30 June 2008


How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?

~Satchel Paige~
I still live in the town I grew up in. I still have a few friends from high school that I see regularly. I think because I have continued to see them, they still look the same to me. It's different when I run into people I haven't seen in 20 years.

While shopping today I saw someone I went to high school with. I wasn't really friends with her, she was in the class below me. But I knew who she was. When I saw her I knew it was her. It looked just liked her. Except (wait for it.....) She looked REALLY OLD!!!!!!

I can't comprehend this old thing. I see myself everyday and I don't think I look old. I see my sister (who is 5 years older than me) and my friends who are the same age as me....and I don't think we look old. But then I run into someone I haven't seen in years and she looks old. And it wasn't just this woman. Every time I see someone from high school whom I haven't seen in 20 years, they look old to me. Which must mean I look old to them.

I don't feel old. Sure some days my body hurts in places it never used to. I certainly don't have the physique I had 20 years ago, but my brain, it feels the same. When I look at myself, aside from the grey hair and the laugh lines, I look the same. At least I think I do...(I suppose my hubby may beg to differ). How did I get to be 40 years old?

I can't understand people who say every birthday is their 29th. I am not a fan of plastic surgery. I do think I can grow old gracefully. It's not the looking old or even the number that bothers me. It's the actual aging......getting old. I just can't wrap my mind around it. I can't imagine myself in 20 years. When I am 60 will I still think I look the same? Will I still think I feel the same? Do you ever reach a point where it hits you that you are just not the same person you were when you were 20? Because I know right now at 40, I still feel like the same person.

I'm afraid of getting old. I don't want to die. I don't want to even think about dying. It scares the crap out of me. I know as a Christian I shouldn't feel this way, but I do. I throw myself into a panic attack every time I think about getting old and dying. I have this brain that needs to know. I need to know exactly what is going to happen. I need assurance. I am freaked out about the whole idea of forever and forever. How can something be forever and ever? How can God have no beginning and no end? Everything has a beginning and an end. These are the thoughts that keep me up at night.

So I just go on doing what I do. Living day to day. I don't like to think too far into the future, because the future is unknown and I don't do well with the unknown. I know the end will come for me. It comes for everyone. That's just the way it is. (Freaking out here!) And the way I feel time flying by, I know it will be sooner than I think. I feel like my first 40 years went by so quickly, and I am sure the last 40 will feel twice as fast. Maybe I can make it to 100, and so maybe I have 60 more years to look forward to. Maybe I am not at the 1/2 way point yet. Maybe I need to keep telling myself that. Even if my body starts to fail me, I wonder if I will still feel 20 in my mind when I am 100?

The great secret that all old people share is that you really haven't changed in seventy or eighty years. Your body changes, but you don't change at all. And that, of course, causes great confusion.

~Doris Lessing~

Unconscious Mutterings time again

    Here I go again........

  1. Loneliness :: sadness

  2. Traffic :: maddening

  3. Chaos :: swirling

  4. Burp :: loudly

  5. 500 :: I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more (the Proclaimers : )

  6. Movie :: Theater

  7. Coma :: tose

  8. Bark :: bite

  9. Stare :: longingly

  10. Angelina :: ballerina

Not sure what this is telling me about my psyche, but I enjoy doing it!

Want to give it a try? Unconscious Mutterings

26 June 2008

Right to Bear Arms

In light of today's proper ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States, I thought I would share a few pictures my hubby took of our youngest daughter this last weekend.

My husband and I were sitting on our deck enjoying the weather and a few brewskies (that's beer for those not familiar with Chicago lingo : )

My youngest daughter came out to see us, and she was wearing her finest commando outfit. No reason for said outfit, she just found some things that matched and put them on. This inspired my hubby to run to the basement and retrieve a few of his guns so he could take some pictures of our lovely daughter holding them.

She normally has a much happier look on her face......she was trying to look mean, LOL.

I am happy to know that we will continue to have the legal right to own our guns, and that we will be able to teach our daughters how to arm and defend themselves when they get older.

I always like it when our government gets something right.

"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."

~Thomas Jefferson, Proposed Virginia Constitution, 1776, Jefferson Papers 344~

22 June 2008

Unconscious Mutterings

It's Unconscious Mutterings time again............

