How the diaper-free movement tested my oldest friendship.
“You just learn to read the cues,” Emma elaborated on the air. “He squirms or makes a face, and I know it’s time to pee him.” No, no, no, I thought. Don’t say, “pee him.” I blushed deeply, as though I were somehow responsible for my friend’s ca-ca-mania.
I didn’t want to listen to crazy talk about baby poop on The Leonard Lopate Show. But I made no move to turn the dial. Emma is, after all, my oldest friend. I’ve known her since birth (our mothers were friends before us), and she has generally maintained an advantage over me on the developmental curve: being born, learning to read, getting married, adopting a shelter dog, having a kid. She was the first in my circle to embrace vegetarianism, yoga, meditation and holistic meds. All that is practically mainstream now. Emma is a forward thinker. But when she became a mother, her forward-thinking rocketed into a whole other stratosphere – the loopy-sphere. Yet, clearly she wasn’t alone. She was talking to Lenny Lopate about her baby’s crap, and he was listening.
The guest expert on the radio, a kind-sounding woman with a Midwestern accent, touted other benefits of EC: no diaper rash; no landfills crammed with toxic swaddling. She explained that babies in many other places never wore diapers, such as in parts of Africa, China and India. They had splits in their pants so they could squat by the side of the road, no big deal. My husband, who had wandered back into the living room at this point, snorted. “Those kids don’t have indoor plumbing either.”
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