Oh, and let's not ignore the other dairy darlings currently
taking up residence in there: Kefir, yogurt (plain, Greek and Greek with fruit,
and Viking yogurt. Yes, that's a
thing.), and a cheese drawer that would make Jerry Mouse swoon with desire.
As a result, I am forced to play some
serious Refrigerator Tetris every time we return from the supermarket (or, if
I'm being totally honest, when Instacart magically arrives on my doorstep.)
Even worse, there is less room for my wine.
I'm not the only parent with this problem, and apparently,
unlike diapering and Legos, our kids aren't necessarily going to age out of this
one. My friend, fellow
writer Marisa Cohen, nearly tore her rotator cuff—for real—shlepping all
of her family's milk home from the store.
Maybe I'll take a page from Jennifer Aniston and her chicken coops and purchase a cow for our backyard.
"We drink four different kinds of milk," she says of her
two daughters, 12 and 14, her husband and herself. "I only drink non-fat
because anything more than that tastes to me liking sucking cream directly from
the cow. My husband drinks 1 percent. Bellamy (14) is lactose-intolerant, so
she drinks almond milk. Molly still must have a glass of chocolate milk before
bed every night, and since it is a pain in the ass to mix it each night, we just
buy a half-gallon of premade chocolate milk at Whole Foods."
Every once in a
while, Marisa says, they simultaneously run out of all four types. And since
she is a New York City mom without a car, that means she has to shlep it all
back from the store manually, like an apron-clad mother of seven carrying 224
pounds of freshly-shot buffalo across the Oregon Trail. As a result, "I have to
go get a very expensive cortisone shot in my shoulder next week, and I suspect
this may be one of the reasons."
Let's examine this phenomenon a bit more deeply. A few possible
reasons that my fridge has turned into a dairy plant:
1.Too many studies
Every day we learn something new about milk:
"No need to switch kids to skim when they turn 2, because whole milk doesn't
cause weight gain"; "Calcium doesn't really strengthen your bones, so
experiment with soy and almond"; "Lactose causes mucus!"; "Lactose doesn't
cause mucus!" As a result, I'm giving myself whiplash in the grocery store's
refrigerated section because, on one hand, the coconut milk is hurting the
Sumatran farmers' backs, yet XYZ news program just told me that the hormones in
conventional cow milk will make my toddler grow 34As.
This isn't the case
in our house (fortunately), but plenty of parents experiment with non-dairy
milk alternatives to keep their little ones safe, hive-free or to guard against faucet
3. Whole Foods
section at WF can be overwhelming AF. First, they carry, quite literally, 106
kinds of milk. Cashew milk. Hemp milk. Rice milk. Flax milk. If you could milk wild
salmon and market it as an omega 3-rich non dairy alternative, they would do
4.I am trying to cater to everyone
The truth is, I could
just become the mom who hangs up an "Eat It or Starve" sign and wipes her hands
clean. It's not like our 4-year-old's life would be significantly worse if
she didn't have vanilla almond milk. (Although she did recently inform me that
by denying her a request for a spoonful of straight olive juice, I was turning
her Tuesday into the worst day ever, so
5.Today's milk lasts forever
don't really want to know why it is that I can buy milk on April 3 and the
expiration date isn't until our daughter starts Junior Kindergarten in the fall. Or why it is
that those little tetrapacks with the straws glued on are shelf-stable enough
to survive a nuclear holocaust. But it means less frequent trips to the store,
so I'm all for it.
I will say, examining
this phenomenon has had a happy side effect, in that it's allowed me to realize
that the dairy contents of our fridge has actually served as a sort of growth
chart for our family. Pre-kids, I was all about skim milk and 0 percent pseudo cheese;
no fat allowed. When my husband and I started trying to conceive and our
efforts went unrewarded, I brushed up on my fertility nutrition research and
switched to real cheese and 2 percent milk and yogurt. (The acupuncturist suggested
avoiding cow dairy, as she was worried it might increase sperm-thwarting
cervical mucus, but I couldn't stomach the goat milk she recommended. Because
it tasted like goat.)
Once pregnant, I upped
the ante to organic, taking on a second job as a pizza delivery woman to afford
to do so. Postpartum, our top shelf became home to a double row of breast
milk-filled Medela bottles. When that baby turned 13-months-old, we started
stocking up on organic whole. When she hit seven months or so, we began buying
organic whole milk cheese. And so on and so on, until our kitchen evolved into
the amateur Horizon factory that it is today.
Maybe I'll take a page from
Jennifer Aniston and her chicken coops and purchase a cow for our backyard. Or
at least buy stock in Silk.
At least I can sleep well at night knowing that
if a lost little vegetarian, lactose-intolerant kitten ever makes its way to
our doorstep, we will be able to welcome it with open arms.