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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
Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013
Cynthia Roelle, mom to a 2-year-old daughter and award-winning photographer, offers a homemade gift alternative to store bought toys while making a point about excessive consumerism.
Jill’s recent blog about Toy Overload really struck a chord with me. How many toys are too many? How do you measure? Whom do you measure against? Who’s to say?
In 2008 on a trip to Rwanda, my husband and I came across a bunch of kids who had made a bicycle out of wood. Wood. I mean every part of the bicycle was made of wood. Okay, maybe there was a nail or two holding the wheel (also wood) on but everything else was wood. The most striking thing about the bike was that it didn’t belong to any one kid. It belonged to all of the kids in the village. Collectively. They took turns riding it, without fighting or crying. Can you imagine?
In another village we found kids playing with a soccer ball they had made from discarded plastic bags. This was all the more impressive because plastic bags are banned in Rwanda, which makes them hard to come by. What will they play with when their makeshift soccer ball is nothing but tattered shreds? I’m pretty sure they’ll come up with something ingenious.
Not long after returning from Rwanda my husband and I moved to Hawaii. Oh man, to be a kid in Hawaii. Year-round fun in the sun. In the military community where we lived there were kids galore. It wasn’t hard to figure out who in the neighborhood had kids (which, apparently, was everybody but us) because their yards looked like a cross between a gigantic yard sale and a trash dump. Full of every toy imaginable.
But here’s the thing. You almost never saw kids playing with any of that junk. Like kids around the world, they ran around in packs doing what kids do.
The toy disparity between the Rwandan kids and the kids in Hawaii was hard to swallow. My husband and I made a pact that if we had kids the rule in our household would be: get a toy, give a toy. That is, for every toy received, our kids would have to choose one toy to give away.
Four years later, we now have a little girl. Our house (and yard) has not been inundated with toys. Since our daughter was a newborn I’ve been going through her toys about every other month and pulling out the things she has outgrown or now shows no interest in. Some I pass on to friends, some I save for later, some I donate.
Many of her toys are hand-me-downs anyway, from her twin cousins who are 9 months older. We get the toys they’ve outgrown and send them back when we’re done with them. My sister then passes them on to others.
I’ll admit I haven’t actually implemented the get a toy, give a toy rule. In my defense, our daughter is only 2½—old enough to realize that in our house, toys sometimes disappear.
After Christmas my daughter caught me squirreling away some of her toys and wanted to know what I was doing with them. I explained how fortunate she is to have so many toys and how it’s good to give some of her toys to kids who don’t have any. Surprisingly, she seemed okay with it. When she’s a little older I’ll have her choose the toys she wants to give away and together we’ll go to donate them.
That’s all well and good but it doesn’t get to the root of the problem of having too many toys to begin with. Jill mentioned that she felt they received too many toys at Christmas. She wouldn’t have that problem if she was related to me.
My sister has no qualms about asking people not to buy toys for her boys because they have so much. You don’t have to tell me twice. I still want to do nice things for my nephews of course, but instead of sending toys, I send supplies for a simple craft. I send everything—supplies, instructions and a picture of my daughter with the finished craft—and my sister gets to make it with her boys. Our Easter craft is a perfect example. My daughter is on the left; my nephews are the other two.
Okay, so our mangy bunnies would make Martha Stewart cringe but I truly believe we all got something out of this. It helps that my sister is the least creative person on the planet, but still.
And the best part—no more junk! We can throw it away when we’re done. It’s just an idea to throw out there for those of us who think toy overload is something to overhaul. Especially when you know that kids have the creative capacity to come up with far more than we give them credit for. For some, just having a plastic bag or a piece of wood is enough. That’s by necessity, but we can still learn from their examples.
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Africa, American, baby gifts, birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, consumerism, craft, creative gifts, excess toys, homemade gifts, junk, poor, poverty, Rwanda, toddler gifts, toddler toys | Categories:
Cynthia's Guest Blog, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips, Must Read
Tuesday, March 12th, 2013
I am sitting here holding back tears. My intention this morning was to write a blog asking you guys for the best toy recommendations. I found myself bored while playing with Emmett yesterday. I got to thinking, maybe like me, he’s sick of all his toys too.
But no, that’s not why my heart aches…
I’m tired of the hippo that has the pieces you put in to match colors and shapes. I’m sick of the music table that cranks out tunes in Spanish and English. I’m sick of the 500 building blocks–and in particular the whining that ensues–when Fia builds and Emmett knocks down.
Poor me. Poor us…
“Emmett, stop!” she screams, then shoves him. He starts crying. I threaten a time out for her. I hold him. This scenario is repeated throughout my day.
Oh, how very sad right? But fear not. My heart isn’t aching because of my difficult life…
I’m even sick of the 103 books we have. Because as great as books are for kids, come on. Let’s face it. Every few months they get into a few favorites. But at the rate we are getting books (me included–I love to buy them), they will never get through even a fraction of them.
And don’t even get me started on all the stuffed animals. Especially because you can’t donate them due to sanitary reasons. We probably have at least 150.
So back to my boredom yesterday. My thought was, hmmm…maybe I’ll ask my readers what their favorite toys are/were for their babies at 14 months old. Particularly boys. Then I can go get more crap. Yes crap. To help entertain me and my kid.
Nope, this still isn’t why my heart aches…even though I can understand all of your sympathy…
How quickly I forgot about my utter annoyance at Christmas by all the toys people sent us. On Christmas Eve, I counted 27 presents under our tree. Only 4 of those were for Phil and me. Instead of feeling blessed, I felt gross. Family members love to send our babies gifts. I get it. But honestly, we don’t need them. They clutter up our space and instead of our kids learning to enjoy a few precious toys, they get bored and inundated with too many. It’s the classic consumerism of America. It begins at birth. And seems to never end…I ended up giving a bunch of stuff to a toy drive.
As a side note: I also found myself resentful. Since they bought so much, we had very little to get for Fia or Emmett ourselves. We got them each one thing. As parents, we know how much fun it is to watch them open gifts. But it would be more fun if the majority of gifts were from us. Plus, then there would probably be six toys. In total. I felt a bit robbed by everyone else who took the liberty of buying them so many toys.
But back to my heart ache…
So there I sat yesterday, the indulgent, gross American, bored, as I pulled out toys from one of our 8 brimming baskets. And by the way, the toys at the bottom of those baskets never see the light of day. Again, I use the word gross.
I sat down at my computer to crank out this blog when I got an email from my brother. It was a link to a site. It was crushing. I can’t pull the pictures from the site because of copyright. So I just ask all of you to take a moment and click on this link. It hurt my soul. It slapped me in the face. Hard. Pull it up now, then come back to finish reading my blog. I will wait………
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Africa, American, baby gifts, birthday gifts, birthday party, Christmas gifts, consumerism, gabriele galimberti, italian photographer, poor, poverty, toddler gifts, toys | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips, Must Read