I don’t really know anymore, what kind of parent I am. Everywhere I look, I see it- Crunchy Parents. Recycle! Cloth diaper! Breastfeed! Organics! No TV! Home school!
Don’t get me wrong. I breastfeed. I prefer it over formula feeding. I don’t do it because it’s the whole ‘Breast is Best’. I don’t do it boost my child’s IQ or anything. I mainly do it because I’m cheap (hey-hey-hey!) and I’m lazy (really, really lazy!). The idea of getting up in the middle of the night to fool with a bottle- No Thank You!
I use disposable diapers. I really wanted to cloth diaper, don’t get me wrong. I care about the environment. 10-15 diapers a day for 2-3 years is a hell of a lot of funky gel stuff, plastic, and poop just filling up the landfills (10950-16425). That is only if you manage to only diaper for 3 years. With my first, I never thought he’d get potty trained!
Frankly, I already have enough laundry that I’m behind on (haha, behind). The thought of lovingly scoop the poop from my son’s diaper into the toilet. Just no. I know that people say that we should do that with disposables, but they can kiss my butt. I fold that little diaper up into a ball and aim for the trash can (it’s a bummer when it bounces off the rim).
Then there’s the television debate. No TV moms. Only educational TV moms. Then there are moms like me that find myself laughing at SpongeBob and the kids aren’t even in the room, or waiting in the pediatrician’s waiting area saying ‘Oh, I saw this episode of Tom and Jerry this morning’. Mind you, the only person home with me during the day is my eight month old son. I know that the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) say NO TV UNDER TWO (to which I say my 8 month old LOVES TV!). We don’t have cable. It’s not for noble reasons, just because where we live, cable doesn’t exist (at least in English). I love watching television with my kids.
I will not home school my kids. I love my kids, don’t get me wrong, but the idea of being their SOLE source of education scares the crap out of me. I did good in school, great even. Even getting pregnant in my freshmen year, I got a GPA of 3.7 (out of 4.0, and no, my parents didn’t help). I pay taxes (first when I worked full time outside of my home, and then every time I buy something at the markets and stores). Those taxes should go towards my children’s education. I also have to special needs children that get a ton of extra services that I doubt I could provide for them.
I don’t expect the school systems to provide 100% of their education, and I think that is where a lot of people fail. They expect their teachers (some who are fantastic, and some who are nothing more than glorified baby sitters) to get them from five years old to eighteen learning everything that they need to go on to college or the ‘real world’, meanwhile the parents do nothing to encourage a love of learning and reading. There are opportunities everywhere to learn.
Something as simple as a grocery trip could be a learning experience tailored to the child. Very small children can be taught shapes and colors, memory games, and simple math, while older kids can work a budget and figure out things like conversion for the best price per ounce (I do this and it drives my husband nuts because math is NOT my strong suit, so I use my fingers to count things up).
But, I need my alone time. Since having kids they’ve become my full time job. Before I worked a comfy desk job with the occasional ultrasound guided needle biopsy making enough to support us while my husband got his degree. I had adult conversations and enjoy my co-workers. Then one day I retired to care for my kids and never looked back. My days are spent juggling the schedule of seven plus everything else that demands precise times (for example, the management company of our high rise is sending out workers to deal with a faulty ballast in the kitchen).
The days they are in school (the older children) I get some much needed me time. With two special needs kids, there are a lot of various therapy and doctor’s appointments I have to attend to, meetings I must schedule, attend, and work the logistics of where the other kids will be during these things. Often times, my husband is away on business and it’s just me. Me and my little red book.
So, no. I do not home school. It’s not because I don’t love them enough to be their parent and their teacher, to come up with wonderful creative things to do with them or field trips to attend. Instead, I send them to school (and public school at that) because for all of us to exist harmoniously, I need for them to away for a little while. We all need a break from each other.
Which brings me to my last thing. Food. Specifically organics. I have a pseudofriend that only feeds her child organics. I get it. She’s a first time mother and we all want to do things right from the get go. Her baby doesn’t eat puree peaches. Her baby eats organic foods. And that’s great. But the way she expresses. I would just say ‘My baby eats peaches’. But she’s a little more, er, descriptive. Her baby doesn’t JUST eat peaches. Her baby eats peaches planted in virgin soil off the coast of a deserted island devoid of human contact (aside for the harvesting, which is done by blind monks and Peruvian virgin nuns all sworn to a life of silence under the light of the harvest moon). My peaches cost $.43 a jar and hers cost $11.89 a jar (same 3.5oz size).
This is what I have learned about organics. I went to the store a while back and purchased two packages of pureed bananas. One was ‘regular’ standard bananas. I paid $.93 for it and it held 7oz of banana puree. The other was ‘super magical-power inducing awesome organic banana grown in the strictest conditions as determined by the FDA to be considered organic’. That same sized container was $1.42.
I opened them and peered inside. They were both mushy, tan-colored ‘soup’ that smelled like, well, bananas. I did the responsible thing and licked the foil seal (like a pudding cup). The organic, well, tasted just exactly like the regular bananas without superpowers.
I grabbed two identical spoons (I use a spoon I found in my host country that I totally love). I positioned my naked (sans that disposable diaper) in his hand-me-down high chair and pulled him up to the couch (dinner is served!). I started with the ‘superior’ bananas. He opened his mouth and took it, swirled in in his mouth like the baby food snob that my 8 month old is. He swallowed and paused. I offered him a sip of his water (you know, to cleanse his palate), to which he sipped and then let dribble out of his mouth.
I went on to the regular, super-power-less (thus made with less love, I suppose) bananas. Again, he opened his mouth, took the spoon into his mouth and swirled. I then placed both containers before him (unmarked so that he couldn’t use his bias) and asked him which of the two were superior.
He decided he needed to do a few more tests, to which he decided to check the tactile texture of the bananas, placing his fingers in both jars, then licking his fingers. He then scooped them up and rubbed it on his face (hey, perhaps he’s on to something, he’s 8 months old but has the skin of a 5 month old).
These are the things that I learned from his experiments:
*Bananas do not make a good skin cream. It just doesn’t absorb into the skin quickly enough.
*Bananas, while making the hair quite delicious smelling, do nothing for the body or sheen of the hair.
*To really get a good idea of the true potent of the scent of bananas, it’s best to apply straight up the nose.
BUT… here’s the kicker.
Organic versus Regular… he couldn’t tell, and I couldn’t tell. It all becomes poop. Yep. Expensive baby food just makes expensive poop. So, no. I don’t feel the need to feed my baby organic food. I don’t knock those who do, but to the moms out there who do…
Really, I don’t need to know those parents. You know the ones. The ones that make a point to ‘prove’ how GREAT they are. Their babies don’t just eat bananas. They eat homeopathic organic bananas grown on an unmanned island in the south pacific that are hand picked by Peruvian nuns under the glow of the harvest moon. And anything less is akin to feeding my baby dog pooh.
Well, my baby will continue to eat dog pooh then.
So no, I’m not a crunchy mom. But I’m not smooth, either. Squishy, yes, but that’s a whole different story. I blame that on Ho-Ho’s and cake.