Sunday, March 30, 2008


I've realized that had I not studied religion I would have really enjoyed anthropology. I've also had an intense curiosity for different cultures, different beliefs, how they evolve and shape how we see the world. It's amazing to me how much of an influence culture, tradition and belief have over perceptions.

An example of this from my own life - for the longest time I thought for sure that the vast majority of Americans must spend a fortune on getting their rugs cleaned or replaced because they worse their shoes in the house all the time. The reason for this odd belief - you rarely see someone in socks or bare feet on TV. Growing up were NEVER allowed to wear our shoes in the house, it would make too much of a mess. Putting those two things together I thought Americains must be pretty foolish. (I've since learned that wasn't the case, so no need to correct me on my thoughts there).

Have you ever just sat down and wondered why we do the things we do? Where traditions come from, why they hold their power? I find a lot of times that tradition taken on it's own - with no explanation, no context, no history behind it - looses it's purpose, and can be seen as something it is not. An example of this is the head coverings worn by Muslim women. In the Western world we often see this as some sort of oppression of femininity, repression of personal freedom or some form of control placed over the women. In fact, it's a sacred choice, a covenant between the woman and her God, a way for her to show the world that she is not to be seen as a sexual object, it allows her to show her intelligence, her creativity, her personality.

I remember hearing a story once - a little girl was watching her mother cook supper. They were having roast beef, and the mother carefully cut the end off of the roast. The little girl asked why she did that, and the mother couldn't answer - maybe it made it taste better, or got rid of some fat, or made it more tender, she wasn't sure, but it had to have some importance. So the mother called up the little girls grandmother to ask. The grandmother chuckled and said she wasn't sure either, it's just the way her mother had always done it, so that's what she did. The mother decided to pay a visit to her grandmother to see how far back the tradition went. She was surprised at the answer - "I don't know why the rest of you do it, but my pan was always too small."

This is why I question everything. Perceptions, traditions, stereotypes, assumptions. A lot of these things are good, helpful, insightful. A lot of them are not - they have either become obsolete and unnecessary, or are in desperate need of an update, or are just plain wrong.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Strong Words

I found this artist when a friend of mine posted a video on facebook.

Since then, I've been listening to her constantly. She is strong, powerful, passionate, real. I love it. This is one of my favorites

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

An Amazing Thing

This article was posted on a forum I frequent.

Yeah, I know, most of you won't read it. What if I tell you it's about a pregnant man, would that get your attention?

He is transgendered. He has some gender reassignment surgery, but kept his reproductive organs. His wife lost her uterus to endomitriosis. Using donor sperm, they were able to inseminate the husbands uterus and are going to have a baby girl.

There has been a lot of controversy about this, including doctors refusing to treat them. I think that's a horrible thing.

I can understand people not understanding it, even needing a bit of time to process the whole reality of the situation (men don't usually have a uterus). However I don't understand why people think it's such a horrible thing that a loving, happily married couple want to bring a child into the world so they can love and care for it.

There are much better things to get upset about than that.

Monday, March 24, 2008

On the move

Hana has been cruising (walking along furniture) since before she was a year. She's been able to stand unassisted since after Christmas. She would drag her push toy along the floor or run while holding fingers. Every now and then she'd take a few steps without realizing that's what she was doing. She just wouldn't walk.

Until today!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


We got the results of our ultrasound yesterday - baby is perfect! We're both measuring right on target, and all is as it should be. Unfortunately, they won't tell me the sex, so baby will have to be called baby until we actually get to see the parts for real.

This child is also very active. So active that we've had to have two ultrasounds just to get a good look at everything. During the appointment yesterday it took more than 5 minutes to get a reading on the heart rate because child would not stay still for 15 seconds at a time! Ben and Hana have both felt kicks in the last few days. Ben thought it was pretty special, Hana looked confused and wondered how she could make her belly poke.

Last night I finally broke down and bought maternity clothes. Up until this point I had a few pairs of non-preggo pants that still fit, sort of. They weren't what one would call comfortable. I have a whole box of mat wear upstairs, but it's all summery, and that just doesn't work for March in New Brunswick.

Funny thing about maternity clothes, I put them on and suddenly I'm 9 months pregnant. Not a good sign as in reality I'm only 22 weeks - just over half way through. This could be fun.

