Saturday, January 29, 2011

WAVE Blog Carnival

This is my contribution to WAVE's Blog Carnival "When did you become a Mormon Feminist?" If you aren't interested in Mormon feminism, it's probably not very interesting. It's really just me blabbering on for 13 minutes because for some reason that seemed like a better idea than rambling for 80 paragraphs on this blog. I haven't watched this all the way through yet because I'm not a fan of listening to myself- you know how your voice sounds nothing like you think it should! But yes, ramble ramble ramble. I left out a lot of stuff I wanted to add, but it was already 13 minutes long and I decided that was enough. You can always ask questions on this blog if I was unclear about anything or something piqued your interest.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Baby Foods

Isaac is 6 months old. This is exciting because introducing new foods to a baby and seeing their reactions is fun. I like the ideas of baby-led weaning because my babies can eat what we're eating and there's no extra work or money involved. I don't have to puree any foods and I don't have to buy baby foods. Easy peasy!

Now, there were a few issues- Isaac doesn't have teeth yet. He doesn't quite have his pincer grasp either. Nor do I think his tongue-thrust reflex has totally gone away. But because Margaret had started foods at six months and had no problems, and I assumed they both have similar genetic make-ups, I decided to ignore all that. Was my mom-sense which was telling me to wait? Yes. Did I listen? No. This is what happened.

Last week, I gave Isaac a slice of avocado to try. I think he might have gotten a pea-sized amount in his tummy. Maybe. I also let him try some rice. I don't think he got any in his tummy.

Then the banana. I handed him half a banana and let him have at. Five minutes later, he had thrown up all over the floor and himself. So maybe he wasn't ready.

Then, oh then! The next day I found blood in his stool. And then again. And then again- 3 poops in a row had blood. Banana did not agree with his system at all. I was feeling terrible for causing him so much pain.

I really should have waited until his tongue thrust reflex was gone. And he had the pincer grasp. And teeth. His system was not ready for new foods AT ALL.

So we're back to breastmilk only for him. I'm ok with this as it's more fun now that he can crawl and find my breast on his own; I can see he does really want it! Last night, I gave him a carrot and a celery root slice to teethe on, but since he doesn't have teeth yet, he's not ingesting any of them, just tasting them. I think that's a good start. He seems to like both so far.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Failed attempt at building this playhouse.

So we gave up and used a box instead.

This is Super Queen's castle.

Isaac getting into the diapers.

He found the toys as well.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Inquisition Monday: Twitter Version

This week, I got two questions from Betttina on Twitter.

@TopHat8855 Inquisition Monday: #newborn #cosleeping How was it different with DS than with DD? Inquiring minds want to know! #pregnant #23w

Good question! First, bedsharing has been different because there is not only one child in the bed; there are two. I'm up more in the night because I have to switch sides- whereas with only one child, I could stay on one side for a few hours. I sleep between Margaret and Isaac and I haven't quite figured out how to nurse two children while lying down.

As for the sleeping arrangement itself, we started with Margaret between me and McKay and Isaac on the outside of me. That worked well until Isaac started being mobile. Since Isaac is now a crawler, we have moved him to the middle and moved Margaret to the outside. McKay likes this because it means he doesn't get peed on if she wets the bed. I like it because it means that the bald spot on Isaac's head gets a rest and the side of his head that is full of hair gets more rubbed off on. I don't think the kids themselves have a preference.

Another change in our sleeping arrangement has been our apartment. When Margaret was a newborn, we had a studio apartment. The heater was in the one room and I found that Margaret would get really warm between us. This led to us never using pajamas for her. We now have a 2 bedroom apartment and the heater is in the kitchen, so the bedroom is pretty cold. Isaac and Margaret now wear pajamas because of that. But with 4 in the bed, I do find myself being a little too warm. Both of the kids like to snuggle me and it's quite an accomplishment if I can get out of bed in the morning without waking them.

We also have to stagger their bedtimes and naptimes. What has worked best for me is to nurse Isaac to sleep or get him almost-not-quite-to-sleep and then nurse Margaret to sleep. If I try it the other way around, I get Isaac crawling on Margaret and that just doesn't help.

I think Isaac is a heavier sleeper at night; he can go longer without nursing. But for his naps, he's the lighter sleeper. One day last week, I had to go lie down with him twice to get him back to sleep during his nap. Margaret didn't wake at all.

