Noah LOVES plastic. I think he’s doing it to mess with me. He likes messing with me. He looks at me with those big blue eyes and giggles right before he chomps down on Mr Musical Butterfly. Right as I’m writing about how awful plastic is, it seems to enter our house in a constant stream. In shapes that make noise and demand (mouth) attention from the tiny-est member of our household. And of course, I’m using medela bottles that aren’t exactly new.
So, in the midst of my guilt over my plastic-loving boy, I was thinking about why, after buying Market Basket milk when we were much richer, I finally switched over to organic milk a couple of months ago. And why I think about plastic so much now. I think there’s a heirarchy, and probably writing about some of this stuff shifts the heirarchy. How could I be writing about sustainability on this blog while drinking the cheapest milk I could find? But our priorities are our priorities. It’s ok. I’ve found that I can make tiny changes even when my priorities are a little behind. I don’t have to constantly be thinking about sustainability if I have a system in place for my fabric bags or a budget for milk.
There have been a couple of times in my life where I didn’t have enough food. I mainly didn’t have enough food because I was embarrassed to admit I didn’t have enough-- my parents would have gladly traveled the world to rescue me or send me money. In Sardegna, where I was a nanny in the summer of 2000, I didn’t have food or money and I was kindof a prisoner. I got really tanned and muscley but I was also exhausted and traumatized by the time I returned to Wales. I remember that was when I started to eat apple cores, which crossed a boundary I didn’t really want to cross (I mean, not other people’s apples, just the ones I had started.) As a friend said, you just need to take the seeds and the little branch thingy out and be brave. In my final year of high school in Wales, all the kids in our year went on “London trip”, except I only had 15GBP for the three/four days (How long is London trip?). Because the people in Sardegna had only paid me 150GBP, and that needed to last me an entire school year. So I walked everywhere. And didn’t eat anything. I was so embarrassed that I didn’t have money, so I didn’t tell anyone. I just kinda lay low. And the all-you-could eat Wednesday pizza at Pizza hut was the key to my survival. One giant meal in four days. At Wellesley, it was a little different-- there were jobs and an amazing scholarship including pocket money and my parents sent me to the U.S. with a check for everything that I’d need in the beginning, but plastic? Organic milk? They were just not THAT important.
I’m not sure what my point is. Perhaps it’s that plastic is probably not going to kill Noah. And that, if I’m thinking that much about his future sperm count, it probably means that life is pretty good for us. And it’s terrible that BPA is in everything and that cows are making WAY too much milk for their milk to be any good, and that everything has high fructose corn syrup in it, but it’s also good to keep things in perspective. If I only have a limited amount of outrage, I want to save it for the big stuff. Or at least link these relatively little things to the big stuff- to global warming and wars over oil. Like a conspiracy theorist. Except the conspiracies are real, people.
When I’m proposing life changes, I’m doing so because they’re what I can handle right now, and I think they DO make a difference. But I’m also going to be resilient and not stress about the changes I can’t think about just yet. Plastic Poisonous Toys from China, you’ve been granted a (brief) reprieve.