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Archive for the ‘Mootables’ Category

A true genius admits that he/she knows nothing. ~ Albert Einstein

I’m told as parent to trust my instincts, listen to my gut…but for some reason my parental intuition is irrelevant if I happen to question the safety and efficacy of vaccines. Then I’m supposed to turn off my brain and believe the popular belief of today despite my mind telling me there’s more than meets the eye.

This post is not an attempt to convince anyone that they are wrong and I am right, far from it. I do not judge you if you believe that vaccinating your child is the best route to go in combating disease. We are fortunate enough to live in a country where we have the freedom to choose whether to vaccinate or not. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that you won’t be guilt-tripped, bullied and shamed for not vaccinating your child.

I have experienced the judgement and heard story after story from friends and acquaintances. It typically sounds like this: your child is a health risk; I won’t let my kids play with your kids; you are ignorant; you’re paranoid; you’re doing your child a disservice; you’re being selfish by relying on everyone else to get vaccinated so that you don’t have to, and on and on it goes. I’ve even had a comment directed my way that included the words “daft-fucking pseudo-witch doctors” are pulling the wool over my eyes. And that’s just the straight up in your face stuff. Then there’s the more subtle, manipulative and self-righteous comments that are said with all the diplomacy in the world and saturated with condemnation, i.e. “…it really worries me when people choose their own fears over the community’s health.”

Speaking of fear, how about the fear tactics used to scare people into vaccinating such as a YouTube link that appeared one day on my Facebook feed showing a couple of well-known entertainers scolding those who don’t vaccinate. Don’t you know, it only takes 31 seconds to prove that vaccines are both safe and effective.

Why is it that almost every other health measure we encourage each other to question and even try available alternatives (i.e. natural-pathetic vs. antibiotics) but vaccination is infallible and indisputable? Clearly, it is disputable since there are medical professionals who advise that vaccines are not proven to be as safe and effective as claimed to be. Why aren’t these doctors acknowledged by the health authorities? Why don’t you hear more from them? Why do we not know more about what they have to say about vaccines?

You say you trust your family doctor. So do I and so did our parents and grandparents back in the forties when doctors told them x brand of cigarettes would ease throat irritation. They felt the same way you do today about  modern advances and having a better understanding of health and medicine but obviously there was still much that they were wrong about. Jennifer Doudna, a professor of Biochemistry, Biophysic and Structural Biology of U C Berkley wrote “The more we know, the more we realize there is to know.”

Advertisement: “A report on the findings of a group of doctors.*”

Advertisement: “A report on the findings of a group of doctors.*”

I take all this personally because one, it is dished out quite personally and two, I am assumed to have hopped on a fear-fueled band wagon rather than having based my decision from hours, weeks, months and now going on years of research. This assumption blows my mind, especially when it comes from people who know me, even friends. The very people who praise me for what a good mother I am and how I take such good care of my boys are some of the same ones who are quick to assume that I read one article that stated vaccines are linked to autism and am now basing my decision not to vaccinate on that.

It’s getting to me, people. I am tired of my decision being discredited, mocked, shamed. I am frustrated from being put in the ring again and again as people try to riddle me with guilt and insinuate that I am being a negligent member of society not to mention parent to my child.  I am exasperated that I have to defend my choices or else be seen as some crunchy mama who has her head in the clouds while she eagerly laps up any and all non-conformist viewpoints. I’m blown away by the double standards this nation imposes: tolerance and acceptance are crushed under the weight of mass media influence if interests aren’t aligned. Feel free to disrespect your neighbour in the name of what is accepted as the greatest achievement in modern medicine. That there, friends, is one dangerous attitude and if you don’t think it is, you might want to talk your doctor about how the track to nutrition got derailed and the health authorities accepted toxic ingredients such as Aspartame, Bisphenol A (BPA), Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), High Fructose Corn Syrup and Sodium Nitrates that are still found in our food and packaging.

As for me, I continue to strive for open-mindedness regarding vaccination and respect everyone’s decisions and all the more so if they are doing even a bit of research rather than vaccinating because “everyone else is doing it.” Just maybe it is possible to encourage respectful discussion amidst opposing view points if we’re brave.

