The winner of the #RNW2016 writing competition. Thank you to Chand-ni-halz-mum
When my mum first realised that the fat nappy l was changing my daughter into was made of cloth she held her breath for as long as she could before she discretely (by her standards) said she would like to do her bit as a grandma and cover the cost of ‘modern’ nappies (she meant disposable ones). She thought we couldn’t afford disposable nappies as there was no other reason to explain cloth nappies in the 21st century in the UK. My mum put my choice down to having an English husband for no right thinking Bengali couple would wish to re enact washing cloth nappies when we had moved away from poverty only a generation or two ago. How could I forget my childhood job of soaking nappies with Napisan in a bucket…There was something almost visceral about washing your child’s wee and poo out of their nappies, and no denying that it was a process that needed quite a bit more concentration than chucking nappies in the bin. After our second child finally learnt to use the toilet we washed and packed the cloth nappies all away ready for the time when we would get round to sending them on to a new home. This didn’t happen for a few years but when we did bring out the box to wash the contents again before donating them, l felt a wee bit sad (did you see what l did there?!). So did my partner. Very odd reaction. Those nappies had made sure we were very closely connected to our babies during a fundamental period in their lives, and perhaps we fleetingly mourned the passing of that. Of course l’ve kept a couple of them for if/when l have grandchildren, and even if I don’t …..