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McGee: Diapers part of raising kids


“Parents nowadays sure make things complicated,” The Lady of the House said while reading the Saturday paper.

“There’s a whole article in here about learning how to use cloth diapers,” she said. She put the paper down and looked over her glasses. “It’s about a workshop where you get an 11-page booklet, bamboo or hemp liners and diapers, all for just $700. Are they kidding? My mother just showed me how to fold them, pin them and that was it.”

The memory came back of babies and diapers. Diapers were a surprise to me. Really, I just thought kids magically appeared, laughing, smiling and potty trained.

The choice of cloth over disposables back then was about money, not about a lets-get-back-to-the-land hippie trip. Investing in a few packs of cloth diapers, pins, plastic liners and a diaper pail was a lot cheaper than throwaway diapers.

I could tell you how I tackled soiled diapers with a smile but I’d

be lying. I dreaded every diaper change. Correction, I dreaded every time a diaper was, ahem, more than just wet.

There was the opening up of The Big Surprise, cleaning the kid, putting on the fresh diaper and sending baby off on her way. After that it was just me and the poopy diaper.

I thought about inventing a diaper pre-wash thingy. It would be metal or plastic with clamps on it to hold the diaper, a semi-cone that would drain into the toilet and come with a sprayer to shoot “the stuff” into the commode. Alas, small-town working dude I am, millionaire inventor I am not.

Diapers, cloth or disposable, are part of raising kids. By the way, did you hear about the diaper-free child-rearing some moms were working on a few years ago? I wonder how that worked out for them.

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