Via Media

Via Media


Barely there

posted by awelborn

Over the past couple of weeks, there has been some discussion of the so-called "Diaper-Free" movement. Otherwise known as Elimination Communication. Diaper-Free Baby is one website dedicated to the cause. There was a Newsweek article, I believe, then a NYTimes article, then a NYTimes op-ed.

Today, a Slate article sums up the issue. By the way, I love the graphic on the Slate piece. It’s adorable.

The piece shifts, immediately into Parent War mode, since EC requires, as you could imagine, rather constant and close attention, something that, say a parent working outside the home can’t do. And off we go!

In fact, elimination communication sounds a lot like another name for ever-present mothering: attachment parenting, the theory of child rearing that holds that kids are best off emotionally and cognitively if they’re always with a single caregiver in their early years. Here’s how babies become toilet trained by the age of 6 months among the Digo people of East Africa, according to the American Family Physician: "The child spends the first few months of life exclusively in the company of the mother." Here’s the modern-day Manhattan version as reported by the Times: "Some parents sleep next to their children and keep a potty at arm’s reach." So much for an evening away. And forget about a day at the office.

It’s fascinating to watch the twists and turns in American parenting practices. Early training used to be suggested, earlier in the 20th century, along with very early eating of solid foods – via the bottle, no less. Be assured that the percentage of parents interested in EC would be very small, even among proponents of attachment parenting, I would think. It’s just not….necessary.



Advertisement
Comments read comments(33)
post a comment
JC

posted October 17, 2005 at 10:39 am


Interesting. Of course, what’s so wrong with “no evenings out” or “no trips to the office”?
It’s sad how people make themselves so dead to their own natural feelings that they have to force that on everyone else.
There was a good column in our local paper yesterday about co-sleeping:
http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2005/102005/10162005/137562



report abuse
 

Jimmy Mac

posted October 17, 2005 at 10:44 am


It’s been an interesting discussion in the papers and on the radio.
If, however, the parenets to bring their diaperless tots out in public, then I urge them to do what urban dog and cat owners do: bring along a pooper scooper and a plastic bag. And don’t forget the Febreze, either.



report abuse
 

Greg Popcak

posted October 17, 2005 at 10:45 am


We were kicking this around HMS last week, and I think you’re right, Amy. This is one are that even attachment parenting advocates are fairly agnostic on. If you wanna do it, great. If not, cool.
It is true that EC appears to be a logical application of AP principles to toilet training and insofar as it is helping parents become clued-in to their baby, it can’t be a bad thing.
On the other hand, it does strike me as much ado about doo-doo. There are other safe, gentle, and loving ways to potty-train a child. I’m not sure why this would be something people would fight about. (Although, of course, I do get the mommy-wars connection. Anything that parents can use to make themselves feel guilty will always cause sparks).



report abuse
 

Jennifer N.

posted October 17, 2005 at 11:02 am


I believe most attachment parenting ideas make sense. Babies need the near constant presence of their mothers. Duh. One can be a full time, attached mother and still have an occasional evening out.
But baby potty-training? Why?? Why would I make mothering harder than it already is? Sleep is what keeps me sane and I’m not about to interrupt it so that I can put my infant on the potty.



report abuse
 

Peggy

posted October 17, 2005 at 11:10 am


Potty training is hard enough already, even w/mommy or daddy home every day. Not interested in EC.



report abuse
 

S.F.

posted October 17, 2005 at 11:13 am


Serious question. Afraid to ask. Do AP advocates think it is cool if parents choose not to use AP?



report abuse
 

Maureen

posted October 17, 2005 at 11:14 am


They don’t want you to be sane. American consumer culture today is driven by one thing: never let anyone be happy with the way things are.
So you can never stand still, never do what your parents and grandparents did, never be satisfied with tried-and-true or good-enough-for-jazz.
(This distracts you from all the stuff you really should be doing, like actually spending time with your family — instead of spending all your time buying new baby equipment and new parenting books.)



