Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Love your mother

(Two posts in one day – I know; hold me back.)

In 1989 – the year that the endangered earth was Time Magazine’s “Planet of the Year” -- a friend and I co-founded an environmental club at our high school called Earth Action which, I’m proud to say, still exists to this day.

We set up a paper recycling program, did fundraisers to save the rainforest, picked up trash, wrote to congressional representatives and engaged in all manner of other idealistic, tree-hugging efforts. (The highlight for me was attending the Youth Environmental Forum in Washington DC, and getting to meet Khrystyne Haje from the cast of ABC's “Head of the Class.”)

For three and a half years, I worked my ass off to save the earth. And now…what has become of me?

Tomorrow, we will become a two-car family. But really, not just a two car family; a one car, one small SUV family. The horror! My parents, are giving us their old – well, not so old, actually -- Subaru Forester to use indefinitely, as their contribution to the twin cause, God bless ‘em.

The Forester is described sometimes as a small SUV, sometimes as a “Utility Wagon” whatever that means. I prefer the latter of course. Because I am one of these pansy-ass, knee-jerk liberals who thinks that SUVs are worse than (similarly gas-guzzling) wagons or minivans just because of the sheer obnoxiousness of their presence.

For the past five years, we’ve gotten by with only one very small, very crappy car. During A’s frequent trips out of town, I’ve done just fine between public transportation, bumming rides, ZipCar, the legs that God gave me, and the occasional cab.

But the thought of one tiny car, two infants, and two parents with very different schedules, is a bit daunting. I would hate to be marooned at home when A. is out of town. And if we wanted to go visit the grandparents, for example, there’s no way we could fit two babies and all their gear plus the two of us and all our crap into a Honda Civic. And when I am seven or eight months pregnant, I’m guessing I won’t be wanting to walk 15 minutes to and from the T each day, or take the T at all, for that matter…

(Meanwhile, somewhere in sub-Saharan Africa, a pregnant woman is walking five miles in flip-flops with a baby strapped to her back and another in her arms to get them vaccinated at the clinic which is only open once every three months, assuming civil war hasn’t broken out.)

So, sigh, yes, we are about to become a two-car family. Our nice, sustainable, one-car-in-the-city existence snuffed out by our greedy desire to procreate. I’m sorry, endangered earth. As compensation, I will endeavor to reduce, reuse, and recycle more, buy organic produce whenever it isn’t prohibitively expensive, and use only cloth diapers.

Wait – back up a minute. Cloth diapers? With TWINS? What am I, some kind of masochist?

Yeah, so, that’s the other way I’m going to contribute to the demise of our planet: disposable diapers. At least for the first few months. I always wanted to use cloth; I really did. But the thought of doing it with two newborns seems like craziness. I’ve read that newborns go through 10-12 cloth diapers a day in the first few months. Multiply that by two, please. Even if we got a diaper service to cover the laundry aspect, it seems like all we’d be doing (in addition to feedings, burpings, etc.) is changing diapers.

I really would like to try to switch to cloth after the first few months if we can, but it’s just so hard to know how difficult or easy it will be. Bihari, I know you did the cloth thing -- did you do it right from the get-go? Do you think you could have handled it with two infants? Oy. Dilemmas, dilemmas.

(Meanwhile, the pregnant African woman walking to the clinic has passed out due to malnutrition and malaria and is about to be run over by a drunken American eco-tourist in a Subaru Forester.)

5 Comments:

Blogger scruffylooking said...

Here's the other beautiful thing about having children, you can raise them to be environmentally conscious and then we'll have 2 more on the right side. My daughter is tyrannical about recycling - we have almost no garbage.

I was guilty of using disposable diapers. I had two babies in sixteen months and I made up for it by not having the energy to bathe so at least I wasn't wasting water in addition to filling up the landfills.

6:41 PM  
Anonymous RCH said...

We tried cloth diapers with one baby and lasted only about two weeks. I felt like I was changing diapers all the time. And clothing, because the darn things leak a lot, especially when you are trying to faten the stupid covers in a sleep-deprived state. We decided to go with disposables and rationalized it by saying we would recycle EVERYTHING else possible, use fuel-efficient cars (which we currently do, but again, we have only one child), do less laundry (which was easy after the diaper-leaking problem was fixed by the disposables), etc. I can't even imagine using cloth diapers with twins, even with a diaper service.

That being said, if you want to investigate cloth diapers, look inbot "Fuzzi Buns" - a friend of mine used them and sings their praises.

8:25 PM  
Blogger bihari said...

www.gdiapers.com, honeychile. They're flushable diapers, basically...or rather, reusable pants with flushable liners. Finally, a disposable disposable, so to speak!

As far as cloth diapers, yes, we did them with Rabbit, though not until he was about 1 month because even the newborn cloth diapers didn't fit right until then. But they worked fine, and you can get them now where the cover and diaper is all in one, so you just put them on like disposables, then pull them off and dump them in the bag for the wash. And honestly, once you get used to the rhythm of the washing, it just becomes part of the routine and you don't notice it. (And we also invested in a really low-water washing machine and low-energy dryer to combat the water use). I have had friends who've done this with twins, too, and said it went fine.

That said, Urp is a gdiaper boy! And when we travel? Disposables all the way, totally. In the diaper bag, too. And when he's sick with the runs. And honestly, I switched to disposable with Rabbit when he was 18 months because I was just tired of the disgusting toddler poop in a cloth diaper. So, we've done everything.

If you ARE interested in cloth, there's some very good websites. Let me know if you want them. Cheers and happy diapering! I have had someone in diapers for 3.5 years now, and won't be done with them for another year at least, so I feel your pain.

9:50 AM  
Blogger bihari said...

Oh, and we have a minivan, which gives me equal measures of joy and guilt every day. Because they ROCK for long trips, but they SUCK on the fuel. Not as much as SUV's, but still...

9:52 AM  
Blogger Jane said...

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone.

Not bathing -- I like that strategy. ;-)

I've read about G-diapers, and love love love the idea, but they do appear to be a good deal pricier than regular disposables. We'll see if the family budget can handle it.

Between insurance on the second car (I live in Massachusetts, remember), my taking time off from work, and all the various expenses of raising two bambinos, it's gonna be tight...One of the major appeals of cloth is that it actually might save us money.

2:58 PM  

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