My wife and I forgot to have children. We are so busy going to movies, plays and concerts, buying nice things for the house, and taking long vacations without looking at a school calendar that it simply slipped our minds. You know how it is: You get busy, and suddenly think, "Boy, I wish I had to pay $50,000 a year to put some 18-year-old who thinks I'm an idiot through college."
But it's too late for us. Instead we're going to that wonderful Hawaiian B&B everyone's talking about. Again.
Of course, the downside of not having children is that I feel left out when friends with children discuss time-outs, play dates, family therapy and joint custody. As much as I would like to, I have nothing to contribute.
The underlying message in all this seems to be that raising a child is hard, painful, demanding, unending, exhausting work. You'd think modern parents would be looking for tips to make life easier, not harder. Which is why I found the news of the latest parenting trend, Elimination Communication, so stunning.
Elimination Communication, called E.C. by parents enamored of it, is a growing cult that worships diaper-free potty-training. They try to figure out from baby’s coos and ahs which ones mean "I love you" and which ones mean "Look out below!"
I heard about this from Jackson, a new grandad.
"You mean they really let the kid run around the house buck-nekkid?"
"Not in my house," he said, "but they do at their house. When they think the kid is ready to go, they hold him over the toilet, or over bowls they have set up all over the house."
"Bowls? Remind me not to have soup at their house. Whose crazy idea was this? The Octomom?"
"No, their doula tells them kids go without diapers in Third World countries all the time."
"Their doula. It's a woman who is there to comfort the mother. It's not really medical or a midwife, but a companion."
"I understand," I said. "I think the English word for that is 'friend' or 'family.'"
"My daughter-in-law doesn't seem to have any friends, and she doesn't get along with her family. Ergo, the doula."
"You mean no one is inviting her and her diaperless baby to the weekly bridge game? That's hard to believe."
"The doula says it keeps diapers out of landfills."
"Really? I've been to the landfill, and what you see are a lot of old computers, printers and CD players stacked up to the sky. And washing machines and refrigerators, and a lot of construction debris from people who have remodeled their houses to put in nurseries. But I have never seen a diaper there. Maybe because, unlike the computers, they decompose. Still, there's a much easier way to keep diapers out of landfills: Forget to have children."
Contact Jim Mullen at JimMullenBooks.com.