Saturday, November 8, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
The AMA recommends breastfeeding exclusive for the 1st 6 months, and continuing for "atleast" the first year. The WHO recommends 2 years. Why the discrepancy? Well, I think this country is struggling to overcome its midcentury belief that "only poor people breastfeed", "its gross", and "formula is best". After that PR nightmare (did the formula companies use the same ad agency as cigarettes? seriously!) 12 months may be a stretch goal. The WHO on the otherhand is trying to make sure that children in the undeveloped world get one of the few advantages mother's can afford. It's also the best tool they have to stave off waterborn illnness, a major cause of infant death, since there's no need to mix it with water.
Most American mothers try to breastfeed in the hospital, more than half don't make it 2 months. The ones who make it through say "whew" at the 12 month mark and swiftly switch to cow's milk. There is a small minority that keeps going. As a new mother, I had a goal of 6 months, and then see what happens. (After the first few days and weeks, that seemed like an impossible achievement--but that's another post). I read up a bit on the recommendations, and started prying open my own mind on the idea of extended nursing. Apparently, there's scant scientific evidence of the benefits of toddler nursing in the US, but numerous studies have tried to find the negatives (science to support public opinion?) and they didn't come up with any.
About a year ago, I saw my doctor for my 6 month post partum check-up. We were talking about breastfeeding, and she casually said how things would go...and then we'd be toddler nursing, night and morning... What-What!? I heard the electronic rewind screech in my mind when she said it.
At 12 months, we were still breastfeeding. Jackson loved it. The descriptives, "alactrity", "enthusiasm", and "gusto" are inadequate to convey his excitement for nursing, or the sense of urgency he puts into it. I'm away from my baby 9 hours a day, so I wasn't about to deny him something that is clearly so important to him.
I did decide to break him from the all night feeding. This was really hard! I tried to use a gradual method to stop it. I set up some rules. 1--Jackson had to sleep in his own bed (right next to mine) until 5am. 2--No picking up screaming child (and he screamed!!) 3--I would give him milk when he asked for it, but only from a bottle. 4--After a few weeks, I would start diluting the milk with water until it was just water. Amazingly, the strategy worked. The first few nights were brutal, but after a week, Jackson agreed to go back to sleep in his own bed, and within 6 weeks, he was sleeping without sustenance from 7:30-5:00 (sometimes 4:30) when he woke for milk, and went back to sleep for an hour. (Such a relief after over a year of hourly interrupted sleep).
This method meant that I still had to pack my pump to and from work, and keep my timeslot in the overpacked lactation room so that I would have milk for overnight. There was another woman with a child the same age as Jack. On his 1st birthday, she [smugly] posted a note regarding her freedom from the milk machine. I was feeling like the weird woman who was still breastfeeding--How old is that child!? Then I checked in on my friend in my old lactation room, and she was still feeding her son. I asked a few more people and found out that there are actually a bunch of us quietly continuing past the first year. Many of us are professionals, surprisingly continuing to put in the extra effort.
Jackson was already weaned during the day since he was driven to vampirism early. (see Milk, soap, and cheese.) That's not the case for everyone. I saw my friend this summer who has extended breastfed all of her children. I was impressed at her patience--she spent 1/2 hour exposed in the kitchen while her 14 month old suckled and napped intermittently.
We're now at 18 months, and continuing to nurse for some indeterminate length of time. Jack's enthusiasm has not waned. We've had a cold this weekend, and Jackson hasn't been able to breath and suck at the same time. The other night, he threw an absolute fit when he couldn't suckle. He was writhing around and bawling. Luckily Jason was home, and able to sit with him while I dug my pump out of the closet. I put the milk in a sippy cup, and Jackson bawled louder, refusing to take it. He was relieved when I put in into a bottle. I wasn't able to pump much milk, and the wailing resumed when it was gone. Fortunatley, I still have stock in the freezer.
There are studies that show that antibody levels in toddler breast milk are even higher than in milk produced for young babies. I noticed my milk looks thicker than it used to, and I'm glad I can offer it.
I don't see myself as someone who fits the typical stereotype of a la leche leaguer. I think I'm as close as an engaged parent gets to the opposite of that. I'm not someone who gushes about the bonding that comes from nursing. I don't experience that personally, although I think Jackson does. I nurse because I know it offers advantages in immunity, allergy prevention, IQ, and development. I'm skeptical about the food industry (apparently with good reason--so glad I'm not in China!), and I don't believe they can adequately synthesize a food that has evolved over millenia. I want to make sure my child has the advantages that are within my means to provide.
I hope reading my story widened your awareness a bit. I'm not going to tell anyone how to raise their children, but I want other mother's to know that its OK either way, and I'd like to dissipate some of the whispers uttered at the expense of those of us who take "atleast 12 months" to mean something besides "exactly 12 months".
These pictures really show how Jackson has my droopy eyelids. My mom thinks I should embrace them--100 years ago, they were considered "bedroom eyes" and very demure. You can also see the right dimple Jack and Jason share, and of course the dark eyes. I think they have the same mouth, and probably the same nose, too. I have such cute boys!
Saturday, October 18, 2008
30 minutes, 1 shotglass of tylenol, and 1 clean diaper later--Jackson is sleeping peacefully. I am not.
Friday, October 10, 2008
So, I'm back to either using the deep mean voice that makes Jack cry, or simply taking things away from him and triggering a tantrum.
Tonight's tantrum over losing his privileges to my giant cocoa butter lip balm (which he was sweetly rubbing on his belly to reduce stretch marks, and then jabbing with his sharp fingers) started on the bed. He threw himself down face first, and, after a few dramatic seconds, started inching toward the edge. I helpfully placed him on the floor. After a few more dramatic seconds, he inched across the room, out the door, down the hall, was stopped by the door at the end, and complained there for several minutes. I walked down the hall and opened the door for him, then walked away. After several more dramatic minutes, he skidded his face across the carpet, and continued to complain his way onto the computer chair. A minute later, the whimpering turned to wailing. I think he got stuck in a standing position, and he'd knocked over the computer speaker. He agreed to allow me to pick him up, then cried quietly and nestled into my shoulder. He cheered up at the prospect of a story.
My child has combined his mother's sensitivity with his father's temper.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
It works. I say "I'm going to count" and my sweet boy, who's been ignoring my requests to put down the toilet paper for 5 minutes, interprets "Mama means business, now." He'll actually stop what he's doing on the number 1. So I cheer, but I think I have a responsibility to continue counting. He's gotta learn the numbers, and its not really counting if I stop at 1.
Down syndrome is one of the most common genetic condition, with an incidence of 1 per 733 live births. It results when a person has an extra copy of the 21st chromosome, hense trisomy 21. Consequences of the addition are mild to moderate cognitive delays and distinctive physical features including short stature, low muscle town, and an upward eye slant. People with Down's syndrome suffer high rates of congenital heart defects, thyroid conditions, respiratory problems, hearing impairment, childhood leukemia, and altzheimers. As these conditions have become more treatable, the average lifespan for a person with T21 has increased from 25 years in 1983 to 60 years today.
More information can be found at the National Down's Syndrome Society website, http://www.ndss.org/
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Toddlers are notorious for having short attention spans. They go from one thing to the next at superman speed. But they also have a propensity for obsessive focus, and a reluctance to have that focus interupted. I've been waging battles over me leaving, time to put away the puzzle and get changed, or come inside.
Yesterday morning, when I was getting ready to go, I started putting toys in the Pack-n-Play for Jack' s entertainment when I leave. Predictably, he immediately threw himself backward (careful not to thump his head on the floor) and complained. I still needed to put on shoes and collect my bag. When I was ready to leave, I gave Jackson a lengthy squeeze and snuggle, then set him down. He waived happily as I left. Well, Eureka. This morning, I gave Jackson plenty of warning and love before saying goodbye. He good naturedly sat down, and spread his blankets over his lap, then gave me a kiss goodbye.
It's fabulous!!! I'm applying the 5 minute rule to everything now. Tonight, we had the playdough out before bedtime. Instead of keeping track of time in my head, I said, "OK, 5 more minutes, then we have to put it away and get ready for bed." We played somemore, then he helped me put the playdough back in the jar. I let him carry the jar upstairs, and closed it repeatedly, so he could reopen it. Midway through the diaper change, he found something more interesting, and the jar disappeared.
Now what I need is an engaging egg timer to help me enforce my new plan.
Kristin, I have posted some new political rantings on my new blog "Other Musings" link at right (I have soo got to pick up some html skills!)
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
We got Jackson a tiny little life jacket last week so that we could take him out on the lake and paddle around. Our canoe really needs the exercise. It's been sitting behind the house growing algae for 3 years. Not only do we own a canoe, but the lake is right behind our house. OK, that's a bit of a stretch (forgivable since we are in the height of the political season). The lake is a mile or so behind the house and down a steep hill, what one might call a causeway if it traversed the lake rather than sitting on the edge of it. So we had to strap the canoe to the roof of the car and drive around, it's still a character flaw on our part that we haven't taken advantage of it.
Jackson was adorable in his little life jacket. He was also petrified for the first 20 minutes of our adventure. I don't know if it was fear, or just stunned wonderment. He just sat perfectly still on my lap like a stuffed boy. Once he relaxed, he was really into it. He helped me paddle a bit, and spent a lot of time dragging his hand in the water over the side. I had to hold on tight and frequently remind him that he needed to atleast keep his feet on the bottom of the boat, absolutely no climbing!
The great thing about Lake Williams is that its atypical for this state. Most of the lakes are framed with a melange of cottages and giant summer homes, each with their lawn embankments and private docks. Public boat docks are far between and often have restricted access. There is very little wildlife habitat on the lakes of Connecticut. Lake Williams is bordered mostly by state conservation land, the North branch is shallow and covered with lily pads, then gives way to what might be called a reedy swamp. It's bordered by trees and shrubs. The banks are disrupted by manicured lawns for just small portions of land, less than 2 dozen houses. A couple of the islands have small cottages, but the landscape there has largely been left alone. The North end of the lake has a buffer of atleast a mile before getting back to suburbia. I'm estimated that that's the distance to us, and I don't know how far you'd have to go to the North and NorthWest until you stumbled on someone's house or pasture. There is the trail, but that's a relatively minor intrusion.
This makes it great habitat for wildlife. From the trail, I can often make out little flocks of water fowl. Today, we didn't see a lot of birds, but I did hear/see a duck flying over and 2 great blue herons, one standing stone still near the enbankment, and the other flying over. We saw several painted turtles. The highlights, though, was a beaver. I saw him slipping quietly into the water, perhaps Jackson saw him as well. Then he saw us and disappeared in a frantic splash, which I know both Jason and Jackson had a glimpse of. (if beaver sightings are like whale sightings, they can count it as having seen one.) I'm very glad to have seen the beaver, its the first one I've seen in Connecticut, and the second in my life. My spotting skills are usually limited to roadkill.
