Today I opened an adorable, holiday photo of my son that was taken at school.
It was wrapped in nice paper; he is smiling; he is healthy and I am blessed. As I
looked at it more, studying his face and how fast he's growing up, it dawned on me
that he had a Santa hat on his head. Gulp. The Santa hat was not his personal Santa
hat, I could just tell. Double gulp. Here it comes , welling up like heartburn, slowly or
not so slowly inching up my stomach to my throat...the thoughts. “What if that hat
had lice in it? What if ten kids shared that hat and now they all have lice? Who put
that hat on him?”. And most importantly, “Who on earth is going to clean and sanitize
my house if my child has lice!” . I decided when my son started school that faced with
de-licing my house and belongings the easier option would most definitely be to just
burn all of our possessions to the ground and start over. Then I took a pause, checked
myself and remembered he doesn't even have lice.
It's not just lice paranoia (although I think that little bug is exceptionally gross and
destructive) that creeps up on me at any time. It's the constant buzz of mommy
protective thoughts that makes me feel like I may indeed be harboring a bee's nest
somewhere in my messy ponytail. The laundry list of what to watch out for or avoid
any given day in order to stay healthy could swallow an industrial sized laundromat.
Don't play on playgrounds with ground up tires, don't wear pajamas sprayed with
flame retardants, don't play with cheap plastic toys, don't play with expensive plastic
toys, don't let your electronics get dusty and spew that toxic dust on your already
toxic plastic toys, and don't get me started on food. It's a daily challenge to not be
consumed by the by “the no list”. We wake up and use our toothpaste with no
fluoride, we eat our breakfast with no gmo's, we pack our lunch in no bpa containers,
we go to school and ask to say no to hand sanitizer with triclosan and it goes on and
on until we brush our teeth at night with the same no fluoride toothpaste. Now mixed
in with all of that is moments of total victory and glory. Maybe my sons surprise
serenade of AC/DC, maybe it's hearing a three year old say the word “mutagen” but
whatever it is they do, it's amazing and it's awesome. I remind myself daily that we
are in the honeymoon phase of life; no diapers, still little enough for plenty of cuddles,
no algebra homework. This is it, this messy life is very much a dream in many ways.
I tell myself (and my friend's remind me) to not let the no list cloud my precious
days but the freedom fighter in me feels an obligation to get mad about it. I get mad
because Johnson & Johnson products in England don't have the same harmful
chemicals that they have in the States, m&m's in Europe don't contain food dye while
ours are full of red 40, granted I have rid our lives of these things but I don't think it's
fair. I'm mad based on the principal that we here in the U.S get a great big switcheroo
and that corporations don't think we'll notice. Why do I have to spend my day going to
4 different grocery stores searching for the non toxic products all the while facing the
same 6 mainstream fake out natural options? I once cried in the toothpaste aisle. I
had been standing there, reading labels, thinking about ingredients when I realized I'd
been standing there for twenty minutes! Who spends twenty minutes in the
toothpaste aisle only to wind up empty handed and in tears? Me. In all honesty I still
don't know what to think about toothpaste. No fluoride because it causes cancer but
also be sure to not ever need a root canal because that causes cancer. I'm left to
count on the small chance that my children have magical teeth which can go without
fluoride but will also never decay.
Some people say it all comes down to balance. Balancing you're life, making sure
you say yes as many times if not more than you say no, having as many joyous
moments as you do worrisome ones. I agree with that. However I also think it's ok to
get mad, get informed and raise a little hell. The mom who took on Kraft mac n'
cheese, the teen who took on Gator-aide, Jaime Oliver who took on pink slime; these
are people I want to high five. Reading a label, researching an ingredient and blowing
the whistle. In my house I am Head Label Reader, although I must say after years of
training my husband is catching up and keeping it real. I don't like that it comes down
to the individual to avoid harmful substances. You would hope that a company would
say , “let's not put carcinogens in baby wash” but that's not the case. The
responsibility trickles down from billionaires to those barely getting by, with the lame-o
statement of “it's your choice to buy it”. To which I raise my debit card in protest and
reply “you will never get a dime of mine.” I'm a firm believer in the concept of every
time you spend a dollar you cast a vote toward the type of life you want to lead.
However living by that principal puts me right back at..... you guessed it, the no list.
*For more information on chemical free living or to learn more about Coleen's blog please email her at coleencarusi@Hotmail.com