Friday, February 29, 2008

Vaccine Case Conceded in Federal Court

So, I am anti-vaccinations. I absolutely refuse to get LuLu vaccinated and have refused since her birth, where they tried to push the Hep B vax on us even before she left the hospital. I absolutely disagree with injecting live modified or even killed virus into infants, the reason being that their immune systems are still undeveloped. By injecting a vaccine into someone with an undeveloped immune system you alter forever the way their immune system responds when they actually do get sick later. It's folly to think we can provide a vaccine for every single disease out there and have out children never get sick. Getting sick is part of growing up; they are called childhood diseases for a reason. They help build a strong and healthy immune system that will function appropriately in adulthood. Aside from the immune response being altered, several additives in vaccines are cause for great concern, including heavy metals like lead and aluminum that act as buffers and thimerosal, a mercury-derived preservative.

Why are these things bad? For those in the know, aka those who do some research before blindly injecting their children with whatever their doctor tells them to, there is a strong causal link between heavy metal poisoning, especially mercury, and Autistic Spectrum Disorders including full-blown autism. There is also growing evidence that vaccines are directly resonsible for SIDS deaths. SIDS deaths peak between the ages of 2-4 months, which coincidentally the start of the first major round of vaccinations in a normal vaccination schedule.

Since it is our government's policy to deny, deny, deny everything until the evidence is insurmountable and the public is duly tipped-off, it comes as a surprise to those of us in the anti-vax fringe group that the US federal court condeced a vaccination case, saying that vaccines did indeed directly cause ASD in one individual, a little girl who before her first round of vaccinations at 18 months was perfectly normal and healthy, showing no signs of autism. Now, she has seizures, the characteristic staring at lights, rocking back and forth, and unwillingness to look people in the face that are classic signs of autistic disorder.

For all the new parents out there, I urge you to do your own research to decide what is appropriate for your own family. At least be informed, and if you still make the decision to vaccinate your children please do it with all the facts. That's my public service annoucement for the day. Here are links to the federal case, as well as some other links regarding vaccinations:

David Kirby: Government Concedes Vaccine-Autism Case in Federal Court - Now What? - Living on The Huffington Post


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Mommy's Magic Milk

So I was reading this article here:
that basically says this scientist discovered that breast milk contains stem cells, and that these cells are responsible for further genetic development in the infant outside of the womb. This can explain why infants fed breast milk tend to have higher IQs than their formula-guzzling counterparts. The article went so far as to state that individuals who are formula-fed will NEVER reach their full genetic potential as adult human beings because they were deprived of the vital role breastmilk plays to a developing child's system. I'm a total lactivist, so naturally I wholeheartedly approve of news clippings that state that basically people who feed their children formula are dooming them to ride the short bus of life. There are so many unknown constituents being discovered in breastmilk that it drives home the fact that formula is liquid crap, completely empty filler calories. Yes, formula companies are savvy enough to make sure they advertise that hot "new" vitamins and supplements like Omegas and DHA are in their products, hoping to make people believe their rat poison is at least equally good as what babies are supposed to be drinking. Now I know I'm going to get flamed by women who say, "but I COULDN'T breastfeed!" I have to say that my position on that is similar to my view on "emergency" c-sections in this country. There are way too many "emergency" c-sections being performed that are absolutely unnecessary medical procedures. Sure, I concede that some women just can't breastfeed. They are in the very minute constituency, way less common than those who claim they couldn't do it. I mean, if the percentage of women who can't breastfeed is really as high as everyone claims, I think the species as a whole would have been in a lot of trouble back in the days before formula. People in this day and age of drive-through fast food, ATM machines, and on-demand television are conditioned to take the path of least resistance in everything. That includes taking the perceived "easy" way out of birth (yes, it's called "labor" for a reason. I would pick a natural birth any day over major abdominal surgery, especially factoring in the recovery time and pain!) and the "easy" way out of feeding their children. Again, the "easy" way isn't so easy, when you consider that every time baby needs to be fed mom or dad has to sterilize a bottle, mix formula, make sure formula is at the right temperature, and THEN finally get to feeding. In the meanwhile, I will be almost done feeding my daughter and I didn't have to get out of bed in the middle of the night and almost kill myself tripping over the dog to get to the kitchen while the baby wails because she's AWAKE and hungry. Hooray for booby milk!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

