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Language: Who Cares?

We consider ourselves to be fairly regular parents.  We aren’t extreme to either end of the spectrum.  We eat healthfully, but we love our french fries.  We have schedules and routines, but we like to shake things up sometimes (just not bedtimes.  OH GOD not the bedtimes).  In one way that we are more liberal is in our view of language.

We don’t restrict the use of any words in our house.  Our kids – from time to time – say things like “damn it” and “Jesus” and yes, “Oh shit.”  We use these same phrases.  We treat them like words.  Which, you know; is what they are.  When I was in high school, I had a friend who’s parents did not police language.  She swore just as much as the rest of us.  The difference was that she was swearing in front of her parents without fear of punishment, while the rest of us were catching ourselves mid-phrase and changing to “holy sheep” instead.

The other day, Sam’s best friend was walked over to our house by her uncle, for some play time with us.  When she arrived, I was in the kitchen and Connor came and said, “Caleb* is here.  He wants you to know that yesterday, when Sam was at Mary’s* house, he said ‘God damn it’.”

<blink>
“Ohkayyy….” I said.
“Yeah,” Connor says, “He just wanted you to know.”
<blink>
“Ok.  Got it.  Wait: is Caleb here?”
“Yes,” Connor replied solemnly. “He’s waiting to talk to you.”

You see, I hadn’t even heard the door bell ring, nor the door open.  So not only was I surprised to be receiving this report (a day later, I might point out), but I was also surprised to know he was waiting in the front hall.  I had no time to prepare, what was I going to say?

Will you be surprised to know I did not apologize?  No, of course you won’t.  You’ve been here before.

All 3 of my kids, plus Sam’s friend Mary, were in the front hall.  I took a deep breath and started, “Hi Caleb, Connor’s filled me in and well, in our house, we don’t police language.”

“Oh…” he responded, eyes bugging out of his head and his chin pulled back (you know that look of judgement and shock all at once?  Yeah, that one).
“We talk about how these are really just words.  Our feeling is the more forbidden you make them the more likely they are to use them.”
“Well, it’s just that last year we took Mary off the bus because the language was getting out of hand.  Mary was using it, Sam was using it and they were learning it on the bus.”

I dug in here.  “No, not the case.  Sam is learning the language here.  At home, we use these words and phrases.  Like I said, they are just words and we do not police them.”

“Well.” He was ruffled at this. “We do in our house.”

“Okay.  We make a point to talk about how there are appropriate places for this type of language, and that it’s important to respect the rules of where you are.  So Sam,” I called, looking at him “Now you know that you are not to use those words at Mary’s house.  And if you do, there will be consequences.  Are we clear?”
“Yep,” he happily responded!

I turned back to Caleb and smiled.  He was backing out the door so fast I thought he was falling. “I’ll be back at 5 for Mary,” he said as he ran down our driveway.

I was left on my own, pondering the discussion.  What is the big deal, anyway?  It’s not the 1950’s anymore, and most of us who are parenting now were born well after the 50’s.  Aren’t we freer?  Many parents regularly allow their kids to watch violent cartoons.  Mary in particular has a fondness for underground Japanese Anime series’ and she my friends, is 6.  Her uncle Caleb is 27 and so should be more liberal than we are, being more than 10 years younger than us.  And yet…

Am I wrong?  Should we be policing our kid’s language, saving them from the plague of profanity?  I can’t bring myself to that.  Too many things are in the “when you’re older” box, and I am loathe to put language in there.  I think there is a far greater value in helping their formative minds understand there are times when using these words are ok, and there are times when it’s not.  Like with your Nanny, or your Grampa.  They don’t appreciate that language, and you will offend them.

And then I go back to this idea here.  I want my kids to feel comfortable talking to me as they grow.  I want them to see me as a reasonable adult, who they can come to with big problems, and know that I will help them as best as I can, with as little judgement as I can muster. When I think back to that friend in high school who was allowed to swear at home, it’s interesting to note too that we all went to her Mom for advice and guidance.  We were comfortable with her; we could talk to her.

Add to that, this is the time when they are already sorting and assessing situations, determining how they will behave.  I think giving them this one other aspect – is it ok to swear here? – to consider and sort is fine.  Responsible even.

But enough about me.  What do you think?

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent

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Posted by on January 19, 2014 in Opinion, Raising Kids

 

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Missing the Point

So, I’m always reading. Usually, I’m reading stuff that resonates with my beliefs and interests (aren’t we all though?). Most times, what I wind up reading are blogs or articles that get linked to in my facebook feed. In fact, the only way that I really know what’s going on in our world is because of the good people who keep linking to or commenting on political/social/economic/enviromental pieces.

This irritates MOMD to no end since he is a news junkie and a journalist by trade.  My ardent refusal to engage in his penchant for useless information is baffling to him; although I like to think he also secretly finds it endearing.

Anyway. As you well know if your’e a regular reader (bah! Regular! That assumes that I write regularly! hahaha… Sorry. But really: we both know that’s just ludicrous.) my leanings are decidedly socialist with a mighty dash of feminist. So a lot of what I decide to read in my feed are stories in these veins.  This morning I linked to something about women not engaging in political discourse because of the level of debate.

Now that resonated with me.

So I clicked the link.  And I tell you what: it was not well written.  In fact, I think it was written by someone who simply wanted to prove their point because it did nothing to further the discussion, and it actively discouraged my interest.  Which is a shame because honestly, I think the subheader did a great job of luring in readers.  The synopsis hit on an idea that’s been percolating in my head for ages that I just haven’t had the time to formulate.

I do not actively engage in politics because the level of discourse is so low.

A prime example is attack ads.  They do nothing to discuss party platforms, track records, or public engagement.  The sole purpose of these ads is to simply defame a single person.  And while it’s true that often we often vote for an individual rather than specifically a party (Jack Layton, anyone?) ads that vilify the leader of a party are useless.  I remember when Kim Campbell had stepped in as interim leader for the Conservative party back in 1993 and during the election campaign that followed, she was advised to run an ad that criticized – really, made fun of – Jean Chretien’s partially paralyzed face.  The woman I was wanted desperately to love our country’s first female Prime Minister, but the human in me was appalled at that level of insensitivity.  As was most of the country, and the conservatives fell from a majority government to not even holding official party status.

It’s not just attack ads though.  If I look at politics closer to home, a fantastic example of what really turns my engagement to zero is currently holding the title of Mayor in the City of Toronto.  There are so many things that offend me about Mayor Rob Ford, I could seriously go on and on.  If I look at that litany what it all boils down to is that he is belligerent, diametrically opposed to discussion or debate and willfully ignorant.  What I learned in school, when I was politically engaged, is that the heart of politics is discourse.

Remember debating?  I do.  I remember high school debates with so much fondness.  Choosing or being given a stance (defense or opposition) on a statement, and you and your team mate laid out an argument and then you debated the other side.  They were heated, but they were always civilized.  Yes, we kept to our stances while the debate was raging, but we were listening to what the other side was saying.  We had to: we had to be able to refute their arguments.

From my position, today’s politicians are all like Mayor Ford.  They have a position, they have a party line, some communications handler carefully crafts them a statement, and they read it.  Over and over and over again in some cases.  They are not listening, they are not responding, they are not engaged.  When the opposition stands up to speak, they are doing the same thing, except there’s a lot of heavy chest thumping accompanying their stating and restating and restating their opposition.

And really: that’s just so disheartening.  I for one would welcome a conversation where I did not have to prove that sexism is inherent, that rape culture exists, and that listening and responding to comments is an important part of what sets us humans apart from primates.  Maybe, just maybe, if I felt like anyone was listening, if anyone anywhere in our political system was engaged, then perhaps I too would become so myself.

For now though, for now I’ll just stay over here in my media-free bubble.

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2013 in Opinion, Politics

 

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What a Girl Really Needs

Things have been a little stressful – hectic, even – around here for a couple of weeks.  I am feeling the pressure in my business, baby E has been fighting some mysterious virus and just this morning woke up with her first-ever cold.  Connor is forgetting to do his homework, Sam is still trying to find his footing as the middle child.  MOMD has several projects that are all peaking at the same time and his days fly by in a haze of meetings and revisions. So you know, life hasn’t been the idyllic picnic I prefer.

And as you may have guessed when I wrote this whiny complain-y post earlier in the week, I hit the end of my rope.

And I know: my life is pretty amazing.  I want you to know upfront that I know that.  I am grateful for my partner and helpmeet in MOMD, for my hysterically funny children, for my patient and loving family… all of it.

What I am most grateful for though are good great friends.

