Our Sweet Sarah Beth


Darling Little Debbie


Friday, May 23, 2008

Here Goes Nothing

I'm going to tell you something that might surprise you.

I am pro-choice.

For those of you who are still reading, let me explain. I am not referring to baby-killing. I'm talking about a parent's right to choose when it comes to vaccinations.

I know this can be a hot button issue, and I promise to stay away from the mercury-autism debate. But I've been telling people that I wish we had vaccine exemptions in this state while I sit around and not do anything about it. No more, my friend, no more.

Here's a summary for those of you who are not familiar with this issue: Mississippi is one of only 2 states that does not allow parents to opt-out of vaccines that are on the mandated schedule. If you want to put your kids in school, you have to inject them with every vaccine that the CDC recommends.

Some of these vaccines are made with aborted human fetal tissue.

Some have formaldehyde in them.

Lots of them have aluminum and other metals that I just don't want them sticking into SB.

Lots of kids have all these vaccines and are FINE. Some kids are not so lucky. Science still isn't perfect. Some kids just react differently to the same substance.

I am NOT anti-vaccine. I just want the right to choose which ones my child gets, which ones we wait on and which ones we avoid completely. Is that so bad?

All the other states except MS and West Virginia have exemptions for parents who don't want to stick their kids with every shot the CDC mandates.

Is disease rampant in those other states? NO

Lots of parents in other states have chosen to skip some of the suggested vaccines for whatever reason, and contrary to what the vaccine industry wants you to think, these unvaccinated kids are not running around spreading polio or rubella. Whoever heard of rubella anyway?

Polio has been eradicated, yet we're still vaccinating kids against it. The only cases of polio now are from kids who HAVE been vaxed against it. As in, they got it from the vaccine.

I know some of you are thinking that if we stop vaxing against it, it will come back. Do a little research on smallpox, okay? Same thing. Eradicated it, stopped vaxing against it, it's still gone.

I also don't think I should have to give SB a shot to protect her from Hepatitis B, which you get mainly from sharing infected needles. Since she's not an IV drug user (as far as I know) she probably doesn't need to be vaccinated against that while she's an infant.

Many of the things they are vaccinating kids against used to be life-threatening diseases. The vaccines used to be necessary to save lives. Things are different now. We have soap and warm water. We have hospitals if our kids get sick.

If SB scrapes her finger on a rusty nail, tetanus is not a death sentence. We can take her to the doctor to get a tetanus shot, if necessary.

Now they want to make your kids get a shot against chicken pox before they can start school. Because chicken pox is such a deadly disease? I think not. I had it as a kid, and so did you. You itched for a few days, didn't you? I know. I did too. I'm still here, and so are you.

I think in some cases, the possible negative effects of vaccinating outweigh the possible risk of disease. If you feel differently, that is fine.

I'm just not totally comfortable with this rule that I have to vaccinate my kid against every possible illness. I think as a parent I should have the right to decide what's best for my child. I do not believe for one second that I am endangering her life by not giving her a vaccine against chicken pox or tetanus or the flu.

But right now, the government says I have to either give my tiny little baby all those shots with all that stuff in them or she can't go to school. That's why I've decided to do something about it. You can too. Even if you want to give your kids all the shots on the schedule, you can still support a parent's right to make informed decisions.

And please don't tell me you don't want your kid sitting next to mine at school. If your kid got all the vaccinations, he has nothing to worry about, right?

If you live in Mississippi, you can join this Web site (no charge, no pressure). The more people we have, the stronger we will be for the next state legislative session (Jan 2009). The last bill supporting exemptions was killed in committee by an 11-10 vote. If we all band together, we can make our voices heard.

This Web site is just a group of parents who also want the right to make informed decisions. We are planning to lobby our legislators so they can hear our side of the issue. When session starts next year, we can hopefully get an exemption bill passed.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

SB's First Swim

We had our first trip to the swimming pool today, and I must say, it was very successful indeed. Mary Beth came along to help me out and be the official photographer for the big event. Harry, where would I be without you??

