I ate my wafer...


First off:

1. Children smell vaguely funny. Sometimes they smell OK, othertimes they smell outright bad. Yes, I've been around breastfed infants, and NO, I don't think their "poo" smells magically better.

2. Other than smelling funny, children are ok. Some of them are cute, some of them are smart, etc. They even have small hands well suited to loosening water-pump bolts.

So, back to the funny smelling part. Infants and some extremely elderly persons share the unfortunate aroma of...well...carrying around bags of crap. So, reducing the amount of time it takes to toilet train infants would appear to be a good idea. Unfortunately, unlike the average puppy that requires mere weeks of effort, infants traditionally ( for 20th century U.S. parents anyway) take years of smelling funny before they escape the diaper.

Which, brings us to the whole "diaper-free" school of thought. In response to a NYT Oppinion piece on the topic, Slate has an article trashing the idea on the grounds that it is sort of vaguely bad for women. Personally, I don't see how exactly a quicker end to toilet training would be anti-career, or otherwise disadvantageous to women. Am I missing the vast misogynist conspiracy on this one?


  • Pardon the pun, but that slate article was a whole lot of 'doo-doo.'

    First of all, half the article was devoted to why disposable diapers are better than cloth (something I disagree with) but I shall not be getting into WHY I think cloth diapers are better because that is not related to diaper vs. No diaper, something Slate seems to have forgotten.

    My next issue is the whole "taxing on a woman's time" issue the Slate author attempts to raise. To me this sounds like the attitude of a 'baby as an accessory' attitude. Bemoaning the loss of a mother's precious time due to caring for her infant. The biggest time suck, according to slate, is learning a baby's potty habits and tells and then taking them to the toilet. My question for the author would be 'What is the significant difference between the parent/child interactions used to potty train at 3 weeks vs. 3 years?' My understanding of the way potty training a 3 year old works is you watch your child carefully to learn their potty habits and tells then you take them to the toilet.

    I will grant that some time is lost because at 3 weeks infants can't keep themselves on the toilet, someone has to hold them. This means that until around age 1 a caregiver has to take the child to the toilet and until the child has better small motor skills a caregiver has to assist the child in unfastening his or her garments. Once again I see little difference between potty training at 3 weeks and 3 years as far as the amount of time per day devoted to the child's excretory needs. The difference is someone has to spend this time with the child every day, for 3 extra years. I really don't think it is that horrific a thing.

    Perhaps I am not bothered by this devotion of time because as a responsible pet owner this is the kid of attention I do (and will) devote to my dogs until the day they die. Pet owners learn their individual animal's potty habits and tells and then take them outside to relieve themselves. As puppies grow into dogs one can teach them to "tell" you when they need to relieve themselves by training them to bark once if they need to go outside, but the owner must always stop what he or she is doing and take the animal outside. I am sorry but if it is good enough for my dog, it is good enough for my kid.

    By Blogger TheAmber, at 10:13 AM  

  • bob,
    somtimes i worry about you...i do hope you don't plan on having children anytime in the near future.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:17 PM  

  • As a woman with no interest in having children, I have to say that if it did happen to me, they would wear diapers. I want a career and a life, and I am not ashamed of it. (I know this is horrible too, but they will also drink formula. It was good enough for my mother and all of my siblings and cousins. It would be good enough for them.)

    That digression aside, I think there are a few important differences between the training of children and dogs that specifically apply here. First, the evacuation process for a dog is much simpler. They do not have to be carried to a toilet, stripped of all clothing from the waist down (forget about onsies, and let's hope you don't live somewhere cold!) held there, wiped down and then redeposited in their previous position (you do have to scoop up after the dogs, of course). Second, if you "train" a child that young, you're still going to have to wait an _awfully_ long time before they can actually get themselves to the toilet! So does it even count as potty-training? Finally, dogs mature much faster than children. If one dog year is equivalent to seven human years, then a child of three years can theoretically handle the control of a dog of less than six months. By the same math, a child of three months can handle the control of a dog less than six days old.

    That is, of course, oversimplified. In the end, kids are tough. Train them at three years or three months, they're going to survive. I think this is more of a hot-button issue for panicky parents who are much too imclined to worry. Or much to squeamish. Possibly both.

    By Blogger Angela, at 9:59 PM  

  • Oh Angela,
    I am glad you don't want children. People so unwilling to put forth effort in raising children shouldn't have any.

    Furthermore, if you think the evacuation process for dogs is so simple you clearly have not raised a puppy yourself. Cold weather causes problems in housebreaking dogs too (since you live in NH you would know this if you had ever raised a puppy) Next, no responsible dog owner just lets their dog loose to relieve themselves. Dogs need to be exorcised as well as allowed acess to the outdoors.

    for the sake of NH dogs please add "Dog raising" to the list of things you are giving up in favor of career a "a life."

    By Blogger TheAmber, at 10:02 PM  

  • heh...I used to have a dog that needed exorcism too.

    By Blogger Bob, at 4:43 PM  

  • Bob, that is what you get for letting Chris hang around your dog

    By Blogger Finite, at 6:29 PM  

  • Naw...Christopher makes dogs fat, not evil.

    By Blogger Bob, at 8:25 PM  

  • I don't know about that. I though Christopher made everything evil.

    And what the hell? Naw? When did you become Southern?

    By Blogger August., at 7:41 PM  

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