Thursday, November 24, 2011

I've Had A Realization

Life is one of those things that just take us by surprise.  That's how it goes.  If we knew what was coming, we'd probably all live our lives a little differently, and really take the time to enjoy those little moments.
I wish we could know what was around the corner.  I wish we could have a heads up.

Our family has had some very hard times this past week, and they're not over yet.  And I've found myself realizing that the things I obsess laundry, and making sure the cups are lined up in the cupboard in rows with the other cups the same size...those things don't matter.  They waste energy, they waste time.  Obviously I'm still going to have to do laundry, but I'm not going to be so anal about it anymore.  If the kids want to "help" me put their clothes away, I'm going to let them.  Even if that means they're not going to be folded.  Even if that means they're not in the right drawer.  It's okay.  Those times we can spend together are the ones that matter.

And over the last week, I've done a lot of thinking about forgiveness.  I've spent a lot of time in my life being angry at the people who have hurt me, and holding onto grudges.  Well, sometimes life throws us one of it's special surprises and we find out we don't have time to accept that apology...we should have spent that time together, instead of being angry and spending it apart.

I'm lucky enough that the person who taught me this lesson with their sudden departure was not someone I held grudges with.  But what if it had of been someone else?

I'm hugging my kids tighter, I'm loving the people around me more fully, and giving them all more attention.  Because I don't want to be remembered as someone who spent all of their time on the computer...missing the things that really matter.  I don't want my children's most vivid memories of me to be the back of my head as I sit typing at my keyboard.  So I've disabled my Facebook account and have chosen to live in the world HERE, and not in the world of my computer screen.  We don't have enough time here as it is, and to waste it inside of the's too much.

I don't know how long anyone has, and we've had some very scary moments here in the last week too.  (When it rains it pours.)  And my family need me here, in their lives, right now.  Not in five minutes after I've read all the new statuses.

Anyways, I'm kind of rambling.  I haven't had much sleep...three sick kids, and the longest week of my life.  But I wanted to write something to remind people that we don't get enough time matter how much time we do get, it's not enough.  So turn off your computer and go and be with your family.  You can't get this time back.  Once it's gone, it's gone.

I'll post when I get a chance, but my priority is now where it should have been all along.  Here.  And I am going to make the rest of my time here count.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My First Christmas In Heaven

Our family lost someone very special and dear to us, very suddenly on Thursday.  The next day my husband found this poem at the house.  It is so very relevant, and I wanted to share it with you.

I see the countless Christmas Trees around the world below, with tiny lights, like heaven’s stars, reflecting on the snow.

The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away that tear, for I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear, but the sounds of music can’t compare with the Christmas choir up here.

I have no words to tell you, the joy their voices bring, for it is beyond description, to hear the angels sing.

I know how much you miss me. I see the pain inside your heart, but I am not so far away.

We really aren’t apart. So be happy for me dear ones.

You know I hold you dear, and be glad I’m spending Christmas, with Jesus Christ this year.

I send you each a special gift, from my heavenly home above.

I send you each a memory of, my undying love.

After all “Love” is the gift, more precious than pure gold.

It was always most important in the stories Jesus told.

Please love and keep each other, as my Father said to do, for I can’t count the blessing or love he has for each of you.

So, have a Merry Christmas and wipe away that tear.

Remember, I’m spending Christmas, with Jesus Christ this year.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Circumstupidity And The Comebacks I Use.

So yes, I have seen my fair share of "circumstupidity" online.  So much, in fact, that it gave me exactly what I needed for this post.  Every statement you see here in black is something I have read somewhere online.

**Sensitivity warning**  If you've circumcised your son and are not at a place yet where you can read truthful (but blunt) responses to the excuses I have heard/read people use for why they cut their sons, maybe this post isn't for you.

"I cut my son because I prefer my sexual partner to be circumcised."  
UH....WHAT?!  Unless you're planning on having sex with your own son, this makes no sense.  (And, by the way, if you're planning on having sex with your son, you're a sick freak and need to call the cops and report yourself right now.)