* Journal of the American Medical Association 271 (1994): 1273–1275. [PubMed]

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I consider social skills a bit like learning a language. I’ve been practising it for so long over so many years I’ve almost lost my accent. ~ Daniel Tammet

You’ve heard it, I’ve heard it – “be yourself.”

I don’t know about you but I often take my cues from those around me. When I was a kid, I learned to act like I knew what everyone else was talking about by cleverly chuckling and nodding “yeah,” even though I did not get the joke. To be naive and admit ignorance was setting oneself up for teasing. As a young adult, I learned to empathize in my neighbour’s plight with a mixture of murmurs and facial expressions that promised returned favour.

Some would call these kinds of behaviours social skills. But recently, I’m finding that a lot of these so called social skills generate some self-depreciation.

Here’s an example. I’m a mother. I want to be a good mother. I want others to think I’m a good mother. So I say things a “good mother” says.

“Yes, I’m loving the newborn stage.” Actually, I’d really like to jump ship at the moment but I’m not sure if you would empathize with or judge me. Wondering is answered when fellow mother gushes about how she loves the newborn stage – they’re so dependent on you for such a short time.

Thank God for that.

Don’t get me wrong, there are beautiful moments I experience each day (some days more than others) with my newborn. He smiles at me, startles himself when he burps, snuggles into my shoulder… And then there are the hours of crying, fussing, not sleeping when I desperately need him to…

But it’s for such a short time…can I not put aside my own dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs? I shouldn’t be too eager for this time to be in the past. I’m not cherishing my baby enough. I’m selfish, I’m missing out…I’m just glad that babies keep growing. I enjoy my little Oliver more and more with each passing week. Is that not something to be celebrated and anticipated? Should I feel guilty for anticipating him becoming more interesting, better at sleeping, more cute?

I do cherish the magical times when it’s just me and my baby, connected in nature’s perfect design of a mother caring for her offspring. A new life becoming aware of the world outside the womb is breathtaking and wondrous. But here’s the thing – you as a mother don’t cease to have your needs met. I’d be lying if I said I’m already missing those first few weeks of Oliver’s life. I hold that time close to my heart but I embrace each day that holds more joys for both me and my little man to experience.

That’s the sugar coated version, folks. Now here’s the raw guts underneath the silky smooth mother-ese.

This is not my favourite stage – the newborn stage that is. I feel like it should be sometimes when other mothers lament over how much they miss their newborns. They were so small, so cuddly, so flipping hungry! A small measure of my life force is literally being sucked from me! My new little man is determined to get big (as he should) and is not content for more than five minutes if he’s not on the boob or sleeping. I might add his favourite place to fall asleep is the boob, double wham! Don’t get me wrong, I am a strong supporter of breastfeeding but that’s another post for another time.

Yes I know, this time goes by so fast, trust me, I know. It also goes by in a blurred concoction of sleep deprivation, non-stop attention to the toddler and infant’s needs to the point of neglecting your own and drinking coffee that has been reheated at least five times.

It’s not that I dislike the infant stage. I’m sure in years to come, I will look back, as many before me, on a few fond memories of my children as infants. There is something so beautifully magical about holding a baby close while he snuggles into your breast. The connection between you and your infant is unbreakable. And whether you remember it or not, it is/was freaking exhausting! Maybe you had the baby that slept through the night by the end of its first month (I didn’t and still don’t) but you were still at that baby’s beck and call 24 hours a day, seven days a week until you decided that baby was old enough to be sleep trained.

I do cherish these days when my little Oliver is oh so little. But God am I ever thankful that he won’t always be so little! I am excited for his whole life. I am excited to see him raise his belly off the ground and rock forward in his first crawl. I’m excited, yes, for walking! How much happier will he be when he doesn’t have to express his displeasure to his mom that he can’t move himself? And how about watching that pooping, feeding, burping, throwing-up machine develop his personality? Can you remember how boring that cycle got (especially at 3 a.m.)?

