I was whining to Lynz about activism/advocacy burnout and she came back with this sage advice:
One change, one person at a time. That's how I have to look at it
right now. One letter written, one comment in casual conversation.
One less trip in the car. One light turned off, one appliance
unplugged. One and one and one and one...
I should blog my activist moments, if only to keep myself doing one more little thing at a time.
Week of 1/6:
received samples from probiotic rep at pediatrician's office; discussed package wording with him and advised changing language about formula to language about breastmilk. Provided information to him about WHO guidelines re: formula and also the effects of formula on the flora of the gut - which should, after all, be important to a company selling a probiotic. :) He was on his way to a corporate meeting and said he'd share my input. I need to follow up with a letter.
Created "events" on Facebook for the last local screening of The Business of Being Born and for a class about avoiding complications in childbirth. Maybe just one person who wouldn't have thought of these things on their own will be introduced to the idea of natural birth and will avoid a more interventionist birth.
Week of 1/13:
exhausted this week! I'm trying to focus, a la Ghandi, on being the change I wish to see. Parenting gently and calmly, picking up litter in parking lots, saying "thanks, I brought my own bag" when I shop, not shopping for things like books, which I can get from the library.
for the past several years we've discussed when to replace Dan's car, a 1995 Dodge Neon. His A/C died last fall and will cost about three times the value of the car to replace. From a strictly environmental sense, I'm unsure whether it's a good idea to scrap the car and replace it, since it does still run and we can replace the A/C. I'm meditating on that and also researching used hybrids.
"Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending." ~ Carl Bard
A wintery mix was predicted for this morning. As of preschool-departure time, it was just starting to fall and school had not been cancelled. Griff wanted to play in it, I did NOT want to have to pick him back up from school on bad roads if the snow got worse, so I declared a snow day.
Reese enjoyed watching from inside but didn't want to go out in snow pants. Xan-Man happily wore a hoodie and ogled toys dangling from the Gymini. Griff was psyched about wearing snow gear (a central VA boy doesn't get many opportunities) and from the back of the closet, I magically produced snow pants Grammy had bought two years ago. Perfect fit. Go, Grammy. I had to stay inside with the little boys so poor lonely Griff trudged around outside by himself, but seemed to enjoy it. He then decided to do me a favor by clearing the slush off the deck chairs. By this time the snow had turned to rain and things were getting gross. Soon the snow was gone. Glad we were home to enjoy it.
Later in the afternoon I invited G and R to bake peanut butter cookies with me. It turns out that PB cookies are the perfect activity for kids, what with the rolling balls, dipping in sugar, and squishing with forks. Griff is now a pro at criss-crossing the cookies and Reese is quickly catching on. Squish, not stab. Everybody is an expert at eating them, though!
Griff has been looking forward to his 5th birthday party with extreme anticipation. He and I designed googly-eyed alien invitations using a drawing he made last fall and I planned cupcakes and found decorations to go with an outer space sort of theme. The stars strung across the morning room are so cool that I think we'll leave them for a long time. :)
Around 20 preschoolers descended on our home and proceeded to dig in to the playthings we'd set around the first floor. Sean and Jessa had bravely volunteered to help out with crowd control and food service and such. Their assistance was much appreciated!
Griff was psyched at a version of Simon Says that I suggested and Dan executed: Alien Says. I had hoped it would help to organize kids for lunch/cupcakes but had no idea what a hit this type of game would be with 5 year olds!
Haircuts for my ragamuffins today. Xander can escape the clippers for now. I love how Griff desperately wants to avoid getting any water or hair in his eyes, but just as desperately wants to see Shark Tale on the monitor above the mirror. Reese surprised me by yelling "my turn!" after Griff hopped down, then cheerfully chose the airplane seat, accepted a drape, and happily sat through the first few seconds of the haircut. That's a first. It soon dissolved into tickles and then "all done now, get me out of here, please!"
We took a bike ride / walk afterward. Griff looks like he stepped out of the 50s with his crewcut, white tee, and Radio Flyer trike.
Later Griff demonstrated his superb laundry sorting skills for me while I sat and nursed Xander. I'm pretty impressed with his domestic skills - he can transfer laundry from washer to dryer and start it up by himself!
The subject heading is the name of a book that I had purchased in the hopes that it would help us out a bit with the vaccination fear. Griff was never afraid of shots until his flu shot a year ago, which gave him just a mild and understandable fear of getting stuck with needles, but then when he had pneumonia last spring one awful nurse who was assigned to give him a Cephtriaxone (antibiotic) shot came in and without warning, pinned him down, pulled down his pants, and shot him in the butt. Talk about a violation and sense of betrayal. What's more, that shot HURT LIKE HELL; it had lidocaine in it, which burns. Poor kid. So from then until now he's been deathly afraid of shots and asks if he'll get one every time we have to go to see Dr. Smith or Dr. Conrad.