report abuse
 

Maureen

posted October 17, 2005 at 11:19 am


Btw — if Baby’s crawling around with no clothes or diaper on, isn’t Baby likely to bruise or scrape some rather delicate places? I mean, yes, the butt comes with natural padding, but most babies do an awful lot of falling on their diaper-padded butts. And winter’s coming. How hot do these people keep their houses?



report abuse
 

Ed

posted October 17, 2005 at 11:19 am


EC as a strategy for foster parents is a good joke, IMHO. When you have children who pee to communicate rage….



report abuse
 

Clarita

posted October 17, 2005 at 11:26 am


I have a friend who did this with her second baby. She seemed happy enough but every time I went to visit her she was either cleaning poop off her jeans or holding her baby over a potty. In the end she decided that babies should just be allowed to go in diapers whenever they want and not have to convince Mom that it’s potty time.



report abuse
 

Susan Peterson

posted October 17, 2005 at 11:28 am


I did read somewhere of an anthropologist observing women and babies in a tropical village setting and seeing the mothers holding their small infants out from their bodies to pee and poop, seeming to know when this was coming. But this was a warm place where pretty much constant skin to skin contact could be practice, and a place where pee and poop would be absorbed back into the forest floor most places they happened to fall. I don’t see this as very transferable to our current situation.
I really think that with potty training whatever is least stressful for parents and child is best. I do think people can overly freak out about a little pee and poop. In Maryland’s hot summers I used to let the toilet training toddler/preschooler run around the house and yard with no shirt. I had a one of those little kid potties on each floor of the house. It seemed to work. But of course, there were accidents. I once lost a friend whose kids were at my house, over this. Her son told her my toddler peed on the floor. She came and lectured me, “There is only one way to toilet train-you have to take them to the bathroom every hour.” This was a woman whose two children had gone to day care since they were infants and had been toilet trained by age 18 months by their daycare in France, which basically must have spent most of its time in taking kids to the potty. How could she tell me how to toilet train my SIXTH child? The other five were all toilet trained. Obviously my more laid back methods also worked. But she never let her kids come to my house again. This was sad for me, as she was a graduate student in philosophy and I was hungry for intellectual companionship. But it is another illustration of the power of mothering issues to arouse deep passions.
Susan Peterson



report abuse
 

CV

posted October 17, 2005 at 11:59 am


EC sounds like a crock of you-know-what to me.
Sorry.
Seriously, why is this such a radical concept? We visit a fairly large pediatric practice and most of the peds have given me variations on the same advice about potty training. That is, it can be quickest and easiest during warm summer months when toddlers can run around with less clothing and even sans diaper for awhile.
In my experience, my kids only made major potty progress when we skipped the Pull-ups and went straight to big girl or big boy pants. Nobody likes that feeling of wet pants for long, so they get the hang of the potty thing pretty quickly.
I don’t see why this would prompt an AP controversy. Potty training is messy and can take what seems like a long time, whether you are at home full time or not.



report abuse
 

mb

posted October 17, 2005 at 12:06 pm


when the kids wanted to go to the pool, I told them they sure could as soon as they didn’t have to wear diapers. Presto!



report abuse
 

Carlo

posted October 17, 2005 at 12:28 pm


They don’t want you to be sane. American consumer culture today is driven by one thing: never let anyone be happy with the way things are.
I have to agree with this one!
As a sometime house-husband, I have to say that this is one of the nuttier ideas I’ve ever heard.
However, live and let live. If someone wants to do this, I say, Go for it. But contain your zeal well before the point where you tell the rest of us what bad parents we are if we don’t agree.



report abuse
 

Zhou De-Ming

posted October 17, 2005 at 12:38 pm


So the forward-looking young American mommies want to do it the tradional, old-fashioned Chinese way.

From the rash of stories that have appeared on the subject lately, there is a growing movement to toilet-train infants by the time they’re 6 months old. But raising “diaper-less” babies isn’t a new idea. Some societies have been doing it for thousands of years.
Diapering is primarily a Western practice and a rarity in 75 nations including China, where young children conveniently wear split pants. Half the world’s children never wear a diaper because they don’t need to. Some get their first potty-training lesson before they are a month old.

