Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Great Cloth Diaper Change

On April 21st 2012, I participated in the Great Cloth Diaper Change along with 8,251 other people in 189 locations on 4 continents.  This event attempted to beat out last year’s Guinness World Record for the most simultaneous cloth diaper changes.  The record was set at 5,026 which we exceed by 3,225 more cloth diapered babies!  This event was held in 256 locations and 9,464 babies participated but not everyone qualified.  Makes me wonder how many will be at the next one, maybe 14,000 babies?

There were 45 people who participated in the event location I attended.  It was held at the NOVA Natural Child Birth Center in Chantilly, about 15 minutes from where I live without traffic.  I was very excited to be at this place which I had no clue existed.  I did some exploring around and fell in love with one of their birthing rooms.  It looked like it was out of an Ethan Allen catalog.   I could not believe they let women birth their babies in that gorgeous room.  It also has a big beautiful tub.  I plan to attend one of their Tuesday night open houses to talk with their midwives about having my next baby in that tub! 

When we checked in, I was given a brown paper swag bag filled with business cards, flyers, samples, a Milkin Cookie, a microfiber insert, and a cloth wipe.  I was not expecting such a thing, so score!  But some people got reusable green The Great Cloth Diaper Change bags and I was a bit green with envy.  I am way more likely to sport that bag then wear the green rubber The Great Cloth Diaper Change bracelet that came in my bag.  Next year I will have to sign up sooner, maybe that will increase my odds for scoring a sweet tote bag.

We arrived at The Change at 11:15 and Orion was asleep in the car which did not last long.   Doors opened at 11:15 and closed at 11:45.  This led me to believe that the change would take place at noon but it actually occurred at 12:30.  Orion and I took our seat around 11:45 in a small room with maybe 20 others moms with a second room next door which held another group of moms.  This left me sitting and waiting and thinking that any time now we would have to change some diapers.  I know Orion was getting a little impatient.  All he wants to do is crawl but it was too crowded and we didn’t know anyone.  If you have food, he will totally go for it and if you have a Sophie, he will try to take possession.  So we sat and waited and I attempted to distract him with a sippy cup and organic puffs. 

Thankfully, they had arranged for a Baby Signs instructor to come and teach us a few things.  She was great and really skilled at talking over the din of 20 odd babies.  I am glad I had picked that room to be in because the group in the adjoining room was not so lucky.  I actually knew the Baby signs instructor from a mom and baby group.  I think Orion was as happy as I was to see someone he knew.  When we all sang a few songs together, a hush fell over all the babies.  It was really incredible, every baby became quite, calm, and relaxed during the singing.  

I had hoped to make a few friends but didn’t have much luck.  I am not always the most outgoing person when it comes to new people in new places.  Add the attention needed to wrangle a baby and I have an even harder time.  I did meet a woman who had graduated from the same high school as I did but 20 years earlier.  He daughter lives in the same town which I now live and we are trying to hook up a play date.  What a small world! If my husband hadn’t been wearing his GoggleWorks, Reading, PA shirt I am sure we never would have met as that was the catalyst which sparked their conversation.

The event had a few vendors set up selling cloth diapers and their accessories but also jewelry, knitted items, Shaklee, and natural and organic body products and cleaners.  It was nice to see some local and female owned business.  The event also had free snacks and drinks which was pretty awesome.  Orion and I shared some zesty ranch veggie sticks which we both enjoyed.  I fed him the sticks while wearing him in our Becco carrier and we got crumbs all over us!     

I think if Orion was able to talk at the even he would have said that it was boring and made him fussy.  He liked the singing and the snacks but it was kinda like baby torture.  Orion does not like to get his diaper changed under normal conditions.  Being in a room with a bunch of other babies all in dirty diapers may have been a bit much for any of them to handle.  I think there needed to be a bit more entertainment for the babies and maybe a few ballons or something for them to look at instead of white walls and ceiling tiles.  It also would have been nice to have a bring your own toy designated baby play area. 

This was my first time participating and I did learn a few things about dealing with such an event.   So what did I learn?  Most moms who use cloth diapers are also into baby wearing, like me.  There are a few local mom owned businesses that I would like I check out in the future.  When you check in, ask when the change will occur.  If you are going to do this event, hang out on your feet until the last possible minute.  Bring some toys and snacks to occupy yourself and your baby.  If you don’t have someone leading you in song, be that person to get everyone singing.  Your babies and your sanity will thank you!

I am glad to have taken part in this event and hope that it does increase awareness of the cloth diaper option.  The event was attempting to set a world record but also in increase awareness about cloth diapering.  People need to know that cloth diapering is a wonderful option that is financially and environmentally friendly and nothing like the cloth diapers previous generations used. They also collected cloth diapers to be donated to needy families in my area which is really awesome. 

I think I would participate again especially now that I have learned a thing or two about how to navigate such an event.  I hope the next event takes place in one big room instead of being split up.  Since we were split into small rooms, my husband (and many others) were left hanging out in a hallway as they were not allowed in the room due to lack of space.  The husbands also had to take turns standing at the door to snap photos.  I hope there is some entertainment for the group next year.  I will also be sure to know what time the change will occur before I take my seat.     

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