Thursday, October 29, 2009

What Am I Getting Myself Into?!

I have decided at the last minute that I am going to take part in NaBloPoMo - National Blog Posting Month. It takes place in November and it is rooted in NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month, which is where you write a 50,000 minimum word novel in a month. Rather than writing a novel, I will be attempting to write one blog post per day for the entire month of November.

I am probably getting in way over my head. I have a hard enough time as it is posting weekly, let alone every day. But I really, really want to get this blog off the ground and I'm not going to do that by sitting on my hands.

So, here's hoping I am able to successfully complete the month of daily writing. I also hope that it will be good content. I am going to make this promise - I will not post something if it is not worth reading.

For those of you who write, from where do you draw your inspiration? Do you write regularly, or just when it strikes your fancy? Do you have a cache of posts stockpiled, or do you start fresh with each new post?

Monday, October 26, 2009

It Comes Down to Trust

Last week I witnessed my first piece of blog-drama. I've been reading blogs regularly for only about a year or so and never encountered anything that shook the entire mommy-blogosphere like this story did.

You see, this woman posted a story about how during a routine security check in an Atlanta airport a TSA agent removed her son from her and walked away with him. I read her post and, as a woman who has actually had my child taken from me I took this post extremely seriously. Not that anyone else wouldn't, but it hit home here. I relived my experience which was heartbreaking and traumatic, as even thinking about it renders me pretty much useless for a couple hours while I recoup. I wept for this woman because although what she had gone through was nowhere near as hard as what I went through, it was still scary and I know that feeling of desperation and helplessness that comes after your child leaves your line of sight and you have no idea where she is going to end up.

Shortly after I recovered from my tear soaked, snot covered journey into my past I discovered the TSA blog's response to the woman's accusations accompanied by a video showing 9 different angles of the whole ordeal. No one took her son from her. There were several other things that she claimed happened during the ordeal that did not appear in the videos. No tear-filled phone calls to her husband or mother. In fact, she didn't appear to be hysterical in any of the video. No tears at all. I watched waiting... Waiting for it to happen. Waiting for even a lapse in the video - a place where perhaps they edited out the encounter. Then the video stopped.

After the video ended I sat and stared blankly at the screen for a moment, shocked that I had been so easily duped. I wanted so badly to believe her, to believe that someone wouldn't blatantly lie like that. I was disappointed in myself for not second guessing the story and for taking a person whom I had never met for her word. I'm still amazed at how devastated I become when I realize that just because I am an honest person that does not mean that everyone else is. It hits me like a slap in the face every time I blindly put my trust into someone and it is taken for granted.

I realize that this woman doesn't care about me or how I felt when I realized that her story was a work of fiction. I'm not so much bothered by the fact that she lied - but more her complete disregard for those whose faith she has betrayed. Throughout our lives we gain a great number of things for ourselves. We decorate our lives with fancy electronics, nice cars, pretty furnishings. We fill our homes with items to keep us busy and entertained. What most people don't realize - like really, deep down gain understanding of - is that these things can easily be stripped away and we're left with nothing. And when it comes down to that, all we really have left is our word and our respect.

Most people I know are like me when it comes to giving and taking respect and trust. I give it freely - it is a courtesy I extend upon meeting someone. The longer I know a person without having that trust and respect broken the deeper it runs. So despite the fact that I had never before read this woman's blog, I took her word at face value and I felt for her more deeply than I tend to feel for people I don't know because her story hit close to home. I know that I probably should have known better, that I shouldn't have been so quick to react but that's the kind of person I am. I leap before looking because I trust (perhaps irrationally) that there will be a soft landing ahead. I guess that's why I find it so wrong that people take for granted the people who trust in them.

I am pretty sure that as it stands now most of the people who are reading this are people I know. Even so, there are a few out there that are strangers. Despite that, I know that I want to maintain my integrity - I find it incredibly important to maintain the trust that is extended to me by you - my readers. Because without that, why would you be here?

