Trying to raise my kids the best I can

Friday, April 29, 2005

"Diversity promotion" in public schools/WIC

Today I'd just like to comment on two news stories in the paper. The first is a big local story aboout a Lexington man who was arrested when he wouldn't leave his son's elementary school.
"the dispute arose because they asked school officials to notify them about classroom discussions about same-sex marriage and what they called other adult themes. They also wanted the option to exclude their boy, now 6, from those talks. Parker said he met with school officials to gain those assurances and then refused to leave until he got them. "

Obviously the school was in the wrong there, as even the state governor said: "Schools under our parental notification law are required to inform parents... of matters relating to human sexuality that may be taught in the classroom and to allow that child to be out of the clasroom for the p eriod of the education."

I heard a good point on the radio. The man said that the issue of 'what constitutes a family' is a belief system and in todays society it is apparently OK to teach children about that belief system, but you cannot talk about the belief system of the Christian faith in public schools. Very interesting and true.

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The other story is a national one: "Nutrition Panel suggests updating WIC offerings". I say a hearty "Amen" to that one! I was on WIC for several years. (WIC stands for "women, infants, children". It's a food voucher program that helps ensure nutrition among the poor. It's a great "preventative program"). By the time I got off of WIC I was really frustrated by the unhealthy foods provided through the program. It gives you lots of juice, milk, cheese, peanut butter (but not low fat!), eggs, cereal. Juice really isn't all that good for you. Milk isn't that good for you either despite what the dairy farmers pay millions of dollars to convince you to believe. Peanut butter contains hydrogenated fats, and the cereal gets boring, so after a while you're stuck with cupboards full of it. So basically the only thing I approve of is the eggs.

"The recommendations were cutting juice allowances in favor of fresh produce and expanding selection to allow yogurt, tofu or soy in place of milk. "

I hope the that the recommendations are taken seriously and changes are made.

The amount of milk they give you at WIC is ridiculous. 80% of the world is lactose intolerant (keeping in mind that that includes China's huge population). My husband is one of them. It's kind of silly the way Americans sometimes go about life thinking they know what's best for everyone. OK, that sounded very harsh, (I am pro-American) but I have a funny -and sad- story about this subject... When my husband was a little boy, his family narrowly escaped death at the hands of the Communist Cambodian government (one of the most horrific cases of genocide in the history of the world). His family was transported out of a refugee camp on their way to America on a bus to the airport. The funny and sad part of the story is that they rode several hours (days?) on this cramped bus with no bathrooms and the well meaning Americans fed them boxes of milk and cookies (made with milk). If you aren't lactose intolerant I will spare you the details, but lets just say it's not pretty.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Feeling like a failure and then...

Sometimes, as a mother, you feel like a failure and then your kids will say or do something to remind you that you aren't. Case in point: me. Lately I've been feeling like a failure as a parent. Particularly when the kids don't stay on schedule and when I clean the house all day and just barely keep up with it. I think to myself that I should be delegating more responsibilities. After all, what kind of adults am I creating if they can't clean up after themselves? And sometimes they can be so disrespectful and foul mouthed and I think "These kids would be taught better morals in public school then here. What was I thinking when I thought I could do better?"

So that was my mindset the other day when I started singing "Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world..." and my oldest son said to me, "You used to sing that to me whenever I cried. I remember you rocking me in the rocking chair and singing it to me". I only have vague memories of that myself and I was honored that he remembered that. So obviously I did something right. And maybe that was God's way of encouraging me when I needed it.

I heard a great analogy for parenthood once. It's like football. You don't always score touchdowns but every day you're moving them down the field. Forgive me for elaborating if it's obvious to you, but think about it: Your kids don't acheive huge milestones every day (the touchdown), like taking a first step, learning to read, starting a first job. But your goal, as a parent, is just to "move them down the field" ie. practicing balancing, learning letter sounds, doing their chores.

"Great is Jehovah! Greatly praise him! His greatness is beyond discovery. Let each generation tell its children what glorious things he does." Psalm 145:3-4

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Extreme views on IVF

I'd like to share my extreme views on In Vitro Fertilization. I don't want to hurt anyones feelings though so I need to preempt this by saying that although I disagree with it, it must be devastating to struggle with infertility and it is a decision that needs to be made between you, your spouse and God.

