Friday, August 25, 2006

In defense of plastics

There are people, some of them bloggers, who occasionally decry the evils of plastic. There are those who really go on and on about how plastic toys/furniture/parephernalia are truly the instruments of the devil. These people are sometimes -- but not always -- also vehemently opposed to disposable diapers, sodium and processed food in general, parenting magazines, cars, and so on.

Once in a while, I somehow internalize part of this argument. Somehow, I got it in my head that plastic toys were cheap and Not Good, and that I should pay a premium price for hand-crafted wooden toys for my children.

I wanted an art table for my playroom. I spent a long time looking at different art tables. I had several criteria to meet: under $300, pretty, tough, durable. I found a wooden table and two stools that seemed to fit the bill, and I ordered it. It came, and my father put it together, and D. loved it.

That very first night, D. snapped a leg off one of the stools. Now, I am aware that D. is, one might say, a wee bit larger than the typical 2-year-old. But this table is supposed to be for children up to age 8, and D. is not yet as big as an 8-year-old. And when this leg snapped, it wasn't a clean snap. Rather, we were left with a chair leg that makes a very convincing lethal weapon, what with the sharp edges and the nails sticking out of the wood shards and all. And yes, D. is strong, but this table is ostensibly designed for children, and one might not be totally nuts to think it would, oh, I don't know, STAND UP TO THE STRENGTH OF A CHILD.

Lest you think it was a single faulty leg on a single faulty stool, the other stool broke precisely the same way within three days.

Now, this table is one of those art tables where you can feed a roll of paper through for endless coloring fun. Except that the little yellow balls that screw on to the giant paper roll holder don't have any sort of locking mechanism. They just, you know, screw on and off. And D. unscrewed them and left them on the floor. And -- and I can barely type this part -- Baby J. found one and I found him with a giant yellow ball IN HIS MOUTH.

Whereupon I threw away both yellow balls and the large weapon rod that held the giant roll of paper and decided that there is a REASON Little Tikes is so popular.

But it's more than that. I'm opposed to the notion that ANY one way of parenting is better than another. For me, breastfeeding is critical, because I am LAZY and I have no desire to make bottles or get up. Nursing means LOTS of time to laze around on the couch watching Tivo. Co-sleeping is also a function of my laziness -- danged if I'm gonna get up out of my bed if I don't have to.

Disposable diapers? Um, YEAH. Again: lazy. Not going to KNOWINGLY create extra laundry. Or deal with a service. No, thanks.

When I homeschooled my girls for the year and a bit that I did, that was also borne of laziness, believe it or not. The year I started homeschooling, I would have had Z. at one school, across town, that started at 7:40, S. at the school nearby that started at 8:30, and D. at home with me and no housekeeper. So I would have had to get all three kids up and dressed, then schlep over to the far school, come home, unload the kids, then reload them and go to the nearby school -- NO FREAKING WAY. Rather than arrange a carpool, I simply decided to homeschool.

I read parenting magazines. I even sometimes try the recipies, even if they are laced with sodium. I don't care. I like things that are easy and that my kids will eat.

I make mac and cheese from a box. We buy frozen waffles. We eat a lot of hot dogs. And we are re-embracing the plastics that keep America great.

Thank you.


Lisa said...

Hear hear! I cannot get myself worked up over PLASTICS of all things, I just cannot. And yes, it's most likely because I'm lazy too. But that's okay.

Dee said...

Funny, I've had this thought myself at times. I came across a blog where the parent went on and on about how bad plastics were, how they were leaching chemicals out into the environment and into baby's food/formula/etc. Okay, so this is probably the case but you know what, we've all played with, eaten with, drank from, etc., plastics and, most of us, are for the most part, healthy.

So yeah, I don't have time to worry about plastics. Heck, if anyone asks what my decor is at home these days, I tell them multi-colored plastic.

Meredith said...

I am all for plastics too. I do worry about the leaching though - I did read a blog about how bad it all was and a link to a stainless steel sippy cup with a special sort of nonleaching sippy top. I ordered it for a lot of money and my son just hates it. He loves to carry around and nibble/suck on his plastic sippy cups and after a while, I figured there is only so much you can do.

Yes, I did a cloth diaper service but mine was actually a lot easier than disposable. Fill a bag, put it out Monday night, and bang, Tuesday morning they are gone and there were clean ones. Now we are all disposible and it kind of sucks taking the trash out of his room after every poop.

Little Tykes rules!