Mar 27th, 2009 by wrekehavoc

just saying a howdy to anyone who might have wandered here thanks to the magic of television. i’m your host, wreke, and i’d love to tell you a little about the place.

i’m a mom. i’m a writer. i’m a webgrrl, too. i’m also the toilet paper fairy and apparently the only person in this house who realizes that bath towels do not jump up and clean themselves. oh, and i’m from NJ; and yes, i can trace the first 24 years of my life based on exits. (for you jerseyan trivia buffs, i grew up at exit 82A (GSP), went to college at exit 9 (Tpke), and have lived off exits 105 (GSP), 8, and 10 (both Tpke) until moving to the Commonwealth. and no, i do not sport big hair but i do sport a big mouth.)

i’ve been blogging since 2002. i tend to write about my kids, daughter Beloved Child (BC) and delightful hellboy Jools (an equally beloved child; he was just born after i had been blogging about BC for awhile.) as a political animal, i often tilt at windmills, large and small, in the political arena.

and i lurve music. every monday, i feature a guilty pleasure song that would make my music snob pals cringe. i’m evil that way. one month, i featured blatantly bad 70s songs, every single day of the month. oh, the humanity!

i don’t capitalize often. i do know how, and it isn’t an e e cummings thing. i’m just l a z y that way. unabashedly opinionated, i’m sort of like a cross between erma bombeck and iggy pop, only i don’t smear food all over my chest when i’m pissed. i simply write. (well, i irritate my Beloved Spouse, aka BS, generally. but the warranty is up, so he can’t throw me back, no matter how annoying i become.)

and occasionally, i’ll talk about CVID, something i wrestle with daily. it stinks, but i intend to live to be a pain in everyone’s collective ass for a very long time.

so welcome. poke your nose around. kick the tires. applaud me. argue with me. whatever floats your boat.

just don’t mind the dust bunnies. my masters isn’t in housekeeping, you know.

mamma mia
Mar 17th, 2009 by wrekehavoc

a woman on my favorite list, DC Urban Moms, had the gall to share a well-written article from The Atlantic. (kudos to you, girlfriend.)  she asked not to be flamed, which of course incited some serious flames among the well-thought-out posts. (and i don’t mean well-thought-out in the sense that i agree with all of the posters’ points; i just thought they made some interesting and useful ideas known, as opposed to the ones who think that anyone who isn’t comfortable breastfeeding requires professional help. to which i’d reply, yes: cleaning, cooking, and other domestic professional help.)

anyway, i thought i’d share my response for those of you not lucky enough to be among the group. i got a little upset, to say the least.

as always, your mileage may vary.



this article resonated with me. VERY deeply. i’m not being my usual politic self. apologies in advance.

i was unable to nurse my babies; and Dog knows i tried. with baby#1, i read everything known to humankind about nursing. a week postpartum, my DD was losing more than her normal share of weight (to the point where she may have been in danger) and i was freaking out. i was determined to make nursing work, even though my pediatrician — who is incredibly supportive of nursing, btw — strongly recommended  i supplement my DD with formula for her own sake. i pumped. i tried to feed her (though we were imperfect nursing partners.) i called la leche.

the la leche representative Brought. Me. To. Tears. this woman seemed far more concerned with carrying the torch for nursing than she was for the well-being of my child and myself. hello? yelling at an engorged, wildly-hormonal, first-time mother because she is considering feeding her starving child with formula is not the way to go.this was not the case of the expected one-week weight loss. this was a crisis in the making.

no one wanted to make this work more than i did. i was in an endless cycle: nurse the baby as best as i could, then supplement with formula, then pump. (oh, and i worked full-time and had to pump *in the bathroom* during the day.) for those of you who got the hang of nursing easily, it’s quite simple to turn your noses up at people like me and think we didn’t try hard enough. that we need professional help if we’re stressed because we can’t get the hang of the balance right with work and child and feeding. you simply have no idea of the pressure you feel when you fail. (or, as the author did (after nursing her first two) when you decide that you’re done.)

