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Monday, January 13th, 2014
Finally the Catholic Church is getting some sense knocked into it via Pope Francis. It’s a long way from redemption, but this new Pope has been nothing short of impressive. On Sunday he baptized a bunch of babies and told the moms to feel free to breastfeed. In.The.Church. That’s a remarkable statement; especially considering the church bans women and gays (allegedly) from the priesthood and has too many settlements to count for child molestation by priests. Nevertheless, progress is progress. Or, as my late alcoholic mother would say when reciting AA doctrine, “Progress not perfection.”
I think Joe, my guest blogger, should tell his church to take a page from this Pope’s rulebook. In Joe’s church, toddlers are virtually banned from Mass. I’m sure moms would be kicked out for any boob action (I’m still confused as to why you go to that crazy place, Joe. But I’m also glad because your posts on it are beyond hilarious.)
So for the Pope and the members of the Catholic Church, I say keep moving forward. You may actually get out of the dark ages in Francis’ reign.
It’s probably pretty clear by now that I’m not Catholic. I wouldn’t push religion on anyone. But I do wish the Muslim country of Afghanistan could hear the Pope’s message. Or have one of their imams embrace it. The headlines from the war-torn country last week were heartwrenching. There is a crisis of malnutrition, mostly in children and babies. Doctors are baffled. But one strong theory is that with the conservative Muslim culture so ingrained in the psyche–to the point where if you don’t follow the doctrine you could be killed–mothers aren’t breastfeeding their babies. I mean, it’s baffling. And this certainly isn’t the only country. There are plenty of places where there is a stigma to breastfeeding even when it means the difference between life and death. Hell, even in the first world country of England, Hollie McNish became an overnight sensation with her video poem, Embarrassed.
Women: if there is a gospel we need to spread, it is the one the National Health Service in the UK coined (ironic given the above video from McNish), The Breast Is Best. Granted there is controversy even with that, but the bottom line is, I don’t care how it happens or what country coins what slogan. If women across the world were proud to provide food to their babies via their breasts, there would be a lot less death, heartache, suffering. Not to mention billions spent in aid to help babies survive, mostly against the odds.
Here’s an excerpt from the article in the New York Times in regards to the Afghanistan article:
Nearly every potential lifeline is strained or broken here. Efforts to educate people about nutrition and health care are often stymied by conservative traditions that cloister women away from anyone outside the family.
In a country where access to clean water is difficult, and most milk is powdered, that is often a recipe for diarrhea and other conditions that can worsen malnutrition…Ahmed Wali, the 2-year-old Bost Hospital patient with kwashiorkor, is the ninth of 10 children of his mother, Baka Bebi, who is in her mid-30s. She weaned him onto powdered milk mixed with stream water as soon as she could.
So while the outlook from Pope Francis should be celebrated and embraced, and we can hope for change….
“Today the choir will sing but the most beautiful choir of all is the choir of the infants who will make a noise. Some will cry because they are not comfortable or because they are hungry,” he said in a familiar, relaxed tone to the parents.–Yahoo New Service
There is still preventable tragedy on a large scale that needs to happen:
Ahmed, at just 3 months old, looks bigger than his emaciated brother Mohammad, who is a year and a half and weighs 10 pounds…
“The main cause of malnutrition in Afghanistan is lack of breast feeding,” he said. “They see beautiful pictures of milk cartons, and they think it’s better.”–New York Times
Pope baptizing via 10News/CTV
Malnourish pics of baby via The Bronx Papers
Malnourish pics of children via Shutterstock and Gary Yim
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Afghanistan, Baptism, baptize, Breast is Best, breastfeeding, Catholic Church, church, Iman, malnourish, Muslim, Pope, Pope Francis, poverty, religion, third world | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips, Must Read
Sunday, January 5th, 2014
Yes, I’m alive. Yes, this will sound like one of the countless form letters you received over the holidays, and no, it won’t be nearly as interesting.
