Mothering on the fly

I was surprised to learn after the birth of my first child that she hadn’t come with a manual of instruction.  It seemed only fitting that this should have happened—after all, didn’t I get a manual with the new vacuum cleaner we bought…with the refrigerator…even with the Waterpik for God’s sake!  How was it possible that this little detail was overlooked by our Maker?  When I first saw my daughter, Amanda, I saw her tiny hands, with fingers spread wide, seeking something, someone.  An awesome moment, indeed.

So I did what I imagine every new mother does.  I had read all the right books, but now it was up to me.  I had to learn to parent “on the fly” per se, sometimes making it up as I went.  Nursing was my first dilemma.  How in the world were we going to get this to work so that I wasn’t in constant pain?  I tried re-positioning from the cradle hold to the football hold.  I eventually just persisted, hoping it would get better and it did.  And I arrived at the conclusion that the pain went away because of one small detail—Amanda’s mouth had grown!  None of the so-called experts had told me that.  First dilemma was solved.

Of course I encountered other parenting experiences that were challenging.  But I persisted, adding to that imaginary parenting manual in my head that I had been adding to since Amanda was born.  Now that Amanda is in college, my imaginary manual, though dense with collected bits of knowledge, it’s far from complete.  I had to update my parenting manual frequently to include startlingly accurate advice from relatives and friends who were further along in their “manual.”  I learned that I did not know it all and have truly benefited from others who have “done it” before.

The sagest piece of advice I have received is to forget about the small stuff; your kids grow up in front of you.  Who cares about that dusty table?  Hasn’t it become a great writing slate for small fingers?  I have also come to learn, now that my daughter is an oh-so-wise college Junior, that I will still worry about her.  In fact, the worry doesn’t decrease at all—it has just changed.  The mistakes Amanda may make will now be potential “big” ones.  No more worries about not learning math facts quickly enough, or that Whole Language has wrecked her spelling.  Now, I have to worry that she may fall in love with someone—will he be kind?  Will he be a bum?

I just continue to annotate the manual.  It has become large, cumbersome and the rock that grounds me.  I do not think I would have ever truly appreciated the gift of being alive had I not become a mother earlier than I had planned.  I have worked hard, through blood, sweat and tears to update my parenting manual.  I have learned to be proud of this achievement, knowing that I learned along the way to be a good, and sometimes, great mother.


Both Dems and Rebs are actually having a reasonable discussion (so far)  about health care–about time.

There has been spirited disagreement about the Congressional Budget Office’s letter dated November 30, 2009 to Senator Byah which indicated:

Nongroup Policies CBO and JCT estimate that the average premium per person covered (including dependents) for new nongroup policies [which would comprise approximately 17% of the insurance market]would be about 10 percent to 13 percent higher in 2016 than the average premium for nongroup coverage in that same year under current law. About half of those enrollees would receive government subsidies that would reduce their costs well below the premiums that would be charged for such policies under current law.

… [under “Notes”] The nongroup market includes people purchasing coverage individually either in the proposed insurance exchanges or in the individual insurance market outside the insurance exchanges.

http://www.cbo.gov/ftp docs/107xx/doc10781/11-30-Premiums.pdf

The study further reveals that approximately 57% of the nongroup members would be eligible for subsidies–in those cases, this group would see a decrease in their premiums of up to 59%!

In regard to the purported increased premium costs for nongroup members, in 2016, the CBO projects increases of 10-13%, which recognizes that the plan an American may choose to opt into massively improves his/her access to preventative health care–thereby improving the overall health care of this patient.  Not bad for a relatively nominal increase in premiums which would be offset by subsidies, if I am correct in reading the above.

These politicians are neglecting to state that with improved health care outcomes, America will have a healthier workforce and businesses will lose less money due to employees being sick–all increasing America’s productivity and international competitive edge–something we are at risk of losing, if we haven’t already lost it.

Take a look at Dr. Weil’s commentary on this issue, wherein you can hear his congressional testimony:

Americans now spend far more than citizens of any other country in the developed world for health care, by virtually every measure of health outcomes – longevity, infant mortality, fitness, and rates of chronic disease – we are near or at the bottom compared to other developed countries. “We are paying more and more for health care, and have less and less to show for it,” Dr. Weil said.


Is the ship sinking?

In the past couple of days, I’ve read some interesting articles and want to share:

Great article on historical/recession events:  http://chronicle.com/article/Mad-Men-in-the-He-Cession/63510/

Professor Stiglitz , author of Freefall: America, Free Markets And The Sinking of The World Economy was interviewed recently by the  Huffington Post and elegantly relates why the U.S. has not seen a real recovery, despite the assurances of leaders last Spring that the recession was beginning to turn around.  Many, myself included, believe we haven’t even hit rock bottom.  Stiglitz says:

This approach is having profound implications that are likely to last. In 2010, the projections say that there will be between 2.5 to 3.5 million foreclosures, more than the 2 million that occurred in 2009. So, that’s an example of the dynamics going the wrong way, probably because we put in place the wrong policies. . . .

We haven’t had those kind of policies that would make American more competitive. We had a banking sector that was one of our leading sectors. Some people think that was part of the problem. We diverted people who would have been talented in other areas into banking. It’s not just capital resources problem, it’s our human resources that were misused. . . .

