To TV or not to TV?

Or better yet, does the baby get TV? Or do most people start that at toddlerhood?  Or wait until the recommended (by the AAP) 2 years?  In all reality, I totally know there’s no way to avoid it once the kids get into public school (Sillyboy has enjoyed several screenings of Happy Feet parts 1 and 2 during substitute teaching and awards time during his first year of kindergarten, all without me knowing until afterwards…), and then there’s all kinds of tv everywhere: waiting rooms, mall food courts, inside stores, at the gas stations, etc.  And what about the “educational” tv shows?

ImageI think even for 5 months old, I try to avoid Bambina watching tv.  Her brain is still developing at a rapid rate, her mind is a little sponge- and I’d rather her soak up some board book story reading time than even the Veggie Tales sing-a-longs.  But I get crazy looks when I explain this to the extended family.  Especially since we do limit Sillyboy’s “screen time” which includes his time watching tv, dvds, playing on the wii, gaming on his Vtech Innotab, etc.  (We’ve yet to invest in a Nintendo DS, yet…).  He realizes there’s such a thing as too much screen time, and even brings it up to his grandparents some.  But as we all advance with technology, how do we keep it real by keeping less screen time in our every day lives?  Interactive classroom teaching is everywhere- and Sillyboy sends emails on his own and downloads and reads his choice of kid-friendly titles on the Kindle Fire.  I can’t keep up!

I guess I should get with the times and realize we can’t escape it.  We just need to keep with the old adage “Too much of anything isn’t good for you”- and that includes screen time.  Let’s see how long I can hold out before Bambina figures out who Barney or Elmo are!

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Small Salve Step

A friend of mine (who isn’t tired of my lengthy “green” fact-fests) asked what type of baby or small-steps she could take without freaking out and reading every label.  Over-analyzing our lives is already work itself, no need to complicate things, I agree.  While I was finishing up my morning routine, I found just the thing.  Replacing this petrolatum product with this green salve.

 

First difference: the size of the product.  How long do people hold onto a jar of Vaseline anyhow? I couldn’t find an expiration date on mine, which could be good or bad depending on your opinion of the twinkie effect.  You literally use a dab of the salve, without adding a thick layer of greasiness.  The smaller size makes it just the thing to toss in a purse or pocket- even for a quick trail hike.

 

Next: actual effectiveness.  The reviews are hands down 5 out of 5 stars attesting to the Burt’s Bees Res-Q Ointment.  You can use this for anything you would normally use petroleum jelly for- and more even, like bruises and poison ivy.  The natural oils are absorbed by your skin to help heal.  We have a strict “no blood, no band-aid” rule in our house.  It’s easy to think a band-aid can fix everything, but if a paper cut or a small knick is bothering Sillyboy- he can just dab this on himself.

 

And, of course: it’s green.  Green all around.  The salve comes in a small metal green tin.  The salve itself is dark green color. And the ingredients inside are green- the first two ingredients are sweet almond oil and olive oil.  The ingredients on Vaseline= petrolatum is the active ingredient, and… nothing else is listed.

 

All in all, just try this small salve step.  If you can’t remember how old your petroleum jelly is, toss it anyways.  After my experience with spraying ethanol around the house, that is one less product I need to slather on.  What other baby steps can you take to turn one thing in your life into something green?

Product Purge

I keep reading and hearing the same advice: Start small. Don’t overdo it, because you will drive yourself crazy and give up.  When clearing out closets, drawers, and old bins of whoknowswhat- I’ve decided it’s better in waves.  That way I can get used to the idea – or completely forget about- the things I’ve banished to the garage to be donated and never seen again.  Things don’t come back from the garage!  Taking another cue from Healthy Child Healthy World, I’ve decided to go through all cleaning products and purge away.

I pulled everything out from under the kitchen sink, on shelves in the garage, and both bathrooms.  Then I’d toss it in a box if it a.) wasn’t used in the last month b.) was starting to separate or leak (note the rusted aerosol can below) or was c.) toxic. I ended up with this box of un-needed products:

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There is some wood varnish from early ’11 in there, some shoe polish from ’06, etc.   One product I was unsure about putting in the box was a spray bottle of room re-freshener.  You know, the type that kills the smelly particles and leaves the room fresh, while being pet and baby-safe.  Those claims are labeled on the front of the bottle along with scented “clean.”  Then I read the back of the label- “contains % of ethanol.”  Huh.  I’ve been spraying odor-killing, clean-scented ethanol on my couches, curtains, and pet beds?!  Insanity.

I’ve now got two bio-friendly cleaning products under my kitchen sink and am surprised (delighted!) how well they clean up baby-kid-dog-cat-mom messes easily.  No scary residue to worry about: Scotch-Brite botanical wipes, and Honest multi-surface cleaner.

ImageTake a look at what/how you clean your home- especially if you have kids and/or pets.  What do you use the most?  Can you replace it with a more green friendly product?  What can you do without?  Start small.