Isn't she worth it?

Attracted to the local, artisan, high-culture and low-sugar benefits of Saint Benoît yogurt, I've been buying it for MZ, along with Hodo Soy Beanery's tofu omelette and Prather's no-nitrate free-range beef hotdogs. These are all good sources of protein, given that's the one food group she disdains, but they're also pretty spendy. The yogurt, which comes in lovely little ceramic tubs (aesthetics are everything, really), seems rather excessively dear for a toddler. We've been going round on whether we should really buy this for her or return to the Straus Organic yogurt, which is also local, plus it's organic. But objectively, it's not as tasty, and don't we want to encourage discriminating tastes in our daughter? And given the opportunity, don't we want to support a local, sustainable small business?

The thing is, I have this idea in my head that the Saint Benoît yogurt is somehow better for her. So last night, as she polished off the last container, I asked R. what he thought, should I buy more or go back to the Straus? And he replied, "Will it make her smarter? Will it make her more social? Put her at the top of the class?"

He was joking, of course, but there it was, my secret fear in almost any decision I make, all day long. Should I go to the gym or take MZ to playgroup? Should I get the plastic-lined mattress pad or a pricey, unwieldy battened organic cotton one? Should I buy organic, hormone free cheesesticks or Stella Mozzarella? Get home to nap her on time or run one more errand? Feed her (more) crackers or make a whole-grain pilaf? Run the sippy cups through the dishwasher? All wooden toys? Home-made diaper wipes? A second rinse cycle? Go back to work? I could go on and on...

When I take a step back, I know that none of these decisions is that urgent, and that it may be other decisions I make much more blithely that cause real harm. But in the moment, it can be paralyzing. I've never had such total responsibility for another human being, plus a baby challenges my environmental and consumer behavior like nothing else.

And let's face it, I'm a results-driven Type A who's used to fairly rapid validation that I've made the right decision. Parenthood is so not like that. Parenthood is trial and error, and doing the best you can, and hoping that a ready hug makes up for the other stuff. From a distance I know that.

But the inner dialogue, full of doubts, second-guesses and indecision, damn, sometimes it can take all day. Posted by Picasa


At 1.6.06, Blogger meg said...

Funny -- that is SO not the Bernal Girl I thought I knew. *My* BG is unflappable, feet on the ground, issues in perspective. Is she a complete figment of my imagination? Have you just been playing her on tv (or net)? Has she gone on vacation for MZ's early years but will be back soon? Inquiring minds want to know.

As for yogurts, how about Straus most of the time and Precious Crock brand for treats?

(Also, I'm not sure you do want to raise a kid with such discriminating tastes that she turns up her nose at Straus. That way lies much unhappiness for everyone.)

Don't you just lovvvvvve advice from the childless? Don't mind me. I know nothing. Not worth flaming. These aren't the droids you're looking for.

At 1.6.06, Blogger bernalgirl said...

You made me chuckle. Parenthood has reduced me to a quivering mass of indecision, it's true. I better get a grip before the questions become a bit more urgent (although that whole heated plastic/growth hormone thing does give me pause like, daily).

Yogurt, shmogurt, it was more Robert's response to my quandary that kicked this off.

I think this boils down to the larger question of whether I have enough significant questions to answer day to day, and perhaps all my management energy is developing a laser-like focus on the mundane.

There, a whole 'nother post.

At 1.6.06, Blogger bernalgirl said...

Besides that, the Straus yogurt is really runny, which kind of matters when you're trying to feed a toddler.

At 2.6.06, Blogger The Big Pugawug said...

What, you don't make your own yogurt? Bernalgirl!

For me, the paralyzing decision is using the car to get to/from work. For years, I lived close enough to walk or, when we moved a little further away, bike. I biked until I was so pregnant that my knees bounced against my belly, then switched to MUNI.

And now? I teach my daughter that every morning, one gets into the car and drives a thoroughly bike-able mile or so. I've thought extensively about using a bike seat for her, but concluded that even with bike lanes on the whole route, the possibility of a car hitting us is just too scary. MUNI would more than triple the time it takes to get to work, so we drive for now.

My karmic rationalization is that 7 years of walking/biking to work offsets a couple of years of a short car commute.

For me, that decision encapsulates the issues at stake with most of my other consumer/parenting choices. Am I valuing my family time and dollars over environmental sustainibility? Are there notable threats to Pugawug's health and safety?

What shakes me out of paralyzing moments is usually an urgent screech from Pugawug meaning, "c'mon, mom, choose NOW and let's move on!"


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