While nature-loving American and Western European young parents discover that diapers are not absolutely, 100% essential (and, who are also having record low number of babies…) the Giant Disposable Diaper Corporations are actually targeting the parts of the world where there ARE a lot of babies, and parents who can be swayed to follow modern, smart Western parenting trends:

hat’s the case at Kimberly-Clark Corp., the Irving-based maker of Kleenex tissues and Huggies diapers. Since January 2004, the company has been focusing on six countries that contain nearly half the world’s population: Brazil, Russia, India, China, Indonesia and Turkey.
These countries and other developing nations represent Kimberly-Clark’s fastest growing markets, accounting for 23 percent of sales and 17 percent of operating profits.
Those percentages could rise much higher. In China and Indonesia, babies usually wear cloth diapers. Kimberly-Clark has found disposable diapers are used only 5 percent of the time.
To reach consumers in those untapped markets, Kimberly-Clark sells its Huggies diapers at three different prices, hoping to appeal to families at all income levels.
Its lowest-cost diaper, for instance, doesn’t include features found on premium products, including stretchable side panels, a Velcro fastening system and a clothlike outer cover.
Sometimes the diapers are sold individually instead of in a pack.
“We had to approach these markets in a different way,” said Robert Abernathy, Kimberly-Clark’s group president of developing and emerging markets.

Not just Kimberly-Clark, maker of Huggies, but also Proctor and Gamble, maker of Pampers:

P&G, maker of Tide detergent and Pampers disposable diapers, among other consumer products, closed its acquisition of Gillette, maker of razors, Braun electric shavers, Duracell batteries and other products, less than two weeks ago.
Lafley said Gillette adds to the company’s core strengths such as branding and scale and to its market leadership positions. The combined companies have 22 brands with at least US$1 billion each in annual sales, and he said P&G’s growing strength in China and other developing markets will be complemented by Gillette in places such as Brazil and India.

There was a nice article in China Daily last year about how the tradional “open-crotch pants” or kiadangku were giving way to Western style diapers:

