking mass of poopy laundry. Gaze fondly at the last disposable diaper I will even (plan to) use. Lose balance with laundry load, and step squarely into disposable time-bomb. Curse as it lets loose. Add carpet cleaner to list of things to buy. So…my advice? Get your shit together before you attempt this, or you‘ll be covered in it. (I’m pretty sure I can hear my mother laughing)

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