Sunday, May 24, 2009

Time To Screen My Daughter’s Books

I asked my oldest child if she had any ideas about how we could help support her younger sister, who has been having trouble controlling her temper lately. Angry feelings from little sis were coming out as physical threats, like hitting or kicking, and I was feeling frustrated and hopeless after a couple of weeks of dealing with this problem to no avail.

“I don’t think there’s much left to do other than to give her a grounding,” said my oldest child.

I could not have been more surprised by her choice of words. Not only did I not know that she even knew that word, but we live in a family where we try to avoid punishments whenever possible. We try very hard to work with kids in other ways to teach them how to be most successful in interacting with others.

“What do you mean by grounding?” I asked.

“It’s when you get put in the cellar for a day and a night with no food,” said big sister very matter-of-factly. “That’s a popular type of grounding. I read about it in a book.”

Saturday, May 23, 2009


I never want to
know what I would do with lead
shoes or without you.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Descent Into Madness

Always feeding some
one - or cleaning up after
tornado of kids.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Listening To Your Sisters

Have you all seen the Birth Survey? I think it's brilliant. I wish everyone had access to information about how women feel about health care providers, because that's a good indicator about how you will feel about your health care provider!

Yet, I also sort of wish that the Birth Survey did more. I worry that surveys like this will only collect people on the far ends of the spectrum. Those who had wonderful experiences and those who had terrible ones. I also worry that folks may feel good about their experiences, even when their experiences could have been far, far better. For example, most people don't even know that a newborn exam could be done while the baby is in a parent's arms. Most don't realize that you don't have to put a screaming baby on a scale immediately. Most don't get the option of food during labor. Most who receive medication don't have a nursing staff that helps with position changes to facilitate progress during an otherwise sedentary labor.

What I would like to see is accurate reporting by health care providers of their statistics. How many of their clients receive epidurals? How many have surgical births? How many VBACs? How many trials of labor? How many women show up later with complications from labor or surgery? What's the breastfeeding initiation rate of their clients? What is the rate at which their clients continue breastfeeding past 3 months?

These are the kinds of things that mattered to me when I was pregnant. I wanted to know what my health care provider would do in the event of surprises in my labor. I wanted to trust that I would be given honest options, that I would be in control of the decisions, that I would be given accurate information. And while this kind of care often leaves women feeling more satisfied with their birth experience, I also know that there are lots of women who don't even realize they can ask these questions or that options exist for them. I know that sometimes women feel like the frustrations they experience in their labors are their own fault - that their bodies don't work properly - rather than the result of a flawed system or a defensive health care provider.

So, bravo for The Birth Survey. And I hope that more can be done to create transparency in the health care system, so that women can truly be informed, and that they will have as much control as possible ove their reproductive lives.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Our already marginal yard suffered a great deal during the remodel. With the piles of bricks from the demolished chimney laying on the grass for a couple of weeks, the workers tromping around to get the work done, and the siding and supplies that laid in the beds for months on end, only the heartiest things remained when we moved back home. We have slowly been planting grass and other things to bring our yard back to life, and spent a bit of sunny time this weekend working to revitalize the space.

As I was planting a new little seedling, I discovered a particularly juicy worm and shared it with the kids, who enjoy meeting friendly creatures in the yard. It was baby V's first time enjoying the garden on her own feet, with her hands in the soil, and she was intrigued by the little worm. Delighted in her interest, I moved it to within her reach so that she could get to know it a little better. She reached for the worm. I thought how wonderful it was that she already felt comfortable with the friendly garden creatures. She picked it up. How delighted we all were that she could reach out and touch the natural world.

And, quick as a flash, she popped it into her mouth. Just as quickly, I retrieved it while her sisters screamed, "Ewwww!! Yuck!!" and convulsed to show their disgust for the idea of the taste of worm.

Poor little V cried and cried, confused about what she had done wrong, frightened by the strong reactions her action elicited. I felt terrible because I didn't recognize that she might try to eat the worm if I offered it to her, while at the same time I wondered why she thought that it looked like food.

All I can say is that I plan to be very careful about how I introduce her to spiders and ladybugs.