  1. Goodbye :: Hello

  2. Cage :: Bird

  3. Buddy :: Friend

  4. Magic words :: Please

  5. Library :: Read

  6. Fall in love :: Sweet

  7. Tense :: Stressed

  8. Work! :: Play

  9. Empty :: Full

  10. Heat wave :: Love it!

Want to give it a try?

Unconscious mutterings

21 June 2008


Saw a pretty good movie last night. It's called "Once". It's kind of a musical/bittersweet love story. Here's what it says on the "official" site for the movie:

"A modern day musical set on the streets of Dublin. Featuring Glen Hansard from the Irish band "The Frames," the film tells the story of a street musician and a Czech immigrant during an eventful week as they write, rehearse and record songs that reveal their unique love story."

My 13 year old daughter and I really enjoyed it. It has a bit of foul language (lots of the F-word), but hey, it's Irish!

I put most of the songs from the movie on my playlist below.......they are playing now if you have it on. If you like the music, you'll like the movie : )


God made all the creatures and gave them our love and our fear,To give sign, we and they are His children, one family here.

~Robert Browning~

I have a new beastie in my yard. It's a Groundhog, aka Woodchuck, aka Whistlepig......yes Whistlepig.....who knew?

So on top of the squirrels, mice, birds, raccoons, possums, (stray cats) and the occasional skunk, we now have a Groundhog. We didn't mow our lawn for a while (we've had lots of rain in Illinois ; ) and so we had some clover growing. Groundhogs like clover. I was looking into my backyard a week or so ago, and there he was, munching on the clover in my un-mowed backyard.
Here he is....isn't he cute?
Not a great picture, we had to take it through the window because every time we opened the door he ran away. But you get the idea.
I am still amazed at how much wildlife I have around here. I live in town, just a few streets away from a major roadway. It is an established neighborhood, our house is over 50 years old. I'm happy that I can still provide a bit of an oasis to my little beastie friends. They are slowly running out of places to live. I think they've been spreading the word that my yard is the place to be.
Because the heart beats under a covering of hair, of fur, feathers, or wings, it is, for that reason, to be of no account?
~Jean Paul Richter~

20 June 2008

Being a "Christian"

God does not lead all His servants by one road, nor in one way, nor at one time; for God is in all things; and that man is not serving God aright, who can only serve Him in his own self-chosen way.

After writing my last post I got to thinking. Here is part of my dilemma: I feel as if I am not Christian enough for my Christian friends, and am too Christian for my non-Christian friends. I am a sinner, I know that. I have accepted the Lord and feel I am saved. I don't try to shove it down people's throats everywhere I go. I am not afraid for my children to mix and mingle with "non-Christians". I'm not sure where I stand on creationism. I do believe God created the world, not sure I believe it word for word how the Bible says it happened. I believe Catholics are Christians. (I know a lot of Christians who don't). I am not teaching my daughters that they have to submit to a man. I want them to be respected and be equals. If THEY should choose a relationship where they want to be submissive (I hope they don't personally), I want it to be their choice, not because MAN has interpreted the Bible his way and tells them they must submit to be a "Good Christian Wife". I don't teach my children that they must obey me and not question. I don't tell them them they don't have the right "heart" if they do something begrudgingly. I try to treat them as equals, because that is how I see them. They are people, just like me. I am not greater than they are, and I don't believe the Bible says I am. I don't believe "spare the rod" means to beat your children. I don't believe there is any place in the Bible that commands parents to hit their children. I could go on and on, but you must get my point. These are issues than can really divide some Christians.

So as I continue to wander in the desert, I need to figure out what I do truly believe and what I don't. Some would tell me to just believe every single thing written in the Bible. But do they really mean that? Do they really think everything written in the Old Testament is meant to be interpreted and applied literally to today? Some people say the New Testament trumps the old, some say the entire book is meant to be followed. It seems no matter how well schooled, no matter how Holy people feel they are, many people interpret the Bible in different ways. Even among Christians there are many schools of thought regarding the meanings in the Bible. Maybe one doesn't need schooling to figure it all out. (What an unschooley thought : ) Maybe one just needs to open their heart and have the Lord speak directly to them. Which is what I am trying to do in my desert.

