Lindy’s Blog: Where Mom is Always Right

March 19, 2010

Good news!

Filed under: This and that... — by lindyborer @ 3:51 pm
Tags: ,

Yes, you can tell by the dearth of recent posts by moi that I am still in what I call “all baby, all the time” madness.  This means that if I have a moment to myself, it’s not going to be spent blogging.  In place of blogging, you can insert something like “showering,” “brushing teeth,” or some other inane though highly necessary aspect of daily living. 

However, at this point in time I am pleased to say that I have a small moment of quiet.  And I just wanted to post here that–due to some expressed concern by some of you after my last post–I am not on suicide watch.  Looking back, it does appear that I was awash in the “baby blues.”  I didn’t mean to alarm anyone and life is good.

February 7, 2010

The babe arrived…

Filed under: Family — by lindyborer @ 9:18 am
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Baby Amelia made her grand debut in the wee hours of February 2nd.  We are home and well and all adjusting to Life With Baby (some of us better than others.) 

(Cue Meat Loaf’s “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” please.)

There’s something about the toxic mix of hormones, being up at very strange hours, absolutely no schedule or routine, visitors, nursing, diapers, and February snow/darkness that creates a very surreal, heady, and otherworldly feeling.  To go from understanding–with perfect clarity–how murder/suicides happen to being awash in complete and total contentedness from one moment to the next is something that only new mothers experience.  I could be wrong, of course, but don’t you dare tell me that to my face right now; the “baby blues” manifest themselves in a terrible, sudden, deadly and quite irrational way for me.   

My heart is bursting and breaking all at once.  Welcome to motherhood!

January 22, 2010

In which I take on the “C” word.

Filed under: childbirth,Health — by lindyborer @ 8:07 am
Tags: , , , ,

Photo of a baby boy, mid-cut. photo credit: Amy Arbus

As usual, I seem to have an affinity for leaving things like this to the last possible minute, and I have a hunch that because I’ve done so this baby will most likely be a boy (Murphy’s Law has a 99.9% chance of applying to me).  I’ve been in somewhat of a quandary regarding a topic of which is seldom spoken, but highly charged among parenting circles.

Nope, not vaccination.  The C-word.  Circumcision.  There.  I said it.

Okay, as usual, I try to keep things balanced here at Lindy’s (take that however you wish.)  Those of you who are recent parents realize the sensitive subject matter that circumcision is.  Let me just say this up front:  We are going to circumcise our son if this baby is a boy.  I would be just fine not doing it; however, my husband would not.  I realize that many in the “NOCIRC” camp will automatically call me a barbarian and equate our actions as the equivalent to the male form of genital mutiliation.  I realize those on the other side of the debate will think I’m stupid for even entertaining the notion of NOT getting my son snipped. 

Let me cut to the point (no pun intended):  I’m simply trying to research the possibility of getting a “dorsal penile nerve block”–that’s local anesthetic, much like Novacaine at the dentist–for the baby prior to the placing of a scalpel to what I’m told is a highly sensitive area.

Now, it’s always good to step away from “what is and what has always been done,” and to actually–with a pure mind–run the scenario through one’s head.  According to Dr. Sears (who I’ve generally found to be quite balanced and who has performed thousands of circs himself), this is how a circumcision today is commonly performed on infants before they leave the hospital:

Baby is placed on a restraining board, and straps secure his hands and feet. The tight adhesions between the foreskin and the glans (or head) of the penis are separated with a medical instrument. The foreskin is held in place by metal clamps while a cut is made into the foreskin to about one-third of its length. A metal or plastic bell is placed over the head of the penis to protect the glans, and the foreskin is pulled up over the bell and the circumferentially cut.

Easy as pie!  Sounds quite painless.  Oh wait, except that it totally DOESN’T!!!!

Let me back up.  When my first child was born, I really hadn’t looked into this at all.  When the time came for my son to go under the knife, inner reservations surfaced, but a voice in my head told me, “We live in an enlightened age.  Surely the common argument that newborns’ nervous systems aren’t fully developed and it doesn’t hurt them is completely research-based, because how could we as a society just allow a poor defenseless newborn to get his foreskin ripped away without local anesthetic on a routine basis?”  (Of course, this same “enlightened” society allows for much worse with abortion, but I digress…)

Feeling somewhat better, the nurse then came in to get my son and flippantly told us to “take a walk so you won’t hear him scream,”  and then that abhorrent woman LAUGHED.  That is something that I have never forgotten. 