One of the indelible images of China for foreigners is that of the cutie-pie baby wearing the pants with a giant hole on the bottom – known in Chinese “kaidangku” (literally “open-crotch pants”).
One might even catch a Chinese toddler relieving himself, right on the street. Visitors may find this disgusting, or delightful, but they may not see such sights any longer, at least in the cities.
China’s famous split pants may soon be eclipsed by the disposable diaper. Urban consumers are deploying the diaper and making China one of the world’s fastest growing markets.
Annual sales for some brands are climbing by 50 percent or more. Upscale stores are no longer carrying split-pants outfits, instead, shelf after shelf of diapers. Just about all of the babies who grace China’s sleek parenting magazines are wearing diapers.
Maximum Convenience with Minimum Coverage
With a look of intense concentration on his face, 21-month-old Zhang Xueyang explores the playground, ducking under swings and slides as fast as his legs can carry him. Suddenly, he stops in mid-stride and squats, the seam of his pants parting smoothly to allow him to urinate on the concrete.
Zhang is able to pee thanks to kaidangku. Such pants have been popular in China for decades.
The principle is clear: no-fuss waste disposal. They’re split down the middle-in front and back-and provide what many parents say is maximum convenience with minimum coverage.
But in recent years, with China’s rapid economic development creating a growing middle class, rising incomes and more sophisticated lifestyles have pushed many parents, particularly those in big cities, toward disposable diapers.
‘It’s More Convenient and Healthier’
“Split pants? That’s so old-fashioned!” said Annie Cao, who was shopping at a department store in Shanghai with her two-year-old daughter, Celine. “It’s not hygienic. It’s bad for the environment. Only poor people who live on farms wear them.”
Celine, naturally, wore diapers before she was toilet-trained. But when Cao, 37, was asked what she herself wore during infancy, she paused, then smiled. “I don’t remember,” she said. “Maybe the split pants.”
Dai Yuhua, 33, who runs a fruit store in Shanghai, said, though, that when her first child, now 11, was a toddler, Dai did not know that disposable diapers existed. But now, with her one-year-old second child, she uses the split pants only on extremely hot days.
In the late 1970s, when Mao-suit grays and dark blues were the norm for adults, children’s vividly hued kaidangku were the only splashes of color on Beijing’s drab streets.
But in Beijing these days, bare baby bottoms are an increasingly rare sight-even on sultry summer afternoons, when kaidangku used to be almost a uniform for toddlers.
“They’re so uncivilized,” said Su Shaojuan, a cashier from the southern city of Guangzhou who has a two-year-old son. “People nowadays have more money, so they use diapers. It’s more convenient and healthier for the child and parents.”
Part of it is undoubtedly purely hygienic, a byproduct of the Chinese government’s years-long effort to spruce up its urban areas and, it says, steer people away from unclean practices.
Many cities have outlawed indiscriminate garbage dumping, public urination by adults and street spitting. And a country that’s inviting the world in for the Olympics in 2008 hardly wants visitors to see public spaces used as toilets.
At the New Mommy Post-Delivery Care Center in Beijing, new mothers are advised to use diapers regardless of cost, said Zhang Yue, head nurse of the facility.
“They’re cleaner, healthier and disposable. Babies wearing the split pants are easily catching a cold, diarrhea and even suffering urethritis,” Zhang said.
Zhao Zhongxin, a professor at Beijing Normal University’s Education Science Research Institute, goes even further: The split pants, he says, have become a social indicator of sorts.
“Children in the cities do not wear kaidangku anymore. But children in the countryside still do,” Zhao said. “This is the difference between the minds and living conditions of rural people and urban people.”
“In the past, people did not have a strong sense of hygiene,” he said. “Now parents are usually very busy and do not have time to help the children to relieve themselves.”
Disposable Diaper Sales Have Risen Sharply in China
These days, China’s disposable diaper market is well over $200 million a year, and surging, particularly in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.
At a branch of the Jingkelong supermarket chain in Beijing, hundreds of multihued diaper packages are piled atop each other in one aisle and brightly patterned samples are on display. Prices range from about $1.80 for a package of 20, to $12 for 60.
“They’re more popular in winter because it’s too hot in summer,” said a sales assistant who would give only her family name, Li. “They may not be as comfortable as kaidangku, but the standard of life is rising and sales are rising with it.”
Kimberly-Clark, producers of Huggies, estimates that sales in the entire China market are growing by 20 to 40 percent each year. Procter & Gamble says its annual sales of Pampers, introduced in China in 1998, are growing by better than 50 percent. Its own research indicates that 50 percent of babies in Shanghai now wear diapers during the day, and 90 percent at night.
“Pampers promotes overnight dryness, and it helps baby to have a good night’s sleep,” said Yvonne Pei, associate director of external relations for Procter & Gamble in China. “If baby doesn’t have good sleep, baby doesn’t have good mental development.”
Unicharm, a Japanese company that produces the popular Mamy Poko brand, said in its 2002 report that it intended to invest in a new plant in Shanghai to make diapers.
About a dozen domestic companies now distribute diapers widely, too. One Shanghai company, Goodbaby, started selling diapers in 1998, and later added a toll-free information line. Typical questions dealt with how to change a diaper and how long a baby should wear a diaper before a change.
“We are trying to change people’s thinking about diapers,” said Tang Xiaoyun, a sales and marketing assistant for Goodbaby. “Some people, especially farmers, may think they are too wasteful.”
Or too expensive. Though diapers are slightly cheaper here than in the United States, the average cost of about 15 to 20 cents each remains unaffordable for many Chinese. In the first half of 2003, the per capita income of urban residents was $520, while in rural areas it was $139.
But some people still swear by split pants. One mother from Zhejiang, who was watching her child frolic on a commercial strip, said split pants were more comfortable for the children and helped prevent diaper rash.
Mrs. Wu, the 21-month-old Zhang Xueyang’s mother, remains unconvinced. “Even if people don’t think it looks good, that’s a minority opinion,” she said. “This is a Chinese tradition.”

