Monday, April 30, 2012

Baby Dental Woes. Again.

Baby number six is going down to Children's Hospital for dental surgery. He's only 17 months old, and the dentist has been watching his teeth carefully and caring for them since he was 11 months old. Every 6-8 weeks, we have gone back for more temporary fillings.

This is NOT baby bottle mouth. He won't take a bottle and hates to drink anything except water or breast milk.

This is a baby whose teeth formed poorly somehow, despite what everyone keeps telling me (oh, no--you just have strong bacteria in your mouth; oh, no--he just takes a bottle; oh, no--you just didn't brush his teeth). NO. This is not my fault.

Except it is--the bad genetics run in my family. My kids' teeth, my sister's teeth, my nieces and nephew's teeth, my cousin's teeth...all come in with spots of enamel missing, so they decay really fast. So it's my fault because Elijah got the genes from me. But beyond granting him life with  my bad genetics, I did nothing wrong.

Here's the thing: With the dentist watching us carefully and seeing him often, and me being careful, we went 8 weeks ago and his molars hadn't erupted yet. All good, right? Well, we went in last week for our checkup and his molars had erupted and were already decayed!

You can talk about dental hygiene problems all you want, but you have to acknowledge that a baby's teeth, even under the worst circumstances, should last more than 8 weeks. Even if they're drinking soda every day, a baby's teeth should last longer than 8 weeks.

And today he woke up with an infected mouth--swollen lip and cheek--after crying for hours last night. Abscess? I think so. Or perhaps it has something to do with the fact that his front teeth, which have been slowly decaying, have turned black over the last 2 days since we saw the dentist. Yikes!  Double Yikes!

Good thing they're planning to get his teeth fixed in the next two weeks, because there is no way he'd make it to adulthood without some help here.

Poor kid.

And it's all my fault. But it's not my fault.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Why I'm okay with Mitt Romney being rich

The  Tea Party is trying to make Romney a bad guy because he's rich. They're trying to say he is out of touch with the struggles of regular people because he's rich. They're trying to say that having money makes you unfit to become President of the United States.

And they're wrong.

For one thing, both major candidates are rich. Obama was independently wealthy before he became president, too. So it's kind of a moot point.

But even more than that, Romney's wealth makes him well-suited to being president.

For one thing, he earned his money. He knows how to work. He knows how business works. He knows how to get things done with the bottom line in mind. This is a good thing--especially when the President's job right now is to get the country financially stable again. Of course you want someone to do that who is particularly talented at it, not someone who has never handled large amounts of money and all the details that go with managing money.

Also, he's not a money-grubber. It's well-documented that he has a lot of money but doesn't love money. He has taken many prominent jobs without taking the pay that was offered for them, like fixing the Olympics in Salt Lake City. He's also quietly but willingly generous with what he has. I know members of my family who have benefited from his willingness to give his wealth away.

Finally, there is a culture that goes along with being rich. People who are rich and interact with other rich people do things, talk about things, dress, carry themselves, act in a certain way that is socially acceptable in their circles (just like everyone does). And the reality is that the President of the United States spends most of his time interacting with people who walk in those wealthy circles, both at home and internationally. Regardless of whether you think that's right or not, facing that as a reality and finding someone who is comfortable with very wealthy, very influential people is important. It's a skill the President must have in order to be gracefully effective at his job, at home and abroad.  If you put any old school janitor in the Oval office, he'd be so far out of his comfort zone that it would be embarrassing and he would be hampered in doing his job culturally, not by nature of his natural ability. Nobody in the world would take him seriously. You think Obama's been mocked for being awkward abroad? Sheesh.   No, you want someone in office who is comfortable living in the world they have to live in, someone who understands the nuances of behavior, someone who is not out of place and who doesn't feel inferior or insecure in any way, someone who is not impressed (or, therefore, influenced) by someone else who wears that fancy suit or sports that diamond-studded wristwatch.

No, Romney's wealth is one of the reasons he is well-suited for the office. It is one of the reasons he will be able to be honest and get things done (instead of being overwhelmed, embarrassing, money-grubbing, etc).

Too bad the tea party can't see that.

The debate on whether mothers "work" or not is missing the point

When Bill Maher, in defending himself in defending Rosen (but missing the point of what she said) said, "No one is denying that being a mother is a tough job; I remember I was a handful. But you know there is a big difference between being a mother, and that tough job, and getting your a*& out the door at 7 a.m. when it's cold, having to deal with the boss, being in a workplace, or even if you're unhappy you can't show it for eight hours," he had NO IDEA what he was talking about.

The man has no idea what mothers do. All those things he describes? They're easier than being a mother. Poor rich idiot.

But when everyone spent all their time defending the idea that moms do work--hard--even though they are at home, they missed the point, too. Not as bad as Maher missed the point, but still. When I see articles showing the economic value of mothers, they invariably simplify motherhood to a series of tasks that we'd otherwise have to pay someone to do: cooking, cleaning, chauffering, counselling, tutoring....

