Friday, November 30, 2007


I read recently, about a five week old baby boy who died of SIDS. He and his parents were at a holiday party being thrown by members of a birthing class he had attended. He nursed at his mother's breast for awhile, fell asleep, bled from the nose just a bit and then stopped breathing. That was it. He was gone. All efforts to revive him were made- another father at the party began infant CPR right away, and he was life flighted to a hospital nearby. But, he wasn't breathing on his own for several hours. By then, he'd suffered irreprable damage and his brain had shut down. Within a few days, his parents had said their goodbyes and made the choice to turn off life support. His organs were donated to others in need.

Incidentally, I know someone who was able to donate her sons eyes, and I can't tell you how healing it is to think of Cody's baby blue eyes gazing out and really seeing the world for the first time.

What really strikes me about this case is the timeless quality of it. Mothers today are haunted by the specter of SIDS. We're told to lie our infants on their backs to sleep-then NO put them on their sides-fluffy bankets increase the risk-sleeping in a family bed increases the risk-NO it decreases the risk-smoking mothers have increased risk of SIDS babies-breastfeeding mothers have a decreased risk. Sometimes the information is conflicting, sometimes it seems downright crazy. The truth is, we have no idea what single or multiple factors cause it. All we can do is follow the instructions of our "experts" and hope the specter is warded away by our practices and the totems we use- such as side sleepting pillows and thin blankets.

I watched a program once about a Roman era archeological site in Britian (the name of the town I've long forgotten and some serious Google-Fu didn't turn up anything to supplement our discussion.) There were an unusually high number of infants buried there, ranging in ages from pre-term to 3 years of age. With burials found in the floors of homes, to just outside the doors and even in the cemeteries, it's not uncommon to see evidence of infanticide in Roman towns. Most often these babies are unwanted newborn girls-but in this town the sex ratio was fairly equal. Additionally, in many cases these were not discarded children, but clearly loved, as small tokens such as a hair brush or a necklace were often buried with them. Further analysis revealed high amounts of lead in the teeth and bones of these children-pointing to the true cause of their deaths-lead poisioning. Lead was common in Roman times, used in everything from cooking utensils to face paints to water piping. While literature tells us they were at least somewhat cognizant of the dangers of lead posioning, the entire population of this Frontier post shows elevated levels of lead in their bodies. Imagine knowing a silent spectre was creeping about in the night, killing the most innocent and helpless of your loved ones. You cling to the words of the most wise of your people, keep small trinkets and feed special morsels that are said to help ward from death. Sound familiar?

In the end, the reasons are different, the methods are different, but we still experience the same fear and the same pain of loss as millions of different women down through the ages. We often elevate ourselves due to our own apparent understanding of science and our modernity, but in the end, motherhood is the same no matter where or when you live. From the moment you discover you are carrying life inside you, you become a member of a timeless sisterhood of women-who have all loved, hoped, prayed, and suffered for a child. We are linked with all the women who have ever placed a gentle hand on the chest of a child to make sure they were still breathing.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

baby names?

So, I was convinced I was having a boy. We've had a boy name, Isaac Zachary, (yeah, I know his nickname would probably end up baby Zach Zach) picked out since before Lizzie's birth and consequently, hadn't really been too concerned with finding a girl name. Anytime I considered it I couldn't think of anything that really tripped my trigger. I've got a couple of rules of thumb:

1. Kids should have the chance to have cute nicknames
2. Adults should have names that has some dignity to them
3. Variations on spelling are just stupid and trite
4. "Unique" names just end up looking like pathetic attempts to nuture the individuality of your child
5. Following a theme when naming your kids-such as making them all start with the same letter-you know it makes you wanna gag!