So, we might start seeing babies in America and Western Europe trade diapers with those in China and India. Ha!



report abuse
 

Ed

posted October 17, 2005 at 12:48 pm


Naked butts are common in Hawaii, at least in the yard at home. But oddly, most people don’t live there. :-/



report abuse
 

Dale Price

posted October 17, 2005 at 12:51 pm


I’ve seen Rachel Milgroom (one of the founders) interviewed, and she seems to be a decent non-fanatic. She emphasizes the communication angle very nicely, and admits that she still has to use diapers on lengthy car-trips. It is a definite offshoot of AP, and arouses the same passions.
I’m still using diapers, though–my youngest two have the best Texas Hold ‘Em faces I’ve ever seen.



report abuse
 

LadyHatton

posted October 17, 2005 at 12:52 pm


The comments in the China article were interesting. Sort of like people’s attitudes towards breastfeeding in the middle part of the last century (remember “The Group”?), putting babies in split pants is something only ignorant peasants from the old country(side). It’s dirty, it’s insanitary, it’s not as good for the baby…. Funny how the pendulum swings back.



report abuse
 

JC

posted October 17, 2005 at 12:57 pm


BTW, in my first post, I was referring to the article’s take on AP.
SF, unfortunately, as often happens with something “counter-cultural,” many AP advocates take a a very dogmatic attitude about it.
Me? I say, “learn as many options as you can to decide what works best for you.” It is one thing to state the benefits of a method and why you think it’s better, but one must always be charitable to understanding others’ needs and priorities.
As for the actual diaperless thing, I read a while ago that in the middle ages, European mothers would just swaddle their babies in multiple layers, then only change them once a week.
While changing the baby’s diaper the other day, I quipped, “Maybe those Elizabeth mothers had the right idea.”
My wife said, “Don’t worry–they’ll probably announce some medical study showing that baby poop is good for the baby’s skin or immune system or something.”



report abuse
 

kathleen reilly

posted October 17, 2005 at 1:10 pm


People can make absolutely EVERYTHING into a competition (“my baby was trained at 13 mos!”). What a sad waste of energy.



report abuse
 

Brigid

posted October 17, 2005 at 1:39 pm


Ditto, Kathleen. “Competition” is exactly right. This was the impression my niece, who has two small children, had when she hung out with some EC moms. She said she was just overwhelmed from watching them!



report abuse
 

Greg Popcak

posted October 17, 2005 at 2:34 pm


S.F. wrote,
“Serious question. Afraid to ask. Do AP advocates think it is cool if parents choose not to use AP?”
S.F., I’m not sure why you’d be afraid to ask. I know people in St. Blog’s like to go on about the “AP Police” telling them how to parent, but for every sling-wearing mom who’s accosted someone about babywearing, I can give you 10 stories about non-AP parents accosting AP parents with “you’re going to spoil him!” or “that kid’s NEVER going to leave your room.”
In other words, parents on all sides of the issue have a hard time keeping their eyes on their own paper. For example, it would be just as easy for an AP parent to ask you, “Do advocates of non-AP parenting think it is cool if parents choose to use AP?”
The answer, in both cases, is, “Who cares?” Parenting isn’t supposed to be about making us parents feel good about ourselves. Parenting is about attending to the God-given needs of the child the best way we can. If a parent, whatever choices they make, genuinely believes that he or she is doing what is best for their particular child (and not merely doing what enables them to get back to their pre-child life asap) what does that parent have to feel guilty about? And why should he or she care what anybody thinks?
Does that make sense?
Greg



report abuse
 

Ken

posted October 17, 2005 at 4:05 pm


Potty-trained at six months?
Sounds like another go-round of “She who dies with the Most Overachieved Child wins”.