I’ve tried to agree with other moms that this is such a special stage and I’m really enjoying it. The truth is, I enjoy moments of it. But so much of the time, I find myself feeling burnt out from exhausting all possible options for making my crying baby happy only to still have a crying baby. But it’s only for a short time right? Right, but that doesn’t zap the fatigue, the discouragement and the short breaks that only allow for you to fix yourself a cup of tea before a wail summons you.

Final thoughts on newborns….Thank-you Lord for their smiles, snuggles and coffee to smile back.

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But never again use another person’s body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilling yearnings. ~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself – easy to justify your low, mental state. Up until the last couple of weeks, I figured that aside from some temporary moodiness that those close to us are tough enough to endure, feeling sorry for yourself is relatively harmless aside from doing yourself no favour for your mental well being.

And then along came the situation that blew that theory out of the water. In an unfortunate confrontation between my dog and my landlord’s dog, my landlady’s hand got unintentionally bit and the dog responsible was unknown by her own admission.

The course of communication from her that followed placed a tremendous amount of stress on me and being nine months pregnant, I’m already having a difficult time dealing with running my household, caring for my husband and toddler (who has been sick with one thing or another almost my entire third trimester) and not loosing my mind out of worry and fatigue.

So here’s where the light bulb illuminated a darker side of “playing the victim” for me. I see it as a pathway we choose to walk down. It starts off easy to access and you can still see the blue sky behind the darkened clouds. You can nurse your wounds without having to put on any front to those still on the high road. And then through the quiet dim come the destructive thoughts that feed your self-centered state of emotion. You know how it goes. You were mistreated. You didn’t deserve this. You, you, you. What I didn’t know or rather realize up until the last couple weeks is that while many of us snap out of this pity party before it causes anyone else around serious grief, there are those who don’t. So clouded by their loathing for those they have deemed responsible for their low mental state, they fail to see the distress and even harm they are inflicting on those around them. Maybe they care and maybe they don’t. I’m more concerned about if they do because how easy it would be for myself to fall into the same rut. I guess my own susceptibility scares me. While I can’t see myself going as far as my landlady did in adding a load of unnecessary stress to my life, how far would I take my own pity party if circumstances were seriously in my disfavour? Each day shows us that humanity is capable of a wide range of destructive behaviour. Where does it start? How does it manifest itself into an ugly presence affecting the lives of other individuals? How does it become an acceptable standard of how one lives and treats others around them? The answers are boundless but I can be sure that amidst the variables are a few that line up with my own life circumstances and predispositions.

May I evermore consider how my behaviour impacts those around me.

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As the gap between my last post and now indicates, motherhood and life in general have been keeping things in almost a constant state of chaos. I’ll save the details of the last couple months for another post because I want to write about something that has nearly been forgotten and abandoned as a distant memory – sex appeal.

My world right now is one that orbits around all things baby and the trials of motherhood. What do I talk about withmommy-brain most of my friends most if not all of the time? My kid – his napping habits; his poops; my worries and concerns over him; my delight in his development; my pregnancy this time around; my delivery experience last time; what I still need to acquire for baby no. 2…

What do I read? The strong willed child, Eating well when you’re expecting, The baby’s table…

What do I think about? Am I feeding my son nutritious foods enough? Did I dress him warm enough this afternoon and maybe not which is why he has a cough? Are the renovations we’re undergoing going to be over and dealt with by the time the baby arrives? Is my husband going to be able to take a couple weeks off?

You get the picture – I’m not thinking about whether or not I’m attractive today to somebody other than myself and possibly my husband. I almost forgot what it felt like to be admired by the opposite sex. Don’t get me wrong, I’m content to have my husband tell me I am beautiful and happy that we are still very much attracted to each other, but there’s a certain level of satisfaction that comes when a good-looking male smiles at you and not your breasts either. It happened the other night as I dashed into London Drugs and caught me completely off guard. It had been longer than I can recall that someone didn’t avert their eyes as soon as they saw my bulging belly. I felt slightly embarrassed as I started to smile back, sure that he would see my belly and feel embarrassed himself. Whether he noticed my belly or not, I glowed the rest of the evening because I had recaptured an essence of the woman I used to be before my world shifted from me to my sweet boy. It reminded me of the things I used to do because I enjoyed them – because of the satisfaction they brought me. So much of the time, my enjoyment is centered around my son and while I am so thankful for this short time I have with him being so little, I realized in that brief encounter how important it is for me to not lose sight of myself as an individual. Motherhood is a very big and all-consuming aspect of that but still only one of the things that defines me.