the AHA! moment came from an unexpected source: my husband. he had seen me in my round-the-clock-dance of nurse-feed-pump one too many times. and there i was, in pump mode, sitting in the middle of my kitchen floor. 3 AM. crying. “honey,” my husband said, “our daughter needs a sane mom more than she needs breastmilk.”

yes. exactly.

i understand that fewer women breastfeed in the US than in other nations. i get that people want to promote nursing. i’m on board with it as being a completely natural thing to do and get equally upset when women are told to hide or leave the premises rather than to nurse babies. i will admit  — and i don’t care if people flame me, btw — that i don’t actually understand why moms still nurse kids who are in kindergarten; but at the end of the day, it is their choice — not mine — to make, and so i respect that choice and stand ready to defend it if necessary.

but what i don’t get, and what i hear in this article, is the pressure that people in the breastfeeding camp have placed upon a whole generation of women. listen, sister la leche: those first five months with my baby? they’re gone, and they’re not. coming. back. Ever. and while they weren’t completely unhappy, they consist greatly of a blur of inadequate feelings Because I Could Not Nurse. And. My. Baby. Suffered. For. It. needlessly, i’d add. the pressure was THAT intense. my baby could have been happy AND HEALTHY with formula — what’s more, her mom could have been happy and healthy *with her*. but the message i received throughout my pregnancy and thereafter was that i was somehow failing my daughter in my very first task as a mom. that message is especially crushing for a first-time mother. i wanted to do what i understood was best for her. thankfully, when i grew mom-balls and started trusting my own judgement on what is best for my child (in this case, by giving her formula), life inched its way toward the quasi-nirvana we enjoy to this very day.

sometimes, i think that breastfeeding advocates, as well as rank-and-file moms on the upper/middle class milieu, often lose sight of the forest for the trees. shouldn’t we be supportive of WOMEN? some women are uncomfortable with the idea of nursing for reasons that might be more personal than you or i can fathom. some women, like me, simply are not able to nurse (and yes, i have receipts somewhere from the lactation consultantS i saw — for both babies, btw — i tried, and failed, again with baby#2.) whatever: it’s not for me or you to decide whether they should or should not be nursing. if they want to nurse, let’s give them information and help them along. if not, let’s support them, too, and not treat them like they are amoral, child-abusing, pariahs. the best thing we can all do for each other is to give each other the courage and support to make the best decisions for our children. and not just about breastmilk, either.

after all, there is so more to being a mother than whether or not you serve up lunch from your mammaries.

what a difference a day makes
Feb 18th, 2009 by wrekehavoc

yesterday was the anniversary of the date i first went into the hospital, three years ago. i never knew a day could change my life so radically, but then again, as the old clichee goes, what a difference a day makes.

my doctor had called me back late that afternoon with my blood test results. i think i may be the poor guy’s medical bete noir; i’ve thrown down shingles at him as well as other interesting medical predicaments. you know, he said to me, your reds and whites look fine to me. but its weird — something must be wrong with the test — we can’t get a reading on your platelets. he had already seen how i was black and blue all over (crack whore, the description my beloved pal jaxx had given me a few days later, was how i truly looked); when i told him about today’s joys, a never-ending nosebleed and the fact that i was, er, let’s just say hemorraghing, he told me that perhaps i ought to hit the ER.

my best bud murph ran home from work, stayed with my kids, and BS and i hit the ER. and waited. and waited. and waited. two men who were also waiting are forever pinned in my memory: one, walking around with his urine sample and complaining bitterly of the pain he was in, and another, whose stitches on his knee had opened and who was raining blood down on the floor two seats down from me.  i felt this eerie calm, like i was sleepwalking, as i marvelled at the men. jesus, i said to BS, one guy has a urinary tract infection and is screaming like he’s about to die. i’d expect that from a woman in labor, but if every woman with a UTI screamed like that — and it can be painful, i know — the world would be wailing. and i just watched the blood drip…drip…drip onto the floor from the other man’s knee. later, i would watch a cleaner come and mop it up. and then mop some more elsewhere.


