Saturday, July 24, 2010

Quick Hit: The "I Did It and I'm Fine" Rant

I don't know about you, but I get SO tired of the "I did it and I'm fine" argument. It comes up everywhere you turn and in many different forms.

There's the one we use for our kids: "Well my mom did this for me, and I turned out fine, so why shouldn't I do the same for my kids?"

Then there's the don't fix what ain't broken version: "I've always done it this way and it's never caused any harm."

I'm sure there are a million different variations and to list them all would take all day, but I'm sure you get the idea.

What brings me to think about this is an encounter that I had yesterday at the gas station. As I was walking through the parking lot, I saw a man smoking a cigarette who was about to start pumping gas. He showed no sign that he was going to put out his cigarette.

Typically speaking, I tend not to approach smokers in public about their smoking. As an ex-smoker, I know how defensive people can be, especially when they're in the great outdoors among all the fresh air. But this guy was potentially putting myself, my kids, and everyone else at that gas station in danger.

"Don't you think you should put that out?" I asked the guy.

"Nah. I do this all the time," he shrugged as he placed the nozzle in his car. "Never hurt anyone."

I was amazed. "Yeah? Well I've never overdosed on heroin, but you don't see me out here shooting up, now do you?"  I made my way back to my car, pumped my gas as quickly as I could and sped off, furious.

I just don't understand how people can advocate and condone dangerous behavior simply because it's never hurt them personally.

How about you? Does this piss you off as much as it does me? What instances have you run into? Did you respond to them? If so, how?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Dream Interpreted

I had an awful dream last night. Lately, Gracie's attitude has gone even further downhill, and although I think I am finally figuring out ways to deal with it I can't say that it's not taking a toll on us. I'm much more irritable and tired when the day is through, as is she.

So my dream... I dreamed that because of Gracie's attitude problems, I decided to send her to a month long disciplinary camp - a place where I would only be able to talk to her once a day for 5 minutes over the phone. In my dream, I was so confident in my decision, then when the people came to pick her up I realized that I hadn't done any research at all. I didn't know what methods these people were planning on using to straighten my child out. I didn't find out until they got there that I'd only be able to talk to her once daily. Panic started setting in when I realized that I hadn't done anything to prepare Gracie for what was to come either. She had no idea that she was going to be gone from us for more than a night or two, or that they had planned on her sleeping in a tent (something she's never done). Tears streaked down my face as I watched her happily waving from the back of the bus as it drove off. I was sending my daughter to an ambush and she was absolutely gleeful about it.

I woke up with a feeling of dread, similar to how I feel after watching a post-apocalyptic movie. My heart feels heavy and I am literally seconds from crying. As I think more about what the dream could mean, I can't help but feeling like perhaps I've been treating Gracie too harshly when she starts acting out. Our tempers tend to flare pretty high and pretty quick in this family and I know I am my mother's child when I've hit my boiling point. I can hear the same shrill tone in my voice once I've had enough and after that, even the most mild irritants will send me through the roof.

Please don't misinterpret me here; my mother was and is wonderful. But everyone has their faults.

I remember making my mother angry as a child: I'd either do something really bad or I'd do a lot of little things that built up over time to wear down her patience. When she finally lost her temper, it was over. From then on out, like me, even the most mild irritants would push her back over the edge. I can't blame her - when you've had enough, you've had enough. It's not easy to explain this to a child though, and when she would erupt I remember thinking things like, "Well I just left my plate out after dinner for a few minutes.... I was gonna take it to the sink in a little while...."

Now as a mother myself, I see myself following in her shoes in a lot of ways, both good and bad. And one of those ways is that I tend to overreact once my buttons have been pushed a few too many times. It has no off switch either. If I lose it early in the day, my patience stays pretty thin the rest of the day.

I think that perhaps this is some of what my dream was trying to tell me. Maybe I need to calm the eff down when I'm dealing with Gracie. It's not fair to her that she has to deal with my anger issues and it's no fun for me feeling the guilt of overreacting over something small.

I hope that my decision to work through my anger differently will not only change the dynamic between my daughter and I, but maybe I'll sleep a little better at night too.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

What I'm Into Right Now

I just wanted to share with you fine folks my new obsession.... This is some seriously good music. You should check out both of these lovely ladies' solo channels (Nataly's here and Lauren's here.) as well as Nataly's other collaboration channel, Pomplamoose. (It's amazing. I promise.)

Anyway, enjoy!

Let me know what you think in the comments. Do you have a new favorite that you wanna spread around? Link it up! I need some new music!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Friday, July 9, 2010

Guest Post: When Breastmilk and Water Don't Mix

Welcome to the July 2010 Carnival of Nursing in Public

This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Nursing in Public hosted by Dionna and Paige at All week, July 5-9, we will be featuring articles and posts about nursing in public ("NIP"). See the bottom of this post for more information.


This post is also a guest post, written by a wonderful woman by the name of Heidi. Big thanks to Heidi for allowing me to publish her story!


