Sexual Assault

October 18, 2016

I am happy to hear the conversation about sexual assault being brought out into the open. Perhaps talking about it can help prevent it.

I have been thinking about my experiences. In college I found myself in a couple of bad situations. When things got out of hand I blamed myself. I blamed drinking. I figured it was my fault. I had flirted and I had liked the initial attention.

When I moved to New York in the late 80’s I found myself the object of many a man’s cat calls and groping. I started to walk with my hands at attention waiting to feel the contact on my ass. What power I felt when the fingers began the journey between my legs and I grabbed them and bent them backward and in my deepest, strongest voice said, “Keep your fucking hands off me you mother fucker or I will kill you, you fucking asshole!”

With each word I bent his fingers closer to the back of his hand. He pulled away.

“You are crazy!”

“That’s right, motherfucker, and I will kill you!”

Graced with this new sense of empowerment I felt like I was an actual New Yorker.

Why? Why should I have to feel this need to be on the defense.

Recently, I was walking down First Avenue in a new dress. I felt great. It has been some time since I have been groped. I am middle aged and most gropers, I believe, prefer young women to assault, so I no longer feel the need to have my hands at the ready. A man walks toward me moving closer to my personal space and grabs my eyes with his and says,”You are a MILF!” In my best New Yorker way I acted as if he did not exist.

“MILF!” He called after me. “MIIIILLLFFF!”

Was I supposed to be flattered? A tiny part of me thought, “well, I still got it.” Then I was angry. Angry at myself for liking it that tiny bit. And angry at that man who felt he has the power to make me feel a certain way based on his opinion. He wanted to have power over me. He was pissed that he didn’t. But what he didn’t know was that he did in some way. He made me feel like an object.

This made me realize that as a young woman I let myself be objectified. Whose fault was that? Was it mine? My family’s fault? The fault of our culture?

I have two daughters. They are actual born and bred New Yorkers. They are way edgier than I ever was and probably will ever be. I talk to them constantly about being mindful of their bodies. My younger daughter is 1fifteen years old. She often dresses in what should be just comfortable clothes but I have to tell her to cover up. She gets angry. I have to warn her about the other people out there. It is not her. It is our culture. It is the acceptance of Locker Room talk. It is the culture of wealthy men wanting to buy everything including women. Boys will be boys!

Well, guess what? Powerful women will be powerful women. And we will not tolerate this. And the men who are not motherfuckingassholes will not stand by and let this happen.

Keep talking about it! Do not back down. And do not elect a motherfuckingasshole!

Tandem Nursing

August 10, 2016

classic tandem

 

Tandem Nursing means nursing two babies at once. This can be twins or it can be siblings born at different times i.e. an toddler and an newborn.

Many people believe that you cannot get pregnant while nursing or that if you are nursing when you are pregnant you need to wean.

You can get pregnant while nursing.

Breastfeeding can be birth control under specific conditions. There is the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM).

LAM works like this:

  • No return of menses since birth
  • breastfeeding on demand, night, and day
  • baby does not take any food or other liquids regularly
  • baby’s sucking needs met primarily at the breast (no pacifier or bottles) baby is less than 6 months old.
  • baby does not go longer than four hours during the day and longer than six hours during the night between nursing

 

With LAM there is about a 1-2% chance of getting pregnant – similar to taking birth control pills.

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Many people get pregnant while nursing. Often moms are advised to wean their older baby if they become pregnant. There is no need to wean unless you are at risk for premature labor and you are advised by your health care provider to refrain from intercourse.

What can you expect while nursing while pregnant?

About halfway through pregnancy your milk changes from mature milk to colostrum. Colostrum is thicker and does not flow as easily as mature milk. Some toddlers get frustrated and wean. Others hold on for dear life!

One telltale sign of pregnancy can be sore nipples. Some moms find nursing painful or they become averse to nursing and they choose to wean their older baby.

Others will put limitations on nursing – one mom used counting as her strategy – “you can nurse for ten seconds – 10, 9, 8 . . .“ Another mom had a nursing chair where they could only nurse sitting in the chair in a quiet room.