Where the aforementioned woman is concerned, she has been stripped of my trust. Not that she finds it important, I'm sure. I just needed, for myself, to get this out of my head. There are plenty of people who write personal accounts of their experiences that are true to their word who I would much rather take the time to read, to get to know - and I hope that those of you who are reading this see me as one of those people.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What to Do?

Kairi had her 6 month check up and shots last week. We are about a month behind on her appointments due to some clerical errors, but I won't get into that. Her appointment went fairly well. She was weighed and measured. They checked her temperature and her ears. Everything that you would expect to be done at a typical pediatric doctor's appointment was taken care of. Then the doctor came in. He looked over her charts and immediately noticed how high her weight was on her growth chart.

"Hm," he began, feigning concern, "I see here that Kairi's weight is pretty high here. She's above the 95th percentile. We need to start restricting her diet."

"What do you mean, restrict her diet?" I asked him, caught off guard by his claim.

"Well, she needs to only be taking 24-26 oz of liquid each day. How much are you feeding her?"

I was confused. "I couldn't tell you. I breastfeed exclusively and have no way to measure how much I am feeding her."

Dr. A looked a little surprised. "Oh. Okay then, you need to only be feeding her 3-4 times daily."

Again, I was caught off guard. "Is that including nighttime feedings?" I didn't mention the fact that from the time we go to bed to the time we get up in the morning I feed her 3-4 times still.

"Yes," Dr. A said, his impatience becoming slightly apparent. "You should only be nursing 3-4 times in a 24 hour period of time. You can give her water and 2 servings of baby food or cereal per day as well, but I really want to stress how important it is that you reduce her nursing times to 3-4 times a day."

"Um, okay...." I was bewildered into agreement. Well, I wouldn't necessarily say agreement, but I couldn't begin to wrap my head around his request long enough to question it until I had left his office. The further away I got, the more angered I was by what he was telling me.

Now, I don't claim to be a doctor, but I am not some uneducated schmo from off the street who will take his word without a second guess if it doesn't feel right. I have done enough research into breastfeeding to know that until my daughter is a year old her primary source of nutrition should be breast milk and the rest of it, the baby food, the juice, etc, is all supplementary. Sure, she needs those things, because after 6 months of age she needs more iron than I can produce for her and she needs other vitamins that aren't found in adequate amounts in breast milk. But most of her basic needs are met in my milk and every single article I have ever read states that until she is a year old I should be nursing on demand.

That is not to say that I am a 100% by the book kind of girl. I know that nothing works exactly the way the books say it will and often times I have to find a compromise between what I've read and what I feel to make things work. More often than not I lean towards what I feel over what I've read. But in this instance, everything I have read is completely aligned with everything I feel. And down to my very core I feel that reducing my daughter's nursing times to 3-4 times daily - like I said before, that's just what she eats once we go to bed! - is absolutely not what she needs.

Today when I logged into Twitter I saw a link to the growth chart used for breastfed babies. I followed it and entered Kairi's information into it. According to the chart at her doctor's office, Kairi was above the 95th percentile in weight. That's supposed to be a cause for concern. According to the chart that is provided by the World Health Organization, my daughter is in the 75th percentile. Right on the line.

I realize that I have a chunky baby. In fact, I expected Kairi to be a chunky baby. I was a chunky baby. So was Jason. Gracie was ENORMOUS. By 3 months she was in the 95th percentile in weight on her chart and her doctor was cramming dietary information down my throat even then. But take a look at Gracie. Go on, I posted recent pictures of her in my previous post. Take a look at her, come back, and tell me that you are worried for her weight - that you fear she might just tip into the range of obesity should she eat one more Twinkie. Granted - Gracie's weight hindered her physical development to a degree that we had to have specialists come in and determine she would be able to catch up with the other kids. Gracie didn't roll over until she was 6 months. She didn't sit up until she was 8-9 months, didn't crawl until she was a year old and didn't walk until she was 18 months old. But once she started moving that weight fell right off.

