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This is the interview on the baby photo website where I found Hungry Monkey and Ellyn Satter's Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and good Sense.

How to Raise a Foodie

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Apr. 8th, 2009 05:57 pm
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I have had a cold for about a week. Beekman apparently had severe ickage (growth spurt? developmental frustration? poor sleep patterns? Mommy ate the wrong things?) for the last two days, so I'm at home today recovering; tomorrow I hope to head north to show him to his great-grandmother, 6 hours away.

Sandra Boyton is a genius; we got Hippos Go Beserk from the library when I checked out the album Blue Moo Internet radio needs more Boyton. Just for the usual people:
We're on Parade, We're on Parade!
We are marching through your closet unfraid!
We're the Uninvited Loud Precision Band,
The best intruding band in all the land!

(Also John Ondrosavic from 5 for fighting singing "I want a big band sound", and of course Neil Sedaka singing "Your Nose" and Davy Jones singing "I want to be your personal penguin". (I bought a second copy of Dog Train too because I couldn't find the first one and it was on clearance at Buy Buy Baby for $1.99).

Beekman and I also loved the "Stand By Me" recording from Playing for Change (worth seeing on Utube): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Us-TVg40ExM

Benjamin has already outgrown nearly a bag of stuff; two or three more outfits and I'll freecycle it. I did a calculation on how much we've spent on him so far (not counting day care pre-payment) and it's about $640. Thanks to everyone who bought him stuff and handed down stuff to make that number so small.

Dr. Seuss still rocks, though most people have probably forgotten McElligot's Pool and I had trouble getting to Solla Sollew. Apparently the public library does not have The 500 Hats of Bartholemew Cubbins. On the other hand, they have an excellent selection of audio, including Beethoven's Wig by Sing along Symphonies (yes, silly words to classic symphonic pieces, totally worth it), and a bunch of Schoolhouse Rock. We also borrowed the Election Schoolhouse Rock collection on DVD and when Miss B. comes back from Pesach we will borrow the other collections (they have to be intrasystem loaned). Some my friends would enjoy "Tyrannasaurus Debt" and others "Max the Tax Man". :) Of course "Just a Bill" was still the best.

We also discovered Amy Schwartz, whose Some Babies and A Teeny Tiny Baby are hilarious. I *Know* the mother in Some Babies-- I think I read her livejournal. "I'm a Teeny Tiny Baby... and I know how to get anything I want..."

I'm struggling with child-rearing philosophies again, not least because I know exactly where my background is, and what it means to me; it's a process, especially because I've been a co-parent now for 3 years, and am still struggling with my role here. Fortunately, there's no discipline necessary for Beekman for quite a while yet. I'm not an attachment parent, because with my issues a 'good enough mother' seems a better approach, though sometimes babywearing seems the simplest way to survive. (Though how do you crunchy babywearers get laundry done? Especially emptying the washer and hanging laundry to dry?)

It's striking how much a division childrearing can be. I find I'm worrying about how people will see my willingness to spank in moderation, or, in Miss B's case, our willingness to let her be a free-range kid at some events. (Not the ones where the locals are uptight.) Whether Beekman will ever be the sort of child that I can free-range with comfort will depend on his development and his personal obsessions as he grows.

On the other hand, I find that people are perfectly willing, nowadays, to accept odd or unusual personal arrangements like ours, when a baby is involved. At a certain age, child-friendly adults seem to find that the baby-contact-high wipes away judgementalism... Yes, serious parts of our culture are birth-positive.

For people in the SCA, isn't it amazing how much the attitude towards babies & children has changed? Instead of having to struggle to keep Beekman unobtrusive (as we did with Rose, 15 years ago), I'm touring him around to his Fan Club. Admittedly, I try avoid offending by loud baby in court, babychanging in public, or breastfeeding obtrusively (admittedly there are *some* people I'd rather not breastfeed in front of anyway).
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My baby slept through 95% of a Purim party, including the shortened megillah and a Reinterpretation of the Esther Story as set in the Wild West by a party of Hebrew school children.

