Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Do you realize dairy IS breastmilk, just from a different species?

PETA is up to their usual antics. They sent a letter to Ben & Jerry asking them to replace the dairy in their ice cream with human breastmilk.

In a statement Ben and Jerry's said, "We applaud PETA's novel approach to bringing attention to an issue, but we believe a mother's milk is best used for her child."

I'm not all about ingesting breastmilk myself (at least as an adult. I'm very glad I was breastfed as a baby), but um...if human breastmilk is best used for the mother's baby, then wouldn't cow's milk be best used for her calf rather than us humans? Do they not realize that cow's milk IS breastmilk. It's breastmilk created by a cow for her calf.

I've heard quite a bit about this on the news and in every instance, the reporters have been freaked out by the idea of using human breastmilk. they think breastmilk from another creature is the better option? There's a huge list of benefits of breastmilk for humans, yes, even for adults. Human milk is designed to provide for optimal growth of the human brain. Cow's have tiny brains and great big bodies. Cow's milk is designed to make calves big and fat.

Now keep in mind, I eat dairy and aside from the initial curious taste when I was first breastfeeding my children, I don't ingest human milk, but the whole "Ick factor" from the public makes no sense.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Other Side Of The Glass

Midwife: Sage Femme... first brought this to my attention.

It highlights some of the events surrounding birth that can be traumatic for babies. In the clip, I heard them say at least twice that whether you birth at the hospital or home, these are things about which you need to be aware. Really? Because I've never known a homebirth midwife to literally tear a baby from it's screaming mother's arms (you'll see that in the clip). They may very well exist, but I've never known a homebirth midwife to behave in that way. I suppose you should be aware of it no matter where you birth, but it really seems as though you only need to be concerned outside the home.

Regardless, the video is quite compelling. Stay with it. It doesn't get to the heart of the matter until a few minutes in.

Personal Torah: Kiddush

Ima on the Bima doesn't seem to have her call for personal torah up today and of course today is the day I want to share. So I'll just go ahead without her.

I've been thinking a lot lately about kiddish. At our daughters' naming ceremony, they each got a silver kiddish cup. My MIL brought over her father's cup, the one he brought when he escaped Germany. We poured the wine into that, said kiddush, then split the wine into the girls' cups and drank from there. Their great grandfather is long gone (he passed away before dh was born. Dh is named after him as is TheBoy), but we used the oportunity of kiddush to recognize their connection to him and sanctify that. They are bound to him through blood and tradition.

Kiddush literally means "Sanctification." One of the things I love about Judaism is that we sanctify the everyday and that we have the power to do so. We don't have to rely on rabbis or a specific location to do that for us. We can recognize the beauty in everyday and sanctify it ourselves. We're commanded to do just that.

My son turns 3 soon. I'm beginning to plan his party and upsherin. Traditionally, Jewish boys have their first haircut on their 3rd birthday (along with a whole host of other education-related things as it also marks the beginning of his formal education and I LOVE that it begins with the parents). I admit that we cheated. I tried not to cut his hair. Oh how I tried even when no one around me understood (we do not live in a very Jewish area and even among my fellow Yids, only the rabbi followed the practice). Finally, it got too hot and his hair was too long, so I agreed to have it cut. Although, I insisted we wait until he was 18 months old. 18 is a special number within Judaism. When we tried to conceive, we had no luck. The one month when I ovulated on day 18 was the cycle when I conceived TheBoy. Oddly enough, this time around, I also conceived on the 18th day of my cycle. In Hebrew, the word "Chai" means both "Eighteen" and "Life."

Still, we plan on having a fairly traditional haircutting ceremony for his 3rd birthday. Everyone gets to snip a piece of hair. It's not that horrible fear-inducing first haircut you always fear with little kids. It's a lot of fun. Then you typically introduce them to the aleph-bet in a variety of ways, but usually, you cover the aleph-bet in honey and let the child taste and see that learning is sweet. Torah is, "sweet on the tongue."

