Thursday, June 28, 2007

Our trip to the zoo, and why some people shouldn't be allowed to have kids...

Went to the zoo with my mom and the kids yesterday. It was lots of fun! We took the train, which is always an adventure. Now to the reason for the title of this post. On our way back home from the zoo, there was this lady on the train with us. She had a little boy, 15 months old. Now, let me say that I understand allowing kids to explore their surroundings. But this mom was taking the concept of freedom for little kids a little too far. Her son was crawling all over the place, which was fine. On his way around the train, he also came by the door. The train stopped, someone opened the door to get out, and the little guy immediately made a run for it. I instinctively jumped up and got the little man. I thought maybe the mom just hadn't noticed him escape, and figured she'd watch him a little more closely from then on. Welll, watch him she did. Once again, the train stopped, and he headed for the door. The mom was watching him, but wasn't getting up. People had to step over the kid to get out. She called his name and told him it wasn't time to change trains yet, and asked him to come back (keep in mind the boy's just over a year old). The little escape artist didn't even think about turning around, and kept going for the door. A man who had just gotten off the train actually turned around and scooted the child back in! That's when the mom finally decided to get up and get him. I about had a heart attack. Not only had the kid all but crawled off the train, but there's actually a gap between the train and the station, about 8 inches or so, that he could have easily fallen through! Talk about neglect... She was just sitting there, watching him head out, without moving. And it wasn't like she was just some crazy lady who was stupid. She looked pretty educated to me, was probably in her mid to late 30's. I'm sure her parenting philosophy is somewhere along the lines of supporting a child's need to explore the environment, not setting too many boundaries, that kind of thing. Which I agree with, but there is a line, you know. When it comes to safety, a parent HAS TO set boundaries, even if that means physically restraining the child. Like, you know, getting up to pick up your child so he doesn't crawl off the train... Yikes!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Happy Birthday!

We celebrated Tyler's 7th birthday yesterday. I can't believe he's 7 years old already. It seems like yesterday that he was born. A lot has happened in those last seven years, and I can say I've sure learned a lot. We visited a family from church today. They invite us over whenever we're in Germany, they are so nice! Today, they gave me a couple of pictures from when we were over there 3 years ago. Tyler was 4 then, and he looked so little! Bryan was in the other picture, he was only 1 then. It's strange to look at them now, and Bryan is that little 4 year old. Tyler looks so grown up. It sure has been fun to be his mom and watch him learn and develop into his own little person. :o)

Friday, June 22, 2007

How about that?

I've decided to put Bryan in gymnastics starting this Fall. I think he'd really enjoy it. He's been working on doing headstands for a few months now, and I think he finally understood what I meant when I told him to put his legs up slowly. He always put them up too fast and lost his balance, but now he figured it out. Here he is, with Kaylee (naturally) trying to copy him.



He also does amazing flips from the chair to the couch at home, they look downright professional. I'll have to try to post a video once we get back home. So, now I want to sign him up for gymnastics, mostly so he can learn how to not hurt himself during these little adventures. :p

Friday, June 15, 2007

The evils of alcohol...

