Milk, knives, & 5 year olds

We drink raw milk. We can only get it every other week, it costs around $8.70 for half a gallon, doesn't really freeze well, and it has more of a chance of having bad bacteria than the pasteurized, homogenized versions. It's also much healthier. The cows and milk have to live up to much higher standards (regular milk doesn't need to come from healthy cows, they just kill (pasteurize) any bacteria. It has all the good bacteria still there, and tastes a bit richer. In fact most "lactose intolerance" (as in my daughter's case) is only in relation to pasteurized milk. They do fine with the raw stuff. Yes, there's always the fear of some sort of E. Coli situation (although very rare) but I'm okay with that.

If kids didn't play there'd be less broken bones. If we protected them from all sorts of danger they'd be less mature, have less self esteem, and less equipped to handle the unsurities of the world. And in regards to food and medicine they'd be much less healthy.

We don't vaccinate (for the most part) or get anti-biotics "just in case". Because in insuring yourself against possible future harm you are subjecting yourself to a definitely less healthy present (and future).

Here is Zevi wielding a ridiculously huge knife. It's actually his job to cut up the melon on Shabbos and before we go to the park (in the Summer. In the winter it's mostly apples and cheese). Is there a chance of himself cutting himself? Of course there is, and it scares me a bit too. It also scares me when he zooms down the sidewalk on his bike, and I'm sure I'll be freaked when he starts to drive. But we know our kids. And Zevi is a very responsible one, obsessed with rules, structure, and order. He is way more careful with that knife than most adults (look how far his left hand is from the knife). He knows never to use it when we're not around and not to use it on smaller items (such as apples) where there isn't much room for his other hand.

I doubt we'd let the other kids use knives when they get to his age. My Chanaleh is in a different universe most of the time, and Mendel just loves to make trouble, but they have other responsibilities and jobs. And they thrive on it.

Why am I sharing all this? Well firstly, because I'm want to post these photos and don't want y'all to freak out :). But mainly I want people to realize that when it comes to your own life and family you are the expert. No one knows more than you do what each kid needs, and how to discipline, reward, teach, and love each individual member of your family. There will always be the judgers (yes, I know that's not a word, but it works better than judges here, or "those who judge"), the naysayers, and the social normers. Ignore them. Do your own research, trust your gut, and live fully.

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