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Archive for August, 2012

Ok, so when we’re talking about Todd Akin’s disgusting comments that frankly, go beyond rape-apology, everything is wrong.  But there’s something about the reaction to his comments that’s also disturbing me.

Huffington Post did this great little slide show about (mostly) GOP reactions to his statement.  At first glance it’s great.  Lots of his fellow republicans publicly denouncing him.  But if you look closely, you’ll see that something is amiss in their priorities.

The best example is probably the statement by Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.  If that name sounds familiar, it should.  He garnered similar media attention for agreeing to pass a law that mandated that women seeking abortion must first be raped by a physician or technician with an ultrasound wand, although the law was amended to require only non-consensual abdominal probing, not vaginal probing, before it arrived on his desk.

He’s got to seriously decide what’s in the best interest of the party, what’s in the best interest of the state of Missouri, and frankly, at this point, given that flat wrong statement…

… are you expecting an end to that sentence that would denote some, even very small, amount of consideration for the rape victims who have been traumatized by Mr Akin’s comments?  Well don’t.

The grande finale on McDonnell’s list of priorities is this:

…whether he can win

He continues with this (emphasis mine):

To say things that seemed to be so flat wrong and out of touch with both science and the people, I think it makes it very difficult at this point for him to win.

and this (emphasis still mine):

But on the surface, these statements are so bad and so inflammatory and so inaccurate when it comes to science that it certainly calls into question his ability to win.

So to recap here, they’re upset that he’s probably going to lose.

There was no mention in there of Akin’s comments being offensive, immoral, atrocious or pernicious.  Inflammatory, yes, but that has more to do with the undesirable backlash than the substance of his words.  No, as far as his philosophy goes, the reprimand they’re giving him is for being ‘inaccurate when it comes to science.’

Guess what, saying that a tomato is a vegetable instead of a fruit is also ‘inaccurate when it comes to science’, but it’s not exactly the same fucking thing as saying that an imaginary intrauterine spermicidal forcefield determines the ‘legitimacy’ of a rape now is it?

And that seems to be a common theme with these Republican ‘denouncers’.  Why?  Because they don’t actually disagree with him.  As a matter of fact their national convention voted just days after those comments to make the crux of his beliefs their official party policy.  Maybe some of them got out of home school long enough to know there’s no Yoda in my womb waiting to light-saber the first rape-begotten embryo he sees, but they (almost) all firmly believe there’s a ‘legitimate’ kind of rape and an ‘illegitimate’ kind.  And they all firmly believe the victims of that rape should have no control over their bodies or lives after it takes place, just as they had no control over their bodies as it was being brutalized.

So let’s see these comments for what they are – nothing more than disappointment over a lost campaign –  and realize that this Akin guy is in no way an outlier.  He is the real deal: the legitimate GOP.

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A friend and I were talking the other day about the struggles of getting our babes to take bottles so we can get out of the house some times.  This particular friend was actually the second person to ever give Little Man a bottle, when we needed to go to Mr Fair’s office holiday party and Little Man was about 6 months old.  And that was only the third bottle he’d ever had.  Yes, you read that right – three bottles in six months. Lady Fair, as it happens, has only been offered a bottle once in her 5 months skin  side.

Advice for new moms about bottles is confusing.  On the one hand if we choose to breastfeed we know to avoid them for about the first 6 weeks in order to establish a good relationship of feeding at the breast, as well as a good supply.  Of course, we all know that by then our babies know better than to accept a boob imposter.  But since we’re made to so firmly believe that a baby should or even must take a bottle from time to time, we go through a lot of stress getting baby to accept a bottle.

I decided not to.

The first, and pretty much last time Mr Fair fed Little Man a bottle.

 

Here’s the deal: I HATE pumping.  It’s not so bad now that I have mega supply from tandem nursing, but when Little Man was new my pumping efforts would produce meager results at best.  It made me doubt my supply, leading to a week of anxious feedings counting swallows and constant head rubs to determine if his fontanelle was sunken from dehydration.  Needless to say, there is no spa treatment rejuvenating enough to warrant all of that.  And of course all of this is before the stress of stalling a hungry baby while we heated milk, which seemed especially silly since I was in the next room literally full of the fresh, preheated version.  And even once we got it going, he was so not impressed.  Cue more crying and the eventual unhooking of the nursing bra to solve the problem.

But I still needed and wanted some time to do grown up stuff, so I had to find some ways to make it work without bottles.  Here’s how I did it.

1) Mark the calendar

The first thing I did was remind myself that the season of my baby’s constant need for me was short.  By the time I really started to feel the need for some time away he was already halfway to starting solids.  (I know everyone’s threshold is different though).  The solid food stage is great for two reasons:

First, it’s a whole new opportunity to introduce mommy-milk in a cup or bottle.  So if your little one didn’t drink the Koolaid (in the non merderous-cult sense of course) the first time, don’t worry you get another chance.