A rule I have had for years is: to treat the Lord Jesus Christ as a personal friend. His is not a creed, a mere doctrine, but it is He Himself we have.

Dwight L. Moody 1837-1899, American Evangelist

18 June 2008


Not all religion is to be found in the church, any more than all knowledge is found in the classroom.

~Author Unknown~
I haven't been to my church since last December. (It is a non-denominational Christian church.) And the only reason I went then was because my youngest daughter wanted to see the Christmas play. She wasn't in it, which is one of the reasons I don't want to go back to my church. You see it's very cliquey there. I started going in 1999. I was a Catholic, searching for something more. I did find it there for a little while. But I soon came to see the hierarchy of those who attended. There are a lot of "popular" people in my church. A lot of them are musicians. It's very musical/theatrical. It seems to really raise on a pedestal those who are musicians. It also seems to favor those who have been around for a very long time. And those who seem to have the "fire of the Lord" in them. If you can't play music then you must be extremely Holy. If you are neither of those, you tend to stay on the fringes. But there is still one more chance for you if the other two fail. You just need to get in with the right crowd. You need to become friends with the popular people. I had enough of that stuff in high school.

So I finally got to the point where I just didn't want to have to deal with the theatrics and the cliques on Sunday morning. It was distracting to me, and it was beginning to affect my children. See, the children of the favored ones were also cliquey. So my daughters got overlooked for things like Christmas plays and VBS skits. My oldest didn't have any friends in her junior high group. They didn't want to go anymore, and I couldn't blame them. I didn't want to go anymore either. So I haven't and neither have they. My DH still goes because he is a musician and he likes to play with the band. So now he goes by himself.

Isn't it a shame that I have to feel this way about a Christian church? Why is it that Christians can act so un-Christian towards other Christians?

I'm not sure how I should proceed from here. If the Catholics weren't so Catholic, I think I would like to go back there. I miss the reverence of a Catholic church. But I don't agree with a lot of their beliefs, and I don't want to have to tell my children what they should believe and what they should discard. But that is a big part of the problem. I have disagreements with a lot of what many church's practice. So what to do? Well for now, I do nothing. I still discuss the bible and the Lord with my girls. They have quite a bit of biblical knowledge, in their heads and in their hearts. So they appear to me to be on the right path. It would be nice to find a church body where I feel we'd fit, and my girls could be part of a youth community. But I just can't see how to make that happen.

Which bring me back to the bible. Are we really called to "join a church"? Or are we called to be part of the body of believers? I am still a believer, so doesn't that still make me part of the body? I know it is God's will that we join together with others. Can I not just join together with my family for a while? I think so, which is why I haven't been to church since last December. It's funny how much less stress I feel not going to church. And in a funny way I feel closer to God not going. I often was at odds with things preached and practiced in my church, so how can one feel close to the Lord when one doesn't even agree with what is being taught?

I know what I beleive and I know what I don't believe. I know I am a Christian and I know I am saved. As far as going back to a church, I think I'll just wander here in the desert for a while.

Everyday people are straying away from the church and going back to God.

~Lennie Bruce, The Essential Lennie Bruce, 1972~

15 June 2008

Thanks to Stephanie, I am now addicted to Unconscious Mutterings! It helps to kill the time : )

  1. Purchase :: Order
  2. Squeaky clean :: Hair
  3. Blended :: Cream
  4. Wednesday :: Thursday
  5. Function :: Work
  6. Look down :: Look up
  7. July? :: August
  8. Raspberry :: Cobbler
  9. Assertive :: Agressive
  10. Cracker :: Uncle

Want to try? Unconscious Mutterings

13 June 2008


We understand death for the first time when he puts his hand upon one whom we love.
~Madame de Stael~