We Cannot Make Our Sun Stand Still

Yet we will make him run." That's the last line of a favorite poem of mine by English poet Andrew Marvell. It's not generally regarded as a great poem compared to the giants of poetry like Frost or Milton or Dante, but it still gets included in many anthologies and poetry textbooks. It's called To His Coy Mistress, and though it's spoken from an amorously-intended suitor to a young maiden, a few of the lines are well apt to express the sentiments of a mother toward her baby: "Had we but world enough, and time....My vegetable love should grow/Vaster than empires, and more slow./An hundred years should go to praise/Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze....But at my back I always hear/Time's winged chariot hurrying near;/And yonder all before us lie/Deserts of vast eternity."

Another, more vernacular poem by an unknown author also sums it up well:

"Babies Don't Keep"

Mother, of Mother, come shake out your cloth
empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
hang out the washing and butter the bread,

sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?

She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(lullaby, rockabye, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).

The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
and out in the yard there's a hullabaloo
but I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren't her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
for children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

Maybe it's hormones or something that makes me cry EVERY time I read that low-brow, Hallmark-ish card poem the English major in my despises. I cried when I put away LuLu's newborn clothes after she outgrew them. I swear it's not postpartum depression. There is something so ephemeral and fleeting about the time you have with a baby, that even though you know your kiddo will grow up big and strong and you have all kinds of memories waiting to be made, and that you're just at the beginning of a long road filled with wonderful times, blah blah blah.....There is something so bittersweet about watching this little person grow basically every time you take a breath. She's four months old now, and the day before her 4-month birthday she rolled over for the first time. She can grasp objects and examine them, and loves playing with her Haba clutching toys and wooden rattles. She can push up and lift her head pretty far when she's on her tummy, and is starting to make those swimmy movements that will turn into crawling before I can even blink. She can hold her head up no problem now, and anticipates me lifting her up by raising her head up off the bed. She's already got such a personality at four months, that of a happy and secure baby, very intelligent and curious and super-strong. So, enjoy these pictures taken on her 4mo b-day. Along with her baby clothes and mommy's memories, these will be the only remnants of her ever being so little.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Me On My Soapbox Again

I had to cut this out from an e-mail to a dear friend of mine because I wanted to save him from opening up a manifesto while he was at work. I started talking about wooden toys, and then got all discombobulated and went on my usual rant about the environment. Erik just thinks I'm getting weirder in my old age! I bring my own cloth napkins and tupperware for leftovers when we go out to eat now, and I have banned all plastic shopping bags and paper towels from the house, instead using reusable bags and cloth towels. All of our cleaning products and body care stuff I'm transitioning over to all natural and biodegradeable. The bigger car we bought with the baby in mind is a Hybrid. I hear stories about floating islands of garbage in the Pacific that are bigger than Texas, and while I'm sure some of the things I hear are grossly exaggerated, it worries me what kind of a world my child will know. Will she know what a tiger is the way I do, as a living creature that can be seen? Or will she know one as I know a dinosaur, some mythical creature that exists only in archaeology textbooks and museums?

While I love my country I look at the government and this administration in particular's lack of concern for the environment, and penchant for band-aid solutions rather than fixing problems at the source, and I worry. I heard on the news the other day that there is a proposal with the USDA right now to pasteurize all green vegetables before we are able to buy them for consumption, coming out of the e. coli and salmonella contaminations of lettuce and spinach crops. Instead of truly fixing the problem by making sure runoff from nearby cattle ranches cannot contaminate groundwater and irrigation systems of agricultural crops, "they" propose a solution that may have inherent catastrophic consequences to human health, especially when most people as it is don't have access to good organic food that have vital nutrients and minerals intact.

I know I'm on my little soapbox now, but really it is something that I have become passionate about, and I believe that everyone can and should do their part for mother earth. I know that in just three months of cloth diapering I have saved about 700 diapers from going into a landfill. I have saved pounds of trash from infant formula packaging from the landfills just by breastfeeding my child and feeding her what she's meant to be eating. Those two choices alone make a difference. I can only imagine how much more of a difference if more mothers made those choices, but the lack of concern bothers me. I don't know if it's ignorance or irreverance, or both. I get into a foul mood every time I set foot into Babies R Us (I have no need to even go there except to return things people give us that I am opposed to using) and see people with carts full of infant formula and disposable diapers.

I had someone the other day give me the argument that "the earth will adapt to whatever happens to it", and honestly that truly floored me. Every other species on earth has to adapt to their environment, so why should humans have so much hubris as to think in our case it's the other way around? Why should our piddly little species think that the earth gives one whit about what happens to us? Just because we have opposeable thumbs and the brains big enough to have dominion over the animals and fishes, as the saying goes, do we have to use our powers for evil? It is folly to think we are so important that we have dominion over the earth as well. We can rape it and use all the resources up, but in the end it is impossible to "own" something that we need for our very survival. Remember this, that it is the earth that ultimately owns us. That fact becomes immediately apparent when one thinks about death. What is death except the relinquishing of control that we seem to exert, the giving up of the pretense that we have any power at all, and sinking back into the earth which reclaims us as her own. Just as people avoid thinking about their own death we avoid thinking about the end result that our doings have on the environment. Despite our big brains and opposeable thumbs we are no better than any other animal; not looking ahead to consequences, to what happens after renders us simply the most powerful and destructive animal on the planet, but an animal nonetheless.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I'm Officially a Knitter!

So whenever I mention to my friends that we breastfeed, babywear, or are anti-vaccinations I get some weird looks, but none so weird as the looks I get when I say Lulu is in cloth diapers. "What?! They still make those?! Wow, that must be a lot of work! Don't they leak when she pees?" I can't remember all the comments, but they are usually accompanied by the person I'm talking to staring at me like I just freakishly sprouted an extra head and told them I am going back to my home planet. Seriously. The cloth diapers aren't a big deal, I say. Babies that are breastfed have really non-odorous poo, I say. It's better for the environment and Lulu's bottom, I say. Blah, blah, blah. It all falls on deaf ears and I continue to be the granola anomaly here in supposedly-progressive Silicon Valley. San Jose is just a hop away from Santa Cruz, after all, which is like Hippietown USA. And not far from SF. Anyone heard of the summer of love, people?! Just geographically speaking, I shouldn't feel so crunchy and alone in a town that apparently for all the hype, is super, super soggy.

So anyway, I have now added to my repertoire something else for people my age to bug their eyes out over, and without further ado.....I have officially become a knitter. Yup. A quick history lesson for people who have only been breathing for a couple of decades: back before there were disposable diapers made of plastic and filled with chemicals to pollute the earth and wreak havoc on babies' behinds, people used cloth diapers. Yes, cloth diapers by themselves get pretty wet when baby pees. That's where covers come in. If only we could find something to go over the cloth diaper which is absorbent, yet breathable, which lets mom and dad know that baby needs changing so that baby's bum doesn't sit around in a soggy dipe getting a nasty rash, but doesn't itself get wet and soggy. Oh wait, we have that already? It's called wool, which can absorb something like 30% of it's weight in liquid before it even feels wet, which has natural antibacterial properties, which is easy on the environment and doesn't even smell bad after baby pees in it. Wool, wonderful wool.
Wool soakers come in the form of covers, shorts, and longies, and they come at a premium if you don't knit them up yourself. I don't pay $100 bucks for MY pants, so you can naturally understand some reluctance on my part to pay that much for someone who will outgrow them faster than you can say "paycheck." With the help of the internet in the form of, and the awesome books The Stitch and Bitch Book and Domiknitrix, I made my first pair of longies and saved myself about $50. Well, okay, I actually spent more when I factor in all the needles and other knitting accoutrements, but I will save money in the long run! I'm super proud of them and have shown them to everyone who has set foot in my house since they were in progress long enough to start looking like pants!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Visiting Grandma, and Why My Husband Rocks

