Saturday, April 19, 2008

More preschool theology

Since the Kid started to talk a lot more about praying to God and Jesus in school, I felt the need to step in a bit and tell her "a big secret" that she's not allowed to tell the teachers or other kids, but I wanted her to know about - that Mommy thinks Jesus and God are just pretend, like Cinderella.

Last week, we were talking about remembering things, and she told me she remembered the secret I'd told her, and she hadn't told anybody. Then she mused out loud about the nature of Jesus and God, and concluded that they are real, but live "on the other side of our planet,"* and that there's a giant gate so we can't go there (the pearly gates maybe?). She also recounted some of the Easter story, though she was most focused on the "the lady and her sweet little daughters" who approached the tomb, and the fact that Jesus was alive after all (no mention of actual resurrection).

In other news, she went to play at the neighbor's, and afterward told me that one of their dogs had gone on an airplane. At first I thought she meant they'd taken him on a family trip. But then she elaborated that he was up on a plane, and would be flying around forever, and couldn't ever come home. Now, I haven't asked them, but I'm guessing that they told her that the dog is "up in heaven," and she parsed that using her materialistic context. She is still sad though, that the dog can never come home - and that's the upshot of death, isn't it?

*That's also where the dinosaurs live, per other conversations.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Interesting art incorporating breastfeeding

Sadly I can't find a very good image of the photograph, but Kate Kelly just won an award for a photo riffing on the madonna and child motif, called All Things To All People. She says it was party inspired by obnoxious comments against breastfeeding in public.

It looks to me like the subject is wearing a business suit, and has a sexy black lace bra showing, which also happens to be a nursing bra. So I guess a woman is expected to earn a degree and get a high powered job, look gorgeous and sexually enticing, and be the perfect mother, all at the same time.

Interesting . . . I can't see a wedding ring on her finger. Kathy Dettwyler has observed that ads in parenting magazines regularly show bottle-feeding women wearing rings, and breastfeeding women without them.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Nursing "discreetly"

This is one of those concepts that seems on its face to be supportive of breastfeeding, but in reality smuggles in a lot of negativity, much like "Breast is best."

I must admit, I'm a bit torn on this subject. Many women feel very uncomfortable nursing in public, and worry a lot that someone will see their breasts. And I don't want to discourage these women from nursing in public in whatever way makes it possible. If someone feels she needs a shawl or other cover to go over the baby and her breast, I don't want to tell her she shouldn't use one. Especially since being unable to nurse in public is very likely to lead to early weaning or supplementation with formula, since mothers in our culture definitely need to do a lot of running around: errands, shopping, school activities for older children, and so on.

However, I think I may safely target those who offer advice to women along these lines: "Of course you should breastfeed! And if you need to do it in public, there are ways to do it discreetly." Or, "You're going to nurse? Great! You'll need lots of nursing tops, and this nursing wrap, and a pump and bottles so you can use a bottle when you're out." The surface message is that you should breastfeed your baby, but the subtext is that nursing is dirty, shameful, and abnormal, and must be hidden.

In addition, sending the message that one needs to buy lots of paraphernalia to nurse puts impediments in the way of nursing. You know what you need to nurse? A baby and a boob. Even one will do! Now of course it's nice to have some nursing gear (and a pump and bottles are very important if employed mothers want to exclusively use breastmilk), but it is not necessary, and it should not be pushed as a way to hide what you're doing!

Nursing is normal. It is not sexual. It is feeding a baby, and there is no need to push women to hide that they are feeding their babies.

So I say, if you are bold, if you are not shy, please go out and nurse indiscreetly! The more of us who do so, the more likely our daughters will live in a society that accepts breastfeeding as normal, and looks on nursing shawls and scurrying to the restroom to nurse as quaint artifacts of the olden days.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Horton Gets Expelled?

(See Expelled for a treatment of this really dumb creationist movie.)

So we went to see Horton Hears a Who, and it was surprisingly good. The Kid and I enjoyed it, and it was some nice time away from the Interloper - er, baby for my daughter.

There was one point when I was a little worried about the underlying message, however. I'm all for "a person's a person, no matter how small," and the idea that every person can make a difference. Very humanistic ideas, those. But I squirmed a bit when the arrogant, controlling kangaroo insisted that Horton not teach his students about his idea that there was an invisible world on his speck, inhabited by undetectable (to anyone but him) people. The kangaroo haughtily insisted that without evidence, Horton could not teach the existence of Whos, and pursued the issue to the point of using main force to prevent him from doing so, and indeed of trying to destroy the touchstone of his wild theory. I think you'll see where I'm going here.

I doubt the writers had any intention of presenting a creationism parable here. We all know that Horton is indeed correct, and in the end he is able to prove the existence of the Whos, even to a contrite kangaroo. But it's still troubling that from The X-Files to kids' movies, our culture tends to paint skeptics and scientists as the bad guys, while dreamers and believers are always seen as heroes.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Hmm, maybe Someone is upset with me

Though I think it's more likely to be Eris, Loki, or Anansi than Yahweh, given that the events are annoying and stressful, yet decidedly lacking in murder, rape, and grievous bodily harm.

The baby seems to have colic - an odious and stupid diagnosis which means simply, "Your baby cries all the time and we doctors don't know why." On Sunday the Kid came down with a cold. Not a proper, lying on the couch with no energy watching cartoons cold, but a snotty nose that makes taking her to daycare unethical, while still allowing her to bounce around the room saying, "MOM, watch this!" ten thousand times an hour.

Then yesterday I went into the garage and wondered idly why my car's windshield was wet, when it was raining, you know, outside. Then I remembered those shingles that blew off the roof last week. The upshot - thank goodness it didn't leak into the house proper, but the garage ceiling may be toast, and the roofer can't work on the leak this week because it's supposed to rain every day. This, during a severe drought. You see why I suspect a trickster god, don't you?

So later that day I was surfing the web and my computer locked up. Turns out my hard drive is toast, the partition didn't work and everything is corrupted, and thank goodness I have an awesome and intelligent husband who has managed to resurrect most of my data, but I am currently using the Kid's computer to post while he works on things.

I better wrap this up so I can go sacrifice a chicken to whoever.