So, my family consists of a lot of recreational drinkers. Not Dave and I, but my whole side of the family. My dad has a beer when he gets home from work, my mom has a glass of wine in the evenings, and there's always plenty to drink at family parties. Usually, people don't drink more than they should, and it's all good. But there's also been some tragedy that comes with frequent alcohol consumption. My dad's cousin turned into an alcoholic, abandoned his young family, and died from liver cirrhosis in his early forties. My grandma's younger sister (G) is an alcoholic, too. We suspect she has been having problems for a long time. It all went out of control when she retired a few years ago. She started pushing away all of her friends and family, cussed out her husband (A) on a regular basis, locked him out of their apartment, etc. etc. etc. Not pretty. A. and my grandma have been trying to talk to G. about her problem for a long time, but she's unwilling to admit anything is wrong with her. She refuses to get help. Now she's gotten really sick. She lost control of her bodily functions yesterday, couldn't get up on her own, couldn't really move at all. And she still insisted she didn't have any problems. She was supposed to go to the dr's today, but she got so sick last night that A. had to call 911. Now G. is at the hospital. Even still, she complains that she doesn't need to be there, that she doesn't drink alcohol, that there is no problem. Her liver is severely damaged, and of course the doctors can tell by her symptoms that it's years of alcohol abuse that are responsible for the problems she's having. But she just yells at everyone and insists everything is fine. She's severely jaundiced, her legs are swollen from water retention, she's not doing well. I doubt there's anything the doctors can do at this point. Yet she's in complete denial, and mad at A. for calling the ambulance and having her taken to the hospital. It's incredibly sad. G. and A. both had good jobs, and they were in a good place financially (not terribly rich, but comfortable enough). A. just retired, too, and they could have had such a wonderful life. They could have traveled, seen the world. They are only 62. Alcohol made that impossible. It ruined her life, and with that, it all but ruined his. I hope he can move on once she's gone (which I'm sure she will be sooner than later). I hope he can get past all the heartache and enjoy the rest of his life. It's really terrible what acohol can do to people. I believe that both my dad's cousin and G. had the "addiction gene". They were prone to becoming addicted, and they did. I think Heavenly Father knew what he was doing when he gave us the Word of Wisdom. Abstaining from alcohol altogether could save a lot of lives (on many levels).

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Speaking of Jane Austen...

I recently wrote about how I've discovered Jane Austen and have really enjoyed reading her books (can't wait to get back to that when we get back home!). Found this on someone else's blog, haha.

I am Elizabeth Bennet!


Take the Quiz here!


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Sunday, June 10, 2007

This made me laugh out loud!

I get stuff forwarded in my email all the time, some are funny, some are silly, some I just click delete after reading the first line. Here's one I thought was worth posting, though. :p

Brain surgery........ this is brilliant!

In the hospital the relatives gathered in the
waiting room, where their
family member lay gravely ill.

Finally, the doctor came in looking tired and somber.
"I'm afraid I'm the bearer of bad news," he said
as he surveyed the worried faces.
"The only hope left for your loved one at this time is
a brain transplant.
It's an experimental procedure, very risky but it is
the only hope.
Insurance will cover the procedure, but you will have
to pay for the brain yourselves.."

The family members sat silent as they absorbed the
news. After a great
length of time, someone asked, "Well, how much does a
brain cost?"

The doctor quickly responded, "$5,000 for a male
brain, and $200 for a female brain."
The moment turned awkward. Men in the room tried not
to smile, avoiding eye contact with the women, but
some actually
smirked.

A man unable to control his curiosity, blurted out the
question everyone wanted to ask,
"Why is the male brain so much more?"
The doctor smiled at the childish innocence and
explained to the entire group, "It's just standard
pricing procedure. We have to mark down the price of
the female brains, because they've actually been
used."

Saturday, June 09, 2007

I had a thought for another interesting post...

...but now I forgot what it was. So maybe I'll answer the tag I got from Leia a few days ago. And just so you know, I'm going to break the rules, I probably won't tag 7 people. How about whoever reads this and wants to play can? Leave a comment and let me know if you do, then I can check your blog and learn some random facts about you! :p

Here are the rules: The particulars - Each person tagged gives 7 random facts about themselves. Those tagged need to write in their blogs the 7 facts, as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag 7 others and list their names on your blog. You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they have been tagged and to read your blog. Here we go..