But mothers are so much more than that. So much more than menial laborers. 

Mothers are the protectors and creators of our whole society. A society is not made of individuals doing what they want (even if our culture is pushing that as the ideal). A society is made up of connected people who interact with each other. And who creates those people? Mothers. Who fosters those connections? Mothers. Who teaches people how to interact, how to be consumers, how to help, how to learn, how to work? How to be productive members of society? MOTHERS. 

Even the people who try to boil it down to economics are missing the point: Mothers CREATE the economy. They teach people how to work, how to use and save money effectively, how to be responsible, how to care for themselves and others. They also have a MAJOR influence on how and where most of the money gets spent.

Mothering (okay--Parenting. Fathers are equally important) is the single most important job in the WORLD. It is the lynchpin that holds all of society together. Good mothers make stable homes. Stable homes make healthy kids and happy, productive, law-abiding adults. Healthy kids make society, now and in the future. Everything--EVERYTHING--that makes life worth living and makes society strong, healthy, safe, and wonderful boils down to mothers doing their jobs right and doing them well. 

Mothers are more important than governments, than presidents, than money. 

Any single problem in our society can be traced back to homes and families. Fixing the homes and families, making mothers less stressed so women can make mothering their priority instead of pleasing a boss their priority, is the absolute key to solving every single problem in our society. Want to fix education? Fix the homes. Want to get fewer people into prison and onto drugs? Fix the homes. Want to cut the crime rate? Fix the homes. Want to get people off welfare? Fix the homes. 

Motherhood should be an honored position, given a great deal of respect and support. 

Instead, we mock women who make motherhood a priority over money. We tell them they're lazy, good-for-nothing leeches. I still remember the man who looked me in the eye and said, "Well, my wife likes to contribute to our family [so she kept her job]."  Apparently staying at home raising your kids, sacrificing everything you have and are to make a family (and yourself, in the process) happy is a waste of time and not a contribution to the family. Only money matters. 

And then we wonder why the nation is falling apart.

Did I just read that?

From a hospital website for kids:

"Juice is healthy, but one glass a day is enough. It’s also a good idea to have this at mealtimes for the sake of your teeth. Either this or you can water it down if you like. You can do the same thing with squash. "

Huh? How on earth do you water down squash? And why would you want to? Personally, I like mine steamed with a little butter and salt.

Sunday, April 08, 2012


Turns out the science experiments with the leftover egg dye are MUCH more interesting and fun than coloring eggs.

The kids dyed fabric.

They discovered an apple sliced dipped in egg dye makes a nice stamp.

They're mixing colors and making up magical stories to go with the potions and the magic cloth they dye. They're freezing dye to see what happens.

And days like this I remember why I have an ugly, crappy table and haven't tried too hard to replace it. They can spill all the egg dye they want over there and it won't be worse than it is now.  And that's also why we have hardwood floors instead of carpet, and why I had all the little boys dying eggs in dark-colored shorts and no shirts.

Once again, I see that children learning and clean houses are sometimes (often? always?) mutually exclusive.

Too bad they'd rather eat the candy than experiment with it!

Nathanael, just 3, doesn't remember coloring eggs last year. So when we said we were going to dye eggs, he said, "The eggs died?" and that was his perception of the entire activity. We were coloring dead eggs, and when we were done, all the eggs had died.  Funny thing is, it didn't seem to bother him much.

Easter is a funny holiday--to commemorate the most important event that ever happened (the resurrection and atonement of Jesus Christ), we wear fancy clothes, stuff ourselves on expensive candy, make eggs look unnatural, and tell our children that a magical bunny pooped eggs all over the yard and they have to not only clean it up, but eat most of it. I just don't see the connection between the reason for the season and the traditions.

And, in other news: brown eggs aren't as fun to dye. But the kids insisted on trying because mommy didn't realize it was a problem until I'd prepared two of the brown ones to boil. Oh well.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Happy White Cake Day!

We wanted to separate celebrating Jesus's birthday from candy, presents, and anything "magical," so we have a little birthday party every April 6. We call it White Cake Day, and always serve a white cake (angel food) with strawberries and strawberry cream. Actually, it's the tastiest cake on earth.

Today, when I got up, I told Benji, "Today we're going to have cake for Jesus's birthday."

He said, "Oh. I know. When Jesus comes over, we can hide in the kitchen and then when he comes in, we can surprise him."

I had to explain that Jesus probably wasn't coming, and Benji accepted that.

But I thought, as he trotted out to play, how much Jesus would love it if Benji arranged a surprise party for him. And how much he would love running in the yard with Benji.

It was really good for me to step back for a minute and think about my kids the way Jesus might see them. What if he did show up one day for a white cake day party? No doubt he would play with the kids. And he would love Benji. (And all the others).