We also nearly gave another 10 year old's mother a heart attack by letting her child hold Beekman and carry him across the room.
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Short notices...
Camann, William, and Kathryn J. Alexander, Easy Labor: Every Woman's Guide to Choosing Less Pain and More Joy During Childbirth. (Ballantine, 2006)
For those who are interested in what the medical birth pain management options are nowadays, and for those who just like reading birth stories. Obviously, the information here is likely to be dated pretty soon, and it's definitely pro-pain management. But the stories are pretty worth it, including the hilarious one about the OB giving birth a bit early, when her husband had pneumonia, *her* OB was in the same hospital recovering from a hysterectomy, and her preferred anesthesiologist was skiing in Colorado. Includes sections on alternative methods of pain management, pain management for c-section, and the intriguing "How painful is it -- really?" Lots of pull out boxes and interview responses with caregivers.

Churchill, Gordon. Expecting: One Man's Uncensored Memoir of Pregnancy (HarperCollins, 2000)
This science journalist's account is probably the most readable of the men-talking-about-pregnancy books. Part memoir, part research notes-- typical journalist, Churchill deals with his pre-fatherhood jitters by interviewing people and doing research. Very interesting coverage of the "couvade" concept and various current scientific/evolutionary/biological research on it. Also interesting were his interviews with male friends about their pregnancy experiences, with a few sidelights into the portrayal of pregnancy/birth in the history of media. While not consistently funny or even trying to be humorous-- and sometimes painful to read, such as when he acknowledges discomfort with the changes in his wife's body-- this is a good read with plenty of humor.
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Gestational Diabetes: What to Expect. 5th edition. American Diabetes Association, 2005

I've been reading a bunch of stuff out there about Gestational Diabetes, and I have to say that most of the slim books that *are* available for consumers are pretty much the same as the pamphlets one gets from the Diabetes Educators. This one, at least, has a little bit about what to expect in labor and delivery, though I wouldn't spend the $10 to get it from ADA. Unfortunately, one of the things it says is "Be sure to discuss both vaginal birth and cesarian delivery with your obstetrician months before your baby is born, so you will know what to expect." My experience is that might work with a midwife, or in Wyoming, but my experience getting straightforward information from a variety of care providers early on (other than, 'at X weeks we'll decide when you're going to have the baby' was... ahem... fruitless; my partners suspect this is a way to avoid being seen as promising anything).

(One of the problems with gestational diabetes is that all the normal pregnancy books pretty much do an ABEND when it comes to GD, saying "this applies as long as you don't have conditions like X, Y, and Gestational Diabetes" and then leaving you hanging, while the books and pamphlets about GD tell you that if your sugars are well-controlled, you can probably have a mostly normal birth, talk to your obstetrician. Again leaving you hanging. Which puts a GD mom in the uncomfortable position of having little to no information about what to expect.)

One worrying thing about this publication is that it claims that one hour after eating, a Blood Glucose test should show less than 120, which is not currently the standard from the medical information I've received and the medical articles I've read; this could be a typo, or an overly-stringent recommendation. It also claims that women on insulin should test 7 times a day, which is a recommendation that I've seen only in Lois Jovanovic's work (Jovanovic contributed to this work; I have dark suspicions about her understanding of what is reasonable in time and supply cost for testing-- 50 test strips run about $25-$50 if not covered by insurance).

On the other hand, the book was the only source, other than Kmom's consumer site, to clearly state that the postpartum 'testing for diabetes' one is supposed to have is another one of those miserable Glucose Tolerance Tests, rather than the fasting blood glucose, Hemoglobin A1C, or other simple test and only mildly annoying test you might have received as a previously fat woman being checked for diabetes. (Fat women, I've found, are disproportionally suspected of and tested for diabetes automatically, while my male friends who have weight issues and turned out to have diabetes often had to present to the their doctor complaining that they suspect diabetes before being tested.)

Compared with Lois Jovanovic's older book: Managing Your Gestational Diabetes: A Guide for You and Your Baby's Good Health, by Lois Jovanovic-Peterson, M.D., this is the preferred resource. (Yes, I know I'm prejudiced. Every time I experienced some really intrusive testing or stringent protocol in my GD pregnancy, further investigation showed that it was a protocol suggested by Jovanovic.) But again, I would say it's not worth BUYING it yourself; ask your public library if they have it, or can interlibrary loan it for you. Certainly, don't bother contacting the American Diabetes Association asking for more or other information about GD; they simply don't have it or don't want to distribute it. This the best you'll get out of them, and it IS good background reading, especially if you don't have access to or the patience for reading medical journals.