Today is the 4th anniversary of my mothers death. May 31 was the 10th anniversary of my fathers death. This time of year is a bit depressing for me. My dad died when he was only 56. Pancreatic cancer. We found out 6 months before he died. My mother would die 6 years later. She lived pretty recklessly after my father died. They had known each other since they were 14. I think in the end she wanted to die. Her life did not go well after he left, she was never really happy again. While they had their problems it was obvious to everyone they loved each other.
There's quite a long sordid story involved around my mothers death. Suffice it to say, it was unexpected, sprung upon us quickly. We knew she was sick, she had been in the hospital for some time. but we never thought she was near death. At least not until 4 days before she died. She was in Florida, my sister and I are in Illinois and my brother is in Arizona. In retrospect we should have gone down to see her well before she became so ill. We thought she was being taken care of. No point in looking back now. She ended up bleeding internally, and it could not be stopped. When they found her she was already in kidney failure. By the time we got to her late on a Saturday night (midnight actually, after flying most of the afternoon, or really sitting at O'Hare airport most of the afternoon) she was near death. All of her organs were failing. She was on life support. They were pumping bags of blood into her. It wasn't pretty. After talking to the doctor, we ended up taking her off life support at 7 am that Sunday morning.
It's a funny thing when your parents die. I wasn't particularly close to my dad. I loved him, but he was an emotionally closed man, and it was hard to get deep with him. I had a few conversations with him as I got older, and I suspect that had he lived, our relationship probably would've deepened. I was still greatly upset at his passing. I was only 30 years old. My kids were only one and three. They would never get to hear his laugh, (he had a great laugh). They would never get to hear his jokes, or listen to his political views. He was a smart man and had a lot of good thoughts on a lot of things. It's a loss I feel for my children but they'll never know. Recently we watched an old home video, and my youngest didn't even realize it was my dad (her grandfather) in one of the videos. That is sad to me.
When my mom died I not only mourned her, I mourned my dad all over again. Something happens to you when you realize both of your parents are gone. Maybe not for everyone, but I re-lived my whole life. I flashed back to my childhood, to stories my parents told, I thought about my grandparents and living in New York and moving to Illinois. Everything kind of came back in waves. I couldn't stop thinking of my life with my parents and how now they were gone. I was 36 and I was an orphan. I know it seems weird to say, I was an adult with my own family, but I still felt like an orphan. No parents, no grandparents, everyone (besides my siblings) from my family of origin was gone. Both of my parents were only children. Maybe if they had siblings that were still alive I wouldn't have felt so alone. I don't know. It was a very lonely time. I cried a lot after that. The first holidays with no parents were very lonely times. Even though I hadn't spent all of those holidays' with them, especially since they lived so far away, I couldn't call them or talk to them. I used to call my mom every Thanksgiving to talk with her while I made her Thanksgiving stuffing. I knew how to make it, but I was always afraid I was going to forget something. So I would call her to make sure. It was weird to make it that first year and not be able to call her.
So here it is, 10 years since my dad died and 4 since my mom. Time goes by so very quickly. It just doesn't seem that long ago. The pain has lessened with time, but I do still really miss them. It makes me worry about my own children. I don't want them to go through this pain when their father and I go. Maybe if my parents had been older it wouldn't have hurt so much. Maybe if they hadn't died when they were still relatively young and healthy. It seems a blessing sometimes when older people go. They are unhealthy, or in pain, or forget who they are. People grieve then, but also feel relieved. I never felt relieved after my parents died. I felt cheated.
Despite my sadness, my parents live on. They are still alive in my memories. They are in the pictures I keep. They are in the stories I tell. I see my own mother in my face. I hear my father in the things I say. I see my father in my sister and I hear my mother in my brother. As their parents lived on through them, they now live on through us.

So here's to you mom and dad. I know you must be together, I can't believe God could be so cruel to keep you apart. I hope right now you are walking down a sandy beach picking up shells and watching the sunset with a martini in your hands. I look forward to the day when I will see you both again. I love you.
Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us, our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life.
~Albert Einstein~

11 June 2008

People Are Strange

If we had no faults of our own, we would not take so much pleasure in noticing those of others.
~Francois duc de la Rochefoucauld~
I had quite a few opportunities yesterday to do some people watching. Thought I would share my observations.