Chances are, it's the old traditional sorts of names that really make me happy. I've looked back through the abundant records of Josh's family tree (and what we have of mine) but I'm still not seeing anything great. Josh's family goes back quite aways on the East Coast, and has some GREAT old Puritan names (and noteables in some cases) like:

Hepsibah Fruit
Cotton Mather
Increase Mather

Only one' is a girl's name, but you get the idea, right? Somehow, I just can't quite make those work. Surely you see why? So I'm sending out the call- got anything you love? Here's a few I've toyed with:

Katherine (mostly cause I wanna call my child "Kat")
Bodhi (Yeah, I know-it totally violates that whole unique rule- but it's got this cool meaning and tomboy sorta vibe going for it)
Murphy (My mom's idea-but a bit too mannish for me)
Belle (Lizzie's idea, short for Isabelle, which I happen to really like, but many people think it's awfully close to Elizabeth in sound)

So- let 'em rip!

Monday, November 26, 2007

chicks-we digs 'em!

chicks- we digs em!
It's a girl!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Disturbing baby clothes..

So I was looking for some cute baby clothes on and found some seriously disturbing t-shirts. Cafepress is good at suppressing image stealing (*sniffle*) so I can't show you pictures... but here are a few slogans...

#10. Daddy drinks cause I cry
#9. Mommy drinks cause I cry
#8. I drink 'till I pass out, just like my Dad
#7. Proof my Mommy liked the drummer
#6. I just did 9 months in the Hole
#5. Daddy's little tax deduction
#4. Still sore from the Bris
#3. Dingo Bait
#2. Mother Sucker

annnd the ABSOLUTE WORST thing I saw?!?

#1. Hung like a five year old

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sometimes I wish I could crochet!

Now, I'm a terrible crochetter- or "crotch-et-er" as we say 'round my house. As a little girl, I used to chain strings to make halters and bridles for my Breyer horses or when I really had my mojo working, I'd make saddles (squares with little straps attached for a girth) and stable blankets for my trusty steeds, but this was the extent of my abilities. Knitting anything larger meant I made a triangle-because I was forever dropping stitches at the end. I gave it all up in disgust once I'd grown out of playing on my knees and making little horsie noises. Puberty hit-and I was forced to face the facts that I was a rotten crotch-et-er.
Fast forward almost 20 years and patterns like these make me ALMOST itchy to pick up a hook... Amigurumi means "Knitted or Crocheted Toy" and man are they cute. What do you expect from the Japanese-who afterall, have perfected the art of Cute.
Wiki says "The simplest designs are worked in spirals. In contrast to typical Western crochet the rounds are not usually joined. They are also worked with a smaller size hook in proportion to the weight of the yarn in order to create a very tight-looking fabric without any gaps through which the stuffing might escape. Amigurumi are usually worked in sections and then joined, except for some amigurumi which have no limbs, only a head and torso which are worked as one piece. The extremities are often stuffed with plastic pellets to give them a life-like weight, while the rest of the body is stuffed with fiber stuffing.

The pervading aesthetic of amigurumi is cuteness. To this end, typical amigurumi animals have an over-sized spherical head on a cylindrical body with undersized extremities."

Mr. Manatee

A Fishie and his Dad

Oh My GOD look at those little pink CHEECKS!

*splat* (head explodes)

Oh look! Happy Pills!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Knitters! Get Knocked Up!

Here we have a classic example of why it's so important that we suck more knitters into having babies. I've ranted before at the hideous and totally impractical baby accouterments out there people have proudly knit for poor unfortunate new souls. This is a really innovative idea that would only come from someone intimately connected to daily life with an infant. Seaweed is a cover that buttons over your coat and baby (who is presumably riding in a carrier or sling) to protect the wee munchkin from the cold winds of winter. It's simple, yes-but a MARVELOUS idea. Way to go Anna-Maria! I've always wondered how to negotiate life with a sling and winter!

Now in all reality, I probably won't knit this-despite how tickled I am with it. I figure I'll have far less cause here in vehicle friendly SD to spend time walking with a baby than in pedestrian friendly Vienna. Most of the time I'll be out will be with Bebe' in a car seat. But I really like the idea, nonetheless!

Honestly, I think if we had more pattern designers out there who were actually knitting items out of a real need, rather than a desire to just "make a baby sweater" we'd come up with some really outstanding patterns. So often something I run across is cute- but totally impractical, either due to the way it's put on, the thickness, the washing care needed... I dunno, maybe I'm just a utilitarian sort of knitter. Up with practicality!