I am also a wife; a lover and partner to my husband – my best friend with whom I am on this life journey. Together we are experiencing, learning and growing.I am a dancer and a writer and hope to develop my skills in both areas and bring more positive attributes into my life therein. I am also eager to learn about my world and how I can form the best life I can in it now and beyond my motherhood days. I love people and I love community. I love intelligent conversation. There is so much that makes up an dynamic individual and I want to experience life in full as a person who is embracing all aspects of myself. I want to be a good mother, a loving and respectful wife, a person with hobbies and goals and I want to look and feel beautiful, even sexy now and again!

jesseginnybeach

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The beautiful journey of today can only begin when we learn to let go of yesterday. ~ Steve Maraboli

The view from Boat Nook, Pender Island

The view from Boat Nook, Pender Island

This is a story of the unexpected turns that life takes and the journeys that lead us to new resting places.

Pender Island was home to my husband and me for three-and-a-half years. We came as a newly married couple and left as parents to a eight-month year-old boy. The island has a timeless, unchanging quality about it, comforting and reassuring. Our days there are cherished and held closer to our hearts than can be often expressed.

We really felt we would be on Pender, well for good. We were looking at properties to potentially buy only weeks before we left. We were well established in the community, had good friends and a thriving business. Our sudden move came almost out of nowhere. Our main reasons for the decisions were feeling that running a business was taking away from our time together as a family and also thinking ahead to what we wanted for our futures (career wise, opportunities for our children, etc.). But I realized only a few weeks ago that there was another reason I was unaware of.

I want to share this story because I feel that it is a continuing of the healing process that I have been undergoing for the past two years. I have heard other people share their stories of challenges faced, pain suffered and the love therein experienced. We all have our stories and the world becomes a smaller place it seems when it is realized that we’re all on our unique journey of learning and finding joy and peace within our circumstances. I hope that my story speaks to your own untold tales in which you may be still seeking understanding and peace.

*                    *                       *                       *                    *

Pender is one of those places you can leave your car door unlocked with the keys still in the car. The slower pace and small community suited Jesse and I just perfectly. After our first year there, we were familiar faces in the community. I worked at the grocery store and Jesse was one of the few plumbers on the island. We dove right in to getting involved that first year and spent every Friday night of our summer there at the pub, singing and competing in the Gulf Island Idol competition. Go ahead, you can laugh. We acted in a comedic theatrical production and swing danced in one of the talent shows. Jesse would join the Ultimate Frisbee games whenever he could and I took up pole dancing with a private instructor. There was so much to be a part of and there was a sense of kinship amongst island folk. We all had to deal with the ferries, we all hunkered down with candles and the wood stove during power outages and we all basically knew each other on some level or another.

Jesse and I found out we were expecting at the end of August, 2010.We were among some 11 other couples who also eagerly awaited their bundles of joy. I was the happiest and fittest I had ever been when I got pregnant. We taught dance lessons while I was pregnant and spent many happy hours dreaming of our future with our little one. We would take our child to the Medicine Beach to play, he or she would be friends with so-and-so’s baby and go to Pender Elementary School.

I didn’t realize the week before I went into labour that my baby was growing sicker and sicker within me. A day or two after suffering from the flu and being bedridden with a fever for two days, I went back to work at the grocery store. The day I went into labour at 32 and a half weeks, I fretted over the phone to my mom about whether I should go on mat leave early. I didn’t want to put out my co-workers but there were many different sickness bugs passing through the store and I didn’t want to put anymore strain on my baby and my body. Too little too late. By the time I realized the contractions I began to experience following my phone call with my mom could be the real thing, we were minutes from missing the last ferry out. And miss it we did. By this time, labour was in full effect and I was hunched over in pain. We waited at the clinic on island for the on call doctor to arrive. The clinic did not have the amenities for delivering babies so it was determined that I would have to be helicoptered off the island. An ambulance raced us over to the helicopter pad and as I was wheeled out, I called for my husband.