In other cultures, this would often be an uneventful occasion. In Judaism, though, we sanctify it. We find beauty, symbolism and richness in this seemingly minor event. I'm hoping that we can pay for plane tickets for my in-laws to fly out for the party. My FIL will have his surgery soon, so I don't know if he can make the trip, but I very much want them here. I want them to cut their grandson's hair and to share in this new stage. I want them to sanctify my son, my FIL and the day not only with their presence, but also with the same kiddush cup that was smuggled over from Germany. This man didn't know if he would live, yet his name, great grand children and religious tradition continue. THAT deserves to be sanctified.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Here's your sign.

Later today, I will affix a sign to our front door. It will read as follows:

The lady of the house
  • is pregnant and cranky
  • owns a chainsaw
  • never buys anything from door-to-door salespeople
  • is grateful that her husband does all the lawn care.

Do you think it'll keep the solicitors at bay?

I'm kind of annoyed that I'm going all traditional with that last line. The truth is, I started doing the lawn work while dh was deployed years ago and actually liked it, but I haven't done it in a while and I don't see myself doing it until the wee one makes an appearance. So I'll buy into the traditional stereotype if it keeps the morons away.

Drama llama drive-by

Gah! Oh, the drama! It is unending.

A friend wrote something that bothered me. Now I have no idea what to say or do in response.

I hate when someone is annoyed with me and doesn't give me a chance to explain, so I feel like I should write back and extend that same chance, but I don't want to come across as whiny. A big part of me just wants to let it go. I'm annoyed. So be it. I don't want to start anything. At the same time, I feel like she started something and now I'm hurt.

Why do I feel like I'm back in high school? I hate this petty crap.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Completely Random Video

I don't really have much of a reason for posting this. It was featured over at Fist of Blog and watching it again reminded me of how much I love this song.

Like the fine folks over at Fist of Blog, I often long for the 90s music scene. Oh how I miss the summer nights when I stayed up all night and watched the good videos on Mtv. I miss Alternative Nation. Alas, poor Kennedy, I knew her, Horatio.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My kids rock yet again.

I have a confession to make. I sleep with a toy. No, not THAT kind of toy. I sleep with a stuffed animal. Well, I did until a few days ago, when he went missing.

This morning, TheBoy came into my room, looked around the bed and asked where the toy went. I told him I had lost it. He said, "I find it faw you." He then looked around, but had no luck. So he left. He came back and tossed Hello Mr. Zebra (the zebra-headed blankie toy with which he has slept since he was tiny) at me. When I asked why he did that, my son replied, "You lost your toy. You take zebra."

My heart melted. By that point, his oldest sister was in my room. The case of the missing stuffy peaked her interest. After activating her super sleuth abilities, she found him shoved down by the headboard. TheBoy then responded with a loud, "Yay," while he threw his hands in the air. He then quickly snatched back his toy and told me, "You found your toy. I take zebra back."

Monday, September 15, 2008

More on political wedges.

Someone brought this to my attention and I have to share.

Making America Stupid

In there, he has this to say (among many other things),

I dwell on this issue because it is symbolic of the campaign that John McCain has decided to run. It’s a campaign now built on turning everything possible into a cultural wedge issue — including even energy policy, no matter how stupid it makes the voters and no matter how much it might weaken America.

This highlights what I touched on a few days ago.

I think this also illustrates a good point;

I respected McCain’s willingness to support the troop surge in Iraq, even if it was going to cost him the Republican nomination. Now the same guy, who would not sell his soul to win his party’s nomination, is ready to sell every piece of his soul to win the presidency.

Yes, John McCain WAS a maverick 8 years ago when he was unwilling to bow down to the religious right. I considered voting for him then. When I heard he was throwing his hat in again this time, I was hopeful for the same John McCain I've seen in the past--the one who was willing to butt heads even within his own party. I wanted the John McCain who treated John Kerry with civility and refused to belittle his friend even when others in his party spent great amounts of time and money doing just that. Mr. Friedman, however, has it absolutely correct. Today, John McCain is selling his soul. His maverick days are long gone.