First, my youngest daughter is taking sailing lessons, so my oldest daughter and I decided to stay at the beach during the class time. The beach is a great place to people watch. My first observation was of some teens that should not have been wearing the swimsuits they were wearing. A few were so skimpy, they might as well have had nothing on. These girls looked to be 8th grade or so. I have an almost 8th grader, so I think I am a fairly good judge of age. These girls were acting way beyond their years sexually if you know what I mean. And the Jr. High boys with the overactive hormones they were hanging with seemed to only have eyes for their bods. Then there were the few girls wearing the same types of suits that they did not have the body for. More power to them if they are that confident in their body, but when the swimsuit looks two sizes too small, and you are bulging out all over, it might be time to re-think what you're wearing. I don't think we need to be Amish a the beach, but a little decency goes a long way in my book. I don't want to watch your 13 year old strutting around the beach like she's God's gift to all Jr. High boys, and then have to watch the boys molest your daughters with their eyes. And I don't want to have to watch the poor chubby girls falling out of their barely covering swimsuits, trying hopelessly to keep up with the skimpy thin girls. Where are these girls mothers? Do they know what their daughters are doing at the beach?
After the beach I went to the grocery store. As I was walking in there was a lady just finishing putting her groceries in her car. She had one of the closest spots to the entrance. She appeared to be 50ish, appeared to be in good health and appeared to be well off. She was driving a very nice car and was very well dressed. When she finished loading her car, she looked around to see where the cart corral was so she could put her cart away. The nearest corral to her was probably 50 feet away. Maybe a little more, but not far at all. Well, she must have decided it was too far, because she pushed her cart into the handicapped spot next to her car and left it there. This kind of stuff bugs the crap out of me. I had parked pretty far back in the parking lot. It was a beautiful day yesterday. It took me 3-4 times as long to get into the store from my car than it would've been for her to walk to that stupid cart corral. She didn't have any kids with her, like I said she appeared to be in good health. She wasn't parked in the handicapped parking. What is wrong with people? How hard is it to put a cart away? I can understand if it is pouring rain or freezing cold or if you have babies or little ones with you, but none of that applied. I wanted to ask her why she couldn't walk the darn cart to the corral. But I didn't. I should start asking these questions of people's stupid behavior, because they bug me. And I did grab that cart out of the handicapped spot and walk it into the store.
In the store is a whole other world of people watching. I just love the people that pull down the tops of EVERY SINGLE EAR of CORN to see how fresh it is and to find the PERFECT one. So when I want to buy some corn, they are all open and dried out. Maybe you are one of those people, but it is a habit that drives me crazy. How often do you open up an ear of corn that is bad? I don't pull down corn to find good ones, and I have an almost 100% success rate with bringing home decent corn. Or the people that stand in the middle of the aisle, staring at the soup say, for what seems an eternity, and won't move over for you. I will usually wait a minute, and then ask politely if I can get by. Most people move, but then you get the ones who just won't. I've had people tell me they'll be done in a minute. Well, in a minute I could be up and down the next aisle. Usually at the point I'll just turn around. How hard is it to move out of the way? Where do these people get their sense of entitlement and the feeling they are more important than the rest of us? What is up with that? Why are some people just so rude?
My last observation of the day was made at the Emergency vets office. One of my cats got into a scuffle yesterday. He came home with a puncture in his paw, and scratches around his head. I wanted to avoid the ER vet if I could, but he seemed to be in pain and I didn't want to have to worry all night. So around 8pm I am off to the Vet ER. When I arrive two other people are ahead of me. One was a woman with her 2 daughters. (Their dog rolled off the bed and hurt his paw, nothing too serious.) One of the girls appeared to be 6 or so, the other maybe 11 or 12. Both girls were small, thin, pretty girls. Mom was average height, not too thin, appeared to be pretty fit. While they are waiting to check out the oldest one starts lifting up her shirt and patting her stomach. Remember, she is a thin girl, no bulge there. She starts telling her mom how fat she is getting. Patting her now showing stomach and whining about how bad she looks. So her mom turns to her and tells her to do something about it. Watch what you're eating and start working out more. Mom didn't say exercise, she said working out. This girl was thin. I saw an eating disorder in the making. The message itself wasn't a bad one....working out and eating well are good things. But when your thin daughter tells you how fat she is getting, is that the first thing you should say to her? What is wrong with some of these moms? Are they just clueless?
Now I am not saying I am perfect. Far from it. And I suppose someone watching me may think I am weird. But I don't think I am rude, I put my carts away and wear decent swimsuits at the beach (as do my daughters). And I work really hard to let my daughters know that they are fine at any size, health is what is important. So am I just easily annoyed, or do the weird things people do and say bug you too?

