Archive | December, 2011

Formula Kills Newborn

23 Dec

I don’t know why Yahoo had this article listed under “Finance.”  It’s much more tragic and stunning than the worst of the worst financial news we’ll ever hear.  It’s the story of how a newborn baby, just ten days old, was taken off life support after suffering a fatal illness believed to be linked to bacteria which caused a rare infection, Cronobacter sakazakii, in Enfamil newborn powder formula bought at a Wal-Mart in Lebanon, Missouri.  This infant was one of two reported cases of babies contracting the rare disease in a month’s span, both in Missouri.  Though there has been no national recall (yet) of the formula, and investigation is still underway to determine what other factors might be at play, including whether the water used to make the formula was sterile and handling of the equipment was proper, I would still caution all mommies and daddies out there to steer clear of the Enfamil until these questions are answered, credibly.  While you’re at it, if you have milk in dem der biological bottles God gave you, now might not be a bad time to whip ’em out and feed that baby.

When I gave birth to Z, our youngest daughter, the woman I shared a room with post-delivery was a young scared Chinese woman who barely spoke English.  She looked like she was, at the oldest, in her late teen years (as was I when I my older daughter was born).  I don’t know why but my hospital room mate did not want to nurse her baby.  But the first time she got my attention for help on what to do when her baby was crying inconsolably, it’s what I suggested and advice she declined to take.  Now, breastfeedling.  I’m not one to judge on such an issue, but the fact of the matter is that if you can do it, you really should.  It’s the best thing for your baby, and for bonding with your baby.  It builds the infant’s immune system in a way no other food or food product (which is what most babies are getting these days) on earth  can do.

This woman did not want the baby in the room with her for most of her stay.  She asked them to keep the baby in the nursery throughout the night (not really sure why they offer this to so many mothers in the neo-natal unit — it’s a hospital stay, not a hotel stay, and you’re gonna have to get used to that kid one of these days soon.  Anyway, whenever the baby would cry, she would pull back the curtain that separated our beds and look at me helplessly while holding her baby out about a foot in front of her.  I do not give off the “earth mother” vibe, so I was a little surprised she was doing this.  But I did what I could to help, including holding the long skinny little infant and showing the young mom how to change her diaper.  In rudimentary words, supplemented by gestures but avoiding demonstration, I explained that the baby needs to be held close to the body to feel comforted.  I tried to convey that I thought it would be good if she would breastfeed her.  This baby was perpetually fussy.  It was clear what she needed.  Babies are as transparent as teenage boys.  There’s no doubt what they want.  The difference is that, if there’s any way possible, the former need to get it as much and as often as possible, while the latter need restraint and an occasional cold shower.  The baby-mom said she couldn’t nurse her little long-legged daughter because she worked during the day.  I worried about her.  Twice she had visitors, the same two people.  A man maybe in his late twenties or thirties who made my skin crawl and looked to be more of a boss than a father/partner/husband, and a woman who may have been her mother but showed no warmth whatsoever to her or the infant (hm, maybe the story is the back story?).  Anyway, I felt bad for the young mom, and simply tried to show her as much compassion and practical (solicited) advice as I could in the few days we had together that we spent merely a generation and a bed sheet fashioned as a curtain apart.

I don’t know what happened to her.  I prayed and trusted that it would all work out for the best.  I took my baby and my lactating nipples from that place, realizing I can’t save all the world’s troubles and that sometimes the most I can do is just offer what I can in a moment.

I know that this all may sound condescending and preachy.  I don’t mean it too and I hope, more than anything, that it didn’t come off that way in our hospital room.  I don’t think it did; by the end of our stay, she stopped bothering calling for the nurses (who weren’t responding to her frequent beeps when the baby was in the room anyway and who actually were condescending and dismissive of her when they did, rolling their eyes on their way out the door like I might join them in their non-verbal gossip mongering – I just looked away).  Instead, she would call me over to watch her change the baby’s diaper and look at me as if to ask, “is that the right way?”  I didn’t have the words or the gestures to tell her that the right way was what felt right to her, not what I thought.  But she had not nursed her baby, which is, in my maybe not so humble opinion, the best way to hone the parental instinct that would have reassured her that she was doing it right simply because she was doing it.

