I have a confession:
I love the crunchy lifestyle.
And another confession:
I do not have one.
It was probably my move to Colorado and my year of service through Americorps that created my fascination for the granola kind. Working and living among them, I surrounded myself and tried to copy them. None of it came easy and all of it was done with half effort. I was inauthentic. Just a wannabe.
Year after year, I yearned to truly be crunchy. I so admired that lifestyle; but, I continually found myself being inconsistent, quickly losing interest and patience.
Then, when I found out I was expecting, I felt it was time to go all in. If there was ever a time to actually adopt the crunchy life, it was now. Here is a list of what I intended to do… and how that turned out for me.
I did it all to prepare for a natural birth. Short of hiring a doula (because of cost and my over-confidence), I went into birth armed with so many bags of tools, that it took multiple trips. Yoga equipment, honey sticks, coconut water, massage oil, olive oil for “down there,” a playlist, family photos as my inspiration, notes from Ina May’s books and my birthing classes, affirmations, wholesome snacks, and so much more were positioned all over that birthing room. And I handled it all pretty well – until I got stuck at 8 cm with contractions one on top of another for over 4 hours straight. All of my preparation could not get me unstuck and so I got the epidural. I instantly moved to 10 cm and out she came.
I took a class and did hours of research on the best brands. I had a hard time deciding; so, I opted to use a friend’s used collection first. Well, we used the disposable diapers given to us in the hospital and quickly got reliant on the pee indicator strip that was featured on them. I told myself that we would use disposables for the first 3 months of her life, until we got more stabilized. Well, the “stabilization” period never came and, on occasion, when I would try out the cloth diapers I was borrowing, they reeked! I tried 4 different recommended ways of getting the smell out. No results, except so much wasted water on laundry! We decided we were happy with our simple disposable diapering system and couldn’t find any extra energy to change our ways.
Making the Baby Food:
I acquired recipe books, the Baby Brezza (steamer and blender in one), food cube trays for the freezer, tiny tupperware, and a “fill-your-own-pouches” system. I went all in with this one, but my daughter didn’t like my cooking! There was rarely a puree that I made that she liked. I didn’t give up easily either – for months I kept trying, but I also caved and bought purees, which she loved. Gradually, I cooked less and bought more purees.
My plan had been to make this the primary mode of eating with occasional purees. I read a couple of books and many blogs on the subject to get stoked. While it was fun to watch my daughter play around with adult-sized food and let her try what we were eating, she ALWAYS choked. With all my research, I fully understood that this was part of the process and stayed strong for as long as I could. Eventually though, I couldn’t stand the choking any longer. It wasn’t getting better and I couldn’t stop my heart from racing at every meal. I happily started cutting up pieces of food as tiny as possible (ever cut a blueberry 4 ways? I have!).
Organic Furniture and Clothing:
I made it as far as buying organic furniture for her room, but finding that my daughter sucked some of the finish off of an antique table when I turned my back made me realize there’s only so much I can control without taking away all her independence or without replacing everything. As far as clothing goes, we ended up with bins and bins of non-organic hand-me-downs. But, hey, in a way it’s more crunchy to reuse and recycle clothing than to buy new ones!
In the reality of new mom stresses, this was a “priority” that quickly fell from my sight. If she liked a toy and it kept her interest, that was all that mattered!
I focused on this with my last post, but I made it as long as I could. Supplementing with formula all along the journey was the best for us.
Before my daughter was born, I armed myself with FOUR different kinds of carriers. I was determined to be a baby wearer, but my daughter was not a cuddler. Being up against me never soothed her; in fact, she was always calmed by being held out on my arm, as far away as possible. Needless to say, she hated every carrier until she was old enough to be carried facing out.
I intended to do all of these things, not because I think they are the best methods out there, but because I have always personally admired them. I discovered that “you are who you are” and these just were not me. Yes, I could have tried harder, but I think that I didn’t because the intentions did not match my authentic self. And while I will always admire the crunchy, I also have come to proudly embrace my own ways. This is not a list of my “failures.” Furthermore, I acknowledge that not only crunchy people do these things, nor do all crunchy people complete this list! We all find our own blend of methods that are best for us, no matter what “classification” they are assigned.