Our canoe behaved surprisingly well. It is smallish and narrow, and difficult to stear. It's also very wobbly, and even a slight lean makes the boat feel like its about to overturn. We would like to trade is for a much wider canoe. But today it nearly redeemed itself.
I was already having a good day, and we finished it by getting some lobsters. They're part of a new rewards system we have going, and they were delicious.
Friday, October 3, 2008
I am on vacation with my family, 3 years old, at the wax museum in LA, sitting alone, on Frankenstein's lap, wailing. My mouth is open and my eyes are squeezed shut with giant tears streaking down. You can actually see the screams.
I don't know what I'm wearing, I image its a whitish T-shirt with 70's era iron on transfer paired with light colored shorts. It doesn't matter. The pictures captures the emotions of my preschool self, at an age before the show of emotion became tempered by shame, or impropriety, or whatever it is that makes my adult self answer "fine" to the question "How are you?".
Helene's friend Tricia has a daughter, Georgia, with T21. She started 31 for 21. I read her abridged life story on her about me, and she seems the type of interesting, creative, engaged person I would like. Actually, when I read it, I thought that she seems like the type of interesting, creative, sophisticated person that Brandon would like, since he once expressed his desire to surround himself with that type of person. With few exceptions, I like the same people. Georgia is just a few months older than Jackson, and she's adorable!
You can join in, too. Just follow the link at the top right of my blog.
Note--my knowledge of T21 is limited. If my idea of spreading the word turns into stealing facts from Helene's blog, rather than googling for my own, I'll ask your's and Helene's forgiveness. Besides, I believe there's just a small overlap between our reader bases, so most of you won't notice. The first stolen idea is that I'll be using a different color to create awareness than to blabber on and on about my own unfolding life history.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
I'm sending this message to Karma, just to make it perfectly clear that while I was in the vicinity, I was merely an onlooker and didn't cause the unfortunate event.
I've recently dusted off the jogging stroller. We are not stroller people, and greatly prefer the convenience of the sling to the lumbering stroller that must be hauled and carefully maneuvered. I am annoyed by other peoples strollers, so it was apparent that I could never put myself through the great inconvenience of having one. Plus early on, Jackson made it clear that he wasn't stroller people either, and would rather be nestled securely against his parent. We do have a jogging stroller (Thanks Jess & Tara), because it seemed prudent for neighborhood use. (Note to Sarah, a jogging stroller is more necessity than pretension in this terrain, we wouldn't get out of the driveway without it). I dusted it off so that I could pick up the pace a bit on our walks.
I'm now using the 90-10 rule on the trail--90% walking, 10% running, it's a good ratio. The first time we went out, I was completely spent afterward. It's no surprise that I'm terribly out of shape. It did make me feel better to see my beagle take to her crate afterward and spend the rest of the day sleeping it off. I forced myself to remain upright the whole day in the spirit of one-ups-manship over my dog. I know its petty, but it was really all I had.
So, its me with a jogging stroller in one hand, and a leash attached to 2 hound dogs in the other. (Thanks to Joanne for letting me know about the harnesses, and amazing reduction in pulling they provide). When we take the trail with the sling, we can cut through the woods down the hill, eliminating most need for leashes. With the stroller, navigating the forest is out of the question, so we have to go down the driveway to the road and around. When we're safely on the trail, I can let the dogs go until we see the infrequent pedestrian.
Yesterday, we came across a biker. He came up from behind, I noticed while he was still a few paces back, so I called the dogs to the leash. Ally was within grabbing distance (no doubt hoping I'd dole out millkbones) and Mabel came right to me after about a 5 second sniffing delay. I managed to have a stroller and 2 dogs in hand by the time the bicycle passed. He was a good 30 feet ahead when his wheels skid sideways across the gravel. Then there was air beneath the tires, and the rider tumbled, landing hard on his shoulder. The bike settled inverted on the handlebars.
It was a spectacular fall, and while I admired it--I couldn't have been responsible. My brood kept to our side of the trail, no one ran across his path. The dogs were well in control. We even waited for the biker to dust off, right his bike, realign the handlebars, and fix the chain. So Karma, there was no crime, we did nothing to offend. Please don't send a rabbit across the trail next time we're out, causing the dogs to rush wildly after it and upturn the stroller in the ditch.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
At the park with AJ. Jack would only get in this ridiculously large swing. He was pleased. AJ was, too. He agreed that Jackson looked out of sorts.
Loving the carousel. This was a fun picture to take. Everytime we came around and neared Jason, I put my hands on either side of Jackson's head and turned it clockwise so that he'd be looking at Jason when we passed. We have a dozen attempts to get this. Some of them show the backs of our heads as we go by, or the horse is high and Jackson's head obliterates most of mine, or whatever. This is the only good one.
Mystic Aquarium. Jackson liked the pengiuns and the Beluga Whales.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Since this post is about mothering, I rationalize that it still belongs with Jackson's posts.
It's been over a weak now since John McCain and his Carl Rovian machine sent the media into a frenzy (No, I'm not talking about the repeated jeers against "Liberal Media Bias". ) I'm referring to the selection of Vice President. This is enough time to weigh the facts and organize my complaint somewhat. Let me first say that it's not about her having children and worry that she won't be able to give them enough attention. As a mother who returned to work when my baby was a young infant (7 1/2 weeks) I sympathize--to an extent.
