‎"We cannot withhold facts for fear of offending because the importance of the information outweighs people's right to not be challenged in their beliefs."
-Maddie Reid

Friday, April 29, 2011

Gentle Discipline: Going against my nature....

I know a lot of mamas whose first reaction is to be loving and kind when their kids start throwing tantrums. They talk calmly and I swear, they never lose their temper. Their first reaction is to be a gentle parent. I admit, my first reaction is to put my 2 year old over my lap and slap her tushie until it's purple.

Uhhh I have a temper. I totally admit it. It's gotten a lot better since I got on zoloft for severe PPD but it's still something I have to think about and control. I have this idea of the type of mama I want to be in my head. Patient and understanding. I always consider what my 2 year old is experiencing to act that way. I understand her age and frustration and gently lead her through life, teaching her and guiding her.

Doesn't that sound like a lovely mama?

I try. I really do. And lately, about 75% of the time, I would say I succeed. But not always. I yell. Occasionally my hand creeps out and slaps her tushie (errr it happend today :-(...). But I'm constantly working on my first reaction and my temper issue. I truly believe that gentle parenting is the best way. We don't do time outs and we don't spank...or that's our general rule. We TRY not to yell. We try to always consider why our children are acting the way they are and working with that. We WILL take privlaiges away for a short period though. For instance, if Olivia is throwing toys angrily, she cannot play with those toys for a bit. We will also take her into another room, and stay with her, and have a "time in". Why do I do this? Because I don't want her to learn that yelling, hitting and time outs are the way to handle things. I try to look at these things from her perspective. If I put her in a corner and tell her she's in trouble, then I walk away, to her, I probably am abandoning her. I'm teaching her that I will only be with her and love her conditionally, based on her behavior. Olivia is 3 feet tall and 29 pounds. I am over 5 feet tall and...well, I weigh more then 29 lbs. If I yell at her, how scary must that be? If I hit her, I'm telling her that violence is the answer.

I don't want her to think I only love her conditionally or that violence and abandonment (in her eyes...I'm not saying time outs are abandonment) is the answer. So I strive to be a gentle understanding mother. It's not easy for me personally but because I truly believe this is the best way to handle things, I try to always be conscious of what I'm doing around my girls. It's a struggle though! I don't believe that I'm the only one out there who struggles with raising their children peacefully but still works towards it! I sure hope not! haha!

And do I really have to put a disclaimer on here that says I don't think I'm better then you because you may do time outs and I don't? If I do, let me just say that this is the last one I'm going to do this on. :p I'll talk more about different techniques I try to do with both of my girls over the life of this blog and provide articles that supports why I do what I do...or try to do what I do.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I'm not attacking you

Today as I was cleaning, I started thinking about losing friends to opinions etc. I have a dear friend who just went through losing a friend (and a group of acquaintances because of that friend) because of the stuff she posted on her FB about breastfeeding, parenting, etc. I was not only verbally attacked but also deleted from at least 3 peoples facebooks so far...maybe more, I don't pay that close attention to my facebook list unless it's my close friends. One of the people I had considered a pretty good friend, one I had been trying to come up with a good way to delete for a while and another was just one of those people who I occasionally caught up with when I saw something of theirs on my wall. They were all from a group of women that all know each other though and I suspect there have probably been more and will be.

My friend just wrote a blog post about sharing information on her facebook wall and there was a part that really hit close to home:
"People might think I'm a stubborn opinionated bitch, but it's my wall and I'll put my thoughts up there regardless of what anyone thinks. Sometimes I treat it almost like a journal. Feel free to gloss over it and ignore it much like I do when people talk about sporting events, working on cars, or finding a new job." (The Good Letdown)
That's exactly how I feel. I'm not sharing information to attack others or hurt others. And I certainly don't think I'm "better then everyone else" because I choose to breastfeed, extend rear face my children...whatever else. I completely acknowledge that there are many ways to parent and I don't think that if you don't choose to parent the way I do, that you don't love your children as much. Do I think these things are right? Of COURSE I do. Obviously I do or I wouldn't be doing them now would I? Do I think that it's the best way to do things. Sure. Again, if I didn't think it was the best way to do things, I wouldn't be doing them. What parent in their right mind chooses to parent in a way that they don't think is the best thing to do for their children? I mean, seriously. Everyone has their reasons why they do things. Just because I don't agree doesn't mean I think that I'M better then you or that I love my kids more then you love your kids.

