Those who try to live more "green" or more naturally have been called many things..."granolas" or "crunchy"or crazy and weird...I find myself more on the fringes of this group than I ever thought I'd be.
For a long time I thought that things that were engineered were usually better, because the "kinks had been worked out" of their naturally occurring brothers. You know, like roses with no thorns, or corn that withstood their natural predators like bugs.
I find myself swinging further to the other direction the older I get. The corn that gets sold by the dude who grows it out in his backyard tastes SO much better than the corn that you can purchase at the local Walmart, that has been tweaked to last forever and withstand plagues...probably 'cause it tastes bad and the bugs don't even want it...the granola you make in your kitchen with real-live oats is scrumptious compared to the odd puffed-rice?-granola made by cereal companies....and don't even get me stuck on my homemade bread rant!
When I had kids, I found a bunch of stuff that was so cool and practical that nobody that I hung with had ever heard of...but I just thought it made my life easier...Gabriel liked to nurse in the night, so I just brought him into the bed with us and let him snack to his heart's content. Nursing him was cheaper and ready-to-go, far easier than formula and free to boot. He would get angry when he was hungry, so I let him eat when he wanted. He drug his feet potty training, so I'd try, and if he wasn't ready, I'd give him another little bit and try again later. I did the same thing with food. He loved to be carried, so when he got monstrously big, I carried him around in random carriers. Strollers tend to be made for the average height woman, which at 5'8", I am not, so they weren't comfortable for me. I'd end up hunkered over like the hunchback of Notre Dame. I hunted the holy grail stroller for years, 4 kids and almost 12 years later, I have finally found one, but still find myself carrying my kids in carriers, because they like it, and they are only little for so long...
Come to find out, these practical choices have names in the crunchy community! Co-sleeping, breastfeeding, nursing on demand, potty learning, baby-led weaning, baby-wearing, and the list goes on! There are some parents that are verging on militant about these choices, and while I agree, I think that if they just touted the easy factor, many parents would consider them!
My gateway drug to the natural parenting path was baby-carriers. Gabriel was a giant baby. Really. He was 20 lbs at 4 months, something that took all the rest of my girls more than a year to achieve. He was a whopping 33 lbs at a year, Amelia is almost four and only just hit 35 lbs in the last 6 months. People would look at him in the mall and ask why he was not in school, and I would respond, "Tell the nice lady you're THREE!"
I lost much of my baby-weight with Gabriel fairly quickly, but never did get back into many dresses or shirts because in carrying him around, my arms and back got such a work-out that I bulked up and had to wear larger for my new-found muscles!
As he got bigger, but was still such a baby, I searched for ways to carry him, that would relieve my straining arms and back. And I discovered a frame backpack. Like the kind you carry babies in as you hike long distances, up and down mountains! AH! I felt so blessed!!!
Then Elise came along, SO tiny at under 6 lbs! She was a pocket baby. She ADORED to be carried! But I had Gabriel still who needed attention, and I had to get housework done! So I found a cheap baby-sling and a nicer version of the Snugglie carrier that I used with Gabriel. His old one had huge leg-holes that she oozed out of! And I carried her everywhere!
Along comes Amelia, and I have 2 kids that still need attention, and Elise who is practically a baby at 4 years and who needs help at every turn and I got a double stroller. It met the needs fairly well, but there are many places that DO NOT accommodate a side-by-side double stroller...or a stroller at all...so I went hunting AGAIN for a baby-carrier that would alleviate the complications...and I met a girl that sold me a FANTASTIC sling that she made and about a year later, I met her again while Gabriel was swimming on swim team, and she had the most amazing baby-carrier! Which I promptly started researching...and found a whole "underground" community with HUNDREDS of baby-carrier options!!! I found that it was called "baby-wearing". Huh. Funny, I just thought I was carrying my kids around because it made my life easier...and gave them special time with mommy even as I ran through my life at 100 mph!
The girl I met that introduced me to the carrier addiction was named Katie and we had parallel kids and got along like a house afire! She later introduced me to cloth diapers and we are fast friends...kindred spirits. She, too, utilizes many more natural options, but does it because it's easy. My favorite recent discovery, was "un-paper towels". WHAAA? OH, you mean RAGS that you use to clean or dry stuff or whatever you'd use paper towels for that you just wash and reuse???? hahahaha! Like I said, most of this stuff is just practical!!
So, along comes a Spider...I mean Charlotte...(Oh, yeah, Elise fought us for a large chunk of my pregnancy that we were having a spider, not a baby, because we told her the baby's name would be Charlotte, and she was big into Charlotte's web at the time...) And this crazy baby decided to have crazy reflux issues and sensitivity issues and....well, let's just say every time we turn around, she is struggling with something. I wore her for MONTHS around the house, because she needed to sleep upright due to the reflux. She nursed constantly, because it soothed her angry tummy. She has skin sensitivities that would have driven us to cloth diapers whether we had wanted to or not...we are being bullied into more natural detergents because her skin struggles with that, as well. I am beginning to wonder if she has my trouble with preservatives, too. (I break out in hives.) She has had some crazy diaper rashes that we are still trying to sort out...that only respond to allergy medications...so, we are trying to figure that one out now...who knows where that will push us...
Ethan tolerates all this, as long as I take care of the hard parts...which is really no big deal. He's not all on board until he sees the easy factor of something...and then he goes along with it, with gusto. When we can go somewhere we couldn't have with a stroller, then he is all about the weird baby-carrier! :)
So, when we put in our garden, it's not because we are making a political statement, it's because home-grown tomatoes are SO yummy!!! You might want to consider some of the natural stuff you roll your eyes at, because, sometimes, it just makes sense!