I have no fear that my children will be obese. I realize that obesity is quickly becoming the number 1 preventable cause of death and that while children are less at risk of weight related health problems, being overweight as a child often leads to being overweight as a teenager and as an adult, which we all know can lead to all kinds of health problems. With that knowledge in mind I try to feed my children healthy food - at the very least home cooked food, which we all know is often times healthier than eating out - as well as I allow them to get plenty of age-appropriate physical exercise. Kairi may be at the top of the charts (the WRONG charts) at her doctor's office, but I know that like her father and I, as well like her sister, once she becomes more physically active she will thin out.

All weekend I have been fighting with myself over whether or not to switch doctors. Ultimately I have decided that I am going to try to find a more pro-breastfeeding pediatrician. Sure, Dr. A has spouted "breast is best" but beyond that I have seen no support from him. In fact, he suspended breastfeeding when Kairi had jaundice. After getting out of the hospital from that ordeal I found out from several sources that there was no need to suspend breastfeeding or to supplement formula as the doctor had ordered.

But I am concerned for the mothers who aren't as sure of their decisions as I am. Even with my level of certainty I faltered briefly when ordered to reduce what I know is working. If I was less certain of my choice to breastfeed, his order to reduce nursing would ultimately lead to a reduction in milk supply and eventually to having to supplement formula or even wean altogether before I am ready. I wonder how many mothers have gone through that with their children because of faulty claims that they are nursing too often. This also leads me to wonder what other misguided information Dr. A is giving.

I would like to do more than just switch doctors. I would like to raise awareness of what is going on, but beyond this I just don't know how. This man is a very popular and trusted doctor in my community. He's been around for a very long time - he was even my pediatrician when I was a child. This issue pulls at me, pulls at my morals and I don't feel that I can simply walk away and only do what is best for myself and my child. What would you do in this kind of dilemma?

Tiny Dancer

Monday, October 19, 2009

Gratitude Adjustment

I am having a bummer morning. Nothing in particular is going wrong - I just feel kind of bummed out. It's not exactly the day that I want to spend my day, so I am going to take a cue from my friend Angela who does Gratitude Mondays and focus on what I am grateful for today instead.

Last night on Facebook a friend of mine posted a status that read, "My greatest accomplishments call me "Mommy." I almost cried when I read it. It's so true. My kids are BY FAR my greatest accomplishment. Above all else, they are my purpose for being here. I know I've said it before, but I feel like I was incomplete before becoming a mother. Yes, yes, I know, it's very Jerry Maguire, "You complete me,"-esque but it's true.

Gracie is growing like a freaking weed. I didn't really notice before I had Kairi how quickly Gracie is growing. The day Kairi was born I remember laying in bed with Gracie and looking at her hands and feet. They looked monstrously big - so much bigger than they had just the day before.

She's really coming into her own too since school has started. Every week she learns a new letter. Each letter has a character, a story/song, and a hand movement. The first week she learned the letter "P." P is for Polly Panda, and Polly Panda paints purple P's, pizza pans and porcupines. Her motion is moving your hand up and down like you are painting a fence. (Think Karate Kid, "Up and down.") During the hand motion, she says "Puh, puh, puh."

A few weeks ago at the end of the week Gracie came home with her folder full of the various projects she's worked on. The letter that week was "M." That night, she worked hard on tracing and practicing drawing her M's. One of the assignments sent home was a piece of paper with a bunch of letters scrambled all over the page, and she was to circle all the M's and draw X's through all the P's. She did that as well as recognized each letter that she had been learning between the two, and some that she hadn't learned in class. She's also begun using these letters throughout her days out of school. She is learning so much. She will ask what a certain word starts with, or if I say a word she will say "That starts with O!" It's so neat watching her grow.

Kairi is growing fast too. I can't believe it - it's been almost 7 months since she was born. Wow! A week ago Friday she started saying "Momma" (and my heart melted!) My mother was here to witness it. It was very cool. Last night the girls and I were in the kitchen while I was baking a cake and Gracie and I were talking about Jason. All of a sudden, Kairi looks up and starts saying "Dah-ee Dah-ee Dah-ee!" over and over. (Think "Daddy" minus the d's in the middle.) That was very cool too.

