Sunday, August 10, 2008

Princess Isobel

Article submitted for Malaysia Today

I cross my arms upon my chest and look at the little princess staring intently at her Playhouse Disney. I am confused. Some parenting books tell me it is good for babies to look at colourful, moving visuals which most ‘baby dvd’s’ offer; some tell me kids should not be encouraged to watch TV at such a young age as it will ‘strain their eyes’.

But I have an article to submit, 2 loads of dirty laundry to settle, porridge to cook and an appointment at 11am that requires me to look a little more presentable than my normal ‘jeans and tee-shirt’ look! And this Saturday, Princess Isobel decides to wake up earlier than norm and wants to be entertained. So here I am torn. Decisions, decisions. I decide to go for the former. I put on her favorite channel and place her cot in front of the telly. I kneel down to her eyelevel. Her attention is drawn to Elmo’s World.

“Her cot is too near the telly,” says my husband who walks out to the living room area. I squint my eyes at him and give him a long, hard stare.

“Poops, she wants to be carried and refuses the walker…I’ve got a zillion things to do now!”

“And I have a 22 page document that I need to reedit!”

He crosses his arms and we look at each other.

“We remove the coffee table?”

We carry the Dedon coffee table and glance at our small apartment unit.

Shaking our heads, we decided to prop the rattan d├ęcor furniture upright and moved Isobel’s cot a little farther away from Elmo’s World, taking the place of Ryan’s favorite bargain discovery.

I take a step back and look around our little abode. What used to be planned initially as an all white, minimalist apartment for just 2 newly married individuals, is now an odd mix of our ‘pristine interior designed ambitions’ and ‘sesame street’ since her surprise arrival.

Ryan stops me short of my thoughts.

“What’s this?”

“Oh, it’s a special microfibre cloth that is part of my eco-plan! Instead of tissue, we use this to wipe up!”

Ryan is NOT impressed.

“But it’s so…bright! And I see you have it everywhere?”

“I couldn’t find white ones! But look at the tray! It still matches our theme! We use up to 10 boxes of tissues in a month you know!”

My husband shakes his head and walks back to his study.

I roll back the mini towel into place and head to wash Isobel’s soiled diapers. Ever since I’ve started Isobel on the conventional cloth diapers, my husband has been complaining about my eco-plan. The (only) balcony we have in this apartment holds a fantastic view of lush, green scenery and is my husband’s favorite hangout spot in our house. He now shares it with Isobel’s cloth diapers.

“I thought that’s why we bought a dryer?” he questions me. I explain to him that for Isobel’s clothes, we need to airdry them, and since it needs to be washed immediately, it would be a waste of electricity to dry just a handful. I also explain my need for him to store his golf set elsewhere to make way for my compost bin.

“For crying out loud woman! How many bins do we need in this house? You already have your paper, plastic, tin and glass bins as well as our normal ones…now you want to store our smelly waste?”

I give him my “manja” smile.

“It’s to save our world so our princess gets to appreciate it too!”

He grunts and leaves me with my theatrical dreams.

As I hang the last of her diapers out to dry, and after mixing her chopped vegetables into her porridge, I kneel down and kiss the little girl who has changed our world in more ways than one.

Ryan thinks my effort in reducing harm to the environment is ambitious. I stroke Isobel’s curly hair and feel renewed knowing that whatever I can do now, is ultimately for all the Isobel’s out there who deserve to know and see the world we knew before.


  1. you did the right thing Daph...keep it up! you really impressed me and just so you know that you're my Idol! I bet your little princess will appreciate what you've done for her and also; to save our earth! Post some new pics of your little princess Daph! I'm so eager to see her new looks!! *wink*

  2. hi daphne..I'm a silent reader of your blog..keep up the good work of cloth diapering your baby! I also just started using cloth (the modern version) on my 4 months old princess.. Happy Cloth Diapering!

  3. cloth wipes n cloth diapers?

    I salute u Daphne :D

  4. gosh i used the conventional cloth deapers also last time. hand washed and air dried. the conventional way!

  5. it's wonderful to know that more & more people are now aware of the harm we do to the environment, & want to change! :)

    i absolutely despise people who think one person cant make a difference!

    one question tho, when you start your composting, where will you be using the compost soil? you dont have a garden?

  6. wow.. the effort you put in.. Impressive!
    I hope to act on this eco-plan when i have kids someday. :)

  7. it's actually more harmful for the environment to use cloth diapers coz u use more water, detergent and so on to wash them.

    try to look for disposable biodegradable diapers instead?

    saves a lot of hassle from washing also.

  8. naeboo:i am using a special detergent...a little more expensive, but anything to save our earth right?
    But I still use her disposable diapers at night or when she is out with us..

    jules: I have some plants at my house. The rest will be given to the management at my apartment to be used at our 'gardens'around the blcok

  9. hi daphne...
    my first time leaving a comment here... kudos to you on your eco-friendly effort... i'm in it too... still have trouble getting my husband to drive the aluminum-plastic-paper wastes to the nearest recycling bin/centre (which, btw is not so near)... i hope to start using cloth diapers for the next baby (err... dunno when will that be hehehe)... i have to guiltily admit that my 2 year old boy is still using the conventional disposable diaper (so used to it alreadylah)... :-)