Today Lulu visited her grandma on her dad's side for the first time. Erik is traveling with his brother, who owns his own company and has a contract to update the wireless internet capabilities at a bunch of malls across the US. His brother worked his way down to L.A., where Erik flew down to help him out. They then drove up here, worked on a couple malls around here, and then today drove up to Santa Rosa to do the mall up there. We live in San Jose and grandma lives in Santa Rosa, so the plan was for me to bring Lulu up there to meet everyone for dinner.

Well, apparently by the time it took me to get her all ready, pack her diaper bag, the camera, extra camera batteries, camcorder (which didn't even get used :P ), put petrol in the auto and get on the road, it was high noon in traffic-town. I mean, seriously bad bad traffic all the way from the very southern tip of SF all the way up to Santa Rosa. Bleck. Lulu was awesome in the car until we almost got there, at which point she decided she wanted to wake up and be starving hungry and very vocal about it. She had already made it the three hours we were sitting in traffic, so I pulled over and nursed her and changed her in the car at a gas station (I have to say "YAY" for not having to worry about bottles and insulated packs for bottles and mixing formula and all that crap. Screw that. It is soooo much easier to pull my dear daughter close and let her drink directly from the tap, so to speak. And oftentimes, like a little alcoholic, she will drink until she passes out.)

Grandma had made reservations at a restaurant for all of us, and I have to say the couple of times Lulu has come with us to dinner she was perfectly behaved, i.e. asleep. This time she woke up and fussed a little during dessert, so I tried to nurse her. I think I was a little inhibited/self-conscious feeling about nursing in front of grandma and her husband, because the mamamilk just wouldn't flow. It's weird how a) I have no problem nursing in front of strangers at a gas station, but feel awkward around family, and b) that milk let-down is controlled THAT much by the mental factor.

After unsuccessfully nursing, I go to change her diaper 'cuz it's feeling wet. Lo and behold, the restroom at this particular restaurant doesn't have a changing station. I'm new to the whole parenting thing, and I guess I just never paid much attention to baby stuff. I had no idea not all restrooms have baby changing stations! What are moms supposed to do in this situation? I mean, really? There's no way in hell I am going to lay the changing pad down and change my precious baby on the grody floor! Erik was so pissed he wanted to change the baby right there on the table in the restaurant, but calmer sentiments (mine) prevailed. When he gets in those fight-the-world moods he is like a flag-burning protester doing stuff for shock value. And most of the time his 6'4" big scary self gets away with whatever outrageous behavior he has decided is necessary. At least now his big scary self has turned into an advocate for babies' rights, as well as a hardcore lactivist. He welcomes anyone looking at me cross-eyed while I nurse in public so that poor soul can get his brand of "education" about breastfeeding! What a great guy. Seeing him get all pissed off about nursing in public and baby changing stations makes me fall in love with him even more :)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Welcome to our Blog :)

So a while back I swore in front of God that I would never get so "computer-geeky" as to go and do my own blog. But, lo and behold, I also remember solemnly swearing that I would never have kids either. hehe. What's that they say about promises? I just decided the time was right in my life for both a kid and a blog, and really the blog is all about the kid so it works out :) I wanted a way for all my friends to come and check in on my goings-on, an internet well I could throw my little mind-pebbles down. I have to warn you, with a newborn in my life the things I get all twitterpated over include how much boobie milk I pumped today and the consistency of baby poop. If I haven't scared you off yet, read on brave soul!