Home Home About Zen Mama Contact

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Show Scoop - Our Appearance on Steve Harvey

Most of you know that a while back, producers from Steve Harvey's new daytime talk show (premiering September 4th on NBC) contacted me via the Facebook page regarding appearing on a show about "modern" parenting. Honestly, I thought it was a hoax. I assumed every parenting blogger got a similar message and they were really hard up if they had come to me. Turns out, I was wrong. It was completely legitimate and they wanted me. Well, blow me down and shiver me timbers!

After many daily chats, emails, text messages, Skypes, and every other form of communication other than telepathy, the stars all aligned and we headed to Chicago for the taping. Now, I very rarely get anxious or nervous about anything. It's just not in my nature (aside from my little foray into PPD-induced anxiety). But let me tell you, I was anxious, nervous, and even a little panicked about several things:
How would my son do flying for the first time? (AH-MAZING!)
Would security freak him out by making him walk through or doing a pat down on him? (Nope, he was in my arms the whole time.)
I can't force him to breastfeed during take-off and landing, so are his ears going to cause him great pain? (Breastfed during take-off on the way there, ears hurt on the descent, ears hurt on the way up when we returned, breastfed on the way down, so it was a 50/50 split, but he was such a trooper.)
Is the car company going to remember to send a car seat for him when they pick us up? (First ride, yes. Second ride, no. Third ride, yes.)
Will it be the right size? (No, and neither of them were installed. My one and only beef.)
Is the change in location and time going to mess him up so much that he feels out of sorts the whole trip? (Nope. Dude is a wonder-traveler!)
(As you can see, the vast majority of my concerns were regarding my son's health, safety, happiness, and overall well-being. Although this was an important and exciting opportunity, I would never have gone through with if had it been a problem for him.)
Is the show going to pit me against other parents and make things into a debate all Jerry Springer or Maury-style? (Thankfully no, since we got to be onstage by ourselves.)
Are they going to ask me questions and twist my words in a way that make me look nuts? (No, in fact, Steve said to us during a break that he thought we were going to be weird, but we ended up being really cool people. He said it again on camera. Too funny.)
Am I going to let down the whole Zen Parenting and gentle/AP community? (That is up to you to decide.)
Am I going to look fat? (Ya, that one crept in and I'm not proud of it, but if I'm being real and honest here, which I always am, I have to include it.)
Is my husband going to say something doofy that negates all that I say? (Sorry, honey.)
And on and on and on...

A few page creators helped me out with these issues (The Badass Breastfeeder, Evolutionary Parenting, The Intact Network, peaceful parenting, Saving Our Sons, On the Fence) and for that I am eternally grateful and in awe of their vast knowledge. I have to take a moment, though, to mention Our Muddy Boots. All those questions and concerns vanished with one Skype to her. She took the time to create a score of questions and comments she thought I might get on the show, discuss and critique my responses, talk me down from my potential anxiety attack, and just be there for me as a true and wonderful friend. Thank you, J. Thank you.

As I mentioned, thinking of all the potential issues with my son traveling was overwhelming. As it turned out, it was also a total waste of time. That kid is an uber-traveler! He fell asleep on the boob before take-off on the way there, slept for the first half of the flight, woke up, looked out the windown, said "Wow! Wow! Wow!" and proceeded to absolutely revel in the rest of our journey. I did not see that coming! We were picked up by a car service, which he thought was great, because "guy" was driving us. (Every unknown man is "guy" to my son.) Our son jumped on the bed (just like his great-grandma still does in every hotel room even at 82 years old...clearly, it's genetic...I'm proud of them both!) from the moment he entered the room until two hours later when the inevitable happened and I ended up reciting "No more monkeys jumping on the bed" to myself over and over. The plane ride home was more of the same wonder-traveling. He's a better traveler than my husband! We've decided to become independently wealthy (haven't worked out the details of how yet, but that's just semantics), forgo road travel, and just buy a private jet and travel that way from now on. It's going to be stellar! (Not a word. Don't harsh my mellow, man.)

Our call time wasn't until 2 p.m. on Friday, so we were able to venture out a bit and explore the streets of the city. My son would've preferred all three of us stay cuddled up in bed together all day and who could say 'no' to that? Eventually, though, we went out to play. I love Chicago. If it weren't for the humidity-induced bad hair days for this curly redhead, I could easily live there. (Those with curly hair will understand that choosing where we live based on humidity isn't nearly as superficial and odd as it sounds.) And the 90 degree temperatures felt like autumn to us, since we came from 110+ degrees in the fiery furnace that is the Arizona desert.

Upon arriving at NBC Tower, we were taken to our private green room filled with goodies and breastfeeding-friendly couches (comfort is always important, you know!). We were immediately bombarded with producers, sound people, hair, wardrobe, makeup, more producers, craft services, and more producers. It was a tad overwhelming. There were no surprises, which was good and went a long way toward easing any lingering anxiety. Steve Harvey had already gone over my previous conversations with the staff, so he already knew what types of questions he was interested in asking. They came in to make sure I knew what I wanted to say no fewer than five times. Eventually, I laughed and asked, "Is all this prep really necessary? I mean, I know what I believe. It's not going to change between now and showtime." They agreed and let the oral quizzes go. Hair and makeup was fun. Who doesn't like a little pampering from time to time? I was afraid they'd make me up too heavily, since I'm more of a natural-type, but they stayed true to who I am, which definitely boosted my confidence. Toward the middle of our wait, producers just started coming in no longer to prep, but to hang out. That's when all the tension left and I started to feel like everything was going to be OK.

