Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mommy dearest

I am currently working on this sign to be posted on my bedroom door. No, my kids cannot read yet, but you get all kinds of crazy ideas when you are woken up for the fifth time in one night.

Dear DD and DS,

Do not enter this room between the hours of 11 pm and 7 am.


The only reason to come in is a true emergency. THE WAY YOUR FATHER AND I DEFINE IT. If in doubt whether your request constitutes an emergency, please consult the following chart:

I can't find my doll/stuffed dog. Sad, I know, even border-line tragic. But this is not a true emergency. Turn around and go back to bed.

I fell out of bed. Obviously, if you made it from your room to ours, nothing's broken. This is not an emergency. Calm down, I'll kiss all the boo boos in the morning. Go back to bed.

Mommy, I am scared. Yeah, me too. Recession's not pretty. Go back to bed.

I am nauseous. So why are you wasting time going into my room? Run to the bathroom now. NOW!!! Finish reading this later. Done? Wanna puke some more? No? Good. This is no longer an emergency. Go back to bed.

I want to sleep with you. DS - proceed quietly and at your own risk. DD - you are a kicker and a restless sleeper. Turn around and go back to bed, YOUR bed.

Love you dearly between the hours of 7 am and 11 pm ,

Mommy and Daddy.

Now go back to your bed.

Yeah, I am mean. I guess that's why they keep on coming back at ungodly hours...

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Finally the science is catching up with common sense and proved in a study that religious requirement for women to dress and behave modestly is actually in women's best interest (and not a form of subjugation). Bottom line: if you don't want to be treated like an object, don't dress like one. Read more here, if you want.

The guarding dog, part II.

Ok, so DD was not sleep-walking when she asked me to help find her dog in the middle of the night. That's a relief. Last night I asked her why she came to me the night before. She said that the dog was on the couch, and she found it in the morning. I said, "Yeah, I know that. But why did you come to me in the middle of the night?" She gave me an exasperated with a hint of eye-rolling, "But I needed the dog!"

Yeah, that explains it. Now everything is crystal clear.

In related news... After I finished my conversation with DD, I went into the kids' bedroom to get their pajamas. When I turned on the light I saw someone sitting in the corner of DS's crib, looking somewhat like this:

To say that I got scared is to say nothing. I know the feeling lasted only a few seconds, if that, but that was enough to cause some heart palpitations. Pretty soon I realized what was actually sitting in DS's crib: a big stuffed Shrek, a gift from my dear parents, not some hard-core criminal hiding from justice.

We got to do something about our children's stuffed toys, they are causing too much commotion...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The guarding dog

It’s no secret that our kids treat my bed as their own. We broke DD’s habit of climbing into it in the middle of the night about a year ago (mostly SubHub’s achievement), and except for a very rare occasion, she stays in her bed all night long. DS is another story, and every night around 3 a.m. he climbs over me and stays in my bed until he wakes up for the day. In the past two weeks, however, DD crawled into my bed twice. Unlike DS, she just quietly climbs in and stays until DS shows up for his shift, and then leaves.

Last night SubHub went into the kids’ room and came out with the stuffed dog DD took to bed with her. “Look what they did to the poor animal, “he said. I looked up and saw SubHub’s belt wrapped tightly around the toy’s neck. “Somebody needs to tell them they shouldn’t do it.” I diplomatically withheld a comment: only two days ago SubHub was kicking the same dog all over the living room floor for reasons unknown to me or mankind, and of course, in front of the kids. Stuffed animal cruelty (big no-no in my parents’ house) is not on his list of sins, which made SubHub’s concern about the fate of DD’s dog even more perplexing. I hope he wanted to tell the kids that belts are not toys and didn’t start getting senile ..

Then we went to sleep, and a few hours later I heard someone climbing into my bed. I realized it was DD and immediately started thinking, “Great. There we go again. Pretty soon there will be two of them here and I would actually have to ask DD to leave (which I hate. It really isn’t fair that she gets to leave and he gets to stay all the time. But she cooperates, so I ask her. Nighttime parenting is just not my strong point, hence my sleeping arrangements.)”

DD, however, was not settling in. She wanted to ask me something. “Mommy, will you help me find my dog in the morning?” What? Where am I? What dog? Who are you? But instead I answered, “Yes, sure sweetie.” (Just don’t ask me for a drink, or light in the bathroom, or anything else, I really don’t want to get up. Just curl up next to me and fall asleep fast.) But DD did not fall asleep fast. Without further ado, she climbed off my bed and disappears into the darkness while I all of a sudden found myself wide awake with questions roaming my mind. What just happened? Why did she leave? All by herself? Was she even awake during the entire incident? And my person favorite: HOW CREEPY WAS THAT???? If you weren't there, it's probably hard to imagine, but take my word for it, it was.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

You would laugh too if it could never happen to you

Few days ago I paid a visit to my gyn. While waiting for him in the exam room and lacking other reading materials, I grabbed a pregnancy magazine. Well, here’s a bit of history. While expecting DS, I had a blog on one of those pregnancy sites. Several posts there were dedicated to pregnancy magazines, mainly about what kind of an idiot who thought that it was a good idea to print some of the stuff in a publication read primarily by - duh! - expectant mothers. So pregnancy magazines and I don’t have a good relationship, but still, I would rather read them than examine a chart with birth control options posted on the exam room door (not because I am against birth control, but because I have it memorized already. I don’t think it changed since I was pregnant with DD, who is now 4, and I spent many hours staring at that door in the past 5 years.)