anyway, the ER nurse, when i finally saw her after giving blood, proceeded to laugh at me as i recounted how my previous day had gone down: i had dropped one child off at school, gotten on the bus and gone downtown, walked a half mile to my office, worked, met friends about a half mile away for lunch, walked back, worked more, walked to get the metro, took it to hellboy’s preschool, picked him up, picked up the car, drove over to pick up BC and BS at BC’s school, went home.

did you not notice you were tired? she asked.

i replied, i’m a mother of two young children. i’m always tired.

apparently, not tired enough to notice that i had almost no platelets left in my system. normal levels of platelets are 150k – 400k, for you trivia buffs. below about 30k, they want you in the hospital. below 10k, you’re in danger of your brain bleeding.

when i hit the hospital’s ER, i had 2k.

(yeah, i’m an overachiever.)

no one knew why my platelets had disappeared, but they threw some platelets in me to try to get me stabilized. i ate those suckers up like wheaties; the benefit didn’t last long. idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura was the term thrown at me. which, in english, means your platelets have fallen and they can’t get up. one theory was that my son, who had been ill, gave me some regular old, garden variety childhood virus that i had never had (and which makes grownups quite a bit sicker, apparently.) so they gave me some antivirals.

they also pounded me with steroids. after a few days, my platelets went up to a respectable 36k, so they let me go home with the stipulation that i hit the hematologist the very next day.

and hit it i did.

when i visited the hematologist, my platelets were back down to 4k. whee! this gave me a free pass for a bone marrow scan. i hope none of you, NONE OF YOU, ever have to get this. i wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. you are awake. there’s a tiny bit of local, but you feel the scraping of the doctor inside a piece of your hip bone. the pain is excruciating, like childbirth, only with childbirth, you are pretty sure you’ll have a happy outcome. with a bone marrow look-see, you’re praying for the best possible outcome, an outcome that doesn’t involve a horrible illness that will shorten your days. the technician helping my doctor gave me a tiny little bear to hold. i was grateful for the kindness, but i was lacking the will to be creative that day. i named him platey. he rides in my car to this very day.

and while they scraped around inside me, i talked. i talked about jamaica. i talked about the sunblue waters in which i once swam, in which i once snorkeled and saw the most beautiful, colorgleaming fish, fish i never think i’ll see outside of an aquarium. i tried so very, very hard to be anywhere but in that little room. i wanted to think about a place where i had been so very, very happy. and i didn’t want to think about my children, as i couldn’t bear to make any mental leaps about my children and sad, sad, news that hung over me like a shroud.

when it was over, i had to wait for my doctor to get it all together. he was going to look under the microscope himself. the longest half hour of my entire life. i sat there and planned my funeral. who would be at my funeral? where would i be buried? what songs would they play? who would be looking after my children? how would my husband cope? would my parents ever recover from this or would this kill them, too? i tried so very, very hard not to cry. but i hurt, inside and out.

soon, BS joined me in my personal circle of hell. and the doctor broke out his little slide and started to look. come here, he said to BS. i want to show you something under the microscope. surely my hematologist wasn’t going to gleefully show my husband my death sentence, swimming around on a little slide. surely it would be a sick and cruel thing to do. i sat up as straight as i could.

see, these are platelets,” the doctor showed BS. “tons and tons of platelets.  she’s making them, which is a great thing. your wife has the hardest working platelets in show business. something must be killing them on their way to the spleen or at the spleen.” in other words, i was having some sort of crazy autoimmune episode where my body marked my platelets as invaders and shot them down. giving me more platelets wasn’t going to do anything but give my body more opportunity to shoot down more little platelets.

the good news: not cancer.

the bad news: back into the hospital with lots and lots of steroids. BTD (aka my brothuh the doctor, for those of you new to the place) was totally in the act now, talking with the hematologist, telling him about when he had ITP and then was discovered to have CVID. the pieces of the puzzle were coming together, although my hematologist, unaware at the time of any genetic link for CVID (or any link between ITP and CVID for that matter), was absolutely gobsmacked. when this is all through, you need to see my friend in bethesda. he needs to take a look at you and help you figure this out. this is amazing, this is. (and i do now see his friend in bethesda. every 6 months.)  in the meantime, have you tried giving her IVig? my brother asked.

IViG was very difficult to come by then; i had heard that they were saving it and sending it out to the troops in Iraq, though i’m not sure how accurate that is. but i knew my brother couldn’t get any for me at his hospital. my hematologist probably gave away his first born child for me; he somehow finagled three treatments for me from other hospitals. too bad for me, no one knew i would have a hideous reaction to it my first time. once i premedicated with benadryl, though, things were looking up.

after nearly two weeks in and out and in the hospital again, i was set free. my count was improving, though i had to stay on massive doses of prednisone for months afterwards, which made me a little teeny eentsy weentsy bit psycho..heheheheh. (and waaaaay fat. but better to be fat than be dead, i always say.) but over time, i improved and improved. i was so grateful for all the support my family and i received from friends and coworkers. my boss — hell, the entire organization — could not have been more wonderful in my absence.

but that day completely changed the course of my entire mental state, my entire perspective on my life, my family, my work, my very existence. today, i am relatively healthy — my platelets were clocking in at 215 when they were checked in january — but i know now that every day being well, being on my feet, being here — is a day that i wouldn’t trade for anything.

i love you suzanne
Feb 12th, 2009 by wrekehavoc

so today, one of my best friends from college is having a heart procedure.  this girl is so dear that words are hard to find when i think about what she means to me. she is a wildly-hardworking person. she is a loyal person. she is a very, very warm-hearted person. my kids love when she treks down to visit once or twice a year, especially because she always does a huge sweep at Target and brings them all the candy and crap i deny them. (of course, there’s the good humor she displays, too — like when she ended up picking blackberries with us in the middle of nowhere and jumping on a giant inflatable… i don’t know what it was called, but it sure was hella fun.)

i’m sure she’ll be okay, but i must admit, it has struck me right between the eyes. someone else my age is mortal, too. historically, i’ve sorted my college friends into tidy mental boxes, sort of like the Beatles were when they first hit America; i’m the sick one. another girlfriend is the one who has had epic and horrific love affairs. and this one? she’s the workaholic. no one is supposed to be working my side of the street; i’ve taken on all the awful illnesses so no one else has to.

but no one can stay in their own box forever, i suppose. the one who has had bad luck with men just got married to a real keeper. and i have had moments in my career when i suppose workaholic would have been an appropriate tag (i remember sleeping at my desk once or twice about 15 years ago when i was enmeshed in the world of the burgeoning internet.) so it stands to reason that someone else could have something seriously wrong with them. fixable, thank G-d, but serious nonetheless.

anyway, i’ll be waiting til later today, when i can pester her — or her mom — and find out how she’s doing. summer’s not far off, and she needs to plan her next trek down to the southland. my kids are down to their last 6 pounds of halloween candy. and SOMEONE’S got to supply them with more Pez.

get well soon, suz.

Dec 31st, 2008 by wrekehavoc

happy new year, everyone. i present to you exhibit a: a poll. enjoy it. i know i will.

[polldaddy poll=1234381]

happy new year!

guilty pleasure monday: message to my girl (split enz)
Dec 29th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

this one’s late. and for a good reason.

we just returned from a trip to NJ to see family and friends during the holiday. it was a great visit; but when we woke up in the hotel this morning, BC started experiencing barf-fest 2008. the poor darling;  she barfed all the four hours home; she barfed while home; she’s just starting a teeny bit of ginger ale right now, which i expect will come back up shortly.

this is just not the best way to have a holiday.

whenever girlfriend feels sick — which is fairly frequent if you count her breathing issues and all the tough luck she has had the past few months — i always feel terrible. as a mom, i want to wave a magic wand and make it all better. that’s my job as a mom, you see. and of course, there are so many, many things i will not be able to make better.

one of the things i can’t make better is the fact that i get sick. when i became seriously ill two years ago, the one who really bore the brunt of it (besides BS, of course, who had to do everything) was girlfriend. hellboy was so little that, while he missed me when i was in the hospital, he truly didn’t understand as much about what was going down. girlfriend did. and there was a period of time thereafter where, whenever i went to a doctor, i ended up in the ER. it may take years, if not forever, for girlfriend to not freak out whenever i have a doctor’s appointment — which, as many of you know, is frequent enough. it makes me sad that i am actually the cause of her pain.

so  whenever i hear message to my girl, i think about all the things i wish i could do for madame. i want so much to be less self-involved, but being so ill has required that i actually stop being selfless and start taking care of myself. it’s a tough balance, believe it or not.

but then i hear these lyrics, and everything becomes clear:

No more empty self-possession
Vision swept under the mat
It’s no new years resolution
It’s more than that

No there’s nothing quite as real
As a touch of your sweet hand
I can’t spend the rest of my life
Buried in the sand

i have my new years resolutions all ready. many involve things i need to do to make myself healthier. and i have to remind myself it’s okay to do them — i need to do that in order to be there for my family.

but i will still need to take the time to be there during the journey, too.

happy new year to everyone!


silent night
Dec 10th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

this is for all the people who don’t feel very shiny or happy this time of year.

december is a whirlwind kind of month around here. we have BC’s birthday. we have chanukah. and we have christmas. it’s a crazybusy time. i never remember whether i’ve gotten the whole presents thing right. BS usually has one full day of cursing out the christmas tree lights (because apparently, there is always one bad apple that spoils the whole bunch.) the kids are wound up on cookies and frosting and dreams of what presents will be coming around for them. i know we should be feeling the joy, but there are moments…

see, there’s this tacit assumption that during holiday time, everyone should be feeling happy and peppy and bursting with love.  it sickens me, to be honest, in it’s self-centeredness.  if you’re depressed, well, it seems like the world around you is having a great big party and you have not been invited. (n’yeah n’yeah.) and even though people will often try to involve you and get you in the spirit so to speak, they may become angry when you simply don’t have it in you.

and then you’re sad and rejected. goody.

depression is very real. having experienced it myself after giving birth to BC, i can honestly tell you that you feel like you have dug yourself a deep hole and nothing will pull you out of it. fortunately, it’s a bit less stigmatized than it once was.  if you’re lucky, you might either know you need help, or perhaps someone close to you will suggest it. you might needs meds; you might need to talk to someone. hell, you might need both. and if you don’t have health insurance, call your local health department, as they may be able to let you know how you can get help you can afford.

but please. get help.  no one has to be happy. but no one should have to suffer this sort of pain, either.

good day sunshine
Dec 2nd, 2008 by wrekehavoc


10 years ago today, i was in quite a predicament. i was pregnant beyond all recognition with a little person: you, my darlin’, a challenge even before you entered the big world. after an ultrasound every month for the previous 9 months (due to low amniotic fluid), you just didn’t want to let me see whether you were a girl or boy. (i’ll be darned if one time, you actually held your tiny hands in front of your naughty bits so we couldn’t see.)

but i knew.

you didn’t seem to want to move a lot at first; and since i had read all those stupid baby books that all first-time moms read when they’re expecting, i was suitably nervous — were you okay in there? then, when i was resting one day, six months along, watching some VH1 show on the Beach Boys, you started suddenly to kick the living crap out of me every time the Beach Boys sang. and yes, daddy went out and bought a Beach Boys CD to test out the theory: yes, every time you heard the Beach Boys, you got really, really excited. (so much for my lyin’ in bed just like brian wilson did.)

so there i was, very pregnant. and my blood pressure, normally picture-perfect, was zooming into the stratosphere. on december 1st, when i showed up to the OB-GYN practice, the doctor on call put you and me on a monitor, and sent me home. come back tomorrow, she said. if your blood pressure is still so high, we”ll bring you back in the evening. see, dr. loewith is solo tomorrow, so we’ll let her get through her day and then induce you in the evening after she’s less busy.

