Tuesday, August 28, 2012

On the Lighter Side of Life: A Tribute to Buddy

***My sister Cristy just sent me this email she wrote to a friend when he asked her to share a personal story from her childhood. Since things have been so heavy around here...I thought I'd share it because 1-its so well written and 2-Its about my best friend growing up. Note: I am "little sister".

When I was about 10 or so, our neighbors’ dog started coming to our place and hanging out.  There were a few problems with this new arrangement: one, he was absolutely covered in fleas, this being California and fleas enjoyed life on a dog in the sun; two, my little sister, who was about 4 at the time, loved him and wanted to hug him and carry him around inside the house (see problem one), and finally, it was only barely apparent that this animal was, in fact, a dog and not a large rat who had escaped from a border town.  Buddy was ugly on a competitive level—small and nervous, he was a truly hideous mix of a terrier and something else that should never have mixed with a terrier. At best he looked like an evil wizard and at worst, like an overgrown rodent.  When my mom realized that our neighbors, who were preparing to move, intended to leave Buddy with us, she gave the dog a bath and he was ours. 

Buddy had a driving, all consuming passion: he loved tennis balls.  He didn’t care if they were dingy and flat or if they were florescent and bouncy, he loved them all equally.  And his love wasn’t passive; Buddy would go to any lengths to find and retrieve a tennis ball.  You could throw it up a tree and Buddy would climb the tree.  Put the tennis ball at the top of a dense five foot high hedge and Buddy would work his way through the hedge and get the ball.  Bodies of water, over the next hill, it never mattered where you threw the ball, Buddy would get it, bring it back to you, dropping the slimy greenish sphere of rubber and fuzz expectantly in front of you.  He always brought it back. More than once when we took Buddy hiking or camping, he would grow frantic in one particular area of the campground, barking, running around in circles, and then he would start digging.  Once he dug a 4 foot hole and there, underneath it all, was a filthy tennis ball that he triumphantly carried up out of his hole and dropped in front of us.  His dedication to tennis balls would have shamed the even the most crazed fanatic.

Buddy was small—about the size of a large cat.  But despite his diminutive stature, Buddy survived a rattlesnake bite (we got him to the vet in time to save him), an attack from a bobcat who ripped a gash in his side and years later, an attack from a protective mother deer who slashed his nose open and gave him a concussion. He fell in a 20 foot hole. I once accidentally slammed 2 inches of his tail in the door, cutting off its tip so that blood flung around the room with every wag of his tail. 

Tennis balls were his life’s work, but Buddy still found time for romance.  He found love in the form of a green and purple knitted afghan that he humped with joy and shameless abandon just about every day of his life.
Buddy must have also felt a certain affection for us, his people.  He allowed my sister to regularly dress him up in a bonnet with lace trim and put him in her doll stroller.  He’d sit there, if not exactly proud, at least resigned, like Merlin’s less attractive wizard counterpart with shaggy whiskers and fugitive eyes darting from underneath a pink bonnet. 

I was living across the country when old age and sickness brought Buddy’s life to an end.  I wasn’t there when his eye sight deteriorated, but from all accounts, poor vision never stopped him from darting off after a tennis ball rolled across the room.  He didn’t need to see it; like anyone with a consuming passion, he found a way to continue to do what love ‘til the end.   I suppose he knew  tennis balls by their smell.   We buried him at home, marking his grave with a tennis ball nailed to a wooden slat.  

Some Kid's People


I hate when things online get me all ruffled up. I have to save whatever patience God gives me for dealing with my sweet little albatross. Being mad at people whom I've never met is a waste of my time and is more like beating my head against a wall than having any sort of meaningful adult interacting, which is why I think subconsciously I do it...

Anyway, yesterday the AAP published a study about male circumcision in infant boys. I thought "interesting, good info". And that was about it. We have chosen to circumcise our boys. It was a personal and very informed decision based on research, love, and preference. On the other hand, I don't think anything malicious of people who choose not to do it. This is one of those instances where the data is split and it comes down to your own desires for your own kids.

However...people seem to care A LOT about this issue. People who don't have kids seem to care A LOT about this issue. People who have never had to make the decision want to yell and scream and accuse you of doing all sorts of nefarious and completely horrendous things to you kids. People make you want to cry. People on this website even accuse you of rape (read the comments...).

Here's what I say about it. By popular kid trends I've failed. Eli is an induced labor, epiduraled, formula fed, vaccinated, circumcised, tv and sugar infused everyday ruff and tumble kid. Sammy was an epiduraled, c-section (oh the horror!), formula fed, vaccinated, already has watched tv in his 8 months of life(d) roly poly baby. I've really screwed up. According to tredy baby rhetoric, all of those things equals one heck of a messed up kid.

But here's the deal. None of it matters. Do you know what does matter? What will have a lasting and profound effect on kids? It's not the presence of a few cubic centimeters of skin, or the absence of breastmilk, or whatever kinds of pain meds the mom chose to use during labor. What matters is LOVE.

