Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Breast or Bottle...for the baby doll

So this is weird and may well end up being one of those things my daughter will want to kill me for one day but it's too interesting a topic to ignore. I breast fed my daughter as did most of the Mom friends I've made since having a baby. Now that my baby is quickly approaching 3, many of our Mom Group friends are having baby number two. And all of them are breastfeeding the new babies. My daughter is obsessed with these babies -- maybe she has the weird sixth sense that she's not getting a sibling -- and doesn't miss a beat when we spend time with the new babies and their mommies. So I guess it shouldn't be any surprise that after a recent playgroup when my daughter was playing with her dolls, I found her with a doll's face smashed into her flat little chest. She repeats much of what the mommies say including "My baby hungry, after I feed her you can hold her." Exactly what she hears at playgroup when she asks to hold one of the babies. She even plastered her Buzz Lightyear to her chest for a recent feeding. I haven't responded to this latest development except to say that it's best not to feed babies in the store but wait until we get home as the last thing I want to do is defend this behavior to some offended stranger. I'm just not sure how to feel about it. Should I be proud that she is so observant that she mimics the good mothering she sees all around her? Or should I be trying to steer her toward playing with her fake bottles for feedings instead? I'm leaning toward the former and not the latter but I'd be lying if I said the whole thing didn't make me uncomfortable. It's one thing to have the breast vs. bottle debate about real babies but baby that's one I didn't expect.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Shirley Sherrod Another Victim of a Toxic Media Environment

The flap over Shirley Sherrod's supposed racist remarks and the Ag Department's hasty response in firing her is a classic example of a growing problem in this modern media age. Now that anyone with an Internet hookup can claim the mantle of journalist, those who live and die by the media cycle too often jump the gun to try and have the "correct" response to some perceived crisis. An edited clip posted by a hack pseudo journalist led to a tizzy in the Ag Department that cost Sherrod her job. Why? Because no one wanted it to blow up into a media frenzy and paint the Obama Administration as racist against whites. Did anyone at the Ag Department bother to check the story and look at the video? No. Did anyone bother to check the validity of the video? No. Did anyone in the media do their due diligence before reporting the story? No. Did anyone do their job? No, with the exception of Mrs. Sherrod. She did her job for the family she references in her remarks and worked to get them the help they needed. She did her job as a political appointee and resigned when she was asked. And she did her job as a member of our society, sharing her story of personal growth so that others might learn from it.

A potential media crisis had to be averted and before anybody bothered to do their job and get the real story, they threw Mrs. Sherrod under the bus. And now everyone is backtracking, except the hack who started the flap. He stands by his deeds, telling NBC News that he defends his actions because the responses Mrs. Sherrod's remarks drew from her audience demonstrated the racism that exists within the NAACP. Apparently now we can all be held responsible not only for what we say but how others respond to it.

The real problem here isn't racism -- that's a topic for another day -- but a media environment that is focused more on being first than on being right. There was a time that this story would have never gotten legs because reporters would have dug beyond the veneer to get to the truth. And the truth is that Mrs. Sherrod's remarks were a statement on how to overcome prejudice and not a statement of prejudice. If anybody in the media had bothered to do the research they would have found the entire tape and seen Andrew Brietbart's edited video post for what it was -- a blatant attempt to manipulate the national debate on racism and prejudice.

Apologies that these aren't direct links but that exceeds my current technological skill. If you cut and paste in your browser you should be able to find the videos on You Tube.

This is the clip that got Sherrod fired.

This is the clip of Sherrod's full remarks.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Teen Moms -- How do we change the trend?