For as long as I can remember I have been surrounded by peers who I love and adore.  When I was just a little kid, my best friends were my cousins.  And of course my sister.  We were together all the time, getting into all kinds of mischief.  And then in school I made some awesome friends some of whom I continue to share amazing relationships with.

Have you ever come to the point though where you stop making friends?  I don’t mean casual acquaintances like people you work with but never see outside of work, or parents you see at the school but never go for coffee with.  I mean friendships.  Just you and another person or two talking about your day/ife/kids and being together in the spirit of friendship.  I hit that point in my 20’s I think.

I am a mover and a shaker, I am always chatting with people.  In grocery stores, in lineups, on the street, at the park.  If you’re in the same space as I am you can pretty much bet I’m going to say something to you.  I stopped adding people to my life though; I didn’t take it beyond the acquaintance level after like 1998.  I never thought twice about it.  My life was full, there was always someone to hang with in a bar on a Friday night, I was happy.

Once Connor was born in 2004, I wasn’t really looking for people to hang in bars with anymore.  Lucky for me though, my dear friend Jill had her baby 6 weeks before I had Connor, and my sister was pregnant with my niece too.  We were all on maternity leave together, and Jill had a mini-van, and the 3 of us and our babies spent the year together, going where ever our hearts desired.  It was awesome.

Then when Sam came along in 2008, no one else was having a baby.  I was alone.  MOMD was working a 45km commute from home (which is a fair distance when you live in the economic heart of your country) with a 4 year old and a new born.  I was going stir crazy.  MOMD would get home from work and he would want to take the baby and have bonding time with him, thinking that this was also giving me a break.  Which it was – what I really wanted though was someone to talk to who would talk back to me.  I was starting to become depressed…

Enter the greatest thing to ever happen to me that year (aside from Sam’s birth, of course): MumNet.

I started joining things.  Groups for Moms.  Specifically Mumnet and “Songs by Sally“.  And I mean it: this was the best thing that I ever did.  I established some deep bonds with several women who I would have otherwise never met.  And these women are so important to me now.  Some of them have had other children since 2004, some of them are pregnant now.  Some have returned to work, and some others are staying home.  We really don’t have a connection to each other aside from our kids, but man…  in 2004 these women were literal lifelines for me.  And today, they are just as important.

So like I started to say, it’s not been a great couple of weeks.  MOMD is truly a darling; on Tuesday he called from work to say he wanted to take some vacation time so that I could get the hell outta doge and just rest and recupperate, “Whatever you need to do,” he said.  I had spent time with a couple of these friends I made when Sam was born on Monday and I tell you what: it was a godsend.  They reminded me that it gets better and I don’t have to be the only one to provide comfort; Miss E had a lovely nap on Suzy’s chest.  Tuesday night I met up with another group of women who I collected when Sam was born and man…  I haven’t seen most of those women in a year – one of them more than 2 years – and we picked up like no time had passed at all.  My soul was restored.  I was built up.  I built up others.  We connected, we shared, we drank wine and ate wonderful food and it was…  good.

MOMD can use his vacation days for something else.  It turns out, all this girl really needs is her Girls.

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2012 in Gratitude, Opinion

 

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What’s in a Name?

I am a very happily married woman.  I’ve been married for more than 12 years now, and I can say with certainty that hitching my wagon to MOMD’s star was the best decision I’ve ever made.  And our wedding?  It was awesome, if I do say so myself.  The ceremony took place in a lovely church which we had been attending regularly for more than a year, in the Beach of Toronto.  Our reception happened at the Westin Harbour Castle, in Toronto on the waterfront.  It was the best party I ever threw, which is exactly how you’re supposed to feel about your wedding.

When MOMD and I tied the knot, I did not take his name.  If you’ve been around this blog for a while, this will come as no surprise.  What we did do though, was each of us took each other’s name.  Yes, you read that right: MOMD took my last name and added it to his.  I took his last name and added it to mine.  On our driver’s licenses, passports, health cards, all official ID we are hyphenated.  The rationale I used when I pitched the idea to MOMD was that if a hockey player leaves one team to join another team, the player gets a new jersey with the new team’s name and logo on it.  You’ll never see a TML jersey on a player on the Senator’s team.  Despite not being a sports fan at all, this analogy made sense to him.  Thus the SB moniker was born.

