Wednesday, April 22, 2009

In honor of Earth Day

We’re making steps. As we use up a product I replace it with something organic so we reduce the chemicals in our home. We’re up to natural dishwasher soap and hand-dishwashing soap, washing machine soap and shower/bath products, and most of the cleaning agents for the house. We belong to an organic CSA. I’m trying to teach the girls about turning off water while brushing their teeth and not taking an hour to wash hands (but the faucet wants washing, too, Mama!) and not needing every light on in every room and L is really too young to be held responsible and E didn’t really think it was fun to turn the water off but then Moose A. Moose sang and danced about being Eco-Rangers! and she was all into it, for a while, anyway, until Noggin changed its monthly theme to springtime instead so she just wants to talk about using our manners when asking for the purple flowers for the spotted-dog flower seller. For a while she didn’t want to play that game known as Keep-the-Kid-Busy-Without-Her-Ever-Catching-On whereby we propped her up by the kitchen sink and let her rinse all the girls’ spoons and the food containers that are awaiting their journey to the blue recycling box but now that Moosey is evangelizing about the polite way to ask a dog owner’s permission to pet his Best Friend, yeah, we’re back to wasting the water. But hey! We recycle!

You know Moose A. Moose is running a cult, right?

So. We still waste too much water and our heat is set too high (but I’m not giving that up) and I tried cinnamon oil and baking soda to get rid of the ants but ultimately contracted to pay good money for lots of killy chemicals to just do the job already. But, we’re mostly paraben-free and BPA-free and other icky phthalates-free and our milk and eggs are growth hormones and antibiotics-free and we buy our cow and lamb and chicken by the entire grass-fed, free-range carcass or fraction thereof and almost all of our light bulbs are the good kind now! Except, well, the nightlight light bulbs and the over the stove-top light bulb, and also, things like the cars’ headlights’ flashbulbs, and maybe I’ll do this inventory every Earth Day, as a personal day of reckoning.

The thing I think we do best – most thoroughly and most consistently – is the recycling. There’s always a paper bag in the corner of the kitchen filling up with mail and cardboard boxes from new toiletries or packages received, scraps from art projects and leftovers from M’s work brought home. And we’re dutiful with the plastics, metal and glass, too. We don’t have to separate them under our county’s rules, so it’s easy to dump everything in the blue box. They tend to accumulate on the counter by the kitchen sink as the day goes by, and we always make sure they’re rinsed out and in the box before we go upstairs for the night. Our house has an attached two-car garage (which in itself is energy-efficient, right?) so the recycling box sits just past the garage door. All we have to do is open the door, lean out from the house’s hallway, and drop everything.

It’s a little bit of a tight squeeze, between the cars and the recycling boxes, to leave walking corridors into the house but if M and I both park just right, all car doors can more or less open safely, if not quite comfortably. Mostly, we think this system works well enough for us. It beats keeping the recycling on the back porch where animals would probably make a mess of it. Last week, though, we had a test of that faith. M was home already and I drove into the garage, aligning my car between his and the recycling box. He showed up in the doorway to the house and came down the two steps to help E out of her side of the car, while I pulled L out from the seat behind me. For a long time even after she learned to walk we never let L’s feet touch the garage floor, not because of the floor but because she’d go exploring everything: a lick of a radial tire here, a flick of a dirty bumper there, and ooh, how much of my fist can I work into the track for the garage door? But I swear, she’s heavy, that creature, and also she’s reached the stage where she very often objects to being carried anywhere if she sees her big sister walking. So I plopped her down and with a little pat on the bottom said, “go ahead, walk!” All was going well until her big sister stopped on the first of the two steps up into the house. She had dropped the day’s returned art project from school just as she was trying to hand it up to her Daddy to admire. This left L mid-step, and unable to proceed. I knew she was hungry because in the car ride home she had finished her milk cup and wailed at its state of depletion. So although I was disgusted, I shouldn’t have been surprised when she picked up a week-old drinkable yogurt container from the recycling box next to her and started deep-throating it. M looked at her and said to me with his finest shrug and school-boy dimples, “well, at least you know it was rinsed.”
Pin It

1 comment:

Kelly (conversemomma) said...

Kinda gross, yup...but my kid found a pretzel that had to be months old and dusty under his bed, apparently Momma did not vaccum well there, and he promptly popped it into his mouth this morning with fingers that had just been up his nose.

We do what we can to be earth friends, recycle, change light bulbs, ect...but it can be hard with two active toddlers.

Anyway, I so get ya on the cult of Moose A. Moose. My babies are currently swigging the kool-aid too.