Saturday, October 17, 2009

Things You Know About Me, Things You Don't

Throughout the last twenty-four hours or so, I have been questioning why I was so initially freaked out when my doctor said he had read my blog. I think it's because I felt like he must know me better than I had realized, which throws me a little off guard. However, this lead me to another train of thought. Different groups of people know different sets of facts about me, and I always feel like that is a bad thing, which is a topic I have blogged about before. For instance, my blog readers know that:

1. I am against many forms of traditional medicine. Especially the so-called preventative care. I treat immunization schedules and treatments for routine illnesses with what many might call reckless disregard.

2. I am 'green', even obsessively so. I hide my crunchiness well, so unless you read my blog, you probably don't know.

3. I have a bitchy ironic sense of humor and like to make fun of things that don't make sense to me.

4. I hang out clothes, grow food, patch worn clothes, and generally enjoy a third world lifestyle.

What is the impression I give my doctor, my professors, my children's teachers, the public at large? That I am ultraconventional, put-together, etc. It's not like I try to lie, just that I think people take you more seriously when you don't look like you crawled out of a dumpster and you don't debate everything they say. So if you read my blog, you see a hidden, more subversive side of me. But you don't see the whole picture; for instance, people who see me in person know that:

1. I get embarrassed easily and will blush deep scarlet and even get shaky when caught off guard. Like yesterday :-).

2. I am a little obsessive about purses and shoes matching, etc.

3. I am a veritable well of useless knowledge. For instance, I know the details of how various flu epidemics have killed people. I just like epidemiology (shrug). I also know what all those weird nursery rhymes mean--most have a dark past and were written about very situations going on in the world at the time. And lots of random stuff like that, things that get pulled out in somewhat related conversations.

4. I am kind of a perfectionist.

Here are some things you probably don't know about me, whoever you are:

1. I am ambivalent about almost every controversial topic. There are people who can see both sides and decide on one. I see both sides and get confused. Because it usually comes down to security vs. liberty, personal rights vs. the common good, etc. And I like both.

2. I am secretly intimidated by cool people. Not Hollywood cool, but people who really have an identity and do neat things. What do I do that's really cool? I can't think of anything...

3. I am an obsessive science nerd. Probably how I learn all those random facts.

4. I don't believe in complaining about children. They know when parents do that. They sense it. And it bothers them--at least, it bothered me when I was little. As for my own brood: suffice to say, they are all cute and generally healthy and generally well behaved except for a few age-appropriate issues that we are working on together. I love them all and would have more if my uterus would cooperate.

See what I mean? I'm like a multiple personality or something. Should I work on becoming more normal? I kind of like my quirky, weird self, though. At least I'm never bored.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Blogging gets results (?)

If you are my doctor, it's okay to keep reading. I'm not freaked out by you reading my blog. I just didn't expect it to be brought up at an appointment. I was caught off guard, but it's really kind of cool when I think about it.

If you aren't my doctor, I had a doctor's appointment today. He told me that he had come upon my blog and read my one of my various complaints about his staff and shown it to them. It was a lot easier to get this appointment, as I blogged a few days ago. So maybe blogging gets results.

Here's where I confess that I am a big fat liar. When my doctor said that he read my blog, I immediately assured him that my blog was a small thing that I write for family and friends and venting pruposes. It may have started that way, but I have a lot of readers now that I have never met. So there: I am a big, fat (unwitting) liar. But if my doctor is reading this, he's a big fat liar too. Because when I starting hyperventilating when he said he read one of my posts, he said he would never read my blog again if it made me so uncomfortable.

I was uncomfortable--epic understatement. I wrote that post one and a half years ago while in the aftershocks of seeing my normally healthy oldest child almost die, and I never realized it would come back around years later. I didn't know what I had written, but now that I've re-read it, I stand by what I said--it was totally honest. Albeit one-sided. I can only really show one side here: mine. Blogs are about personal experience, and I've only experienced my life.

So, whoever you are, doctor or not, I am officially giving you permission to read, and, no, I didn't mean you are really a big fat liar.

For the rest of you, it was the normal thing plus a little bloodwork to try and nail down some of the symptoms that those of you who see me in person are tired of hearing me whine about. No biggie, hopefully.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The End of Doctor Drama--Can It Be?

The last time I saw my doctor, he assured me that they were overhauling their scheduling. So patients could actually get appointments, and little stuff like that.

Last week I had to make not one, but two appointments. One a routine appointment for me, and one just to make sure my youngest daughter's flu wasn't swine flu (it was, btw, and she's already over it). In both cases, I was able to make an appointment. Rachael had to see a resident, but whatever, I needed an appointment that day so I couldn't be choosy. Last time I called, I couldn't see anyone or anything there in the next week, and they didn't schedule beyond that. The appointment for me was schedules two weeks in advance--that's right, no 'We're full this week, so call back next Monday'.

The staff seems generally nicer as well. Could it be that they were just as dismayed by the old system? Now the doctors are in 'teams' sorted by color, which is a little fourth grade for me, but I got an appointment so WHATEVER.

