I guess you could call our little family "contemporary crunchy." We actually have been called that before and when we heard it, we kinda liked it. From the outside, we look like your standard American family. We've got the house, the cars, the dog and our sweet little boy; but on the inside we are far from "standard." We question the norm, do lots of research and usually go against the grain. On one hand, this is very liberating, but on the other, it can be somewhat difficult.
We have to remind ourselves when friends and family don't offer immediate support for our decisions, that what we are doing is new and different from what they are used to. Maybe they themselves do/did it the traditional way and hearing us talk about doing it differently is making them feel defensive. Maybe they are concerned about what others will think of us or that Ayden will someday be the "weird" kid because his family chooses to live life differently than most of his friends will be living theirs. Or maybe their looks of bewilderment/confusion when they hear how we do, or plan to do things, are just the result of genuine surprise or curiosity. Who knows. The point is that we just have to do what we feel is right for our family, support or not.
So then, the question is, do we make these decisions quietly and only explain when we are asked? Or do we openly share our differing, research-based opinions in an effort to open the eyes of those around us to new and different ways. Not necessarily better ways, just different. I think the answer here just depends on our mood and whether or not we are up to "justifying" our decisions (though we really should never have to). I do know one thing, our friends, family and others around us will see through our example that there are different ways to accomplish things that are just as, if not more, productive, effective, healthy, etc. Here are a few of our "contemporary crunchy" ways:
- No cable, or really any TV for that matter, in our house - We will actively try to keep Ayden from watching the "magical box of lights" until he is at least 2 years old, if not 3. Instead, we'll read lots and lots of books and get out and get moving!!
- If it's yellow, let it mellow - In our household, we put forth much effort to conserve energy and natural resources. We recycle, wear clothes more than once, only run wash cycles when the machines are full, etc. And most recently, David convinced me that we should adopt the "if it's yellow, let it mellow; if it's brown, flush it down" mentality. I was a little hesitant about this one... My only stipulation? He MUST remember to flush all toilets when we are expecting company. He is very eager to see this month's water bill to see if our efforts have been worth it.
- "Let thy food be thy medicine" - We eat clean, whole, organic and healthy. Also, as you may have noticed in my posts about mastitis, we give natural remedies for illness a try before resulting to Western medicine. Food is a very social part of our lives and there are a lot of pressures from both friends and family to indulge regularly. We support each other and stand strong remembering that artificial ingredients, GMO's, hormones and pesticides are toxic for our bodies. Without healthy bodies, there's not much else you can do with your life.
- The people of Wal-mart - We try not to support industries or businesses that are detrimental to our society. We also try to think twice before making purchases big and small. Where was it made? From what materials? Could we get it used? Waste not, want not.
- Happy Homestead - We hope to eventually build an eco-friendly, low maintenance home and live off the land around as much as possible. This is in our 10 year (if not 5 year) plan.
- Home Birth - We attempted a home birth with Ayden that you can read about here. After giving it the old school try for 33 hours, it did not work out for his birth but we do plan on trying again for our next baby.
- Circumcision - Though David is circumcised, after doing a lot of research we chose to leave Ayden in tact. There were a lot of reasons but the bottom line? It is his body, and therefore should be his choice. This surprised our families but we stood our ground and did it (or didn't do it) anyway.
- Cloth diapering - My parents cloth diapered us but the ways of cloth diapering have changed... No bleaching in this house! We are the only cloth diapering family that we know personally. I am hoping that some of my friends jump on the wagon with us when it is their time because it is totally awesome! When I was pregnant and told friends and family of our plans, some were interested and supportive but others (those who were mothers already) just said, "wow, good luck with that." Now we are happy to be showing them how easy (and CUTE) it really is!
- Baby wearing - I am still amazed at the looks and comments that I get when I wear Ayden in public. It's just not the norm around here. Most of the comments are good, but I've had a couple of, "What are you doing? Getting ready to work the fields?" comments. According to research, there are actually a lot of psychological benefits that a baby can gain through baby wearing, not to mention that you can hold your baby and still have free hands to get things done. More than a win win situation!
- Baby-led weaning - We plan on skipping puree's all together. Again, this totally surprised our friends and families and is way against the grain in our area. I personally can't wait to let Ayden get his hands on food. There's no better way for a child to learn than by getting their hands in there and doing it themselves!
- Staggered vaccines - we actually entertained the idea of not having him vaccinated at all. In the end, we decided that they are important but he is getting one shot every other month. I also take supplements and give him an infant pro-biotic via expressed breast milk in a bottle the week before and the week after his shots to help his little body process and detox. Again, against the norm.