Friday, August 31, 2012

Catching Up With the Boys

Bug, Cat, and I made our way to our pediatrician's office yesterday for Bug's 2.5 year and Cat's 9 month appointment.  I can't believe that my big boy is 2 and a half, and my baby is almost a year old!  Sheesh!  Where does the time go?

Highlights from the trip:

-Bug now stands at 40.5 inches tall and weighs 38 lbs.  His height, weight, and head circumference now have their own curves on the growth chart.

-Cat is now 30.5 inches tall and weighs 22 lbs, 2 oz.  Definitely not suffering anymore:)

-Bug got his MMR (we delay our vaccinations, this was the last one he needed, and it was awful.  Simply awful.  I guess it stings pretty bad and the look of hurt and betrayal on his face was heartbreaking.  He wound up with a welt the size of Africa on his leg; thankfully it went down by bedtime but I could barely look at it.

-Cat, not to be outdone, got his final Hepatitis B shot and screamed just as long and loudly as his brother.  Plus they did the finger prick to check his iron and let me just say there was blood everywhere.  Ugh.

However, I have two healthy, happy boys who are developing and growing just fine, so what more can I ask for?:)

On the potty training front, we are doing fabulously!  I plan on writing a retrospective of that next week.  Until then, Happy Friday!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Thoughts on the AAP Statement

After many years of refusing to take a side, it appears that the American Academy of Pediatrics has decided to come out in support of circumcision.  While they stopped short of saying, "RUN, DO NOT WALK TO YOUR NEAREST HOSPITAL/MOHEL, AND GET IT DONE," they did for parents to make a well-informed decision.  That the benefits outweighed the costs.

Well, AAP, here's my take.

In 2009, 266 baby boys died because of complications related to circumcision.  It's reported that between 100-400 boys die every year because of this procedure.  It is very easy for an infant to bleed to death, and this is what happens a lot of times.  All that it takes for an infant to die is for him to lose an ounce of blood.  Just an ounce.  I'm pretty sure that for the parents who didn't get to take their sons home, there were no benefits.  Just costs.

You can spout off to me about how it reduces UTIs (neither of my uncircumcised boys has ever had one), cleanliness (my kids bathe and they are clean), and how it prevents STD transmission (except it doesn't), but this is a procedure that kills children every year.  So no, AAP.  I can't condone your statement and I am disappointed and saddened.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Getting Your Kids to Drink Milk

I used to be able to get Bug to drink milk all the time.  It was effortless.  He would gulp it down happily, no questions asked, and then head on his merry way.

Then he turned two, and now that he's two and a half, I never know what's going to happen with him.

Some days, he drinks milk with no complaint.  Other days I am treated to "NO WANT MILK!" and he shoves it away, usually spilling some on me (unless I'm having an especially smart day and I give him a cup with a lid and a straw).  It's frustrating, for sure.  I think part of the problem is when we're home, he knows that there are other options to drink so he feels that he can refuse the milk.  He does a lot better when we are out and it's the only thing I bring for him--so I started looking into shelf-safe milk, the kind that comes in the cardboard boxes.

I admit, I was very confused by this milk at first.  How could it be real milk if it was in a cardboard box, like juice?  And there were organic kinds?  How did that work?  I grew up in a household where my mother was very particular.  We were not allowed, for instance, to lick cake batter (and that thought makes me want to retch a little), and we were taught "when in doubt, throw it out" as a mantra over anything that had stayed out of the fridge too long.  Milk, I was taught, must be kept cool.

But how to explain the boxes?

Well, the whole thing comes back to pasteurization.  Most milk (unless you are on the raw milk team) in the United States is pasteurized.  And the milk in the boxes, the sort that can be sold on the shelf without being kept chilled, is referred to as Ultra High Temperature (UHT) milk because it is pasteurized at a higher temperature than common pasteurization.  And unlike in other food sterilization methods, the UHT treatment actually takes place before the milk is packaged, minimizing any heat penetration problems and allowing for short heating and cooling times, which allows for preservation of the nutrients and taste of the product.  The use of the sealed Tetra Pak keeps out light, air, bacteria, and other contaminants which could cause the milk to spoil quickly.  While the UHT treatment does cause the milk to lose small amounts of nutrients, overall the nutritional value is minimally impacted.  UHT milk, like regular pasteurized milk, is a great source of folic acid, protein, and B vitamins.