I know that sounds like a Beattles song. But really, all that matters in your children's lives in love. Last night Eli woke up at 11:30 with a high fever and was throwing up. Dan and I spent two hours cleaning him up, getting him medication, cuddling him and making sure he was comfortable. Sammy woke up at 6am and I was up making sure he was feeling ok, was fed, dry, and happy.

Being a mom has very little to do with how we get our kids here or what scientifically neutral procedures we choose to have done for them. What being a good parent entails is loving, nurturing, and caring for the emotional and temporal needs of these little souls who have been given to us. It means getting down on the ground and playing cars with a roudy 3 years old (even when Mom's back hurts so so bad). It means getting up at 4am to feed a baby. It means driving to the beach, the park, the dino museum, the zoo, the whatever will make your kids happy and engaged.

I know I'm preaching to the choir. I just get so mad when I hear how caustic people can be towards another person's decisions. There are issues that need attention...like people choosing not to vaccinate their children, because that is destructive and uneducated and there is NO science to back it up. Circumcision though, like epidurals and breastmilk and c-sections are things parents have to choose based on the medical data and their own hopes for their own kids.

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things

Here's a list of things that are making me happy...I feel like I've been kinda down lately so I thought it would be good to do a little blessing counting.

-The way Eli says "Mama kiss pweez!"
-Whenever Sammy giggles...his laugh is like pure happiness in sound form
-The fact that Dan comes home every night from work and gives me a kiss before he even puts his laptop bag down
-My small but fertile garden. I have been eating fresh tomatoes and mint like a crazy person. 
-The color blue of my freshly painted kitchen.
-OLYMPICS! Definitely a favorite.
-The heat. I LOVE summer. LOVE LOVE LOVE. 
-Our Thanksgiving Point Pass. We go all the stinking time and I'm still not sick of it. 
-The air conditioning in my car...two summers without it makes me very appreciative. 
-Imagine Dragons...k I know their single is waaaay popular right now but I don't care...it makes me happy. 
-The arrival of canning season. Its the only hobby I have that I'm kinda fanatic about. 

Oh, I also love the fact that my son calls the moon Endor when it's out during the day. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

La Logic League

Oh gosh. I'm mad. If you didn't know by now...lots of things make me mad. But today...extra mad with a side of super irritated. Topped with a hint of self-righteous indignation and served over a bed of leafy green go-to-hell. That kind of mad.

I read this article yesterday on the webnuts:


It made me the above mad. Let me go off for a sec.

When I had Eli I expected to hook up my newborn to my overflowing mammaries and nurse him. I pictured sweet moments of maternal bliss as I cuddled my baby and we skin-on-skinned...or whatever the crap it's called.

That did not happen. Two days after Eli was born my milk hadn't come in. Three days....four days...five six seven. Never. I had a light trickle of milky goodness that I would pumped out for him...never more than a few ounces at at time. I tried everything. Herbs, foods, pumping, consultations, crying, singing to my boobs, chanting to the Leche Gods, lighting candles, and so forth. Nothing worked. I nursed Eli for 2 months, supplementing with evil evil formula until I just had to stop. I was exhausted. Night time feedings were lasting 3 hours, after nursing on each side for at least 30 minutes, giving baby a bottle, getting him back to sleep, and pumping for at least another 30 minutes.

I tried. Dangit all I tried. I also cried, a lot. All I heard during my pregnancy was how bad formula was, all the crap about "nipple confusion" and so much more whatever, that when I was faced with the prospect of not being able to provide the one thing my son needed more than anything else in his infancy, I felt like a complete failure.

I wasn't though...I know that now. I now know formula is just fine. Eli has honestly been sick maybe 2 days in his almost 3 years (minus searing seasonal allergies) and is off the charts for growth. Still though, I tried even harder to nurse with Sammy but gave up much sooner, because at that point I knew formula was just fine. Expensive, but totally fine.

Do I wish I could nurse my kiddies? Oh absolutely. Do I know that mother's milk is superior to formula? Meh, I don't think at this point there's that much a difference to be honest.

The problem with stuff like this NYC ban is that the people who are instituting it think somehow they are sticking it to the man but they are, most definitely, sticking it to the woman. Formula companies probably don't really care. But I'll tell you what even getting a few small samples at the hospital helped out so much in those first few days with my kids at home. I didn't have to the store to buy it. I didn't have to worry about the expense for a few days. I have actually solicited my friends who have had babies recently if I could have their hospital samples.

All a ban like this does is create more guilt. And we as mothers do NOT need anything else to feel guilty about. Add the fact that Sammy was a c-section birth and I'm a poster child for the modern day irresponsible mother. Jeepers. Keep your high-minded ideas to yourself.

Oh, and I just found this article...so THERE. Rant over.

A victim of formula. See how unhealthy he looks...SEE?????