Anyway, we went today for Griff's 5 year old checkup, which did indeed include some vaccinations. I'm hoping that the next time we have to go through this, he'll be more able to screw up his courage. For now, he's five, and unable to cope with terror, which meant I had to drag a slavering, cowering, shrieking child out from under an exam table and hold him in a bear hug while the nurse gave him his shots. Reese and Xander were taken out of the room for this olympic event. We opted out of having the PPD placed for now. Enough trauma for one day.
Happier, more exciting checkup news: 1st vision check: he got the hang of it quickly and has either 20/25 or 20/20 vision. Weight: 38.5 lbs Height: 41 inches Hearing check: postponed due to fluid in his ears - we're all getting over a cold He brought his new bike helmet along to show Dr. Smith, and she was happy not to have to give him the helmet lecture. ;)
Following the shots, we visited Maggie Moo's for ice cream. Both boys chose hideous blue cotton candy stuff, with multicolored sprinkles. I've decided to keep MM's in my back pocket as the prize to follow shots in the future.
The following quote is from Vagabond, a blog by my friend Lynz, who often serves as the voice of my conscience when it comes to consumerism and environmentalism. What she had to say about Christmas resonated with me:
This year, we made candles and cookies, and only bought a few
secondhand books, and a couple of new things for our Anja, pretty much.
I bought John some custom-made pajama pants (long enough, even!) and he
bought me a pair of fingerless, fair-trade alpaca gloves :)
I didn't feel very Christmassy this year. I'm hoping that it's not
directly tied to not going out and spending money and buying for
people, but am afraid that it just might be. I'm also feeling awfully
cynical and mean about the amount of stuff that people give to each
other (and I'll admit that part of it is jealousy.) But part of it is
also, who needs so much stuff? What kid needs so many toys that they
are overwhelmed opening them all, and don't have space to store them?
What is WRONG with our society?! /sigh
When I was younger, the gifts exchanged by my family were often handmade and were usually very simple. I'm hoping that as Lynz's family continues their new traditions, they start to feel more fulfilling as they live the famous Dr. Seuss line, "Christmas isn't something that comes from a store." In my own family, I'm hoping to return to my roots. We did a LOT of online and mall shopping this year, and while some small part of me likes strolling through a mall listening to Christmas music, most of me doesn't like feeling like I have to buy, buy, buy my way through the season.
Sometimes when I talk about this, naysayers will point out how time-consuming a homemade Christmas can be. To them I say, THAT'S THE POINT. If I'm not willing to spend time on a gift for somebody, perhaps we don't have a close enough relationship to merit a gift exchange at all. If I can't spend some time on our family traditions, where is my time being spent, exactly? Convenience has a price, and I'm not just referring to dollars and cents.
Some things I'm hoping to do/see in future Christmasses here:
Get back to sending Christmas cards, preferably handmade or at least creatively designed by myself
Place more importance on keeping annual traditions like the chocolate house, which didn't get made this year
Reduce chicken-with-head-cut-off running around so that my family enjoys our time together instead of feeling like we have to pack stuff in to every moment.
Focus on simplifying gift-giving and making it more personal. Fewer gifts with more meaning. Dan and I were working on this before and slipped this year, and need to get back to a focus on fewer material gifts and more thoughtful exchanges that say "I really know and love you" rather than "I really went crazy at the Black Friday sales."
Speaking of Black Friday, I need somebody to remind me to observe Buy Nothing Day.
And speaking of buying nothing, we'd like to challenge ourselves to be more creative and either make gifts ourselves or find locally made gifts.
Encouraging those who exchange gifts with us to give fewer, more personal gifts, including non-"thing" gifts if possible. We have as many toy trucks and games as we need, and then some. Most movies get watched once, books read once, then they take up space. We have enough clothing for twice or thrice as many bodies as we have. What we don't have? Griff has never gone camping or fishing. We all love seeing family photos and movies and a gift related to that would be cherished. We hope that our families will enjoy our attempts to be creative and caring and will do the same in return.
Actually make that cloth gift wrap that I had planned to make this year!
In short, we're hoping to get ourselves back on course with the focus on gifts and traditions that are personal, loving, ecologically sound, and as nonmaterialistic as possible.
Hey Lynz, send your candle ideas! I'm suddenly feeling all inspired and wanting to plan ahead for next year!