Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tipping the balance

Naps in succession = zero free time.
Lack of napping = frazzled mother.
Either/or = dirty kitchen, toys strewn everywhere.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Friday, February 22, 2008

New to Town: A Review

The town we live just north of has a population of 703. This is where we go to the library, bank, post office, hardware store, and grocery that order of frequency. I will say it up front: I've never lived in a community this small, and it really is like getting to know a new subculture. Culturally-speaking, it is the same on a broad spectrum, but distinctive enough to take note. I feel like I have been here long enough now - almost 8 months - to finally begin to grasp more of an understanding of what it means to live in such a tiny community.

Thus far, I have concluded that the worst thing about living in a town this small is: when one makes an ass out of oneself [which I have been known to do on many occasions], you will, without a doubt, see the same people that witnessed your unfortunate event(s) over and over and over again. In fact, you'll probably see them at least once a week. This has vexed me the most, given my inclination for awkward moments, a shrieking over-tired toddler, and attempting to man-handle an unruly stroller around town in the blustery-cold weather afforded by living on Buffalo Ridge. Eeeegads!! In Minneapolis (or any community of substantial size) if I made a jackass out of myself in public, I was easily comforted by the understanding that I would most likely never see those people again. This is regretfully no longer the case. The poor townspeople; and poor me.

Furthermore, strange coincidences and happen-stance collisions are no longer in play: I've realized that I should be expecting everything and everyone to be inter-related. For example, Squeeze saw a sign up at the grocery store labeled "AquaHelp", with a rip-off number at the bottom, for those who are looking for, or to get rid of, aquarium supplies. Squeeze took the number [for those who may not know, Squeeze is an aquarium hobbyist]. The next time I was at the grocery store, I noted that the flyer said, "Ask for Camryn" when calling the number. That is when I started realizing that it was probably a homeschool project. But is gets funnier: I was invited to another family's home last week, who also happen to be new in town. The dots did not connect until the other night: I was lying awake in bed when I realized that this family homeschools, the 13 year old daughter's name is Camryn, and 10-gallon tank filled with guppies and an albino African Clawed Frog sits in their living room. Ha-HA! Connected.

I should also say, while I felt complete disdain for our public library last summer, my feelings have softened a bit. Although limited and small, there are perks with having a tiny library. First off, the librarian and I are in contact through email - so if I have any questions or problems, I can just "shoot her an email" [this phrase falls into the category of my most-hated work-related jargon] and she takes care of it. I don't have to fiddle with a system or recorded message. Secondly, I've perused the shelves with a more find-tuned eye and I have found a number of books that are on my Reading List. So while I may not be able to sample like I used to, I can find what I'm interested in if I look closely enough. Furthermore, I don't have to worry about Starbeans running off, because there is nowhere to run off to. Ha! And the children's section, well...I shouldn't have been so hard on it. Finally, the librarian informed me that they are completely open to book suggestions for their quarterly book order. This may be the case in larger libraries as well, but my goodness, this is be-a-utiful. I've already supplied her with a few titles that I think would be an asset to the collection (which I also happen to be dying to read).

I don't think I've ever posted on the grocery store in town, but let me say this: it is a complete blast to the past. You think you've seen an old grocery store?! Come to my town. It will knock your socks off. The flooring is green-and-gray checked tile, straight outta 1961. The outside of the big freezer in the back is walled with beautiful dark hardwood. There are produce signs hanging from the ceiling that are probably older than me. It is very charming and very quaint, and also, unfortunately, almost entirely obsolete for our eating habits. Most of their selection comes tidily packaged in boxes, bags, or cans. Local products include honey, buffalo, and flax seed - and organic? Forget about it! I thought I'd never step foot in the place, but I've come to realize that it, too, has a place in my life. There are things I can buy there that are the same as what I would buy at the grocery store in Big Town, SD, but with less packaging. Like onions and potatoes. Big Town doesn't carry organic varieties either, so it is the same difference - only I don't have to throw a bag away after we are done with them. So I hold back when we are on our big shopping trip, and buy what I can locally. I want support a small-town grocery store, too - even if they sell hardly anything that I would actually eat.

And perhaps once I've lived her long enough, I can start requesting specifics. Or would that put me in the Ass Category, and seem snobbish? I haven't figured that one out yet. I do know that I regret my reaction the first time I went in to our new library. I was so genuinely shocked that I actually asked the librarian, "Is this the library? I mean, there aren't any other rooms...?" Whoops. I know I offended her and seemed crass. Which rhymes with ass.

It has been an interesting half-year. Honestly, in some ways it seems much shorter than that. I often still cannot believe that I live here. As I rode home from "town" the other week, I looked around me and honestly thought, "THIS?? This is where I live?!" Strange, but true, borealis. It will be interesting to see where I am at in another 6 months. I can imagine my picture will be much clearer, even then.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Treating a burn with lavender oil

I've said it before, I'll say it again: lavender oil works wonders on burns! It takes that residual hot, burning feeling away. You know - the pain that gets worse when it comes in contact with heat or warmth of any kind?