However, along with this book, I would suggest spending some time looking at Kmom's Gestational Diabetes pages: http://www.plus-size-pregnancy.org/gd/gd_index.html
Looking at consumer-created sites on medicine, especially those that have a definite bias (Kmom is 'size-positive' which gives many people the creeps) is a chancy thing. However, size-positive or not, size-activist or not, if you're a person looking for information about the experience of having Gestational Diabetes, this is the best resource out there to read. Kmom has read the research papers, and she's very careful to explain what they say, and where and why she differs from them; she's also got lots of stories from other mothers who've had GD.

Though many medical professionals don't seem to feel there's any long-term stress associated with a Gestational Diabetes diagnosis and treatment, I have to say that I certainly was stressed by it. While I got some help and emotional support from sympathetic nurse-practitioners and diabetes instructors, I would recommend looking at Kmom's pages just to know you are not alone, and that things you're experiencing-- for instance, widely varying protocols for handling labor and delivery, the feelings of blame (overweight/obese women have a higher proportion of GD diagnoses, though there are certainly a significant proportion of GD diagnoses in slender women), and just general stress-- are not unique to you. Pairing that with this book may make you feel that you're taking a balanced view.

On the other hand, if you read the food suggestions in books like What to Expect when You're Expecting and/or What to eat when you're expecting and would like some more food guidance, this is probably also a comforting place to start. I can't tell you much about the information here, except that it's based on the food exchange program (I'm no diet fan or dietician). Obviously paying close attention to a diabetes nutritionist with experience with GD is key.

In the current OB climate, it seems there's less support for doing your own research and reading around before following your doctor/hospital's dictates on what must be done. If that's what you feel comfortable with, that's fine. I believe that American Diabetes Association's Gestational Diabetes: What to Expect actually will help you follow your doctor's guidelines. (Note: of special interest is the section on post-partum birth control; this book is the one resource that at least explains clearly *why* they want to talk to you about BC, because some methods of BC are considered less useful in patients who have a tendency toward diabetes mellitus II, which includes all women who have had gestational diabetes.)

If you're a maverick that is skeptical or even cynical about what OBs might say, you may want to get this book to get an idea of the general concensus; it's probably the best consumer resource on the topic, even though it's only 100 pages.

If you're just nervous and like to read up on what's going on in order to feel comfortable, this is DEFINITELY the book to go with; it's calm, relatively supportive, and reassuring, as well as having good information. You may actually want to spend the $10 to have a copy.
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Tracy Thompson. The Ghost in the House: Motherhood, Raising Children and Struggling with Depression. (Harper Collins, 2006).

What a difficult book to read, and yet, it seems to have been helpful to me. Read more... )

Anyway, Thompson conducted both survey research and some in-depth interviews with mothers identifying as having depression (recruited from the readership of O: The Oprah Magazine and some newspapers. She incorporates with that her own experiences as the daughter of a woman with depression, a mother with depression herself, and the mother of a child with depression. Sometimes that's good; sometimes it's a bit Too Much. (For instance, her struggles with breastfeeding clearly tint her attitude towards breastfeeding in the depressed mother.)

There's a good deal of scary stuff here, about the long-term effects of depression in the mother genetically and behaviorally on the children. The stories of the pain, exhaustion and frustration of depressed moms would get Pollyanna herself a bit down.

But there's also hope here. "One of the many great things about children is that they can learn from your weaknesses as well as your strengths..." (What a great chapter title: "How your struggles with depression can make you a better mother.")The author matter-of-factly talks about tools that she and her interviewees have shared for dealing with being an appropriate parent while depressed. Unlike many books, this one touches on the tendency in depression to be exhaustedly super-irritable, as well as too exhausted to get out of bed, though there was less attention paid to the irritable side. For me, the emphasis on making sure to get appropriate care (at whatever level one considers appropriate), on the ways that mothers trying to tough it out can fail for both mother and child, was helpful also. The admission that most pop self-help 'optimism' peddled today is pretty fake and the experience of dealing with doctors can be incredibly frustrating was reassuring. [Thompson points out one of my pet peeves: the current emphasis on incredibly close child supervision and attachment parenting can make things harder for exhausted, irritable depressed moms to cope.]

In conclusion, this probably isn't the book to read if you're in the great trough of depression, unless you're so hungry for honesty on the subject that one more "cheer up" will cause you to beat someone's head in (except you're too tired). However, it is a helpful book for those who have chosen or are in the process of choosing to be a mother despite struggles with depression, and perhaps for those seeking to understand what it was like to be a depressed mother (though if you're still pissed at your mother, maybe not so much). It is also a helpful source for coping mechanisms-- though a shorter, more concise list of suggestions might be helpful when in the throes.


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