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Friday, February 26, 2010

Helping our friends

When my oldest was about 14 months old, I was really sick. My husband was on recruiter duty and couldn't come home to take care of her (they gave him so much grief when I had food poisoning and he came to take care of her and me. Apparently I was supposed to set up toys in the bathroom so I could keep an eye on her while I had my head in the toilet!) I was part of a MOMS Club and put the word out that I needed someone to take her for a few hours because I was badly in need of a nap. I said I didn't care if they stayed at my house or went to their house, I just wanted to sleep. I was part of a babysitting co-op and had amassed quite a few babysitting bucks because I was watching other moms' kids a lot.

Not one person helped. They were all scared their child would get sick (my child wasn't sick), and said that's what family was for. Uhh, yeah, I didn't have family in the area, I was on my own. It sucked, but I got through it. However, I didn't get bitter. I know some moms think that because they had a hard time of it, other moms should, and I think that's stupid and mean. If you're having a hard time of things, other moms should want to help you! I don't think coming over to take care of a well child so a friend can get a nap while sick is a lot to ask, I've certainly done more.

When we lived in Pittsburgh I had a friend who has no children (just cute doggies!) Once while her husband was out of town for work, she got really sick with a stomach bug. She was scared, and called me to bring her tylenol. I brought her the tylenol, made her matzo ball soup, washed her dishes, and went with her while she walked her dog (she wanted to do it, otherwise I would have. Her dog was so worried about her, I'm not sure he would have left my friend.) When I was sick, she came over to help me. She took my dog to stay at her house so it was one less thing I had to worry about while my head hung in the toilet. She minimizes how helpful it was, but when you're sick and have 2 kids and a dog, taking one of the living breathing things reliant on you to care for them, it's VERY helpful for the worries.

I think that mothers, and friends, should be willing to pop a few extra vitamin C tablets, a few probiotics, whatever your immune system booster of choice is, and help their friends! I was watching "RuPaul's Drag Race" last night (it's awesome, don't judge!) and one of the girls, Sonique, said something that was SO true! I'm paraphrasing, but basically, if your friend is having trouble with something, you need to help them. If your friend is looking a hot mess, it's not being a friend to sit back and watch them crash and burn.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Parents and Baby Talk Magazine suck

In the March 2010 issue of Baby Talk magazine, they gave awful, dangerous, negligent advice.

As you can see, it says that if a baby is intact (not uncircumcised, that's like saying the editor of this magazine was unintelligent for not fact checking, no, just call her stupid) you should tug on the foreskin and cleanse thoroughly. This isn't about intact vs circumcised, this is about facts. When called to task on this, Parents magazine came back with an utterly disgusting response:

A Note from the Editors of Babytalk on "The Supermom Transformation"
By The editors of on Wednesday, February 24, 5:41 pm EST

We have received a number of emails in regard to the care and cleansing of baby boys’ penises as cited in the story, “The Supermom Transformation,” in the March 2010 issue of Babytalk. We apologize for any confusion related to the subject. For first-time moms, this is a tricky issue, and it is always our goal to provide you with the most clear and accurate information possible because when it comes to caring for your babies, nothing could be more important.
Our story states that “If [the penis] is uncircumcised, it is important to gently tug back his foreskin and cleanse thoroughly.” According to Nancy Silva, M.D., board-certified pediatrician and fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), who we used as a resource for this article, “Gently tugging is not the same as retracting. Retraction is forceful pulling back of the foreskin to the base of the glans, which results in unnecessary pain, bleeding, and further adhesions. Gently tugging is the equivalent of sliding it back as far as it can naturally go. In newborn males (birth to 30 days old), this is approximately 1-5 millimeters. Gently tugging/sliding back of the foreskin allows for cleansing of the penis and foreskin and removal of smegma [the normal, white skin cells under the penis].”
We recognize the confusion lies with the word “tug,” which can be interpreted in different ways. We will make every effort to clarify these statements further in the future. According to the Office of the Executive Director of the AAP, gently pushing back the foreskin to clean is OK.
The official statement from the AAP regarding the care of an uncircumcised, or otherwise intact, penis – which underscores Dr. Silva’s warning not to retract the foreskin forcefully – can be found on the AAP’s web site, We also encourage readers to discuss this subject with their pediatricians.

Wow, way to pass the buck. It's not my fault, the doctor WE contacted said so. Did you not get a second opinion? It's not a question of subjective words, it's just WRONG!

