As my loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers know, our family has been at our beach house in Bay Head, New Jersey, for the past two weeks. Rex and I have worked from the home office in the mornings and evenings, getting our daily dose of the beach for a few hours around low tide, which was 2:30pm today. This afternoon, I actually went in boogie boarding with Maddie, something I haven't done in a looooong time, possibly since the summer before I was pregnant with London, so ten years ago. It was a lot of fun. I believe, however, that I overheard the following discouraging exchange between two young boys:
"Hey! Great ride... but I crashed right into that old lady at the end." Could he really mean me?
It seems like just yesterday I was shopping for baby formula, but both London and Maddie have preferred chocolate milk or cranberry juice for at least the past six years! Forgive the cliche, but time really does fly when you have kids... and in the midst of that great run from 5 to 12, I'm right where I want to be... the girls are old enough to really enjoy body surfing in the waves, and to entertain themselves by building sandcastles or reading on the beach. Today, London finished a Judy Blume book ("Starring Sally J. Friedman As Herself"), Maddie finished a Judy Moody book, and I've been doing some writing and just started into a new page turner ("The Secret History" by Donna Tartt).
Meanwhile, I see lots of other mothers on the beach, enjoying their infants and toddlers but not getting much "me time." Apparently, health experts and the federal government are encouraging American mothers to breastfeed, as the best nutritional option and to save money... up to $2,000 per year on the cost of formula. WIC -- a federal agency that provides food, nutrition counseling, and access to health services to low-income women, infants, and children -- has introduced a new food program that encourages breastfeeding. Mandated for all states, the new WIC package reallocates funding for all currently provided foods, including infant formula, baby foods, juices, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Women who select the breastfeeding package will not receive any infant formula; in addition, those who partially breastfeed or formula feed exclusively will receive 13 percent less formula than was paid for by WIC in previous years, forcing them to purchase baby formula on their own.
While I know it is not a particularly politically correct point of view (and did you really come to my blog seeking something PC?), I believe that if a woman can't afford the cost of having a child, she shouldn't have one, nevermind more than one. However, if money is tight and for some reason a woman can't or doesn't choose to breastfeed, the fact is that, in the United States, all infant formulas are subject to the same regulations governing manufacturing and ingredients as stipulated by the Infant Formula Act. Store-brand infant formulas sold at major retailers are therefore a premium nutritional substitute at a substantial savings over the major advertised brands and meet the same FDA nutritional requirements.
Enough about baby formula... I'm right where I wanna be, with a second grader and a third grader who are sure easy to live with... and lots of fun at the beach. However, I can feel "back to school" closing in on us... no matter how many perfect beach days I get, and this summer couldn't have delivered many more, Labor Day always sneaks up on me and makes me a bit nostalgic, and a little sad. Even though we will still come to the beach on weekends after school starts in September, there's something about the lifeguards leaving that makes Labor Day seem so final.