I just want to say that we finally moved 4 days before Christmas, which was 3 days after I got the stomach flu, 2 days after Phil got it, and 1 day before my sitter got it. I predicted my demise in my last post two weeks ago, so I can’t say I was surprised to wake up two midnight’s later barfing. Now it’s been a week since Emmett got pink eye and 5 days since Phil followed suit. I need to sage our new house for good health karma.
Despite some of these bumps, we managed to buy a real, live tree, decorate it, and settle into our house amid the cacophony of Christmas music competing with chain saws and sanders by our construction crew.
Now I am overcome with gratitude for the beautiful house we own and for an amazing crew who made it happen. I am so grateful for my health and that of my family’s. Whenever I get really sick, which isn’t often, it gives me such perspective on how people with chronic conditions have the will/stamina to fight. I could barely move for at least a day, and I kept thinking, I don’t know how they do it. I think I would give up. I hope I never have to make that decision.
As I go into the year 2014, I plan on getting my writing back on track. I’ve missed it. I also want to make this a year in which I move a little slower. Not physically, because I happen to be a fast walker and I like to run. I’m talking more on a macro level. I don’t want to become so frazzled that I buy meat again from pseudo-Jesse on Breaking Bad, or that I get so stressed out that I come down with the stomach flu (though that may have happened no matter what). I feel really present with my kids, so they aren’t part of my resolution. But they are the reasons for them.
I plan on committing myself to yoga and running at least twice a week. I also want to commit to eating healthy in a way that I can reduce my cholesterol, which has gotten too high for my liking. I’m not a young parent, but I plan to be an old one. My mind body and spirit all need to be nurtured a little.
None of this out of reach. These are my realistic goals (and please tell me yours. It’s fun to hear).
Okay friends, this is where my boring Christmas letter ends and my New Year begins.
It’s good to be back.
(This picture was taken from our window on moving day. Pretty cool, huh?)
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Monday, December 23rd, 2013
Joe DeProspero has two sons, a wife, and is complimentary birth control for anyone who sits near him in a restaurant. His writing has been described as “outrageous,” “painfully real,” and “downright humiliating.” He talks about the highs and unsettling lows of parenthood while always being entertaining and engaging in the process. Author of the dark comedy fiction novel “The Boy in the Wrinkled Shirt,” Joe is working on a parenting humor book. He currently lives in New Jersey and can be emailed at email@example.com or followed on Twitter @JoeDeProspero.
The Internet, if you weren’t aware, is a pretty remarkable thing. It allows you to read this without walking to the newsstand and picking up a magazine or even so much as leaving the comfort of your own bed. It also spawned the onset of social media, allowing us the previously unheard of ability to seamlessly connect with complete strangers with a single click and to form bonds with them without so much as being introduced. And those people could change our lives. In the spring of 2012, I was about to find out how.
When my mom passed away last April, I wrote a rather detailed blog about it and posted to Facebook. I realized pretty quickly how far-reaching an Internet community can be when several friends shared the blog on their timeline, and then some of their friends shared it. Before I knew it, hundreds of strangers were reading about my grief, and many of them had been through a similar experience. It was quite healing, actually. Easily one of the most remarkable people I met through this process was Matt Kabel. A friend of my brother-in-law’s and a parent himself, he and I became fast virtual friends, commenting on each other’s posts, making each other laugh with snarky comments, etc. I felt like I’d met a kindred spirit, and I always looked forward to Matt’s entertaining analysis of life.
Then, this past summer, I read a post from Matt that was anything but funny. His baby daughter, Sally, at only 10 months old, was diagnosed with Leukemia. As I read the words, I sat in stunned silence for a while. Like any parent would, I imagined receiving such news about one of my own children, and my eyes welled up with tears. And not only did he have to deal with his own sadness, but had the task (along with his wife, Nicole) of keeping it together for Sally’s two older brothers, Thomas (7) and William (4). I recently spoke with Matt about the situation, and specifically how he was planning to approach the upcoming holidays. But the overall tone was not one of defeat, but determination and hope. Here’s what Matt had to say about cancer, its effects on his family, and the resilient little girl known as “Sweet Sally Sunshine.”