This weekend just past –  Thanksgiving weekend – I attended the wedding of my longtime friend to the love of his life.  It was a wonderful ceremony, and their reception was the party of the decade.  The bride, I am sure is keeping her last name.  Also getting married this weekend was another woman with whom I am a business associate.  She has taken her husband’s last name.

Neither occurrence is uncommon: every day people get married, and every day people choose either to change their name or not.  I try not to have opinions on the subject; it has no affect on my life, and frankly is none of my business either way.  What did you choose to do when you got married?  Are you happy with your choice?  Because really: to me, that’s all that matters.

So like I was saying: some people I know got married this weekend.  One of them posted on on facebook a few days later something about how it’s weird to have a different name.  This status update garnered some attention, most of it saying, “Yeah, I remember that too!” and one comment saying basically, “I just couldn’t get used to it and so I kept my name.”  That one little comment caused someone to post a very opinionated, non-supportive, response.  And the response had nothing to do at all really with the original post.  The jist of the reply was to the effect: “Part of the deal when you get married is taking his name.  Why get married if you don’t do this?  No matter what, you are ‘Mrs’ now.”

MAN did that comment set me off!  Who was this woman?  Who died and made her the judge of facebook nation?  More to the point: what is her problem?!?!  That one comment sent me back 12 years to when we first got married, and one of MOMD’s aunts said of our name “What’s this? She’s a Brown now!”  She was very put out that 1) I would choose not to take her family name and 2) she could not find us in the phone book, since she never bothered to learn how to spell my last name.

That one comment, made by a virtual stranger to me, set me on edge for months.  Literally.  I could not think of this woman, could not hear her name mentioned, without reliving that comment.  Looking back on it now, through the wisdom (*snicker* *snicker*, she thinks she’s ‘wise’ now *snicker* *snicker*) of my years, what I felt at the time, though I could not express it, was betrayed.  I felt judged by someone who was older than I was, and betrayed by a fellow woman who was not supporting a woman’s right to choose.

I’m sure she didn’t mean it that way; I’m sure choice has nothing to do with it.  In her mind, I joined the greatest family God ever created, and why wouldn’t I want to proudly proclaim that?  She wasn’t thinking about how it had been my name for my whole life, my own attachment to my family, my own pride in our history, about me at all in fact.  She was speaking her knee-jerk reaction.  (Emphasis on jerk.)

My marriage is just as important as anyone else’s.  It’s just as real, just as committed, just as loving, just as everything as someone who chose to take their husband’s name.  Or not to change their name at all. And don’t you dare call me “Mrs”.

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2012 in Family, Opinion, Vexations

 

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Yes, This Blog is being Taken Over by Breastfeeding.

I just wanted to be up front about that.  Because if you don’t want to hear about breastfeeding, both it’s trials and it’s triumphs, then you probably don’t want to read this entry.  I’m okay with that — don’t worry.  I won’t be hurt or offended, I promise.  Okay?  Okay.

So now that you’re here because you want to be, here goes.

I have 3 kids, and all 3 of them were – for a period of time – breastfed.  I have had issues and more issues with breastfeeding, and I want to share some of that with you now.  Not because I am having issues this time around (I’m not) <<knocks on wood>> but because some of the information I have gathered in the school of hard knocks may help someone else who’s struggling.

Connor was born tongue-tied.  Do you know what this means?  No, I didn’t either.  Here’s a picture that perfectly illustrates what Connor’s mouth looked like:

This is what a tongue tie looks like. In fact, this could be a picture of Connor; he cried a lot. Because he was hungry all the time.

The thing is, a tongue tie seriously affects a baby’s ability to breastfeed.  This is because the tongue needs to almost hug the nipple in order to get a good latch, which is imperative if the baby is to get a good feed, and then move freely in and out of the mouth to get the milk flowing, allowing baby to gain weight and be happy, making breastfeeding a success.

Connor was born at Women’s College Hospital.  The lactation consultant there mentioned the tie, suggesting it could be problematic, and that I should talk to my pediatrician about it.  I did, and her advice about releasing it was that it was up to me.

hmpff.

If you are a first-time parent, you know the haze and fog that surrounds the experience.  You feel completely inadequate in pretty much every respect, and you haven’t slept since you went into labour.  You have a hard time making a decision about what to eat – hell, even determining if you’re hungry! – nevermind serious things like whether or not to release your perfect infant’s tongue tie.