Also, small businesses are having trouble getting credit. These type of companies tend to borrow on the basis of collateral. Collateral is usually the value of their mortgages. That’s gone down, and now they can’t borrow. That’s an area where things seem to be keep getting worse.

When we had our welfare reform of 1996 [when Stiglitz was in the Clinton administration], we made welfare conditional. That is to say, you got welfare payments but you had to go to training and look for a job. . . .

We put the banks on welfare, but we didn’t put any conditions. We said, “You can spend the money you gave them on a Florida vacation.” It’s ironic that we were more “strict” with our poor than our banks.


See Huffington Post for

Brown win could spark Obama war on Wall Street by James Pethokoukis

(even you “righties” will enjoy the comments to this article)


My aunt has been living with an astrocytoma glioma (brain tumor) for over 10 years now.  Miraculously, it stopped growing at around the time it first made itself known.  Now, however, my aunt has discovered that one of the tumor tentacles has spawned another tumor, a fast-growing tumor it appears.  Docs said, however, that it’s possible it could spontaneously go away (they’ve seen that happen in some cases) but she is probably facing radiation and chemo in January.  So she lives in limbo.

My aunt has had a very positive attitude over the past 10 years–no “why me” or similar pitty parties.  I know I’d have had one, or two during that time.  Now, she’s scared.  I can hear the difference in her voice.  After talking with her about this new invasion to her corpus collasum this morning, I can only wonder what it’s like for her.  Does she forget about it, ever?  Can she enjoy a TV show?  Music?  Food?  She says she can smell it.  I poked around the net and have read some anecdotes from people and nurses who say they can smell cancer.

How cruel that the cancer has a scent, clinging to her wherever she is.

Michelle says . . .

Michelle thoughtfully replied to Who cares that Chicago didn’t get the Olympic bid for 2016? : https://confidinginyou.wordpress.com/2009/10/06/who-cares-that…c-bid-for-2016/

There are too many parents that take the role as being friends with their children and fail miserably along the way at rearing them to be strong, successful, good people. As I look around in the community, I see a world full of over-induldged, under disciplined brats that have no idea how to respect, appreciate or care for anything but themself and the many “things” mommy and daddy have bought for them to buy their love.

Seen with perfect vision.

Seen with perfect vision.

As seen by a child with lazy eye.

As seen by a child with lazy eye.

I spent over $600 in the blink of any eye–at my eye doctor’s office yesterday for new lenses for my glasses, an office visit and new contacts for me.

We’re a family of contact lens-wearers, so annual vision check-ups are a must.  The docs won’t renew a prescription for lenses unless you come each year.  Which is a good thing.  When I was a kid, I went from seeing normally to being practically blind in fourth grade.  My mom had to pay out-of-pocket for the ophthalmology appointments and for my hard contact lenses which were required in order to keep my corneas fixed so I didn’t lose more vision.  Those lenses cost a fortune–in 1977 they were over $400!  Glasses added another $300.  It was a hardship for my mom, but thanks to her, I can still see and my vision has hardly changed since then.

My daughter’s vision also changed dramatically, though she was three when it began.  Her eyes started to turn in, i.e. “lazy eye.”  We did the patching and got glasses but to no avail as she ended up with surgery just before her fourth birthday.  Her first pair of glasses, TRI-FOCALS for a 4-year old were over $400!  That was a fortune for young parents with no vision insurance, but we bought them and today, at almost 20, her vision was saved.  Had we  not had that surgery or purchased the corrective glasses, she would have lost her vision in her left eye.   The organization, Prevent Blindness America, reports that more than one in 50 children have amblyopia (“lazy eye”).

Unfortunately for many Americans, they can’t afford vision care.  Yet  “four in 10 U.S. adults and children nationwide have no eyecare/ vision coverage,” according to VSP Vision Care. (See http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/gi_0199-7068253/In-the-blink-of-an.html)

For those interested in learning how vision coverage might be affected by the health care proposals, see: http://www.visionmonday.com/Default.aspx?tabid=211&content_id=15984&category_id=103

For more detailed information about the effects of lack of access to vision care, please see below or visit:  http://www.nei.nih.gov/nehep/research/FinalReport9_15_05.pdf

The receipt of eye care is an important concern because the number of vision disorders and cases of blindness is increasing. In 2000, there were a reported 937,000 Americans aged 40 and older who were blind. The number of persons with low vision was estimated to be an additional 2.4 million, bringing the total number of Americans aged 40 and older with visual impairments to 3.3 million, or one in 28 persons (Congdon et al., 2004).   The leading causes of vision impairment and blindness in the United States include diabetic retinopathy, age‐related macular degeneration (AMD), cataract, and glaucoma. . . .

In reviewing the literature for barriers to health care, several pieces of research showed that whether a person has health insurance or not is a major factor in the receipt of health care. . . . Of those who were uninsured and needed care, 35 percent never received any (Kaiser, 2003). . . .

I agree–this proposed bill does not deal with health or care. I was joking the other day that my dog had better health care than most Americans. I wrote about it and posted it on my blog. My pets are covered under a plan through Banfield Animal Hospital. No insurance–just the clinic administers this plan. For $36 a month, my dog gets two annual comprehensive visits, teeth cleaning, blood work, annual shots, free visits and more. Why can’t hospitals form co-ops to offer similar plans and choices?

When there is profit involved in health care, it will ALWAYS be more profitable for the patient to die. Health insurance companies are truly the “death panels.”

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost