P is for…

People:

1) Prefold and Pad Pioneers

I remember when my friend Marty was either expecting or had just had her daughter, and told me she was going to use cloth diapers. How shocked I was. Nobody in this day and age did such a thing — did they? Why?

I thought about what I would do, and couldn’t quite get to approving of the idea. It seemed nice, but in a faraway, unattainable, unrealistic way. I thought about pads and tampons — no one uses cloth for those — right? So why use cloth diapers if you’re not going to use cloth pads?

And thence to the Internet, where the world of cloth diapers AND mama pads was rather well populated, much to my surprise.

I bought some Lunapads. I love them. I love the idea of them — I love reducing my contribution to landfills, and to manufacturing / transportation wastes. I love that they’re colorful and pretty. They’re easy to use. They’re not hard to wash. They’re not very soft line-dried, but that’s a minor inconvenience I don’t mind THAT much.

(There are also many other kinds of reusable pads, but if you prefer tampons, consider the Diva Cup.)

And from there, it was just a short stretch to get gung-ho about cloth diapers. These come in many varieties, too, from AIO’s (All-in-ones) that work just like disposables except you throw them in the wash instead of the trash, through pocket diapers, fitteds, contours, down to prefolds and flats.

I chose prefolds — very inexpensive, and easy enough to use. Fold in thirds, place in a waterproof cover, put the baby on, close the cover. Or, like us, fold in thirds, open out the back / top, put the baby on, wrap, use a Snappi (or pins) to hold the diaper in place, and put lanolized wool shorties on. Takes more time to explain than to do.

It is work — poop gets scraped into the toilet, diapers get washed in their own load with a prewash, wash, rinse, and extra rinse, and the wool covers get washed once a month or so and lanolized — but the extra work has never seemed much of a burden to us, except — perhaps — when traveling.

2) People-Pleasing Paranoia

I care too much what other people think of me, and whether they like me, and whether there’s anything at all they might not like about me.

I rely too much on other people for feedback on who I am and whether I am worthwhile.

I don’t trust my ability to read people’s body language, tone, and words — I might sense something negative, but it might be their mood or distraction, not a problem with me, but how can I know without asking, and even if I ask, can I trust their answer.

I could — should — trust that I am an astounding creation, lovingly made, lovingly sustained, lovingly being sanctified, delighting God’s eyes. Trust that there are indeed people who like me and like being with me, and even though even my closest friends will disapprove of or dislike certain things, or not be in the mood for me at certain times, it doesn’t automatically negate their friendship.

I could — should — think at least as much, if not more, about who I like, and who I want to be with, and not just focus on who likes and wants to be with me.

Most of the time I’m pretty good about these things. Sometimes — when the hormones cycle, and / or when I’m not eating / drinking / sleeping well — the paranoia rises again, and occasionally it gets really bad. But most of the time? I’m pretty good.

3) Politeness

A related issue is politeness.

Politeness is not evil — it helps interactions go more smoothly and helps moods stay light.

But sometimes politeness can be a wall. Really — what do you do when the person you don’t really care for keeps hanging around? If you’re trying to be a nice and good person, you will likely try to be polite to that person. And they might think your politeness equals personal interest. And the circle might never break, or you might feel pushed, forced, to be rude to get your lack of interest across.

I am usually pretty skeptical of politeness, I think because I know how polite I can be without having personal interest, and I know I’m not the only one.

This is an area in which I’d like to make progress — what to do with people I am not really interested in being friends with. To what extent am I, as a Christian, allowed to choose not to be friends with someone? Since I am, as a Christian, obligated to love all people, what does love look like when there isn’t friendship, especially when the other person wants to be friends?

It does seem like it would be better to have clear messages about this sort of thing, instead of trying to hide disinterest, or, for the other person, trying to read behind the politeness to see what the real message is. And yet, how to do so in a loving and gentle manner?

How would I like someone to tell me they don’t want to be my friend? And yet it’s been hard in the situations where I’ve felt I had to keep guessing — does the tenth excuse or rejected invitation mean “back off,” or does it mean “I really am that busy.”

It doesn’t seem right that so often, one person wants more from a relationship than the other person.

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4 thoughts on “P is for…

  1. Lots to respond to here… and I will admit I’m too tired to type out all I want to say. I’ve thought about cloth-diapering if we are fortunate enough to have another child. I know it is worth it environmentally, but have you found it financially worth it for just one child? About people-pleasing paranoia… all I can say is that I can relate! And on politeness… wow, I’m not sure. I think that it is possible to be polite to someone and still not encourage friendship… but I’m not really sure how to do that. I’m probably more often the one people don’t want to encourage (maybe that is just paranoia talking) 🙂 . I think that loving other people means treating them kindly and respectfully… that doesn’t mean you have to have a deeper relationship with them, whether friendship or otherwise. I just can’t figure out what that looks like either. Maybe someone else will have more insight.

  2. Cloth diapering — prefolds are about $1.50-$2.00 each. We got a nice bunch free, secondhand — these are the ones that I just now threw away, in shreds — Amy was the third child to use them. We bought thirty-some infant size, and maybe a dozen regular size. Plus I recently bought some thrift store flannel sheets and some fabric store flannel to sew more prefolds and flats — much easier than I thought it would be. If you’re handy with sewing elastic, there’s patterns for fitted diapers too. I bought two dozen wipes and six microfiber liners. Made a bunch of other wipes from leftover flannel. The waterproof covers we used were all free, secondhand, if I remember right. The wool shorts I’ve made from thrift store sweaters. We’ve bought five or six Snappis, I think. We don’t pay for water, so the washing cost is just the laundry soap (I recently started making my own) and the electricity to run the washer and dryer and sump pump. I line dry in nice weather.

    So, for us, yes, I’d estimate a great savings over buying disposables. For us, again, even if the cost broke even, which it is supposed to according to what I’ve read (using prefolds or flats, that is; fancier diapers are MUCH more expensive), it would be worth it just for the sake of the environmental benefit.

    There are places where you can buy used diapers still in good condition, and in some communities you might be blessed with handmedowns like we were.

    I agree with you about politeness — just how to be polite when discouraging friendship, and how to read others more accurately so as to get the message when it’s intended and not to assume it when it’s not intended. I think I’m more often the one being discouraged, too, but there have been times when someone’s wanted more from me than I’ve been interested in, and I’m never quite sure how to handle it.

  3. Hello,
    Thanks for visiting my blog! I really enjoyed the diaper posting…all I have had time to read this morning if I am going to get mine done for today and get to Dr.’s office for bloodwork.
    Since I am in my late 70’s, I know and loved using cloth diapers for my children now in their 50’s (mid and late). You go, girl!
    Best regards to you,
    Ruby

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