Here’s my advice: if you are a doctor who treats children, or a lactation consultant, PLEASE tell the parents to release the tie ASAP.  In the very least, tell them exactly what the impact of their decision is likely to be.  Or, if you are a parent to an infant with a tongue-tie, have your doctor release it ASAP.  There are 3 reasons for this:

  1. As outlined above, I could not make a rational, reasonable decision. I needed someone in a position of trust to tell me what to do and why.  They did not.
  2. This meant that I did not release his tie, and so Connor could not latch.  When he was 3.5 months old he was just 10lbs (he was born 7lbs 3 oz); I made the very difficult choice to move to formula.  This was against my pediatrician’s advice, even though it was clear that breastfeeding was not working for us and he was slowly starving.
  3. If you release the tie in the baby’s first 6-weeks, it’s a simple procedure in the doctors office, as the capillaries have not yet formed or connected or something like that in you baby’s mouth.  After that, it’s an operation with anesthetic and everything, because they could choke to death on their blood.  Niicceee…

I AM NOT AN EXPERT.  These are simply my opinions, based on my own personal (and very traumatic) experiences.  Connor was 15-months old when his tongue was released.  It was the longest, most agonizing 5 minutes of my life…  Yes, the surgery just took 5 minutes.  But I was a wreck.  And he was so upset afterwards… he was crying so hard that he slipped a stitch and bled like crazy all over. All over himself, the nurses, the bed, me…  it was awful.  So do it when they’re young so there’s no blood and really no pain either.  So just do it, okay?  Okay.

Next point: breasfeeding after a Caesarian section*.  All 3 of my kids were born via c-section.  Some will tell you that this can interfere with your milk coming in.  Whether it’s the lack of hormones that are released during labour and delivery, or side effects of the drugs c-sections require, is anyone’s guess.  There are others who will insist that c-sections cause no issue with milk production.  I know that with my 1st born he lost a lot of weight, and there was very little collostrum.  I rented a pump from the hospital to use at home, helping to get the colostrum to produce, and then to get the milk production happening.  We finger-tube fed what was extracted to him, once he had suckled at the breast for an infuriating (for him because there was nothing coming out) 5 minutes.  After he consumed what I had collected via pump, he was then put back on the breast to suckle some more.  (He enjoyed that round more than the first, because at least he has some food in his tummy.)

The reason for this sucking is that conventional wisdom suggests that the very act of a child suckling from your breast will stimulate milk production.  This, combined with the mechanical, hospital grade breast pump did see my milk come in.  Instead of the typical 2-3 days, mine happened on day 5.  So you see, I know what it’s like to work really, really hard to get your breastfeeding established.  It was an hour’s work to get him fed, and then another 20-30 minutes to get all the equipment washed and ready for the next feed.  Which was really only 30-60 minutes away.  That’s right: I was waking him every 3 hours through the night to eat.  For 8 weeks.  Which meant that I was sleeping in like, 30 minute increments…  it was beyond exhausting…

But I digress.

With my second baby, I asked for the pump on day one.  I started to pump while in the hospital, getting the colostrum producing right away.  The nurses were a little surprised and skeptical even, but they did what I asked and breastfeed with Sam was great.

Until it wasn’t.

My milk came in on time, he ate well and he gained like a trooper.  I was so happy and so relieved after the debacle that feeding with Connor was.  And then, when he was 7 weeks old, everything changed.  He fussed while at the breast, he was very gassy suddenly, and then he started getting blisters on his bum every time he pooped.  His fussiness at the breast turned into rage, and he would slap my breast with his little hands.  I thought there wasn’t enough milk.  So I gave him the other breast.  The behaviour continued, and he almost stopped eating over the course of a few days.  At a playdate, another mother saw what was happening and commented that this was the exact behaviour her son displayed before she learned that he was lactose intolerant.  Another couple of agonizing days passed, and Sam was put on lactose-free formula when he was 9 weeks old.  All of the issues disappeared overnight.

This time around, I did not ask for the pump while I was in the hospital.  I didn’t get to hold little Elise for more than an hour, because I was strapped to a table being sewn up and too because she needed to be with the respitory therapist until her breathing sounded more “normal”,  whatever that means.  As soon as I got her, I put her to my breast.  She latched for a moment sucked once or twice, and that was that.  For the duration of our hospital visit, every time she cried, or made sounds that might be the beginnings of crying, I gave her my breast.  My milk came in on day 3, and she’s been “gaining beautifully” to quote the pediatrician.

