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Elimination Communication

The first time, mom-to-be: I dedicate these paragraphs to you. Your energy, your hopes and dreams. Your time. Time to read. Time to poop and pee by yourself. Your time to dress cutely and plan your nursery. Those were the days, my friend. Being pregnant for the first time is full of expectations. My day job makes me an expert in "expectations management" and so it's easy for me to get on my soap box and preach about mommy labor, delivery and those first precious weeks.

As I write this I'm standing on that box, but it's not a soap box, it's a training potty. That small, plastic box that my little Caroline will learn about and poop and pee around and near (but not in, at least for some time). My childhood best friend is pregnant and she has some really strong opinions about the whole labor through motherhood process. Most of it I get, even if they were not my choices or reality. Home birth, no drugs, no circumcision, breast-feeding for as long as possible and even cloth diapers. I'm down with that and think it's all within realistic expectations. She has no delusions that this baby is going to come out sleeping, all soft and wrapped in a soft blankie. Actually, she has a pretty good idea of what to expect: pain and blood.

But then she tells me she's going to practice EC, aka Elimination Communication. My favorite non-credible source, Wikipedia, defines EC as, " a process by which a caregiver uses timing, signals, cues, and intuition to address an infant's excretive needs, partially or completely avoiding the use of diapers. Diapers can be used but usually tend to become extraneous and unnecessary after a point. The emphasis of EC is placed on communication. When one practices EC, they are in essence trying to communicate as much as possible with their child about the elimination process, helping the child to become aware of their own body. The term "elimination communication" was inspired by traditional practices of diaper-less baby care in less industrialized countries and hunter-gatherer cultures."

I needed a moment to comprehend this EC idea. "You know," she tells me, "like those ladies you see in National Geographic. You don't see their kids wearing diapers." This idea is very foreign to me. I like to be naked and look like I need a bra for that extra support, but I admit, I am no hunter-gatherer. I've been known not to listen when people communicate with me. Maybe that's why this idea NEVER EVER occurred to me when I had my daughter. I was just trying to make sure that I didn't go the bathroom in my pants, let alone worry about where Caroline was going.

I support my kids being aware of their own body but I thought it was by pointing out "boobies and buggies" in the bathtub or letting her run and roll around naked. I'm not sure Caroline yet knows what poop is or why we laugh when she turns red and grimaces while we're out to dinner with friends. Maybe I'm not giving her enough credit. Maybe she knows and it's a big joke on me. Ha! That silly mommy, spending all this time changing my diapers. I could have been potty trained at six months!

I look forward to witnessing EC first-hand and even told my friend I'd consider it with Number Two if it works for her Numner One. But, for now, all I couid promise her is that I'd stick to cloth underwear and save those environmentally unfriendly Depends for my nursing home days.


Phoebe said…
I love this post, you are hilarious! I am reading a library book "The Diaper Free Baby" by Christine Gross-Loh which is a great resource for anyone who is interested in EC and how to actually do it. It even has chapters for starting at different ages, even with toddlers.
Keep it up,

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