Comical Reflections from Cloth Diapering

Father and master yogi reflects on his family's amusing and peculiar immersion into cloth diaper culture.


| October 2014



Green Cloth Diaper

Cloth-diaper buyers constitute a zealous garage sale subculture. I bet there is a thriving brown market on eBay. No pun intended. And, in fact, no one at all, not even once, on the phone or in person, inquired about shit streaks. These, I suppose, are assumed.

Photo by Fotolia/Brooke Becker

In the hilarious and heartfelt book, Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi (New World Library, 2014), Brian Leaf tackles parenting with a unique blend of research and humor. He explores Attachment Parenting, as well as Playful, Unconditional, Simplicity, and good old Dr. Spock parenting. He tries cloth diapers, no diapers, cosleeping, and no sleeping. Join him on his rollicking journey in this one-of-a-kind parenting guide. In the following excerpt, Leaf tells the tales from cloth diapering his tots.

What Is This, 1850?

My sister and I have an ongoing contest. Whoever seems more natural and hippie-ish gets a point. When I had hay littered about the backseat of my Corolla after hauling a bale to my community garden plot, I got a point. When she and her boyfriend started brewing hard cider from local apples (now famous, by the way, as Citizen Cider), she earned a point. If either of us grew dreadlocks we’d have a lifetime win. Game over. But, in the meantime, when Gwen and I opted for cloth diapers over disposables, we took the cup for the year.

Cloth diapers are superior to disposables in every single way, except convenience. They do not fill the landfill with plastic and with human feces. They are easier on your baby’s sensitive skin. They are even far superior in helping little Hazel potty train. More on that later.

But cloth diapers are a pain in the ass. They smell. You have to scrape the poop into the toilet. You have to keep a bin in the bedroom to soak them, and you have to do a lot of laundry. And cloth diapers get stained. They’re vile, really.

They are also beautiful and now that we are done with them, I have the fondest memories. I would happily use one as a pillowcase or to wrap my lunch in. What else is so closely associated with your baby? Just thinking of trifolds brings back memories. Memories of sweet, innocent yellow breast milk poop, memories of the boys crawling around the family room.

It’s all our friend Jeremiah’s fault, really. He first told us about cloth diapers. And actually, we bought our first set of diapers used from Jeremiah for $400. Four hundred bucks! And they were stained with his kids’ poop. When else have you paid $400 for shit or shit-stained anything? Maybe fertilizer, if you’re a farmer; I’ll grant you that. But nothing else. When kids are in the picture, all bets are off. Imagine buying a crate of skid-marked adult boxer briefs for $400.