She is also doing a lot physically. She is really beginning to be able to support herself sitting up. She's been kind of sitting up for a little over a month, but it's more like she's kind of folded in on herself. And she's begun inchworm crawling. She will scoot forward with her legs (as if she is crawling regularly) then throw her body forward and land flat against the floor. She rights herself and starts again. It's very funny to see her doing this.

Anyway, I think that will conclude my "gratitude adjustment" for today. I am feeling much better now.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Feeling Down

I'm having a bit of a bad night. In the beginning of the year, Jason and I were rendered carless. An opportunity arose in March to get a car, but that fell through horribly and we lost $1200 in the deal. (Believe me when I say that is a rant for another day... And it's a long one. So we'll skip it.) When we lost the opportunity to have a car right before Kairi was born, along with all that money, it set us back an entire year on our 5 year plan. (I don't even know if I would call it a 5 year plan as much as a 2-4 year plan - 5 year just sounds better.) Our plan required a car, because our plan required me to finish school, which involves a commute to a neighboring town.

So, since January we have been without reliable transportation. That might explain why I literally jumped for joy when last week my mother offered to borrow $3k from a close friend to help us get a car. The offer was for her to borrow the money and we would pay it back out of our tax money. Since I didn't work this year, I was not certain we would get that much money in our taxes, so I used Jason's income information from last year to estimate what we will be getting this February. The results surprised me, although I should have guessed. We will be getting much more than I had anticipated - close to $10k - due to Earned Income Credit and having a second child claimed this year.

So I began my search for cars on Immediately I found a car that I really wanted: it was the least expensive one on the site as well as a model that I have been wanting for a long time, a Ford Focus. It's an '06 and was running right at $7k. I called and spoke to a sales rep who got Jason's information from me and put in a finance application. Our application was denied. The bank wanted us to finance at least $6k through them (with our $3k down payment it would only be about $4k financed) and they wanted us to get a car that had less than 60k miles, whereas the Focus had 92k. The bank also said that we had to get a car that was at least an '04 model, but that didn't really apply here, because like I said before this was an '06.

The next day I looked again. I found an '04 Kia Optima that had 54k miles and was $8500. Add the tax, tag and title to the price and we would be financing right at $6k on it. Just in case we fell short of the $6k I asked Demarcus, the sales rep, to find out what the minimum down payment would be to reach that $6k would be. He put in a new application for financing. We were denied again. The bank this time said that they wanted us to get a car that was at least an '06 model and had less than 50k miles. And $3k was the minimum down with our credit. I scoured the site and didn't find a single car that met the criteria the bank gave as well as our price range. I want to get something that we can pay off completely with our taxes but they just didn't have anything within the scope.

I spoke with Demarcus again and asked if they had anything that wasn't on the site that met our needs. He said that they didn't, but that if we had a co-signer it would open more options to us. We could get either the Focus or the Optima if we wanted.

I emailed my mother and told her what Demarcus had said. I didn't ask her to co-sign because she's already doing so much for us. I was merely updating her on the situation. I also asked her to call me when she got off work. This was two days ago, and I didn't hear anything. I called her tonight and was talking with her about the situation. She told me that she doesn't feel comfortable borrowing the whole $3k and would feel better about it if it were closer to $1500 or $2000. With that amount, even with a co-signer, financing would not be feasible for us because the monthly payment between now and tax time is more than we can afford. Even the payment with a $3k down payment was pushing it. She suggested I look in the paper for something instead. I told her to forget it. I don't want to put a Band-Aid on the situation with a piece of crap clunker from some random guy off the street when in a few months I can get something from a dealer that will be likely more reliable and closer to what we need.

So now we are back to where we started. No car, and no plans to get one until tax time. Great. I'm incredibly frustrated. I don't understand why my mom would offer to borrow $3k in the first place and then back out of it. I feel like I got my hopes up for nothing. I'm not mad at my mom, because she is still generously offering the $1500-2000, but I can't help but be disappointed at the situation. I wish she hadn't offered in the first place if she wasn't comfortable with it. It's not like I asked her to do this.

