Nappy endings


The Dad Diary
Edwin McGreal

By the time Séimí gets out of nappies, I estimate that we will have gone through over 10,000 of them between the three kids.
It might be a conservative estimate. The general estimate for nappies is you will use 4,000 per child up to age two-and-a-half.
My figure is based on an average of four nappies a day for the guts of three years – Frankie and Éamon were both potty trained before they turned three in readiness for going to naíonra.
Séimí could beat them both – he is already walking up to the toilet and pulling his trousers down. That’s one of the signs of readiness but it could just as easily be a sign he is trying to imitate his older sister and brother.
So maybe he might yet reduce our carbon footprint by a bit. Because there’s no doubt about it, that amount of nappies add up to some amount of waste. Add it all up all over the world and it amounts to a huge volume of waste.  
Is there any way of avoiding it?
Back when our parents were babies, cloth nappies were used before disposable nappies were even heard of. So mothers – let’s be honest, I doubt either of my grandfathers or yours changed nappies unless it was an emergency – had a lot to deal with.
Not alone did many of them have enormous families – my father being one of eleven – but they had to wash and dry wet and dirty nappies for reuse.
I’m a believer that we should all be doing what we can within our own set of circumstances to reduce our carbon footprint, but I draw the line at washing and reusing dirty nappies.
Another theory being espoused these days is to let your baby go au natural and they will learn to use the toilet quicker and give you signs when they need to go. The trouble with this process is that in the long gestational period, parents must follow their kids around the house with a bucket to catch their emissions. This is not a process that takes days but weeks and, most likely, months. It’s hard enough to man mark Séimí to stop him climbing and breaking things without adding this rigmarole to it!
Many celebrities are pontificating on this. Easy for them when they’ve paid help in the house. I’d like to see them try to get three kids ready in the morning, lunches made and all the while chasing after the baby with a potty bowl.
Maybe if we were living in a different climate too where the kids could be outside all the time, it would require less scrutiny. But with our kids drawn to a ball pond in the playroom on wet and/or cold days, nappy security is not even up for debate.
I’d sooner cycle to work in Westport and cripple my unfit body than even enter a debate on this point. It is non negotiable!

In his fortnightly column, Edwin McGreal charts the ups and downs of the biggest wake-up call of his life: parenthood.