Monday, January 26, 2009


Saturday, Suzi was playing with her doll in the van when she inexplicably put the doll's nose and part of her face in her mouth. After slobbering on her a bit, she pulled the doll back at arm's length and looked sadly into her wet eyes. "Aww, cry baby?" she said. "I shorry." Then she gave the doll a hug and patted her on the back.

And a little public service announcement: If you are one of those inconsiderate people who spit your gum out anywhere in public, please get a clue and find a trash can! Today on my way into work I slipped on the very shiny floor in the lobby and could have seriously hurt myself. Luckily, I think I will just have black and blue knees for a few days. When we looked to see what I slipped on, it was a piece of gum that probably stuck to my shoe from the sidewalk on my way in. Gum + slight dampness = SLICK. It's a good thing it wasn't an elderly person or one of the very pregnant women who are so frequently walking through here. So the moral of the story is: If you are too lazy to walk to a trash can, just save yourself the trouble and BUY MINTS, you jerk.

Have a nice day!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

What Suzi says

Parenting seems a lot easier once your kid can tell you what they need. Suzi's started the "Mama? Mama? Mama?" routine. She pats me on the arm or waves from across the room as she calls for me. It always seemed annoying when I did it or saw other kids do it, but right now it just makes me feel happy and important.

She also sings Frosty the Snowman (you have to know what you're listening for) and the song about rain from Winnie the Pooh ("rain rain, down down, rain rain, down down"). When she's eating and our dog gets too close to her, she says "Get back, Pheeby!" When she wants to sit on the couch with her she points and tells her to "sit right there." Today she kept telling us "I NEED apple."

My favorite is when she says happy birthday ("hap-doo-day"). It doesn't matter if it's your birthday or not. She also started saying Merry Christmas... about a week after we took the tree down. Jordan taught her a little football joke he found on YouTube in which he asks her what a rooster says ("cock-doo-doo!") and then what a tiger says ("touchdown!").

She tells us "come on" or "let's go" and pulls us by the hand when she wants us to hurry up and take her somewhere and "I'm stuck!" when she gets in a tight spot and needs help.

My other favorites:

"I don't like that!"
"Off side?" - When she finishes breastfeeding on the first side and wants the other
"I hungry. I eat."
"I toot. Toot-toot!" - She does the hand signal too.
"I love you." - It's so sweet when she's talking to me. One time she hugged me and said "I love you... Phwibby."

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Is this how the American Dream dies?

I am too disgusted to talk about this (again--I did once on my other blog) so I will instead direct you to:

1) An idiot's ramblings. It's not too surprising the CPSC's spokesperson can barely string two words together.

2) The rebuttal rant that made me, for one, feel much better (watch the video),

and finally,

3) The best-researched article I have seen on this subject. I found it linked on Mama's Magic, the blog of a mom whose business may go under if these lawmakers don't get their heads out of their butts soon.

If you only go to one, make it #3. You need to know what's coming.

I am so angry that in the United States of America, I am being told that my best judgment as a mother is not enough to keep my child safe and healthy, so from now on the CPSC is going to pick out which toys she can play with for me. And the clothes she can wear and the books she can read and, well, just about everything she touches (or in some cases, doesn't touch). And almost all of it will be from China, because who else can afford thousands of dollars of testing per item? And sending most of our consumer dollars overseas, I have to say, is going to be great for the economy!

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. I can't wait to see how this one's going to play out.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A tiny little heartbeat

I got to hear one today... my baby's. Yep, if you haven't already heard, I am pregnant! 11 weeks and 3 days.

Things are going to be so different this time. We have a midwife rather than an OB. Her name is Carey Collins and she's finishing up her apprenticeship (in late 2009/early 2010) with Labors of Love in Spartanburg. I met Carey months ago, and it is so cool to already know my midwife. With Carey I can call and get her on the phone and not a secretary or nurse line answering machine. Also, she's right here in the Anderson area so I feel confident she will get here in plenty of time once I am in labor. This is another one of the things babywearing meetings have done for me, because I probably never would've met Carey otherwise. I probably wouldn't be having this baby at home, either, because I ignorantly thought only crazy hippies did that until I met some really cool women who had done it.