I personally am subscribing to the boxed milk because it's so easy to get Bug to drink it--he very much enjoys the boxes and straws and at this point, I am all about whatever works.  These milk boxes are great to throw in lunchboxes for kids who are headed off to preschool--you can simply freeze them or chill them overnight, and just toss them in along with a cold pack in your child's lunch.

For more information about shelf-safe milk, check out  “How to Get Your Kids to Drink More Milk.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Guest Post: The Top 6 Reasons to Be a Pinterest Mom


Let me preface this by saying that, in looking for Pins no mom could refuse, I wandered the nebulous underbelly of Pinterest for 57 minutes.  Fifty-seven.  Minutes.  That’s not what my boss pays me to do (unfortunately).  Take note, ladies and gents, that this infographic on why Pinterest is addictive exists for a reason.  If I haven't already scared you away, consider these reasons why joining the Pinterest community could help not only organize your life and home but also inspire you to be the best mom you could be.

1. You’ll never have to buy a cookbook again.  There’s something sentimental about flipping oil-stained pages that smell faintly of stale bread, but with limited funds, recipe books inevitably lead to repeated meals.  As a foodie and a health nut, I try to remake and customize recipes from trusty cookbooks, but Pinterest helps me fill in the gaps.  Just type in the odd ingredient left sitting alone in the refrigerator—what good is a turnip, really?—and get cooking.  Within two weeks, everyone at the table will ask, “Did you get this recipe off of Pinterest?”

2. Save money on magazines and check Pinterest for fashion.  And then blow all the money you saved by not subscribing to Vogue on those ridiculously cute pumps.  Look at them.  They’re ridiculous.

3. Get crafty—or just pretend like you will one day.  Our household has probably saved a couple hundred dollars thanks to Pinterest.  (We would have saved more if I was less lazy, but that’s neither here nor there.)  The cool thing about Pinterest is that you’ll be following friends and people with interests similar to yours.  If one friend stumbles upon a series of super easy DIY tutorials—how to fix your own bathroom pipes, how to turn a wine bottle into a self-watering planter, how to build a spaceship with a box of matches and a blender—you’ll see it, too.  And even if you don’t really feel like going out to the hardware store to buy a truckload of PVC pipes for a craft that’s destined to flop (ever heard of PinterestFail?), you can always archive the idea onto a craft board.  Hey, you can even make a board for failed (or completed) Pinterest crafts for your own amusement.

4. Find indoor activities for rainy days.  When the weather and the kids decide to not cooperate, Pinterest is a good friend to have.  Gather the family around the computer and search for fun indoor activities.

5. Plan the baby shower, birthday parties, graduation parties, weddings, and everything else in the foreseeable future.  I recently made a board for showcasing at craft fairs.  Not only are the images of craft tables and display cases taken by bloggers and Pinners jaw-dropping, many Pins offer great tips and hints on how to customize a special event.

6. Escape.  Moms get tired of spilled juice, dirty diapers, and Legos abandoned by the stairs. (You had to write your name on the wall?  In grape jelly?)  Create your own boards for dream homes, dream vacations, wise sayings, silly memes, and more.  We could all use a little space sometimes.

With those reasons in mind, here are a few Pinners every mom should consider following.
Lil Sugar
Simplified Bee
Martha Stewart Living
Mrs. French

Heather Green is a mom, freelance writer, pet lover and the resident blogger for OnlineNursingDegrees.org, a free informational website offering tips and advice about nursing degrees online.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

How Can We Raise Boys With Healthy Attitudes Toward Women?

I ask myself this question on a daily basis, because it is my job, and the job of my boys' father to make sure that they understand how women are to be treated.

I'm not trying to say that they should let women steamroller them, but in the light of all of the idiocy being spouted by people like Todd Akin, I try to reinforce to my boys-particularly Bug, since he's of an age where he really interacts with other kids-to respect boundaries.