In order to disguise the fact that the core of his campaign is to continue the same Bush policies that have led 80 percent of the country to conclude we’re on the wrong track, McCain has decided to play the culture-war card. Obama may be a bit professorial, but at least he is trying to unite the country to face the real issues rather than divide us over cultural differences.

YES. That's it exactly. When I watched Obama speak at the DNC, I felt energized. I felt ready for a new tomorrow where we work together to pull our country back to its former glory. When I listened to the speeches at the RNC, I was shocked at the bitterness and attempts at division. True, there were things said by the Democrats that weren't sunshine and roses, but those were NOT said by the nominees. Sarah Palin gave one of the most bitter speeches I've heard in a long time and she's the Vice Presidential nominee.

That article is wonderful. It goes on to point out how creating this cultural wedge just serves to take our eyes off the real issues and real problems. I don't want to fight with my Republican friends. I don't want that bitterness in politics. I want to work for change--REAL change.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The great political divide

You'll have to forgive me while I sigh. I'm so fed up with the huge rifts created by politics. Yes, I know I have been pretty vocal in my feelings, but in general, I try to be respectful. I take a bit more liberties here than I do in mixed company, but in general, I try to stick to the issues and not get sucked into name-calling.

I recently got back in touch with a friend from high school. She was abrasive back in the day, but we had a lot of fun together and we have some great memories. Well, recently, she has taken to sending out horrible messages (sometimes racist) about Barack Obama. She just won't stop and I'm getting increasingly annoyed.

That incited a great desire to let her slip out of my life again. I'm not the type who will run away from a group because of a disagreement or who will drop friends because of a different political stance. Hell, some of my best friends have very different political views and we've always been respectful.

Then I was reminded that only two years ago, this friend's mother died from Cancer. The anniversary of her passing is fast approaching. I've written to her to let her know she's in my thoughts and prayers. That served as a reminder about the connections we share and the divisions we create.

Why in the world do we need to use politics as a wedge between us? Why can't we simply discuss the issues like rational human beings or take the issue off the table? I am very sensitive to certain political topics because they relate directly to me whereas most people just use them as talking points without fully understanding the situation. So I recognize when those topics are or are not appropriate* or I simply watch my language.

Why must we focus on the differences? Why do we try to separate from others based on politics? What in the world are we doing?

“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” Audre Lorde

*Yes, I realize I'm a hypocrite because I call Bush a name in that link.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

This pretty much sums up my mornings.

more animals

This sums up the rest of my day:

more animals

This one is in no way related to sleep. It just makes me laugh.

more animals

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sarah Palin and the Jews

I've been more than a tad bit baffled by those who insist the McCain/Palin ticket is a good choice for Jews.

Here's more:
Sarah Palin: Good For the Jews?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

What was that about feeding choice?

This post will not at all be a light/happy/funny one. Some people may be offended. Please, if you are one of the many who had your nursing relationship sabotaged by a healthcare professional or someone of the sort, do NOT feel offended. This is not geared at you.

I hear a lot about feeding choice. Women get up in arms when we try to ban the bags at hospitals because they insist we are somehow anti-feminist and are infringing on a mom's right to choose how she feeds her child.

Well, more than 30 years after my MIL made her choice, we're now dealing with the potential problems with my husband. He never got a choice in the matter.

You fine folks know that my FIL has cancer. His father also died from cancer, albeit a different form.

I have a long family history of cancer, but I've always taken solace in the fact that I was breastfed and I have breastfed all my children. Formula fed children are more likely to develop cancer as are mothers who formula feed. My husband never received a drop of breastmilk and obviously, he can't breastfeed. Only now is the consequence of that hitting me and it's hitting me hard.

I've been struggling with this realization recently. My husband is now at a greater risk of developing cancer and DYING because of a choice in which he had no say.