so enter december 2. i had assured daddy that he could bring the car into the shop and take the bus and metro downtown to work; the doctor the day before told me that they’d make me wait until the evening and then put the proverbial jumper cables on to get you moving into this world. enter the indomitable dr. loewith: she put us on the monitor again, told me that you didn’t need to be in me anymore, and i surely didn’t need you in me anymore, either. i should waddle my wisconsin-sized ass across the street and admit myself: it was time to have a baby.

but your partner dr. X  told me that i should have to wait until you’re less busy since you’re on your own today, i explained to her.

pffft, she replied. that’s stupid. who cares how busy i am – if you need to go in, you need to go in! (i will point out to you, darlin’, that the other dr. somehow left the practice soon afterwards. and oh, how i miss the refreshing candor of dr. loewith and wish she hadn’t moved west.)

so, i waddled my gigantor self across the street, then up to the third floor of the hospital. and i made a phone call. BC, i would have paid money to see the look on your father’s face when i told him that i was, in fact, having a baby. now. yes, right now. and yes, i knew that the car was in the shop, and i knew you had to figure out how the hell you are going to get to the hospital after taking a bus to the train and the train to a train and then walking to work. but your daddy, in typical daddy fashion, just. figured. it. out.

that’s just what he does best.

so at some point, daddy showed up, huffing and puffing. i know he was there in time for my epidural; i know because something went wrong when the doctor first put the needle in my back and a wave of weirdness went straight down my leg for a split second. (your daddy, man that he is, never explained to me what happened. well, not until i was about to get my epidural when i was in labor with your brother, that is. honey, he pointed out, the needle bent in your bone. you broke the needle.) (yes, ladies. this is exactly what you want to hear when you’re about to be stuck again in a terribly sensitive place, a place where if something goes wrong, you don’t walk. ever.) but then, it was working, and i was working with it. ah, childbirth… a walk in the park, right? oh, it hurts, but i can manage it, i’m a pro, i’m…

huh? OW!

guess what, sweetie? mommy goes through epidurals like your brother goes through slurpees. i needed my fix. and i needed it now. i tried to talk to daddy in my sweetest voice ever.

honey, can you please tell the nurse i need more epidural?

daddy, who had been there with me throughout the lamaze classes; who had suffered through all sorts of unmentionable baby information sessions, tried to talk the supportive patter he had learned so well:

honey, he said, try to breathe through it.

now, BC, you know i am not a violent person. but trust me, darling, that when you are in the throes of labor pains, you may end up swearing like a longshoreman. you may end up making promises, insane promises, just to make the pain go away. you may even pledge to vote republican; it makes your head spin how it feels. i am telling you this because i need you to understand this next bit, something i have never before and never again done. you need to know that i was out of my head in agony. and your father’s supportive alan alda jibberjabber made me think he didn’t really understand me. and sister, i needed to be understood. right there, right then. i grabbed hold of your daddy’s nice clean oxford shirt, right at the collar. i pulled him close to me so that he could hear me. i looked him in the eye. and i uttered as clearly as i possibly could:

you. fucking. breathe. through. it. get. me. the. fucking. nurse. NOW!

your father, looking like a deer in the headlights of a speeding HumVee, immediately snapped out of his nice-guy stupor and hopped to it more quickly than i have seen him do anything in his life. voila! my epidural arrived. and evil exorcist mommy receded and happy, halcyon mommy returned.

in fact, dr. loewith nearly missed you arriving; i was chillin’ and coolin’ like a snowman so much, i had no idea you were making your way down the highway. whoa, stop pushing! she cried. huh? i’m pushing? oh, so that’s what i’m doing!

well, sister, i had literally 10 minutes of pushing that i knew about before you arrived. and there you were, all red and screaming your little head off. i was thrilled beyond belief to see you, to meet you. (you know i cried. that’s what i always do, major boohoo that i am. i’m happy: i cry. i’m sad: i cry. i’m hungry: i… wait. that’s what YOU did back then.) i counted your fingers and toes: pinky, you were as perfect as the 4th of july.  we snuggled before you were whisked away to be cleaned and tested and probably grilled on your involvement in the disappearance of jimmy hoffa.

