I call it the "Go Mowgli" movement, after the little boy raised by wolves in Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book," since wolf moms don't change diapers either.
Sadly, Chicago moms aren't warming to the Go Mowgli idea — they're so provincial with their diapers and their old-fashioned notions of cleanliness — but I'm crossing my fingers, hoping New York leads the nation once again in another liberating and eco-friendly cultural trend.
America needs to be free. We need to Go Mowgli. First the babies, yes, but then the old folks can lose the Depends and go commando. And finally everybody, even middle-aged guys. We'll wear nothing but loincloths and go wherever, and really feel a kinship with the environment.
Thanks, New York, for helping us see the light.
According to an amazing story in the New York Times, local children are running free without diapers in the hopes that they may be toilet trained by 18 months. And their parents aren't burdened with the guilt of leaving a legacy of plastic diapers that just sit there for centuries, ruining the planet. Instead, they're leaving other legacies that New Yorkers can step in.
The tykes are encouraged to go where and when they feel like it: in the parks, on the floor, in the corner of the room in a bowl during a fancy dinner party, or dangled over the kitchen sink.
According to the article, one New York baby store "has been drawing capacity crowds to its diaper-free 'Meetups' where parents exchange tips like how to get a baby to urinate on the street between parked cars."
Between parked cars? It sounds to me like Wrigleyville, but without the Cubs games.
"That's just revolting," said the love of my life, clean freak, bleach lover and mother of our two teenagers. I'm ashamed to say Betty adamantly opposes the diaperless Go Mowgli ethos.
"If I ever see an infant child dangled over a kitchen sink, or allowed to use the floor, I would never visit that home again," she said curtly. "Ever."
Honey, I know it might be awkward. After all, what do you say after a child releases in the sink? Do you say, "Oh, isn't that nice? What's for dessert? Fruit and cheese?"
"You're fishing for quotes," she said, Sicilian eyes flashing, wise to my ways. "You got your quote for your column. Happy now?"
No, I'm not happy. I'm sad.
Because I'm living in Negativity Town.
Unlike New York moms, my wife and other completely unhip Midwestern women think diapers are necessary for toddlers. But if the kids can't Go Mowgli, then the rest of us can't do it either.
Chicago women may see the diaperless scampering and the going-in-the-corner-of-the-dining-room-during-a-dinner-party as another sign of the apocalypse.
But New Yorkers are sophisticated. They're trendsetters. They're leaders. And they say that this "elimination communication" helps the child control the natural urges. I'm told this has been going on in China for centuries, although maybe that's because China didn't invent Pampers.
"I never did learn to change my own kids' diapers without gagging," wrote Elizabeth F. on Facebook when I posed the issue to readers. "Please don't help to get this custom spread about — and between cars? How do you get into your car?"