I've included my favorite picture from the day; I think it sums up exactly how SB felt about the experience.

You can see more here.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Jack Redwood Day

Listen up people: Today is a very important day. It's Jackie's birthday!! Hooray Jack! Someone asked me if I was going to write him a birthday limerick, and in keeping with tradition, I suppose I will.

There once was a boy was named Jack
When girls saw him, they tried to attack
He brushed them all off
And then he would scoff
Girls, I'm taken; you'd better get back.

This Jack always has a good story
The details are always quite gory
Tales of Defrost and staffs
And everyone laughs
And Jack always gets all the glory.

Jack is also a real dancing fool
His moves make Napoleon drool
He got in the groove
And busted a move
Now everyone thinks he's too cool.

He's a rock star within his own mind
His ambition has always been blind
He sang on the ship
A real power trip
A million autographs already signed.

Conforming you will never do
To yourself you'll always be true
To others you're strange
But please never change
And so we say "Jack, here's to you!"

I love you Jack! Happy 29.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Eggs Erroneous

Ok, I'm officially the worst mother ever. Today I made a huge mistake. I've had my share of worry moments as a mom, but I don't think I've ever been more terrified in my life than I was this morning. Here's what you need to know.

First of all, SB thinks she is all grown up. She thinks she needs to be eating anytime we are eating, and she thinks she needs to taste everything I eat. I've been giving her little bits of food off of my plate, soft things like a baked potato or a tiny bite of bread. She always really appreciates it, and we've never had any problems.

Today we had biscuit, sausage and eggs for breakfast, and as usual, SB was clawing at my plate like she hadn't eaten in weeks (it had been 2 hours) so I obliged her with a tiny bite of my fluffy scrambled egg. I remembered a friend of mine telling me that her little girl eats eggs for breakfast every morning, so I figured, what the heck. She proshated it so much that I gave her another bite and another after that. Maybe 4 bites, most of which ended up on the floor, as she sometimes has trouble landing the food from her fist to her mouth.

Immediately following breakfast, I had to run over to my parent's house to get SB's diaper bag, which had been left there the night before. I was gone for about 15 minutes, during which SB played happily on the floor while Jack hung out close by. When I got home, it was nearing naptime, so I scooped her up to rock her to sleep. One look at her tiny little face sent me into a panic.

Her face was covered in red splotches, her eyes were bloodshot and she was starting to swell up like a pregnant woman's ankles. I screamed for Jack to come look, and I ran for the Benadryl. Thankfully, we had just bought a bottle the day before, and I had just retrieved it from my parent's house. Thank the Lord.

I immediately called the doctor and took her to her bedroom to undress her and check for hives or some other sign of an allergic reaction. I was certain her airways were going to constrict, and I was praying with all my might that God would have mercy.

He did. I was surprised at how quickly the benadryl seemed to work. By the time the doctor called me back, the swelling was already going down and the red splotches were wearing off as well. She never acted like she was having trouble breathing.

I tried to relax a little; the nurse advised me to just watch her and give her benadryl every 4-6 hours. She was so sleepy, but I was terrified to put her down. So I just rocked her for a few minutes, then noticed that the redness seemed to reappear. I took her to the living room to show Jack, and that's when she threw up.

Jack was trying to reassure me and said, "it's ok, she spits up all the time." I knew this was different though, and sure enough, the real vomit started immediately after that. I really think it was the most awful thing I've ever experienced. She was gagging and choking and wouldn't stop. I was scared to death. Jack came to the rescue, holding himself together amazingly well while I was a complete mess, crying my eyes out in the middle of the kitchen.

He took her back to her bedroom to change her and clean her up; then I heard him yelling for paper towels. Her diaper was exploding. I was in complete panic mode. We cleaned her up as best we could; then Jack put her in the bathtub. Twenty seconds later, it was like nothing had ever happened (except for the huge mess in the kitchen and SB's bedroom). SB was splashing happily in the tub, the redness and swelling gone and no more projectiles flying out of either end.