There are so many things I want to blog about right now, I don't know where to start. Carey and her supervising midwife, Linda Weaver, came over last week and answered a million questions for Jordan, me and my mom. (They do this initial visit for free, by the way, so you can make an educated choice without money being an issue. How many times has an OB offered to do that for ya?) I'd like to do some posts about that interview, and also about a conversation I had recently with an OB.

I don't feel like talking about it now, though. I think I'm just going to put up a cute little pregnancy ticker and then hang out with my family and watch a movie. Good night!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Now that's what I call a responsible dog owner

Saturday while I was at work, Jordan took Suzi and Phibby for a walk around the neighborhood. We'd purchased some special bags at Petsmart just in case Phibby pooped in one of the neighbor's yards, and he thought about finding them before he left. After a few seconds he thought, nah, she won't go, and if she does it'll probably be on one of the empty lots. So off they went. It wasn't until they'd walked for nearly ten minutes to almost the furthest spot in the neighborhood from our house that Phibby decided to unload. In the middle of the road.

Jordan looked around nervously, imagining three or four pairs of eyes boring into him from the windows of the nearby houses. Most of our neighbors are retired couples who spend their days at home. What's more, most of them keep their cars in garages, and if you roll through dog poop it's best to leave it out in the open air. He turned and began the walk of shame back to our house, pulling Suzi behind him in her red wagon.

Most people would've left it at that, but not my Jordan! He left Phibby in the house and drove in the car back over to the scene of the incident with Suzi in her car seat, inside-out plastic baggie at the ready. After picking up the poop, he drove it back over to our house to dispose of it properly.

Lucky that wasn't me. But I am proud of him.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Reborn dolls: Babies that look real, but aren't

I thought I'd take a little break from blogging about breastfeeding to discuss these amazing dolls. I'd heard of them before, and to be honest, I found the hobby strange but fascinating. I can't vouch for the fairness of 20/20's coverage because I am not personally into the reborn scene. They did say it was difficult to find women willing to share with them. Anyway, you can watch the video here.

Several months ago I stumbled upon a few of these dolls on Etsy while looking for another sort of doll for Suzi. To my surprise, I think the prices of most of these dolls is quite reasonable. While the most expensive doll is $725, I prefer seller ShamrockLady's creations, which are under $300 each--and that's for a custom doll. She even features a baby of the month club in which members pay $1200 and get one doll a month for six months. You don't get to choose what sorts of babies you get, but she guarantees a variety and I have to say, her babies are some of the cutest on Etsy and are definitely the most affordable.

I don't think it's weird for grown women to play with dolls. I love dolls. I still have four American Girl Dolls from when I was a kid ($82 each back then, which sounds crazy to some people) and I still haven't decided whether I will let Suzi play with mine or keep mine and buy Suzi her own. I don't play with dolls currently (it's more fun playing with Suzi), but shopping for them and seeing my old ones takes me back to some of the best times of my life. I pretended to be their mother. I set all twenty-something of my dolls up in my room and taught school, and then laid them all down for a nap. My favorite doll went pretty much everywhere with me, and I still get warm fuzzies when I get this catalog in the mail (I guess they don't realize I'm 24 now) and look at all the teeny little (ridiculous) accessories that are available now.

But I digress. The point is, I totally get why a woman would want one of these dolls. And if I saw a woman out with one (assuming I was able to tell it wasn't a real infant) I would probably ask to hold it. These are more than just dolls. The doll is but a canvas until the artist puts time and love into painting in every detail. To me, owning one of these dolls would be akin to having an original painting hanging on the wall. Right now I can't afford either one, but if I ever win the lottery I may be tempted to buy a reborn.

One thing I have been trying to wrap my brain around is when women who cannot have children use the dolls to fill that void. It isn't that I think it's wrong; my heart just aches for them. One of the artists, Eve, said she'd had seven miscarriages, and that the dolls afforded her "a modicum of joy and happiness." I would say that these women should try to adopt a child, but that is an arduous and emotionally draining process, and the women on the show did not feel they were equipped for it. I think the healthiest thing to do in such a situation would be to find some sort of passion to pursue--and that's what Eve and these other women have done. Of course, they had a naysaying psychiatrist on to point out that this may be "more than just a hobby" and could lead to problems in some cases if the dolls were used as a prop and were the only means of social interaction. That could be true, but drugs and alcohol are frequently used as props to facilitate
social interaction, particularly by lonely, depressed people, and at least the dolls are constructive props and not dangerous ones.