There's been a tremendous fuss made about whether she has time to both govern and mother. I don't think the people making these attacks have really thought it through. It was reported that she returned to work 3 days after giving birth. The details of that reveal she attended a few meetings here and there with her baby in tow. I imagine she's having an easier time mothering in public office than those of us with regular, corporate, 9-5 jobs are. I understand she has a Pack-n-Play in her office and carries her child in a sling, nursing while she's on conference calls. I hear she dismissed the Alaskan Governor's personal chef, but I suppose she kept the landskeeping crew and has someone on hand to carry out the trash. I'm sure no one questions if her assistant holds her baby while she delivers proclamations.
I saw the clip of Ms Palin answering the media's premature question on her job intentions by saying, "when I find out what exactly the Vice President does." with a certain sarcastic tone. If I understand correctly, the Vice President waits around for the President to die, breaks congressional ties, parlays with lobbyists, and like the current president, spends a lot of quality time on vacation/hunting trips. I don't expect it will keep her away from her children if they're willing to leave the frigid north for the Mid-Atlantic Seaboard.
In comparison, I'm one of the lucky ones who works for a surprisingly family friendly employer. I had 6 weeks of alotted time off, paid until I ran out of sickdays, then paid at 2/3 of my salary as short term disability. I have access to nearly affordable health care, and a tax free option if I plan ahead to cover my medical bills. I have access to a secure, sanitary place to pump breast milk. I have a flexible schedule that allows me to go in late and leave early, provided I work atleast 40 hours each week and attend all of my meetings. My child isn't allowed in the building until he turns 7 at which time, he will be given entry 1/2 day each year in late April.
In comparison, my husband's coworkers are less fortunate. They have 6 weeks of alotted time off, paid only until they run out of sickdays (maximum 10, I believe). Their health care is unaffordable, especially on their salaries, but they do have access to the State CHIP Husky program for the children, and often the adults once they become parents. Despite a state law requiring employers provide lactation rooms that are not bathroom stalls, they don't have one. They have "flexible" schedules, but in their case, it means the company can flex their hours according to the needs of the company, their hours are never consistent. Their children are allowed in the building, but only in public areas and in the company of another caretaker. No taking care of children while working.
I haven't seen Ms Palin come out in favor of extending the Family Medical Leave Act FMLA or guaranteeing basic rights to new parents in the workplace. I don't expect her to, it wouldn't be in keeping with the party line. I hope the "Liberal Media" isn't too cowardly to ask the question. It's my fear that she's the Clarence Thomas working mom. A beneficiary of a very accommodating employment arrangement who doesn't want other mothers to have the same unfair advantage in the workplace.
My initial reaction was anger at the unabashed pandering to Hillary supporters. Is there a such thing as voter grubbing? I'm skeptical of this strategy. I recognize that there are a lot of hard feelings amongst the Hillary's supporters, but I imagine that they're by and large feminists. I hold feminists in high esteem and expect them to 1-question the motives, 2-research the issues, and 3-vote in the best interest of women, even if that means they vote against an individual woman. The initial polls don't show my theory, but in time...then again, I couldn't imagine this country would send George Bush back to the White House for a 2nd term.
The first bit of information to surface was Sara Palin's biography, with highlights including, high school basketball star, Beauty Pageant runner up, "Hockey Mom" with a bazillian kids with made up names, and a 4 month old with Down's Syndrome. I fixated on items 2 and 3. John McCain, who's spent the last 6 months railing about Obama's slim resume, has just selected a Beauty Pageant runner up and Hockey-Mom as his VP selection?! Now, my stomach churns when I hear a woman define herself by such frivolous events. Don't get me wrong, you can get pretty far in life on looks, and being an engaged parent is what I believe the role requires. I just see these things as part of everyone's life, things that happen to you and you do the best you can. I don't view them as accomplishments. In my view, accomplishments are earned. High school basketball star is an accomplishment, I'm sure she worked very hard to earn it. Still, it leaves a bitter taste when its on a presidential resume--It was high school, afterall.
Now I come to that last highlight on the list, a 4 month old with Down's Syndrome. I think that is a family matter, and I pray the family has strength and resources to raise a special needs child. I don't think that this topic is really worthy of much press time, except its fundamental to the discussion of politics. A few hours after the selection was made public (or in all probability even made in private, since McCain acted the part of "Decider" on this one) the realization of what a critical campaign issue this child is came to light. In the first trimester of her pregnancy, Sara Palin had the tests that all pregnant women over 35 are urged to undergo. The tests revealed that the child had Down's Syndrome. I imagine that the news was followed up by a discussion of her "options". She chose to [secretly] carry the child to term. It's hard to fault her for secrecy here. I kept my own pregnancy a secret for the first trimester. I also don't fault her for making the choice she did. I believe she made a good choice, and the right one for her family. I don't believe the choice will have a tremendous impact on her job performance. I would like to emphasize that it was her choice. This is where the story becomes the deciding issue for the McCain campaign. It's a choice that many in his party would like to deny women. Ms Palin has made clear she, herself, would like to deny this choice to other women.
A few days later it was revealed that the Palin family had made a second choice. In my mind this second choice is much more difficult, to make. Sara's daughter, 17 year old Bristol, is 5 months pregnant and "intends to marry the father". By the time they arrived for the RNC, Bristol was wearing a shimmering stone on her finger, and a boy on her arm. Reportedly, the boy's My Space page proclaimed that he was an "F***ing Redneck, and didn't want kids". Even without that last piece of information, we can surmise that this is a shotgun wedding between two naive kids who've just been made political pawns. I hope the young man is sincere and has really changed his mind, and that they live happily ever after and have sufficient access to education, high paying jobs, and healthcare. I know the odds are against them. I hope Bristol has been educated on all of her options, and is making the choice that she believes in, not the one that's good for her mother's political career.
