Sunday, September 21, 2008

Moved again!

Come check me out at Mom's Tinfoil Hat, take four and a half, or something. Lots of fun new posts, such as Mommy Wars Bingo and what I am annoyed at this week while I deal with the old school medical establishment at medical school.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Come see my other site

Sorry if you are confused with all the moves...I will make a more "formal announcement" (with my tiara on) when I am sure.

Please check out and be one of the first! (Under construction, but full of words...)

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Who loves a label?

I am bugged by an article promoting Moms Rising, an organization I love. Don't get me wrong, I love that they get any and all press that they can get.

But, they pegged us! We are now "post feminist".

Read this quote:

"A generation of mothers who are largely perceived as postfeminist in every way, from sex to economic discrimination, has begun a consciousness-raising that is almost old-fashioned were it not for the technology involved. Raised to believe that girls could accomplish anything, these women have reached parenthood, only to find they face many of the same pay, equity, and work-family balance issues that were being fought over decades before.... For the women who are fired up about workplace inequalities, there is an easy way to fight back, without even leaving the house.... 'For women, I know we want to lead more meaningful lives and make a difference, but it's easy to feel overwhelmed,' she said. 'But MomsRising makes it feel manageable. Plus, it creates a community, which is really fun.'"

Doesn't post feminism mean feminism is over, or unnecessary? Why is it that articles on feminism (or post feminism, in this case) always end up in the New York Times Style section? Doesn't that we still got a long way to go?

If you need any convincing, look at the big beautiful now-in-color picture at the top, of the mom looking determinedly and slightly angrily off in the distance...straight at an advertisement emaciated model showing lots of bony cleavage.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

And the booby prize goes Again.

In case you had any doubt before, UNICEF just rated the United States the LOWEST out of 21 wealthy industrialized countries in health and safety of its children. We were ranked above only Great Britain overall for the welfare of our children.

According to one of the authors of the report, the United States fares so poorly "because of greater economic inequality and poor levels of public support for families."

I am so sick of living in a country where we don't think twice about corporate welfare, excessive military funding, and tax cuts for the rich, and our children and families are suffering every day. Even though my husband is a public school teacher, we can't afford the cost to be on their family medical plan. So, we bought a cheaper one, which we struggle and scrape to pay for every month. And you know what? I am thinking of canceling it an just paying for catastrophic care. I can't afford the deductible when I need to go in anyway. I have at least four things I can think of that I would go see a doctor for if I had the money. Hope they don't get worse.

If you were wondering what was wrong with support of families in America, or wanted to know what people are trying to do about it, please visit Moms Rising, home of The Motherhood Manifesto.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

More about lead in lunchboxes

I first reported about lead in soft vinyl lunchboxes more than a year ago. (The linked post is a moved copy of the original from late last summer.)

Now, based on an Freedom of Information Act request by the Associated Press (yes, because we apparently need to rely on a private news agency to protect our children by suing for information), we are finding out that the Children Please Suck Contaminants Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) manipulated their results and testing methods in order to produce results that showed lead in non-hazardous levels.

Their initially testing showed much higher levels of lead, some way above safety levels. Even the FDA blanched at their original results and decided to send a warning to the manufacturers.

If you would like to check your child's lunchbox, order a lead test kit today. Or, throw it out and go with a cloth bag.

Something imporant to care about, Vol. 3

This topic qualifies as more than just paranoia. Sexual offenses against our children, no matter their age, is probably one of the greatest fears of many parents. And I feel like I failed my first test.

I have had this fantastic website, the Family Watchdog, forwarded to me a few times by family and friends. If you enter in any address, they will show you a map of sexual offenders’ homes and workplaces with icons on a map. If you click on the icon, you can see a mug shot of the offender, and find out more about their conviction.

The first time I did it, I found a few offenders a few miles away or more. I live on the edge of a highly populated area. I was actually pretty happy with how far I was from the closest offender.

The next time it was forwarded to me, I did another search. I clicked on the icon for my house, and brought up a mug shot. There is an offender who lives so close to my home, it looks like his icon is inside our little house icon. He lives .03 miles away. Two houses down.

I have stared as his picture. I glare at his red BMW every time I walk my son to the bus stop. He made the first appearance outside of his house in six months last week to play with a new puppy in the front yard. He lives with his girlfriend, has a pet, and never leaves the house. He probably works over the internet, like me.


I have examined his conviction: “Use Internet to solicit/attempt solicit etc. a child for sex/lewdness etc; F.S. 847.0135(3) (PRINCIPAL).” I assume that means he used the internet to try to meet up with a child for sex. I don’t know if it was a male or a female child, which is pure selfishness on my part to want to know. I have two boys. My roommate has a girl. There are many more children, boys and girls of all ages on the block. I don’t know how old the child was. Probably older than my oldest, who is seven, and only goes on Neopets on the internet, and that is supervised. But, my kids are getting older every day.