I just happened to remember that my mother once sewed a little doll for her grandmother and took it to her while she was living in a nursing home. It looked nothing like a reborn; actually, it was a frizzly-haired sock doll, but it brought my great-grandmother comfort during a lonely time in her life. I don't think anyone should begrudge a woman that.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Breastfeeding on 20/20's Extreme Mothering show

I started to discuss several aspects of the show, but I have a lot to say about this one, so I'll have to do them one at a time. First, the breastfeeding. It was good and bad. Here are some highlights...

"Breastfeeding: How old is too old?" (watch the video)

They started off saying "These next women don't think breastfeeding an older child is disturbing; they think it's a private decision." Then they went on to ask the airhead question "So, where does that leave the dad?" I am sick and tired of references to breasts as sex toys which can be borrowed by babies for a short time before their maternity leave is over and they go back to workin' for the man. I recognize and appreciate that when a woman's milk has recently come in, sexual innuendo may see dad squirted in the eye. I know some people find that bothersome. However, in this segment we are discussing "extended" breastfeeding, and by the time a woman has been nursing a year or more her milk will likely have regulated itself to the point it isn't spraying everywhere. (Some women never have super-soaker breasts. Honestly, hearing about them makes me jealous!) Therefore, a woman should not feel bad if her milk-producing breasts are moonlighting as sexy boobs to please her partner. A lot of people just can't fathom that breasts can go back and forth from feeding babies to being sexually appealing, but it's a little hangup they have to get over.

What really bugged me about this segment was psychologist Will Braun's comments. He said "I have concerns from a developmental standpoint. I think a child really needs to learn to develop the capacity to soothe oneself, the capacity to tolerate frustration. When a child is constantly given a breast, it might thwart that from happening." Excuse me? This is the United States of America. We are constantly comforting ourselves with things! The two front seats in my van have seat warmers. We have pain relievers in our cabinets and a cushy pillowtop mattress covered with high thread count sheets on our bed. People go into debt buying jacuzzi tubs and spa treatments. They drink a beer after a hard day at work and coffee to get them going in the morning. Could not all these things be equated to what a breast is for a child? The only difference I see is that all these materials fuel consumerism and breastfeeding does not. Furthermore, children are given scads of things for comfort. As a child, I was given lollipops at the bank and coupons for free ice cream at the doctor. Jordan received coupons for french fries from his dentist. All three are attempts to pacify children during slightly tedious moments of their lives. And I wonder what this psychologist's stance is on anti-depressants. Continuing with his line of thought, shouldn't depressed people just get over it and soothe themselves? If that is what he thinks, and if he doesn't partake in any of the luxuries I just listed, then he may have a point. I highly doubt that is the case.

I must say, though, I was pleased with their selection of mothers and the points they made. Robin, who breastfeeds her six-year-old, was able to point out that her two older children who were also breastfed for six years were healthy and well-adjusted. She also made several good points: "We use breasts to sell everything, from beer to motorcycles. But then toddler is in mom's arms nursing, for what they're supposed to be used for, and everybody freaks out."

I was a little impressed that they mentioned the worldwide average age of weaning was four years old, but was a bit puzzled over their statement that mom Sophie was a "typical" mom except for the fact that she breastfeeds her nearly 2.5-year-old twins. I certainly don't think two and a half is an "extreme" age at which to be breastfeeding. What disappointed me more than anything is that they did not bother to consult an expert or researcher specializing in breastfeeding. They only brought in one silly little psychologist who thinks "a mother's main job is to work herself out of a job." Yeeeah. I wonder if his mom was watching. I don't know about you, but I sure don't hear many fifty-year-olds who have just lost their moms saying "She did such a good job teaching me to self-soothe that I'm totally fine with this! Heck, I don't really need her anymore anyway!" No matter how old I get, I will always need my mom--I call her every day--and yet, I've managed to graduate college, get married, find a job and raise a child of my own! (For the record, she only breastfed me for five months so you can't blame it on that. I don't remember it.)

To clarify, I don't think one must breastfeed until her child is in elementary school to be a good mother. I certainly don't think I will, but not because it would be wrong or gross. I have nothing but admiration for a woman willing to stand up to ignorant, judgmental people and nurse her child for that long. Personally, I am having a hard time making it to the World Health Organization-recommended two years. I love the women who appeared on the show for putting themselves out there, representing, and showing our culture that breastfeeding for more than a couple of months is not weird.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Skin MD Natural Product Review

I was recently asked to review Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion (+ SPF 15) and jumped on it. I work in a hospital boutique where we set up nebulizers for children with RSV and all kinds of contagious illnesses. I wash my hands many, many times a day and use an alcohol hand gel (which is supposed to contain moisturizers) in between. My hands end up dry, itchy and sometimes even flaky, and I don't have time to apply a hand lotion every single time I wash. There's nothing worse than using lotion and then getting that slimy wet lotion sensation when you wash your hands fifteen minutes later. I'm sure you can relate.

That's what is great about this Shielding Lotion. It goes on in a thin layer and actually dries rather than leaving a greasy film on your hands. I applied it for the first time in the bathroom with the door closed and was able to easily turn the doorknob to get out. It may not sound like a big deal, but I couldn't do that with most of my previous lotions. When I washed my hands, the lotion stuck with me and protected my skin from overdrying.

What I love most is what's not in it. Over the past few months (mostly because of Suzi) I've done my best to minimize our use of lotions and other products containing parabens and strong fragrances. Several weeks ago I was all set to purchase some yummy-smelling hand lotion--until I paused to look at the label. You'd be suprised how many natural-looking lotions actually contain parabens and irritants, including the one I was going to buy, which I promptly placed back on the shelf. But Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion is paraben-free, colorant free and fragrance free.

Many people with eczema and other extreme skin irritation and dryness have had great success with their Shielding Lotion. I don't have any serious skin problems, but because I received the Shielding Lotion + SPF 15, I am looking forward to using it this spring and summer in place of a regular facial moisturizer or greasy sunscreen. Most of the sunscreens I've tried have been entirely too oily and have had a negative impact on my skin. Since teenage acne skipped over me in high school and is just coming to torment me now that I'm in my mid-twenties, I am particular about what I put on my face! This lotion is lightweight and smooth, and these qualities are hard to find in a product containing a sunscreen. It will be the perfect moisturizer for warm days spent outdoors.

I may pick up a bottle of the original lotion to take to work. Apparently, it's available at Publix in Anderson--one of the stores we frequent! You can find out where to buy a bottle in your area here.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Pee-pee in the potty!

A few days ago, after studiously watching Elmo's potty-training DVD twice, Suzi told us she wanted to pee-pee in the potty. Jordan sat her on it and it was a miracle! She peed! Jordan called me in to look at and admire the pee-pee, and then I called my brother Brad to let him know the DVD had worked, because he and his fiance gave it to Suzi for Christmas. Then we called both sets of grandparents and let Suzi tell them her accomplishment. We knew this was a good sign, but of course there was still a long way to go.

There aren't very many training pants to fit a child as small as Suzi. Because I only want cloth, and because she's kind of young to be training and small for her age, it will probably be a couple of months before any of the brands would fit her. So last month at the babywearing meeting I was relieved to find out that the best way to help a child learn to use the potty is to allow them to run around with nothing on at all. (Well--a shirt is a good idea.)

This afternoon Suzi began crying and pulling at her pants and diaper because she was wet. Since I noticed a bit of irritation I decided it would be the perfect time to try the no-diaper method. I left her diaper and pants off and sat her on her potty, explaining that when she felt she had to go she should come sit down and try to use the potty. I put some BabyLegs on her to keep her legs warm and she did great. She used her potty like a pro three or four times... until she became distracted by an afternoon snack. Which is when she peed a river all down the side of our end table. Sigh...

We have a lot of puddles ahead of us, but at the end of it all, no more diapers! I can't wait.