“He can’t come, it’s too risky in this wind,” said one of the paramedics. “He will have to come on the first ferry over.”

“I’ll call your mom,” said my husband as the helicopter doors shut.

By the time I arrived at the hospital, I had gone from  two cm dilated to about six. I was not managing the pain well at all and asked for an epidural. After a failed attempt at correctly inserting the needle, I finally got my injection. But I never got to feel the relief because shortly after, my baby’s heartbeat started to dramatically drop. Amidst the delirium of pain that I believe must have been compounded by the realization that my birth plan was going completely wrong, I just figured that their equipment was just malfunctioning. To this day, I still wonder if the blindfold of denial had already blanketed my conscience as it was apparent that something was dreadfully wrong with my baby. As they wheeled me down the hall for an emergency caesarean section, I cried.

The series of painful memories that followed waking up from surgery came home with us to our island home. In the weeks that followed, I sat in our house, reliving every moment, replaying the movie reel over and over in my mind until I had compact snapshots of memories that still haunt me today. I thought about waking up from surgery and asking where my baby was. I thought about holding her stiff body for hours after, not even believing that she was actually gone. I thought about watching her being wheeled down the hospital hallway, away from me forever. I thought about that first night as the devastation of what had happened finally sank in and my body heaved with wrenching sobs and cries. It was the beginning of the heartaches that followed once life had “resumed” on Pender. I watched each of the other expecting parents have their baby. As time went on, I watched my friends with their little ones chatter about what their babies were up to. Every time I saw them, I couldn’t help but imaging that my Shaely would be be learning some of the same skills or as time went on, have little play dates with them. The beautiful spell under which we had glowed and thrived on Pender had been broken. As life began to come back to me and I experienced the birth of my son, I found a place to rest my sorrows and focus anew. But when you have a baby 10 and half months after losing one, there isn’t much time or room for healing to happen. I realize now that this is part of the reason that I needed to leave Pender. For all the beauty, good friends and enriching life we had there, it had become a place of deep sadness and depression for me.

So here I sit in my home in Gibsons. My little boy runs around the house, amusing himself with a whisk, a play station controller, a link roller, anything and everything. My belly is starting to tighten as my third baby in three years grows within me. I am happy and feeling myself finding little bits of understanding and peace with passing time. But it is that time of year when I am reminded from where I have come. This Saturday marks two years since losing our Shaely. How much has happened, how much I have changed. I feel ready to go back to Pender for a visit although I am also nervous for the feelings that might await me there. It too must be part of the process and the journey I am on to find peace and understanding.

sunset

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If you wonder where your child left his roller skates, try walking around the house in the dark.  ~Leopold Fechtner

At last, my boy is down for his nap. My husband and I woke this morning before our son, for a change, and enjoyed breakfast and coffee together in the uninterrupted quiet of morning. What a way to start the day. Usually, Shae comes into bed with me when he wakes and we snuggle until he decides it’s time to get moving. Then I drag myself, bleary eyed out to the kitchen and start fixing some breakfast for him and coffee for me.

Things were off to a good start this morning and have been pretty steady since except for a ridiculous stream of events at which I just have to laugh.