So I opened this magazine, and the first thing I saw was a “fun fact.” Oh, nice, fun AND not written by Heidi Murkoff. Too good to be true? It was. This fun fact contained the following information: during pregnancy woman’s uterus stretches to over 1000 times its original size. Yippee! As in ouch!!!! Good for us, women, I guess. I instinctively cringed and crossed my legs. Who in their right mind (people in medical profession excluding) thinks that having your uterus stretch is “fun”? Have they ever been pregnant? Did someone, whose uterus will never stretch, aka “a man”, write this? What other fun facts does this fine magazine have up its sleeve? That when uterus shrinks back to its original (??) size, it is quite painful?That there is no cure for stretch marks, except plastic surgery? Or that about 30% of pregnant women will end up with a C-section?

Well, here’s another fun fact. Right after reading this, my eyes immediately returned to the aforementioned birth control options chart. Was this the writer’s intent?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Quote of the month - February '09

I wanted to put this on my blog for a while, just kept procrastinating. I found this in the fellow blogger's post and immediately fell in love with it. So the quote of the month, courtesy of Philosopher Mom, is:

"Who broke into my laundry room and shrunk my fat jeans? And why the hell didn't they do the rest of the laundry while they were in there?"

I think no further comments are necessary.

Monday, February 2, 2009

My body, my choice

I think by now most people have heard about a woman who had given birth to octuplets last week. The facts that have been confirmed so far are as follows:
1. She had 6 other children, ages 2 to 7.
2. She was believed to carry seven fetuses, eighth was a surprise.
3. This was the result of some sort of fertility treatment.
4. The woman was given the option to reduce the number of fetuses, but refused.
5. Given the circumstances, babies and mother are doing remarkably well, though babies most likely will remain in the hospital for another 6 weeks or so.

Everything else is either appearing in the gossip magazines or unproven, and the woman herself is not speaking publicly yet. This case made a lot of people nervous, particularly those in the fertility treatment industry, and many doctors practicing in this field are trying to separate themselves from this particular case, claiming that they would never allow for this to happen on their watch. Every respectable publication and news site has published an article on the ethical dilemmas presented by this case, and most of these articles are saying the same things and nothing that I found particularly controversial. Until today, when I read this on

Overall, the article didn't say anything different from others, but two paragraphs caught my attention. They were addressing the issue of reducing the number of fetuses in extreme multiple pregnancies, and this was a view of one of the experts:

Rosenthal, on the other hand, questions the woman's capacity to make a good decision under the circumstances. Some neonatologists believe that when pregnant women are told about dangers of prematurity or have great expectations about giving birth, their judgment can be impaired, she said.

The situation raises the issue of whether a doctor ought to override a patient's wishes for the sake of saving lives, she said. Although the health care system in America gives patients autonomy in making decisions about their own bodies, when emotionally distraught, some people decide poorly, she said.

What this bioethicist Sara Rosenthal is saying (unless she is misquoted) is that pregnant women are prime candidates for impaired judgment and cannot be relied upon being reasonable when presented with tough choices. That's, of course, if they choose to not reduce the number of fetuses (or follow their doctor's advice in other matters). If they agree with their neonatologist and selectively abort, then they are perfectly reasonable.

Putting this particular case aside, what this Ms. Rosenthal is suggesting is a possibility of overriding patients' choices if they seem to be poor to their doctor. And that is a very dangerous proposition. That puts every woman who decides to carry complicated pregnancy to term in danger of having her choice overridden. Ditto for rape victims refusing the morning after pill, those pregnant with not 100% healthy fetuses, those who already have many children and refusing to use birth control ... (It could also go the other way, and if one is treated by a doctor or a hospital with a belief that all abortions are evil, even the ones to save woman's life, the emotional and "unreasonable" woman might not get the medical help of her choice.)

This wouldn't stop with pregnant women, though. The danger of not having a choice in one's treatment would also spread to cancer patients refusing chemotherapy or other invasive procedures recommended by doctors. Patients' relatives could also be considered "emotionally distraught" when refusing to cut life support of terminally ill parents/siblings/children. Overriding their choices would be the next logical step and bring euthanasia to new heights.

The bottom line is that very few people coming to the hospital, whether patients or their relatives, are NOT emotionally distraught. I don't know anyone who would choose a hospital as their vacation spot or a place to unwind. Once the choice of medical treatment is taken away from any group of people (I am talking about people with normal mental capacities and in the presence of mind), everyone is in danger of losing that choice. The questions of who would make these choices for "emotionally distraught" preggies with multiples or come up with guidelines for doctors' intervention immediately arise. And I don't trust the government or medical professional to self regulate in this matter because history and practice show that both value practical considerations over spiritual and emotional.

And on the final note, I would like to ask bioethicist Sara Rosenthal this: how ethical is it to judge someone before one has all the facts or at the very least hears the octuplets' mother's side of the story?

Thank you.

Thank you very much for you kind comments about my grandmother. I really appreciate them. I am still processing what had happened, and the mood changes several times a day: from wanting to talk about it to wishing to move on and back. I am OK, and my Dad seems fine, given the circumstances. I might come back to this topic on this blog or I might not. In either case, wishing all of you and your families good health and to only hear good news.