This is the first in a new series of blog posts about our family.
We’re the Maus family: Toria, Andy, Eleanor and Phoebe.
We’re vegan. We love Star Wars. We do karate. I was a primary school teacher and Andy’s worked in tech since forever. Now we work together. Our daughters love climbing trees, reading books, drawing pictures, talking constantly and being outdoors. Harry is our cat. We’re convinced he thinks he’s a tiger.
Some weeks it feels like we go into Sainsbury’s every day. It’s opposite school so it’s too easy to pop in for forgotten things and come out with a tonne of stuff you didn’t really need. Plants being my major weakness. And Eleanor is such an enabler.
Friday is the same, and the girls run ahead to go and grab the cucumber I’ve missed off the Ocado shop. I’m chatting to another mum when I realise they’ve been looking at the cucumbers for a few minutes. “I’m looking for ones without plastic,” Eleanor informs me. Of course I have to tell them that they weren’t going to find one.
“But that’s silly,” says Phoebe.
Isn’t it just?
On the walk home we talk about plastic waste for possibly the millionth time this month.
No More Plastic!
Eleanor’s class have had a few lessons on zero waste and it’s wonderful to see how interested she is in these things. The information Eleanor disseminates when she comes home is all about ways the children can reuse their waste in art projects and the like. Or rewarding children for picking up litter. It feels like a missed opportunity and I wish school would talk about reducing waste instead. I also wish school would lead the way and maybe ditch the tetra-pak milk cartons and plastic-wrapped fruit as a start.
Still, I’m glad it paves the way for a conversation about waste at home. Despite their ages, both girls are very keen to do what they can for the environment; a fact which is mentioned in both of their school reports. Proud mummy moment.
After our conversation around waste at home, we think of some small changes we can make. Eleanor is feeling pretty pleased that she suggests swapping Harry’s food. I can’t believe I have been consistently buying these plastic pouches of food without even thinking about it! He sulks for a bit when we switch to tins, but soon he’s over it.
Time For Change…
I jump on the opportunity for us all to make the switch to bamboo toothbrushes and natural toothpaste in a glass jar. Eleanor says “I don’t like the toothpaste, but I’m thinking about how happy the fish will be.” Good enough for me, kid. Phoebe is a little more reluctant but a week in and she’s brushing her teeth with a lot less complaining. Andy and I actually prefer the toothpaste; our teeth feel a lot cleaner, especially first thing in the morning.
Another change for the girls is to ditch the foil-wrapped sandwiches for school and use wax wraps. Made by mummy of course. What’s the point in having a load of fabric scraps if you don’t put them to use? I’m really pleased at how they’ve taken to using them. Sometimes I worry that they won’t like to do anything that makes them too different, but unlike me they really don’t care.
As far as the plastic-wrapped cucumber conundrum goes, the girls declare that they are going to write letters to Sainsbury’s. “I’m going to tell them that they’re making fish sad,” says Phoebe, “and I’m going to draw pictures of dead fish.” That’ll show ‘em. In the meantime we agree that we should start shopping at farmer’s markets again, like we did when they were babies. Or zero waste shops. Inwardly I sigh at the extra effort I’ll be making, but I know it’s the better choice.
I relay this conversation to Andy that night, feeling a little bit smug that our daughters “get it” and that they care enough to do something about it. Funnily enough, I don’t quite feel the same way at 6:30 on Saturday morning when Phoebe bounds in asking for some paper for her letter…