It's this choice that has really rallied the fundamentalist voters to action, more so since Ms Palin has been a proponent of abstincence only sex education. (In case the statistics aren't enough, the preceding is a personal testament to the ineffectiveness of that tactic.) Despite the glaring evidence that abstinence only education doesn't make kids abstain and contributes to the rise of teen pregnancy and the spread of diseases, the GOP supports and funds these programs in the public schools. And with the support of the John McCain/Sara Palin ticket, would reduce the number of choices girls like Bristol Palin have to make by one.
I question the family values of the supposed values voters. Denying healthcare to women, denying birth control education. These same values voters say they want women to stay home with their families and out of the workplace. They say they want kids to abstain from sex. They say that any life is precious and should be preserved. I see hipocracy when they encourage this nation to fight pre-emptive wars overseas, encourage pregnant teens to wed, and support a women for the nations second highest office who has several kids at home including a special needs infant--just as long as she shares their values.
Let me make a few things clear here. First, I think that there are no easy choices for either of these mother's. Any option they take will have great consequences. Maybe they'll look back on this experience with happiness that they did what they thought was best, and having found out that the consequences were within their capabilities. Perhaps they'll look back with remorse and wonder what they're future would've been like if they had selected differently, or had never had to face these particular crossroads.
It should also be clear that Roe v Wade didn't so much give women access to abortion, as it gave us access to safe abortions. A few months ago, there was an interview on NPR where a pre-RvW nurse was recalling what it was like treating women after their illegal abortions, sorry, I can't find the link. The stories recounted all manner of objects used to remove fetuses, punctured uteruses, damage to other internal organs... Those are the stories of women who in desperate straits, resorted to desperate means. It was chilling. I'm sure some of you have religious beliefs that hold that abortion is a sin. I suggest to you that denying women safe medical care and supplanting it with that alternative is no less sinful.
If this arguement still has you one the fence, I'll point out a few other facts about the Alaskan Governer. Feel free to verify them--I suggest factcheck.org or even the Wikipedia entry that was doctored up special a few hours before and in anticipation of Ms Palin's entry onto the national stage. Sara Palin the "reformer" was for the "Bridge to Nowhere", even using it as a campaign issue, until it became a public symbol of elicit/wasteful earmarks, and it had been made clear that congress was withdrawing their support. As governor, she still took and spent the funds. She also signed into law the largest state budget in Alaskan history. Sara Palin the "ethics watchdog" is the subject of her own ethics investigation into charges she fired the public safety commissioner who refused to fire her ex-brother-in-law. As mayor of Wasilla, she fired everyone she couldn't verify was a "supporter" of her position and policies. Sara Palin the "environmentalist" went after the oil companies to share some of their windfall profits with the state. She is a proponent of drilling in ANWAR, building more pipelines, and brought the helicopter wolf hunt to her home state. She doesn't support green energy or acknowledge than human actions contribute to climate change. She opposes adding polar bears and beluga whales to the endangered species list. Sara Palin the "libertarian" opposed abortion except when the mother's life is in danger, opposes sex education, and until recently, belonged to a political party which promotes the separation of Alaska from the United States. Sara Palin the "teachers daughter" supports teaching creationism in the science classroom. She also opposes rights for gays and backs capital punishment.
I'm ashamed of John McCain (the self proclaimed "Maverick") for succumbing to the pressure of his Party and selecting a Vice President who panders to the extremists in his party. I'm even more ashamed for him that he's trying to conceal it as the shameful act of pandering to disheartened Clinton supporters.
There's some buzz out there saying that the flaw in the Sara Palin selection is that she was "unvetted" and offers a window to the real decision making style of John McCain. This is supposedly a glimpse of his Maverick decision making style and that he will forego the advice of his cohorts and make his own decision, shooting from the hip. I think this might be another rouse, McCain makes much of his supposedly independent decision making ability--and this country has touted "decision making" as a strength, never mind the disastrous results its had on the nation and the world. I believe this selection was carefully calculated, and originated with the GOP political machine. If McCain was truly his own man, he would've gone with his friend and long time supported, the self proclaimed "independent democrat" Joe Lieberman.
John McCain is hoping that the women out there are voting with their ovaries instead of their brains. I'm asking you to educate your ovaries on what is really at stake here, and then, please, encourage them to vote in November.
[I apologize for any embarrassment this story may cause future Jackson.] A few weeks ago, Jackson started whining and grabbing his diaper. I assumed he had acquired another painful diaper rash due to our negligence (or permissiveness) with berries, which he has a reaction to. I rushed him in to change the diaper, and found a clean diaper. It had been concealing an erection. Apparently, these have become uncomfortable or atleast disconcerting to my child--and also frequent.
We went to the fair this weekend. I didn't bring the camera in my haste, and it wasn't worth going back for since it would just be the 2 of us, and difficult to take pictures. I chose to take a stroller in case the long ride in the sling was too much and incase Jack stepped in some ickiness that I didn't want to carry close to my person. I should've left the stroller. I either let Jack walk or slung him. And when slung, he wanted to help push the stroller, so he was bent over at a weird/awkward angle. Jack's highlights: Baby chicks, animal food (hay and rabbit pellets), watching the big kid rides, pushing the stroller (from the sling, or on the ground), and the carousal.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
The other day, Jackson and I were having breakfast. He gulped down his banana and juice, but wasn't eating his zucchini bread. I let him out of his high chair, and set his plate on a chair in case he wanted to snack. Then I went to make my lunch. A minute later, I heard a scaping noise on the floor. I turned to look, and Jackson was pushing the coffee table over against the couch. He'd brought his plate over and set it on the table. Then he climbed up onto the couch, and sat there banging the remote on the table.
