It has come to my attention that parents of babies and toddlers are perhaps just a little bit bad for the environment. Or maybe it’s just me. Either way, here are my ten reasons why.
1. Disposable nappies
I think this one speaks for itself. There are nappies. So many nappies. Admittedly cloth nappies are available. Environmentally responsible people use these. For the rest of us, there are just two issues with that idea: (1) see point 4; and (2) no, just no.
2. Everything is plastic
Everything. Everything in the whole house. The endless toys, obviously. But it’s worse than that. It’s the cups, the plates, the bowls, the cutlery, the coasters, the place mats. Things that used to exist in non-plastic varients are now non-breakable plastic. Of course, as well as non-breakable, it’s non-biodegradable.
3. Paper napkins
Well, who hasn’t ever entertained the children by giving them paper napkins to play with in cafes and restaurants? Children are easily entertained. Yes, the rainforests are a worry. It’s just that, well, being glared at for having badly behaved children is also a worry. There is a variation on this activity involving the provision of straws (or ‘wands’ as the children believe them to be). This is no better: see number 2.
4. Washing machines
The washing. The washing is endless. Particularly when you forget to dry it and have to wash it again.
5. Boiling the kettle
Apparently, one should avoid repeatedly boiling the kettle, as that is bad for energy consumption and the environment. Yes, sorry about that. The correct number of boils to time to cups of tea made ratio for parents of babies and toddlers is: boiled ten times in four hours, no tea made. Before you conclude parents are solely responsible for climate change, it should be noted that, on at least three of the occasions the kettle is ‘boiled’, they will have forgotten to plug it in. Every little helps.
Baby wipes are not good for the environment. We’re so terribly sorry. But did you know how bloody amazing they are? You can use them for pretty much anything. And we do.
Back to the rainforests here. This time all the drawing paper that received one tiny crayon mark before being declared ‘finished’. It’s not always quite as bad as it sounds: sometimes there is a tiny crayon mark on the other side too. Parents can try to mitigate the impact of this one by presenting the barely marked paper as ‘fresh’ paper at the next drawing session. Sadly, toddlers are experts at detecting tiny crayon marks on a piece of paper: ‘It’s dirty!’
‘Turn it over then.’
‘This side’s dirty too!’ Bugger.
8. Food waste
They just don’t eat it. But it really isn’t considered acceptable to stop serving your children food because they won’t eat it (despite eating this exact meal three days ago/asking for it 20 minutes ago). Parents’ hands are really tied on this one. Sometimes the issue is compounded by the making of further food that does not get eaten in a futile attempt to get the children to eat something. Again, I really must reiterate in our defence that feeding your children is considered to be the done thing, and not an optional element of parenting.
9. Noise pollution
No, sorry, we can’t make it stop. Yes, it is annoying. Yes, and loud. No, we don’t know why they’re making that noise. We think they like it. Yes, we know you don’t like it.
10. Excessive battery consumption
This is really VTech’s fault.