On Being Undermined and Being a Mean Mother

Much of Mass today was spent policing Kieran, to the point that I got to participate in little of the Mass.  Unfortunately, this has become the norm of late, for daily Mass and Sunday Mass.  I feel like such a mean mother and I hate that I can’t devote much attention to God.  Most of all, though, I’m angry at the reason behind this.

See, Kieran used to be wonderful at Mass.  No, he wasn’t perfect, but he did really well and even tried to join in the prayers and kneel with us.  He wanted to go to Mass simply to go to Mass.  Oh, he still asks to go to Mass, but the reason he wants to go has changed and he no longer tries to act the way he should, at least not as often.

So what changed?  Well, it started fairly innocently.  Kieran had followed the altar servers into the sacristy after Mass one Sunday.  The altar servers get a little candy after Mass, and Father was amused that Kieran had gone in there and so he gave Kieran some candy.  No big deal, right?  Well, after that had happened a couple of times, Kieran started going into the sacristy after Mass during the week.  Sure enough, he was given candy.  I’m not a confrontational person, so I didn’t confront the priests and ask them not to give him candy.  I did discuss it with Kieran, and for a time this was enough.  No longer.  No, this week he blatantly ignored me as I was asking him to come out of the sacristy so that he didn’t get candy.  He knew that if he ignored me, he’d get some candy.  I can’t just run after him, since I’m usually trying to keep Charlotte from running off, too.
So what’s the solution?  I need to be firmer about it.  I know the priests will respect my wishes if I make it clear that my children are not to be given candy after Mass.  In fact, a day or two after the incident I described above, Kieran had gone into the sacristy and I reminded him in front of the priest that he wasn’t to get candy.  Kieran had thought Fr Theo would give him some anyway, but Father just turned to Kieran and said he must do as his mother said. I appreciated that.  The problem will be one or two of the other people at Mass who think my children need candy and that they only come for the candy.  Well, unfortunately that’s partly true, now, though it wasn’t.  I want them to go back to wanting to go to Mass simply because they want to be at Mass, and not because they want chocolate.

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Bid Me Come Unto Thee

I’m continuing with looking at the Anima Christi prayer. If you want a more in-depth theological look at it, I highly recommend Micah’s posts over at The Ranter’s blog. Here’s the full text of the prayer:

And bid me come unto Thee

 All I can think when I say this is: thank you, Lord.  It’s both amazing and terrifying to think of being in His Presence when His glory is revealed like that.  And then I think of the intimacy of the Eucharist, and how that will be absolutely fulfilled and magnified in that meeting with Jesus, if only I manage to persevere (by His grace).  I pray that He will bid me to come unto Him on that day.

Routines I Don’t Get the Point Of

After discussing the Hep B vaccine with a friend recently, I was thinking of all the various procedures that are routine during pregnancy, childbirth, and the neonatal period, and I realised that I really don’t get the point of a lot of them.  Well, that’s not completely true.  I understand why they’re done, I simply disagree that they’re necessary.  In general, my philosophy is “leave well enough alone unless the procedure has a definite benefit and that benefit definitely outweighs any risk”.  Anyway, I thought I’d give a brief run-down of my thoughts on these.

  • Hep B – I’ll start with this one since I mentioned it in the intro paragraph.  In the UK, Hep B isn’t routinely given to children, unless the child is at risk in some way.  In the US, however, it is routinely given to all infants in the first 24 hours!  Despite the lack of routine vaccination of infants in the UK, it remains uncommon.  That’s one reason I don’t understand the routine vaccination of infants for it.  I know it can be spread through childbirth, but if the mother does not have Hep B, and neither do the child’s other caregivers, then surely the child does not need to be vaccinated for it?  Especially since it is primarily spread by sex and/or drug use, two things an infant surely isn’t doing.  I understand the desire to avoid Hep B, since it isn’t exactly a pleasant thing, but it seems to me that routine vaccination doesn’t make a lot of sense.  Given that rates of Hep B infection are low in the UK, where routine vaccination for it isn’t done, I have to wonder how many cases of Hep B are actually prevented by giving it routinely (I’m not speaking about giving it to those who are a higher risk).  It seems to me, though, that it makes more sense to leave well enough alone and focus on reducing risk factors as needed.  Just my opinion.
  • prophylactic eye drops – I have to admit that I get a bit sad when I see photos of newborns and notice the greasy eyes, meaning the child has received these eye drops.  Again, this isn’t routinely done in the UK, but is in the US.  As far as I know, these eye drops are given to prevent eye infections in the newborn that are caused by gonorrhoea or chlamydia.  However, if the mother does not carry these STDs, then the child doesn’t need this procedure.  I also can’t imagine that the widespread use of antibiotics even in infants who do not need them doesn’t have some adverse effect (I’m thinking of antibiotic resistance, but perhaps that doesn’t play a part in this); silver nitrate is sometimes used instead of erythromicin, but this can irritate the child’s eyes..  I do think it’s important for the child to be able to clearly see during those early hours and days.  No, the child cannot see very far in the early days, but he can see far enough to see his mother’s face, so I don’t see how impeding his already limited vision is a good thing if it’s not necessary.  
  • immediate cord clamping – this is done in the US & UK.  However, delayed cord clamping has been shown to be beneficial and benign.  Dr Nicholas Fogelson has written a lot on this topic, so I’ll put up a link to his blog.  I’ve found his blog to be quite informative and thought-provoking; I don’t agree with him on everything (though I do agree with him on this), but I’ve found him to be professional, willing to admit when he doesn’t know something, and quite knowledgeable on this topic.  Until recently, it’s also been standard to immediately clamp & cut the cord when a child needed resuscitation, but hopefully the BASICS trolley will become the standard so delayed cord clamping can be done in those cases, too.
  • vaginal exams (VE), during pregnancy & labour – VEs during pregnancy aren’t routinely done in the UK (though at least some midwives will ask the mother if she wants a membrane sweep towards the end of pregnancy, unfortunately), but they are often done during labour.  I love this link that discusses the issues with routine VEs.  Basically, while a VE can tell you where you are and how long it took to get there, it cannot predict how long it will take to reach full dilation, and it can introduce a risk of infection, particularly if the waters have gone.
  • group B strep (GBS) testing – This isn’t routinely done in the UK, but is in the US, as far as I know.  GBS infection in a newborn is rare, but it can be quite serious, so I understand the desire to know if the mother is carrying GBS and to take action accordingly.  However, a woman who tests positive for GBS during her pregnancy may no longer have it at delivery, and vice versa.  When a woman tests positive, prophylactic antibiotics are given during labour, but this presents its own problems.  For one, there’s the issue of antibiotic resistance, since GBS is no longer sensitive to some antibiotics.  A review also found that giving antibiotics isn’t improving outcomes for the infants.  More research needs to be done, since the review said that there was a lot of bias in the studies they found.  Since it seems that knowing about GBS status isn’t improving outcomes, though, I personally see no need to know.  I would’ve been given antibiotics had I not delivered Kieran within a certain amount of time after my waters had gone (I was given 3 days before an induction date, but went on into labour and delivered within 12 hours), or if I’d developed a fever.  I think these are sensible precautions, since infection is more likely after the waters have broken and fever can be a sign of infection.  But I don’t see the benefit of routine testing if the prophylactic treatment isn’t improving outcomes. 

