Monthly Archives: October 2010

One less butt wipe… sort of

When we’re at home, I prefer to use small wash cloths on my baby’s butt for diaper changes. No wasteful disposable wipes laden with chemicals, just cotton and warm water. They work just as well as wipes (better, even, because they’re more absorbent), can be tossed in the laundry for use over and over again, AND they don’t irritate delicate baby butt skin.

But they’re not exactly practical for outings, so some disposable wipes are kept on hand for the diaper bag and other emergencies. And by “emergencies” I mean “those days when I’ve remembered to wash the baby’s load but forgot to throw it in the dryer and am now left with a mildewy-smelling load that needs to be washed again.” Way to conserve water, mama.

Anyway.

We bought an econo-box of disposable wipes at Target because they were on sale. I was hesitant to do so, because I hadn’t used this particular brand on my baby’s delicate bum and I knew there was a chance that he’d have a less than positive reaction. Afterall, these were just regular ol’ wipes: not “all natural,” not organic, not biodegradable, not even chlorine-free. They were regular ol’ Pampers, “sensitive” variety.

I know. What the hell was I thinking?

One diaper change with those things and we were left with one very red-bottomed little boy. Like, baboon’s bottom red. Seriously.

So now what? We bought a couple packages of hippie wipes to tide us over… but what about the HUGE box of unusable Pampers wipes.

Here’s what: turns out you can launder those puppies. I’d discovered this before during Bug’s diaper years. But the discovery was  completely inadvertent (accidentally throwing some wipes into the hamper and running them through the wash with the rest of his clothes) and it never occurred to me to do it on purpose. Mr. Legume had much the same accidental experience with his youngest daughter. When, in a lame attempt to rid the wipes of offending chemicals, I hesitantly suggested we rinse them in warm water before use, Mr. Legume one-upped me and suggested we launder them first.

Brilliant.

They wash up quite well the first time, emerging from the dryer soft and fluffy. The second wash leaves them a little less fluffy, and by the third they emerge from the dryer looking moth-eaten. But we’re getting two to three diaper changes per disposable wipe before needing to throw them away. We haven’t washed our other disposable wipes because they’re compostable, which I presume means they won’t do well up against a washing machine. But any other disposable should work just as well… just be extra careful about cleaning out your dryer’s lint trap.

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Filed under Environment, Kids, Operation One Less

Operation One Less (Car Ride)

Being home with the baby has given me ample opportunity to practice the concept on “One Less.” It’s nothing fancy; just the idea that one less fill-in-the-blank makes a difference over time. One less water bottle… one less plastic bag… one less disposable diaper… you get the gist. I already practice plenty of these, but I like to imagine that I can continuously add more “lesses” into my regular habits and make one less turn into thousands less.

I often refer to these endeavors as Operation One Less ______. You know, because I have a son who’s nearly obsessed with army games and I can get him more excited about participating in the one-lesses if I refer to them as “operations.” Also? Because I’m a dork.

Since I’ve been home, I’ve been walking to school in the afternoons to pick up my son. This doesn’t exactly count as one less car trip though, in that he was previously riding the bus to daycare in the afternoons and, presumably, that bus is still making its daily trip despite the absence of my darling boy. But I always drove him to school in the mornings, dropping him off on my way to work, and this is the car ride I’m hoping to make a daily one-less.

That probably doesn’t sound like much of a goal, but you don’t know me in the morning. The ability to get everyone up, dressed, fed, and out the door with enough time to walk the 10-ish blocks to school is not something I generally possess. But it’s silly to drive. Silly, I tell you. Especially when I still have 15 pounds of pregnancy fat to lose. So last night I decided we were going to do it. Today would be the day…

Bleary eyed, I drug myself out of bed a mere 20 minutes behind schedule. I got my son out of bed and threw some food on the table for his breakfast, got my other son up and threw a boob in his mouth for his breakfast, got us all dressed (sort of – the baby was still in his pjs, but those pjs were hiding a freshly changed diaper), and got one kid strapped into a stroller and the other balanced atop a bicycle…

…And we did it! We just barely made it to school before the bell rang, and I had to send my son scurrying to class while I struggled to get his bike locked onto the crowded rack. But we did it: one less car ride for the environment and a nice walk for me and my boys to boot.

And that makes day one of Operation One-Less-Car-Ride a success! We’ll see if we can go two for two tomorrow.

Now… on to Operation One Less Wasted Banana for the bonus round. (I’m cooking up some banana pancakes for dinner, along with a batch of banana muffins for the morning, all in an effort to use these rapidly browning bananas for something other than compost material.) Wish me luck.

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Filed under Environment, Operation One Less