Friday, November 16, 2007

going green diary: entry 1

Over the course of the next few weeks, I plan to track my own personal efforts in "going green." Which, to me, means living more lightly on the planet today than you did yesterday.

I'm a stay-home mom of two boys and I know it's probably not the "green" thing to say or do, but today I praise Hasbro's play-dough and all of the fun plastic do-dahs that go with it. These toys have been a main-stay in our house.

See, I grew up on play-dough. That distinct salty smell and the perfect mushy feel of it in your hands. My fondest Christmas memory growing up is when I received the hairstyling studio where you could pump the playdough in, press firmly, and like fast-film photography out pumps the sweetest play-dough doo that I would promptly cut off in friendly fashion.

Recently all of our play-dough has been mixed to form primordial black, so I figured it was time to invest in new dough.

In our ongoing effort to minimize consumption and needless trips to the toy store, we decide to make our own.

It was a disaster. My three-year-old decided on a bright blue color and despite following the directions to a tee, we come up with a weird soupy mixture which I tell him will surely harden into perfect play-dough by morning.

I wake up to a kitchen full of little blue splatters (on the white fleece my friend let me borrow, no less) and still soupy play-dough my son has just finished "inspecting". (Apparently he checked it at 6:00 am without telling anyone).

Forget this , I head to my locally-owned toy store and to my dismay, no play-dough there. Toys R Us it is (audible gasp). I manage to b-line it past the eight-foot displays of the High School Musical stars and the new pop-star Barbie figures on sale and sneak on out of there with just my four new pastel colors - $1.98! (I probably spent that much on resources driving around to find the play-dough, not to mention the water consumption I used to scrub out the sticky blue bowl used in our homemade blunder).

I've banned plastic in my home (the grandparents apparently missed that memo) - everything from plastic water bottles to the kid-size yogurt we used to buy- because we Americans consume roughly 2.5 million water bottles alone EVERY HOUR and the majority of those never get recycled. That's a problem.

On the other hand, there are certain things I'm not willing to give up. Today my sons and I played playdough for almost two hours - making purple pancakes, and orange spaghetti, not to mention green caves for the bad guys and blue bridges for them to cross over. I appreciated the plastic shape makers we kept from my pro-plastic days of yore.

I keep going back to this: it's about balance. And less is more. And if it gives my boys an avenue to create pink trees and purple lakes, let them have at it.


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