1. I don't think I'm a very good writer. I love to blog, but I always think it must be rather boring to read. Sorry if I bore all of you to death with my ramblings!
2. I have a really hard time thinking of 7 things to say.
3. How about this, I'm allergic to down. Not deathly allergic or anything, but if I'm exposed to it for a long time, I start developing asthma-like breathing problems.
4. I went to school to be an elementary school teacher, but I really don't think I'd actually want to do that for a job. Go figure...
5. Like you didn't know this already, but I'm really passionate about childbirth. I want to certify to become a doula as soon as the kids are a bit older, and I'm even playing around with the idea of going to midwifery school. Maybe I'll turn into one of those old granola ladies with long gray hair (except it'll be short because my hair doesn't really grow past my shoulders...). I'll wear long, flowing skirts, birkenstocks, and drive a bio-diesel VW van. Okay, not really, but wouldn't that be funny?
6. I'm wondering if everyone is bored yet, and thinks I'm crazy.
7. I'm a rather blunt person. Surprised? Haha!

Well, that's it for today. I should try to upload some pictures sometime. After all, we've had a lot going on since coming to Germany. A wedding, a trip to the Baltic Sea, and lots of playing outside. The kids are having a blast! :o)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Being on vacation...

...is giving me a lot of time to think about things, I guess. Three things that have been on my mind lately: Birth, Breastfeeding, and Circumcision.

Birth
Well, this is a topic that I think about a lot, anyway. I love birth stories, and I find it amazing what a range of feelings these stories can cause. Anything from pure joy and happiness to disappointment, anger, and sadness. They all generally end the same, with a happy healthy baby, but they can produce a whole range of emotions. We live in a country where women have to fight constantly for their right to have a baby at home, attended by a midwife, and at the same time, women have the right to ask their doctor to induce labor, sometimes weeks before their due date, for no good reason other than being tired of pregnancy, or scheduling around their husband's work, and the doctor will agree to do that. Women have to fight for the right to birth at home, which has been proven to be safe over and over again, yet they also have the right to request a c-section, for no reason other than to avoid labor, or to keep their vaginas from stretching too much, or whatever, and a doctor will agree to that, even though it is well known that c-sections carry a greater risk for mother and baby than vaginal birth does. How does all this make sense? Technology keeps improving, the rate of medical intervention during labor and birth keeps rising, as does the rate of babies born via c-section, yet there has been no improvement in neonatal and maternal outcome since the early 80's. Still, we have such a firm believe in medical technology, and all the good doctors do for us. We can't imagine that birth could happen safely without all the mointors and drugs and surgeries. It's true, in some cases that technology can be life-saving, but what we are ulitmately doing by pushing women into hospitals to birth their babies is lose the art that is childbirth. The experience that so absolutely forms who a woman is. Becoming a mother is a life changing event, and it is so much more than merely pushing out a baby. It is so much more than a physically healthy mother and baby. What is neglected is the emotional health of the mother. Going through childbirth is an immensly intense experience. It is so amazing what the woman's body is doing to end many months of growing a new little human. It's amazing to think about all the intricate details that make up the process we call labor. How everything fits together just right, all the chemicals in our bodies are flowing just right, all the muscles are contracting just right, all to give birth to a miracle. And then we leave women alone with this intense, powerful experience. We strap them down in bed, hook them up to a monitor, and just leave them alone. Generally, husbands are expected to be of support, but a birthing woman is often quite an overwhelming sight for a man. Especially when that man is the father of the baby, and quite emotional himself. Some men live up to the challenge and make wonderful coaches, but many others don't. And sometimes, for one reason or another, the woman really is alone. Nobody else can be there with her. As happened to my friend just a couple of weeks ago, and she had to beg her nurse to stay with her and give her support for just a few minutes. Beg. I know how to check your blood pressure, how to read your monitor, how to put in your IV - sorry, I can't be your support person, I have one other mom in labor right now. One. So for half an hour I'm busy with the two of you, and the other half hour? I'll go chat with my nurse friends really quick. It makes me sick to hear stories like that. It makes me sick and mad and angry, and more than anything really really sad, that women are left to themselves like that. What we really need is more midwives. Midwives who can legally attend home births, birth center births, and more midwives for women who choose hospital birth. Midwives who care for the women during labor, and don't just run in at the last minute to catch the baby. Who get to know women throughout their pregnancies, and offer real support during labor. What we need is more doulas, who are welcome by hospital staff because they fill in where nurses sometimes fall short (and often, it really is because they are overworked). Yet both midwives and doulas are often under-appreciated, and some doctors and hospitals are flat out hostile towards them. What we need is more people to realize that birth is a natural, amazing, and wonderful process, not a medical emergency waiting to happen. Let OB's handle the true high-risk cases, the true emergencies, and give normal birth back to women, attended by those who know the art it is to help a woman bring a baby into this world. Safely. With a baby and a mother who are not only healthy physically, but healthy emotionally, as well. One can dream, right? Hope, maybe?