I held her close the rest of the day, and she seems to be fine now. It was like she just needed to get those 2 tiny bites of egg that she actually swallowed out of her system; then she was fine.

Needless to say, we won't be feeding her any more eggs. I shudder to think how bad it would have been if she had actually eaten all 4 bites or if I had given her more. Thankfully I was pretty hungry this morning and therefore a little stingy when it came to sharing my breakfast.

Also, Jack was only home because of the weather (can't roof in the rain), and I have no idea what I would have done had I been home alone with her when it happened. I don't know how he managed to stay so calm, especially when he admitted to me after the fact how worried he was during this whole ordeal.

Anyway, we are all fine now. Just a crazy, scary day. I have to give thanks to God for taking care of my little girl today. It's good to know that He is in control, especially when we are so helpless. I believe He intervened on our behalf today. I'm so grateful.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Stamps: The New Diamond.

Some say, 'A diamond is forever.' I say to you, nay. That's just what the jewelry companies want you to think. If you really want forever, buy her a Liberty Bell Stamp.

In case you haven't heard, the cost of mailing a first-class letter will increase another cent on Monday. We're up to $.42 big ones now. This just in from my father, who, after reading my last post, was kind enough to share with me this recent experience.

He went in to pay his gas bill on Monday (see, I'm not the only one who doesn't mail a check every month. Some of us prefer human interaction). But I digress. He actually had a check for his bill, which is much more convenient than paying with cash. Or so one would be inclined to think. This is not the case with Atmos Energy, as they sent him and his check packing. You can no longer pay by check at their office. The machine is not equipped to handle checks (or change for that matter).

So, according to dear old dad, this required another trip across town, to the post office (which may or may not have stamps. please see here.) and the additional expenditure of $.41 in order to mail his check to some other office in some other city that apparently has a special machine that is equipped to handle checks. Or else they have special employees who can process your payment.

The post office did have stamps in stock that day, to his delight, and he asked to purchase some. This is when the lady informed him that postage would be increasing on May 12. Starting Monday, stamps will cost $.42, unless you have the liberty bell forever stamps, which have magical powers and are worth $.41 and $.42 at the same time. How special. These things can be worth whatever you want them to be. I think I'd like mine to be worth at least $.82, so I can cut one in half and use it on 2 letters. But only until Monday.

This was very interesting news to me, so I fired myself right over to the post office to get a first hand look at these enchanted stamps. I asked the young attendant for a roll of stamps, hoping this would prompt her to inform me of the imminent price increase and tell me about the supernatural stamps. She began rummaging around underneath the counter. My heart palpitations told me for a moment that they might be out again, but she finally produced a couple for me to peruse.

She still hadn't given up any information, so I decided to go for it.

Me: "Did I hear that the price of stamps is going up again?"
Her: "Yes; it's going up on Monday. They'll be $.42."
Me: "So these stamps won't be any good anymore, starting next week?"
Her: "Well, you can buy one-cent stamps and just put one of those on next to it."

pause. then finally, it all came out.

Her: "Or you can buy these liberty bell stamps. They're forever stamps, which means they'll always work, no matter how much postage goes up."

I looked at the pretty American flag stamps on my left and then at the "forever" stamps on my right.

Me: So I can buy either one now, for the same price, except one of these won't work anymore starting Monday, but the other one will always work? Hmm. That's a tough decision. I really like these flag ones, but then again, I suppose the purpose of the stamp is to mail a letter, and since the flags don't do that anymore, and I'm no philatelist, I guess I'll go with the forever stamps.

So now you know, America. This is your last chance to get stamps for 41 cents. We've got the government's promise that these magical stamps are always gonna get the job done, no one-cent stamps required. And we all know the government doesn't lie.

