Thursday, July 24, 2008

why I don't get to read as much as I used to

I have a problem with my bowels. They’re too efficient. For the last couple of years I have been taking a certified organic probiotic food supplement daily, and because of it I am incredibly regular. I have one or more BMs a day, and they happen effortlessly. This is a wonderful thing, as anyone who has ever been constipated would know. But it does have one small down-side. It has cut way back on my reading time.

Like most people, we keep a stash of reading material in the bathroom. My favorite is The Nation, which keeps me up to date on politics, environmental & social justice and the arts from my home country. The problem is that I never get to read it anymore, as I’m only ever in the bathroom for a few seconds. At the moment that has been just enough time to slowly make it through a book about potty training in one week which has taken me over a month to read (and it’s a very little book, as you can see).

While I am spending more time in the bathroom than usual at the moment, it is because we are in the midst of potty training (more on that soon!), not because I am sneaking in there for a bit of pleasure reading. So I’m having to find ways to fit more reading into my daily life, as it is one of my favorite activities… in my ideal life, I would have at least an hour a day for reading pleasure… and not just kids books!

I do love reading to my son, but I must admit, I’m getting tired of reading the same books over and over and over and over and over and over and over (if you have a toddler you know how it is…) which is why I am very grateful for the amazing moms over at my favorite blog at the moment, We Heart Books, which is full of wonderful suggestions for kids books.

Now I just have to decide if I’m ready to brave a trip to the library with a toddler in potty training?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

pink for boys and blue for girls?

All that talk about saving money on kids clothes by buying them second hand went out the window last week when I drove across town (at least I carpooled with a fellow Mom) to visit the bi-annual PureBaby Warehouse sale. This is a Melbourne institution that sees posh Mums from all over town converging on a seedy alley-way in Collingwood and jostling with their designer prams for first place in line to grab up organic cotton baby clothes at target prices. It's the last day today, so if you live in Melbourne, and have a baby, or are planning a baby, or know anyone having a baby (they make great gifts) I'd head over to 135 Cromwell St, Collingwood before 5pm today (Sunday).

Even if you don't live in Melbourne, you can be sure to look out for ebay being flooded with reasonably priced purebaby goodies over the next few weeks and months. I don't have any financial interest in purebaby (I wish I did!), I'm just an addict. Half my son's wardrobe is from purebaby, (although I'm struggling now since they only make clothes up to size 2, but they do make pjs in bigger sizes), sourced only from the warehouse sales (I would never pay retail), and it's one of the main sources of my gifts for friends who have babies (along with the miessence certified organic baby care range). I stock up once or twice a year, with an adequate supply of pink, blue and gender neutral colors so that I'm prepared for the multitude of babies being born amongst my cohort.

Did you know that it wasn't until the 1950s that pink became associated with girls, and blue for boys?
"There has been a great diversity of opinion on the subject, but the generally accepted rule is pink for the boy and blue for the girl. The reason is that pink being a more decided and stronger color is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl." [Ladies Home Journal, June, 1918]

This time I even bought a few (gender neutral) newborn outfits for the baby we're planning for next year (more on that soon!).

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

my son is outgrowing all his clothes!

As usual I've been far too busy to blog for ages, and one of the things that has been keeping me busy is keeping my two year old clothed and fed (not to mention amused... and don't even get me started on nap time!)... Normal parents would probably just pop over to the local department store and stock up on the next size up in pants, shirts, sweaters etc (it's winter here in Australia!), but since I have made a commitment (to myself, and now to cyberspace) not to buy new clothes for anyone unless they are made from organic cotton, bamboo, modal, etc.... it makes replenishing wardrobes a bit trickier!

Since it would be pretty expensive to buy all organic-cotton wardrobes, a lot of our clothes are second hand... this is better for many reasons, including a reduced ecological footprint (it's not just about carbon!), a reduced price-tag (which means I can afford new organic clothes), and the main reason motivating my stance: safety. New clothes, especially those made in China (which is most of them these days) are sprayed with horrible chemicals, such as flame-retardants, fumigants, etc. This is on top of whatever chemical residues are already on the fabrics, such as pesticides, fertilizers, dies, and plastics (all those licensed cartoon characters on kids clothing are actually quiet toxic).

So yesterday I went to our local "opp shop" (short for Opportunity Shop, ie second hand store run by a charitable organization) and got 16 items for $69... now this is actually pretty expensive as far as opp shops go, but it was called the "Posh Opp Shop", and we got very nice stuff for my son (some of which won't fit him for a few years, but that will save me some trouble down the track), much of which were expensive brand name clothes in great condition. I still had to be careful to avoid shirts with toxic decorations (ie no Bob, Thomas, Dora, or Pooh), not just for environmental reasons, and because I don't like my child being free advertising for multi-national media conglomerates.

Another good thing about buying from shops run by the Salvation Army and other charities is that they are usually run by volunteers, and any profits are given to charity. I still feel a bit bad about buying second hand clothes though, because it means we're benefiting from the fact that some other family has been exposed to the nasty residues as they slowly get washed off and absorbed into the skin of young children, but hopefully as more people become aware of the dangers lurking in those sweet flannel pjs (I'm not just scare-mongering here, this is really really an issue of concern, if you don't believe me, google it), there will be fewer toxic clothes on the market.

I also make use of ebay, for second-hand and organic clothes, and I try to support local small-businesses that use sustainable fabrics to make fair-trade products. Yesterday we also received a big package from one of my favorite Australian companies, Blessed Earth, that included toddler pants, and for me: organic socks, tights, underwear, bra, towels and a pillow cover (it was all on sale!).

Now we're all set for clothes for the winter, and I'm feeling better about our wardrobe's footprint... my next challenge is naptime... I can't get the organic toddler down for a nap without driving him around the block for 20 minutes (the stroller works too, but as it's winter it's pretty cold and rainy most days)... so, as my husband says, our naptime has a huge carbon footprint! Any suggestions????