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This fascination with diapers

Published: 
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

What is this fascination people have with disposable diapers? I can understand mothers. Not only are they easy to change but there is some evidence that the act itself may make you feel closer to the child.

But fathers? Even if, in the last ten years, more and more fathers are coming into the office and changing their baby’s diapers, they are still in the minority. What about the press? Seems that any article about young children in the newspaper or on TV, must refer to baby milk and diapers. The father buss it but, as long as he buying formula and diapers, he doing his parental “duty!”

The house fall down and the mother has nowhere to sleep? Buy Pampers or Huggies and we good. Hurricane in Dominica? Quick, send plenty disposable diapers. Ah lil formula too, to stop the mothers from breastfeeding so they could buy baby milk when things better.

The latest manifestation of the diaper craze is Venezuela. No disposable diapers in Venezuela! Nothing else seems to have brought home to Trinis how bad things are over there. Imagine, no diapers!

There’s an article on Bloomberg by a guy called Jonathan Franklin, titled, “Venezuelan Pirates Rule the Most Lawless Market on Earth.” The subtitle is, “Their industry all but destroyed, former fishermen now run guns one way, diapers another.” It’s about the two-way trade between Cedros and Venezuela, complete with pictures of local fishermen with diapers who say, “We pay them in dollars and diapers. Huggies. It’s a brand they don’t get in Venezuela, and they love it.”

The article says, “The official economy of Venezuela is in a state of collapse, and the people are starving.” But they running diapers, not food, from Cedros into Venezuela. The smugglers say that back home they’ll get three times what they pay in Trinidad, and demand is so high they maintain waiting lists. “I can trade the diapers for medicine,” says one Venezuelan woman, who shuttles between Trinidad and Venezuela. “Diapers are like bars of gold. People stash diapers as if they were money.”

Waiting lists? Diapers like “bars of gold?” Like money? Why boy? What is the fascination? Are people so entranced by stool? At the other end of the gastrointestinal tract, breastmilk sells for US$4 an ounce over the Internet and breastmilk stool is being used to regenerate abnormal intestinal bacteria associated with formula.

The same hardly applies to stool in general? Perhaps there is a rush to get rid of it and keep the baby’s bottom and the air around us clean? But diapers, especially the disposable type, are the main reason why babies get diaper rash. Nothing is supposed to be in contact with that fine, smooth baby bottom skin. In so-called “primitive” societies, babies do ROACHnot wear diapers. So where do the babies poo poo? On the ground. “Primitive” mothers, especially those who breastfeed, are so in tune with their babies that they automatically know when the baby is going to poo and simply hold the baby up. Remember too that the normal bowel pattern for breastfed babies is once a week. You really only need diapers for urine and that is small stuff.

Could it be acquired behaviour? You know, “Keep up with the Jones.” They have disposable diapers so we must have too.

Could it be that they lack detergent in Venezuela? They have nothing to clean cloth diapers?

Diapers could represent modern life. We not “primitive” anymore. Even as in, we real modern, oui? We don’t use cloth diapers! We use disposable diapers!

Most likely it represents part of the speeding up of life. Disposable diapers came into common use after World War II when women began to demand freedom from washing diapers so that they could work and travel.

The best thing about diapers, however, is the saying “Change diapers as you change politicians and for the same reason.” Instead of changing diapers, Venezuelans might do better to remember that.

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