Apparently, he and Jason have been sitting down in the morning to watch Dora the Explorer this way. Jack has a whole routine with the coffee table, his food, and a blanket.
It's adorable, but seriously!
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Last night, I made tortellini soup. Jackson was all over it, or rather, the soup was all over Jack. But he ate it. He ate the components I expected him to eat (turkey bits and tortellini), and he also ate the bits I expected him to throw. He ate carrots, zucchini, tomato chunks, and even the onion bits. I'm definitely keeping this in my back pocket.
We're also binging on grapes and cherries. I guess that's what happens when a hungry mother goes shopping with a hungry toddler. I picked up a package of Champagne grapes. If you haven't had these, I highly recommend them. They are tiny and I imagine intimidated by the giant grapes Jackson chose. However, the tiny size packs a highly concentrated bubble of sweet sugar.
Here's hoping my links to tortellini soup work. If not, you know what to do.
Imagine me on a conference call with a toddler in my lap running the mouse. I counter by unplugging said mouse. Jackson reinserts the USB device into USB port. (Can I have an "Advanced Motor Skills" please). I gave Jackson his own chair, and there he was, mousing with one hand, scribbling on the paper with his other hand, and breaking away for the occasional cheerio or pull on the sippy cup. I hope its a case of keen observation, and not a preview of a future spent in his parents basement playing World of Warcraft.
Also, Jackson is completely silent until I make a phone call or release the mute button during a conference call. Then the exclamations begin.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Now, I'm back to scrambling at mealtimes, and offering a series of things until Jack agrees to eat. Tonight, my go to food was Indian curry chicken. Yup--I made Indian special in a last ditch effort to get my boy to eat.
First, let me say how grateful I am to Trader Joe's for putting the sauce in a jar; not to mention grateful that TJ's is less than an hour away. I can go there occasionally to stock up on these crucial items. I shop at TJ's the way most people shop at warehouse clubs.
I'm wondering what it says about me as a parent that I'm already going through this much effort to bribe my child into eating. Am I coddling him too much? I'm sure if I had a 6 year old, I would direct him to the peanut butter stock in the pantry. I'm going to rationalize that its a bit different with a child this young. After all, he can't tell me what he'd rather eat (except to point to the freezer and the smoothie fixin's within). Besides, if I can't coax him into eating, I'm the one who suffers having to listen to his whining and pleas to be held in the short term, and a few hours later, listen to him wail when he wakes up starving in the middle of the night.
I will take credit that the current food of last resort is something as complex as Indian curry. Now if I could only convince him to eat some vegetables.
Leave me your toddler friendly choices in the comments section. Thanks.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
I didn't ever intent to use cloth. I was willing to compromise my environment ethics on this one. I remember my mom rinsing diapers in the toilet when I was a kid. I didn't want to have anything to do with it. But with Jackson, I spend so much time scrubbing blowouts out of clothes that I decided to take the advice to switch. I don't really handle the pooh anymore with cloth than with disposable. I used disposable on vacation. After a few days, I was longing for the cloth and the nice wipes. I don't like that the disposable silica crystals escape and stick to Jackson's skin. Plus there's the guilt of being responsible for some of the vast disposed of diaper landfill wasteland.
First, some notes on the ick factor. For the first 6 months, don't even worry about the pooh. breastmilk pooh goes right in the washer and dissolves away. No chunkies in the wash, no stink, no problems. When you start feeding solid foods, I recommend diaper liners. These are just cellulous papers that go between the diaper and the baby. There are a couple of brands. Imse Vimse makes one. Prices are about $13 for 200 or so. They're advertised as "flushable", but there's a warning about not being liable for sewer problems. Since we have septic, I throw the soiled ones away. If they're just wet, I leave them with the diaper, wash, and reuse. You could also get a sprayer that connects to the toilet plumbing. I haven't bothered.
2 dozen unbleached Chinese or Indian prefolds. I use the newspaper fold. Lay the baby on, fold the front edges over the middle (in thirds). Pull it through the babies legs, fold the top in (below belly button). fasten with Snappi. Cover. When you get these, you have to wash 3 times in hot water (no soap). Dry in the dryer between each wash. This will cause them to shrink and thicken up. Don't skip this step. I have heard of boiling them then drying, but that seems to be for people without running water and a washer. 1 Kissaluvs contoured diaper. This is a nice diaper, but they're kinda pricey. It snaps together, but a cover is still needed.
16 diaper covers. I have Bummies Whisper Wraps and Proraps. Plus one other. I prefer the Bummies fit, but they are made of a nylon that absorbs odor. At first, I tried to reuse covers without washing since that's what I read about doing online. It was smelly. Now I always wash them. The Proraps are made of PUL plastic. They have leg gussets, but they don't cover Jack's chubby thighs very well, this is annoying but it doesn't impair the function. But both brands do the job well, very few leaks!! Be sure to tuck any exposed diaper into the cover. The other one is a WAHM. It has snaps instead of velcro and is great, except I would switch the direction of the snaps.
10 Dappi diaper covers. These are the plastic pull on type. They're ill fitting and can be difficult to remove on a dirty one. However they're small and super cheap. I keep them in the diaper bag with a spare diaper to be used for emergencies. If all my good covers are in the wash, I'll use one. Otherwise they just sit there.
1 BumGenius. This is a pocket diaper with snaps that allow you to adjust the size. It's supposed to be good for newborn up to 30 pounds! I just got one. I really like it. I never used it with a newborn, though. Note--the velcro on this one is irresistable. Keep pants on your baby, or you could have a streaker.
