Truth be told, the Valentines were not a huge success as a craft project for Absurdist Tot. But I had a great time, before and after I got the glue stick out of his mouth (cap on, but still). How fun that I'm going to get to go through all of this twice! When I was a kid, I remember so vividly being mad at my hands for not being able to do what I wanted them to do -- color within the lines, cut straight, be as exact and careful as I wanted. Wow, the frustration. As an adult I've collected some of the Dover coloring books because they are just so good -- and some colored pencils. No, not in preparation for having a child, but for me! Though I haven't colored in a long long time.
Anyway, I think that it's just fine that it didn't go particularly well with AT and the Valentines. It's all a process. And as a parent I'm getting used to the idea that the first time of doing anything isn't going to go well, like feeding him almost any food in his high chair. I'm thankful for all the things that do go well, like his not crying at all when we leave him at daycare (so far and knock on wood) and his eating jarred organic baby spinach (also so far). Lots of things get better over time, like, get this, his taking his medicine. Imagine a toddler coming up to you and opening his mouth for the dropper of pink stuff. I think this comes from how little sugar he gets -- except in his organic "o"s, the fabulous organic crackers we all love, and his yogurt. So that when it comes to the high fructose corn syrup they no doubt put in the pink stuff? He loves it. He also loves taking acetaminephin drops. Go figure.
Can I just take this small detour and say how difficult it is to get decent information as a parent? I went in for a meet and greet with a new doctor for me (who seems great actually, supportive of alternative medicine and into making yearly health goals), and we had the immunization conversation. It sounds so reasonable when someone talks about the dangers of globalization and having seen children suffering from polio and how children's immune systems handle vaccines better than adults do. But then there are all these people I trust who are very skeptical of immunizations from all sorts of different angles -- potential brain injury, the dangers of over-stimulating a child's immune system all at once, the old autism debate, lack of sufficient testing of the newer vaccines (and you should see what they say about the Swine flu vaccine!), that vaccines don't work very well. And then there's the report I heard that pharmaceutical companies that make vaccines give tons of money to the AMA -- and while I don't want to say that there's some conspiracy about stifling certain kinds of research, there really doesn't have to be. It's a well understood psychological phenomenon that people tend to find their friends more persuasive -- and then there's the whole issue that Western medicine is not good at understanding or testing for how different systems interact with one another. Not to mention that we live in the country where certain government agencies are so bought by corporate food and farming industries, it's not much of a leap to think that other powerful corporations and industries might have undue influence on certain kinds of policies, even with well-meaning and rigorous people. And what about healthy skeptical conservatism? When I check online to see if I can drink yerba mate or take oil of oregano (which AL swears by) as a nursing mother, the websites say there haven't be sufficient tests to show that they are safe and nonharmful to the nursing baby so don't do it, don't take that chance. But with immunizations we're supposed to go the other way and ask whether they've been proven to be dangerous and/or caused problems. Why is that?
I'm tempted to collect a whole bunch of information from different sources together and hand them to her and say: here's why a reasonable thinking person would question the value of giving immunizations to her child. (For example, our pediatrician said that while he supported immunizations, he would "respect our beliefs," as if it's not a faith-based decision rather than a thinking one. Weird for me to be on that side of things.)
Anyway, today I have to go to work and be a professional academic instead of a confused mom. Can I please get tenure from crochet projects? Please? I'm becoming a whiz at potholders! (Oh and I did look at an early draft of my conference paper yesterday, but who cares about that?)
Please cross your fingers for Absurdist Lover's job search efforts. We live in a terrible place to find a job, but I'm hopeful he'll find something. I just hope with all my heart that he finds something he likes and feels good and useful at, as much as any of us get to.