Oil Painting & Cloth Diapers

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I started oil painting in 10th grade. I think back and there is no greater skill I’ve learned (amongst other skills that have no application towards human survival). I love the way it feels to dip a paintbrush in oil. I love mixing pigment. I love turpentine. Most of all, I love the slow, methodical process of applying stroke after stroke.


This is my first large oil painting from 10th or 11th grade. 3’x4′

So I don’t like to bring up CDs, or cloth diapers,  with other moms who don’t CD. It’s kind of like discussing different types of underwear. I wear what I want, and others wear what they want–I have no judgements. But when I’m out and changing my son’s diaper, there’s always the comments from other moms, “oh, you cloth diaper. how do you like it? just wait till he eats solids. isn’t it a lot of work?” Last night during my son’s usual 3am feeding and diaper change, a thought occurred to me. CDs are similar to oil painting. Theres a slow, methodical process to CDing and I LOVE IT.

Here is what I love about CDs:

  • Zero landfill waste. We have yet to discover how long disposable diapers actually take to break down. They say anywhere from 100-300 years. But in reality, it could be much much longer.
  • MUCH less impact. You can read up on a brief history of disposable diapers here, however buying mainstream disposable diapers supports an industry that hurts our environment on so many levels. The production of super absorbent polymers and the trucking of big boxes of diapers all across the country create so many emissions and harms our environment terribly. To quote Joy Talles Ezell in the article I just linked, “We live in Perry, Florida, a community where pine trees are “cooked and bleached” into cellulose from which P&G’s disposable diapers are made. We have pulpmill-contaminated drinking water, a polluted Floridan Aquifer, the most polluted river in Florida, the Fenholloway River, two species of fish which are changing sex, three species of deformed insects, dioxin-contaminated fish and seafood, the extinction of the Suwannee cooter in the river, no frogs, no birds, the 57th worst air in the nation, many illnesses and diseases among the people, and ten square miles of dead seagrasses where the Fenholloway meets the Gulf of Mexico. In addition to using unsustainable forestry practices, the company has drained the water recharge area of the county, has dried up all the creeks, streams, and springs, and caused tremendous environmental damage in general. that’s what it takes to make those disposable diapers in this article. We used to say “stop chlorine, save jobs”, but after twenty-something years of trying to encourage P&G/Buckeye to clean up its mess, now our mantra is “Clean it up, or close it down”. People and the environment here are suffering to a degree that P&G should be ashamed of – yet their profits dictate that our county remain a “sacrifice area”. The cellulose produced here goes into P&G disposable diapers, sanitary napkins, filters, sausage casings, food additives, rayon, and many other products. Now the mill is getting rid of its toxic sludge by mixing it with mulch and selling it as a “soil amendment product” or compost for consumers to grow their gardens and tomato plants in, making a profit off their toxic waste at the cost of your health, not just ours in this poor, sad, sick community.”
  • Flushing poo down the toilet helps protect us from diseases. The World Health Organization explains that human poop can contain diseases like Cholera and Hep A. Whether you use disposables or CDs, it is best practice to flush poo down the toilet. However, most people that use sposies don’t shake poo into the toilet. In fact, most people don’t even know to do so. When you CD, you always flush poo down the toilet (with the exception of breastfed poo which is water soluble and can be washed directly in the washer).
  • Softer on the bum. Have you felt a baby’s skin? It’s usually super soft and delicate. Have you felt a plastic diaper? CDs come in a variety of soft, comfortable materials–cotton, hemp, bamboo, and microfiber fleece.
  • Breastmilk poo is water soluble and is super easy to wash out in the washing machine. I plan to exclusively breastfeed until a year or until my baby wants and can eat solids. Here is why I plan to delay solids.
  • Babies who CD tend to potty train faster. CD babies feel when they are wet–as they should. So they know when they pee. I’ve started elimination communication with my 9 week old..so hopefully he potty trains even faster than 2 or 3 years.
  • Costs significantly less and can be used for multiple children or even re-sold. Diaper stashes from newborn to potty training can be anywhere from $200+ total. I’ve purchased a lot of expensive diapers and tried a whole variety of options so I’ve spent a total of $580 including my wipes. I have 100+ diaper changes. That’s still way cheaper than the average $2,000 parents will spend on 2 years of plastic diapers and disposable wipes. My water bill has yet to go up significantly so I’ll report on that in a few more months.

Here is a video explaining my stash of diapers if you’re curious what they look like and have no idea:









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Founder at Dymin Collective
Mindy Song is a mother of one, a video artist, and musician from Orange, CA. She is an advocate of social justice with interests in globalization, socio-economics, and the history of women’s rights in developing nations. By day she is a marketing specialist for a dental imaging company, milk pumper, and wannabe supermom. By night she is an asian fusion chef, art critic, and blogger.
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