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The best thing since modern convenience

When we're out and about in the world at large we're pretty recognizable as a stereotypical "hippy" family. There's my hair, sure, and the fact that my children aren't wearing shoes half the time. But even when I'm not tied up in an organic cotton Ergo I've still got a pretty big hippy signifier: a big bag filled with big cloth diapers.

The bag has got to be big, of course, because a clean cloth diaper takes up as much space as five disposable ones, and a wet cloth diaper takes up as much space as a candlepin bowling ball. A soggy candlepin bowling ball. A soggy candlepin bowling ball that may or may not have the distinct odor of feces.

Not to overstate the obvious, but when you're out and about with a dirty cloth diaper you can't DISPOSE of it immediately. So a trip to church may earn me a heavy purse filled with several soggy cotton candlepin bowling balls.

I often think I am a poor candidate for a hippy lifestyle because I have a low tolerance for the disgusting. Yeah I like not washing my hair and not wearing makeup, but mostly because I'm lazy and I already have a poor opinion of my appearance. It's not like I have a "back to nature" aesthetic or anything like that. I hate germs. I don't like the smell of dirty. I yelled at the kids for playing in the water pooled in a public drinking fountain until Dan chastised me for acting crazy.

All that is to say I don't love carrying a purse that smells like crap. I tolerate it because I love the environment, and because living my values is important, and because cloth diapers save like a hundred dollars a month or some similar figure approaching obscenity.

But I gotta work for that extra hundred bucks.

Because when Zion's awake he needs a diaper check every 30 minutes. If I miss a check and he pees twice in one diaper then he'll leak his pants. Or he might drink a big bottle of juice and pee once and leak his pants anyway. On a normal day he goes through about 10 diapers and three pairs of pants.

Yes, I do a lot of laundry.

But this isn't what I wanted to write about. I wanted to write about my hippy holidays. Well, confess really. I want to confess about my hippy holidays.

Because sometimes, when I have a big outing scheduled and morning sickness is more than I can bear I say: "You know what? Fuck it! I'm taking a hippy holiday!" By which I mean a holiday FROM hippiness. Then I stuff my bag with five (tiny!) disposable diapers and throw the kids in the car without a care in the world. Because one disposable diaper? I don't have to check that thing for TWO HOURS! That's ten pounds in cloth diapers candlepin bowling ball years. (Yeah, I know that's a horrible mixed metaphor that doesn't make any sense. But you try sticking your finger in thousands of dirty diapers and coming up with something poetic to say about it.)

Then at the end of the day I feel both relieved and guilty and judgmental. Because yes a break is nice, but what am I, a half-assed fair-weather environmentalist? And seriously, you ladies using disposables all the time? You better be curing cancer in all those minutes not spent laundering urine soaked onesies.

And while I'm setting myself up for pillory here, I have another confession about toothpaste.

About a year ago I stopped using toothpaste. I was frustrated about buying toothpaste, the high cost of it and all, and also by the way it wears down your teeth and makes them sensitive. Really there were a bunch of anti-toothpaste arguments that I can't remember now. I should have written them down at the time. (Oh wait, look I did write about it at the time! EXACTLY a year ago, in fact! Oh I'm good.)

So I started brushing my teeth with only water, but the toothbrush absorbed a yucky mouth taste after a while. The solution I found was to use a drop of peppermint essential oil on the brush. This was highly refreshing, and it took me a year to go through a $6 bottle of essential oil. I'm not sure how much I was spending on toothpaste in a year, but I assume it was at least a tube every two months, at three-something a tube, which means over a year I cut the cost of brushing by 2/3. Not bad!

Then last week I ran out of peppermint. I brushed my teeth with water for a few days, and then I went to Whole Foods and I forgot to put the essential oil on the list. And then I brushed my teeth with water for a few more days and felt REALLY over the yucky mouth taste that had returned to my toothbrush. So I said fuck it, I'm taking a hippy holiday! Isn't there some dentist sample toothpaste around here somewhere?

And low and behold, in the bottom of the cabinet was a small tube of crest something-or-other. I put it on my toothbrush and it foamed up my mouth, and I had this revelatory experience like I was a thawed-out caveman encountering modern civilization for the first time. "This is how people brush their teeth? This is AMAZING! This foamy stuff gets your teeth SO CLEAN! It just goes in there and takes all that food and crap completely off! Like SOAP for your MOUTH!" And here I was flossing every day like a sucker!"

So yeah, whatever, I may look like a hippy but I'm really full of shit. Or to be more precise, filled with lovely, convenient, ecosystem-destroying chemicals.

Okay, tomorrow's Monday so I guess the holiday's over.

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