Monday, October 12, 2009

N.P. in a C.P. World

It always seems to me that there are two camps: the natural parenting group and the conventional parenting group. When I read the c.p. magazines like Parents, I am a little appalled at the cavalier attitude toward kids. Like they are swine flu and I need a checklist to manage them. On the other hand, I don't really fit in with the n.p. group anymore. I am in school too much to homeschool, and as a result my kids sometimes have to do things they don't want to do, just like their mommy. My dryer is running at this moment, proving I am not the uber earthy mom I once was.

Still, I find myself applying n.p. principles to c.p. problems. Like:

A. Mornings. I was reading a c.p. magazine the other day and it had a big article on having smooth mornings. Most of the tips could be filed under: be a drill sergeant/Nazi/total meanie that your kids will cry about in therapy someday. Here are a few of my tips:

  • Rub backs and kiss the rounded cartilage-y part of their ears.
  • Make something really yummy for breakfast--they will come.
  • For teenagers, start their shower running, then wake them. Even my 14 year old won't waste hot water.
  • Do everything you can the night before, like picking out clothes, packing lunches and backpacks, etc.
  • Have fun morning traditions that no one wants to miss. Grace plays violin in the morning, and sometimes we make pictures for their bus driver if we have time.

No spray bottles of water and they still get out of bed? Indeed. Here's another c.p. magazine favorite: toddler tantrums. According to Parents, I should respond to a display of emotion by isolating the child in a homegrown version of solitary confinement and putting a stop-order on parenting them until they agree to stifle their rage, or at least put it aside until I'm not looking. Instead, I:

  • Give choices. Toddlers get mad when people make every decision for them, because they have just realized that 1. they are a separate human being from everyone else and 2. everyone else seems to be deciding what to wear, eat, play with, etc. Don't let them jump off the roof, but I think they can handle picking out shoes even if they end up wearing play shoes at the mall or even a mismatched pair.
  • Help verbalize emotions. Like, "you don't like it when we have oatmeal for breakfast? I'm sorry, that's what we have. You can choose to not eat it, but you'll be really hungry by snack time." Sometimes they just have something to say and it is too complex for their vocabulary.
  • Hug them a lot. I mean, they're two. I sometimes feel like screaming and I have sixteen times as much life experience through which to filter the whole confusing mess that life can be. If my two year old gets a little overwhelmed, it's understandable.

Here's one not from a c.p. magazine, but from a c.p. teacher. She is a little peeved because my daughter keeps reading books outside her assigned level. Either too hard and the second grader does poorly on the little computerized test they take on the books they read, or too easy because even if she reads at a fourth grade level she still likes second grade stuff like ballerinas and unicorns. So I pull out my best n.p. skills and:

  • Tell the seven year old to read whatever she wants, that the tests are totally unimportant compared to the fun of reading, and that the teacher can call me if there is a problem with that.
  • Send the teacher a letter politely expressing the above. (she never called)
  • Encourage the seven year old to at least look for a book in her assigned level before getting one that is technically too easy or too difficult.
  • If she isn't feeling like she understood the book well enough, we can read it together or she can just not take the test. Whatever, if the grade is that important, just don't take the tests unless you are confident you can ace them.
  • Look at the library for fourth grade level books about ballerina mice and girls who live in forest groves with unicorns.

Just because you are forced to live in a c.p. world, that doesn't mean you can't be a n.p. parent. If anything, I think it's easy to be the perfect earth mommy when you control your own sphere, but being a n.p. parent while surrounded by every random bit of insanity the planet can throw at you... well, that's an art form.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Woman kicked off plane for breastfeeding?

Yep. Here's the link.

Okay, so she was asked to cover up and didn't. Maybe she was hot. Maybe the toddler was stressed out by the change in schedule and didn't want a blanket over his or her head.

If you are sitting in the window seat in the back of the plane, with only your husband next to you, you kinda think that you can skip the blanket regardless of what the control freak flight attendant says because anyone who doesn't want to see your mammaries would have to crane their head to see them anyway. My youngest had this thing against blankets when she was breastfeeding. She would play 'peek-a-boo' and the blanket ended up covering nada. This was a real problem in my hood--the mommies at our homeschool co-op would enshroud themselves in the break room even though it was just us girls. I think the blanket is unnecessary, because anyone with a little decency would simply look away.

I breastfed the same child on a plane on the way to California. And back. And to Colorado, and back from there too. The abrupt change in elevation hurts little ears and the sucking alleviates it. 'Lap children' have to be in your lap anyway. Maybe the mommy in question was trying to get the toddler to sleep before the plane took off so she could chill with her Ipod during the flight.

Who cares why? She should be able to feed her kid the food that God intended for them. Doesn't this seem like a violation of civil rights? We have to be so sensitive to everything and everyone now, but harried mothers and their toddlers don't count?

This was probably all the complaining flight attendant saw: