Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Diaper Wars

To those of you with young children, you might hope that this blog entry will discuss the pros and cons of various diaper brands. To those of you without children, you might think that I am about to chronicle the dastardly deeds of disposable diaper companies vying to outcompete one another.

But the subject is far more complicated. Actually, it is almost like working magic.

How to Keep a Diaper on a Toddler Who Doesn't Want to Wear One

Now maybe I should consider this dilemma in a positive light. Could this be a sign that the days of potty training are drawing nigh? Should I join the "non-diaper" movement, since the girl is obviously more comfortable going commando? I ask myself these questions on a frequent basis. However, it's more likely that Claire is following in the lofty footsteps of her older brother, and father as well, who seem to be obsessed with malodorous bodily functions.

I speak of that wonderful time of day (if you are lucky) and at night when you say to yourself: "This child is cranky. Perhaps I should put her to bed." The crankiness is a means to an end--quiet "me" time, but putting a baby down for sleep, and "sleep," are not always synonymous.

Claire takes a peculiar interest in her diaper during these moments of what is supposed to be gathering stillness. Even though the door is closed, I can hear the velcro tabs slowly pull free. Then a rhythmic "uh" sound, as she awaits her mother's entrance and pretends to know not what has occurred. She lays under her blanket, the usually dry diaper crumpled and tossed in the corner of the crib, socks balled up neatly underneath, pants strewn amongst the stuffed animals. Once, out of kind consideration, Claire neatly hung her jeans over the crib rail as if to keep them unwrinkled for later use. At times I would look at the clock and realize that it had been a half hour since I laid her down, still hearing her talk to herself, and wonder what on earth she was doing in there. Deep in my mind I knew that the diaper was off, but I was in a state of denial about the truth. Sure enough, the clothes were in their usual positions, and the sheets, and sometimes the blanket, the floor, and the spare box of diapers beneath the crib were wet.

"Uh uh," she muttered.

"Sweetie, your diaper needs to stay


I won't lie and say that I am the most patient mother, but this mysterious occurrence went on for several months without any physical intervention. I finally surmised that no matter how many times she smiles sweetly and nods her head in agreement, logic and reasoning do not work with a 22-month-old.

"We should duct tape the diaper on," my husband jokingly suggested.

"That's a little extreme, don't you think?" I countered.

But I kept the idea in the back of my mind, through several more bed strippings and washings.

Then came the final straw--a diaper removed twice in one nap session and two successive linen changes. I was beside myself. How was this kid ever going to sleep if all she did was pee in her bed? I thought of the duct tape idea, but I was afraid that I'd be unable to remove it without traumatizing the baby. Anyways, putting something silver on top of the diaper would only give her more reason to stay up and play with it.

I searched the house for something, anything, to use. I remembered those large yellow duck pins that secured cloth diapers on my first baby, but they were currently living in a storage space 45 minutes away. Plastic pants? Super glue?

Then suddenly, there it was--the solution to my dilemma. Scotch 2-inch-wide clear packaging tape. I tested it out, wrapping the tape around the tabs and supporting it with another piece across the back of the diaper. It held, and she fell asleep.

However, the child is clever. Later in the week, with the bedroom door closed, I once again heard the sounds of diaper removal, only this time a louder version. I had only placed one piece across the front in a conservation effort, and she managed to pull it off.

But in the past few weeks our relationship has evolved. While Claire still likes to sleep as her father did in the early days of our relationship, she understands the necessity behind diaper use at bedtime. I can say this with certainty because it is her routine to search for the tape and point to the tabs. When I ask "Should I put the tape on?" she lets out an agreeable "Uh."

While this new innovation may not win the "Parenting Invention of the Year" award, it could still garner some applause from the environmentalist movement for saving water from extra laundry loads. I know, disposable diapers take a million years or so to decompose. But Al Gore is driving a hybrid SUV that gets something like 22 m.p.g., and he won a Nobel Peace Prize.


Post a Comment