1. All her clothes, shoes, books and toys have been second hand except for a few gifts from family members up to year three. My goal was not to purchase new. There was no baby shower.
2. We used cloth diapers. She’s potty trained but still wears diapers at night. They are still cloth. We use four of them now at a time. She can’t walk when she wears four. But she’s sleeping so she doesn’t need to walk.
3. I nursed.
4. I bought all her food at the Wisconsin farmer’s market before she had teeth and pureed it, froze it in ice cube trays and fed it to her. The baby food I did purchase came from the Amish Salvage store in glass which I later sold on Craig’s list to a girl for her wedding. She placed candles in the tiny jars for table settings.
5. Rather than have our own pool, this kid is a member of the YMCA, a community program that shares resources with other families, including one pool.
6. The holiday decorations that we now put up are second hand (except for the potted tree/plant) that belonged to my mother or my grandmother. I found some brand new green and red streamers in the trash behind the elementary school.
7. She knows what the recycling bin is and goes there first before putting something in the trash.
8. She believes all food scraps go in the compost bin on the counter, not in the trash.
9. She thinks everyone uses handmade wipes from old white t-shirts for cleaning up spills or as toilet paper and cloth napkins are the norm. Paper towels aren’t in the house.
10. We do not buy books or videos but use the public library instead.
11. As of year three, we have not thrown a birthday party, though I know there is a way to throw a green party. Instead, I made cake or cupcakes myself. We reused the candles from the year before and visited the beach or the park. Maybe next year, I’ll challenge myself to see if I can throw a party “green.”
12. So far, this kid has not cost an arm and a leg and has implemented right into our green lifestyle. I foresee her main cost being education. But again, if I can teach her to swim or speak another language myself, I have every intention to try until I’m tapped out and she surpasses me. That’s what tutors are for.
13. Unlike the swish of the fairy wand she holds, my little green bug will not be able to change the world alone. But one day she will connect with all the other green bugs brought up by green-ish parents who are also teaching their children the value of resources and not to waste them, to reuse rather than buy new and to tread lightly…
I do feel I am fighting a losing battle here. ESPECIALLY here, when I look around Miami at the waste and I feel I am wasting my time doing all the things I do.
14. But then I see her face.
She’s learning from me by what I DO, even more than what I say. Then I see her face…
How can I not try?
As they say on ONCE UPON A TIME—”We have to give her her best chance.”