Sunday, April 18, 2010

Raising an Enviro-Radical...or just Little Margo

I have been discussing environmental issues with Little Margo since...forever. Yes that's correct, she knows about environmental issues in her own world. For instance, "Mom, quick, pick up that paper on the ground, it hurts the earth!" So, I oblige and then she picks up the next one. "Mom, is the Earth our mother?" "Well sort of Margo, she does provide us all the things we need to live, sort of like I provide your food and love for you." Ok, that comment sort of flies over her head because now she is imagining the earth feeding her with a get it. Sharing environmental ideas with a 6 year old does have its challenges.

But in reality, little Margo really does get it. She gets that the air is not always clean and can cause her friends to need inhalers to breathe. She knows about allergies, and she knows about saving electricity because that helps the earth. "Mom, turn off the lights, you are wasting electricity," was her common word throughout last summer. Oh yes, she knows that some people put bad things in the water to make it undrinkable. I am trying to provide her understanding that not all families here in the US have safe water to drink. Did you know that? It is not just in some other country where the drinking water is contaminated with all sorts of chemicals from coal mining or some other industrial happens here. "Jennifer Hall-Massey knows not to drink the tap water in her home near Charleston, W.Va." (Ref New York Times, Toxic Waters a series about the worsening pollution in American waters and regulators' response)

An Enviro-Radical, that is what our little family is becoming, or at least trying to become. It starts with understanding the problem and then finding simple ways to participate in the solutions. I was recently provided a book by the Silicon Valley Mom's Blog book club called, Green Guide Families, The complete Reference for Eco-friendly parents, written by Catherine Zandonella. I quickly looked up the chapter about cloth diapers vs. disposable diapers to see if my choice of cloth was environmentally sound. Unfortunately, my choice to use a diaper service pretty much eliminated any of the environmental benefits for this choice. However, my daughter did not suffer from the diaper rashes she so readily had when using the disposable diapers. I just did not have it in me, to wash the diapers myself. So we were not "E-Radicals" in this choice.

On to food choices, I did purchase organic baby food in glass jars. Not because it was the healthiest choice, but it so happened to be a better financial deal...However, I have made up for this for buying organic fruits and vegetables where needed. For instance I know I should buy organic carrots, but not necessarily organic eggplants when it comes to pesticide exposure. Buying organic can be expensive so I pick and choose about what I buy. There is a great list as an ECO-TIP: Top Foods to Buy Organic published in the Green Guide Families, check out page 97. I also have been discussing with my husband about decreasing our power footprint. So this means I purchase local whenever possible. Sometimes it is a bit more expensive; however the benefit is the taste! (Ok, ok, I will admit it the health too!) Regarding organic milk and hormone fed to cows to keep them pumping, this has been a topsy turvy choice. Why, organic milk is so much more expensive! We live on a budget, so what to do? I have read articles with for and against the thoughts of milk and hormones and affecting the early development of our young girls. But right now there is nothing hard in facts regarding cause and effect of organic milk vs. regular milk. I know someone is going to write a comment and that is fine. Although I find the data conflicting I play safe and purchase the organic milk. According to the Green Guide Families, these hormones do pose a threat to the cows, to add reason to my choice. Actually the comment that best got me hooked on organic milk was made by a dairy farmer in Petaluma. He mentioned that most farmers do not use rBST anymore, because the cows don't handle it well, but they do use other hormones. Darn, now I need to buy milk that just says no hormones! So yes 90% of the time I buy organic milk, and feel better.

I think the best place to go in honor of the upcoming Earth Day is the Monterey Bay Aquarium to see the Hot Pink Flamingos Exhibit. It was amazing, and became a very impactful place for the two 6 year olds I brought along. It opens up looking at our own Monterey Bay and the problem of crustations, and coral becoming brittle. Eventually it is understood the pH of the bay water is becoming less alkaline and more acidic, causing the brittleness of shells, bones and coral. Acidity, that famous concept now associated with all kinds of disease in our own bodies. And how does the bay get affected by humanity? Margo and her friend Alexandra could tell you, Air Pollution! By the end of the exhibit, Alexandra is writing a pledge in her kindergarten spelling to skate more instead of riding in the car. Margo writes about how pollution hurts the earth and she will use less electricity or something to that effect. Me, well I did pledge to ride my bike to do the shopping, and yes I am slowly working to that effect, by riding the bike at the gym. Soon I will ride my bike to the gym for my workouts, and then on to grocery shopping.

With Earth Day coming up this week, I plan on doing something with Margo to make another change in our family in our quest to minimize our family pollution to the earth. Margo will be happy, as will I, so will 'Mother Earth' and yes, I will continue to raise an Enviro-Radical!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Passing on hockey passion to the 4th generation....Little Margo

I love hockey, my mom, the first little Margo, loves hockey and she learned to be passionate about hockey from her mom, Grandmamma. (We always called her just Grandmamma, of course we did give her the nick name of 'young chick', but that is another story.)

Growing up we used to watch our mom yell and scream in French of course at the guys flying around on ice on the black and white TV. It was amazing to see the energy and voice come out of this little petite 5foot 1inch woman who weighed less than 110 lbs. Most persons found my mom to be sweet and kind, and yet when it was Stanley cup time, her hockey gloves were tossed and out came some of the loudest screams I ever heard leaving our house. She was engaging in her hockey passion and still is to this date!

All of my brother in laws and sister in laws have become fans of hockey because of my mom, Grandmamma Margo; I am hoping little Margo will grow a liking, or should I say passion for this very fun and crazy game. In fact, Grandmamma Margo's influence  reaches out to all of her grandchildren and even their boyfriend's regarding hockey and the teams to follow. You may have guessed her first and favorite team was and is the Montreal Canadians. She used to watch Henri Richard play hockey in their backyard every winter growing up. Her mom would have the kids flood the backyard from their garden hose to create the ice rink. At one point she provided the boards for the rink and then her dad got into the act by hanging a light so they could play in the dark. My mom would watch her brothers play along with Richard, and cheer them on to wins in the neighborhood. My mom was very quick to point out she learned her hockey passion from her mother, not her dad. I have learned my hockey passion from my mom, and not my dad. And soon, I hope little Margo will learn hockey passion from me.

Tonight was the beginning of exposing little Margo to hockey and her crazy mom, (that would be me), yelling along with the crowd at High Five, to encourage, our favorite team, the San Jose Sharks. No I do not own anything resembling a hockey jersey or hat, but I know what icing is, and the various penalties our players will create. Tonight I got a bit carried away with some encouraging phrases like: "Shoot the puck!", "Get in front of the net" and "Replace our goalie". My favorite phrase of the night was YES! You got it we scored 6 times. My next most used phrase was "Nooooo!” the Colorado Avalanche scored 5 times. And once to my chagrin I used the word "Idiot", in reference to Nabby when he went to push the puck from behind his net, when he should have remained at his position protecting the goal. The next thing you know, the Avs scored. However, it was pointed out by little Margo that "idiot", is not as bad as the "S" word, you know "stupid", and then she added that "DUMB" was king of all the bad words.  So, with the knowledge that my daughter was listening, I did not use any of those bad words for the rest of the evening.

When the San Jose Sharks scored, I would rise to my feet and raise my arms in triumph, and she would watch. When the other team scored, I would cry out "Nooooo!" and she would watch. She did realize that the Sharks were the home team, meaning, she learned something tonight, but I am not sure what else she learned.

Perhaps little Margo learned the fun of eating pizza and drinking Gaiter-aid at High Five restaurant, and that this happens when we watch hockey. So now you have my trick to introducing her to liking hockey, it is the pizza, and Gaiter-aid that goes with the show. Perhaps for now, that is what she will associate with hockey, but I am hoping, in the very near future, she too will understand the thrill of a goal, and the disappointment of a sloppy loss. Perhaps she too will agree with me and yell, "change the goalie!", or a simple "shoot the puck" will suffice as the beginning of her passion for hockey in the 4th generation.