I was approached at our local pool two times in less than two weeks for nursing my 11 month old there. The first time someone in the pool who saw me nursing her said something to the life guard. The life guard came over to me, after we were done nursing, and asked if I could breastfeed my baby in the locker room or family bathroom or cover up.

COVER UP?! I was in a swimsuit in the WATER!

Luckily I was with my Le Leche League leader and she jumped in and stated that it was against the law to ask any nursing mother to move or to cover up. I told her that I would not be moving into the bathroom and suggested that she learn the law, especially since it's a public facility!

After thinking about what happened, I sent a letter to the director of the pool and suggested that he teach his employees about the law so it doesn't happen again. Imagine if this happened to a mother who was unaware of her rights! The pool director was very apologetic and said they were having an employee meeting in a few days and that he would address the issue. He said that he knows the law and has taught his staff about it.

I think the person who reported me to the lifeguard must have been another mother because there were only a few other women and children in the pool at the time. How another mother could have a problem with this is beyond me!

The following is the email correspondence between myself and the pool director. 

To whom it may concern,

Today I took my two children to Fairmont to go swimming on this beautiful day from 10-11am. I love your pool and it's accommodations to the children. (We also attend Galaxy Gymnastic regularly) I also meet two other friends and their children, who I invited to join us. My 10 month old was getting tired and wanted to breastfeed and I would NEVER leave my 2.5 yo by herself in the pool so I nursed my child in the shallow end. After, we swam over behind the slide to let the children out to see the ducks. Just then, one of your young female staff members came over and politely asked me to cover up or go into the bathroom/locker room if I was going to breastfeed my child again. I said why? She said because someone complained about it. We (my other nursing friend and I) explained to her that it is against the law for anyone anywhere to ask a mother to cover up or move or stop breastfeeding her child in Utah. From her reaction I don't think she knew of this law. That is why I am writing. Both my friend and I thankfully know of our rights as nursing mothers in public. If it were an unknowing mother I think she may have felt very offended by this and compliant when she didn't need to be.

I have included the two UTAH codes for a mothers right to breastfeed in Utah so you can educate your staff about this subject, especially since you are a public city ran facility. I have MANY other friends that come to your pool that are breastfeeding mothers and will nurse their children at your facility. Please educate your staff so this doesn't happen to another mother. I will continue to be a patron and will also continue to breastfeed my child there if need be.
Please, feel free to contact me if you have further questions.
Thank you,
Heidi L.

Their response:


I am sorry for any inconvenience that this may have caused. We have covered this topic with all of our staff in previous in-service trainings. We had instructed all our staff that breastfeeding could be done anywhere in our facility. There is another staff training this Saturday and this topic will be added to the agenda. We have counseled the staff from this morning and corrected the information.

I am proud of our facility and hope that we continue to keep it kid-friendly. Thank you for continuing to use Fairmont Aquatic Center for you and your families' enjoyment. Again I am sorry for any inconvenience that this morning's situation may have caused.
Gene M.
Program Manager

The second incident happened at the same place. I was a bit reluctant to nurse there again and wanted to hold off until we got out of the pool. My discomfort was the result of being confronted for doing something so natural. My daughter was inconsolable, so I decided that I'd better nurse just before we left to change.

Before I had even letdown, a different life guard came running over and asked if I could get out of the pool to breastfeed.

I told her that I wouldn't move and that it was my right to nurse there. She told me that she wasn't asking me to cover up or nurse in the bathroom this time, but that she wanted me out of the pool so no milk would get in the water.

"How would my milk get in the pool when she's nursing?" I asked.

She claimed to know how letdown works and said that if the baby isn't latched on the milk keeps dripping out. She even compared it to eating Doritos in the water!

I explained that it's only for a brief time and that it won't effect the water but she continued to ask me to get out. Still refusing, I asked if this was her policy or the pool's policy and she said it was the pool's.

She finally gave up and decided to return to her post to watch over the pool.

Later I called the pool director who said that he had heard what happened and had tried to find me to apologize. He said that it was not their policy to ask nursing mothers to leave the water. He was sincerely apologetic and said that I can nurse wherever I need to. I suggested that he continue to educate his staff.

I stated my concern for the mother's who are unaware of their rights or who are already uncomfortable nursing in public. If they had to go through something like this, it could really jeopardize her nursing relationship! I also sent the director a link to the international nursing sign to put on the front doors of the pool, but in the months since these conversations I have yet to see it posted. I have been there and nursed there since and will continue to do so. The more it's seen the easier, I think, people will expect it as the norm!

On both occasions I had my 2 year old daughter with me as well. I wasn't going to leave her in the pool or make her get out and be cold as she waited for her sister to finish nursing. I wonder if they ever even considered that!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Confrontation vs. Censorship

Welcome to the July 2010 Carnival of Nursing in Public

This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Nursing in Public hosted by Dionna and Paige at All week, July 5-9, we will be featuring articles and posts about nursing in public ("NIP"). See the bottom of this post for more information.


As most of my friends and family know, I breastfeed Kairi and I am passionate about the rights of breastfeeding mothers and children.  Some have even said that I've become a bit of a different person since having Kairi because of how immersed I've become in this and other aspects of attachment parenting.

For a while, I would post frequently on both Twitter and Facebook different articles about breastfeeding and my views on current events in breastfeeding news. One night, I shared a particularly funny link to a comic strip about breastfeeding and my Facebook page got lit up. Apparently people don't like hearing about breastfeeding.

After that day I decided to drastically reduce my amount of posts on Facebook regarding breastfeeding. It really did seem like a lot of the time that I posted about it, particularly breastfeeding in public, it would spark some pretty nasty debate. It always started out clean, but at some point or another someone would compare breastfeeding in public to lewd and disgusting acts or someone would call formula feeding parents lazy or ignorant and things just turn ugly at that point.

It truly bothers me when I have something to say but I feel the need to censor myself. I don't like confrontation but I hate tiptoeing around subjects even more. I don't often have the need to nurse in public but when I do, a twinge of the same need to censor myself hits me. I often wonder if I'm going to be approached and asked to leave or if some stranger is going to be Tweeting about how I shouldn't be nursing my child next to him while he's eating his gyro. I wonder if the people who get up to leave are leaving on their own accord or if the simple act of feeding my child has made them so uncomfortable that they feel the need to flee.

It just seems so strange to me that people are SO appalled by the way our bodies have given us the ability to feed our kids on demand, for free, a substance that is biologically perfect. It angers and saddens me that I can't feed my daughter wherever we happen to be and I can't talk about these issues that concern me without falling under fire. Someone recently said that breastfeeding is the ONLY biological norm that we are running away from more than running to - and I totally agree.

So, because of this, because hearing about and seeing breastfed children NEEDS to be an everyday NORMAL event, I will no longer censor myself or back down from an argument or debate for the sake of avoiding confrontation. I will not confine myself to the darkened corners and hallways to avoid the ever-watching public eye just because my child is hungry. All I want is to feed my child in peace. Is it really so wrong to ask for that?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Cheesy Pepper Chicken Tacos

This is one of my all-time favorite recipes, so I thought I'd share. It's incredibly easy to make and super easy to modify to meet different needs.


2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 4 oz can fire roasted green chiles
1/4-1/2 C. finely chopped jalapenos (can be used in addition to or in place of the chiles)
Salt, pepper, cumin (to taste)
1-2 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
2 C. Colby-Jack cheese
Corn tortillas, soft fried (the smaller size work really best, I think.) - Can be substituted with flour tortillas.

Cook and season the cubed chicken breast in the oil. When it's almost cooked through, reduce heat to low and add the green chiles/jalapenos . Let the liquid cook down a bit then add the cheese to the top and let it melt. Scoop mix into tortillas and eat taco style. Also tastes great with chunky salsa on top!

My Lightbulb Moment

My friend Toni over at Our Sentiments  wrote a wonderful post in response to PhD in Parenting's post entitled, "I Won't Ask Why You Didn't Breastfeed."

If you have a minute, I highly suggest reading both pieces. The following is my response (and actually, verbatim comment on) Toni's post. 

The first time I ever even considered that I could possibly breastfeed Kairi, my second child, happened because of a conversation that began, “Well, why didn’t you breastfeed Gracie?”

I was at a baby shower for my best friend and I was pregnant myself. The woman who asked is now someone who I am so happy to be getting to know – the Le Leche League leader for the group I go to.
I explained to her my reasons – none of which were very well founded, and all of which she very gently corrected my information. For instance, I thought that breastfeeding was going to be so natural that I wouldn’t have to do any reading or educate myself on it at all. I just assumed that I’d put my baby to my breast and she’d eat, easy as pie. Tori explained to me that nursing is a learned skill, something that both mother and child have to practice in order to master.

Since the nurses at the hospital where I gave birth to Gracie weren’t much help, I waited until we got home and in a more relaxed, comfortable setting to try nursing her again. By that time, however, I was incredibly engorged – and even after having nursed for 15 months, Kairi and I still have a little bit of a rough time getting latched if I’m engorged. I didn’t know that though, so I thought that there was something wrong with me. I figured that Gracie had gotten by well enough on formula by that time so I shrugged it off and reached for the can of Good Start the hospital so *ahem* generously handed me on my way out. Tori managed to explain to me that there was nothing wrong with me and that my body was completely capable of providing for my children.

Before that conversation, without a doubt in my mind I knew I was going to be formula feeding. But as soon as she started explaining things, it was like a light bulb turned on and my world was turned upside down (in the very best way possible!)

As soon as I got home, I broke out all the pregnancy books I owned and opened them to the breastfeeding chapters. I looked up breastfeeding information online. I educated myself and prepared myself as much as a woman who had never seen a baby nursing in person possibly could. And when I delivered my baby, we nursed like champs and we continue to do so 15 months later.

So do I agree that we should perhaps quit asking why people choose not to breastfeed? No, I don’t. I certainly see the reasons why some might not and I also choose to use my own personal discretion when it comes to who and how I ask, but from my own personal experience I KNOW that if not for that specific question, I would not, under any circumstances, even tried to nurse.

Thursday, July 1, 2010