I know not all moms can nurse.  Those who can, should.  Those who can help them, should.

Shame on You, Daffy’s

9 Dec

So I just went to push some change into the economy. Caved to a splurge purchase because I left my house in a hurry on this chilly day, and still am in denial it’s December. So I popped into one of my least favorite stores down the street on Broadway, and was reminded one of the reasons I disdain this place. Not a single scarf without the label “Made in China.” I checked about eight, each with a label listing its “recommended price,” followed by a ridiculously lower price labeled “Our Price.” Correction: China’s price.

No, thanks Daffy’s. I’d rather be cold or have to pay lots more than put another penny in China’s red pocket. On my way back to the office, I grabbed a miso soup and Yoga Bunny Detox from Pret a Manger. Yay! Yay! Both made in the good old U S of A! Well, I just checked and actually the drink is made in Canada but close enough, eh?

Revel Gallery

9 Dec

This is love.

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You Go (to) The Container Store

6 Dec

Why send your dollars to China when there’s plenty of U.S. made crap you can buy right here at home?

Happily, The Container Store has been promoting a small coterie of local stuff you don’t need in the USA.  And, as evidenced by my late night photo shoot, I’m buying!  This cute little shoe box, reasonably priced at $1.89 each, illustrates that we can make a whole bunch of our own crap right here in the good ol’ U. S. of A.  As you dish out your hard-earned dollars this holiday shopping, if you’re ignoring all the pleas to help out a ma n pa shop or ma n’ ma or pa n’ pa shop, or other local vendors, then skip toxic Target and Woeful WalMart (make sure to click on the Target & Wamart links btw – good stuff, thanks americanmanufacturing.org) and give The Container Store a whirl. It’s the perfect place to buy crap for where to put your crap.

P.S. I’m not kidding.  While you are there, sign a comment card (each cashier has them) or send an email and let them know you want more stuff made by US in US (well not in “us” but in “US,” as in U.S … as in, you know what i mean).

P.P.S. The second pic shows my glass of wine for perspective (and for me).

P.P .P.S.  (All the p’s from that little glass of wine!)  The Container Store’s selection of American made goods is still, unfortunately, pretty meager.  But, if we give them positive feedback, they just might grow some more homemade goodies for all us hungry shoppers.

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You Go, National Grid!

3 Dec

Another exciting Saturday night catching up on household admin matters, calling National Grid to clarify my bill and instead of hearing annoying elevator music, I was informed that National Grid is supporting Girls Inc. (see a review of the charity here) which encourages girls to study engineering, technology and other fields where women are underrepresented.  So if you’re on hold, surfing the net, why don’t you give National Grid an email and tell them thanks.  I’m gonna.

On the Eve of December

1 Dec

I’m listening to (George Winston’s) December.  Remembering snow falling near Pearson’s Hall at Beloit College, and all the feelings that come at 20.  Now, twenty years later, my oldest daughter tells me she scored in the 97th percentile on her GREs, and my youngest daughter struggles to say “peent” when she wants to put on her smock and fleck colors on paper.

I woke up the other day feeling old, then asked myself when we got to be young at 40.  I remembered in the ’80s, my mom and dad having birthday celebrations with their friends with black and white balloons and cards that said Lordy Lordy Look Who’s 40!  And, not so long ago, 40 meant polyester pants and hair that was curled like the strands ate the rollers beneath them.  And now it’s odd for me to wake up feeling like I’m a different person than what I’ve always been, and that somehow I lost something good and wholesome and meaningful along the way.  And something that made me cool and unique and the only one capable of experiencing precisely what I was at the moment.

I’m listening to George Winston’s December, and remembering that feeling.  Like you’ve sucked all the air into your lungs and breathed in life and its enormity, and the core of existence, and you’re the only who knows.  And you want to heave it all out, too, and let the world know.  But you also know you’re the only one who’ll ever know.

You were almost right.  It’s just you, and the one who remembers.

Nah, it really was always only you.

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