Thursday, May 19, 2011
Becoming one of 'those' people
Yesterday Brooke and I were at Sprouts Farmer's Market bright and early to pick up our produce for the week (Brooke must not be mine because she likes to wake up with the sun), and when the cashier asked me what I was doing with my four pounds of organic apples I was thrilled. Even before my reply I was basking the glow of her certain awe.
"I'm making her baby food," I replied.
Then she twisted her face up and said the one thing I wasn't expecting.
"Ohhhh, you're one of those."
It wasn't followed by a goofy grin to indicate she was just good-naturedly chiding me. Just straight-faced condescension.
To say I was taken aback was an understatement. Sprouts is part of the holy trinity for organic-cooking, vegan-loving, gluten-free soccer moms all across the west (along with Whole Foods and Sunflower Market) and I didn't expect to get anything other than a friendly nod of approval at my buying and cooking choices.
Had I really become one of 'them'? And who are 'they'? Are they pod-women? Alien life-forces put here to make those who buy Gerber food and Huggies feel bad about themselves? Did I want to be one of them at all?
The answer is that I'm proud to be a part-time member of 'those' people.
I come from a Republican voting, SUV-driving, meat and potatoes kind of family. When I bring up multi-vitamins and low-VOC paint to my parents they gently roll their eyes, just as they did when I refused to eat steak as a kid. I could tell my mom checked out every time I talked about the gorgeous organic bedding and carriers that we bought for Brooke's arrival, and my Dad looked at me like I was insane when we declared our intent to cloth diaper.
The cloth diapering didn't necessarily start from a desire to save the planet. I was cloth diapered as an infant because I was allergic to disposables. In fear that Brooke may inherit my skin sensitivity I thought it would be smart to prepare for the worst, so I looked into cloth diapers. The world of safety pins, plastic pants, and leakage is a thing of the past. Cloth diapers are amazing now, and just as easy as disposables. I was sold from the first cloth diaper website I perused, and the fact that I managed to sway Corey in that direction is testament to the fact that they are easy and far less gross than you are thinking if you haven't used them.
At this point the environmental factor and the 'granola-ness' of the situation was really icing on the cake, but I thought it was silly to stop there.
With little effort or problem we have stepped up our recycling, purchased organic clothing and food when possible, hung a clothesline, stopped spraying pesticide inside the home, and we're even considering a hybrid SUV for our future car purchase.
But, before you decide that I'm about to start campaigning for Al Gore to run the world I should let it be known that our house uses cushy, soft toilet paper that probably took ten acres of rain forest to make, we use disposable wipes on Brooke's dirty little baby butt (Corey put his foot down when it came to cloth wipes), and my carcinogenic candles are burning in the kitchen right now while the dishwasher runs at peak hours filled with nasty old Electrasol and Jet-Dry.
It's true that I am making Brooke's baby food from fresh, organic Gala apples, but I also have a cupboard full of Gerber that I got on sale right before she was born. And while we love our cloth diapers during the day, hippie moms would shun us from the playgroup because we use disposables at night (the diaper rash is horrible if we don't).
And while the label still irks me, the nice part of the 'them club' is that you don't have to be a member all the time. It's not an all-or-nothing type decision as I choose to believe that every little bit helps and any smart and healthy choices you make are beneficial, no matter how many hours you let your infant chew on the rattle that fell on the floor *twice* when you haven't mopped since Monday. Not that I would do that. I mean, c'mon, I am one of 'them' after all.