report abuse
 

Cheeky Lawyer

posted October 17, 2005 at 4:19 pm


Haven’t had a chance to read this yet but it reminds me of my grandmother who is a big early-potty training advocate. She had my mother and aunt “potty-trained” at six-months which really meant that she knew when they were going to go and put them on the pot. This was done out of necessity in post-WWII Germany. The diaper ration was 6 per baby. That is 6 cloth diapers per baby, diapers that had to be cleaned and boiled. It gave my grandmother a great incentive to figure out my mother’s bladder and bowel movements.
When our baby was born a year ago, my grandmother gave us a training-potty.
And I was trained just after one year old because my mother and I were about to visit my grandmother. My mom didn’t want to disappoint but was having trouble. She was on the playground with another mother and that mother told my mom that she’d trained her son by putting underoos on him. I soon was wearing my Superman underoos 24/7. I didn’t want to wet them and I was potty-trained immediately.



report abuse
 

Zhou De-Ming

posted October 17, 2005 at 5:05 pm


Nice website on the history of the diaper.
Diaper sales statistics for the whole world!
In 2005, the top 6 baby populations (age 0-2) were:
1. India, 57,681,000
2. China, 47,238,000
3. Indonesia, 12,003,000
4. Pakistan, 11,235,000
5. Nigeria 9,664,000
6. United States, 9,609,000
However, because of the differences in diaper market penetration, the top 6 diaper consuming countries in 2005 are:
1. United States, 14,820,103,000 (96%)
2. Mexico, 5,093,640,000 (56%)
3. Japan, 4,722,871,000 (97%)
4. China, 4,191,499,000 (6%)
5. Brazil, 4,150,271,000 (31%)
6. Germany, 3,044,878,000 (96%)
At 4.4 diapers per child per day, the market potential just for India (2% penetration) and China (6% penetraion) in 2005 is 169,255,016,000 diapers per year (almost 170 billion). That is more than 10x the total US diaper market.
The global diaper market is estimated at 456,481,622,000 or 14,475/second.
That’s a whole lot of landfill.



report abuse
 

Sandra Miesel

posted October 17, 2005 at 5:12 pm


Medieval children were in fact, bathed and re-wrapped in swaddling bands daily, not weekly. They were also laced into their cribs or even hung up in in sack on the wall while mother worked. Potty chairs have been around since the 16th C at the very least. Small chamber pots were also used.
Until modern times, European toddlers of both sexes wore dresses until reliably potty trained for the convenience of pulling up skirts rather than pulling down pants.



report abuse
 

Zhou De-Ming

posted October 17, 2005 at 6:46 pm


For the sake of those American readers that don’t understand what traditional diaper-free clothing for babies in China might look like, this webpage has a great picture. Scroll down.
Cold, cold winter in Beijing. None of this “tropical” nonsense.
Baby wears knitted cap, leather shoes, socks, and quilted outfit. Which is surprisingly cold in some areas.



report abuse
 

kathleen reilly

posted October 17, 2005 at 8:36 pm


Zhou, great idea, but it wouldn’t fly here. my asian mother-in-law tells me that the babies just do their business on the street and no one takes a second look. Do that here, and you would have Child Protective Services on your doorstep.



report abuse
 

Redactrice

posted October 17, 2005 at 11:11 pm


No, it wouldn’t work here to let children just do their duty any time and any place. I can see the looks if someone held a baby out in the grocery parking lot and let them have their bowel movement between the handicapped parking and the shopping cart return.



