Elimination Communication: The New Poop Movement?
I complained in my blog last week about how hard it is to change Emmett. And I may end up trying to potty train him early–like at 18 months. Yesterday I ended up with feces on my wrist. Not fun. Then, I came across this: an article in the New York Times about the EC movement. Elimination Communication. Oh, if only I had known this existed…
Actually I was aware of this movement, but honestly didn’t know it had taken off so much. I should have guessed my old stomping grounds of Park Slope was leading the way. Next time I visit I will wear disposable covers on my shoes. Lest I step in kid sh-t.
For those of you who aren’t aware, EC means toilet training your baby from the moment of birth. Read that again. Yes, the minute they come out of the womb, in a sh-t storm of activity, you are supposed to start “observing” their bowel and urinary cues. Yeah, don’t focus on breastfeeding or your recovery, or bonding with your baby. What you need to focus on is when they are about to take a dump. Then rush them to the toilet, hold them over it, and boom, you are on your way to a diaper-free world.
I’m sure I’m going to get everyone hating on me because I’m sure moms and dads who subscribe to EC love their babies just as much as the rest of us. I’m being a bit tongue-in-cheek here. But I do have to wonder–if you’re spending literally every moment looking for these cues, doesn’t it get a bit distracting? Maybe I’m just jealous since my kid is a disaster to change. But I honestly can’t get my head around infants being able to grasp toilet training. For many, it’s hard to even learn how to latch on. Or to sleep a good stretch. More importantly, when you are a new mom, you are so overwhelmed and exhausted, I can’t imagine putting this “task/pressure” on your plate.
The part where I am torn is, I do recognize how awful diapers are for the environment. So I dig that those parents aren’t contributing to the landfill. But I don’t want to start seeing signs in the city next to “Curb your dog” that says, “Curb your kid.”
(Sidenote: cloth diapers aren’t necessarily the answer either unless you launder yourself. I researched it a bit in New York when I was pregnant. If you get a cloth diaper service where they pick up your dirty diapers and give you a fresh set, they apparently still have to launder them like 7 times in bleach. Then the trucks emit carbon gases and burn fuel doing all the deliveries. So it doesn’t seem like a full-on solution. Now I think they make inserts for cloth diapers that are probably a good idea…)
This goes to the root of my annoyance on stuff like this. As in the homebirth movement and the co-sleeping club. If you want to homebirth your baby, go for it, but don’t say it’s because “that’s what they did in centuries past.” Because they did a lot of things back then that I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t be down with. Like putting crocodile excrement in your vagina to prevent pregnancy. It’s true–at least according to some historians researching ancient Egypt. I’m pretty damn happy I live in the modern world. And I’m pretty sure my vagina appreciates it, too.
In all the mommy wars, I don’t get why the go-to argument is often about ways to mimic ancient times. Like the co-sleepers who say we should do it because that’s what they did “back then.” No, actually, that shouldn’t be the reason. In past centuries families had no choice. They were often crowded into one room, and so exhausted from working the fields or the sweatshops that they’d all collapse together. I’m sure they would have loved a crib for their baby. If you want to co-sleep, do it because you love to cuddle with your baby. But then don’t complain when they’re 5 and still sharing your bed. And for heaven’s sake, please don’t make it because of “what they did in the 17th century” Infant mortality rates were horrendous–from curable things like diarrhea–which again, thank god, we have the modern medicine and sanitary conditions of the present day.
But I digress–I’ve said all this before in my blogs on these topics.
The author goes on to say that parents mostly do EC because they like being “in touch with their babies’ most intimate functions.” REALLY? I don’t know about you, but when Emmett poops, as much as I love him, I don’t smell roses. Poop and pee aren’t the things I love most about my kids. Or even second or third most. Yeah, I get it on some level…like when Fia started to get this far away look and grunt, I knew she was pooping. And as only a mom can understand, I found it cute. She was at least 6 months by then. Nowadays, some of our funniest conversations are when she is sitting on the toilet. So some of this resonates, but to make it an actual “movement” sounds like something for people who have too much time on their hands.
The article quotes one mom who says, “I have absolutely been at parties and witnessed people putting their baby over the sink.” She goes on to say that one person took “…her baby and her bowl to a party, held her naked baby over the bowl…” I guess they were close friends. But still…doesn’t this seem a bit, well, affected?? Indulgent perhaps? Upper class hipster, um, crap?
My favorite part of this isn’t the article but the comments. I guess the people of the EC movement apparently have weekly support groups. One person left a comment saying she had 20 babies at her house while I guess the parents discussed at length the art of pooping. She said no one had an accident…but honestly, I can’t think of anything worse than taking my precious time, and the time of my baby, to go to a support group that revolves around sh-t. A playground sounds way more fun, right?
But the best was from a “Mom of 2″ in New York who says that people who don’t do the EC method are, you ready for this? L-A-Z-Y parents!!! Here’s her quote: “You know when your baby needs to go: after a meal, when wakes up from sleep etc. Just follow the pattern. Not doing it and continuing using diapers under pretense of various theories is a cover for a lazy parent. It’s a shame when your child can walk and talk and wears a diaper.”
People, people, how did we get here? I am seriously flummoxed. Guess it’s time for me to check out. I’ve never been so excited to change a diaper….