Where do I stand?

A friend of mine recently brought into question the fact that I follow and espouse the AAP’s (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommendations and guidelines regarding television viewing (and other things), yet I do not follow their recommendations regarding vaccinations.

I’m glad she brought it up because this is something I’ve been giving a lot of thought to lately and trying to figure out exactly where I stand. After all, how can I say “yes, the AAP is right” regarding one thing, and not another?

This is the conclusion I’ve come to:
I follow the AAP’s recommendations on all of the things that make sense to me and where there is not obvious conflicting information available.

Some examples of the things I follow are:

— “Until more research is done about the effects of TV on very young children, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend television for children younger than two years of age. For older children, the AAP recommends no more than one to two hours per day of quality screen time.” — Television — How it Affects Children
— I don’t know of any studies that say that television is beneficial for very young children, so I choose to heed the AAP’s recommendations.

— “Exclusive breastfeeding for approximately the first six months and support for breastfeeding for the first year and beyond as long as mutually desired by mother and child.” — AAP Releases Revised Breastfeeding Recommendations

— Again, I don’t know of any studies that say that breastfeeding is bad for a child (quite the contrary), so I follow their recommendations. (Not to mention that breastfeeding just feels natural to me.)

— “While scientific studies show some medical benefits of circumcision, these benefits are not sufficient for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to recommend that all infant boys be circumcised.” — Circumcision: Frequently Asked Questions

— I haven’t had to make this decision yet as we have a daughter, but if we were to have a son in the future, he would not be circumcised.


Now onto the topic of whether or not to vaccinate and/or whether or not to vaccinate on the AAP’s recommended schedule. There is a plethora of information contradicting what the AAP recommends.

The National Vaccine Information Center is one place to gain information to help make an informed decision on whether/when to vaccinate. From the website, “Vaccination is a medical procedure which carries a risk of injury or death. As a parent, it is your responsibility to become educated about the benefits and risks of vaccines in order to make the most informed, responsible vaccination decisions.”

Another website that gives food for thought with regard to vaccinations is on Dr. Joseph Mercola’s site. The article is Tell the Truth About Vaccines – Or Keep Away From My Children.
Dr. Mercola’s comments on the article are:
“If the average American were aware of the common components of vaccines, they may think twice before considering them. Now they have replaced mercury with equally damaging toxins, aluminum and formaldehyde. But the list of vaccine fillers doesn’t end there. Here is a partial list of some of the other fillers that vaccines could contain:

* aluminum hydroxide
* animal tissues: pig blood, horse blood, rabbit brain, dog kidney, monkey kidney, chick embryo, human diploid cells (originating from human aborted fetal tissue)
* monosodium glutamate (MSG)
* phenoxyethanol (antifreeze)
* sorbitol
* sucrose

These additives are often more dangerous than the viral component of the vaccine. If you are a parent and are considering vaccinating your child, please read up on the potentially devastating side effects of vaccines before doing so, it could mean the difference between life and death.”

I’ve met people (via the Internet) who’s children have had bad reactions to certain vaccines. Reactions that were bad enough, in fact, that their doctor told them their child should NOT have any more of the vaccinations in that sequence and that any other children they may have should not receive any of those vaccinations (that caused the reaction) either. That’s frightening to me.

I’ve also read stories of children who’ve had severe reactions to vaccinations – some paralyzed, some died. While there isn’t conclusive proof that the vaccinations caused these things, the coincidences with the timing of the vaccinations and the onset of the problems seems way too close to ignore the possiblity that they could’ve resulted from the vaccinations.

I know that the risks involved with getting vaccinations are small, and one might argue that there is a greater risk of my child getting one of those diseases by not having the vaccine. But that is a risk that I’m aware of and, until I feel comfortable with vaccinating my child, I will hold off on it.

There are a few reasons why my child is not at a high risk of getting one of those infectious diseases at this time in her life, which make me more comfortable with my decision to hold off on vaccinations for the time being.
1. She is breastfed.
2. She is not in daycare.
3. We do not travel outside the country.
While my doctor is definitely in favor of vaccinations, she admits that my child is not at high risk (because of the aforementioned reasons) and therefore is ok with me delaying vaccinations at this time.

