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The Great Cloth Diaper Change was not quite doing it the old-fashioned way

When it was all over, after The Great Cloth Diaper Change event at the Scheitler Recreation Center in Berkeley Park this past Saturday morning, I was pacing back and forth underneath a basketball hoop in the gymnasium while bottle-feeding one of my twins when a man in his sixties sauntered in and sat down on a metal bench nearby. His granddaughter was in an adjacent room practicing for an upcoming ballet recital.

"So, all these people use cloth diapers?" he asked no one in particular.

Earlier, 64 parents, mostly mothers, had gathered with their sons and daughters to set a Guinness World Record for the most cloth diapers changed simultaneously. During the actual diaper change, at exactly 10:30 a.m. MDT, we barely took up a third of the gym -- four rows of parent-child duos cordoned off in blue-taped rectangles just passing the three-point line. But before and after the official change, we were quite a spectacle in the entrance and hallways of the rec center, husbands and wives and friends with more children in tow, many in dozens of different carrier/sling designs, most slowly losing their grips on Happy Child Homeostasis. Had the weather cooperated and all 192 pre-registered families actually attended, gramps might have been furious instead of curious.

"So, none of these people use the Pampers?" he followed up somewhat incredulously.

"Those are evil," scowled a lone mother chasing her toddler back and forth across the court. Grandpa looked to me, my wife and my neighbor who uses cloth diapers during the day but disposables at night. We shrugged. The few, the proud, the "fluffy," as some cloth-diapering moms self-identify: they're passionate about their pee-and-poo-catching preferences. They are not just saving money -- easily thousands of dollars per birth-to-potty-trained child -- but also the planet. Their message is important. The Great Cloth Diaper Change was organized precisely to spread it.

"So you all do it the old-fashioned way, then" this gentleman finally said, more conclusive statement than question. Which is both true and not. Yes, cloth came first, but, "These are not your traditional pins and pre-folds and plastic plants," Julie Ekstrom, event organizer and creator of the Rumparooz one-size diaper, explained before the event. Not even close.

Sure, there were some organic hemp pre-fold-and-covers systems present at Saturday's event, but most infants and toddlers were being changed into newfangled all-in-one pocket diapers, all of them adorned with kid-friendly colors and designs such as gum balls and dinosaurs and fire trucks and pink sparkles. Before the chosen moment, everyone had to hold their children high in the air so Guinness could get photographic evidence of all the kid couture. We did so again after 10:30 a.m. Then the miniature mob piled into the lobby to buy raffle-ticket guesses (number of jelly beans in a jar) for prizes.

Were I not preoccupied with feeding my first born, I might have explained to the inquisitive grandfather that if the current reality of cloth diapering were limited to the pin/pre-fold/plastic pants method, there surely wouldn't have been a projected 10,000-plus parents gathered at more than four hundred events worldwide to show their support over the weekend (official results aren't expected from Guinness for weeks). If the new school of fluff -- including Rumparooz, bumGenius, FuzziBunz and Happy Heinys, among many brands on the market right now -- were anything like the "old-fashioned method," I surely wouldn't have been present to help set the Guinness World Record. I'd have been too busy using the evil Pampers and, frankly, not giving enough of a shit.

But I was there, waving my twins in the air, supporting the cloth-diapering cause. Because it saves me thousands of dollars per twin daughter and helps the planet. If that makes me fluffy, so be it.

Photos by Lora Swinson>

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Drew Bixby

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