"If you love your son you'll circumcise him."
*Blank stare*  So...if I love him I'll let someone take him from the safety of my arms and put him in a cold plastic circumstraint in a position that hurts his back, strap his arms and legs down, fondle his penis until it is erect, then proceed to tear his foreskin from the glans, crush it, then cut it off?  Oh, and lets not forget that during this he'll be screaming and thrashing his head back and forth, or he'll go into shock and lay there un-moving.  There's no medical reason to circumcise's why no Health Organizations recommend it.  (The Canadian Pediatric Society actually point out that the risks outweigh the "potential" benefits!)  Yeah.  That's love.
I actually prefer to show my son I love him by PROTECTING him from pain.  Crazy, I know.

"You don't know what it's like to be a guy.  I'm glad I'm circumcised."
Yeah, well you don't know what it's like to be intact.  So, since you don't really have anything to compare it to, I guess you can SAY you're glad...but you can't really know, can you?  I'm sorry that choice was taken from you without your consent and now you feel the need to justify it.  And I don't need to be a guy to know that hurting babies is wrong.  I just need a soul.

"I was circumcised and I've never had a problem with it."
With what?  Your penis?  Well since about 85% of the world's men are intact, I bet we could find a pretty huge number of men who've never "had a problem" with their penis either, even when they're intact.  Should I give you a medal for washing it?  The truth is that even if you had been left intact, chances are that you would never have "had a problem with it."  And, it's easy to say you've "never had a problem" when you're a 25 yr. old man.  Get back to me when you're 40.  Sadly cut men will have lost a huge amount of sensitivity in their penis by 40 years old.  I don't think that it's a coincidence that 40% of men over 40 have erectile dysfunction.  (You can help get that sensitivity back by restoring.  You can learn more about it HERE and HERE.)

"Circumcision has kept me from getting a UTI."
Oh good.  Heaven forbid you were to have to take 10 days worth of antibiotics to clear up an infection.  It's definitely better that you had a body part amputated.  And I'm sorry, but if you can wash your genitals, chances are you would never have gotten one in the first place.  If you want that medal now, I'll go grab it.
The numbers for UTIs in boys who have not been circumcised is 1 in 100.  It is highly uncommon for boys to ever get a UTI in the first place, in the absence of an abnormality of the urinary tract.  Girls are MUCH more likely to get a UTI, and no one ever suggests we cut their genitals.   

"Women don't want a man with a flap of skin on the end of his dick."
Um...funny...I'm pretty sure that any woman that knows the function of foreskin would be pretty freakin thrilled if their man was intact.  We love our cut men for who they are, but don't think for a second that we're happy our men were strapped down and mutilated as infants.  We're not.
The penis slides in and out of it's own sheath when a man is intact.  When a man has a circumcised penis, they are going at you like a battering ram (or, as it's been referred to in the past, "jabbing at you like a broom handle").  An intact man doesn't need lube, and he doesn't need to spit in his hand.  Those are things done by cut men.  

"But circumcision prevents HIV."
Oh really?  Huh.  Amazing stuff.  Uh, NO IT DOESN'T.  Cutting 3/4 of an infant's penile skin off does NOT give it super powers.  The WHO, UNAIDS and the CDC have endorsed circumcision as HIV prevention in ADULT CONSENTING MEN who have multiple partners in HIV hot spots in AFRICA. NONE of these organizations have endorsed infant circumcision, nor are there any studies involving men circumcised as infants. There is no evidence that infant circumcision prevents HIV, quite the opposite; despite 80% of American men being circumcised at birth, HIV transmission rates are many times higher than countries in Europe and Asia where circumcision is rare.
One theory of why circumcised men are in fact more likely to spread the HIV virus is because of the lack of foreskin.  As I mentioned above, the penis of an intact man slides in and out of it's own sheath, protecting the genitals of both partners from tiny tears caused by the friction of the penis as it's rammed in and out.  An intact man does not cause that same friction.   The foreskin acts as a protective barrier to the genitals of both partners, preventing the tiny skin tears.

