The Author

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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Outside the box

       Last week, Marc and I watched a movie called No Impact Man that a friend recommended.  Great movie. What really surprised me was how some people reacted so negatively to this man's one-year experiment to try to be as environmentally friendly as absolutely possible. I will never understand why people act negatively towards people who are trying to make changes for the better.

      But come to think of it, people do occasionally act like I am a crazy person because of the little things we do differently.  A woman at Knott's Berry Farm once watched me changing a cloth diaper while she waited in line for a stall. By the time she got to me, she actually looked at me and said, "That's disgusting." It was only a wet diaper, not a dirty one, so I was confused. 


     As I closed the wet bag tight, she replied, "The raggy diaper. What are you, Amish?"  

      Amish? Huh?  Lots of modern people use cloth diapers. Enough for there to be a company dedicated just to driving around the greater Los Angeles area picking up our diapers to wash them.  I'm really not sure what is disgusting about it either.  Yeah, changing diapers is kind of gross period, but I don't see how me throwing them in a bucket for a diaper company to wash is any grosser than throwing a paper diaper full of poop in a trash bag to sit in a landfill for the next century.  I think sometimes people imagine that I take the diapers out to my backyard and wash them by hand with my washboard. It's 2013. I'm cloth diapering, not churning butter.

But I'm in the minority and people don't always understand that. But I've grown as a person into not caring if people understand.  I mean, some of the things we do in life, we do just because that's the status quo. We've never thought about doing them differently.  I kind of think we should think. 

Like, why do we use paper towels and paper napkins?  Rags tend to be much more effective at cleaning up messes, not to mention less expensive.  Not that I think paper towels are some huge injustice or anything like that. It is just not a big deal to wash a few rags and cloth napkins in the midst of each load of laundry we are already doing. I mentioned this to my mom and she's like, "That's true. I have a lot of cloth napkins. I should use them. I just don't think of it." 

       Vinny takes his lunch to school in reusable containers, which apparently gets him made fun of sometimes. And he doesn't always bring the classic packed lunch - he's not huge on sandwiches. One day this week, he brought leftover stir-fry, which he was really excited to have.  On the walk home that day, Vinny says to me, "Sam says I don't eat healthy."

       "Because you brought Chinese food today?  What does he have against Chinese food?" 

      "I don't know. He says its junk food." 

       "Well, what was Sam eating?" 
       "A lunchable, I think." 

     I laughed.  I imagine this came from a good place. Sam's mom is probably trying to make good decisions for her family. I imagine she told Sam that it isn't healthy to eat school lunch every day, and so he has to bring lunch. Since the school lunch is usually corn dogs or pizza or chicken nuggets, I would have to agree that his lunchable is probably a better choice, but clearly this first-grader does not realize that some lean chicken w/broccoli and carrots tossed in a sesame ginger sauce is probably a healthier choice than processed meat and cheese. Why should he?  We raise kids to think in boxes. Disposable plastic ones, to be specific. School lunch is limited to a few boring choices, but I don't think it should be.  Apparently Vinny didn't care that much either, because he ate every last bite. 

     And I'm willing to be the weirdo who defies the status quo. And if my son grows up willing to defy the status quo, then I will be a very proud parent. 

1 comment:

  1. LOL I have gotten quite a few stares at Disneyland when I would change a cloth diaper, but no one has ever said anything.
    Life can be much simpler than our society makes it. This is why I enjoy staying home and being a traditional mother. Makes it easier to do things like cloth diaper and sew, make homemade meals, clean with vinegar and rags as opposed to expensive chemicals and a million paper towels. Why do we need all the fancy stuff?
    Oh lol at that poor child. At least his mother is sorta packing him a lunch. Who says lunches have to be sandwiches? I hope to always pack my children something interesting, and it should be possible with a variety of Cold/hot packs and insulated lunch pails these days.
    The day the school district tells me I can't pack my child a lunch, and she has to eat the crap they serve at school and consider "healthy" well...that's the day I might finally consider homeschooling/private school. This is one of the many reason why I chose to live within this school district, so I doubt that would ever happen.