No doubt there are things that I'm adamently against. I am completely against circumcision (unless it is medically necessary which it is in >1% of cases). Do I have friends that have circumcised their sons? Yes. And when we get together, I don't sit there and tell them that I think I'm better then them or whatever else some people may choose to accuse me of. For the most part, we just don't talk about it. They know how I feel, but lo and behold, we can still have a friendship. It's that way with many things. I have friends who have formula fed, I have friends who have CHOSE to have c-sections, I have friends who do not extend rear face. I also have friends who extend rear face, and breastfeed until their child weans themselves and who have had natural, epidural free births. That's the funny thing, I don't need everyone to be just like me.

When I share my opinions and facts, I am not attacking you. I am sharing opinions and facts. That's it. Are there things that I hope people will see and change their minds about? Sure. Again, I go back to the fact that if I didn't think it wasn't right, I wouldn't do it. If you choose not to, will I hate you forever? Probably not.

But if my sharing facts and opinions offends you or makes you feel attacked then it's probably better that we're not friends or on each others facebooks. Because honestly, I'm not going to stop sharing my opinions and facts just because someone else can't handle hearing it. I see things that people write on their facebook that I don't agree with. I see pro-life comments, formula comments, cry-it-out comments...I choose not to respond to them. And if I do, it's never in a mean, attacking way. Heck, I see people who post that they think "Twilight" is the stupidest movie ever and I certainly don't agree with THAT either. My own husband makes fun of it. But do I jump on him and tell him he's a crazy jerk who thinks he's better then me? Um. No. You think that's a silly analogy? You think it's not the same as circumcision or formula? Then you've never stood in line to see that movie on opening night. Some of those people are crazyyyyyyyyyyy. They probably feel more passionate about "Twilight" then I do about natural child birth!

The point is, this is my blog and it's my facebook. And I share stuff that means something to me. If you don't agree, fine. But I won't stop sharing it. Because if I did, I couldn't share anything. I'm sure that each time I open my mouth, there is someone in this world that could be offended by what I'm about to say. But I won't go through life with my mouth shut just in case I offend someone. If you simply can't stand what I have to say, then delete me. We probably weren't that good of friends anyways.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Why do I care?

Today, I was called "crazy". I was told to get off my high horse. I was informed that I thought I was better then everyone else. Someone told me that they hoped I didn't have anymore children.

This was all in response to my last post about circumcision. One of the people asked me why I was passionate about something that had nothing to do with my life. I have two girls, why should I care? Why do I care? That's a good question. Well first of all, the obvious, I have an intact husband. But it goes so much deeper then that.

Up until 1996, female genital mutilation was legal in the United States. 

In October 1973, Playgirl magazine recommended female circumcision. 

It is still practiced in several countries and secretly practiced in the United States. Do you know about female circumcision? It's another topic I'm passionate about. In fact, I'm passionate against any genital cutting, whether male or female. How is it right to say our girls are perfect and we're not going to cut them but our boys are not? It doesn't make sense to me. So many people think it's a choice for the parents. Do those people believe the same thing about female circumcision as well? 

Secondly, this is about helping babies. Just because I don't have a son doesn't mean I can't care about boys issues. It's preposterous to say that because I'm the mother of two girls I'm unable to fight for infants rights. 

Some people feel that I think I'm better then them. :shrug: I don't. I'm not going to going into a wordy defense of that though because quite frankly, I don't care. I don't care if they don't like what I have to say. I don't care if they think I am on a high horse. I cannot force someone to look at factual information and be able to digest it calmly and considerately. I can only present facts and my opinions and leave it at that. If they don't like it, they can choose not to read it and go back into their little box. 

I will post more about circumcision over the life of this blog. Just as I'll post about breastfeeding, cloth diapering, extended rear facing, vaccines, carseat safety and whatever else strikes my fancy. I care about these topics. I'm passionate about them. I respect that not everyone agrees with me but that doesn't mean I have to keep my mouth shut and pretend I don't have something to say about these things. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

To cut or not to cut...it's only his decision.

I actually started this blog post a few weeks ago and kept thinking about how to approach this. It's a really touchy subject and one that while I'm extremely passionate about, I've hesitated to come out of the closet about on facebook because of how people react. But I've thought and thought about it and I just can't stay silent any longer. I may lose friends over this but it is what it is. I have to speak out about this in spite of whatever may come from it. 

Oh boy. Here I go. Opening that can of worms. I know that a lot of my facebook friends are going to read this (if they even bother) and be like, gasp! how dare she? Well, I dare. Oh yes, I dare.