Let me give you an example.  Bug is an extremely affectionate and loving child, and he likes to greet his friends with hugs and kisses.  He has one little girl in particular that he's very fond of, and his first instinct when he sees her is to run over and give her a hug and kiss.  Well, one day he tried to do so and she screamed, "NO!" and ran away.  Bug looked confused, and attempted to go after her, but I pulled him over to me and said, "Sweetie, Eva doesn't want a hug or a kiss right now, and that's okay.  Sometimes other kids don't want hugs, and so that's when you just need to leave them be.  However, if you want to give Mommy a hug and a kiss, you can, because Mommy ALWAYS wants your hugs and kisses!"  This made him happy and I was rewarded with a hug and a very big, sloppy kiss.

My kids are little, but I strongly feel that it's important to start teaching them these lessons early.  It's okay for others to set boundaries.  It's okay for you to set boundaries.  Sometimes I ask Bug for a hug and he tells me no, and I tell him that's fine, because it is.  I expect Jon to treat me a certain way, especially in front of our boys, and if he falls short I call him on it.  He does the same for me.  Kids learn so much from how their parents interact, and it's our duty to teach our kids that it's okay to say no.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Thoughts on Rape and Todd Akin

This will be a departure for me, as I normally stay out of politics and stick to the cutesy, mom-type stuff (with an occasional rant about how circumcision is a travesty).  But, I (like many women) have really been appalled by the remarks made by Representative Todd Akin.  In case you've been hiding under a rock, in a discussion about the Representative's opinions on abortion, he made it very clear that he opposed abortion in all circumstances, including in the case of pregnancies that resulted from rape or incest.

And then he made the idiot statement of the  year:

"It seems to be, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, it's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down."

And when I heard that, dear readers, I seriously had to stop myself from vomiting.  And it took a very long time for that urge to go away.

This isn't a post about abortion, or how I feel about abortion.  That's a whole different matter.  Instead, I want to attempt to convey how disgusting it is for me to hear these words spoken aloud.

First off, legitimate rape?  Or, as he later tried to "clarify", forcible rape?  Friends, there isn't any sort of rape that is not forcible.

One in four women in this country is a victim of sexual assault.  One in four.  Which means you know someone who has been raped, molested, or attacked.  You may not know her story, but you know her.

Sadly, I've been dealing with the disgusting rape culture in our country for many, many years.  When I was fourteen a girl who went to my church told me that her boyfriend (she was my age, he was two years older than her) had forced her to have sex with him.  When she went to our youth minister, he (and the other powers that were) convinced her that she must have been a willing participant, that she had sinned, and that it wasn't going to be spoken of again.  Then he asked her who she had told about this.

So then I got a talking-to.  I was told that I wasn't to tell anybody about what had happened, not even my parents, and how it wouldn't be prudent for me to be seen as someone who was attempting to smear other peoples' reputations.  And, I'm sad to say that my (very, very innocent) fourteen year old self took this to heart, and I kept my mouth shut.  After all, as our youth minister had pointed out, this was a girl from a troubled home, and perhaps she may have been embellishing the truth.  Perhaps, as he suggested, she had made it all up in her head--or worse, she was lying about the whole thing because she felt guilt about the sin that she had committed.

And then, a few years later, I heard that she was pregnant, and because of the snotty attitude I had adopted, I thought to myself that it had figured that someone like her would wind up in a situation like that.

But then, as I got older, I heard more and more terrible stories.  I learned from a friend that she was raped on prom night.  I learned from another girlfriend that she was sexually assaulted and when she went to request a rape kit, the tech at the hospital informed her that with the way she was dressed, she was clearly "asking for it."  I even had a friend's mom confide to me that she had been raped by a man who had given her an incurable venereal disease.  He had been a stranger and she had been lost in the wrong part of town, and he told her he was doing it because "spoiled little girls like you deserve this."

Were any of them "asking" for it?  Did any of these women "deserve" to be sexually assaulted?  Did my girlfriend whose grandfather molested her as a little girl ask to have that happen to her?  Of course not, but that's the culture we as women have to contend with.  The fact is, there are jerks out there who totally believe that women "cry rape".  I have news for you, folks:  that doesn't happen.  And if there are women who do that to an innocent man, they should be horribly ashamed of themselves.  But I don't know women who are like that.  In fact, all of the ones who I know who have been sexually assaulted have been attempting for years to stop blaming themselves, and many of them still can't.