because at that time, babies had been switched at the university of virginia hospital, i told your father that under no circumstances should he take his eyes off of you.

true to his word. he never did.

he still hasn’t.

all’s this to say that 10 years ago today, you changed my life forever. you made me a mom. and while every day has not been a shiny, happy cakewalk, i would not trade you for all the tea in china (in spite of what you might think some days.) you manage to smile, no matter what. which makes me smile, no matter what. you are the sunniest, the funniest, and the bunniest. i love you to all the pink, purple, and rainbow moons and stars.

happy birthday, Beloved Child.

a rare moment asleep.

a rare moment asleep.

Oct 22nd, 2008 by wrekehavoc

recently, there has been a lot of discussion on a moms list i’m on about FluMist — whether it’s better to get a flu shot or let your older-than-two year old sniff up that misty stuff. as a mom who has a daughter who wildly hates shots, this is something near and dear to my heart. (in fact, i’m embarrassed to state that BC has not had a flu shot yet this year, thanks to her performance when she hid under a desk. it took two nurses, a doctor, and me to get her out. but i’m going to get her there.)

my kids cannot have Flu Mist, and it’s all my fault. see, Flu Mist is a live vaccine. you shed that yummy influenza germy goodness once you get it, and if you’re in the vicinity of a person who has a weakened immune system, you can make them deathly ill. so it’s shots for them, all the way. (we also have fun thinking about other live shots. i just try to make sure they get it right after i’ve had my IVig so that i have maximum infection fighting power in me, should i get sick. don’t know if it would actually work in reality, but it’s the only thing i can do. those kids are not going without their shots. period.)

i do get nervous about FluMist, though — there are a lot of grandmas and grandpas, for example, who may be exposed to their recently-misted grandkids. and they may get really sick because of it. and we’re not talking just a simple cough or sniffle.

still, at least i guess they’re getting vaccinated. it just reminds me of the situation with antibacterial soap and gel: someone devised it, thinking it will be an exceptionally easy way to kill even more germs than regular soap. what it does now is make those bacteria stronger and more antibiotic-resistant. but progress is all about making things easier for us, and this soap and gel was supposed to be emblematic of progress. and it is: progress gone awry. and now, we’re so damned frightened of making our kids have a few seconds of pain that we crave another solution, even if it might mean a public health problem for others.

i wonder whether ours is the first generation to wuss out over shots, as a friend put it.  we do not remember the polio epidemic; we cannot recall smallpox. we don’t know how horrible certain illnesses can be. heaven forbid our children have moments of pain, as if the pain is worse than the medical issue it’s meant to stave off. and some vaccines aren’t perfect; people sometimes get chickenpox even after receiving the vaccine. but the vaccines help more than they don’t; and i feel very strongly about immunizations.

that’s why i am sick to my stomach about a homeschooling network that exists specifically to homeschool because they do not want to give their children immunizations. i find this repugnant. while i have learned a lot about homeschooling since shooting my mouth off awhile back; and while i have a new respect for some who have chosen that path; this, to me, this particular thread is an outrage. this is not about education; this is a public health issue. to me, it’s tantamount to child abuse: these kids are sitting ducks for measles, polio, and other horrible illnesses. and no, it’s not just a week in bed and they’re better again, people.

and what will you do then — pray that they get better? exhaust your healthcare (if you have it) or else exhaust tax dollars (if you don’t)? all because you didn’t want them to get a shot?

i get really sick and tired about parental paranoia over the government. our government isn’t perfect. duh. but people talk about federal agencies as if they are composed entirely of automotons. guess what, folks: government agencies have just as many mindless people as you do in your office. there are people who care, and people who don’t. but mostly, and especially in the health sector, they do. people stake their careers on getting the info right. they know they have other peoples’ lives on the line. they’re not advocating immunizations because they think it’s a fun thing to do: they do it because they think it’s the right thing to do. and not just for your child — they’re thinking more globally. that’s what public health is all about.

