Sometimes I really miss Brooklyn. Then I read something like this article that was in The New York Times this week and I really don’t. It seems going diaperless in public is all the rage amongst the hipster mommy circles in New York. What the hell?
It starts with an anecdote about Jada Shapiro, a mom who decided to raise her daughter without diapers from birth: “Ms. Shapiro scattered little bowls around the house to catch her daughter’s offerings, and her sister insisted that she use a big, dark marker to mark the bowls so that they could never find their way back to the kitchen.” Nooo. Just, no. Her sister is very understanding.
Ms. Shapiro is a birth and child-rearing coach and claims that “it is practically now a job qualification to at least be able to offer diaper-free training as an option to clients.” In trendier parts of Brooklyn, like Williamsburg and Greenpoint, parents have diaper-free meet-ups and exchange tips like, “how to get a baby to urinate on the street between parked cars.” You get a public urination pass if you’re a baby! Who knew?
The motivations for going diaper-free range from eliminating the waste generated by disposable diapers, to taking a cue from ancient cultures to becoming more “in tune” with your baby’s needs. I’m pretty sure if ancient cultures had invented disposable diapers, they would have held them up next to the wheel as one of their greatest achievements.
I’ve often thought about how much it must suck to be sitting in a dirty diaper – so I can understand where these parents are coming from. I’m not knocking “elimination communication” as a practice. I just think it’s totally gross to have your child urinating in the street. Is that wrong of me? Also, is rushing your infant to a toilet or bowl when you recognize an impending bowel movement considered potty training? I have a hard time wrapping my brain around that. Infants will go when they have to go, right? Or do they actually learn from infancy to hold their movements until a bowl or city street is present?
“Asked whether the practice was a health hazard, Jean Weinberg, a spokeswoman for the New York City health department, said: ‘Really, the only infectious disease problem at hand has to do with hand washing. Otherwise, it’s just a general sanitation issue.’” I already had a problem navigating all of the dog pee in the streets of Brooklyn. I can’t even imagine what the streets would look like if this really became a trend amongst the growing hip-parent population. It also seems like it may be kind of hard to find a babysitter who was willing to go through this.
Well, to each his or her own. If you want to spend the day examining your infant for cues that he or she needs to be rushed to a bowl – more power to you. I’ll just have to be extra-vigilant about recycling to make-up for the carbon footprint of my diapered babies.