Since then, I’ve learned that babies who “seem to fall into a deep sleep toward the end of the procedure” have actually passed out from the pain.  Ahem.  I AM a barbarian.

I emailed a friend about this yesterday; she has two boys.  She related this anecdote:

I was concerned about the pain, too.  At that time, we had a female pediatrician who did the procedure and this is what I remember her saying when she brought him to me afterwards—she said that yes, it hurts like the devil, and they always cry…but they can be comforted and within minutes they are fine.  And that’s the difference between pain and agony.  That has always stuck with me. 

No shit.

Her sisters, who have seven uncircumcised boys between them, likewise chimed in.  One said:

When Bryan and I realized that the ONLY reason we were being encouraged to have the boys circumcized was so they wouldn’t be laughed at in the locker room, we decided that that just wasn’t a good enough reason to have a piece of skin ripped off our little boys’ you-know-whats when they were hours old, with no anesthetic.  It was a Jewish tradition.  We’re not Jews.  Ergo, we didn’t have it done.  I don’t know anything about the block, but it sounds like a good idea to me.

Which is so true.  The locker room argument, I’ve found, is one of the top arguments in favor of the procedure.  (Must be a brutal place.)  The pressure to “look like one’s peers” is actually becoming less and less relevant, though, because more and more parents are not getting it done.  This may come as a surprise to folks my parents’ age, but it’s true.  Several friends of ours have chosen to forego the procedure for their boys. 

So, I guess there might be a new meaning to the phrase “shirts vs. skins” in locker room lingo in the near future. 

Back to Dr. Sears.  In answering the question, “Does it hurt?” he says:

Yes, it hurts. The skin of the penis of a newborn baby has pain receptors completely sensitive to clamping and cutting. The myth that newborns do not feel pain came from the observation that newborns sometimes withdraw into a deep sleep toward the end of the operation. This does not mean that they do not feel pain. Falling into a deep sleep is a retreat mechanism, a withdrawal reaction as a consequence of overwhelming pain. Not only does circumcision cause pain in the penis, the newborns over all physiology is upset. New research shows that during unanaesthetized circumcision, stress hormones rise, the heart rate speeds, and valuable blood oxygen diminishes. Babies should never be subjected to the shock of unanaesthetized circumcision.

Can the baby have anesthesia to lessen the pain?

Yes, a local anesthetic can and should be used. Painless circumcision should be a birthright. I have used a local anesthesia in nearly a thousand babies for over twenty years. It is a safe procedure and it works. Sometimes the anesthetic will not remove all the pain, but it certainly helps. Within a few hours, after the anesthetic wears off, some babies exhibit no discomfort; others will fuss for the next twenty-four hours. The most common and effective method is called a dorsal penile nerve block, in which a few drops of Xylocaine (similar to the anesthetic your dentist uses) is injected into the nerves on each side of the penis circumferentially around the base of the penis.

So there ya go.  That’s where I’m at.  I simply don’t know if a block is available around here.  I’ve heard mention of some sort of “plastic cap.”  Anyone know if this is just a convenience thing, or a mechanism to lessen the pain? 

One final argument that has been most commonly thrown at me when I’ve brought this up:  “They don’t remember it.”  Can I just say how completely stupid this is, on so many levels?  You know, I don’t remember most of my life up to probably age three or four; does this then make it okay to scrimp on anesthesia during common childhood maladies (like tonsillectomies, for example?)  How utterly ridiculous.  Mom and Dad could have saved some money when I had to get stitches at age two! 

For those out there who persist in thinking I’m off my rocker, fine, but let me just say that we mothers–especially those of us who still have small children and are about to have a baby–we’re a ruthless set.  We are like the grizzly mothers who will not hesitate to maul and kill in order to protect our young.  And that is the frame of mind that leads me to question this procedure the way it’s currently done. 

In my informal survey of asking the males in my life if they, themselves, would elect to be circumcised NOW without some sort of block, they abruptly and deliciously change their tune.  Which, to me, says it all.

Can anyone out there give me some insight?

April 16, 2009

Feng shui in the bedroom, with the sleeping police

I’ve been at it again…redecorating.  This time, it’s the only remaining bedroom that I haven’t touched since moving here in ’04.  To be honest, I’m quite pleased with the results.  I appear to be in some sort of shabby-chic, French country type mood.  The walls in the soon-to-be spare room are a pale, creamy yellow, with light-colored accents, flowers, and yes, doilies.  It’s very feminine.  Perhaps Eliza will claim it one day.  For now, I finally have fulfilled my dream of having a guest room with a title:  The Yellow Room.  It’s very silly, but I’ve always fantasized about saying to…whomever…as guests arrive, “Put them in the Yellow Room, please, Jeeves.”  Anyway, I’ll post pictures when I’m completely finished with it.

Of course, this is the room that David and I have occupied.  (Okay, correction.  It’s the room where our clothes hang.)  I’m now in the process of switching all our things over to the “master” bedroom, i.e., the big bedroom at the back of the house.  This is turning out to be somewhat of a process.  The feng shui is a little off. 

Linus and Eliza are slowly making the transition to their own beds in their own rooms.  And, rant-alert here, slowly is the way it should be!  I never was the type of mother to let a baby or toddler or child “cry it out,” and the truth is that David isn’t that type of father.  I’ve always been of the opinion that it’s better to sleep with the baby and put in a solid eight hours of sleep, than try to push independence on an entirely dependent being, and subsequently wake up every hour or two during the night.  The argument that a parent shouldn’t pick up a small baby every time he cries for fear of him “becoming dependent on you” makes me want to shout, “It’s a BABY!  They’re pretty much, by definition, dependent!”  

Sleep deprivation has never been an issue in the Borer household.  I feel like I’ve stumbled upon some sort of top-secret thing, but make no mistake, a whole lot of parents are in on it.  Some of us just admit it.  And, really, it just feels so much more natural.  I highly doubt that our Neanderthal ancestors awoke five times a night to go check on Junior in his room at the back of the cave.  (Of course, breastfeeding makes a difference, too.  No bottle making during the night.)

 Of course, every family is different, so whatever works best for you is fine with me.

What is startling to me, though, is the interest that others have shown in our private family sleeping decisions.  And it seems that these people are tsking, not over the “dependence” issue, but for more, um, private reasons.  The fact that no night sleeping arrangement is the same and usually begins and ends with each parent with a child causes some hearers no end of consternation and horror. 

Listen, while I’m completely flattered (and not a little bit weirded out) that you have such an abject concern for our sex life, don’t you think that you’re being a little bit skewed?  Let’s put it this way.  I can’t remember where I read this, but another mom fed up with this phenomenon reasoned, “If unlimited sexual access to your wife/husband is your foremost concern, you might consider cat ownership as a sensible alternative to parenting.”  Amen.  

Now onto a seemingly unrelated subject that has been on my mind lately, that struck me as being TOTALLY the same:  The sharing of the good news of pregnancy.

I was pregnant with Linus two months after our wedding.  I recall sharing the news, and nearly half of all people said something like, “So soon?”  “Weren’t you just married?”  or, my favorite, “Aren’t you on birth control?!?”  Someone is expecting a baby (not me, by the way), and I won’t reveal who right now, but several responses to the good news were the same or variations.  Excuse me, but where I come from, babies are good things, and they’re pretty much the natural result of sex.  The default position is, “Babies Good!” 

It seems to be becoming the opposite in our society.  The default position is now, “Babies bad, unless each and every little thing is in place and the appropriate amount of time has passed since the wedding, then they’re acceptable.”**  Kind of a shame, really. 

But my little exegeses are completely related;  In many minds, marriage is for nothing more than sex.  The natural result of sex–they’re called “babies”– is totally divorced from it.  Hence,  married people are “surprised” by pregnancy, and people are horrified if you don’t always sleep in the same bed as your husband.  Welcome to Bizarro World.

**I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with waiting to have a baby.  Everyone’s different.  I’m just pointing out the ridiculousness of taking a condemnatory tone in response to those who decide to have a baby sooner.

October 28, 2008

Obama: pitting children against parents

Filed under: Family,politics — by lindyborer @ 9:33 am
Tags: , , , , ,

In the past I have talked about Obama’s “Zero to Five” plan, which seeks universal preschool, including government-run boarding schools and in-home parenting courses, among other things.  As if that weren’t bad enough, here’s a new one. 

I’ve noticed before that the left seems to have an affinity for attempting to subvert the minds of young children and teenagers, and to turn them against their parents.  This is true of Planned Parenthood, for instance.  It is wrong, it’s despicable, and it scares this concerned parent.  I suppose that wanting to teach my own children the principles that are important to me is aligned with my abhorrence of government intrusion into aspects of life where it doesn’t belong. 

I have a subscription to Mothering magazine.  They lean left, of course, but it hasn’t gotten to the point where I’ve decided to discontinue it.  (I’m getting closer by the day.)  Of late, though, there’s been a push to limit the advertisement of certain products to children 12 and under.  Products like junk food, candy, toys, etc…  (Interesting to note:  Many of these same people who don’t want their kid to see a commercial for a candy bar openly invite the introduction to condoms and other graphic sex-ed for their kindergartners.  Go figure.)  

But what is really interesting is that many of these concerned parents are Obama-supporters.  And if you go to the official Obama website, you’ll notice a “Kids” section, complete with instructions on how to get your parents or grandparents to vote “O”.  Here is an excerpt (see here for more on this):

The one thing most grandparents have in common is that they have the most wonderful grandchildren in the world – so clever, so handsome, so pretty, ever so precious. Even if you are still unsure of your path in life, and even if your parents and friends occasionally wonder about you, your grandma and grandpa love you and have faith in you.

This is just a sample script. You know what it takes to get to them.

That is your weapon! “Precious” needs to get on the phone and say, “Grandpa, Grandma, I am asking you to vote for Barack Obama. This is really important to me. It’s about my future. It’s about the world I will be living in. It’s about the world I want for my future children. (They will love that one!) Please! Do it for me!”
Put some urgency in your voice. Sound very disappointed in them if they give you excuses. Come back again, even harder. “This is about my future – my ability to get a good job, to live a healthy life, to have the same (or even more) opportunities than you had to succeed. I have never felt more strongly about anything. I am begging you to vote for Barack Obama. I need you to do this for me!”

I’m sorry, but since when do children need a “weapon” against their parents or grandparents?  According to the above, use their unconditional love for you to advantage.  I think I’m going to be sick.  Notice especially the “let’s get them on the future grandchildren” bit.  Slick. 

I’d tend to call this sort of thing “target marketing” at its worst.  Only this time, it’s being used to get children to employ emotional manipulation on their own parents who are NOT Obama supporters.    Mothering crowd, are you upset at this?  Dr. Slogan (above link) puts it this way:

“What does our government think about this? Are they ok with targeting children with propaganda? As it turns out, they are not. When it comes to commercial advertisement, government bodies such as FDC and FDA have been going after marketers who target children age 12 and under. Yes, it’s exactly the same age group that Sen. Obama targets so explicitly. Just last year FDC along with its European counterpart pushed Masterfoods to stop marketing of its products (e.g. Snickers, Milky Way and Twix) to kids. Apparently, from the government’s perspective, kids age 12 and under are not mature enough to figure out whether Snickers are good or bad for their health, and thus can be misled by advertising. But of course, figuring out where a presidential candidate stands on taxes, abortion, education and national security is much easier. So why would the government have any problem with that?”

But if you want ultimate irony, take note of the “Babies for Obama” movement, where mothers dress their infants in pro-Obama onesies and such.  Babies for Obama?  The guy who voted FOUR TIMES to deny them medical care if they were born alive after an attempted abortion?  The most radical pro-abortion candidate to come along, probably ever?  The leading proponent of the so-called Freedom of Choice Act?  Come on, moms.  Shake yourself out of your Obama-induced stupor and think through that one for a moment.   

I know many Obama supporters are apparently dazzled by the idea of the government doing everything for them, but as for me, I’ll keep the title of “parent” for myself.

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