Diaper liners for easy removal of solids. See comments above.
Snappi fasteners. These are great. They're stretchy silicone fasteners shaped in a T that hold the same way elastic bandage clips do. Love them! (no pins)
Diaper doublers. I have one hemp doubler. One Bum Genius doubler. A bunch of made at home doublers--I had gotten several hemp diapers early on. I didn't like them as diapers because the Snappies wouldn't stick in the fleece. I cut them into thirds, sewed the 2 edge pieces together (the middle is OK alone, leave the seams on the middle) and use these as doublers. They're twice as thick as the regular doublers, and just right for us.
Wipes. I use target baby washcloths. I think they came in 6 packs. I probably have about 3 dozen. These are the perfect size and weight. Soo much better than disposable wipes.
Old wipes container. Mine is from a generic brand that has a big opening (unlike the Pampers containers). I fill it with water and sometimes add Tea Tree Oil. I used to add a squirt of California Baby baby soap, but I no longer bother. Plain water is OK. I don't recommend adding wipes to the water. The combination will get the dread funk overnight. I just dunk, ring out, then use. I usually dunk 3 or 4 just in case, the unused ones sit out on top of the wipes container and are good for next time.
Bummies Diaper Tote. 1 extra-large (This is my at home diaper pail. It could rest in a garbage can, laundry hamper, or whatever is convenient)
1 medium (rarely used. I used to use it for a 2nd changing table, but I don't anymore. Good size for daycare)
1 small (kept in the diaper bag, sometimes used when we don't use a baggie)
These bags are fantastic. They are PUL plastic with a drawstring. I usually just lay the top together at home. This bag is odor proof!! However it is not beagle proof which has been a problem for the last few months.
Garbage diaper pail. I have the Diaper Dekor. It doesn't sequester odors. If I were buying now (which I should be) I would get the Baby Trend Diaper Champ. It has a lid with a big flip handle, so only 1/2 liter of air is exchanged per use. You use your own bags. Retail establishments like Babies R Us and IKEA have this one in their changing rooms. I know 2 people with them. They're smell free from my experience.
For the diaper bag, we use storage baggies (these are maybe gallon size, no zip top. We put in the diapers, tie a knot, and go) We should use the small Bummies Diaper Tote more, but these are convenient and easy to stash a bunch in the bag at the time.
I also bought a reusable cloth swimsuit from Target. This was great. I now have one of the Kiss-a-luvs swim diapers. I guess its OK, but its not very boyish. Also, there isn't much thickness for absorbency, so I don't know how effective it really is. Follow-up comment. Had a puddle develop next to the pool with the Kiss-a luvs, and it wasn't chlorine water. Sorry fellow swimmers.
Here's a photo of my setup. From left to right: water, wipes, covers, reused liners, creams (butt paste is very good!) and random accessories.
Below the shelf hangs an L-shaped toilet paper holder (open on one end). It holds the diaper liners.
To the right is my diaper stacker loaded with cloth diapers folded in half.
Extras and doublers are in the bottom drawer.
To wash: I dump the bag of diapers in the wash and follow with the bag itself, inside out. If you stick the velcro over on itself, it won't get flotsum (our velcro is no longer pristine). I prerinse with 1/4 c of white vinegar, then I wash. I use Method detergent--but I don't really know how this ranks on the scale of which detergent to use/not use. You can find tips online somewhere. Do Not Use Softener. The oils with reduce the effectiveness of the diapers. I line dry the covers and bags. The diapers, wipes, and liners go into the dryer. Sometimes I hang dry outside. We have one of those little round popup laundry lines on a center pole. We set in in the patio table where the umbrella usually goes. It's a little ghetto, but its super convenient! The sun does actually get stains out (its crazy, I know). But I couldn't do that in the winter, so I've been living with the stains. Line drying results in stiff diapers, and I'll usually put them in the dryer after to soften up. I wash 2 loads a week.
After a while, my diapers started to hold onto some smell which comes out when they get wet. Its faint, but still. I tried stripping with Vinegar or OxyClean. Now I'm using bleach. I do it every 2 months, but should probably do it monthly. Wash in very hot water once with soap, then rewash with bleach, then rewash a couple more times with plain water.
Other stuff I've had but don't like:
Some home made A-I-O (all in ones) bought off of eBay. These have PUL inside, but are fleece covered. They look nice, but its a continuous piece of fleece from inside to out and wicks moisture, so they leak badly.
A pocket diaper with fuzzy fleece lining and with nylon outer. The fleece is seemed at the edge to the nylon, and again, moisture wicks out. This is the same brand as the WAHM cover which I really do like.
Hemp prefolds. I didn't like these as diapers, but pieced into doublers, I love them! (see above)
I experimented with cutting a strip from the top of my too long prefolds and sewing it into the center (one one side only) as a permanent doubler. These were great! But like everything else early on, Jack outgrew them pretty quickly.
If I were starting over, I would get more BumGenius. I bought the prefolds because I thought it would be cheaper, but since I need so many covers, it ends up being $13-$15 per set (diaper and cover). The BumGenius are $17-$18 each. So the cost wouldn't be much more. But the prefolds are fine. Something to keep in mind if you use daycare is that they are generally more receptive to the one step diapers than the prefolds.
I've also heard good things about FuzziBunz brand pocket diapers and Thirsties brand covers.
Plan to get clothes a size larger to fit over the cloth diapers.
