as 2007 creeps ever closer to its conclusion i must conclude that this year has really been the year of "putting my money where my mouth is". despite it being more cost effective to birth in a hospital, we chose a homebirth for example. finally we are beginning to eat more organic, fresh, local foods too which really jazzes me. the moral of the story - we are beginning to value quality above convenience, information above societal norms, and lessening our slavery to instant gratification day by day.
but im still struggling to sort out the hierarchy of what matters most about what i consume. today i drove 20 minutes just to get david milk after calling every other store i thought would have lactose free, fat free, organic milk. finally wild oats had it but guess what - the carton wasn't recyleable! this is just one example of how frustrated im getting at trying to make all of the "right" choices. sure ill buy local eggs but they also dont come in a recycleable container. or if they do, they aren't local. or are local but aren't organic. i can't win!! the last time i got groceries i stood near the butter and turned over every carton to find one that came in a recycleable container (meaning plastic 1, 2, or 3) and came up totally dry. i sulked out of the store with it in my bag.
another area that im getting frustrated at is the no-china thing (which we are toying around with extending until well... forever) previously i had been wooed back into the arms of melissa and doug toys with the promise from their company that they are (quote) "one of the only toy company's that hires their own employees in China. Their products are make to EXCEED THE STRICTEST toy standards on the planet". huzzah! i can buy them guilt free!! but then i thought more about it and reflected on the deeper issues on why i no longer wish to buy from the chinese. yes, the recent scares with lead in toys is a big one. i want my children to be safe and their toys should not be contaminated! but that is just the one the media seems to be highlighting the most. have we forgotten that they use child labor? or use sweatshops? and what about all of the outsourcing our countries does? the jobs lost in america and around the world are in the tens of millions! what happens if (when) one day china doesn't want to make all of (and by all i mean 80% of!) our clothes, toys, electronics, etc. for pennies? guess what! they have us addicted to the prices and convenience and we are backed into a corner. have you ever heard the expression "the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world"? well in this case that hand is china and the cradle is 80% of everything we own and we are all being lulled into a dangerous sleep. china is not a country that i want running the world and at this rate they are absolutely on that path with their booming production industry. the exception to the no-china christmas is fair-trade items i will add. if it is fair-trade and from china i am okay with that.
earlier in the week i went to a great toy store called Itsy Bitsy World in search of some toys augustine might like for christmas. i figured since it was a non-run-of-the-mill store i'd have a pretty good shot at finding some cool stuff. they basically had infant haba toys (or those outrageously priced toddler ones) and one puzzle that wasn't made in china. so the woman working there sent me to larson's toys which happened to be next to wild oats. today on my milk-hunt i went into larson's and thought i hit the jackpot. i pity the salesperson who approaches me and asks if im looking for something only to hear why yes, i have a 6 month old and 2 1/2 year old that im looking to buy for. and at this point they're usually nodding and generating a mental list of toys they're about to spout off and announce as suitable for this or that age group and interest. oh and we don't buy things from china. and this is where her face dropped, arms crossed, eyes went to the ceiling and she stood there thinking for several moments before taking me to see three puzzles, one insanely expensive pakistani drum, and a handful of really lame finger puppets that olive would probably eat. BUT they did have some folkmanis puppets that, while expensive, are less expensive than some ive seen and i already know how much he loves his hippo one.
i wish my children were old enough to understand what we are trying to do. right now they could care less how many presents they get. i will never take a photo of my child displayed on top of some mountain of toys that s/he has received on christmas morning - for monitary reasons but also i just find it in bad spirit to be so overconsuming. i know most people think this is kind of silly what we're doing (or not doing) with christmas but i just feel that my conscious wouldn't feel right owning something that was made by a child working for pennies. heck a child being paid millions! one day my kids might ask me why they dont have x,y,&z toys and i hope i can teach them why in a way they will understand. no toy is so important to us that it should come at the cost of someone else's dignity or wellbeing even if they live on the other side of the world and we don't know them. this is where i hope they understand what i mean when i say "human family" and words about how we should love everyone, support everyone in that love, take care of them for crying out loud.