One other thing that comes to mind regarding why I question the AAP’s recommended vaccination schedule is that I’ve had doctors tell me that the reason the schedule is set up the way it is is not because having shots in those time incriments is best for the child or will achieve optimal results. Rather that it is set up that way because it is most convenient since parents are already bringing their children into the doctor for well-child check-ups at those times.

Because I have not felt 100% (or even 90%) comfortable with getting vaccinations as of yet due to the amount of conflicting information available, I have not followed the AAP’s recommendations. I do, however, have plans to start selectively vaccinating my daughter in the very near future.

I thank God that I live in a country where I have freedom of choice to pick and choose what makes sense to me and decide what I feel is right for me and my family. 🙂

I hope that answers the question of why I support some of the AAP’s recommendations and not others. As always, if you have more questions for me, let me know.

———–
“If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.” — Malcolm X

No party after all

Ava’s in the middle of teething, and, as a result, her immune system seems to be compromised. She caught a cold and has been coughing and sneezing a lot the past two days. I decided it wouldn’t be right to leave her and go to the party tonight (Jody’s work holiday party), so we all stayed home.

To repay me for staying home with her, Ava just puked on me. Ahhh. The joys of motherhood. 😉

Seriously though, she doesn’t really act sick, other than not eating much (though the snot hanging from her nose is a good tip off that she’s not operating at 100%).

I spoke with a friend of mine who’s an herbalist and she recommended some homeopathic remedies for her as well as an herbal daily immune booster for the winter months. Hopefully those will help her heal quickly and stay well.

I am somewhat bummed about not getting to go tonight, since it was going to be me and Jody’s first night out together in what seems like forever. But I’m even more bummed that she and Jody (since he’ll be home with her) will have to miss the Cherished Children party tomorrow. All of our friends and all of their kids will be there, plus several families we haven’t yet met. I’ve actually already been planning on taking free family portraits for four of the families there so I’m going regardless. (I wanted to do everyone’s family portrait, but with around 15 families attending, there just wouldn’t be time.) I went over to where the party is going to be today to set everything up. I’m not really happy with the lighting (or lack there of), especially because it’s supposed to be cloudy again tomorrow, but hopefully it will be sufficient. Guess we’ll see!

Hope you all are having a good (and healthy) weekend. Stay warm. 🙂

Will be scarce for a while

I’ve got so much to do in the next few weeks that I doubt I’ll be blogging (or visiting many blogs – sniff, sniff) for a little while. Between Ava turning one on June 22, getting everything ready for her birthday party on July 2, my sister returning from India on June 27, my parents getting into town on June 30, and working on some other projects that I’ll have to write about at another time, I am going to be up to my ears in it.

I’ll try to check in here and there, but I can’t make any promises. Of course, if the writing bug bites me, I may be back sooner. I have so many things I’d like to write about lately (especially a follow-up to “The View” nurse-in and all the wonderful [and some negative] press breastfeeding is getting as a result), but that will have to wait.

Hope all the daddies out there have a great Father’s Day!

Oh, and guess what happened today!! Ava took her first steps! We were at a friend’s house and she took two steps into my arms. I just about melted. Hopefully she’ll do it again soon as a Father’s Day present to Jody. 😉

Freecycling to help others/ the environment

A couple of months ago, I discovered an awesome thing called “freecycling!” Simply put, “The worldwide Freecycleâ„¢ Network is made up of many individual groups across the globe. It’s a grassroots movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns.” Learn more at Freecycle.org.

At least where I live, the Freecycle Network is on a Yahoo group. People post things they want to get rid of (offers) or things they hope to acquire (wanteds). The only requirement for posting is that everything must be free. There’s no trading or selling.