And it was. I can't tell you exactly what I said on stage. I'll have to watch and see right along with the rest of you. I did the bulk of the talking. My husband, the listener, could probably tell you better. I do remember that the audience gasped and humphed at everything we said. Honestly, though, I had gone in with such low expectations that the moans and groans of 200 or so people I don't know bothered me not. I do remember being asked about the infamous Time Magazine cover from I Am Not the Babysitter (which I just misspelled as "Babyshitter," because my mind was on the picture of me breastfeeding while going to the bathroom, which is what got me on the show in the first place...oh, Freud...).
I do remember them blurring out the photo when they showed it, not because they wanted to, but because the FCC eventually made them (they warned me it might happen and fought it up until showtime, but Janet Jackson really screwed things up for me). I do remember being asked the question we all get asked when we cosleep: "Where do you do it?" (Psst...I got a high-five from Steve for my response.) I do remember the "expert" (pediatrician "Dr. Lisa") not knowing her butt from a hole in the ground when she said that there is no benefit to breastfeeding beyond 6-12 months and that, in fact, there are psychological and social ramifications to doing so. That was the one and only time I allowed myself to feel peevish (ok, beyond peevish, but I hope I didn't show too much more than that). And I do remember itching to get off that stage and back to my son. I had oh-so-much fun doing the show, really and truly, and everyone was just absolutely amazing, but then and always the only thing that really mattered to me was being with and caring for my son. The moment we were set free, I blew past everyone congratulating me and clapping for me, couldn't get un-miked fast enough, and rushed to get that little boy back in my arms. That's what I remember most.

I got an email a couple days ago saying how great we did and thanking us for being there. They really were the sweetest staff we could've hoped for. As of that time, the show was scheduled to air September 6th on NBC right before Ellen (or at least that's what producers told me, but they're in Chicago, so you should check the "where to watch" tab on his site). I have no idea how it will all shake out. I have no idea what they'll do in the editing room. All I know is I did my best to help normalize normal-term breastfeeding, cosleeping, and all around Zen Parenting. Let's see how it goes, shall we?

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Case for Routine Infant Tonsillectomy

As an adult, I had to get a tonsillectomy. I was getting an average of one sinus infection a month after contracting pertussis in Europe which wiped out my immune system and completely messed me up. For those not privy to this particular operation as an adult, let me just tell you it is excruciating. The recovery time is two full weeks and the pain is unforgettable. Furthermore, the risks are far higher for those having the operation as an adult rather than in childhood.

It is for these reasons that I am calling upon the American Academy of Pediatrics to fall on the side of recommending routine tonsil removal on all infants soon after birth. You see, babies heal from the surgery much more quickly than adults. Their recovery time is a scant few days as opposed to weeks. And they don't remember a thing. The tonsils are just extra flaps of skin that do more harm than good as they cannot be kept clean and regularly trap infectious bacteria which often causes grave and frequent illness.

So, to review, I believe the AAP should recommend RIT, which naysayers and those who are not properly educated on the topic misleadingly refer to as TM (tonsil mutilation), for the following reasons:
- prevention of grave illness such as throat cancer,
- prevention of sinus infection,
- prevention of HIV (as the tonsils, as stated above, can trap viruses and such in their unkempt folds).

RIT - it just makes good, clean sense.

P.S. Please, in the name of all that is holy, do not comment about the atrocity of what I have written here. It's called satire. Check it out before coloring yourself appalled.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Naked Truth

I've said it before and I'll likely say it many, many times in the future as the page continues to grow:

I have the ultimate respect for those who have circumcised their babes before they knew said truth and now work to ensure other parents don't make the same mistake. And I have ultimate respect for those who have not circumcised their babes, because they learned the truth early and now work to ensure other parents don't make a terrible mistake. I have ultimate respect for those who have no sons, but see the injustice of this practice, so work to ensure parents don't make a horrible mistake. I have no respect for those who CHOOSE not to learn the truth, because it might make them uncomfortable or, heaven forbid, have to *gasp* change. I will not apologize for reporting the truth. I will not apologize for fighting against the atrocity.

I cannot, will not sugar coat or dampen the truth about circumcision (or anything else, for that matter) in order to assuage the guilt that some may feel. I refuse to remain neutral so that others may feel better about their decisions.

I embrace all those who are open here. I embrace all those who are willing to learn and teach. I embrace all those who are imperfect, fallible, evolving Zen Parents. But it should not be expected that I will embrace that which offends my very soul. Circumcision, the act, offends my very soul. Those who put their children through it before knowing better do not offend me in any way. Those who know the truth or choose not to know the truth offend me. If this is off-putting to some, so be it. I am in this for the babes, not for the numbers. I am in this to change that which I believe needs changing.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Worry Nips

Worry stones are little gemstones that have been polished (either by a polisher or by prolonged rubbing in the fingers) and smoothed until they are super soft and touchy-good. They are held and rubbed between the thumb and index finger in order to ward away one's worries. They're an ancient tradition used by gazillions (ok, so I don't know the actual number, but "gazillion" seems to cover it).

Well, my son has something similar to help him lessen his stress: worry nipples. MY worry nipples, to be more clear. The child cannot keep his hands off them. If he is breastfeeding, one hand is on the breast from which he is eating and the other is invariably on the other nipple. It's not just placed there lightly, either. It is in constant motion. I'm telling you, they're worry nips!

He doesn't just use the worry nips when he's eating. Oh, no. If we are at home, my shirt shall be off. If he is in my arms, one little hand is mindlessly rubbing away at the nearest handy worry nip. If we are beside each other on the couch, you can be sure he is consulting a worry nip.

It's not something he focuses his attention on. I am fairly certain he doesn't even know he's doing it half the time. It is habit. It is comfort. It is safety. And while I write about it lightly, I actually believe it is one of the sweetest things he does. I love that I am able to provide those feelings for him. I love that he can come to me for anything - even if it is something as simple as rubbing on the ol' worry nip.