My advice: put a burn under cool water or ice and then put a drop or two of lavender oil on it. It really is amazing how quickly it kills the pain.

Why yes, I did just happened to have recently burned my hand on our 12-inch cast-iron skillet while taking it out of the oven. Why do you ask? Yeeeeeouch!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Little One

Pumpkin is already 4 months old. How does this happen? He is making all kinds of noises: ah-ooo, goo, ghhhh, and ooooo. He is laughing a lot, extremely ticklish, and keeps an eagle eye on Starbeans and all his shenanagins. He also grabs hold of anything that his hand touches: mostly his other hand or pant legs; but I've also noticed that if I'm holding up upright and his hand touches mine, he'll grab my fingers and instantly shove them in his mouth.

He loves standing upright on the washing machine (our changing table) during a diaper change. He smiles and grins and bounces up and down. He also often pees on me from this position. Doh! If Starbeans is in the room, his head is cranked in whatever direction he is and giving him big grins and the old "ah-oooo!" Starbeans responds with a lot of baby-talk cooing (like what Squeeze and I do) and that gets Pumpkin cooing all the more.

It love seeing them interact with each other. When I am talking to them about each other, I say things like, "What is big brother doing?" or "Look at baby brother!" I like saying so many B's. Buh-buh-baby-brother!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Like cous-cous?

Starbeans just took a dump, then turned around, looked at it and said, "Oh! It looks like cous-cous!"


Trained: P-to-the-T

Starbeans is 100% potty trained at the age of 2.5. We've been working on it since September, when we allowed him to run wild and free (i.e., naked) for a couple of months. I really think bare-bunning it was the key for us: it made him aware of elimination. When something is dribbling down your leg, it is a lot more obvious that just a warm, wet diaper. Additionally, with no pants on, he was free to run to the potty himself (vs. trying to wrestle his pants down in the midst of needing to go).

So...we went a couple of months with bare buns, mostly because he would revert into peeing and pooping in his pants the second his underwear was on. That, and being at the end of my pregnancy, I couldn't bear the thought of cleaning out any more diapers or underwear. I had HAD it. But once the weather started getting colder at the end of October, we bit the bullet and underwear it was. It only took a few days before he was in the swing of things, and aside from accidents every now and then [they seem to come in phases], we are home-free!

He has been in underwear for naps the last 3 months, and more impressively, underwear during the night for the last several weeks. I had kept him in a Night Diaper up until that point even though he was waking up dry for months, mostly because I was afraid of the What IF??

Our method:
  • Bare buns.
  • Constantly (like, every 15 minutes) asking, "Do you have to go potty?" or "Do you have to go poopy?"
  • Watching the signs.
  • Keeping the potty-chair in the living room, not the bathroom: this is where we are most of the day.
  • Bringing the potty-chair with us everywhere: and I mean everywhere. If we're going to be inside for a short time, I'll leave it in the van. Otherwise, that baby is coming in with us.
  • Bringing an extra pair of pants, underwear, & socks with us everywhere.
  • And...actually...wearing socks and his Robeez shoes actually decreases the clean-up if/when he pees in his pants: anything that dribbles down his legs usually gets sponged up.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The death of HB 1155

The South Dakota body of Representatives voted against "striking the not" [from the committee's recommendation of DO NOT PASS] today on HB 1155, in a vote of 36-31. The smoke out failed.

And so, yet one more year will pass until the bill can be brought up again: this being the 15th year brought to legislation to no avail. Likewise, another year will pass for homebirthing families who do not have legal access to a midwife-assisted homebirth.

Yes, friends: the medical lobby has a choke-hold on the state of South Dakota.

I'm sad.

[There is one more bill, SB 34 (the "CNM bill") that may go through (and I hope it does): this would allow Certified Nurse Midwives to attend homebirths. But with 1% of CNMs attending homebirths nationwide, this seems like a paltry accomplishment indeed.]

2/27 UPDATE:
The CNM did go through!
South Dakota is taking a step in the right direction.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Like fairy teacups

One of our favorite (and newest) Hoyas is currently in bloom: Hoya archboldiana. We spotted it at our friends' greenhouse a couple of years ago and he just gave us a cutting last fall.

It had several spurs on it [where the plant blooms from, year after year] and lo and behold! It's blooming. Not only is it lovely, but it is fairly unusual for a Hoya because of its enormous blooms: they are about the size of a quarter, maybe a little bigger. Additionally, they are fragrant at night only - the entire room fills with a wafting flowery-sweet smell. Beautiful! It is so fun to be in the room and catch a whiff now and then. It seems that night-fragrant flowers are usually white; but the pink of the bloom is, as they say, a real eye-catcher!