So far I’ve freecycled an old couch and our glass/mirrored shower doors. I have some other things in the garage that I’ve set aside to freecycle as well. Of course the more I look through the things we’ve acquired over the years, the more I’m finding worthy of freecycling. It’s amazing how much “junk” you can collect without ever meaning to. 😉

Anyway, once you’ve posted something you want to give away/freecycle, you are then free to post for things that you want. I tried my hand at placing a “wanted ad” for a music keyboard for Ava this week. Less than an hour after I posted, I received an e-mail from a guy who has one sitting in his garage. We’re going to pick it up this weekend! 🙂 I’ve already thought of some other things for Ava that I’d love to get, but don’t have the money. And I think when you are posting for things for kids like clothes or toys, there are bound to be people who have that item just sitting around their house so there’s a good chance of getting it.

There’s a huge array of things posted on Freecycle. Some things on my local list up for grabs in the past day include: a vacuum cleaner, various books, an igloo dog house (which reminds me – we’ve got one of those to get rid of), air mattresses, firewood, a microwave oven, a computer desk, a lop-eared rabbit, a dresser, three recliners, bus coupons, Celestial Seasonings tea, Christmas lights, a Polaroid camera and 70’s hanging door beads, among many others. The variety of items on there amazes me.

The tricky thing I’ve found is that if someone posts something as an offer, you have to respond right away in order to get it, because it’s first-come, first-served. There were some diaper wraps on there a couple weeks ago that I would’ve loved to have, but I was the second person to respond so I didn’t get them. Ya win some, ya lose some.

“The average American generated 2 1/2 pounds of garbage a day in 1960. Do you know how much each American generates today?
Answer: Today it’s twice that at nearly 5 pounds a day!” — www.freecycle.org

Yikes! That quote scares me and makes me want to rant about all of the excess packaging these days, but I’ll save that for another day. 😉 “By Freecycle-ing, we can help the environment by diverting useful items from landfills while also helping members of our local community.” I think it’s an awesome concept and I’m glad to see so many people taking advantage of it. According to the freecycle.org website, there are currently 2,507 Freecycleâ„¢ Communities and 1,024,995 Freecycleâ„¢ Members.

One man/woman’s trash truly is another’s treasure.
And now I’m off to list that igloo dog house. 🙂

No time like the present

So much for my feeble attempts to write consistently. I just haven’t had the time.

At the moment, my wee one is down for a nap so I thought I’d try to put some words down. However, I’m finding it’s hard to come up with well-written thoughts when you are under a severe time crunch. I’ve actually started a couple posts lately, but my thoughts have been so jumbled I haven’t felt them worthy of publishing.

I think things will only continue to get more busy as spring and summer arrive. It’s hard to stay cooped up in the house when the warm weather and sunny sky are beckoning us outside.

So what is this post about then? Uh, basically me rambling about how I don’t have time to post anything worthwhile. LOL. Seriously though, I keep coming up with more projects for myself, meetings to attend, playdates to go to, etc. How’s a girl supposed to focus on her writing? 😉

—————–
Quote of the day:
“This time, like all times, is a good time, if we but know what to do with it.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

(Man, do I love that quote website! 🙂 I can find the perfect quote for how I’m feeling all the time.)

It’s about time (for an intro)

I’ve been posting for a few days now and I realize that I should probably take a few moments to post an intro of sorts. I think my profile tells quite a bit about the kind of person I am, but for those who are interested, here’s some more background info on me.

I was born in May 1975 (yes, that makes me a bull-headed Taurus. bet ya’d never guess that about me, hehe) in Michigan. I grew up in a (white bread) suburb of Detroit with my mom, dad and younger brother and sister. Like most families, we were a bit dysfunctional, yet I never doubted that I was loved.

I attended Catholic elementary schools during the week and my family went to Mass on the weekends. When I switched to public schools in sixth grade, I continued to go to catechism classes and was confirmed in eighth grade.

My dad was a teacher (now retired) and coach (and often did other odd jobs) and worked long hours to provide for our family. My mom stayed at home with us kids until I was about 12, at which time she returned to the workforce as a teacher as well.

I excelled in most subjects in school and was a member of the Honor Society in high school. I also participated in flag corps, drill team, Girl Scouts (through my senior year in high school!) and a few Catholic youth groups. I had a close-knit circle of friends, but I was pretty much a nerd.

After my high school graduation, I went away to college for the first two years. I had a really rough time being away from home (more importantly, away from my boyfriend at the time), and eventually moved back in with my parents and attended a local university. I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in English in 1998.