The mere notion that we as women experience rape or other forms of sexual assault in a way that isn't "forcible" or "legitimate" is insulting and degrading, and it really gives you a clue into the minds of lawmakers who are trying to legislate what we can and cannot do with our bodies.  There are lawmakers out there who think that the "Morning After Pill"--Plan B--is some sort of magical abortion pill, but in reality all it is is an extra-heavy dose of birth control.  Some legislators want to take away our rights to contraception, even though it would leave many of us unable to support the families that we do have.  There are disgusting opinions about sex, our bodies, and the way women should be treated floating around out there, and I highly encourage you to listen long and hard to what some of these men are saying about us.

It's not pretty.



Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Potty Training Part 1

Bug and I are in the throes of potty training--and it's actually going alright.  I will do a more detailed post on this later, but here are some highlights.

Bug:  (as we flush the potty)  Buh bye, pee!  (waves)

Me:  Bug, do you need to go potty?
Bug:  No.
Me:  Are you sure?
Bug.  No!  No potty!  (starts peeing on the floor).

Me:  Bug, do you want to wear your Thomas underwear?
Bug:  Oh, Tommy!

Bug:  Hi, Paul!  (Paul is our potty training doll).
Me:  Do you love Paul?
Bug:  Yeah!
Me:  Do you love Mama?
Bug:  (dead silence)

It's fun times, this, but we had a really good day today (today is the third day diaper free) and so I have high hopes!:)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Art with Bug

The other day I was feeling like a crappy mom. I was seriously getting frustrated with my oldest child, as it seemed like he was acting out over everything.  Every word I said to him--even simple requests like, "Hey Bug, let's change your diaper" devolved into tantrums of epic proportions.

I was angry at him, but then I had to take a step back and think about what I was doing.  Because I was so tired due to sleepless nights, I was sort of just going through the motions parenting.  I wasn't really engaging him, or playing with him.

So, when his dad got home I left the baby with him and then Bug and I went outside and had some fun painting.

I love that look.  That's the "I love what I'm doing right now and wouldn't change anything at this moment!" look.  And, if you'll notice, he wound up completely covered in paint.  Hence the wardrobe of a pull-up and nothing else.  I learned my lesson the last time we had art time.






As you can see, the crocs got paint on them--but it washed off easy enough.  One of Bug's favorite things to do now is wash his crocs off in the sink.  And because I am of the "If it's not hurting anything, let him do it" parenting mindset, this happens at least once a day.  That kid has the cleanest crocs on the planet:)






Our day ended with him insisting that I take him on a walk.  He even climbed in the stroller himself!  So off we went, and when we returned home, I had a much happier toddler and I was a much happier mommy.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Looooong Week

So, I haven't really been keeping up with the blog lately, because I am disgustingly tired.  Seriously.  I am so tired that I feel like I'm about to fall over pretty much every moment of the day.

Things were going okay in the sleep department until last week, when Cat transformed from my sweet, darling, adorable infant into the entity known as Angry Teething Baby.  I'm serious, this child is so angry.  SO ANGRY.  I remember when Bug was teething he was just sad and unhappy and cuddly, but not my Cat.  Oh, no.  The poor little boy is pissed off that he's in so much pain, and I totally don't blame him.  You see, when Bug got his teeth...well, he didn't get any until he was over nine months old, and then they all came in at once--a brutal assault of incisors and molars that happened in quick succession and was over before he was even a year.  He had 12 teeth by 12 months, and the rest of them that make up his current mouthful were all quick.

Not so for Cat.  He got his first two around six months and now we're working on the top two teeth and...oh.  It's awful.  His gums are bright red.  You can see the teeth, clearly outlined along his gums, and the other day he had a blister on his gums burst open and there was blood everywhere.  I seriously hope these teeth come through the gums soon and put my angel out of his misery, because this is just terrible.

What's really been tough is I haven't been feeling great (lack of sleep totally doesn't help).  It's so hard to be sick when you're a mom.  Bug doesn't care how I feel, he wants to be read to and cuddled and hugged and loved and he demands I pay attention to him, even if all I want to do is crawl back into bed.  Cat's the same, and there's not a lot I can do for myself except attempt to power through it.  Thankfully Jon has been taking very good care of me so I can't complain on that front.