The lovely “Sweet Sally Sunshine” striking a pose at home
How did you handle telling your sons about Sally’s condition?
MK: After we found out, MSK (Memorial Sloan Kettering) actually gave us a children’s book on cancer, so Nicole sat down with Thomas and explained it to him that way. He took to reading the book and actually knew more about cancer than either of us early on. William was too young to understand, and still is. All he knows is that Sally is “sick.” One time he was ill and asked if he was going to get a feeding tube, so we have to be careful what and how we communicate. The hospital told us not to use words like ‘medicine’ to refer to chemo as we have to keep a differentiation between chemo and the medicines the boys would take (Tylenol, etc.).
Thomas and William (top to bottom)
Do you feel that you’re keeping the spirit of Christmas going for your kids’ benefit, or your own?
MK: Both. We’ll never forget the day we arrived at MSK and a nurse told us that the kids with families who stayed positive and lived their lives are the ones that have a better chance of getting through this. Christmas has always been a big deal in our home, and celebrating it to its fullest is “normal” for the boys. It wouldn’t be right to not do it; it would feel like quitting. We have Christmas music playing in our kitchen all day and it adds a bounce to our steps.
The extremely festive Matt and Nicole as elves, Sally as a tree
How have Sally’s treatments stretched you as a family? And how important is it that you spend time together as a unit during the Christmas season?
MK: It’s hardest when Sally is admitted. Nicole and I vowed when this started that one of us would always be there with Sally at the hospital. At the same time, the boys need our attention as well, so it’s a constant juggling act trying to get them all the attention that they need. But when Sally is home, she requires more attention and maintenance. She has to take priority, so often the boys are told they need to wait when they want something.
Christmas is all about family, it is very important to Nicole and me that we are together Christmas week. Our hope is that we’ll be together as much as possible, and when we do have to separate, the boys are doing something Christmasy to enhance the holiday for them.
What would you like other parents to know who are dealing with a similar issue?
MK: Cancer is currently in the driver’s seat, and we’re often reminded of this. However, we can’t let that stop us from living our lives. We make mistakes like any parents, and do our best to learn from them. It’s our job as parents to give our kids a great childhood, and we simply can’t put that on hold while we deal with Sally’s current challenge. It’s also our job to remain positive and upbeat so that they will follow our lead. Cancer may alter our holiday, but in no way are we going to let it dampen our Christmas spirit. As Santa says in Miracle on 34th Street – “Christmas isn’t just a day; it’s a frame of mind.”
Days after this interview, the Kabel family received the gifts in the image above and a $5,000 check for Sally’s treatments from PS19 in Staten Island, NY, making Christmas that might brighter for Matt, Nicole and the kids. Also, a charitable organization known as Bay Ridge Cares has held a fundraiser for Sally Kabel, offer rides to and from the hospital for her family and have organized meal trains for them. It’s hard not to smile knowing there are people in our world doing this kind of selfless good for others.
If it isn’t obvious, I’m grateful to have crossed paths with a family like the Kabels. Whenever I’m missing my mother, doubting that I have the strength necessary to act as “ambassador of Christmas” for my kids, I think of the admirable manner in which the Kabels are rising up against adversity in the name of Santa for their children, and I’m that much more certain that it’s possible for all of us. I’ve never even met Matt in person. But he’s still one of the most inspirational people I’ve ever come across. In fact, he’s in many ways the father I aspire to be. And I hope that if you’re ever feeling overwhelmed by the holiday season, you will think of the Kabels and their tremendous example of perseverance and strength, personifying the true spirit of Christmas.
In closing, I’m happy to report that Matt and Nicole have been told by the nurses that they should be able to have Sally home for Christmas Day. But whether at home or huddled together in a cancer ward, I know for certain that the Christmas spirit will follow the Kabels, no matter the location. And if for whatever reason you still doubt Matt Kabel’s relentless devotion to his family’s happiness, check out his very public tribute below…
Matt competed in a triathlon in August, donning this tutu in honor of Sally.
That, my friends, is love.