09 June 2008

Co-Sleeping aka The Family Bed

Golden slumbers fill your eyes. Smiles awake you when you rise. Sleep pretty darling do not cry, and I will sing a lullabye.
~ Paul McCartney~
I've read some things in the news lately regarding co-sleeping with infants. Seems there is a campaign that has been started called "Babies Sleep Safest Alone". A mothering group (of all people) has decided they need to let the world know how dangerous it is to sleep with our children.

People are being misled because they are not looking at the proper statistics. When done properly, co-sleeping is pretty darn safe. It is a shame that some group of people has decided once again what is and what is not ok for the rest of us. They want to police our food, our language, our political views, our religion and once again how we raise our children.

When my first daughter was born, I hadn't really thought about co-sleeping. I had a bassinet ready for her. Her first night home, I couldn't sleep. Even thought the bassinet was at the end of my bed, I had to keep checking on her. It was ridiculous. So I finally decided my need for sleep was more important than her being in the bassinet. After that my cat got a lot of use out of it : )

I loved sleeping with my daughter. It was easy to nurse, I never had to get up in the middle of the night. Other than occasionally getting peed on, there really were no negatives. I remember once going to the doctor for her two month well-check (another thing I didn't know I didn't need at the time). Anyway, there were two other mom's in the waiting room with little babies. They were commiserating on their lack of sleep and their baby keeping them up all night. I listened for a few minutes and then said "Have you tried taking the baby to bed?" By the look I got from the both of them, you would have thought I suggested putting a pillow over the babies head! One of them said "Um, that isn't really safe". And the other said "My husband would never allow it". I took it upon myself to suggest that these women read Dr. Sears Baby Book. I also told them how I was never up at night, that my baby was fine, and there are many safe ways to co-sleep. Not sure it made any difference to these women, but I tried to plant the seed when I could.

When my daughter was 4 months old, I had to have major back surgery. I needed to stop nursing and I was in the hospital for a week, and then I had a 9-12 month recovery. The first thing I did was have my dear husband promise to continue sleeping with our daughter. I slept in a t-shirt for about 2 weeks straight without washing it. (Eww, I know, but I wanted it to REALLY smell like me). My husband slept with our daughter and my t-shirt while I was gone. I think it really helped her that her routine was the same. After I came home, I wasn't able to lift her. I also had to wear a heavy plastic brace when I was up, so I couldn't really even hold her in a chair. And I could no longer nurse, so my time with her really was when we were in bed. I would take her to bed during the day and nap with her. I continued to lay her against me while I gave her a bottle, just like she was nursing. If I had kept her in a crib, I would've missed out on a ton of bonding time with her.

When DD 1 was about 1 1/2 years old, I found out I was pregnant with DD 2. Co-sleeping was going very well for us, so DH and I decided we needed a bigger bed if we would soon have 2 in the bed. ("Ten in the bed and the little one said "roll over, roll over", LOL I digress!) So we moved from a Queen sleeping 3 to a King sleeping 4. It worked pretty well. Eldest DD slept by daddy and I had newest DD by me. When oldest DD was about 3 she started really being active in her sleep. So we put a toddler bed right next to ours and that's where she moved to. She was happy with that. When she was about 5 she decided she wanted her own room. I had planned to let the girls decide when they wanted to leave our room. Self-weaning off of co-sleeping. And imagine that, at a healthy age of 5 she decided she was ready. You can not imagine the grief I received from people over the co-sleeping thing. How my girls would be so clingy, how I wasn't helping them learn how to sleep alone. Hello? Why does one need to learn how to sleep? Don't you just sleep when you are tired? For goodness sakes, people can be so ridiculous on the "what kids need to learn to survive" thing. Why is it so bad to want to be a parent for 24 hours? When parents lock their babies in a bedroom, letting them cry in their cribs, they aren't parenting. Sorry if I am offending anyone, but I just don't believe babies should ever be left alone to cry. People say "but if you just leave them alone, they stop crying eventually". Well, I think babies are smarter than they are given credit for. They stopped because you didn't come. Doesn't mean they still didn't need you, they just learned that even if they need you, you may not always be there. Pretty early to learn that lesson, don't ya think?