I had to interrupt my blog post to put Cat to bed--he didn't want any part of Dada this evening, and after a couple quick snuggles and his bottle he conked right out.  Even though I feel pretty crappy, I have to admit, I do love being such a comfort to my son.  One of the best parts of parenting, right there:)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Guest Post: I'm An Asshole


Carly Leotti is back with a rather pointed post.

Have you ever had one of those days where the true depravity of your nature rears its ugly head and makes you take notice?

It's last Monday. On Monday's, our clinic is open in the afternoon/evening. I'm going about my morning, trying to get in a work out, shower, get my papers together, and entertain Galimimus. I'm griping; our practice, thankfully busy, can also be quite draining and, on this particular Monday, I found myself saying “If one more person asks me to fix their life, I quit.”

Let me tell you about a patient. He's an older gentleman we met while providing free acupuncture at our church's food pantry. He was volunteer there who, I think, had the best job. He handed out the two sweetest things you can get at a food pantry: dessert and Scripture. Not only did he pass out pies, cakes and cookies, he also gave out Scripture and spent time praying with and for those he served.

A few months ago, this man was diagnosed with lung cancer. Thankfully, they caught it plenty early to get him started on chemotherapy and give him a high chance of survival. In the beginning, he kept volunteering at the food pantry- passing out desserts and Scripture. But, as the chemotherapy progressed, he got weaker. Soon, he was just passing out the “spiritual food” from a chair while another volunteer did the physical labor. He never stopped praying with those who came to him.

This brings us to last Monday, when this man sat in a recliner across from me and began to cry. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but in my world, when a man cries, something is seriously wrong. Now, like most people, I assumed he was crying because he was scared he might die, or because the chemo was causing him pain, or the treatments were putting stress on his marriage. Normal fears and disappointments any patient fighting cancer has. But, when I asked him what was wrong, the full weight and force of my childish petulance hit me dead on at his answer.

He was crying because he was no longer able to pray with the recipients at the pantry.

Give that a second to sink in. The chemotherapy had affected this patient's memory so significantly that he could not remember the entirety of the Lord's Prayer. But he was not mourning that loss, no. He was grieving his inability to effectively pray for others. In battling a disease that could take his life and coping with treatments that are encroaching on his daily life, this man was heartbroken because he could not lift up others and give them hope in the midst of their struggles.

And a sudden realization hit me: I'm an asshole. I am a superficial human with an ego that could smother a zombie horde. I spent my morning complaining about the requirements of my successful practice; about having patients to treat. About how having an amazing 2.5 year old son interferes with what I want to do. And all this angel of a man wants to do is pray for others.

We all fall short at times, but it's in how right ourselves and learn from those moments of terrible realization that makes the difference. For me, I am making a conscious effort to be thankful for each and every patient. To find joy in my son. It's a daily struggle and I know I'll probably relapse. I can only hope that one day I can live outside of myself enough that my biggest concern is how well I'm able to serve others.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Back to School Shoe Shopping Deal at Famous Footwear

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Famous Footwear for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I love shoes, and  I noticed the other day that my sneakers are starting to look pretty worn, so I am planning on hitting up some of the awesome back to school specials I keep seeing advertised!  I may even treat myself to a new pair of dress shoes (with the large amount of time I have spent pregnant in the past three years, I really only rock my black ballet flats, and those are starting to look rather worn).  Normally I hit up either DSW or Famous Footwear, but I think I may have to focus all my efforts on Famous Footwear this time around as they are having some incredible deals right now.
I love Famous Footwear—I have yet to enter one of their stores and not leave without at least one pair of shoes¸ because they have a fabulous selection and great prices.  They have a deal going on right now where you can get 15% off your order, AND everything is Buy One, Get One Free!  Plus, if you sign up to be a Rewards Member (their FREE program where you can accumulate points to earn certificates¸ earning up to $100 per year, AND you get discounts and special offers just for signing up), then you get 20% off instead of 15!  
I was also excited to learn that if a shoe that you want isn’t in the store, they will get it for you via home delivery or their website, www.famous.com.  You can also order shoes off of the website and get them sent to your local store for in-store pickup, free of charge.
I’m so excited about this deal because Famous Footwear is such an easy store to shop, and with my two little men it’s really hard to go anywhere that requires a lot of time and effort!
The BOGO deal ends on 8/18, and I have (hopefully helpfully!) included a coupon for you so you can snag this deal!  You can print the coupon and redeem it in-store any time between now and the 18th.  See you there!
FF-BiggestVictory-GIF_300x250(1).jpg
Visit Sponsor's Site

Monday, August 6, 2012

Dietary Concerns

Man, two year olds are frustrating.  Can I get an "Amen"?

So, up until about six weeks ago, Bug was an all-star eater.  We'd have occasional days where he refused to eat his eggs, but he would always make up for it later.  He drank his milk well, he ate most of what we put in front of him, and, I will admit, I sat in my smug little corner of self-righteousness when my friends bemoaned how their children didn't eat anything.

And then we went on vacation and I swear, everything with that kid just went down the tubes.

While we were in Florida, he constantly went on hunger strikes.  No milk.  No eggs.  Nothing.  Veggies?  Fruit?  Hahahahahaha.

I thought the situation would improve once we got home, but (in the words of Ron White), I was wrong.  Dead wrong.  I couldn't even get him to eat those magical fruit and veggie pouches that he would normally consume.

I started to fret.  Bug's gotten very tall (not that he wasn't tall already, but taller!) and he's now so skinny due to all the growing that his clothes from last summer fit him again.  I found myself begging, pleading, and cajoling him to eat--and he would simply turn up his nose at me.

So, I gave up, because I seriously didn't know what to do...and then he started eating my food.  He would completely ignore the fresh pile of eggs and toast I made for him, but would hover around my plate.  And of course I fed him, but I was starting to get annoyed that I was eating less than half of what I originally intended for myself.

So then I got smart and started making our breakfasts on the same plate.  He and I would start at opposite ends of the eggs or French Toast or whatever other delicacy I had prepared that morning, and would eat until mutually satisfied.  Eventually I got him back to eating one full meal a day, and then he would eat some occasional snacks.  And I made sure to get his milk into him, but that was really all I could do.

And then, suddenly, about five days ago, he started eating again.  And demanding to eat.  And asking for specific things.  And while we haven't had a return of veggies to the diet, I have started to get him to at least eat some fruit, and I count that as a win as I will settle for anything plant-based at this time.

I know that this is part of growing up--that by refusing my food that I offer him, he's asserting his independence--but it does make me appreciate the fact that Cat will gobble down whatever puree I give him without a second glance a lot more:)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Circumcision and HIV

The other day my friend Jordan emailed me an article in favor of circumcision.  If you read my blog at all, you know I'm not a huge fan of the issue (you can read my post on why we passed on circumcising the boys here), but I figured I would read the article and see if he had anything to say that I hadn't already heard.

And so, I read it, and one massive eyeroll later, I had half a mind to write the guy a nasty letter thanking him for spreading the campaign of misinformation.

Here is a link to the article, so you can see what the guy had to say, before I start eviscerating him in my blog.

To the main point of his piece, that we shouldn't be hating on circumcision for religious reasons...okay.  I concede your point, buddy.  Far be it from me (or anyone else) to tell you to not follow your religious traditions.  However, I would like it acknowledged (which the writer failed to do) that circumcision today was NOT what was mandated in the Bible.  As noted by Janet Heimlich, author of Breaking Their Will:  Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment "In Abraham’s day, only a tiny snippet of the tip of the foreskin was removed, the minimal amount needed to mark Jews as being different from other people. Since no attempt was made to loosen the foreskin prematurely, the penis was able to develop normally, says the CCRC. It was only later that rabbis insisted that more and more—and finally all—foreskin had to be removed. On the Islamic side, it should be noted that male circumcision does not appear in the Qur’an. Some Jews and Muslims oppose circumcision."

There is a fascinating documentary out there entitled Cut:  Slicing Through the Myths of Circumcision.  If you have the stomach for it, I highly recommend watching it.  I will be honest, I couldn't watch the whole thing.  I got to the part during the Orthodox Jewish circumcision ceremony where the rabbi cut the baby and then sucked the blood off of the baby's penis and then I started vomiting.  I was pregnant with Cat at the time and I don't think that helped me.  This ceremony still happens today--in fact, last September a two week old baby died because he contracted herpes during his circumcision.  This isn't the first time that has happened, either.  (Note:  Normal bris ceremonies do NOT involve the oral removal of blood.  This only happens in Orthodox circles).