Circumcision. Okay so here's the deal with circumcision. It seems normal to just lop it off right? I mean, it's just some extra skin right? Um wrong. I could go into what the foreskin is, what the purpose of it is, the extreme pain that it causes a newborn (yes, newborns can feel pain) to have it removed, but if I start there and go on, this blog post would be 10 miles long. I assure you, the foreskin is there for a reason. Were it not, would babies be born with it? It is made up of blood vessels and nerve endings and just as having any other part of your body cut off would hurt, it hurts to have it removed. 

There are a lot of arguments I hear from people about why they circumcise. Honestly, each and every one of them is a load of bunk. Yes, each and every single one of them. Here are 3 common ones I hear often. 

Reason #1: It's cleaner to have a penis circumcised 

I’m sure you’ve heard second hand horror stories of so-n’-so’s nephew/uncle/cousin who had horrible infections and ended up being circumcised later in life. This is an all too common tale for intact (not circumcised) men in the United States in the last 100-150 years. It all boils down to proper care of the penis. You should never pull back the foreskin for any reason at all. Also make sure anyone who will be caring for your son, and your son's pediatrician know that you do not want them pulling it back (many doctors don't know they aren't supposed to be retracting the foreskin). US doctors have been forcing retraction at exams and instructing parents to retract on a regular basis for decades, but we now know that this is harmful and unnecessary and it actually causes most of the problems that you hear about later.
The foreskin is fused to the head of the penis just like a fingernail is attached to a finger. Over time the fusion naturally dissolves and only your son will know when it is safe to pull back (sometimes as late as puberty.) By forcefully retracting the skin doctors and parents have been causing damage that in turn can lead to infections for the child. If you simply leave it alone chances are extremely rare for anything unusual to happen. This is proven by the fact that these issues are not present in countries that have a better understanding of intact care (Europe, Mexico, Asia, Africa, etc). It is very easy to care for – “only clean what is seen” is the intact motto. (Taken from Minnesota N.I.C.E)

Reason #2: He should look like his daddy

Then there comes the “look like daddy” factor that many people feel is necessary. I don’t know about you, but I am not aware of any father/son penis look-a-like contests in our area. There is no way to guarantee any part of your son will look like your husband, and considering cosmetic surgery to change his nose to look like daddy’s sounds absurd, right? Same thing goes with the penis. They are all different shapes/sizes, and in reality there is a whole lot less penis comparing than we sometimes think there will be. A much more noticeable difference would be that daddy has hair. The locker room debate is also being thrown out the window. Worldwide 80% of men are left intact, in the USA countrywide approimately 64% of men are left intact, and in Minnesota we are leaving 35% intact (based on the latest survey in 2008). The percentage is rapidly increasing the more people are made aware. Someday in the near future the cut boys very well could be in the minority. 
(Taken from Minnesota N.I.C.E.)

Reason #3: It decreases the risks of STDs later in life

There were studies that said that circumcised men in Africa were contacting HIV more so then uncircumcised men. These studies have recently come under the microscope and are being debunked. Being circumcised does not decrease your risk of STDS and even if it did, that's an odd reason to remove something isn't it? I mean, think about it. You could get breast cancer...do you remove your breasts? You could get a yeast infection...do you remove your vagina? No. You don't. To me, it sounds like an excuse to not teach our sons safe sex. Don't remove the foreskin to prevent STDS, use condoms  to prevent STDs, or don't have multiple partners. 

When it comes down to it, it's not your penis and the only person who should make a decision about cutting off an important part of the body is the person whose body it is. Furthermore, may I just say that all of those reasons for male circumcision? Well they've been used to excuse female circumcision. Would you circumcise your daughters? No, you wouldn't. So why would you circumcise your sons? 

This isn't an attack against those who have circumcised their sons. It's done. However you can educate yourself on what circumcision truly is and change it in the future. If I saved one baby because of this post, then my job is complete. 

There is a prepuce organ/foreskin packet that includes 8 articles and 3 DVDs: at http://www.savingpenises.org/our-information-packs.html
Here are some wonderful reference websites if you’d like to look up more information;
http://www.drmomma.org/ -http://www.drmomma.org/2010/01/are-you-fully-informed.html

If you and your partner disagree on what should be done – ask yourself – “Whose penis is it?” There is absolutely nothing wrong with leaving your son intact and allowing him to make the decision about his genitalia when he is old enough to make such a call. Many men resent being cut emotionally and/or physically, there is no way to know where your son will fall in the spectrum. Logically, with the increase of intact boys in our area it is most likely that circumcision will be rare or extinct in the next two generations. Your son could either be the last one cut, or the first one left intact. It’s up to you. (taken from Minnesota N.I.C.E.)