“And, no more ‘nap when he naps’, OK?” That’s what Levi’s doctor said during his 3 year check up. He also gave the advice of “no processed” food, so it is evident this is his catch-all advice and not specific to one situation over another. This post, for lack of a more clever thesis, is about advice.
I chuckled when his doctor said that. He doesn’t remember that I have Grave’s Disease, and he certainly didn’t know that my thyroid levels were coming down. I think I muttered (maybe just in my head), “We’ll see,” with a chuckle. Yes, I will take a nap thank you, when I am tired. Sometimes, dear doctor I operate on five hours of sleep, and napping while my dear Levi-bug naps, is necessary for everyone’s sanity.
The whole processed food thing was really entertaining. I blinked and looked at him, “Like what?” “We’re suggesting parents limit things like fruit roll ups (light goes off, ‘oh duh’) granola bars, etc.” I looked at him and said, “If I want a granola bar, I’ll make one myself.” He chuckled, “I don’t need to know how.”
I encountered a mom recently (of elementary aged kiddos) who lives a pretty green life style. She did the coolest, most obvious thing. She took those “Chinese prefold diapers”, the ones we use all the time, and rolled those up on a paper towel roll! And she was just recently (in the last few years) enlightened to the no-processed food mantra.
We’ve had the occasional Granola Bar in this household, I think. But, if I purchased them it was in conjunction with a trip, and it was at least two years ago. As our buying club has gained in momentum (another nap necessity on ‘days off’), our trips to the Supermarket have decreased. Now, instead of being shown granola bars and fruit roll ups, my catalogs and order forms remind me of granola and raisins. The closest Levi has ever got to a fruit roll up were raisins and dried cranberries, which he loves and has always loved.
So, how does all of this tie together? As a parent I am shown, daily, and hourly depending on with whom I associate, loads of advice on how to raise Levi. Likely, I portion out some of my own. Some of it fits for some people, and some of it doesn’t. Napping, in our household is sometimes a family event. We’re all introverts, no matter how much we enjoy your company, we need our recharge time or we’ll become cranky.
Living this “green lifestyle” really inundates one with advice. And, a lot of that advice is full of “don’ts!” Don’t eat processed food. Don’t buy your kid plastic. Don’t store your food in plastic. Don’t use boxed dinners for dinner, that’s not real food. Don’t do this, don’t do that. But, the reality is that life is a spectrum and there is no ‘right’ one way over another in a clear, easy to read, black and white sign.
This is especially important when we consider the “green lifestyle.” It’s new even if it’s old! I like to think of the “green movement” as we know it today, as originating in the 70s. Granted, eating whole foods 100 years ago may have been common sense, farming has gone by the wayside, quickly in replace of convenience foods. So, this new environmentalism piggy-backed off the energy of the 60s in more practical manners – make your own granola, get back to basics in food storage, here’s how you can go camping without buying processed food. The 80s came, and it feels like there was a pause. Gas crises, junk bonds, and Reagan all contributed. But, although our presidents haven’t meshed with growing environmental awareness and concern, our society has stepped up. Green washing aside, “Sustainability” is now a household term! That’s a heck of a lot of progress. But, we can hardly expect everyone to drop processed food today and start making their own trail mix (it’s really easy though, trust me).
Ultimately, this is an advice post. You may take it or leave it, because that’s the great thing about advice, you can pick and choose what’s right for you from the thousands of bits you’re given every day. The advice is this: figure out where you are on the spectrum and do what you can now in baby steps to increase your confidence. Go slowly from napping to no napping as your thyroid hormones even out (even if it’s with medicated assistance). Go slowly into weaning yourself from granola bars and fruit roll ups by switching to homemade trail mix and raisins. Go slowly, one step at a time, and suddenly you’ll be telling others how easy it is to make your own trail mix and you’ll gladly say, “I can’t remember the last time we had a granola bar.”