This is one of those subjects I am REALLY passionate about. I just think children who have been allowed to attach to their parents (attachment parenting) grow up to be much more secure individuals. They feel safe and loved from the very beginning. A columnist who writes about parenting issues in my local paper wrote an article a while back about letting children cry it out. I emailed her saying how I felt she was giving new parents poor information as she never mentioned co-sleeping. So she decided to write an article on The Family Bed, and she interviewed me. I will talk about co-sleeping to anyone who will listen.

Regardless of your position, again this is one of those issues where both sides need to be heard. Unfortunately the news media, run by the nanny state, tends to focus only on the other side. You know the whole "It takes a village to raise a child, and that village is the government side". I don't think I have ever seen a positive news program on co-sleeping. And now that parenting groups are getting involved, saying how terrible it is, those of us who believe in it, and believe it to be the best way, need to stand up and make our voices heard. Millions of babies around the world continue to sleep with their parents. They have been doing it since life began. Most people in this world are not as well off as we are. Each child doesn't get his own bedroom, children sleep with their parents. And then often enough, they sleep with their siblings ( a natural progression from co-sleeping). They may not even realize what a wonderful thing they are doing, they are doing what they know, what has always been done in their culture. Sometimes, it would be good for us to take a step back from "studies" and doctors and "experts" and look to the rituals and customs of the past. Women need to start trusting their instincts instead of doing what friends and doctors and news articles tell them to. How did women manage to raise their children before there were books and magazines and news programs on the subject? What did those women on the prairie do when they had no family around and they were having babies? They did what they knew in their heart was best for their baby. Breast feeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing. It all goes hand in hand.

08 June 2008

Unconscious Mutterings

    Here's something mindless to do. It's supposed to help you connect with your inner self or something. (Or something....I may not know what the hell I am talking about!)
    Say or write the first thing that pops into your mind after reading/saying each first word. My answers are below:

  1. Rambling :: Me

  2. Magnetic :: Personality

  3. Again! :: Why?

  4. Acoustic :: Guitar

  5. Mahogany :: Black

  6. Promises :: Are meant to be broken

  7. Ill fitting :: Garments

  8. Sublime :: Chocolate

  9. Poop :: Hits the fan
  10. Disoriented :: Dizzy

You too can play: Luna Nina

(Thanks to Stephanie, found this on her blog : )