On top of that, there's more research which links BPA to prostate cancer. Many pictures exist of my husband as an infant holding his plastic bottle. His risk is already more than doubled because his father has it. Now his mother's feeding choice may have increased that risk.

I've been a breastfeeding supporter for years for oh so many reasons, but never before have they hit so close to home. This isn't some faceless person writing a newspaper article proclaiming her right to feed however she sees fit. This isn't a random commenter on a message board complaining about how there was no way she'd do something so disgusting. This isn't even a grumpy old man ranting about how no woman should ever breastfeed in public. This is my husband--the man I love, my children's father. This is a decorated veteran who has survived combat zones. This wonderful man is now more likely to die because of a feeding choice made more than 30 years ago.

Please don't bitch about a mother's right to choose a feeding method. Babies are born to be breastfed. Our healthcare system should do everything in its power to support that. It shouldn't continually undercut a mother's attempts to breastfeed. Your local hospital or pediatrician's office should NOT be a marketing haven for Nestle. Your baby's health is FAR more important than kickbacks and pizza parties. Offices should recognize, not necessarily a woman's right to breastfeed, but a baby's need to eat. Working moms need to either pump or have their baby make occasional visits so that they can eat. Why oh why do some businesses miss the fact that formula fed infants are twice as likely to get sick within the first year which then means mom is more likely to miss work which costs the company money? It is far more cost-effective for corporations to support breastfeeding. Stores need to shut the hell up about their damn puritanical insistance that breastfeeding is somehow indecent. If I were to vist my local mall, sit quietly outside Victoria Secret and nurse modestly under one of their indecent posters, what do you think someone would complain about? Would it be the half-naked (or in some cases damn near completely naked) women on display or would it be the baby eating?

If you were to frame the discussion by explaining, "You can do X and increase your child's risks of illness and death for the rest of his life," do you think ANY mother would willingly take that option? What kind of a choice is that?

We need to take this out of the philosophical realm. This is not a debate about Feminism (FTR, I'm a vocal Feminist). This is not about a woman's rights. This is about the child's rights.

This is about my husband's right to be afforded every protection possible. That was not the case. In fact, he was put even more at risk. My husband now has a higher risk of dying because of the feeding choices made decades ago, but hey, there are those out there who will fight tooth and nail for his mother's right to do this to him.

LOL Palin

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
see Sarah Palin pictures

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Maybe you should have thought twice about this.

There are those who say Sarah Palin's daughter's pregnancy should not be fodder for the blogs. I agree in the respect that I don't think we should be wagging fingers at her, but I disagree because this IS related to the discussion.

In her wonderful piece that I have posted previously, Jane Smiley asks,

"If she's into "family values," I want to know what they are, and how the nanny views Palin's "family values." If she produced a child at 44, I want to know if she believes in birth control, because birth control is a political issue. I also want to know her views on the government's obligations to the disabled. Do the disabled children of rich people get special treatments that their parents can afford, while the disabled children of poor people get nothing?"

What ARE her family values? What is her stance on birth control? The final questions about children with disabilities can also be extended to include pregnancy. Since she doesn't believe in abortion, does she believe in providing care for disadvantaged teens who become pregnant or are only wealthy teens afforded prenatal care? Does she advocate cutting medicaid so that when these poor teens (who are far more likely to have premies) go into labor pre-term, they cannot afford the insane bills associated with a sickly baby?

Not only does this answer and then raise new questions about Sarah Palin, but it also puts a spotlight on some things Sen. McCain has done and how very out of touch he is.

McCain fought money on teen pregnancy programs

That doesn't even take into account the Republicans' newest push to define contraception as abortion.

What in the world were they thinking picking her? I've heard some argue that just seeing Palin and McCain standing together highlights the riskiness of this ticket. When you see the younger woman standing beside him, McCain's age is painfully obvious. When you see the elderly man standing alongside Palin, her youth and inexperience are impossible to ignore. Now too, when you see this family, you can't stop but be reminded of the failings of the Republican party and specifically the policies McCain supported and voted down.