For more information on Sally, go to www.facebook.com/sweetsallysunshine or for regular blog updates on her progress, go to www.sweetsallysunshine.com. Also, you can make a contribution directly to Sally by clicking here.
For those who celebrate it, have a Merry Christmas. Hug often. And God bless Sally.
As always, feel entirely free to join the conversation by adding a comment below!
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Thursday, November 21st, 2013
I like to think I’m not a helicopter parent. I certainly worry but I try not to hover. And as much as I want Fia and Emmett to stay with me forever and never leave (kidding, but I do have my moments of wanting to bottle this time in my life with them) I consider it my duty to teach them independence from me.
I see friends who coddle their kids incessantly. I had a playdate once where Fia took a toy from a kid. She was 2. The mom kind of freaked. “Fia, give the toy back. You can’t take it from her,” she yelled. But the little girl wasn’t even playing with the toy. Nor did she care. Still, I instantly made sure Fia promptly returned the toy. I want to teach my kids to share, and no, I don’t believe in the RIE movement of letting your kids work everything out on their own. But sometimes we hover too much. Or not enough. Hard to say.
Sidenote: here is my favorite RIE moment: a mom brings her kid over and he finds a 4 foot long tree branch and starts waving it around, nearly pummeling Fia. Instead of taking the stick away she says, “I try not to get too involved because I want him to learn the space around him.” Um, okay, what about my child’s brain that almost got fractured? RIE parenting at its finest. Needless to say she never came over again.
So now I ask: who is aware of Stephanie Metz and the blog post she wrote, about helicopter parenting and bullying, that went viral? Who agrees and disagrees with what she is saying? On many points, I agree with her. But on others, I think she needs to realize that with bullying, we do live in a different world than the one she and I grew up in. There were not the Columbines and the Newtowns of the world. I’m guessing since she lives in North Dakota, she is pro-gun. Most people in that part of the country are. So her “world” is probably different from someone who is raising a kid in LA, Chicago or NYC.
Nevertheless, here are some of her points (and click here to read the entire blog):
Many years ago, there was a time where young boys could run around with their toy guns, killing the bad guys. You could take the toy guns away from the little boys, and they’d find something else around them – a stick, their fingers, etc – and pretend it was a gun. Today, those little boys – if caught doing that – are labeled as threats, and immediate action is taken to remove that threat from the group.
I don’t totally buy that. I know plenty of little boys who run around playing pretend gun who don’t get removed from their group or school. But with gun violence at record numbers, shouldn’t gun-playing other than the Lone Ranger and Tonto, be, if not discouraged, at least not encouraged? And I do know that boys typically do display that behavior even if they grow up in an anti-gun house. They just pick it up somewhere, like preschool. I will say that I am not going to encourage Emmet to run around “playing gunfight” and I’m not going to buy him a toy gun. At least not now. Maybe when he’s 7 my perspective will change.
Your child, who you cater to every need, who you shelter from all things “evil.” How will this child react when he or she grows into adulthood? ”Debbie” graduates from high school and goes to college. She writes her first paper and meets with her professor about that paper and the professor tells her that it’s junk and it will get a failing grade. How will Debbie cope with that if she’s always been made to feel that no one should ever make her feel sad, or criticize anything she does?
I totally agree with her. That’s why I’m against giving rewards for every little accomplishment. Or when they play team sports and “everybody wins.” Kids need to learn how to lose. Just like they need to learn how to be bored (in regards to my technology post this week that frankly scared the crap out of me with the new research related to kids and boredom). And I do think technology has a lot to do with this as well.
Stephanie writes about how kids grow up and find rejection in the workplace and the real world. She writes about how they can’t handle it. I agree. Kids can’t learn coping skills on any level when they grow up buried in their gadgets. They can’t learn proper socialization either. So for me, this is a combo of helicopter parenting and parenting with your iPad. She seems on the mark with that too.
My children are all but ignored when they ask for something without using manners. They understand that when someone addresses or speaks to them, they are to speak back. When we go out to eat, we don’t take 5 electronic devices to keep them “entertained” for the 15 minutes we have to wait for our food. If Hendrix is “bored” (and I use that term loosely), then he can put on his jacket and go play outside.