Some advantages of tandem nursing can be:

  • nursing toddler can help relieve engorgement
  • older baby not feeling left out
  • mom doesn’t feel she is abandoning the older child
  • she still has her magic toddler wand
  • sibling bonding
  • stronger immune system of the toddler

 

Disadvantages:

  • mom may feel touched out
  • judgement from family, friends and health care team

 

When nursing twins it can be a good idea to alternate breasts for the twins. This can be every feeding or everyday – Twin A gets the left breast while Twin B gets the right breast for one feeding and then alternate the next feeding or on Monday Twin A gets left breast and Twin B gets right breast and on Tuesday Twin A gets right breast and Twin B gets left breast and so on. Many moms of twins will choose to nurse one at a time once they get older to have one on one time. In the early days it can be a time saver to nurse both at once.

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How does one manage tandem nursing babies of different ages?

Elizabeth Tandem nursing Read the rest of this entry »

Weaning

June 23, 2016

I remember when all three of my children weaned.

My plan for Phoebe was to nurse for one year.

I figured I could avoid formula and bottles if I nursed her for twelve months.

At my baby shower for her I received 36 bottles! I had not registered for anything and told people I would be breastfeeding. We did not have a dishwasher. The thought of washing bottles overwhelmed me and made me want to breastfeed even more.

Laziness was a motivating factor initially in some of my parenting choices. Breastfeeding and co-sleeping were the bomb!

Though we struggled together initially, nursing became an extension of my mothering Phoebe.

As her first birthday approached I got anxious about the weaning process. How would I do it? Who would it benefit? How would I calm a tantrum or get her to sleep?

photo Read the rest of this entry »

I thought it was time to share this again.

mamamilkandme

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Breasts are the great, mysterious glands that fascinate and confound us. They are used to sell cars and beer and they are used to feed babies. They can be used to lure lovers. They are mysterious because we idolize them but we know very little about them.

I remember talking with a woman who told me in medical school they were studying cadavers. She said they took a scrotum and dissected it this way and that way. When it came to the female body the breast was lopped off and they never looked at it.

Several years ago I was at the Bodies Exhibit at the South Street Seaport in lower Manhattan. I had my oldest child with me, she was ten years old at the time, and I had my son who was a few months old.

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I noticed that the exhibit of the female body showed a…

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The Myth of the Perfect Mom

December 30, 2015

Source: The Myth of the Perfect Mom

Safe

November 7, 2015

mamamilkandme

The question of co-sleeping comes up often. It can be controversial. There are heated debates about it.

The other day I asked my three children what they remember about co-sleeping and how it made them feel.

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I did not ask them all together. I had three isolated conversations with them. Each was brief.

 I first asked Finn, my youngest.

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He is seven years old.  About 80percent of the time Rob and I wake up with Finn in our bed even though he goes to sleep in his own bed. I asked him why he likes to sleep with us and he told me that he feels warm and cozy and it helps you if you are scared. He told me he feels safe.

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Phoebe is 17 years old. She is a senior in high school. This sophisticated New Yorker travels all over Manhattan and Brooklyn on her own…

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Wendy Wisner

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Have you seen the #endmommywars hashtag floating all over social media lately? It’s becoming a pretty big thing.

On the one hand, it’s an important idea. No mother should ever be shamed for any parenting choice she makes. Period. Truly, it shouldn’t matter if you breastfed, formula fed, stayed home, sent your kids to daycare, whether you were labeled as a “helicopter” parent or “free-range.” Every mom is just doing her best, trying to find her way, and learning as she goes along. The most important thing is how you love your kids. And there is more than one way to provide a loving, secure family base for your child. I’m sorry that any mother has made another mother feel anything but supported in her choices, whatever they may be.

But I’m afraid this #endmommywars campaign is not as supportive as it seems, and in many ways is just pitting mothers against each other further. Are…

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The Last First Day

September 9, 2015

This morning as I dropped off my youngest child at school I was weepy. Was this Kindergarten or PreK? No, this was fifth grade. Finn is over five feet tall. He has been going to the same school since her was four years old. Why was I weepy? This marks the end of an era for me – as a mom, as a community member, as someone who is seeing time go by in my middle years.

This is my last First Day of School at the Earth School.

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My first First day of Earth School was in September of 2000. For the last fifteen years I have been trekking up and down Avenue B in the East Village of New York City

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Just north of 14th Street is Stuyvesant Town where we live. I have walked in snow, sleet, rain and in the blazing sun to get to our beloved elementary school. I have walked with babies in my belly, babies in slings and babies in strollers. I have seen teachers come and go and some come back! I have been through three principles. I have fund raised and recruited other families. I have escorted countless field trips often with a toddler in tow!

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At Earth I have found community. I have met some of my closest friends. My family has forged relationships with other families with whom we share holidays and birthdays.

I remember the first annual Earth School Auction.

