Wednesday, November 16, 2005

No Hippy Chick

WHEN I was a mere slip of a girl at 16 I loved to write the most unimaginably naff poetry you could ever imagine.

Being somewhat idealistic and, let's face it, a buck eejit, typically the poetry would be about some world issue and my impassioned ramblings (which never rhymed much to my dad's eternal annoyance) even made it to print in some questionable anthologies.
I filled notebook upon notebook with poetic ramblings about Mother Earth weeping, oil slicks taking the tortured souls of ducks and geese and litter choking the eternal beauty of God's own countryside (as I've said, totally naff).
I shopped for what little cosmetics I could afford in the Body Shop and covered my new-agey-looking embroidered school bag in badges and buttons proclaiming no to animal testing or displaying that wee CND logo.
My friends and I would get together and listen to wishy washy sad songs and burn incense and talk about how we wished our parents were more with it and, along with half of Derry we protested in 'Ban the Burn' rallies in the Guildhall Square.
Now, the burn did indeed get banned but as the years passed my high moral standards fell someway to the wayside. I don't go into the Body Shop as much as I used to (the lure of L'Oreal and Clarins being too much for my aging skin to resist). I'm more likely to be seen sporting a Pink Prada Bag (courtesy of a friend of a friend who went to Malaysia..amazingly Prada is spelled correctly and not Pradda) than a badge laden hippy satchel and, thank heaven for small mercies, the poetry is a dim and distant memory.
It's not that I don't care about environment. I use my blue bin religiously, I don't drop litter, I would never wear fur and I'm still pretty much a fan of the CND movement.
But I'll admit that like many people who lead busy lives, handiness has over-run my need to be a laid back mother earth type gal.
The greatest example of handiness versus doing what is, arguably, morally right relates to my child- or more specifically his bum.
From the day and hour I found out I was pregnant I developed a rather sad obsession with Pampers NewBorn nappies. I would walk past the little yellow packets with the teeny weeny tiny tootsie nappies and rub my tummy with excitement. (Obviously at this stage I was not thinking about the explosive poos that would fill said nappies..just the ickle tiny bum that would fit into them.)
I briefly (for all of about five seconds one Wednesday afternoon) considered using reusable nappies. I was assured that long gone are the days of Terry Squares and the risk of stabbing your wain in the stomach with a nappy pin.
Now we could opt for pre-folds, wraps, all in ones, boosters, liners, reusable wipes, nappy nippas and all sorts of jiggery pokery. And we could get a nappy pail, and a dirty bag and a nappy net and dry pail with tea tree oil and lavender, and nothing- but nothing on this earth- would feel as good as seeing row upon row of gleaming nappies drying on the washing line (After a wash in non-bio powder at 60 degrees with white vinegar to be used a softener).

Logical thought
I thought this through logically. I could A) Slap a cutely packaged nappy on my wee man and chuck it in the bin when he had done his business or B)Juggle the shock to my system of being a new mammy with taking on board all the above jiggery pokery of the reusable nappy dance (as I like to call it).
Pampers won.
I admit, my love of Pampers just grew with time- until we had an unfortunate "they cost far too much" incident and I switched to Tesco's own brand (highly recommended, by the way). I used to stack my nappies up, row upon row of gleaming white cotton wool, on a shelf in the nursery and I looked forward to the replenishment of the downstairs nappy box with a certain stupid glee.
Of course I thought about the impact our use of disposables had on the environment. When at one stage, in the fairly early stages of parenthood, I worked out we had gone through more than a thousand of the blighters I had a real pang of conscience. (Not enough to make me change my mind, but a pang all the same).
But two weeks ago, when my son reached the grand old age of 21 months, the conscience caught up with me. I decided, while disposables have their place- namely any time we leave the house- I would, in the interests of being cool and with it- give the reusables a go.
I felt like Claire- Mother Earth- Allan as I pranced into the Pram Centre to buy my Winne The Pooh Nappy Bucket and as I filled my basket with liners, boosters and Zinc cream in Boots I felt smugly proud that I was doing my bit for the environment.
Now I have to admit, as long you don't have to rinse poo off one, reusables are pretty good. I do get a sense of satisfaction when I fold my clean nappies and I have bought a lovely array of fleece liners in pastel colours which are just as pretty, if not more so, than the Pampers NewBorn packets.
My son's rear end looks amazingly cute and pudgy when he is wearing one and I do feel I'm regaining some of my respect for the environment.
I'm not planning on burning incense or writing poetry again any time soon however, some things are better left in the past.

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