But where I don’t agree with her is in her stance on bullying.
There was a time – not too long ago – when bullying was defined as slamming someone up against a locker and stealing their lunch money. There was a time when kids got called names and got picked on, and they brushed it off and worked through it (ask me how I know this). Now, if Sally calls Susie a bitch (please excuse my language if that offends you), Susie’s whole world crumbles around her, she contemplates suicide, and this society encourages her to feel like her world truly has ended, and she should feel entitled to a world-wide pity party. And Sally – phew! She should be jailed! She should be thrown in juvenile detention for acting like – gasp – a teenage girl acts.
Again, factor in the technology. Factor in that peers can totally f–k with you on Facebook, Twitter, etc. This is the first generation where this is happening. And it’s not good. Add that to the peer pressure of a teenage boy and girl and we’ve seen tragic results. I don’t think kids who are bullied become suicidal solely because they had helicopter parents. But once again, when kids aren’t taught to lose, cope or be bored, it’s a lethal combination on many levels.
So go read her post, weigh in and let me know your thoughts. Her post went from 8 readers to over a million, so it’s worth taking a look at.
Get more insight on your parenting style with our quick quiz.
pic of helicopter and stroller via Shutterstock
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bullying, Gun control, gun fighting, gun violence, helicopter parents, kids and ipads, Metz family, Newtown, North Dakota, play guns, rie parenting, Stephanie Metz, technology addiction, television | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips, Must Read
Tuesday, November 12th, 2013
I get a bit giddy when it comes to snot. Slightly obsessed too. I am also happy to report Fia is actually beginning to blow her nose. She can push out some good stuff when she’s in the mood and really tries. I also have to beg her. And bribe her.
But I’m a bit confused on the color for snot when it comes to sickness. I always thought that clear meant no infection and you could be around other kids, but yellow or green meant an infection/contagious. However, my friend just told me that both her son’s teachers and her pediatrician said the opposite. They said that when the snot is clear it is contagious, since the cold is just starting. Yellow and green snot means it’s on its way out and you’re okay.
I looked online and got more confused. WebMD lists so many colors and variations, I need a color wheel and more brain cells to break it down. Dr. Oz said the opposite of what my friend was told:
- Clear/white: healthy
- Yellow/green: bacterial or viral infection
- Pink/red: bleeding or damaged tissue
So what’s the truth? Anyone?
I will tell you all about one device you must run out and get if you have a kid 3 or under. Not sure over 3 would tolerate it. Fia won’t. It is the most incredible thing I’ve ever experienced. It’s a snot sucker called The Nose Frida. But YOU suck out your kids’ snot. It sounds primitive (and gross to some). But it was developed by doctors in Sweden and we all know the Swedes are brilliant. You put a tube in your kids nose. On the other end of the connecting tube, you put your mouth. Then you suck. What comes out and the gratification that follows is nothing short of glorious. For the sucker. Not the one being sucked. Emmett shrieks. But what kid likes any of that stuff? Fia of course always wants me to do it to Emmett because when it comes to her little brother, she’s a bit of a masochist.
Warning: It’s not for the faint of heart. Phil gets so grossed out, he can’t even be in the same room. I, on the other hand, confessed recently to being a picker. So I think if you have the “picker gene” you’ll be as excited as I am.
BTW– It’s totally hygienic because there is a filter by your end of the tube. You never swallow your kids’ snot. It’s impossible.
Okay, let me know your thoughts on the color of snot so we can continue what I hope will be a very lively discussion.
Use this handy quiz to decide whether your kid is too sick for school. Plus, find out which 12 sick kid symptoms you should never ignore.
Image of snotty baby via Shutterstock
Photo of Nose Frida from Amazon
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clear snot, cold, contagious, contagious snot, green snot, infection, infection snot, nose aspirator, nose blowing, Nose Frida, Pediatrician, sick, snot, snot sucker, toddler nose blowing, yellow snot | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips, Must Read