Sunday, February 24, 2008

Baby Group

Kirk, (who is married to Hillary’s colleague, Kindra) brought their 1 year old, Marissa, and joined Bodie and I attending a regular Friday baby group. I’ve taken the whole Hillary-is-working-and-I’m-not thing pretty much in stride, maintaining some slim notion of masculinity by fixing a few things and getting a lawn mower assembled. Kirk had assured me that other fathers regularly attended. But going to baby group, 6 women with babies, Kirk and me, perhaps stripped away the few remaining vestiges of masculinity. I had a beer, which was pretty much all I could do to exude any testosterone.

Everyone was incredibly welcoming and nice. The host, Juniper, works at USAID. She came to Tanzania a year ago with a 3-month old baby alone as her husband is a marine stationed in Iraq. She has started a new job the day after maternity leave, in a new country, with a new baby, with all new people to support her and her baby. I was in awe of what she’d done.

After talking to the women there, this is a letter I’ve been composing in my head:

Dear CEO’s of Proctor & Gamble and Kimberly Clark:

I know you can make great diapers. We’ve purchased the space-age technology of gels, and soft cloths and wicking fabrics in your Pampers and Huggies products for a few years. I’m writing to inquire why you think that in hot climates, say the equatorial heat of Tanzania, diapers should be made of plastic instead. With all the challenges faced in Africa, this may seem trivial. But everyone I’ve spoken to with a baby or toddler has remarked on the incredible diaper rash his or her kid experiences. It is hot here, always. It is humid here. Making a diaper out of plastic just doesn’t seem that smart. Kids are walking around in their own little terrarium. As CEOs, I challenge you to wrap your crotch in a plastic garbage bag for 24 hours in this heat and let me know how it feels.

We expect better diapers in Africa.

Yours truly,

Alfred, father of Bodie

This may not be one of the profound calls to actions that I was envisioning embarking on, but it’s a start. Bodie has spent a lot of time running around outside, tuchus catching the warm ocean breeze and sun.


Damian Wise said...

I don't wish to gloat, but I will anyway. Cloth diapers are made of, well, cloth. Very breathable, very nice. And we've certainly had no complaints from our 8 month-old Quinley. You want us to send you some? Of course, it is nice to have a washing machine to wash them for you, but I assume that you have one of those. If you actually have a person that washes your stuff by hand, then perhaps that is unfair to ask that of them.

Deb said...

It is great to hear about your involvement in a parents group! It seems that we are leading parallel lives...but for the giraffes, elephants, gardener, night guard, 11-hour time difference, and a few other things....ah well. I'd love to hear about what you have to do to safely (and sanely) transport a baby to Tanzania. Any advice is appreciated!