My point of view is actually quite simple. Since I am pro-life, I am against all murder of unborn babies. IVF success rates are not 100% or even close to that. Several embryos (read: humans) are implanted in the mothers womb and often several of them die. Sometimes it takes several attempts on top of that. To me that is an unacceptable amount of deaths to occur. Not to mention the leftover frozen embryos left in limbo for years/decades after.

Theoreticly those lives would continue in heaven and they wouldn't have existed otherwise, but obviously if that were an argument for IVF then abortion would be OK too. I don't think there is anyone who would argue that.

Then there is the sticky question of the snowflake program which adopts out frozen embryos that would otherwise stay in limbo. Obviously a shot at a life is better then being destroyed. So theoretically that would be OK. The ethics of modern medicine can sure be confusing!

I don't know why I have never heard this arguement against IVF. Perhaps because it is a sensitive subject. Perhaps because the goal of raising a child is so worthy. But the ends do not justify the means.

Finally, I'd like to finish this blog with the story of my own period of waiting. I can sympathize with infertile couples, with the hope that builds each month and the excruciating disappointment each month as you get your period. I also had to wait like that for four years when my husband was in jail. He spent the entire time awaiting a sentence and it wasn't until the day of his release that he was able to plea out and actually get sentenced. For the first three years of that time we clung to the hope that he would be able to see a judge and go home. We had court date after court date come and go with nothing more then postponements. Meanwhile I was struggling as a single mother with one and then two babies, trying to survive, desperately needing him. The lowest point was about three years into it. We had a court date scheduled that I looked forward to for months, thinking that something has to happen this time because it has been so long. Surely, they can't hold him forever. I remember leaving work early, getting dressed up in my suit, driving to the court alone, the knots in my stomach that I got whenever I walked in that courthouse. I remember sitting through all the afternoon court procedings, waiting, waiting... until finally every last person was araigned and the courtroom was dismissed, but my husband was not there. I walked up to the court room guard and asked him what happened to my husband. He said that he was never brought in. He said that the case was postponed and that is all he knew. I walked to my car and put my head on the steering wheel and bawled. I had waited for months for this day and once again I was left bitterly disappointed.

The happy ending is that my family was reunited in the end. And for those who struggle with infertility I pray that your family will also someday be complete.

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick; but when dreams come true at last there is life and joy." Proverbs 13:12

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Monday, April 25, 2005

Fulfillment as an at home mom

Ok, so lets be honest, staying home with toddlers can be brain numbing. The lack of adult conversation, the lack of an affirming paycheck, the inability to get anything substantial done. It can be difficult to see the payoff, because the gains come slowly. We wouldn't trade it for the world, but does it get better?

Now that my kids are school age and I'm homeschooling, motherhood is so much more interesting. I am learning so much right along with them. And the boys are old enough to converse with me, make witty jokes, reminisce and provide the fellowship that was lacking in their pre-verbal days.

You may be wondering why I would send them back to school next year (which I am considering). The answer is that I long for the routine of the school day. I also look forward to the break from the kids. My husband is young, like me, and trying to provide the best he can, which means he can't always give me much of a break. On the flip side I worry about the bad behaviors of classmates and the teacher student ratio which will go way up -ha ha. I may very well homeschool again in the future, but it will be fun to try a year off.

I'm getting off subject here, which is finding fulfillment as an at home mom. I am a strong proponant of at-home moms, but even I struggle with the thought of how I could bring in a little money (and personal satisfaction). This is probably hard-wired in us, since days of old when women would weave baskets, sew quilts, or like the Proverbs 31 woman: plant a vinyard. I don't have the answer to that, but as my husband and I are about to buy our first home- a real fixer upper, I look forward to working on the home which - when you think about it - i s the perfect job for an at home mother.