"A boy should look like his father."
This is my biggest pet peeve.  How can someone seriously say this with a straight face?!
Is the father of this child planning on spending a lot of time comparing penises with your son?  I'm going to assume your hubby is normal and say that's NEVER going to happen.
Are you afraid that you're son is going to see your partner naked and realize that compared to his daddy's penis, his has something extra?  Are you afraid you're going to have to explain to your son why he was left intact, while your spouse is not?  Don't worry about it.  Tell him that when your hubby was a baby, they thought it was cleaner and had to be done.  Now we know better.  We know that there are no medical reasons to do it, so you left him just as perfect as he was the day he was born.  His foreskin isn't a birth defect, and it didn't need to be removed.
I think that conversation is going to be easier than the one you're going to have if you circumcise him and he finds out that you let someone cut off the end of his penis without his consent when he was just newly born into this world.  

And here's a little more common sense...What if your spouse was missing an arm?  Should your son also have an arm removed at birth?  You want them to match, right?  What if your son is born with red hair, and your hubby is blond?  Then what?  They're not going to match.
But it's okay.  Don't panic.  Your son is NOT your partner...not only that, he's a whole separate person!  An individual.  He doesn't need to be a clone of your man to be perfect.  He was born that way...with all of his parts.  And they share DNA.  Isn't that enough?!

"I was circumcised and I don't remember it, so it's okay."
Honestly, failing to have vivid memories of an event in childhood does not mean it never happened.  At that time it is very real to that baby.  To him, it's a horrible, traumatizing event that never should have taken place.
It's harsh, but what if someone raped a coma patient?  Would it be okay because she couldn't remember it when she woke up?  NO.  Of course not.  What if someone punched that baby?  When it grows up it's not going to remember that happening.  So is it okay because the memory won't last their whole lifetime?  NO.  Of course it's not okay!!!
And it's the same with circumcision.  Failing to remember it as an adult does not excuse the fact that it was done.  It does not excuse the fact that pain was inflicted on a newborn baby.  It does not suddenly make it okay.  The inability to remember the event as an adult does not make the act that took place as a child, irrelevant.

"Not circumcising your son deprives him of a right of passage to becoming a man."
He's not a man.  He's a baby.  If he wants to get himself circumcised as an adult, that's his own business.  I doubt he will, though.  The average number of men who choose circumcision for themselves are 1 in 500.  Foreskin contains over 20,000 fine touch nerve endings, and feels GREAT to both him and his sexual partner.  He'll also probably not want to remove his eyelids either.  Just sayin'.

"Men complain so much, it's easier to get them cut as babies so we don't have to listen to them whine."
The inability to use language does not mean that the baby wants his penis cut.  He can't talk as an adult man can, so he will be unable to put into words his pain or fear.  But I assure you that a grown man will be in less pain than his newborn counterpart.  He will get powerful meds to deal with the after-pains of surgery.  He will also not have to be awake with next to no pain relief during the procedure.  He will not have to feel his foreskin being torn from his glans like a new baby does.
A grown man knows what he's getting into, and can give informed consent.  An infant is helpless and at the mercy of his parents.
If you think a grown man can't handle the surgery, how do you think a newborn baby can handle it? 

"My son will never get head if he's not circumcised."
How about you let your ADULT son make the choice for himself whether or not he wants to be circumcised.  If he really truly thinks he's going to be getting so much head if he's circumcised that he's willing to put his life and penis on the line for it, then at least it will be his OWN choice.
For the time being, when your son is an infant, how about you just worry about taking care of him and keeping him safe from harm.  No one is going to be giving him head for a very long time, so having foreskin isn't going to change that.
And I won't even get into talking about how disturbing it is for me when people talk about their infant son in a sexual way like this...

"I'm a Christian.  God wanted me to circumcise my son."
Yeah?  Where did it say that?  I'm confused, you see, because I know for a fact that God did not tell YOU to circumcise your son!  Sorry.  Here is a site that will explain it to you.  If that doesn't help you, there's THIS one.If that's not enough for you, maybe this will be:

The Bible says that God pronounced creation 'very good' (Genesis 1:31) and that humans were made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). The Apostle Paul also said that God made every part of the body as he wanted it. (1 Corinthians 12:18).
"Behold, I, Paul, tell you that if you be circumcised, Christ will be of no advantage to you."  (Galatians 5:2)

"And even those who advocate circumcision don't really keep the whole law.  They only want you to be circumcised so they can brag about it and claim you as their disciples."  (Galatians 6:13)

What did Jesus think about circumcision?
His disciples said to him:  Is circumcision useful or not?  He said to them:  If it were useful, the father would beget them from their mother (already) circumcised.  But the one true circumcision in the Spirit has proved useful in every way.  (Thomas 53)

The Apostolical Canons of the Church state:
Canon XXII
"He who has mutilated himself, cannot become a clergyman, for he is a self-murderer, and an enemy to the workmanship of God."

Canon XXIV
"If a layman mutilate himself, let him be excommunicated for three years, as practicing against his own life".

Circumcision was practiced as a way to remove our own fleshly nature, which was fulfilled in the resurrection of Christ, and which the sacrament of baptism teaches us to look forward to in our own resurrection.
"Watch out for for those wicked men-- dangerous dogs, I call them-- who say you must be circumcised to be saved.  For it isn't the cutting of our bodies that make us children of God; it is worshiping him with our spirits."  (Phillipians 3: 2-3)

God doesn't make mistakes, and hasn't made a mistake giving EVERY healthy boy a foreskin.  Man's design will never be better than God's design, and it is only from self-pride, and ignorance, that human beings believe that cutting their newborn baby boy's genitals could possibly be what God wanted.  If God wanted baby boys to be without foreskin, they'd be born that way.  Don't fall for the lies and tricks told to you by people who are looking to make a very quick buck from the pain and mutilation of a perfectly functioning body part.

"He's MY son, so it's MY choice."

Well, if he's your son, for whatever reason it IS legally your choice.  But realistically, it's not your body and shouldn't be your choice to alter it for non-medical reasons.  Circumcision is an elective, cosmetic procedure.  Your doctor will tell you that.
No other cosmetic procedure can be done to an un-consenting do so is illegal.  By all rights, circumcision is an illegal procedure being practiced legally.  If your baby was born with a long nose, the Dr. and family members would look at you like you were crazy if you said you were going to take him in for rhinoplasty at 2 days old.
If your son decides for himself (as an adult) to be circumcised, at least he'll have been given the right to choose for himself.  

"I don't want my son to be a cheese-dick."

Classy.  If you can teach him to wash his hands and face, you can teach him to wash his penis.  And last time I checked, no one had to FORCE a teenage boy to touch his penis in the shower or tub.  Just tell him while he's at it, rinse it off, he'll be just fine!
This excuse actually says more about the parents than the child...they're assuming he'll be so stupid he can't manage to rinse off his own penis.  And that's sad, really.  I can't imagine being born into a family that, from the moment I'm born, has already decided that I will never be able to do basic things for myself, like washing my genitals.

"My best friend's neighbor's uncle died of penile cancer, so we circumcised him so he wouldn't get it too."
This year in the United States more than 1600 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer.  An estimated 500 men will die from it.  (Find more HERE.)

The most recent American Cancer Society estimates for penile cancer in the United States are for 2011: 
About 1,360 new cases of penile cancer will be diagnosed.  About 320 men will die from it.
As you can see, your son has a higher chance of getting (and dying from) breast cancer than he has of getting (or dying from) penile cancer.  I'm sure you're not going to have his breast tissue removed at birth to "prevent breast cancer", so to do the same with his foreskin to "prevent" a disease that affects less than 1% of men, is just madness!  If we removed every body part that "could" become cancerous in our lifetime, we would be left with little more than a pile of hair and fingernails.

Everyone is welcome to their own opinion about circumcision, this is a free country, and it's not illegal yet.  But they are NOT welcome to their own facts.  Sometimes the truth hurts, but it doesn't change the fact that it's the truth.

Never be afraid to tell the truth.  Even if your voice shakes.  Even if you're the only one speaking up.  After a while your voice will be strong, and your message will be heard loud and clear.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Intactivist Gear Auction #1

I'm having an "Intactivist Gear" auction, and all money will go to (or you can find them at End Routine Infant Circumcision on Facebook).
This is what their site says:

"At ERIC we mail letters to politicians, doctors, hospitals and insurance companies, and will always do this.  We have also created and bought business size cards with intactivist information; we mailed them out to several individuals free of charge and we also leave these info packed cards on cars and hand them to individuals in public places, and we will continue doing this.  We designed and purchased over 900 intactivist wristbands, and mailed them out to individuals free of charge.  Because people donated, we were able to easily afford packing material and postage, especially for the international shipments.  We will offer more wristbands free of charge in the future!  We are currently doing a [Send Out A Postcard Campaign] to expecting mothers; free of charge.  You supply us with the address, and we send out the postcards.  We would like to purchase a few intactivist banners to use in contingent parades; such as PRIDE and local festivals…as well as peaceful demonstrations on street corners.  Our domain name and hosting package adds up as well..."

They are amazing, and they deserve someone to do something nice for them, so I'm going to try to help them raise some money!  : )

Auction Items.

Window Decal

Small Stamp

Mouse Pad


T-Shirt (XL size)
"Real Men Keep Their Babies Intact"

So, here is the rundown on what the items are, and what they're worth.

~1 XL T-Shirt,"Real Men Keep Their Babies Intact"
Value $13.99

~10 Info Card Magnets (5 of each design),
Value $5.00

~50 leaflets, TLC Tugger
Value $1

~20 info cards, (10 of each design),
Value $2.50

~1 bracelet, (blue), TheWholeNetwork/"His body, his choice"
Value $3

~1 Mouse pad, "Say NO To Infant Circumcision/His Body, not YOURS"/Know Better, Do Better!!
Value $9.99

~5 "Routine Infant Circumcision" pamphlets, Know Better, Do Better!!
Value $2.50

~1 black ink stamp, "Say NO to routine infant circumcision/"
Value $15.99

~1 small window decal, "Intact Baby On Board"
Value $8.49

~1 pen, (blue), "Say NO to circumcision!/HIS body, not YOURS."
Value $5.99

~1 metal info card holder.
Value $8.49

Total Value of this auction: $76.94


The way I'm going to do this is I'm going to hold the auction on the Facebook page (HERE'S THE LINK).  

*I'm going to start the auction FRIDAY November 11th at 12:01am.

*The auction will end on MONDAY November 14th at NOON.  (My time...EST.)

*The person who bids the most by Noon on Monday will win the items.

*The winner will be notified by the end of the day Monday (November 14th).

*The winner is to donate the amount they bid to win, to

*When I get notification that they have received your donation, I will mail out your items within 24 hours.
(I will pay for the items to be shipped to you.)

You can go to THIS LINK to send them your donation.

PLEASE DO NOT BID unless you can pay the amount you're bidding by NO LATER THAN TUESDAY, November 15th.
(I want to be able to send the items out as soon as possible to avoid them being delayed with the upcoming Holiday Season!)

**If the person who wins the auction does not pay the amount that they bid, or they do not pay at all by TUESDAY November 15th, I will NOT send them the items and we will hold the auction again.**

Let's not forget the reason for the auction.  It's a good cause, and these are some pretty effing awesome items.  So...Lets get ready to bid!!!    : )

Friday, November 4, 2011

Shit That Pisses Me Off...Painting Us All With The Same Brush

So it's going to be Remembrance Day again.  So, as usual, that horrible status is going around Facebook.  I posted it below from a screen shot taken from someone that WAS on my friends list. 