I talked to my neighbor who lives in the house in between. I told him what I found, and asked him to tell me if he ever saw anything suspicious. I fretted about what to say to my older son. I ended up saying nothing other than the same general comments on his private parts being his own, and to tell me if anyone wanted to touch them. I dreamed up letters I could put in the mailboxes on the street, DVDs I would order to show my sons, but I did nothing.

When we were on our way home from the bus stop last week, he pointed out the house with the red BMW out front, and said, “A bad man lives there.” I tried not to show the terror in my eyes.

“How do you know?” I asked quickly.

“Oh, Luis’s mom told us to watch out, that a bad man lived there.”

Luis’s mom. Luis’s mom who I underestimate constantly, who barely speaks English, is the one who prepared my son against this sexual offender. I was frozen with fear, fear of saying the wrong thing, of having to explain rape and molestation to a seven year old. So, I didn’t tell him or any of his friends or their parents about the threat in the neighborhood. I am glad Luis’s mom stepped up.

I hope all of our children’s first and every experience with sex are voluntary and wonderful.

Here are some more websites that parents and kids may find useful:

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence – External Links Page – includes many hotlines and regional resources

Safer Child, Inc.- Help with an Abusive Situation - Hotlines for rape, child abuse, domestic abuse

Nemours Foundation – KidsHealth – Dealing with problems: Rape

Nemours Foundation – KidsHealth – Internet safety

The power of suggestion

My boys never cease to amaze me. Even though I am convinced that they are both special little brilliant geniuses, I still underestimate them all the time.

I found a version of some older software for toddlers that S used to love playing. When I first put Z in front of it, I figured he would be hitting the keyboard randomly for a while, and it would be forever before he started pointing and clicking the mouse, and even longer before he actually understood that it corresponded to something on the screen in front of him.

Well, he was pointing, clicking and dragging within about 2 days.

The other thing I underestimated was the ability of Z to be influenced by what he was looking at on a screen. When he pointed and clicked on the number seven, seven apples popped up and he said “Caco!” (his word for apple…it actually is short for avocado…long story). He ran to the refrigerator, grabbed himself an apple, and proceeded to eat it. Ten minutes later, a similar situation happened with bananas showing up in the game. He chirped “ ‘nana!”, jumped up, and insisted on eating a banana.

Luckily, he doesn’t watch much TV, and what he does watch has few commercials. But, the power of image to be converted instantly into want and then action made my head spin. And, of course, it made me paranoid about what future effects advertising will have on his mind and on his waistline.

I found a good site from PBS called Don’t Buy It. This site is geared more towards kids S’s age (7 ½) than Z’s age (2). I will try it out on his older brother first. But, who knows, he may be ready for it. I may just be underestimating him again.

Photo credit: anissat at

Monday, February 19, 2007

Seafood IS brainfood

Yet another source verifies that women should NOT skip eating seafood while pregnant. The Lancet printed a study of data collected in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). The study was designed to see if seafood consumption during pregnancy affected children's neuorlogical development, including their scores on behavioral and intelligence testing. The results speak for themsleves:

"After adjustment, maternal seafood intake during pregnancy of less than 340 g per week was associated with increased risk of their children being in the lowest quartile for verbal intelligence quotient (IQ) (no seafood consumption, odds ratio [OR] 1·48, 95% CI 1·16–1·90; some, 1·09, 0·92–1·29; overall trend, p=0·004), compared with mothers who consumed more than 340 g per week. Low maternal seafood intake was also associated with increased risk of suboptimum outcomes for prosocial behaviour, fine motor, communication, and social development scores. For each outcome measure, the lower the intake of seafood during pregnancy, the higher the risk of suboptimum developmental outcome."

In other words, children born to moms with the lowest seafood consumption during pregnancy had the worst outcomes in all areas: behavioral, intelligence, motor skills, everything. The authors of the study come to a similar conclusion as an earlier study by the Harvard School of Public Health, saying that warnings against fish intake for pregnant women do more harm than good.

I love it when the scientific evidence agrees with my opinion and my palate, and we are encouraged to eat something healthy and delicious rather than told it's scary. I hate it when women are given conflicting information, and I am sure there are women who avoided seafood while they were pregnant thinking they were doing best by their children-to-be, and now feel frustrated and guilty about one more thing.

I am sure there will still be many articles and websites that still mistakenly warn pregnant women to stay away from seafood. (Just like articles on weight loss that say to limit nuts. *twitch twitch*) Here's to hoping some of these women do some fact checking of their own.

Keeping up with the recalls

In case you haven't heard, Peter Pan peanut butter (also packaged as Great Value peanut butter) has been recalled due to a suspected Salmonella contamination. I know no less than three people who have found the exact lot number, the one beginning "2111" in their house.

Oscar Meyer is recalling some ready made chicken breast, which may cause listeriosis. And, just in case fellow crunchy health food store shoppers are feeling a little immune right now, there is also a recall on Earth's Best organic baby food, specifically the apple peach barley variety. No sickness has been linked to it, but it may be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium which can cause botulism.

Beware of your groceries!