Here's Helene's put:
In terms of pockets, I prefer snap diapers--the velcro diapers fray a lot and Marika can take those off (although she doesn't try all that often). But Reed likes the velcro and probably likes our bumGenius one-size pockets the best. I like GADs (Green Acre Designs) and Blueberry Diapers the best (the BBs are expensive but they have sales about 3x a year). I've found that anything with a print wicks if you're using pockets, so my advice would be to stay away from those. I really like the Thirstie's AIOs. For fitteds, I've just used the Thirsties (but they're not that absorbant) and a couple Blueberry one-size. For covers I love the Thirsties. Now I don't have experience using cloth before 4 months, but from others I've talked to, it's probably easier to just use prefolds until they get into mediums--they're so easy to change when they're little that prefolds are easier than when they're older. Just warn them that getting a routine down with pockets/AIOs can be a pain in the butt. But overall it's easy. We're trying to do some early potty-training and one of my motivating factors is that I don't want to have to buy large diapers. :) Marika is outgrowing some of her mediums and is on the last snap setting of some of them.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Nana and I took Jackson. I guess the water was on low that day, but it was perfect for the babe. He had a fantastic time.
And up the slide.
And oh--Happy Birthday Nana!
Monday, July 14, 2008
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
This is the 3rd time I've had a car broken into. The first time, I was 17 and my leather coat and my textbooks were stolen. I was really annoyed, and more so when I went to the bookstore to repurchase and actually bought my old copies back. Atleast my notes and highlights were still there. The next breakin happened in college when I lived downtown in a real hole. The window was broken and the stereo was stolen. Do petty thieves realize that the little vent window in the back is the most expensive? I actually filed a police report that time, and was told there was nothing they could do. The most vexing part of that incident was that the flashlight I kept in the glove compartment for emergencies was used in the crime.
Even though I still have my car and the damage was minor, I'm really upset about this attempted theft. Much more so than the other ones. In the past, I've taken the attitude that the thieves must've needed the stuff more than I did and books and stereos are small details with limited value. Stealing my car is completely different. That's stealing my transportation, and in today's world, transportation is priceless. (Plus, I love my car. I was just raving about it a few posts back.)
I've been thinking about this, and the swirl of emotions that's associated with it all week. I also took time to reflect on my brothers story. His car was stolen last year. He'd been driving my old '89 Toyota Tercel, and parked it in Central Ogden where he lived. One day, it just wasn't there. When my mom told me, I was shocked and concerned. But the details came out, and my concern melted into laughter. Apparently Morgan had left the keys in the car--not just that one time by accident. He actually stored the keys in the car for convenience. (I was stunned) I wouldn't do that here, and I did mention he lived in Central Ogden. Well, when he told my mom, she asked if he'd filed a police report and what he was doing to try to recover it. He said that he hadn't bothered, his dad had said that they'd just wait a couple of days, then drive around. He said that most likely whoever had taken it would just abandon it when it ran out of gas. (This is the part of the story that my shock turned into a smile). In the meantime, he was stranded. He usually used my father's truck as a backup vehicle. However, the key was on the same ring as the Toyota keys, so it would be stupid to let him park it in the same spot. 2 days later, they started driving around to look for the car. They drove all around town and didn't find it. So, Morgan was without transportation and had to call people and bum rides or bike. A few days later, the police called and told him to come retrieve his car from the onramp at 30th street. When he got there, he found the car had actually run out of gas and been left at the side of the road. (I know, I couldn't believe it either. It's like a fairytale. My brothers life plays out like a fairytale pretty often). My mom saw him the next Sunday. He told her he was never going to leave the keys in the car again. She asked where they were right then. They were in the car-well, no one would take it in her neighborhood.
So, I was feeling a little guilty about having laughed at Morgan's misfortune. But then I remembered that I was genuinely concerned at the start of the tale and didn't laugh until I heard how it had played out.
I don't know why I didn't lose my car. Was it actually that hard to jimmy the lock? Did the thieves notice the security cameras and flee? Did they get into the car and were thwarted by the security features on the ignition? Who knows. I won this one, I'm grateful, but I still feel a little violated.
Today the wind was blowing as I left my building and walked to my car. Blowing towards me through the blossoms across the carless street. Pink petals were drifting and piling in the road and against the curb.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Jackson B-day was last week. I can't believe its been a year already. To celebrate, he learned 2 new skills. There's video below, I don't want to give away the surprise here at the top.
First off, Here is what Jackson did to the cake:
Yup--that's surprise numero uno. My baby can walk! Granted, he wobbles like a drunken sailor, but I'm sure he'll get his land legs soon. He was taking 1 little shuffley step a day for 2 weeks, then,last Friday at Kevin and Lauren's, he took 5 or 6 real steps to cross the room. This video is Sunday, just 2 days later. Also, the cake is only responsible for 1/2 of the craziness, the other portion is due to sheer love of that red soccer ball!
These are his first freely given kisses. All previous kisses were shamelessly stolen.
Good thing we took the video. He's been reluctant to give away any since. Nicole did get one, and talked him into giving one to his stuffed dino, but that's about it. He knows we really want them, so he's withholding. Rebelling already.
1 year stats:
Height--32 1/2 inches (holding above 96%)
Weight--23 lb 12 oz (Dropped down from 96% to about 65%. Might end up skinny like his Daddy)
Head Circumference--18 3/4 inches (There's alot of fluctuation on this number, depending on the nurse measuring)
Teeth--7 with another on the way.
Words (in order of frequency): MaMa, Cat, Hi, Hello, Dog, Bocka (for the chickens), Dada
Favorite Yoga Pose: Downward Facing Dog