The point in the article that really got under my skin, though, was how the author was championing circumcision in Africa as a way to prevent the spreading of HIV/AIDS.  And it sounds good, at first, right?  "Oh, if we circumcise the males, this will cut the transmission of AIDS down by 60%!"

Well, maybe.  But let's first take a look at HIV/AIDS transmission in a developed country.  You know the one I'm thinking of.  It's the one where 80% of adult males are actually circumcised.  You know, the United States of America.

Did you know that the AIDS rates in some cities in the US actually rival those in Africa?  According to a 2010 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, rates of HIV among adults in Washington, D.C. exceed 1 in 30; rates higher than those reported in Ethiopia, Nigeria or Rwanda.

Okay, that's one study.  Perhaps it's skewed?  Nope.  Washington, D.C. reported an increase of 22% in HIV infection rates between 2006 and 2009.  According to Shannon Hader, the Head of the HIV/AIDS Administration, the HIV infection rates in the District alone were "higher than West Africa... they're on par with Uganda and some parts of Kenya."

One writer from THE WHOLE NETWORK puts it better than I ever could:  "One would expect for there to be a lower transmission rates in the United States, and for HIV to be rampant in Europe; HIV transmission rates are in fact higher in the United States, where most men are circumcised, than in various countries in Europe, where most men are intact. It is telling that the HIV epidemic struck in our country in the 1980s, 90% of the male population was already circumcised. Somehow, we're supposed to believe that what didn't worked in our own country, or anywhere else, is going to start working miracles in Africa."

I think that it's especially telling that recently the health adviser to Zimbabwe's President Mugabe, Timothy Stamps, issued a statement that circumcision "did not make any difference to the adult prevalence rate, noting researches had shown that countries with a higher number of circumcised men, like the US, also had a high HIV prevalence rate.

He said instead of channelling funds towards circumcision, the money must be used to save pregnant mothers who die in huge numbers in this country.

"When we are losing 960 mothers for every 100 000 pregnancies, should circumcision be a priority?" said Stamps.

He said circumcision had led to men being more reckless in sleeping around.

"Young men are happier to take risks and chances without the use of condoms or any other preventive measures because they are told circumcision will protect them," he said."  (Source:  AllAfrica.com)

I'm all for doing your research, but I am greatly troubled when a journalist--who gets paid to have his information disseminated to the public--ignores the facts.  Maybe instead of pushing for circumcision in Africa based on the results of three inconclusive studies, we should listen to what the people over there actually need instead of what we think is best.



Wednesday, August 1, 2012

::crickets::

I know, I know, I disappeared for a couple of days.  My bad.  I haven't been feeling well and have been super busy, as life has gotten extremely hectic again.

We are looking for a larger house to accommodate the size of our family because our current townhome (which seemed so huge when we moved in!) seems barely large enough to hold the four of us anymore.  We spent a great deal of time this weekend looking at places and considering our options--we haven't made a decision as to whether we are going to sell or rent out our current place.  So there's a lot on our plate there.

My sister came and visited this weekend, and she and I actually made it into the District and we saw a concert!  Yes, another item to cross off of my 30 Before 30 list:)  We saw Enrique Iglesias and Jennifer Lopez, and we had an absolute blast.  I was totally transported back to high school (when, I confess, I was completely and utterly in love with Mr. Iglesias) and got to listen to him sing all of my favorites.  J. Lo also put on a great show, but I was really struck by the marked contrast between the two acts.  Enrique showed up in jeans, a t-shirt, and a baseball cap, and seemed to truly enjoy himself the entire time.  J. Lo showed up wearing barely, well, anything, and danced her heart out as she performed--it made me tired just watching her.  But the concert was enjoyable, and I had so much fun with my sister.  I wish she lived closer.

Cat the underwear model.  Check out his new Charlie Banana diaper!
The boys and I have been very busy--playdates, more busy bags, and somehow, Cat is now eight months old!  My baby is getting so big.  He's figured out how to scoot backward--I think it's only a matter of time before he gets this whole crawling thing down.

As for me, not a lot to report--I just applied to be a blogger for Fuzzi Bunz, which I think would only feed my cloth diaper obsession to even more unhealthy levels.  But what can I say--I can't get along without my fluff!