Here's what the AAP actually says:
In the first several years your son's foreskin will separate from the tip of the penis. Some foreskins separate soon after birth or even before birth, but this is rare. When it happens is different for every child. It may take a few weeks, months, or years. Once this happens, the foreskin can be pulled back away from the tip of the penis. This is called foreskin retraction.

Most boys will be able to retract their foreskins by the time they are 5 years old, yet others will not be able to until the teen years. As a boy becomes more aware of his body, he will most likely discover how to retract his own foreskin. But foreskin retraction should never be forced. Until the foreskin fully separates, do not try to pull it back. Forcing the foreskin to retract before it is ready can cause severe pain, bleeding, and tears in the skin.

But yeah, don't issue a retraction, blame the doctor that gave you the advice and move on. Don't correct it, let people know that you made an error, instead compound it by risking babies being hurt at the hands of an unknowing, well meaning mother.

Lovely tomato soup

I, like so many children of the 80's, grew up with Campbell's tomato soup and Kraft American grilled cheese sandwiches. Well, since then a lot has come out about high fructose corn syrup (present in Campbell's tomato soup, at least the last time I checked), and processed cheese just skeeves me out now (possibly because when my oldest was 3 she got sick after having a "grilled cheese sandwich" at her preschool, aka saltines and a slice of American cheese, in my car on the way home. The smell still haunts me.) I've been on a quest for a really good tomato soup, and found some, but the sodium content is always through the roof! I was looking through my Whole Foods for the Whole Family cookbook from the La Leche League (freecycle score!) and found an interesting recipe. Here it is:

Tomato Soup

4 large tomatoes
2 slices onion
1/4 small green pepper
1 carrot
1/2 tsp salt
Dash of pepper
2 c thin white sauce

1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Dash of ground cloves or allspice
Basil, parsley, thyme, marjoram, garlic or oregano to taste

Plunge tomatoes into boiling water for 20 to 60 seconds. Cool slightly. Peel and chop. Combine with vegetables and seasonings in large saucepan. Simmer for 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. May puree or straing through food mill for finer consistency. Prepare white sauce with milk, stock, or water. Stir mixture into white sauce slowly to prevent curdling. Cook until heated through. May omit green pepper and carrot. Yield: 5 servings.

Approx per serving: Cal 135; Prot 5g; Carbo 12g; Fiber 2g; Total Fat 8 g; 53% Calories from Fat; Chol 26 mg; Sod 530 mg

Tomato Rice Soup: Add 1/2 to 3/4 C cooked brown rice. Some of the rice may be processed with tomato mixture.

Tomato Vegetable Soup: After pureeing vegetables, add 1 to 2 c other vegetables and/or cooked dried beans. Simmer until tender. Or add leftover cooked vegetables and heat until warmed through.

Thin White Sauce

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 c milk
1/4 tsp or less salt
dash of pepper

Melt butter in saucepan over low heat; remove from heat. Blend in flour until smooth. Add milk gradually, stirring constantly. Cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring constantly; reduce heat. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. This same method may be used to thicken stock or any other liquid. The method avoids lumps but may burn if made in a thin saucepan. May substitute cornstarch for flour, adding 1 1/2 tsp for thin sauce. Yields 1 cup.

This is what we ended up having for lunch:

I made the grilled cheese sandwich with sourdough bread, butter, swiss, colby jack, and cheddar cheese. I spread the insides with garlic and herb laughing cow cheese, and on mine I had some Trader Joe's garlic aioli mustard. It was very tasty, but I'm thinking the laughing cow wasn't really necessary, and thinking of focusing on one cheese instead of 4 that were in that one sandwich.

I left out the green pepper in the soup, didn't have cloves or allspice, but I did add some garlic, a bay leaf, and basil. I did try it with the cinnamon simply because I was intrigued. I liked it a lot, but next time I'm going to leave out the cinnamon and add more garlic and basil. The great thing about this recipe (or any recipe for that matter) is you can truly make the soup your own, just run with it!

The girls really seemed to enjoy the soup. My oldest remarked that it wasn't red like all the other tomato soups she's had, and I said that's because it has other things in it. She accepted the orange-y hue to the tomato soup and ate it with gusto. I'm wondering if I could sneak some spinach into it and get a good whopper of some iron and a leafy green in on her.

Hi :)

My name is Rebecca and this is my attempt at a blog. I'm a stay-at-home mom of 2 little girls, ages 5 and 2. My husband is in the military, and right now we live in Arizona. This blog won't just be about what I've been cooking, but crafting, thoughts on things, what's been metaphorically cooking in my house. I really hope that someone out there will enjoy my thoughts, but I know it will be therapeutic to get them out.