Long post – get coffee.
Following a few Facebook posts (you see, there’s always trouble when one starts doing that) I found to my utter surprise that what we regarded as natural, normal parenting (through the ages, many generations) has a new name.
It’s known as “crunchy” parenting.
<– Does this woman know she’s a “crunchy” parent?
Crunchy parenting apparently includes such choices as breastfeeding, giving natural birth (honestly now, how many women expecting their first child deliberately opt for an elective Caesarean?), carrying your baby in a sling on your body, demand-feeding instead of scheduling feeds according to your boss’s work schedule, allowing your baby to sleep next to you in the big bed (so you, for your own convenience, don’t have to wake up too much every time they are hungry), as well as some of the more debated choices such as delaying or foregoing vaccinations, homeschooling and so on.
Seriously though, I didn’t know it’s a syndrome to try and raise your child as naturally and logically as possible. I didn’t know it’s now a cult to breastfeed (were the Yanomami informed of this? They are now cultists) or to be selective about exposing your children to TV (there’s nothing on in any case these days 😛 ).
And if I oppose eating fruit that is covered with insect killer – I’m a cultist? My mom taught us always to wash fruit and veggies before we ate them. So she’s a cultist, too?
Where the more hotly debated topics (vaccines, homeschooling) are concerned I can understand how politicians and large companies viciously defend territory that shouldn’t be theirs. So to be labelled a “cultist” for wanting to protect my child from teacher abuse and a losing curriculum, that is expected. Of course the Communist (George Orwell, Aldous Huxley – who remembers these two authors) does not want to yield the control he holds over the malleable young mind, his control tools taking the shape of a loaded curriculum and Departmental Rules about Truancy. As for the vaccines – man dammit my kiddies are already vaccinated because I was only a little bit scared back then, but if I knew then what I know now, I’d have stood firm. Luckily my children were not vaccine-damaged (if I presume that my first baby’s “inexplicable” colic and high-pitched screams with her back pulling rigid, were not MMR-encephalitis) but a friend of ours was not so lucky, neither was an ex-student – one case of severe autism with extreme retardation following the DTP, and one case of – get this – diabetes!, with the thymerasol in a booster vaccine destroying this little boy’s Langerhans islands in his pancreas. So much for anecdotes – we know two (and potentially a third) cases personally!
Nevertheless I can see how Big Pharma will fight with every dirty means at their disposal for not losing that gig. Even though by all their own logic their vaccines have failed… the new ones anyway; those measles outbreaks are to a large part in fully vaccinated people. But this is not a post about people’s choice to pump unproven substances into their babies, nor about the push of governments to try and take away parents’ rights to be the first to decide what medical procedures they’ll accept for their kids.
What concerns – no, let’s be honest, what irritates me about this show, the label of “crunchy parent”, are the co-associations. (And the term itself. I’m not a peanut! “Crunchy” in not too-faded colloquial carried the meaning of being dirty, scummy, drunk, drug-addicted, unwashed due to lazyness…)
Living consciously, in the more spiritual circles, means an awareness for everything that is alive. Not randomly hurting, killing or trampling. Different people take this to different lengths. Do I recycle? Werrrl… if it means sorting rubbish into organic vs paper vs plastic vs tin, then no, I don’t. I do something that, these days, carries the posh fashion term “upcycling”. I take something that is packaging / meant to be disposable and find another use for it. (Rats, wish I had my stolen camera now, I’d take a quick pic of what the Cubs did for Mother’s Day, it’s a lovely example.) This I’ve done since I was a kid, my mom must be the original “upcycler”. She even takes things that are NOT rubbish and turns them into something else! 🙂
Did I use cloth nappies? I beg yours. I’m not a full-time mom and was even less so back then. But if one counts the washing powder, softener, electricity and then the antifungal meds to combat the nappy rash, … really? Are you really being “greener”? And at what pain to your baby (who should definitely also have a choice in the matter, after all you’re inflicting pain on her for the sake of your convictions)? You have to make a choice between green and kind…
La Leche League helps breastfeeding women over the initial einas. But they also preach… they have an ideology… you should breastfeed until your child is six! Needless to say you can’t possibly expose this child to nursery school, because the other moms may shame you into stopping! And you also have to homeschool, otherwise your child will be the absolute hub of ridicule… c’mon now, people. If it feels unnatural and “weird” it is not natural but ideology. But there’s nothing wrong with breastfeeding, as such. And weaning is the choice of the mom. We’re not kangaroos (those kangas come & suckle at their mother even when they are already adults and carry their own baby in their pouch!)
So yes, “crunchyness” can go to extremes. Is it “green” to use toilet paper? After all, trees had to die for it…
Yes I bought a Braun hand blending stick (my “magic wand” in the kitchen) specifically so I could blend fresh food for my baby. Why? Because I wouldn’t want to live off a tinned diet myself, why should I do it to Baby? Is that crunchy? Hayck no – I made sure it was completely smooth. She’d have choked on crunchy. And we still use that blender, what a cool little implement it is!
And btw no, we’re not vegans, not even vegetarians and we don’t think eating honey is cruel to bees (though the bees debate is now on a whole different level thanks to Monsanto). None of my kids has a food intolerance (though two older fam members, mom and m-i-l are dangerously allergic to certain foods – that means, if they somehow get them in, they have a full-blown asthmatic reaction with face, throat and airways swelling up like balloons and they have to be rushed to the ICU – who knows what caused these allergies? They’ve had them from childhood). But if one of my children had a food allergy I wouldn’t call our specialized diet that tiptoes around that, “crunchy”; I’d call it basic survival.
Like it or lump it, we are surrounded by civilization and artificial everythings. But that doesn’t mean we need to agree with every anti-life, anti-family item governments try to inflict on us. And if we’re pro-family, and pro-our-children, and some clever media person invents a fashion term to make us feel silly about it, y’know what:
Read my lips: 😛
It won’t stop us from doing what we feel is right.