I have enjoyed the art on the walls and read some inspiring poetry and memoirs by the wonderful children who populate the halls and hearts of our community.

I remember when the roof garden was an idea and then it became real.

I have seen families grow and I have seen families leave. I have seen tragedy and great joy and simply ordinary days at Earth. I was at Earth that terrifying morning on September 11, 2001.

I have watched children perform on the stage.

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I have nursed babies in the halls and in the lobby. I have sold popcorn and cookies in the lobby. I have done on-the-spot lactation consulting in the lobby.

I have grown as a human at Earth. I have watched my children grow and thrive. I have seen them learn to tie their shoes and learn conflict resolution and learn to construct a sentence and to defend an original idea.

I have learned about community building and about celebrating the seasons by marching in Tompkins Square Park to celebrate solstices and equinoxes.

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I learned about what education is. I have learned so much more. I have learned to let go and watch my babies grow into smart, confident people.

In nine months my youngest child will graduate from the Earth School. But today is the first day of fifth grade for Finn. I will embrace this day and open my heart to the Earth community.

Diane Ravitch's blog

In 1975, New York City’s government teetered on the verge of bankruptcy. The city’s leaders appealed to the Gerald Ford administration for financial help. President Ford said no.

The New York Daily News published a headline on its front page that was immediately iconic:

FORD TO NYC: DROP DEAD

Today the same newspaper published an editorial with the same sentiment, this time directed at the parents of the 220,000 children who refused the state tests.

The editorial argues that the parents have been manipulated by the teachers’ union, which is not only false but implies that the parents are dupes.

The editorial claims that the state must stand by the Common Core standards, which (they say) were “developed over many years by the nation’s top education experts.” Would the editorial board please tell us how many years they consider “many,” like two? Would the editors please name the nation’s “top…

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Pig Pickin’ Cake

August 25, 2015

Baking is a form of meditation for me. I love the process of mixing ingredients and watching them morph into something delectable. When I feel blah I whip up a batch of cookies. It is better than popping a pill or scheduling a counseling session for me.

In the fifth grade Mrs. Morris let me use a cookbook as one of my book report projects – I brought in cookies for the entire class and the office staff too.

In my early years as a fulltime mom I baked in between nursing, diaper changes, nursery school drop offs. My baking became popular and so I started selling cakes and cookies for events. I eventually started my own little baking business from my home – Leigh Anne’s Southern Sweet Tooth.

Many of the cakes I baked were from box mixes in the beginning. Rob encouraged me to work from scratch. Back in the 70’s or 80’s there was a trend to doctor up boxed cake mixes. A quick internet search shows a whole host of books and websites dedicated to this practice.

Growing up in North Carolina we had pig roasts and barbecues called Pig Pickin’s, you know, you pick at the pig! I do not know why but there is a specific cake called a Pig Pickin’ cake. There is no pig involved in the creation of this cake. We often brought these to family reunions.

Pig Pickin’ cake is one of those cake mixes that gets all doctored up. Well, my challenge was to make this delicious orange and pineapple dessert.

It became one of my top sellers. I even made it for a wedding!

pig picking cake for wedding

pig picking cake for wedding

I made it recently for a family reunion. This was for the Northeastern segment of my family (yes, I come from a mixed marriage, Daddy is from the north and Mama from the south!) I was shocked that my younger children had never tasted it. I had not made a Pig Pickin’ cake in so long.

Well, I decided to share the joy of a homemade traditional southern dessert.

Ingredients:

Cake:

1 ½ cups sugar

4 eggs

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 ¼ teaspons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup oil or melted butter

8 ounce cans of mandarin oranges

Frosting:

1 cup of cream for whipping

1 teaspoon vanilla

8 ounce of cream cheese softened

1 can crushed pineapple

8 ounce can of mandarin oranges

Preheat oven to 350

Butter two 8” cake pans

Take out cream cheese to soften

Combine sugar and eggs, beat for 30 seconds on high, add remaining ingredients and blend for one minute until all is combined

Bake about 25 minutes – until a toothpick inserted into cakes comes out clean

Let cool (I often place my cakes in the fridge or even freezer if I am in a hurry to cool!)

Whip your cream and the vanilla until fluffy – do not over mix or you get butter 😦

Drain the pineapple and blend with the softened cream cheese, when these two are combined gently fold into the whipped cream.

Frost your two layers and place the drained mandarin oranges in any pattern you please.

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Then watch out! This cake will disappear quickly!

Enjoy!