Next question!
@TopHat8855 Inquisition Thurs! How'd you drink your chlorophyll? Mine says to mix w/ water/juice, but, um, it doesn't stay down. #pregnancy

Ooh liquid chlorophyll. Definitely not the tastiest, but it wasn't the worst either. I just took a spoonful and swallowed as fast as I could. I didn't bother mixing it with anything. I sometimes followed that up with water. I found Floravital/Floradix to be surprisingly sweet, so that was also a follow-up. If its taste is too much, I might try putting it in a smoothie. Any of my readers have any suggestions?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Tale of Two Families

It's interesting being an adult child. All growing up, you only see one family and can't imagine how a family might be run differently or behave differently. Then you meet people from different families and it's kind of mind-blowing. Last month, after thinking a lot about Nature? Nurture? Neither? More? and what my goal is as a parent, I was looking up my friends' Christmas photos on Facebook. I ran into a friend of mine who was in my stake during my youth. His parents had stake callings and sometimes chaperoned the youth dances, so I went through his pictures, curious to find out how the past decade had changed his family. They are happy, cheery, and surrounded by Christmas decorations: poinsettias and evergreens galore! A couple of the pictures gave me pause.

I knew my friend, Dan, from stake dances and youth conferences and he graduated high school the same year I did. He went on a mission, graduated from BYU, met the love of his life there and moved to Massachusetts to marry that love, Michael, this past June. I don't know all of his story, but I know that his journey as a gay Mormon has put some strain on his family, so when his Facebook status said that he was home for the holidays, I thought, "Home? As in Illinois? No. He must mean he's settled in his new apartment from that recent move." But I looked, and no, he meant home in Illinois. 

So I was surprised that he was excited to go back to Illinois for Christmas (O'Hare? Really? At Christmastime?). The first picture that spoke to me was of Dan's sister and Michael in a picture together with their arms around each other. Wow, I thought, that family must be doing something right. The second picture was of Dan's entire family: parents and siblings and Michael, all together. Smiles. 

Now, I have personal experience with "Hmm. How do we look like we like each other without actually having to like each other" pictures, and these are not those. You know when someone smiles, really smiles, their eyes smile? That's what that picture is.

On the other end of the spectrum, I have a friend I met in Provo. She's a church-going, calling magnifying, married in the temple, mom to a little girl and another on the way. Her husband just scored his dream job and they are living the dream. You might think her parents can die happy- after all, every one is temple-married and sealed and all that jazz. You'd think that, that is, if they knew they were grandparents. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, the attitude of unconditional love was lost and so my friend, "Renee", has not spoken to her parents in over 5 years. In fact, I use a made-up name because she does not want her family to find her through internet searches.

Renee doesn't feel safe with her parents and doesn't want her children to be exposed to the dynamics in her family, so she cut them off entirely. If you were to ask Renee's parents if they love her, they would probably say, "Yes!" But to her, their actions haven't said that and so for the time being, and perhaps for the rest of their lives, they can not have a relationship with her.

Renee might represent an extreme case, but it's not so far-fetched that it doesn't exist. It does. And when I think of Dan and Renee's families, I wonder what it was exactly, that Dan's family did to be able to assure Dan that he is loved and a welcome member of their family. I know that he had been open on some level about his journey surrounding his sexual orientation and that his parents were there for him even when he was a teen. And then, by the time Christmas 2010 came along, he was excited to come home, and the family there was loving and inclusive. This is a feat considering that Mormons and gays don't really have the best track record for peace and acceptance. His parents did something right since he made it through his teen and early 20s years without giving up on them or himself.

And then I bring it back to my own family. I have a Margaret and an Isaac. I hope that as I parent, they feel assured that I really do love them unconditionally, and I hope they know they can come to me with all the messy details of their lives. I remember my teen years and the distress I went through that I didn't think I could talk about to anyone- let alone my parents. And yet, out there, there are parents who are able to help their children make that jump into personhood. I want to be one of those parents.

And that is the issue I wrestle with most as a parent. How do make sure that my children really feel loved and accepted? How do I make sure that they feel safe with me now and in the future? Every day I hope that the things I do translate into, "You are welcome here."

Monday, January 17, 2011

Life Update

Isaac is 6 months today. According to the scale this morning, he is a healthy 19 pounds. He has been sitting up on his own for about a month and army crawls. He can pull himself to standing on the couch or on me. He's very happy and loves to laugh at Margaret's antics. They can really get each other going. He has lots of chunks and a mullet. He lights up whenever he sees someone he loves.

Margaret is 2 and a half and loves parties. She likes to pretend she is a "Super Queen!" with a cape and a crown. She loves her friends and talks about them all the time. She loves books. She can really ham it up with Isaac and is hilarious.

McKay is enjoying his first full-time job with real benefits and is finishing up his thesis. And I got him a few video games for Christmas, so he's been working on those. Plant vs. Zombies!