This makes me so mad!

FTR, I do NOT agree with this, and the idea that someone would have the balls to not only post this garbage on their own Facebook wall, but to try to toss all Canadians in the same Bigot Boat as they seem to be riding in, is just too much for me.

Soldiers didn't die for white Christians. Soldiers died defending the rights of EVERYONE in this country. If you move here and you are a Canadian citizen (or landed immigrant), you are a Canadian! It pisses me off that someone I've known for so long thinks that HER religion is the only religion that deserves to be respected. She wants to have rights, but wants to strip other people of rights at the same time. Makes no sense to me. And when I tried to explain it to her, she got pissy. Well, she's no longer on my friends list, and it was because I removed her. I had it. The status says "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH", and I said those words right back to her.

I'm not sure what the motivation is when someone posts that shit. Do they want to see who else owns a white hood? Do they want someone to tell them that being a bigot is just fine, that she's right to post that bullshit?  

It makes me nuts because Canada was built by immigrants.  Unless you have two Native parents, you are also an immigrant.  (When I told her that, she informed me that she's Canadian because she was born and raised here.  Apparently that is the prerequisite to be a "Canadian".)

I wanted so smash my head on my keyboard.

 And THIS was posted on her wall right after.

See how suddenly this is a "free country"?!  Well, free for HER I guess.  But don't you dare believe in something she doesn't believe in, or you're going to have to she can hear children sing "Oh Canada" in school.  (Which is funny because her kids are grown...I'm not really sure how she's going to hear it one way or another...)  She's "entitled to her opinion", but when I give mine, I'm getting "all crazy".  Fantastic.  Where's the logic?!

I just wanted to speak up and say WE ARE NOT ALL BIGOTS.  So, when you see this status going around for Remembrance Day, just know that it's a very small minority of "Canadians" who share that belief.  The rest of us are SANE, and it pisses us off.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

From Mainstream To Chewy...And Beyond!

So, before I had kids, I knew EXACTLY how I was going to parent. I had all the answers. If my kids lipped me off, I'd spank them. (I was spanked, and I turned out okay.)  I was going to fully vaccinate them because if I didn't, what kind of a parent would I be?! Geeze, they could get POLIO, you know! And I had always planned on breastfeeding, but before kids it was a non-issue, something I never put too much thought into. When the twins were born, I said I'd breastfeed for a year, then stop. Oh, and lets not forget letting them CIO. Seriously, it's not going to kill them to cry. And if I had a son, he WOULD be circumcised. I don't even remember why...but I knew the "tip" would be snipped.

I look back at the parent I was before I had kids.  Lets just say I am SO glad I only had cats.  That is NOT the parent I would ever want my children to have.  I remember hearing about co-sleeping and thinking "you hippies are going to smother those babies!"  I remember hearing about the "dangers" of formula feeding and thinking these breast feeders were Nazis, spreading their propaganda, and pushing their opinions on everyone else so they could feel superior.  I remember thinking that if I ever ended up that way, I would want someone to punch me right in the face, because I'd deserve it.

Now, after three kids, part of me wants to say that the person I was then needed a punch in the face more than anyone I've ever met!!  The other part of me, (the kinder, gentler part of me) knows that the person I used to be had NO information or experience, and the opinions I had at the time were formed from my own experiences as a child.  Nothing more.  I know that the person I was before children (B.C.) was on the outside, looking in.  And really, when you're raised being told that babies need to cry (as not to "spoil" them), and that children need to be spanked (it keeps them out of prison, you know), and that formula is "just as good" as breast milk, it's only through experience and education that you can see things from another perspective.  Before that, (before learning how to do things better) you don't even know there's another perspective in the first place.

So, here it is.  I was a hard-core mainstream mom before I ever had kids.  But then something happened.  After 7 years of TTC, my husband and I FINALLY got pregnant!

