Happy Earth Day everyone! We’ve been working on our celebration for a few days already. I spotted an article on Tree Hugging Family last week that mentioned a project to have kids decorate paper grocery bags for Earth Day and then return them to the grocery store. The daycare teachers thought it was a great activity – you didn’t think I would organize a group of kids, did you? I asked at my local Loblaws and the manager agreed immediately to supply the bags and distribute the finished products. Ken and Reid took the bags to daycare on Monday, the kids drew on them and then Ken and Reid brought them back home. This morning I wrote, “Happy Earth Day!” on each bag and Reid and I took them back to Loblaws. There was only one person at the front of the store and she was harried. I was tempted to say grumpy but since she was the only one at dealing with people checking out, I’ll allow that she might have been to busy to smile at Reid when she handed over the bags or even to say, “thanks.” Reid had been excited to take the bags in and didn’t seem to notice the cool reception.
Reid and I hurried to the bus stop, running down the ramps and crying, “Wheee!” as we went. The other people in the mall smiled, the “look at the happy little girl smile” rather than the tight, “I hope that crazy lady keeps going” kind. Reid was riding in her little umbrella-type stroller. She is probably too old for it but I didn’t want to spoil our adventurous morning (taking a bus is still an adventure for Reid) with a series of “C’mon, keep walking”, “Reid, if you don’t hurry, we’ll miss the bus” and “Mama is going to be very late for work if you don’t stop dallying” comments. We didn’t have to wait long for our bus and then Reid found us good seats, near the front this time, where we ate our bananas and discussed the other passengers, where they were going and why the bus was stopping. She wondered at the highschool boys who were able to go to school by themselves! The things teenagers do these days! When we got off the bus, there was no traffic on the 4-lane road we had to cross (practically a miracle) and Reid hurry-scurried to get into the stroller and we zoomed across the road.
The other kids and the teachers were already outside by the time we got to daycare. I put Reid’s new Blue Lizard sunscreen* on her and then she went to get a paper grocery bag, one of the ones that hadn’t been decorated, to help tidy up the play yard. The teachers were raking leaves, sticks and the like and the kids were putting this stuff into the bags. The paper grocery bags were just the right size for the 3 and 4 year old kids to manage. There were some of the large leaf-and-yard-waste bags but I doubt they would have been anywhere near as easy for the kids to fill. Giving each child a bag also helped to identify the slackers and ask particular individuals to help. Reid was her usual helpful self (not like last week) and picked up many leaves. She even offered tips to Claire about where she should be raking, at one point showing that there were leaves all across the front fence and not just where Claire was currently working. Claire was so polite when she told Reid that she needed to finish the area in front of her first. There was no hint of “thanks, kid, now if you and the other kids would just put the leaves into the bags faster …” in her voice at all. She is a good person to be spending so much time with so many small children. I had missed the soonest bus going downtown because I to clean up my coffee that I spilled and so I had 26 minutes to observe the kids (and take pictures, of course.)
* We’ve used Ombrelle sunscreen on Reid since she was old enough to have it applied. Ombrelle comes with the “seal” of the Canadian Dermatologists Association on the front and I’d heard/read about how it was better than some of the other mass marketed products. Last week, I read a post on Crunchy Domestic Goddess that discussed a recent study that said oxybenzone, a chemical in most sunscreens, has been linked to allergies, hormone disruption and cell damage. Amy, the blog’s author, referred to the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database and a list of the safest sunscreens for children. The type of Ombrelle I bought for Reid received a hazard score of 3. Some of the other products received a hazard score of 8. BUT some others received a hazard score of only 1. I searched for products on the 10 best list over the weekend and again on Monday and finally found some Blue Lizard for Sensitive Skin with an SPF of 30 that made the “best bet” list. There was a zinc oxide stick that has a hazard rating of 0 but it’s not suitable for being in the water or heavy perspiration. Reid plays in water each day at daycare throughout the summer and can be a sweaty little kid when she is running about and being 3 and 3/4 years old. I’m left with a bottle of Ombrelle that I think Ken and I will use since I’m cheap and the effects of chemicals on adults are much less. (Here’s hoping ;+)