Meanwhile, I'm around. I have a few ongoing projects and they are all going very well. I have a couple of blog posts in my queue and I don't really feel the need to add a lot to my plate. There are things I'd like to start up, but right now the feeling I'm getting is to just go with the flow and wait a few months to really start something big. I have enough things on the side to keep me busy: I'm leading the ward bookclub discussion of Anna Karenina next month, I just got called to teach Sunbeams, and I'm working out the logistics to get myself to the Women's Lives, Women's Voices conference and Sunstone West. I'm really excited about those. And if you head over to LDS Wave today, I have a couple of questions about serving the community- timely for today's MLK Day of service.

So that's what's up. I haven't been posting here as regularly as I used to, but I'm still around. I'm sure something big is right around the corner.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Body Slam!

I was going to do a serious post today and then I realized, "I don't have time to be serious." So I drew this up and took a picture of it for you all. We need a scanner. And I need art skills.

It's titled, "Dr. Planck teaches Sunday School for the first and last time" or "Jesus wants me for a photon."

You can tell the stick figures are sitting in chairs, right? Right?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Inquisition Monday

I'm Just Saying had a question last week:

I want to take an appetite suppresant (diet pill) from Walmart but how much do you feel really goes through the breast milk? I have been really good at my choices of healthy foods and making sure I am careful for her but I have just cant lose the last 8 or so pounds from my pregnancy. I haven't taken anything and I just want your advice ..

I actually don't know much about appetite suppressants, but my first impulse is to direct you to Thomas Hale's book, Medications and Mother's Milk. It's updated every 2 years and it is pretty much considered the go-to book on breastfeeding and medications. It looks at how the medication affects both the child and the mother's supply. Libraries don't normally have it, but if you can find an IBCLC or an LLL leader, they should know someone who has a copy and can direct you there.

The sad news is that many moms find that breastfeeding is what keeps those pounds on. I've heard it explained that your body has to be ready to have extra stores of nutrients in case you suddenly find yourself in famine. I personally think of it like hormonal birth control. Sometimes hormonal birth controls causes a woman to gain 5 or 10 pounds simply because the hormonal make up of her body has changed and it can't be lost until you go off the birth control. Well, when you're breastfeeding, the hormonal make up of your body is different from when you weren't and it's going to cling onto the pounds until weaning.

Now, just like not every woman gains weight when going on the pill, not every woman's body is going to cling to those extra pounds while breastfeeding. But unfortunately, you don't know if you're one of them until you try.

So in conclusion: try a finding that book and be patient with yourself. I'm sorry I don't have a copy myself. I should get on that! I hope that answered your question.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Oh the Bureaucracy!

Yesteryday, Isaac's social security card came in the mail.

You all want to hear that saga, don't you? Yes, you do.

Once upon a time, when Isaac was 13 days old, McKay and I found a babysitter for Margaret and we went downtown to file for a birth certificate. Everything went well because I had everything: a utility bill in my name, proof of pregnancy from Planned Parenthood, a baby. Everything. The lady who filed it said we were the second couple she's processed who has done an unassisted birth. And then we were given pamphlets about well baby visits and whooping cough and we went home.

A couple of weeks later, I went to vital statistics and got a copy of the birth certificate. One down. Now we needed to get one more form of identification and we were set for a social security card! And according to the SSA website, a religious record can count if you don't have the regular things (passport, medical records, etc).

So three months into Isaac's life, he was blessed and we got the little certificate with the bishop's signature. It had Isaac's date and city of birth and our names, so it was pretty official.

I went into Social Security, picked a number, and waited. Isaac was in the mei tai and Margaret was being 2. When my number was called, I went up to the desk, gave them the paperwork and was denied. According to the lady who was working, a birth certificate and religious record count as the same kind of identity: age and citizenship, but not identity. Nevermind that if you read that link above, it says that you can use a religious record if it has the child's name and age and parents' names. So I was turned away, and told to bring in medical records. When I told the lady we didn't have any, she ignored me. I did retort, "How is the signature of a doctor he's never seen before going to provide more proof of identity than the signature of a bishop who sees us weekly?" But of course, she's just a cog in the system and sent us away.

So now we were in a small bind. I wasn't able to get insurance in California when we moved because I was pregnant- I was told to try after the birth. And then, by the time we had Isaac, there were only a few more months and we'd hopefully get insurance through McKay's work. So we just kept paying the Utah-based insurance figuring that if something really bad happened, we'd have to pay out of area prices, but we'd still have something. Of course, at this point (October), a future job with Pixar wasn't looking very good as they weren't really hiring in the department McKay was working for. So yeah.

I called up a local clinic that says they see everyone and scheduled a well baby visit. All I needed was a doctor to weigh and measure Isaac, say he exists, and then take the medical records to social security. No big deal. When we get to the clinic, I find out that I have to pay $150. Cash. Before the exam. Now, if we had medicaid, we'd get in no problem. And really, $150 was doable, but not something I had on me at the time, so I rescheduled and went home. This "free" social security card was going to cost us a pretty penny.

I decided to try calling around to doctors that our insurance would cover out-of-state. The first one I called was a family practitioner. They told me they didn't see children under 16. I'm not sure what part of "family" means "people only in their late teens and above" but whatever. Next, I called a pediatrician on the list but I wouldn't be able to get an appointment for at least a month, and by the way, why do I need an appointment? I told the secretary my social security woes and she commiserated with me, "That can't be right!" but in the end, couldn't do anything for me. I checked one more place and an initial visit was $180, so $150 wasn't looking too bad.

Then I decided since I should be pre-authorizing these visits, I'll call up the insurance. I call them, ask them to pre-authorize an out-of-state well baby visit and I'm told they don't do that because well baby visits are considered preventative care and they don't pre-authorize out-of-area preventative care. I pretty much just broke down and told the person, "I know this isn't your problem, but we just need a visit so we can get a social security number!" They told me I could file a complaint, but that's all. So I decided we'd just give up.

In November, a job suddenly opened up at Pixar due to unforeseen circumstances and in December, we got health insurance! Yay! Party on! But I decided to give it another go with the social security office before scheduling an appointment for Isaac. This time I took the birth certificate, blessing certificate, and the print out of that page I linked to above. Same thing as last time: take a number, wait, go up to the counter.

I gave them the certificates and again, I'm asked about medical records. I pull out the page I printed off and said, "Well, here," I point to the page, "it says that in the absence of medical records, a religious record will do." The lady doesn't argue with me and just puts all the information in the computer. I let her know that the blessing was a naming ceremony, so she checked that box and we went home being told a social security number will be issued and a card sent to us in 5-7 days. Meanwhile, holidays happened.

And the card showed up yesterday. In 15 years, Isaac can get a job. Go him!

And I figured out how to get a birth certificate and social security card in the state of California without paying for more than the copy of the birth certificate!
I'm doing a little dance. Doo doo doo doo doo doo. Please ignore my inability to keep my verbs in the same tense. I know it's a grammatical mess, but I don't care. I'm dancing.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Monday, January 03, 2011


Last week on Facebook, a professor of mine from BYU posted this video called the "Eight Great Goods." Meanwhile, I had been considering whether or not I should do a "Year End Post" like everyone else in Blogland and had been thinking about what blogging has taught me. And that movie touched on it well.

In my journey of blogging, now for over 5 years, if there is one thing I have learned, I have learned that most, if not all, of the conflicts between people stem from priorities and where they lie. Basically, we place priorities of things in our lives and conflicts arise when we run into people who have their priorities in a different order than we do. And it's ok that they do that- it's part of how we are all different people- it's just something we need to recognize.

Let me explain with a few basic examples from my life.

For me, I value bodily and individual autonomy over family relationships- even my marriage relationship. It's what causes me to write posts like these. When I read of other women's experiences that involved, "Well, we didn't have a homebirth/UC because my husband/partner wasn't on board," my brain screams, "But it's YOUR body! Isn't that important to you?!" because someone telling me how to use my uterus- no matter who that person is- feels like an affront to my person and everything I stand for. But you see, I'm guessing that on the other side of the screen, when those women read the posts I linked to above, they are similarly screaming, "But it's your marriage/relationship! Isn't that important to you?!"

The thing is both answers are "Yes." I would guess that both me and those women would say, "Yes, my body is important to me. Yes, my marriage/relationship is important to me." The difference is where we place those in importance. The key is recognizing that.

One thing that really bugs me is the "Agree to disagree." I was once discussing spanking with someone at a party and I really really really cannot condone spanking ever. Really, I can't. And they were giving the standard pro-spanking arguments (let's not go into it here- this post is about priorities) and then decided to say, "Let's agree to disagree." I could not do that. Saying, "Fine, we disagree, and that's ok," made me feel like I was saying, "I think it's fine if you spank your future children." No, I can't agree to that. But as I thought about it later, what I could have agreed to is, "Well, it looks like we have different priorities." Yes, I can agree to that. Not striking my children ever- on their hands, on their butt, etc- is high on my priorities. More so than getting obedience from them. But I know many people who value obedience and that's just that. Sort of. Let's move on.

My point is that what I've learned from blogging- from commenters who disagree with me and blogs I read where you can find a lot of discussion on controversy- is that arguments stem from different people having different priorities. From breastfeeding to birthing to discipline to whether a home is neat (which I value very little, but I know some people put a lot of value in that) or if you attain a college degree- and even on a bigger scales between political parties and countries, between businesses and individuals- it comes down to priorities. And it's not necessarily that one particular idea should be valued over others. What we value is shaped by our experiences. And that's the same for everyone across the globe.

So that's what blogging has taught me. It has helped me be more at peace with the world. If I haven't made any sense, let me know in the comments. I'll try to clear things up.

Happy New Year!