Hoya archboldiana

Friday, February 08, 2008

ACOG versus The Big Push: YOU DECIDE

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynocologists (ACOG) released a statement on their stance [against] homebirth:

ACOG Statement on Home Births


The Big Push for Midwives 2008 released their own statement the following day:

ACOG: Out of Touch with Needs of Childbearing Families: Trade Union claims out-of-hospital birth is “trendy;” tries to play the “bad mother” card

The trendy factor:
I believe that the growing movement for midwifery and homebirthing is not trendy, in the way that "all the cool kids are doing it", but more of a wildfire moving at hurricane force. People are starting to understand that they DO have an option of where and how to give birth [naturally, with little-to-no interventions]; and an amazing one at that. After all, our mothers were strapped to tables while they gave birth, often separated from their husbands. Our grandmothers were anesthetized, always separated from their husbands, and forced to lay in bed for weeks afterwards.

Yes, my friends - the time for CHANGE has come.

The Big Push

Ever wonder what states legally allow certified professional midwife-assisted homebirths and the ones that don't? I've seen lists before, but ran into this great visual representation of the facts today:

State-by-State Status of Legislation to License Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs)

Taken from The Big Push for Midwives Campaign website.

Deleted posts

During my 3:00 am nursing session this morning, I realized that I am uninterested in smearing the name of a good midwife, whether I agree with her or not. I have therefore deleted the previous two posts, which I posted in a reaction of disbelief and the haste of fervor. The more I thought about the power of the internet, the more I realized the implications of what I wrote: I will not participate in that.

Now, to bed!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Borealis gets political about homebirthing

These children never take naps at the same time!

I'm either caring for them simultaneously (which I enjoy and is to be expected) or lulling one to sleep, hoping the other will sleep or stay asleep, and then mentally howling, "BAHHHH!!" as he inevitably wakes up. Can't a woman get more than 15 minutes peace around here?? Apparently not with a toddler and a baby.

I assume that at some point their naps will align and that this is just a phase in my life, but until then, I need to remember to gather my rosebuds. I usually do, but even that post was written while rocking Pumpkin in his little rocker with my right foot as I typed. Like I'm doing right now.

There! I worked that out of my system.

>>> >>> >>> >>> >>> >>> >>>

There is a lot of excitement going down in the South Dakota legislature. You read that right. When we were looking to move out into the rolling prairies, we were initially looking in South Dakota. We found the "perfect place" in Southwestern Minnesota right around the same time I found out that midwives in South Dakota are prosecuted and jailed for assisting in a homebirth. Yes, you read that correctly as well. There are a number of states for which this is the case, 14 total, I believe; South Dakota being one of them. There are a total of 20 states where midwifery is preserved and protected, where Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) are licensed and allowed to practice. I'm not sure what the deal is for the other 16 states.

Anyhow, I am so thankful that we ended up staying in Minnesota. Our midwife is from South Dakota and has served jail time over assisting homebirthing families. After a month in jail, she moved all her operations to the MN border, where she has several safe houses for pre-natal care, the actual labor and delivery, as well as post-partum checks. What a woman!!

Currently, a bill (HB 1155, the "CPM bill") that would begin licensing CPMs to practice in South Dakota has gone in front of the Health and Human Services Committee, only to be voted out 8-5. They re-worked the bill a bit and presented it to the committee again, only to be voted out 7-6. This has prompted a "smoke out", where HB 1155 was moved to the entire house to vote whether it should be moved past the committee and onto the floor for a full debate.

I'm pleased to say that the smoke out will more than likely be a success! Sometime within the next week, a full floor debate should take place, allowing for personal testimony and rebuttals against the opposition. A charming example of the 'opposition' is a representative, also a retired doctor, also on the Health and Human Services Committee, saying publicly that people who choose a homebirth are "selfish". Riiiiiiiight. Because hospitals are the only safe place to give birth? Or because choosing to give birth with the assistance of a competent midwife in a home setting is wrong? Incorrect? A sin??

Moving on...this is huge. South Dakotans have been working towards this goal since 1993. And that, folks, is a mighty long time. If anyone has any interest in respectfully emailing a South Dakota representative in support of licensing CPMs in the state of South Dakota, go here for a list of their email addresses (see "House Members"). All you would need to say is, "Please support HB 1155" or "South Dakota needs Certified Professional Midwives - please vote yes on HB 1155, to begin licensing CPMs for South Dakota families" or "Although I may be from a different state, I believe that South Dakotans deserve the right to give birth at home with the assistance of a competent midwife - please support HB 1155". They need to hear from as many people as possible, in addition to their constituents. As you would imagine, I have been doing my small part by emailing them [during my precious free time]. It's exciting! Some of them even write back. I always include my full name and my address, so they know it is a real person behind the plea.

Ra! Ra! Ra! Go South Dakota!!

To learn more about CPMs and midwifery in general, go to - The North American Registry of Midwives.

Monday, February 04, 2008

A new phase in Toddler Mischief

Two point Five

Do not...!
Is all I say

Do not...!
Every hour, all day

Do not...!
Truly, our nerves are on the fray

Do not...!
I swear, these things are all I say


Sunday, February 03, 2008