“Because your son married a hippie,” is what I wanted to say.

What I actually did was backtrack and talk about how rational and realistic I am, how we’d never go “full-cloth”, how we’d definitely use disposables for travel, day care, or overnight.  How we’re aware of the potential drawbacks of having a week’s worth of urine-soaked diapers waiting for a laundry service, or having to wash them all ourselves.

What I did was mumble something about long-term cost savings and try to share my excitement that these are no longer the previous generation’s cloth diapers.  About how easy the new cloth diapering systems can be, and about the environmental impact of disposables.

I had committed the serious error of answering the initial question, which had been, “So have you guys decided what you’re doing about diapers?”  Mr. Apron swears I should have stuck with my original answer (“We’re still considering the options.”) and left it at that.  But I had also elaborated, mistaking their question for interest, the way one does in a conversation.

When I tried to talk about the two-in-one systems I’ve become interested in, or the laundry services that are springing up, all I heard in return were horror stories about my nephew’s diaper blow-outs, and wrinkled noses at the concept of a week’s worth of soiled diapers sitting in our home.  There was much talk of their concerns of poop containment – or of failure to do so – ironically all examples of how disposables fail.  Though I would think this would be evidence that diapering is messy business no matter what type of diaper the kid wears, it all seemed to just be ammunition for them to, if not exactly attack me, then at least dampen my excitement.

Later, as Mr. Apron and I discussed the ill-fated conversation, he explained my mistake.  I had assumed a question meant they were interested and wanted to know more, and would listen to me tell them things they did not know.  This is a pattern one would assume happens often enough, as I have had different life experiences, and my mother- and sister-in law are a bit sheltered at least.  On the contrary, it was a vehicle for them to prod.  Apparently, the way to answer their questions is politely and curtly, to get the interrogation over as soon as possible with as little angst as possible.

“So, have you researched the safety of the car seats/strollers/cribs/mittens you’re considering?”

“Of course we have.” (a blatant lie)

“And none of these cribs are drop-side, right?”

“Of course not.  We would never buy a used one, and they don’t even sell drop-side anymore.”

“How did your new car [already purchased] do on crash tests?”

“Great!” (better than a Pinto)

“Will your sister be stopping by as she drives from Pittsburgh to St. Louis?”

“No.” (as St. Louis is west of Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia is east, and decidedly not on the way)

“Did you walk over to the house tonight?” (a half-mile)

“No, we unicycled.”  (my new strategy for partially answering this inane question, which crops up at every single visit, as if our trekking in whatever condition – pregnant or not, impending rain or not – is a major adventure.)

The bigger picture, of course, is that I do not need their approval.  I’m going to make many choices with my own children that are different than the choices they made with theirs, and with their other grandchild.  Together, Mr. Apron and I will decide whether to feed them breast milk or formula, whether or not to boil the bottles, whether or not to use pacifiers, which types of child gates to install, what weather/clothing is suitable for outings, and what type of diaper to use.  When it comes down to it, aside from their providing occasional respite care babysitting, we’ll be the ones changing diapers (blow-outs or not), we’ll be the ones paying for formula/breast milk storage bags, we’ll be the ones dealing with the runny noses (which may or may not have been prevented by boiling the bottles), and we’ll be the ones raising the kids.

Unlike their other daughter (the mother of my nephew), whose only child-rearing decision has been to have a medically unnecessary elective C-section, we are walking into parenthood with a clue.  We’re not turning to Mr. Apron’s parents to provide 2.5 days/week of child care, free.  We’re not asking them to take our infant seats to the state police to be properly installed.  We’re not assuming they’re just going to make our child-rearing decisions because we don’t know anything about babies, and never wanted them in the first place.

I’m not under any (Teen Mom’s) Farrah-like delusions that we’re going to be the best parents ever, never make mistakes, and always know exactly what to do.  I don’t for a minute believe we’ll make it through the first six weeks of infant twins without massive amounts of support from both our families.  But I do believe we can make our own decisions about them when it comes to what’s important to us.  We’re not leading them into traffic, bathing them in lead paint dust, or sticking beer in their bottles.

I just wish I could assert myself better and more often, especially when my beliefs/decisions are questioned.  Or else learn to recognize all interrogative statements as such, and not as merely questions meant to show interest or start a pleasant conversation.

Apparently, having coffee at my in-laws’ is more like Guantanamo Bay than I first realized.

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