Friday, December 3, 2010

Day 3: moving on

Today's Project was to prepare our high chair, folding change table and solid (unfolding? fixture?) change tables for passing on to a pregnant colleague. It wasn't really one of those tasks I have been procrastinating about for ages, because it came about because the recipient was passing by this way. Either way, it was a project in itself to get things looking a bit less used with only a day's notice.

Fortunately, my cleaning assistants were as willing as ever.

The change table is a bit of a Melbourne Research Institute heirloom, requiring a quick modern history lesson to explain its genealogy. When I started my PhD I took over the desk of a former student, L, sharing my bay with a scientist, H. H played soccer with another scientist, C, who had worked next door to us. When I started in my current position, C and his wife both worked with me. Where this all relates to the change table is that it was made by L about 20 years ago then passed to H, who passed it to C, who passed it to me, who now passes it to the next link in the chain. I told her that the only deal in receiving the change table was that it has to be passed to another researcher!

Somewhere on (sorry, can't find the specific post) is the observation that economics courses always cite blood donation as the only completely altruistic industries of modern society*- meaning the donor receives no benefit- yet the hand-me-down system of baby clothes and equipment is just as altruistic. Except that, in this case, the donor (=me) received the double benefit of decluttering and a topic for APrADa!

*except if you live in the USA where in places like Denver homeless people queue for $20 to donate their blood plasma....

While there are plenty of things we "need" to get during pregnancy, pre-natal education is one of the few which is positively correlated with improving outcomes for mothers and children. A $55 donation to Oxfam can support the training of community members who will provide pre- and post-natal education for women living in rural Cambodia.


ANB said...

As grateful recipients of a number of baby items (including the many things from you guys!) we wholeheartedly endorse altruistic giving :) E has a cot at Mum & Dad's that sounds similar to your change table: nearly 30 years ago it belonged to a geologist who lived in the same SA mining town as us and it was passed through numerous geology families. At least two of the families now live in Perth and so one of them was able to give it to us even though Dad doesn't strictly qualify as geology. The only condition with its gift/loan was that we pass it on in time, preferably to another mining/geology family.

Maxabella said...

That is a really fab photo, BTW! x

_vTg_ said...

Thanks! The wonders of facing east for the morning light!!

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