Breastfeeding
My sister-in-law (hi Nicci!) recently blogged about her trying to get their little boy to take a bottle occasionally, and how they weren't being very successful. It made me smile, and chuckle. It made me reflect on my experiences with breastfeeding and trying to get baby to take the occasional bottle. With my first baby, it was necessity, because I went back to school full time and he needed a bottle while I was gone. With the other two, I wanted them to be able to take a bottle so I could get the occasional break. Here's what happened. When Bryan was little, I introduced a bottle fairly early on, and it worked pretty well. I thought that was great, since it would give me the chance to leave if I needed to. Well, I tried leaving once, and while he was happy with the bottle, my breasts were not happy with the extra milk left over from a missed feeding. Lets just say I was in pain, and they let down because, you know, it was feeding time, and I was soaked. Too early to try this, I thought, but kept up with the bottle so Dave and I could go on a date sometime when Bryan was a bit older and I wasn't over-producing quite so much. Well, by the time I finally felt ready to leave the little guy for a couple of hours, he was old enough to have separation anxiety. Dave and I went on our date, but it really didn't matter that Bryan could take a bottle. He screamed relentlessly the whole time we were gone, not because he was hungry, but because he was so freaked out that we left him. Needless to say, we didn't try leaving him again for a really long time, and by then bottles had become useless. Did we learn from this experience? Not really. Kaylee came along, and I pulled out my breastpump. Thought I'd teach her how to take the bottle in case I ever needed some time to myself, or go on a date with my husband, or something. Kaylee was such a needy baby, however, that I quickly dumped the pump, and just resigned myself to the fact that she wasn't getting bottles because there was no way I was ever going to be able to leave her. And breasts make the perfect food, after all. Always the right temperature, always ready to go, nothing to clean up afterwards. :o)

Circumcision
I always think about this when we're in Germany. If you told someone about routine infant circumcision here, they'd look at you like you're crazy. They'd think you've gone mad. They may even call the police on you, and accuse you of violating human rights and mutilating a baby. Seriously. I'm not even kidding. So then I think about this topic, and why we practice RIC in the United States. And I always end with the same conculsion - I don't understand why it's done. Cleanliness, tradition, so father and son look alike? Those seem like pretty weak arguments to me, considering what's happening is surgery. It's purely cosmetic. Whoever performs cosmetic surgery on a little baby boy who has nothing wrong with him? How is that ethical? Then there is the argument citing research that shows a smaller risk of UTI's for boys who were circumcised. That's gotta be a good thing, right? No, not when you look at how small the risk is for a baby boy to get a UTI to begin with. Does that warrant surgery on a day-old baby? I mean, we don't routinely perform tonsillectomies on babies because they may develop strep throat at some point in life. We don't routinely put tubes in their ears because they may develop an ear infection. We also don't perform routine appendectomies because, hey, you may get appendicitis one day and it could save your life. Doctors would look at you and declare you crazy if you as much as suggested such a thing. Yet they go on cutting day-old baby boys, in the name of what? Whatever way I look at it, it doesn't make sense to me. Just wish I would have started thinking about it 7 years ago...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Can't wait to see this!

I was just telling a friend about this today (hi Nan!), and thought I'd post it here. Looks like it could be a very interesting and eye-opening documentary.

Pregnant in America - A Nation's Miscarriage

Will post more later, gotta go to bed. It's close to midnight here! :p