The other thing that’s great about it is, even if they don’t eat much at a time, it’s still probably enough to prevent gnawing hunger pangs in the absence of your boobs, so you don’t need to worry so much about bottle acceptance.

2) Max out those intervals

When you think about it, there’s actually a lot you can do in the 2 hour window between feeds.  You can get a hair cut, read a couple of chapters of a book, or sit in a bath until your toes prune and the water turns cold.  There are lots of options.  So really, the key is to max out those intervals.  To assist this, my doula gave me a great piece of advice: “top up”.  Even though you (hopefully!) feed on cue, you can always offer a breast just before you go out.  If they don’t want it, they won’t latch.  If they latch, you just bought yourself a longer interval so go max it out!

3) Attach and go

This may not be true for every woman, but I really never craved the absence of my babies, rather what I wanted was the addition of adult-oriented activities into my day.  Attachment parenting tools and practices really facilitated that.  Thanks to babywearing, I’ve been able to go to movies, pubs, weddings and conferences without having to leave baby home with a bottle and babysitter or sit alone in the corner guarding a car seat.  Since we parent our kids to sleep, we also know that we can have an unusually late night, or go on vacation without spending a week afterwards getting back onto a book-prescribed evening regimen.  I’ve had my doses of intelligent conversation (or not, depending on the adult I’m speaking with!) and adventure without having to do the bottle thing.

That’s me, at a wedding, on the dance floor, IN 4″ HEELS last weekend. Oh yeah, and I’m wearing a sleeping baby too.

4) Make it a family affair

When all of the above tactics failed what we did was have Mr Fair (or an alternate caregiver) come along for the “mommy’s time” ride.  The instances that are springing to mind here are the postpartum clothes shopping trips.  Believe me, that’s a task no woman can accomplish in under 2 hours and if you figure out how to try on tops with a sleeping baby strapped to you please let me know.  I could have put it off, but who wants to look like a deflated balloon in too-big clothes for the better part of a year?  So we packed up the fam and hit to the mall together.  Dad took charge of the baby, and I got to peruse the racks in peace, looking for clothes to fit my new rack.  When feeding time hit, we’d grab a bench and I’d do my booby duty, then go back to my shopping time.
So if your kid isn’t into the bottle thing, try not to sweat it.  There are ways to still have an adult life, you just need to get a bit creative.

Veteran mammas, what were your tricks for fitting in me time?

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I came across this in my Facebook feed this morning and promptly felt like poopoo:

Dr Sears asks moms their reactions after birth

Do you see all of those moments of instant connection there? Ya, that wasn’t me.

If there had been a camera in my (first) birthing room, it would not have recorded me getting all gooey eyed like these lucky ladies.  It would have caught me staring blankly at Little Man and it may have even picked up a single, barely audible word:

“Huh.”

Yup, that was my first reaction to my son.

Oh don’t get me wrong, he was a very wanted baby and everything.  We had both spent hours on the couch feeling (and trying to film) his kicks through my belly.  And I secretly didn’t hate the 13 ultrasounds our OBs put us through because I loved to watch him on the screen when we went.  I loved this kid.  But in the very first second after they put him on my chest and I looked at him it hit me: I actually had no clue who he was.  He was a stranger.

You see, when you’re bonding with your baby in utero, what you’re bonding with is a collection of limbs that poke out at you from within your own body.  You’re aware that they belong to someone else, but they’re still inside your body.  They’re yours in a way.  Then you push this little person into the world and suddenly he is exactly that – a whole other person.  You’ve never seen his face, or the shape of his toes.  You don’t know what colour his eyes really are or whether he’s got his dad’s chin.  He’s a totally new entity.  How do you love someone you don’t know?

And all of this is not to say that I didn’t bond with Little Man.  There was definitely bonding.  If not instantaneously, then at least by the time we put him to the breast.  That part was a no-brainer… literally.  It’s some sort of hybrid between a chemical reaction and an unconditioned reflex.  But it wasn’t love, per se, and it didn’t make me all sloppy.  That came later, slowly.  As I got to know him, memorized his voice and breathed him in, I fell totally in love… finally.

So was it just me?  Am I the only one who didn’t have that “Wow” feeling at the first moment?

 

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UPDATE: The Own Nestle Project has officially been launched.  Check it out here : www.ownnestle.org

I would definitely NOT buy a K car.  I would probably build that tree fort though and as it happens, in the 20-odd years since the Barenaked Ladies wrote that song they have in fact developed pre-wrapped bacon.  But I wouldn’t buy that either…

I digress.

A very nice-looking couple in Britain has just won the British pound equivalent of $200 million Canadian dollars in a lottery.  Holy moly is all I can say to that.  One of my absolute favourite pastimes is to play the what-would-I-do-if-I-won-the-lottery game.  Renting out Richard Branson’s Necker Island has always factored quite highly on my post-jackpot to-do list.  But there’s something else I would do that may surprise the heck out of you.

I would buy as many shares of Nestle stock as legally possible.

You’re probably as confused as heck right now since I’m all up in the breastfeeding (or, if you didn’t know that, check here, here and here), so let me explain: I would buy as many shares of Nestle as I could and use my voting power to run those suckers into the ground!

At today’s share price, $200 Million could technically get me 3,278,000 shares which, according to Nestle investor relations would amount to a whopping 0.1% of the company.  It wouldn’t get me control, but it certainly would get me a voice.  I could advocate for a corporate policy of following the WHO Code.  I could sabotage their sabotaging of infant health.

And guess what else I could do with my shares?  I could give the $6.2 million in dividends I’d get every year to IBFAN or some other breastfeeding protection organization.  That’s 6 million bucks worth of mama-milk marketing, 6 million bucks of lobbying, 6 million bucks of hardballs to throw back at Nestle each and every year.  And every penny of it they would cough up themselves.  And that’s just this year.  Over the last decade, Nestle has increased it’s dividend 600%*.  So today’s $6 million could be $36 million in another decade.  Of course, as a shareholder I’d get to vote for dividend changes, so I’d vote for the highest dividend possible.

But, I’m not the one who won the $200 million lottery, so I can’t do that, exactly.  But what if I bought a couple of shares?  And what if you bought a couple of shares?  In fact, what if we set up a non-profit specifically designed to Own Nestle shares and put those dividends to work?

Lots of us in the breastfeeding community are already familiar with or even participate in the NoNestle boycott, but frankly, that’s been going on for decades and Nestle’s artificial baby milk sales are still growing.  I think it’s time for a different kind of direct action.  It’s time to not just cut off their profits, but to actually take their profits.  It’s time to OWN NESTLE.

What do you think, who wants to OWN NESTLE with me??

*My numbers are in US dollars, so some of that increase is actually due to currency conversion

 

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OK, you’ve all heard the cliché about the big fancy toy in the cardboard box.  This is not about that, but it is about the other random, mundane, unexpected and even weird things that I’ve discovered have the ability to captivate little ones for far longer than anything Mattel makes.

Silicone pastry/basting brush: If I were planning on roasting my baby, she’d come out so juicy and golden brown that Martha Stewart would be envious.  That’s how much Lady Fair likes to be ‘basted’.  She vibrates with happiness when we tickle her feet with it.  The best part is that it’s totally dishwasher safe, so when Little Man decides to grab it out of his sister’s hands and tickle his scrotum with it (boys and their dangly bits, I tell ya) we can clean it right up.

Spoon: Little Man was NOT a toy-lover.  In fact, the first ‘toy’ he ever paid attention to was a spoon and that was when he was sitting up in a chair.  I suppose it’s a nice teether, especially if run under chilly water first.  The main benefit from a parent’s perspective though is that you really never have to pack it.  Every relative you visit and restaurant you patronize has a spoon on hand.  It’s a lazy mother’s dream.

Pill organizer: It should go without saying that I’m talking about an EMPTY pill organizer.  Not sure why, but something about opening and closing (and opening and closing) each one of those compartments is positively addictive.  It also serves as a perfect storage spot for little rocks (read more on rocks below).

Keys:  Keys, keys, wonderful keys.  How would I ever get through a grocery shopping trip without you?  I bet you didn’t know the coin slot on your grocery cart was actually a lock waiting to be opened by a toddler with keys, did you?  Well, I did because Little Man’s been working on that lock weekly for the last 18 months or so.

Rocks:  Luckily he doesn’t actually look like the Rock Biter, but Little Man’s taste for putting rocks in his mouth is straight out of the Never Ending Story.  Which also brings me to thanking goodness we did Baby-led solids, so his skills with foreign objects in his mouth were very advanced.  When he’s not eating them, he’s banging things with them, stacking them, filling his pockets with them.

Clothes pins:  Not only are they good for pinching your frenemies, they double as jewelery and hair clips and you can make sculptures out of them.

Peri bottles: Yes, you read that right.  The thing your midwife or OB gave you to wash your bruised and battered bottom after you pushed your kiddo into the world, don’t throw it out.  In just a few short months that will become the most sought-after bath toy of all time.  Consider disinfecting it in the meantime though.

And then of course, there’s that cardboard box too…

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