report abuse
 

Ellyn

posted October 18, 2005 at 7:10 am


Kathleen – Yeah, some people are very competitive. (e.g. my mother-in-law was quoting my dear hubby’s sleep and toileting stats before our first baby was out of the womb!)
I have often been a most ambitious and self-sacrificing mother. (not always with the wished for results…) Much of AP and baby led weaning etc. has worked well for us. I used to use only cloth diapers, tote baby around in a sling until I could no longer walk and bake all of bread and snacks from whole grains. But this has just raised the bar to high. Too a high a degree of difficulty as they say in competitive sports. :)



report abuse
 

Carlo

posted October 18, 2005 at 10:03 am


Zhou, great idea, but it wouldn’t fly here. my asian mother-in-law tells me that the babies just do their business on the street and no one takes a second look.
Zhou, I don’t want to be difficult, but has anyone in China given any thought to the likelihood that having human waste in the streets might spread disease?
And even if they haven’t for one reason or another, that doesn’t mean we have to follow suit. This custom, which might have been OK in small, isolated villages (maybe) has a huge potential for spreading all sorts of diseases in closer quarters.
Not all modern inventions are bad, you know. And not all ancient customs are good.
Again, different strokes, but I hope that any parent advocating this thing in my neighborhood (or vicinity on the bus or street) takes a more sanitary attitude.



report abuse
 

Maureen

posted October 18, 2005 at 12:27 pm


Maybe out in the country, I’d be okay with that. But in a town? In the street? We have public hygiene laws for a reason, and it’s not all about oppressing the natural urges of the babies.
Stunningly enough, China still has outbreaks of cholera. The main reason we don’t is that we don’t have a lot of fecal contamination of water supplies and food and hands. Same goes for amoebic dysentery, typhoid, and giardiasis, among others.
And why don’t we? Victorian public hygiene and well regulations (as well as the prohibition of using human nightsoil as fertilizer for human food). Not to mention the fact that people no longer treat city streets as bathrooms.
I could also discourse about the diseases spread by spitting in public, but that would be off-topic.



report abuse
 

Carlo

posted October 18, 2005 at 4:17 pm


Stunningly enough, China still has outbreaks of cholera. The main reason we don’t is that we don’t have a lot of fecal contamination of water supplies and food and hands. Same goes for amoebic dysentery, typhoid, and giardiasis, among others.
And why don’t we? Victorian public hygiene and well regulations (as well as the prohibition of using human nightsoil as fertilizer for human food).

Thank you, Maureen.
Let us not romanticize this alleged ancient Asian custom of allowing infant people to poop in the streets. Infanticide and polygamy have a long history in China too. That doesn’t make them right.
No doubt it’s those bad bad English Victorians who are responsible for the virtual absence of cholera in the western industrialisms. Those repressed weirdos. They even tried to keep the streets clean, can you imagine??!?



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

There is nothing I shall want
A couple of weeks ago, a memorial Mass for Michael was held here in Birmingham at the Cathedral. The bishop presided and offered a very nice, even charming homily in which he first focused on the Scripture readings of the day, and then turned to Michael, whom he remembered, among other things, as on

posted 9:24:16am Mar. 05, 2009 | read full post »

Revolutionary Road - Is it just me?
Why am I the only person I know..or even "know" in the Internet sense of "knowing"  - who didn't hate it? I didn't love it, either. There was a lot wrong with it. Weak characterization. Miscasting. Anvil-wielding mentally ill prophets.But here's the thing.Whether or not Yates' original novel in

posted 9:45:04pm Mar. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Books for Lent
No, I'm not going to ask you about your Lenten reading lists...although I might.Not today, though. This post is about giving books to others. For Lent, and a long time after that. You know how it goes during Lent: Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving, right?Well, here's a worthy recipient for your hard-

posted 9:22:07pm Mar. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Why Via Media
How about....because I'm lame and hate thinking up titles to things? No?Okay...how about...St. Benedict? Yes, yes, I know the association with Anglicanism. That wasn't invovled in my purpose in naming the joint, but if draws some Googling Episcopalians, all the better.To tell the truth, you can bl

posted 8:54:17pm Mar. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Brave Heart?
I don't know about you, but one of effects of childbirth on me was a compulsion to spill the details. All of them.The whole thing was fascinating to me, so of course I assumed everyone else should be fascinated as well in the recounting of every minute of labor, describing the intensity of discomfor

posted 10:19:45pm Mar. 03, 2009 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.