Confession. Until recently, I have largely managed to avoid all things baby-related. These unknown little-entities always seemed too fragile, too breakable. Facebook posts by worn out mothers terrified me. Now that I live in close proximity to several little babies, I’ve been forced to conquer my fear. I’m happy to report some progress. This morning I entertained baby Paul for several hours and calmly dealt with two ‘accidents.’ Nevertheless, I’m in awe of these mothers.
This is what I see every morning when I walk out my door:
That’s right. Over 25 pieces of lovingly hand-washed cotton. Some are for carrying the baby, most are for nappies. General protocol here is that you wash clothes with soap twice, then rinse once. However nappies are washed at least 3 times- the first wash is basically about removing the deposit. As an aside, who knew that babies poo is yellow? Is this universal, or a result of the local diet of Gulu mothers? Anybody?! Naturally, all this extra washing requires a lot of water. So while I only need one jerry can from the borehole per day, my neighbour fetches five. That’s a lot of work. On the other hand, these mothers have two key advantages over NZ mums:
- Free babysitters everywhere. While I was initially dubious about seven year olds carrying babies, so far I’m proven wrong. These kids are pros.
- Constant company. I’m yet to meet any isolated mums. Spread out your mat in the shade, put the babies in the middle, and yarn away.
On balance, I think I’d take the company over a washing machine or disposable nappies. On the other hand, if we hacked down a few fences in NZ, mothers could probably achieve both!