My husband lost his keys a week ago (actually we were pretty sure Shae made off with them because the last time my husband saw them was in our little guy’s inquisitive hands) and has had to take our other vehicle to work all week. Since then, I’ve been spending a small portion of each day searching for them.  I figured today while I look, I’ll keep my boy amused with some Baby Einstein. But what do you know, the controller I saw Shae playing with this morning is no where to be seen. “Ok, Shae, where is your hiding place?” I lumber around looking for two items now. After some 15 minutes of bending my pregnant belly over this and looking under that, I remembered that I didn’t really give a good look behind that box in the closet so I pull it out. There is nothing there but a glance inside reveals what else but the elusive keys! It only makes sense that they were there too because this box had been previously sitting open in the hallway. Where else would it make sense for my smart little boy to put on of his “toys” but with the the other toys? I laugh and call my husband to tell him the good news. But I’m still missing a controller and am quite irked by this. Eventually, it turns up too – behind the bedroom door. I roll my eyes at the last 15 minutes I had spent lifting this and picking up that, sure that it was cleverly concealed. At last, I can get on with my day. Shae’s looking a little thirsty, I think to myself. Where is that bottle? As I write this, I still haven’t found the bloody bottle.

What is the point of telling you all this? I could get very easily flustered and put off by it. I mean, my plans for baking were pushed to the back burner while I spent almost my entire morning searching for misplaced items. But instead, I am trying to accept the circumstances and even bless them. I read about this in my Simple Abundance book. Basically, life happens, days go awry and you can expect it. So instead of letting those off days get the better of you, why not take them in stride? My ridiculous morning was aggravating at the time, but I don’t feel anxious because I didn’t get my baking done. Maybe disrupted baking plans wouldn’t throw your day off but what if you had your mind set to do something and you really had “all your eggs” in that basket? Chances are, you might be a little irked when your plans are overridden by some dippy search for your hairbrush because there’s no way you’re going to work with that rat’s nest.  If you can’t resist it, fix it – wear a hat or hair scarf. As for me, I’ll bake another time!

And for all you moms out there, I know you have your own collection of harebrained tales with children!

P1030139

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“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” ~ Hans Hofmann

Less is more, it’s cliche but it says it all. I’ve been thinking lately about how maybe an element I’m missing in my pursuit of peace might be simplicity. It is variable in its meaning, depending on who’s talking, which is exactly why I am examining my life and taking a good look at what is useful and beneficial and what is clutter – robbing me of time spent improving my quality of life.

A friend of mine was visiting yesterday and we got to talking about different forms of entertainment which we pay heaps of money for but don’t necessarily need or even particularly enjoy. As she left and my son napped, I settled in on my couch for some quiet time with a daily thought from a book my mother-in-law loaned me called “Simple Abundance” by Sarah Ban Breathnach. The chapter I read was called The Prosperity of Living and it’s where today’s quote is taken. I feel that part of me has been trying to find more to fill some void by looking for more inspiration, more motivation, more creativity. While these things in and of themselves are worthy ambitions, the state of mind in which I am seeking them is leaving me empty and discontent.  When has more ever led to satisfaction? It seems quite the opposite actually, people with less are often more happy. Simple concept, how did I lose sight of this in my own life? Maybe I already thought I had less?

What then would less look like for me? One unnecessary thing that my husband and I already removed from our lives was cable TV. We had it for three months on some promotion that our internet provider offered. Besides being vaguely aware of my brain turning to mush while watching it, it was going to become a $40 expense every month after those first three months. And for what? I swear most of the time, I felt like I was watching commercials more than any one show. Evenings are now spent chatting together about our days, reading a book together or doing our own thing (me usually cleaning or writing and him getting some time in on his PlayStation).

What else does less look like? After today’s little revelation, I decided that I am not happy with how I spend my time in the cyber world. While I think that social media such as Facebook is a great tool for connecting and networking, I also feel, as many others do, that it can be a huge time waster and another venue for a good brain “mushifying.” I decided that I spend a fair bit of that time reading statuses that (a) I wish I hadn’t bothered to read because they reveal too much personal drama about the lives of people I hardly know and (b) chew up time that I could be spending on things that actually enrich my life such as knitting or reading a book. In the hopes of curtailing this pattern and going with the whole less is more train of thought, I deleted about a couple hundred of my 500 plus friends list.

I’m looking forward to what I may discover on this journey of being content with less. I feel that it’s more about a state of mind and being, rather than a quest to see how much I can do without. Do you have a story of experiencing more with less?

courtesy of quotes-lover.com

courtesy of quotes-lover.com

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