Last summer when I was up in VT with the kids, some family friends gave Amelia a Sesame Street DVD about loving the Earth. It’s a nice little DVD formatted like a normal Sesame Street episode, a storyline that’s interspersed with little vignettes (some old-school, some new). For a while she watched it religiously and sang along with all the songs (water, water, water), but that seemed to be it. Yesterday she pulled the movie out again and asked if she could watch it. She was so excited when I said ‘yes’ (meanwhile I was JUST as excited because I had stuff to do without the help of a 4 year old). A few minutes later I heard her singing along and thought about how sweet it was. At one point, she shouted from the living room “Mommy…we should love the Earth!” and I shouted back “Absolutely!”.
I was doing the dishes when Amelia walked into the kitchen, walked up beside me & said “Mom, it’s important that we conserve water.” Now, I don’t use a lot of water to do dishes. Call it environmental concern, but it’s actually the result of the same thing that leads to most of my “green” habits….complete and utter cheapness. Yes, I love the Earth. Yes, I think it’s important to save the environment. But when it comes down to it, I’m constantly looking for the cheapest and easiest way to do everything. Let’s just call it “Living Simply”, that seems to make everyone happy. So, Amelia came in and seemed to criticize my water conservation. I told her that I was already trying hard to use as little water as I could, thinking that she’d back down. She just looked up at me and, completely straight-faced, said “well, try harder.” Uh, okay.
Later, undoubtedly inspired by this number, Amelia walked into the kitchen with a yogurt container and said “We should re-use things. Can we re-use this?” and placed the container on the counter. I can’t even explain to you how sweet she sounded when she said this and how overwhelmed with mama-pride I was when I heard it. I definitely lean toward “Reduce” & “Re-use” and tend to blow off “Recycle” (don’t judge me I try. It just doesn’t always work out). I had a tiny moment of panic trying to decide whether I was supposed to wash the cup immediately so we could re-use it or hold off so we could conserve water. I decided to give a quick rinse and distracted Amelia with brainstorming uses for the cup. She’s really into feeding birds, so she thought that maybe we could use the cup to help fill the birdfeeders. My 4 year old is a genius!
For the rest of the day, Amelia brought me all of her…well…trash and asked if we could re-use it. I tried to draw the line at a Capri Sun pouch (gotta love grandparents doing the grocery shopping), but Amelia suggested that we could make stars out of the shiny silver.
I love it. I just love it. I love that my daughter is so creative and innovative. I love that she connected her DVD with her own actions. And I LOVE that she got all of this from Sesame Street. While people love bashing television and children’s programming, I will always stand by my belief that Sesame Street taught me about the world. As a little white girl growing up in rural Vermont where everybody looked and sounded just like me, I learned Spanish from Luis & Maria, I saw Gordon’s shiny dark scalp & Olivia’s braids, I saw Bob use sign language to speak to Linda & I saw that kids could run and play in the city just like they could in the country. How can any of that be bad???? But I’m getting off the subject……
Amelia is embracing her place in the world and I think it’s fantastic. The other day we were at Disney store (dude, she TOTALLY tricked me) and I agreed to buy her some Tinkerbell swimming goggles. When we got up to the counter to pay, the cashier asked if we’d like to buy a reusable shopping bag for $2. I thought it would be a great idea because Amelia loves carrying one when we go to Kroger and all of mine are pretty boring. They had several different styles and Amelia picked (after passing over Hannah Montana, Jonas Brothers, High School Musical & Wall-E) the simplest bag with Mickey Mouse hugging the Earth.
I am so proud of my little Earth Mama.