What is that on the baby?

Some of you have asked what was all over the baby -- finger paint. Yes, finger paint.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Great Massachusetts H1N1 Debacle

So, I'm chagrined and angry. Not annoyed, or irritated, or even irked. I'm actually red-in-the-face embarrassed and pissed off. My state has decided to include prisoners in the high risk category for H1N1. Finding out exactly what this means is tough because the statehouse is saying one thing and the press has been saying another. However, if I were to be totally honest, I don't really care for what either source is saying. I want our babies and pregnant women vaccinated before the shots go out to prisons. End of conversation. 

Here is a copy of what I sent to the statehouse:

I believe that the press regarding prisoners getting the H1N1 vaccine before other people is generally inflated, and I don't want to sound like chicken little crying about a falling sky, but I have first hand knowledge that we are having a problem getting the vaccine to all of the high risk patients in the general public that are electing to vaccinate. I have a problem with vaccinating any inmates while babies and pregnant women wait for their shots.

While I understand the rationale behind offering the vaccine to prisoners because it is a closed system, I think this should take a back seat until all babies, children and pregnant women receive their doses. I don't want riots in the prisons, or infected ex-inmates infecting the general population. And I'm not a blood thirsty vigilante who wants prisoners to suffer. I just want pregnant women and children to get access to the vaccine first.

As of now, this is NOT the case. I have 2 children under 3 (one is a 9 month old baby), and I am being told that no one has the vaccine right now. When I called about the shot (pediatricians won't call patients because this vaccine is in such great demand that they never get enough for the people on their waiting lists, so you apparently have to get lucky and call on the right day) I was told that they ran out of it in a matter of hours. The women I work with, all highly educated school teachers and nurses, are also having no luck vaccinating their children. My sister in law, a pregnant pharmacist, can't find the vaccine for herself.

I'm glad that "tens of thousands of H1N1 vaccine doses" were sent "to hundreds of medical sites around the state," but it was clearly not enough to cover even the highest priority of the high risk groups. Shouldn't we address this problem before we start discussing who to give this elusive vaccine to next?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Dear Jane,

I totally feel you. My two year old threw herself onto the middle couch cushion in a completely hideous temper tantrum. Unfortunately, my laptop was on the cushion and she smacked her face right into it. My baby's first shiner. Then this evening she was so tired that she tried to sit down on the bathroom floor while I was brushing my teeth, smacking her mouth on the edge of the tub -- add a fat lip. What a weekend! And all on my watch.

Despite my husband's assurances, I can't help but feel like there must have been something I could have done. In addition to feeling like the worst parent ever, I had to bring her to ice skating lessons this morning. Every hockey parent in the rink is looking at me like I'm some kind of barbarian (irony not lost). And of course my lovely, sweet, darling cousin -- warm and trusting at 24 -- took a ton of pictures and posted them on facebook. Never even thinking about what she looks like in them, or what I look like in them. It didn't dawn on her that people might think the worst. 

There's my baby girl -- sitting on a bench in the rink lobby (which is totally indistinguishable from any institutional setting with scarred wooden benches bolted to the floor and grey concrete block walls in the background), stuffing vending machine animal crackers in her mouth, and looking like she's been out boozing hard all night and needs to be bailed out of jail. "They try to make me go to rehab, but I say no, no, no..."

I haven't had to take her out with the black eye and fat lip, yet. Wish me luck, or better yet -- leave me the contact for a good lawyer.

Is Elmo Really Anti-Reading?

I've been watching Sesame Street with my daughter for about a year. I grew up in a very different era of Sesame Street -- Mr. Hooper was alive and well, Snuffy was only seen by Big Bird (so, he may or may not have been imaginary), Maria was young and hot (she's still hot, btw), and Ruth Buzzi was on Laugh-In repeats. Oh, and Elmo didn't exist.

My husband calls Elmo "THE RED MENACE," and I can see his point. Since "Street" has become part of our lives again, it has been non-stop Elmo fever. Elmo toys, Elmo dolls (many of whom sing, much to my dismay), Elmo art supplies, Elmo clothes, Elmo juice, Elmo toiletries and ironically Elmo books. Elmo, Elmo, Elmo. Really, he should be registered by the FBI as a cult leader.

Anyway, I digress. It's true that I'm currently suffering from an Elmo overdose, but I still prefer the furry red dude to Barney (who just makes me slightly uncomfortable) or the Teletubbies (who truly bore me to tears). My only real issue with Elmo is that he appears to be against text based reading. In every "Elmo's World" episode, Elmo asks a question. He asks the computer, his "friends," other monsters/puppets, Mr. Noodle, a baby, TV, and even inanimate objects. However, he has never asked a book about it -- and I mean never, not once in the year we've been watching twice daily episodes. Why is this?

From what I can tell, Elmo is a superstar. From what I remember, Sesame Street is educational televison. Why the disconnect? Clearly, the producers of "Street" have to be aware of the drop in literacy among children, and they have to know that Elmo could single handedly change the direction of this statistic. Shame on Sesame Street for this oversight. They really need to step up their game, and use Elmo for a force of good instead of just a marketing tool.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Stinky, Stinky Roo -- The Bog Dog

My dog is gross. She's a 60 pound slob, and she smells like a dead opossum's vagina. I always get a little sick in my throat when I open up the hatch back to move her blanket, which is where she rides to and from her many park adventures with my family. Seriously, it's that bad. It probably isn't her fault; she just happens to love stinky, stagnant water -- the more putrid the better. And somehow my husband and daughter seem happily oblivious to her stench. Last night, she actually kissed my baby girl, my two year old pixie, right on the open mouth as she waggled her bum at my husband's delighted coos. My lovely little angel laughed like the ethereal fairy she is, and I turned my head in disgust.

Don't get me wrong, I generally love animals (even my three ancient cats that throw up everywhere -- but that's another story) and I like her well enough. It's just that she is also very, very stupid. This dog almost failed basic obedience as a puppy because she couldn't figure out what we (and I am including the trainer) were trying to teach her. She just stared at us with her big, sad, saggy face and looked pathetic. She tries hard and she is terribly sweet, but she just doesn't get it. She's always underfoot and getting scolded for accidently bumping the babies or stealing their toys.

Still, she's a lot better than she once was. As a puppy, she would crap in her pen and then run through it, caking poo into her pads and tracking it through the house. Once, she even managed to smear it all over her head, face and teeth. That was a fun bath! Ever floss a dog? As a teenager, she ate everything in my apartment that was made of wicker; then she ate a hole the size of my head in my mattress when we decided to "try her loose." Needless to say, she went back into her crate when we were out. Now, as an adult, she has mellowed out some. We still can't trust her alone for long periods and she certainly can't keep up with my brother's K9 shepherd, but she has made progress.

She'll never be the sharpest crayon in the box and her hygiene leaves plenty to be desired, but she is my huge, goofy, stupid, smelly, drooling cow of a dog. I hate her slobber and her stench, I get frustrated with her slow intellect and her clumsiness, and I get overwhelmed by the size of her personality and her body -- but I love her. I do. Which is why I pretend that I don't know she's been sneaking onto the leather couch while we're all sleeping, and digging for treasure in the kitchen garbage. It is why I exclaim in bewilderment over "accidental" chew marks and blame her gas on my husband. And it is why I only turn my face a little when she lays one of her wet, sloppy"kisses" on me. She may be a big yucky mess, but she's mine.
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