In the meantime, I was introduced to the Internet where I met my husband (and soulmate) Jody in 1996. He lived in Oklahoma at the time, so our relationship was initially a friendship for the first year and a half. We decided to meet in person in February 1998 when we were both single, so I flew to Oklahoma to spend a few days with him. I wish I could say it was love at first sight, but it honestly wasn’t for either of us. However, over the next few days we really did fall in love and my stay was extended for a few more days since neither of us felt ready to say good-bye just yet.

A couple months later, Jody came to Michigan to visit me and we decided that after my college graduation in June, I would move to Oklahoma with him.

Moving 1,000 miles away from home was certainly the craziest thing I’d ever done. We had some ups and downs, but our relationship continued to grow and we got engaged in May 2000.

We moved to Colorado (where we currently reside) in October 2000, and were married in April 2001.

I worked for the local paper as the newsroom office manager for about 3 1/2 years, up until the birth of our daughter. I’m now a stay-at-home mom.

Jody’s been working in the computer industry for most of his life. His most recent position is doing technical support for a 3-D design software company.

Jody and I decided that we would start trying to conceive in September 2002. Due to some fertility issues, it took us until Sept. 2003 to actually conceive. We were both elated when it finally happened for us. We had a scare at 11 weeks and thought that we might lose the baby, but she was a fighter and held on.

Ava was born on June 22, 2004, at 38 weeks after I developed HELLP Syndrome and had to be induced. Due to my life threatening complications, her birth didn’t go at all as I had thought/hoped it would, but she was born in perfect health and that was truly the most important part.

She’s now nearly 8 months old, growing like a weed (and is a big girl at about 25 lbs.) and continues to amaze me and Jody with each passing day. She’s got such a great disposition and so much personality. Not a day goes by in our house that we aren’t all sitting around in fits of laughter. Ava brings so much joy to our lives.

The parenting style we subscribe to is Attachment (or Gentle) Parenting. It’s not that we looked it up in a book and said “this is what we’ll do.” It’s just that the things that AP espouses have come naturally. My basic philosophy is if it feels right, then it must be.

Various other things about me:
– I no longer practice Catholicism (and haven’t really since high school). I believe in God, but the rest is sketchy for me. I’m still trying to find a religion that rings true with me.
– As far as my political stance, I’m a right-leaning liberal.
– I’m left-handed.
– I have two dogs (my first babies), Ellie and Maggie.
– I call myself “crunchy” in my Blog title and, while that adjective is widely-known where I live, I realize that it necessarily isn’t elsewhere. Being crunchy is like being a neo-hippie (but without all the dreadlocks and smoking pot crap). It’s someone with a non-conformist state of mind who cares about the world. Being crunchy refers to granola, i.e. being earthy, etc. So yeah, I think of myself as crunchy. And the domestic goddess is just a fun way to say “I’m a stay-at-home mom.”
– I love to read, but don’t often have time for it. The last book I read was “Our Babies, Ourselves” by Meredith Small. It was an excellent book and I highly recommend it. I’ll probably write more about it at another time.
– The last good movie I saw (on DVD of course because we just don’t get out to the movies anymore) was “Napoleon Dynamite.” I thought the preview looked ridiculously stupid, yet I found the movie very amusing (even if it was plotless) and highly quotable.
– Some other things I enjoy are cooking, photography (namely taking pictures of Ava or scenic pictures), and hiking in the mountains.
– I also enjoy writing although I haven’t been doing much of it lately. I feel like this blog will inspire me to continue to write on a regular basis and prevent my brain from going to mush. I realize that I have some strong opinions on certain subjects and while I want to feel free to express them, I hope that nobody will get the impression that I think I am better than them because of my opinions and/or choices in life. That is not my intention. I share my opinions in the hopes of giving people something to think about. One of my mottos lately has been “Question Authority.” Not because I think I’m a badass and I don’t agree with rules, but because I think it’s healthy to think about why things are the way they are or why we are being told to do things a certain way. IMO, complacency is a dangerous thing.

Anyway, that’s my life and a bit about what makes me tick (probably more than you ever cared to know), in a (large) nutshell.
Thanks for reading. 🙂

Breastfeeding in front of the president

I came across this photo on Yahoo News yesterday.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez talks with people who were affected by flooding…

Wow! 🙂 How refreshing it is to see a woman able to openly feed her baby in public – while speaking to the president of her country no less! And nobody seems to be offended by it in the least (although that one guy might be checking out her boob, hehe). But the president seems absolutely at ease with it, even touching her on the arm and *gasp* making eye contact with her.

I’d love to see the United States embrace breastfeeding as such a natural part of life instead of limiting places women can nurse and having people take offense at a mom simply trying to feed her baby. It seems like here in the U.S. we are so quick to sexualize breasts, rather than view them as a source of food for babies (which is really their only practical purpose).

I feel fortunate to live in an area that’s more accepting of public bfing than other places in this country, but we still have a loooooooooooong way to go before you’d see something happen like in the picture.

A small request (to anonymous posters)

To all of the anonymous posters out there,
Would you please sign your posts with a name (I don’t care if it’s your actual name or a made up one) so that if I or someone else wants to respond to you, we can address you by name rather than “to the person who said that they don’t like to eat peanut butter on toast” or whatever. 😉
Thank you. 🙂
–amygeekgrl

Not my day

Today started off really well. I felt motivated to clean and, since that doesn’t happen every day, decided to go with that feeling. I got a load of diapers and a load of clothes washed, I cleaned the bathrooms, swept the kitchen, and vacuumed the living and dining rooms. It felt good to accomplish those things.

Then the time rolled around when Ava should’ve been going down for a nap. She was not interested. I tried putting her down several times but she had no intentions of sleeping no matter how tired she acted.

So I decided fine, no sense in fighting her on it. She could stay up a bit longer and I would jump in the shower since that was one of the things I hadn’t accomplished yet today.

I noticed earlier in the day that my legs were looking a little uh, hairy. (It’s winter after all and I don’t shave much in the cold months.) My razor is relatively new and therefore sharp (and I’m sure you can see where this is going). The first stroke on my leg, down by my ankle, and HOLY SHIT! I yelled in pain as I took a big chunk of flesh out of my leg. Ugggh! It hurt like a mother (whatever that’s supposed to mean), let me tell you.

After that, I said screw it, the legs are staying unshorn.

Then I reached for the soap to lather up and when I put the cap back down, some bounced off the bottle and directly into my right eye. Good Lord. Perhaps taking a shower wasn’t such a good idea after all.

When I got out of the shower, my ankle was covered in blood. I’ve gone through a couple Band-Aids already, and while I don’t think stitches will be required or anything, I’m sure I’ll have a lovely scar to show for it. It will cover up the scar that was already there from a previous shaving mishap. Oy.

After my non-relaxing shower, Ava finally was tired enough to nod off. I decided it was time I get cracking (literally) on making deviled eggs for our mom’s night out movie night tonight. I boiled the eggs yesterday so all I had to do was peel them, scoop out the yolks, prepare the yokey mixture and fill the eggs back up. Right? Wrong.

I cracked open the first egg and it oozed all over the counter. Oh man! I didn’t boil them long enough! I tried another egg just to be certain and it was the same deal. Shit! Now I have to come up with something else to take tonight. Gotta go back down to the kitchen, rack my brain and get creative.

Hopefully that’s the end of my bad luck for the day. I don’t think I can take much more!

Edited to add: I managed to whip together a bean dip with refried beans, salsa, cheese, black olives and green onion – all of which we actually had in the house – to take, along with some tortilla chips, tonight. It went over well. We didn’t get through both of the movies (way too much chit-chatting going on for that) so I’m glad that Jody and I watched them yesterday. I’ll blog about those another time.
So, much to my relief, my night did get a lot better. 🙂

Baby Love

A friend of mine recently posted a link to this article from the Metro West Daily News on one of my message boards. I thought it was so cute and sweet and perfectly appropos for how I feel, I had to share it here. 🙂

Berry: Baby love is all a nursing mother needs
By Julie Berry / Local Columnist
Wednesday, January 19, 2005

“What to Expect When You’re Expecting” chastely explains, “If you’re breastfeeding, this may unconsciously be satisfying your need for intimacy.”