One of my guilty TV pleasures is the MTV show "Teen Mom". For those who don't know this show is the follow up to the MTV show "16 and Pregnant" and chronicles the lives of four teenage moms in raising their babies, dealing with their baby daddies, finishing school, relating to their families and the myriad challenges any parent faces -- only theirs are amplified by the fact they are so young. I'm not sure exactly why I'm so into this show as it is a sad commentary on how flip some young people are about the biggest job they will ever do -- raise a child. Some of these girls are trying hard to be great moms and others are still caught up in boys and parties to the detriment of their children. But what I find most disturbing is the statistic I heard cited in the "After the Show Finale Special" -- 1 in 10 children born in the U.S. is born to a teen mother. Yes, you read that right 1 in 10! This is 2010 and birth control is readily available and affordable -- did you all catch the recent news story about an elementary school making condoms available at the nurses office? -- so I'm totally confused as to why these girls are getting pregnant. And why both the girls and the boys sometimes take the responsibility of parenthood so lightly. Some of them come from dysfunctional homes and but others don't. I am amazed by the one couple on the show who chose adoption for their baby and how brave they are in giving such an amazing gift to a couple who wanted a baby so badly. But more than anything I wonder what we can do as a society to change the trend of so many teenagers having babies. There are no easy answers but as long as the conversation is dominated by our religious and political ideology solutions are going to be hard to find.

Friday, July 16, 2010

make new friends, but keep the old...

One is silver and the other gold. I remember this song from Girl Scouts and it seems appropriate today as I'm thinking a lot about friends and what they mean. With 40 running up on me faster than I would like, I've noticed how much harder it gets to make friends as we get older. Not acquaintances but true friends...the kind that you can invite over for dinner without cleaning your house first. Not sure why it gets tougher -- maybe we're just not as open to new people or maybe we're too busy with work and family to really invest in cultivating new friendships. But in thinking aobut the next few weeks and all that I have planned, I've noticed that the friends I'm spending a lot of time with this summer are those I've had for years, even decades. We may drift apart for a time, but we always seem to find our way back to each other. There's something about our history that binds us together. We may not have as much in common anymore but these are the women who know the real me and not just the representative I present to the world. They've seen me at my best and at my worst and when I'm in crisis, these are the women I turn to for understanding and support. When I got married, I picked three women to stand beside me and I remember thinking then that these were the ones I would know forever. When I'm 80, these are the ones who will be tearing it up with me at the bingo parlor. And I was right...we've since moved in different directions and I don't see any of them as much as I would like but I can still pick up the phone and there's never an uncomfortable silence. We still have plenty to talk about and plenty to share. And I'm grateful for them every day.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Twilight -- Team Edward!

So it took me awhile to catch the fever but I am officially a Twilight nut. I read all of the books in about a week and even went to see the latest movie on opening weekend. But what I find fascinating about this whole phenomenon is not that women and girls are nutso for this story -- face it ladies, most of us are a bunch of romantic saps at heart -- but how the whole Team Edward and Team Jacob things really falls along generational lines. I have yet to meet an adult Twilight fan who isn't on Team Edward, just as I have yet to encounter a teen who doesn't drool at the mention of Jacob's name. I think the divide says a lot about how women view love at different stages in life. As adults, we are drawn to the purity of Edward's love for Bella and the idea that he loves her so much that he would do anything to protect her and keep her safe even if that means leaving her or stepping back so she can explore her feelings for Jacob. While I admire Jacob's abs -- seriously, they are impressive! -- I am totally turned off by his demands and attempts at controlling Bella. He's a bully, a manipulator and childish in his relationship with Bella. And teenage girls find all of it extremely appealing. For all of the danger surrounding Edward, he never tries to manipulate Bella and her feelings. In fact, he spends a great deal of time and effort to give her the space and freedom to make her own choice. That's what real men do. And apparently it takes women growing past the age of 20 to understand the difference.

Promises, Promises

So all the best intentions...yadda,yadda,yadda

It's been more than year since I posted anything here and I'm now resolving to get it together and really make a go of this blogging thing. My poor friends and family have got to be getting tired of my rantings and it seems only fair to them to share the love, so to speak.

So, once again I am committing to posting on a more regular basis. There is so much happening it seems silly to be limited to the 140 characters of my Twitter account or the limited space on my FB page.

So to you dear reader I promise to do better and make checking out my blog worth your time.

And this time I mean it.