03 June 2008

More on Abuse

My last post started me thinking about abuse in general, not just from teachers. I was abused as a child. My parents themselves were abused and probably their parents before them.
My dad was the only child of an England born Irish mother and an Ireland born Irish father. His father was the abusive one. His mother was strict, I remember her, but his dad was terrible. He was very strict Catholic. Actually fought with the IRA in Ireland, and was forced to leave Ireland for his safety in the late 1920's. His mom and dad met on the boat coming to America. My dad was born left-handed. Well, to my grandfather, that meant he was of the devil, so he was beaten until he learned to write with his right hand. My dad was a leftie in other respects, but he learned how to write with his right hand. That's an example of how my dad grew up. I know his mother tried to shield him from some of the abuse, but she was as afraid of my grandfather as was my father. My father was a very reserved man. Didn't show a lot of emotion and kept a lot of his feelings inside.
My mom's parents were born in the States. Her mother was of Irish descent and her father was of Scot/Irish descent. Her father was an alcoholic. He emotionally and sexually abused her. Tales from her childhood are too gruesome to describe here. One story my grandmother told me was when my mom's dad came home from the bar and took an axe to my mom's piano. Fun guy huh? Although my grandmother was no saint, she didn't protect her daughter. I reference our ethnicity only because I have heard from many people raised in an Irish Catholic atmosphere. It seems the Irish Catholics like to be physically abusive. Must be in our culture.
So, those are my parents. Two only children raised in very unfortunate circumstances. So they didn't have much to pull from when they had kids of their own.
I have quite a few memories of emotional and physical abuse from my childhood. I remember being hit for throwing up in my bed. I remember having my pants pulled down in front of a neighbor, when I was about 6 or 7 years old, and beaten on my bottom. I remember getting the belt (hit with my dad's belt 5 times across my bare butt, I was 11) for hiding an airplane size bottle of vodka in my dresser drawer. It was there because I wanted a friend of mine to think I was cool. (My parents had a bar in our house, so it wasn't hard for me to find alcohol.) The older we got, the more the abuse became verbal/emotional. (Although I do remember one time my dad chasing my brother around the house trying to catch him. I know my brother was a teen at the time. Not sure what he did, but my dad was mad.) My parents liked to say hurtful things to us. My dad called my sister and me a "bitch" all the time. He said we were bitches. He actually used the "c" word on me once. Nice. I remember my sister didn't get invited to her senior prom, and my dads' exact words to her were "Even the dogs (meaning ugly girls) get asked to prom, you must be a real bitch to not get an invite". I could go on and on, the stories never end. But that's not really the point. It's what we grew up in and what we knew.
Which finally brings me to the big question: Why do people/parents perpetuate this abuse generation after generation? My mom and dad would both probably tell you (if they were alive to do so) that we had it much better than they did. And they would probably be right. Even though my parents weren't AS abusive as their parents, they were still abusive. But they didn't see it. What made me see it?
When my first daughter was born the only book I had read was "What to Expect When You Are Expecting". I didn't read about how to raise a child. I had babysat before, I thought I knew what to do. What I realized after she was born was that I instinctively did know what to do. If I trusted myself and went with my gut, I really would do right by her. I took her to bed long before I read about the Family Bed. I nursed on demand even though the doctors told me I could put her on a schedule. I just did what felt right. And sure there were times when she cried and cried, and nothing I could do would console her. But I never, ever had the urge to strike her.
When I got pregnant with my second, I began to read. I found Dr. William Sears. I found the book "The Family Bed". I understood what attachment parenting was and realized I had been practicing it. I hung out with La Leche League people. I had a supportive environment.
So I made the decision, conscious or unconscious, to not raise my children the way I was raised. I have never struck my children. I admit I was a bit more of a screamer than I would have liked to be, but that has even tempered with time. I try to treat my children respectfully. They are not my possessions, I am not their dictator. I am their loving parent. A guide, a protector, a nurturer, a leader.
I hope I have broken the cycle. My daughters know it is wrong to hurt a child. They know what attachment parenting is and that was how I tried to raise them. We are homeschoolers, so they know I like to be with them. And I do like to be with them. I think that's part of the problem in this society. Children are seen to be a burden. Children get in the way, they are messy, they require attention and money and time. People have children and really are clueless about the life changes that will result. And some become resentful, and blame the child, when in reality it is the parent that deserves the blame. People continue to blame their childhoods for the mistakes they make as adults. "I never learned any better". Well, educate yourself. "I just don't have the patience." Well take a yoga class and figure out how to get some. "It's not my fault". Maybe not, but you are an adult now, and it's time to move on. I do get really tired of listening to adults continually blame other people for their circumstances. One has to finally come to the point in their lives when they realize all the decisions are up to them. You can put your past behind you and move on. And for the sake of the next generation, they really need to.
Once again I don't know what the solution is. I have issues with how quickly Child Protective Services in this country swoop in to remove children. I think the intention is good, but the execution has failed. I do feel mothers like myself need to get the word out. We need to talk about how abuse is not ok, that there are better ways to raise children. We have the Internet now. There are websites, and books and radio programs that can give parenting advice and help people to treat their children better. Maybe every mom that leaves the hospital should get a booklet of resources. It would list names of books, links to websites, maybe even email addresses and phone numbers of people they could contact. Maybe new mothers could have a mentor. A mother to show them the kinder, gentler way to parent. Do you think people would listen? Do you think they would welcome such help or advice? I suppose I can dream, can't I?
"In a nutshell, people whose lives are hard, boring, painful, meaningless—people who suffer—tend to resent those who seem to suffer less than they do, and will make them suffer if they can. People who feel themselves in chains, with no hope of ever getting them off, want to put chains on everyone else."
~John Holt~
Teach Your Own, Introduction