I have been going through our stuff lately to trim off the excess. I like the idea of simplifying our material life and making more room for Owen to run around. It’s just a less cumbersome way to live. I regularly give away small household items on our local Buy Nothing Facebook group. Things like unused hair conditioner (who’s got time for that anyways?), candles (not exactly baby/toddler friendly), leftover office supplies, a sweatshirt for pets, an extra phone charger, neglected dancing shoes, a tea set for one, and a book about Warren Buffett. We have also received quite a few free things from other group members. They are mostly hand-me-down baby items for Owen like a baby bath, an exersaucer, toys and more toys (shown in picture above). The group’s mission is to “Buy Nothing. Give Freely. Share Creatively.” It is truly a wonderful resource that brings the neighborhood together through acts of kindness and mindful consumptions. I can’t remember exactly how I joined the group but I’m very gratiful to be a part of it. You can read more about this nationwide movement at https://buynothingproject.org
The most useful thing I found through the group so far is a family to take in our cat Ernie while we traveled. Pet sitting is ok for a few days but not exactly suitable for weeks or months. I feel so much better knowing Ernie is with good people who can care for and play with him. It did took him a few weeks to warm up to the new family though. Thankfully they were patient!
My latest request may be a bit unconventional. I’ve been playing music for Owen since we came back. I am aware of organized music class for babies starting when they are four months old. The aim is not necessarily to teach music but rather to expose babies to rhythm and melodies through movement, at first moved by and with their parents. This very same concept of moving to music, for example, walking and clapping hands, is used in profession studies in music conservatories as well. Heck, I spent three out of four years in music school clapping hands and tapping feet (and somewhat failing at it, damn you polyrhythm!). Anyways, I’m not aware of such a baby music class in our immediately vicinity (nor am I excited about shuttling our car-hating baby around). Even though I can play music for Owen from a speaker I really hate the fact that he can’t see how music is actually made (on instruments, by people, through movements). I don’t want the baby to “learn” that music come from a small box or the car stereo. This would not have been a problem if we still lived in NYC. I could simple take him down stairs and enjoy free live Beetles music at Strawberry Field on any day of the week. There are also tons of other street performers in parks and subway stations. But we live here, a suburb, with barely anyone on the street. Hoping to expose Owen to more people and be able to see people making music up close, I posted a request to have people play music for him. Nothing specific. Any instrument, any music, 20-30 minutes of their time. It could even be mutually beneficial for everyone involved. He is a pretty cute and well behaved baby after all. Let’s hope we find something!