Hana is doing great. She has taken consecutive steps now while being bribed with raisins by her grandmother. It was pretty great - she really didn't want to do it, but the temptation was just too much. Since then she holds our fingers so tight it cuts of circulation just to make sure we won't let go. She's just not ready yet. She does spend more time on her feet than she was, and she uses her push toy to get from the living room to the dining room instead of crawling. I have no worries at all. She can walk, as in she has the physical ability. She just doesn't want to.

She has also been spoiling us by sleeping 8-5ish in her own bed and then another two or three hours in ours about 4 nights a week. We still need to go in about half the time and help her settle back down once a night, but that's usually around the time I go to bed, so it doesn't actually get me up. Now if it weren't for baby thumper jumping on my bladder at night, it might be possible for me to get 6 hours of sleep in a row!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Living Content

Life has been a bit hectic lately.

Actually hectic isn't quite the right word, or doesn't seem to be, because my days are spent at home with Hana, no rushing around or pressure to get things done.

I've been stressed out for very stupid reasons. Reasons like not having dusted since Christmas, or not getting all the laundry put away, or deciding Hana's messy face isn't really worth a struggle.

I say these are stupid reasons, because none of them really matter or are worth my stress. No, my home isn't spotless, the dishes aren't all done, and a lot of the laundry still isn't put away (but it is folded, an accomplishment in itself!), and sometimes my daughter's face has traces of breakfast on it for most of the day. THose are things that so often make women feel less - less of a wife, less of a mother, less of a woman.

Why is this. Why is our worth tied up so much in our actions, in appearances? Do we honestly think it would be better to sacrifice time with our husbands and children, the very people that make us wives and mothers, for the sake of a few dishes or dust bunnies?

Now don't get me wrong, I don't think living in a mess is a good idea either. It is important to provide a safe and orderly home for the sanity of all those who live there. But I think we get carried away sometimes, especially since really there is no one judging us on how well we do in these areas.

I've started changing my attitude, finding my sense of worth in the PEOPLE in my life, instead of the THINGS in my life. To find joy in the moments instead of feeling useless guilt, stress and anxiety over things that don't really matter. Surprisingly, when I stop stressing about these things, I'm able to find the time and energy to get them done anyway!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Raising Your Spirited Child

This book has helped to save my sanity.

It's a book for parents whose children aren't quite like other kids. Those of us with intense, passionate, fiery, kids. There are other words that get tossed around for them - high-need, strong willed, difficult - but spirited is a much better fit.

I haven't even finished reading the book yet, but what I have read has completely changed my understanding of Hana and myself. I feel validated now in my feeling that my child is different - she won't always settle herself to sleep, she can't always handle an abrupt change in activity, she will go for something she's set her mind to and no amount of distraction or redirection will stop her. She's not being bad or misbehaving or trying to manipulate, she just doesn't have the tools yet that she needs to handle all the intense feelings and urges inside of her.

There have been far fewer tantrums in the last few weeks. In fact, I can't remember any full blown tantrums in the past two weeks at all. Much fewer power struggles as well. I don't think I've had a breakdown either.

I've learned how to recognize signs that her intensity is building, and I've also learned her "reset" buttons for when things are too much. These are skills that I can teach her as she grows so that she will have the tools to handle these intense feelings without letting them get the best of her.

I've learned that the characteristics that make life challenging right now are not things that need to be stopped or fixed, but are traits that I admire and respect in adults, traits that any parent would hope their child develops. Things like determination, creativity, expressiveness, focus, empathy. I've learned to change the way I speak about these things (determined instead of stubborn, exploring instead of getting into things, expressive instead of loud) which has helped change my attitude and helped me keep my own feelings in check.

I don't feel so lost when dealing with Hana anymore, or like I'm somehow doing things wrong. Any parent (or really anyone who works with children on a regular basis) who feels the "usual" methods just aren't working might want to look into this book. It's made life so much more peaceful for my whole family.

16 months

My baby is 16 months old. Not only that, but it's been two years since I found out I was pregnant. I can't believe how quickly time flies and how many things have changed since then!

Hana is such a joy. She interacts with everything around her. She's very expressive and communicates really well for someone who has about 40 words at her disposal. She's also a very loving child - I've been getting lots of kisses and hugs lately.

She still hasn't really found a use for walking, but has decided she will humor us every now and then and use her push-toy, so long as we're willing to trade off and read to her 50 times a day. She's also started enjoying having some time to play by herself in her room in the mornings, which gives me a nice little break for an hour or so.

She has the most heartfelt laugh I have ever heard in my life. When she is laughing there is no question - all is right in the world and the moment is to be enjoyed to it's fullest. It's a beautiful thing.