Finally, I'd like to describe the volunteer work that I have always wanted to do and maybe when my kids are grown I will get to do... Do you ever drop your clothes off at a charity bin? Do you know what happens to those clothes? As far as I know they are often sent out of the community and either recycled or resold at a ridiculously high price (in my opinion). What a waste of a ministering opportunity! Someday I will open up a little storefront where donated clothes are sorted and given away for free. The volunteers who sort the clothes will have first pick. Monetary donations will be accepted to pay for rent/maintenance. I also thought about putting in washer and dryers so that all clothes will be clean. I'm not sure how feasable that is. I do know that there is such a large amount of donated clothes that the turnaround would probably be quite fast and it would fill a need in the community.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Attachment parenting/sleeping with baby

My views on parenting could definitely be classified as "attachment parenting". I believe quite strongly in breastfeeding, sleeping with your baby, not putting your little ones in day care, etc, etc. But right now I'd like to talk about sleeping with your baby. This is perhaps the most unacceptable form of attachment parenting in modern society, but a lot more people practice it then admit to it.

I read a book about SIDS that said that sleeping with baby decreases the risk of SIDS. It was very fascinating. It described how a mother senses her baby's breathing pattern even in her sleep. It sounds hard to believe but then I noticed myself doing it. Occassionally I'd startle myself and the baby awake to the sound of him gasping for air. Interesting. (And a little scary, but since I was asleep I wasn't really thinking). It may seem unbeleivable, but if you do sleep with your baby then you may know that you breastfeed him in your sleep too. My husband got a video of me doing it. It's funny.

Not that motherhood is easy. I've gotten rotator cuff injuries from breastfeeding (shoulder injury from lifting my arms over my head). I've also got a sore spot on my spine which I think could be from rotating toward the baby in an awkward way. (Or my hypochondriac self would like to think that I have spinal cancer- Ha Ha). But breastfeeding in bed is SOOOO much easier then getting up to make a bottle. I don't know why women do that.

Perhaps you've seen the reality TV show "Super Nanny" or "Nanny 911". I am offended by how sleeping with your kids is treated on these shows. They lump this behavior with other negative parenting behaviors. It' s very irritating.

My in-laws are Cambodian immigrants so I get an inside view on how people in third world countries raise their children. One thing they did very naturally was to sleep with their babies and then when they are older transition them into siblings beds, (because they don't want to sleep alone). I thought this was pretty genious so I'm doing it with my kids. My five and eight year olds sleep together and when my 10 month old learns to walk I'll put him with one or both of them too. This way he can walk back into my bed when he needs to for a smooth transition.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Birth control

This is my first posting and I thought I might delve right into some of my more controversial views of modern motherhood. But first let me introduce myself. I am a happily married mother of three boys. I'm 26 years old. I'm a born again Christian and currently homeschooling, but next year I'm sending them back to public school.

Since the Pope has recently died I thought I would start with my views on birth control. I really admire the stand he took against it. I think birth control was the start of a downward spiral of womans liberation. Obviously, it removed the responsibility of pregnancy from the sexual act. It is a slippery slope from not wanting children before they are conceived to not wanting them after they are conceived. This is so demeaning towards women because the most important role a woman can play is that of creating and raising a child.

On a more personal level, my views on birth control have been slowly evolving. I have used the diaphram and one round of depo provera (it made me gain so much weight!!) in the past. But now, as a mother of three, it (motherhood) just seems so right and natural. So I have decided that, unless my health or our family circumstances change drastically, I don't plan on using any form of birthcontol again. I know God has a plan for each of the kids he puts in my life.

I also am breastfeeding (which I will blog about on another day). This is a wonderful form of natural birth control. I probably won't be able to conceive more then eight kids total and I had my first at 18 years old. My baby is almost one and there is no sign of impending ovulation. In fact, I long to be pregant again and I have to be patient. If you are not a mother you might think I'm crazy, but if you have a few kids yourself you can probably understand. Since I can't count on my period as a sign, I take pregnancy tests whenever I have a symptom (like a bout of nausea). Ha Ha. Luckily, I found this great dollar store that sells them for a dollar. And yes, I am aware of the signs of ovulation. I will blog on those another day. Well that is all for now. Don't worry I will also write about normal things in the future, like the joy of raising three boys but the longing for cute little pink dresses. And many interesting stories of my own life like the time my husband spent four years in jail. (Now you're interested!)

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