It's also frustrating that everyone I call to try to talk this out with has to let me go for one reason or another. Again, I'm not angry at anyone, I am just feeling sorry for myself and I would like to talk to someone about it - but no one is available.

I realize that I am probably acting childish about this whole thing. I am sure that I likely sound like a spoiled brat. And I apologize if it comes off that way. I just don't feel like it would be appropriate to accept help that is not going to be the kind of help we need. And I feel like if my mom isn't comfortable with her original price after a week, she will likely not feel comfortable with her secondary offer either. I just don't want to feel guilty for accepting her help if she's not comfortable with it. In most cases the old "any help will do" thing comes into play but here I feel like it would be more burden than benefit.

I think I might go lay down. It's early, but it might just be time to end my day.


Sorry I have not been around much lately. I am currently engrossed in my new hobby - crotcheting. I started, oh, about 3 or 4 weeks ago and have made quite a few things already. Well, I lie. I have completed only three things but have started several projects. The things I have completed include 2 hats and a small lap blanket for a baby. I have started 3 other blankets that I am working on. Gracie's blanket is made of really soft pink yarn and this thin, pretty mint green yarn. I have put that project on hold though because I can't find the soft pink yarn at Wal-Mart and won't be able to make it to the craft store for a while. Kairi's blanket is a project I think I might scrap and start over. I started it as yellow yarn, but the yarn is kind of coarse and it was the first project I started after learning so it looks kind of rough. I am also making a throw blanket for my couch. It is made with two different colors of this really soft, thick yarn that is going to be really pretty.

Also keeping me from posting is the new book I am reading. Most people don't know this about me, but I am a HUGE Dan Brown fan. Yes, I realize it's totally cliche, but I can't help it. I love the things I learn from his books. Currently I am a little more than halfway through his new one: The Lost Symbol. It's great. I'm loving it.

I have a few things that I am thinking about posting. Another blogger I read regularly posted a cute meme that I enjoyed and I thought about doing that. Gracie has discovered the movie The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking and I have rediscovered the scene where the kids run away. I remember the way that scene made me feel as a kid, despite the moral it tries to instill, and I was thinking about writing about that as well. But I will actually have to sit down and watch the whole movie before writing about it which will take a little more self discipline than I can put forth at the moment. :) We'll see what happens, but I am hoping to have some decent content within the next week or so.

Miss me til then! ;)

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Recently I have been following Nestle's non-compliance with the International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes (The World Health Organization's code - "The WHO Code"). I get the majority of my information from Annie, at PhD In Parenting (her most recent post on the topic gives a pretty comprehensive look at it.)

Because of the way that Nestle so blatantly ignores the standards that are supposed to be met in as far as formula advertising, as well as a great number of other horribly morally deficient business decisions there is and has been a boycott on the company. According to Wikipedia, the boycott has been in effect since July 4, 1977 - with a 4 year suspension the years spanning 1984-1988, and it has been in effect since.

After doing a bit of research for myself, I have decided to take part in the boycott. I am no longer purchasing or consuming any products made by Nestle or affiliated with Nestle. I have to say that while I feel morally justified and righteous in this decision, my will is struggling. I am torn between my love for a great number of Nestle products and my ethics. But despite all of that, I am standing firm in my decision.

Tonight though, I discovered, much to my dismay, that my Precious, my rich chocolatey Ovaltine is a product of Nestle. I literally almost started crying. I felt like falling to my knees and screaming to the heavens. I feel as though I have found out the love of my life has had an affair. I feel... lost. To say the least. (Yes. I am completely serious. I freaking love my Ovaltine. Almost as much as I love my kids. Totally not exaggerating.)

But I must stay the course. Devastated or not. When Jason gets home from work I am going to make him flush the remaining powder left in the can in the cabinet. It is calling my name, much in the same way drugs call to an addict or that bottle of vodka hidden in the back of the cabinet calls to the alcoholic.

Can someone please, for the love of all that is good and holy, give me a GOOD substitute? I fear I might die without my chocolate milk.