Thanks to all of you who expressed such deep concern for me while I was having such a hard time getting my bill paid. No, we weren't short on cash, I just couldn't get the people to take my money. Finally, on my third trip in, with the baby on my hip, I was able to work it out.
The machine was working, and I had the right amount ready for it. There is a convenient scanner where you can just scan your bill, and the machine knows how much you owe. It does not, however, know who you are, as it asked for my name, my birthday, my social security number AND my phone number. What the heck? I just want to give you some money, not take out a mortgage! After confirming my identity seven different ways, it took my money and ten minutes later, I had a receipt: proof that I had conquered the machine.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Meet the Parents Flight Attendant

Hi, I'm Earth. Have we met?

So a girl walks into an office building. Stop me if you've heard this one. She just wants to pay her gas bill, so she walks up to the woman sitting behind the counter.

Lethargic woman at desk: "What do you need?"
Girl: "I'd just like to pay my gas bill, please."

The woman points to a little machine in the corner of the lobby. "You have to use the kiosk. How are you paying?"

"With cash."

Tsk tsk. She shook her head, as if this was such a strain on her already busy day. Never mind she was just reclining in her swivel chair when I walked in.

I am the girl in the story, in case you're just now figuring that out.

Her: "How much is your bill?"

Me: "Thirty-one dollars."

Her: giving me a doubtful look "Thirty-one dollars exactly?"

I sighed and examined the bill. "Thirty-one oh three."

Her: "You'll have to put $32 in there. It don't give change."

Hmm. That didn't sound right. "Ok well I don't have exact change here."
I patiently waited for her to make change for me. She just stared at me. Finally, "Well, I guess you'll have to go to the bank then, and get change."

Excuse me? What are you doing here? EARTH TO THE OFFICE WORKER!!

No one else was in the office. I didn't feel my request to pay my bill was too much to ask of her. She just looked around as if I wasn't even there.

Apparently, this woman wasn’t into the whole “customer service” fad that’s so popular with other businesses. I was so confused. I saw a money box sitting on her desk, and I wanted to ask her why she couldn’t just take my money and give me change. I didn’t want to be impolite though, and I figured if she could have done that, she would have, so I kept my mouth shut and hoped the bank wasn’t out of money.

I returned half an hour later to once again try my luck paying my bill. When I walked back inside, I felt like I was in that scene from Meet the Parents where Ben Stiller is at the airport trying to communicate with the incompetent airline clerk.

The same lady was reclining in the same swivel chair, and though I had been gone for less than 30 minutes, she acted as though she had never seen me before.

Her: ”What do you need?” her standard greeting, I suppose.

Again with the whole routine. I told her I wanted to pay my bill; she asked how I was paying. I said cash; she pointed to the machine and again gave me the shpill about how I needed exact change for it.

I turned around to see a man working on the money taking machine. I turned back to the customer service expert who informed me, “He’s workin on the machine right now.” So perceptive. I asked about how long that should take and she shrugged. “I dunno. Shouldn’t be too long.”

Again, I wanted to ask, can’t you just take my money? I have exact change here, but then again, I didn’t really sense an “I’m on top of things and can be trusted to take care of your money for you” kind of aura emanating from her.

I also had to wonder what in the world she was getting paid to do, if not assist customers with their heating bills. Just sit there in case someone came in to have their heat turned on? In May? Brilliant. Also, 2 other ladies were taking it easy with their feet propped up behind their desks. Very efficient.

I just stood there for a minute, wondering what to do, as there was no waiting area or anywhere to sit. In an effort to rid herself of me, I suppose, she handed me a sheet of paper.

It was a lovely list of all the convenient ways you could pay your gas bill. Online, over the phone, through the mail. You could even set up an automatic draft from your checking account. Like heck I'm giving a gas company access to my checking account. Those money hungry hungry hippos take enough of our money as it is. No more. Emily Redwood is saying NO!

Unfortunately for me, Jack's most recent customer had paid in cash, so I was paying bills in cash. And the only way to pay our gas bill with cash is to come in and feed it to the machine that won't take change. I think that's what Claude meant when she said "It don't give change." The machine that was currently out of order.

I finally gave up and left. SB was ready for a nap, and I couldn't wait any longer. I have to pay our light bill too. I hope they'll take my money.