One last point to make: know your nipples.  “She’s lost her mind,” you may be thinking.  No, no I have not.  The thing is, there are different kinds of nipples (which I did not know before bearing children), and each can pose a challenge when your child tries to latch.  There are flat nipples, there are inverted nipples (which I have) and there are protruding nipples.  I assumed I had protruding nipples.  I didn’t know they were inverted until I had to squeeze my breast at the nipple area to force it into an infant’s mouth.

In a nutshell, if your nipples are flat or inverted it will be more challenging to get your child to latch.  Here’s why: if the nipple does not stick out into their mouth, it’s very difficult for the tongue and lips to form a seal, and suckle effectively.  If they are inverted, they look like they stick out until you squeeze them: then the nipples retract.  (This is what happens to me).  Here’s a link to a great pdf file showing the different types, and what to do to (a) determine what you have and (b) how to work with what you have.  For me, I have found pumping as well as “the latch assist” to be invaluable in successfully feeding my children.

So what is the point of all of these ramblings, other than to share my experience?  Well, sharing was the primary goal, I’ll admit.  As I got writing though, I discovered I wanted to say something about the process I went through each time.  We need to surround ourselves with people who know us intimately, support us through the tough times, and encourage us to pick up our load and move forward.  Choosing formula was gut-wrenching both of the times.  Even though I knew that Connor was starving.  Even though I knew my milk was making Sam sick.  Even though.  In the end though, we all need to “think like men,” as one of my dear, loving supports said as I faced the decision with Sam.  We aren’t talking about whether or not to go to war, we are talking about what to make for dinner essentially.  Is breast best?  Probably.  But you know, in the 60’s and 70’s research showed that formula was best, so who really knows?  You can read statistics in a myriad of ways, making them say any number of things.  At the end of the day, we are talking about what to serve for dinner, and that is not supposed to be a gut-wrenching ordeal at any time.  What’s really best in my opinion, is a fed, healthy, happy baby and a mother who’s satisfied knowing that she’s done her best.

*The first because he got stuck in the canal (who knew I had a small pelvis?) and I got stuck at 7 cm’s for something like 10 hours.  My second was supposed to be a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-section), but he had other plans.  At 37 weeks the little joker turned breech.  My placenta was at the front, and lower-lying (not exactly previa, but close) and I had a LOT of amniotic fluid.  My OB said that if my water broke, the gush of fluid could dislodge the placenta and deliver it before the baby, since the head is not in position to block the path.  Given this information, MOMD & I decided that we would much rather have our baby alive, and so a c-section was booked.  Because of the other 2 sections, my 3rd was non-optional.

 
 

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Gassy Baby: A Product Review

My 3-week old baby has been plagued with some awful gas over the past week.  It’s upset her daytime rest, and all of our nighttime rest.  Because: when a newborn is squalling at 2:30 in the morning, it’s highly unlikely anyone is sleeping through it.  It’s upset me, because I wonder what I have eaten that’s disagreed with her (the broccoli bacon salad may have started the whole downward spiral).  Over the last couple of days though, it’s gotten worse.  I can see her poor belly distended to such an extend that it’s got to be painful.  Yesterday, after day 3 of no more than 90-minute-stretches of sleep, I packed my kids up and took them to my Mom’s.

Mom cures everything.

The boys were enjoying themselves throughly in her local splash pad, while I sat with the babe in the shade.  Mom was with us most of the time, and as you do, we got to talking.  Specifically, about Elise’s gas.  The end result of that conversation saw me on the hunt last night for gripe water.

I had done some research online about what to expect to find on the ingredient list for this product, and armed thusly set off to my local Shoppers Drug Mart.  What I found on their shelves, however, was not a product that I wanted in my hands, never mind inside my infant.  Their gripe water – both with and without alcohol – contained 2 different parabens!  Parabens are commonly found in personal care products, used to extend shelf life.  But really: all gripe water should be is distilled water with some herbs like chamomile and lavender and ginger.  How much perserving do those ingredients need?  Of far greater concern to this informed consumer, parabens are linked to cancer.  In fact, they are found in 90% of cancer cells.

Why, oh why, would I put this in my child?

You may be surprised to know that I would not.  I grabbed a couple of tubs of Ben & Jerry’s so the trip wasn’t entirely wasted, and headed off in the direction of my local health food store.  Where I found this product:

This is the homeopathic remedy that saved my sleeping nights, and my waking days!

It’s a homeopathic remedy containing purified water, bitter cucumber, vegetable charcoal and copper (the names are the latin ones on the box, but I googled them so I’d know exactly what they are).  That’s it.  It comes in 30 individual vials, with about 1/4tsp of the infusion in each vial.  You snap the top off the vial and can easily drip small drops into your screaming infants mouth, which they can swallow.

Can you see the tiny whole in the open vial? Perfect sized drops for your newborn. Just ask me!

The best part though?  The best part is that it WORKS.

Oh me, oh my it worked!  It took about an hour I’d say to see noticeable change, so if you try this out yourself, be a little bit patient.  Within 2 hours Elise was breathing calmly, more deeply than she had (without my breast in her mouth, that is) in days.  Her body was relaxed, her face was peaceful, and she was sleeping.

And kept sleeping!  From 10:30 – 3:30, thank you very much! I feel like a new woman today, and armed with a remedy for my baby, I feel like I can take on the world.

Information shared here is totally biased, based solely on my personal experience.  I was not paid for this review, but if you want to pay me I accept cash and/or cheques.

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2012 in Opinion

 

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Parenting… It’s Tough!

The other day, Connor came home with a birthday invitation.  Normally this occurrence does not cause any concern, other than “what are we going to get for a present?  What do you know about them?  Do they have any wants?”  You know, the usual sorta thing.  This invitation was different though.

It was an invite for a sleep-over party.  And the birthday celebrant is a girl.

I like to think of myself as a fairly modern woman, easy going and adaptable.  I try to be an engaged parent, who’s friend enough with her kids that they want to talk to me, and spend time with me, while at the same time being the authority figure.  I like to be seen as reasonable, supportive and accommodating.  When I read that invitation though, all thoughts of  fun and openness flew out the window.  “Some hussy wants to spend the night with my baby boy??? I don’t think so!”

Okay, not quite.  But you know me: I do have a mild flare for the drama.

It did put me into a minor state of alarm though…  these kids are 8 year-olds, for the most part…  Is it acceptable to have co-ed sleep-overs, with people to whom you are not related, when you’re this old?  So I did what any reasonable person does when faced with a dilemma: I posted it to facebook.  And what a flurry of commentary that brought on!

Before I go on, I feel that I should share something very personal with you.  Here’s why: it fully colours my perspective and influences my thought processes around parenting.  Even more so when considering the “co-ed sleepover” type questions.  I am a survivor of sexual abuse.  My first offense happened when I was 6.  So to be honest, I was surprised when we had “the talk” with Connor recently that he didn’t know what sex was.

There’s a fine line, I think, between responsible parenting and imposing your own experiences on your children.  It’s not that I think because he was invited to a co-ed sleepover at the age of 8 that he will be molested, or made to do something that he doesn’t want to do.  It’s not that I’m worried about the parents of this little girl treating my son inappropriately either.  When I posted my concern about this invite to facebook, a friend of mine who has some shared history with me made her position clear: do not send the kid, kids are into “show me yours, I’ll show you mine” and he will be…  for lack of a better word, unsafe.

Because of my history, I know what she’s talking about.  I’m not worried about the adults in the host-home for the sleepover, it’s that there will be other children there, who may have had the terrible misfortune of experience like mine.  And once that train is out of the station, there is no turning back.  Abused children instigate these games because they are innocent and are unaware that what they are suggesting is highly inappropriate.  I know this because my first offender was not the picture you think of when you think “child abuser”.  My first offender was a child, who was engaging in play with me the way someone else – likely an adult in a position of trust – had played with him.

Ultimately, I am likely to allow Connor to spend the night.  What’s important to me is that there is another boy attending because I think that will make him feel a lot more comfortable.  I know that Connor has a very strong sense of himself, is not easily swayed to do what he is not comfortable with (have you met MOMD?  Connor is so much like his Dad) and he has a very firm grasp on privacy and his need for it.  I do not think he will engage in inappropriate behaviour.  I trust him to be a perfect little 8-year-old boy.

The 6-year-old girl in me is very proud of him, and is working every day to let him go and live his own life.

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2012 in Family, Opinion, Oversharing, Raising Kids

 

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