I’ll leave the list at that for now and spare my readers from more ranting. 😉

Adventures in Tandem Nursing

I don’t often breastfeed both children at once, but when I do, it’s always an adventure.  Kieran sometimes asks for them both to breastfeed together, but more often it’s that Charlotte sees Kieran nursing and asks to have milk.  When this happens, she pretty much launches herself over Kieran to latch herself on, crushing Kieran a little in the process.  Because she has a habit of twiddling (which drives me insane), she also keeps putting her hand by Kieran’s face.  This results in him pushing her hand away a lot while she continually tries to twiddle.  I feel for him, for Charlotte and I have that same fight all the time, since I don’t allow her to twiddle if I can help it.  There’s certainly never a dull moment.

Child-Free Restaurants

I was just reading about some restaurants that have child-free policies.  I understand getting irritated if a child is misbehaving and the parents are doing nothing to redirect or discipline them, but banning all children under 6?  My siblings, cousins and I grew up going to nice restaurants and a country club with my grandparents.  I knew that when we were there, we were expected to be quiet and not run around and to use good manners.  I know I was able to do that before the age of 6.  Sure, sometimes there were incidents, like when one of my cousins set a straw (I think) on fire with the candle, but we were in a private room that time, so we weren’t disturbing anyone.

I have similar high expectations of my children when we’re out.  I don’t expect them to be perfect, but I do expect that they’ll be quiet and not run about.  When we went to London last year, my parents took Kieran out to eat without me, and they raved about how well he did.

I think it comes down to being considerate.  I try to make sure that my children and I are considerate of those around us, and so I teach my children what is appropriate at restaurants or cinemas or wherever else we are.  I do think others also need to be understanding of the fact that sometimes a child might be a little noisy, but that doesn’t mean the parents are ignoring the child.  Really, I think it’s sad if we don’t see and hear children, for how will our society continue without children?

Cooking with Kids

A couple of weeks ago Kieran and I were making crackers.  He loves to help with them, and it’s usually fun to have him in the kitchen with me.  I usually give a bowl or pot and spoon to Charlotte so she can pretend to cook, too.  I do have to watch my reactions, because I can get irritated with making a mess in the kitchen.  Well, Kieran and I had measured out the flour and put in the bowl and I’d then turned around to return the flour to its proper location.  When I turned back around, I found this:

My first impulse was to get upset, but I quickly mastered that impulse and realised she just wanted to help.  So I got the camera and laughed instead.  Once I got it cleaned up, we began again, and I just made sure the bowl was set back far enough so Charlotte couldn’t reach it.  The crackers were delicious, as always.

Book Nook

Last week I started reading Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland to the kids.  I’d read it to Kieran before when he was quite little, I think, and I’d read a little of it to Charlotte before this past week, but hadn’t read much.  Both of them seemed to enjoy it this time.  We’ve only gotten through a few chapters thus far, but hopefully we can read the rest together soon.  Charlotte’s been going around saying “down, down, down” in reference to Alice falling down the rabbit hole.  She’s also convinced that rabbits say “woof woof”.

I actually hadn’t read all of Alice in Wonderland until having children.  The only part I’d read before was the poem “Jabberwocky”.  I’ve enjoyed reading it with the children, though.