Unconsciously, my eye. I don’t need sex. Not lately. I get all the sensual pleasure I need from my baby.

I realize I may be bursting your illusions, gentlemen, but your charms cannot compete with 15 pounds of downy-soft cuddly gummy smiley stinky sweetness.

You can make your come-hither looks all day, and if I’m not tired, and you haven’t been annoying me all day, I may come hither. Or not. But a face-squishing dimply baby smile will summon me without fail.

My baby has only two waking modes: pure angelic adoration of Mama, and ravenous, shirt-tearing lust for Mama.

Given the choice of who I want to make out with, hands down, you lose.

You’re stubbly. Baby is smooth. You’re tough as gristle. Baby is soft as pudding. You get food between your teeth. Baby has no teeth. You stink. Baby stinks, too, but even then, it’s kind of nice. When you stink, you just stink.

And let me talk a little bit about baby stink.

Of all the soft sweet parts on a baby, the softest and sweetest is the neck, which has an odor all its own. When I start smooching chubby cheeks and snorting big tokes of baby scent, I always end up in the neck. I’m not the only thing that ends up there. Sweat, spit-up milk, lint, shampoo, and slobber all follow gravity down into those little crevices.

The resulting odor is a heady bouquet of cottage cheese, bile, dirty socks, and Johnson & Johnson’s. I could eat it right up. Sometimes, in a frenzy of animal passion, I try to. (I suspect this is the true origin of the vampire myth. Women with bloodshot eyes, unkempt hair, sucking necks and saying “I vant to eat you up!” — they were postpartum mothers.)

My husband finds this appetite of mine a little startling. “Ooh, you’re so stinky, I love it, you’re so yummy!” I say. He pretends perplexity. (Or is it jealousy? Alas, probably not.)

Are we not mammals? Don’t you observe how your dogs and cats inhale, with deep interest and pleasure, every organic fluid they can find? From any orifice they can reach? Haven’t you ever smelled a pair of your stinky socks that fascinated you because they were so stinky, and you took another whiff, just because?

We are mammals, and never more so than when we’re lactating. (Duh, look at the word.) Somewhere inside us are sensors, dulled by the grinding of evolution’s wheel, that know the pups in our litter, our mates, and our enemies by their scent, and can decipher the aromatic language of bodily secretions.

As a mom of four, my sniffer is highly trained. I can tell which kid is which, or when a kid is coming down with a cold. I can even smell a fib.

One thing we were probably better at sniffing out eons ago was when our mate was in heat. Thus primeval man was probably a lot less frustrated than modern man. He knew when to try. (Primeval woman got to be a good, fast runner.) When primeval woman had a new baby, primeval man hooked up with his buddies for a six-month hunting trip-roaming the wilderness, complaining about their wives, and killing wooly mammoths by whacking them in the shins with clubs.

This, you’ll note, is a male tradition that has adapted to survive through the millennia. But I’ll save that thought for another day.

The point is that baby love trumps grown-up love every time. Now, I realize that by putting this down in black and white, I may be skating that fine line in your minds between “this lady loves her baby” and “this lady is a sicko pervert.”

I call as my witness any woman who’s had a baby and snuzzled it. This probably explains why, unlike many people, I’ve never adopted the habit of calling my husband “babe” or “baby.” It’s wishful thinking. I know better.

So with Diana Ross & the Supremes, I sing, “Baby love, my baby love, I need ya, oh, how I need ya . . .” For about the first 18 months. And then it’s, “Baby, baby, baby, where did our love go?”

At which point the adult males of the species begin to look a little more interesting. When comparing the charms of the grown-up man and the 18-month old one, usually the grown-up is slightly better behaved. But that may just be evolution, trying to trick me into making another baby.

I smell a rat.

Copyright 2005, Julianna Berry. Used by permission of author.
Julie Berry

Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband dearly, but I have to agree with the author that a sweet baby has an allure about him/her that simply can’t be rivaled.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to snorts some tokes of baby neck goodness. 😉

Happy belated Valentine’s Day, everyone. 🙂