so just as i will get extremely pissed at parents who let their babies swim in pools without plastic pants on (they put them in huggies swimmers and then marvel that their poop gets through, closing the pool down for fear of an E coli experience), i get extremely pissed at the parents who don’t immunize. oh, you say, you can’t trust the government. you don’t want the state telling you what to do with the precious children you’ve been entrusted.

i wonder who the hell entrusted you with those babes. if it was G-d, She must have been having a day off and you lucked out and squeezed through anyway.

i'm so tired
Sep 25th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

yesterday, i had the pleasure of sitting beside two mothers, both with babies. one was armed with weisbluth’s healthy sleep habits, happy child. the two began to talk about sleep training. i began to smile, thinking about the joys of sleep training (or lack thereof) my kids.

in order to fully prepare yourself for sleep training, you ought to first start by watching a 72-hour marathon of something truly awful, never once allowing yourself to rest. (i recommend something like saved by the bell. or caillou. or, perhaps, jerry springer?) intermittently, you need to start a painful discussion with your partner every six hours or so, just so that you can get yourself swirled into an emotional fever pitch. fight about money? your in-laws? your politics? his wandering eye? whatever gets you truly exhausted and exasperated — that’s your topic. also, whack yourself in the head a few times. sporadically, of course, and not enough to cause brain damage. maybe you shouldn’t eat much, either, during this time.

once you’ve completed torture time, get ready to rumble.

seriously, i thought i was going to lose my mind when BC was a baby. nevermind that she had reflux, was colicky, did not gain weight well, and was often sick. she never. ever. slept. my mother would try to make me feel better: she’s always awake because she’s so smart — she’s curious about the world. [note to self: must remember this line when BC’s first child never sleeps.] but all the books i read said that a child naps a certain number of hours, a child goes to bed for certain hours.

BC never did either.

i would start the nightly walk with BC once the colic started. i sang the entire Beatles repertoire, i sang plenty of the crosby, stills, nash catalog, and of course, i sang her nightly bedtime song:

sometimes, i’d get tricky and sing it this way:

the girl loved my singing, but she’d never settle down to sleep. i’d rock her, she’d nap, i’d put her down, she’d wake up screaming. i had to feed her every time she wanted food — she was a poor weight gainer, so i was shoving a bottle at her every time i could, all hours, all the time. it was a dance that led her to poor sleep habits for awhile and led me to a horrific case of shingles.

girlfriend didn’t have a full night of sleep until she was 18 months old.

when jools started down that path, there was no way on Dog’s Green Earth we were reliving that fun. see, i am from the rock the child to sleep attachment parenting front but my husband is from the shut the door and let him scream until next tuesday front. (not to be confused with those women from venus and men from mars fronts.) in short, we could not agree.

there was a time when i’d laugh at the idea of paying for someone to help you learn parenting skills. i laugh no more. the woman who saved our sleep, our marriage, our sanity, cost us very little compared to what she gave us: she got BS and me on the same page about sleep training (read: gentle ferberization), and she got jools sleeping perfectly in no time. she gave us a plan; we followed it. and. it. worked.

i have friends who are serious attachment parenting people; and if that works for them, i am happy. live and let live. i think different kids have different temperaments, and so what works for one child may not work for them all. for me? well, i was always afraid i would roll over on a baby if i co-slept. i was that tired. and the funny thing that i notice about some of my friends who let the kids sleep in their rooms — they have a hell of a time getting their kids out of their bedrooms and into their own rooms later on.

so now, our sleep is interrupted more by other things: sick kids, kids who fear the impending death of their mother, angst. but we turn on our nighttime music, cuddle up with whatever (or whoever) is near, and attempt to re-enter that magical realm of morpheus.

so, as i listened to the mothers — one, a mother of a three-month old, and the other, a mother of a toddler and a newborn — talk about sleep theories, i chuckled to myself.

been there. done that. and ain’t going back.

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