I'll tell you...that in itself started things rolling in the right direction.  Then, at 7 1/2 months gestation, my twins were born due to PPROM.  When they were born my son was 3 lbs., 14oz.  As he came, the room filled with NICU staff, they held him up for a split second for me to see him (I wasn't wearing my glasses, I couldn't see much), and they whisked him away.  Five minutes later his sister was born weighing 2 lbs., 12oz.  She was born not breathing, so they immediately ran out of the room with her in a towel.  After 45 minutes of working on her, they returned with her in an incubator.  They were bringing her in to show me that she was alive.  She survived her birth.

That moment...that very second that I laid eyes on her...she was red from jaundice, and the smallest human being I had ever seen in my life...that very second, the world disappeared.  Literally.  I could see nothing but that little angel in her incubator.  I could hear no sounds, and nothing in this world even existed but her.  It was that very moment that I changed forever.  That little tiny baby was mine.  I was her mom.

I didn't hear the Dr. talking to me...I didn't even realize there was anyone there anymore.  I was so focused on that incubator, I had tunnel vision and my ears couldn't husband put my hand in the Dr.'s, and shook it for me.  Only then did I look away, look at my husband (annoyed that he had interrupted me), and said "what?!"  He just laughed and said "the Dr. wanted to congratulate you."  I looked at the Dr., and thanked her for my babies.  That's when they took my baby girl into the NICU.

We had a nightmare of a "journey" in the NICU.  It sucked so bad.  I said more than once that it was a roller coaster, and I hate roller coasters.  After 8 1/2 weeks of visiting them there, watching them both survive things that would have killed adults, the ride stopped, and we got off.

I don't know if it was PTSD from what we went through there.  I don't know if it was suddenly coming out of the shock my brain immediately went into the very moment I went into labor with them.  I don't know if it was the lack of sleep, or the complete overload of stress of their birth and first 2+ months of life.  But when we brought them home, I was not the parent I thought I would be.

The instant one of them would make a sound, I was in their room standing over them, ready to pick them up and hold them if they needed me.  Never once did I ever make them CIO.  There were times that one of them cried while I fed/changed/rocked the other one.  But it wasn't because I was trying to teach them to get used to not being held.  It was simply because I didn't have enough arms to pick them both up at once.  (And it would not have been safe to attempt it with how very exhausted I was.)  I cannot even imagine how someone could hear their baby in distress and ignore them.  It just baffles me.

As much as I would have loved to have them in our room with us, at that time we lived in a very nice, but very small 4-plex.  We thought it would be perfect for when they were carpets, so no worry that we'd have cat/dog hair getting all over them...just run a broom across the floor a couple times a day, and the hair would be gone.  We clearly had never had children before, because it didn't take long to realize that ceramic tile, as nice as it looks, was less than ideal for infants.  There were 3 bedrooms, but the only normal-sized room was on the main floor, directly off the kitchen.  (Crazy!)  That became our living room until the twins started Occupational Therapy , and then it became a "play" room...where I could work with them to help them catch up developmentally.

The two bedrooms downstairs seemed great before we had the kids.  They were right across from each other, and the one we had for the kids was big enough for two cribs, a dresser, and a rocking chair.  Our room was smaller, and fit our bed and a small side table.  As much as we thought it would be ideal, once they were home, it wasn't.  I had a baby monitor in their room, and the receiver was right next to my head, turned up to full volume so I could hear them breathe.  Still, every hour on the hour I would wake up and run into their room to rouse them a little bit, just to make sure they were still alive.  (I did that for over a year, even when they were bigger, and sleeping in 5 hour intervals.)  I also had to wake them every 3 hours around the clock to eat.  So I'd wake one, change them, feed them, and put them back to bed.  Then I'd wake the other, change them, feed them, and put them back to bed.  Then I'd wash a bottle, mix up the next one, and get into bed for ONE hour before doing it all again.  (With preemies the 3 hours is from the START of one feed to the START of the next one.)  In total, I was sleeping 3 hours every 24, and it was in three separate attempts.  I can't help but think that if they were in our room, after they were allowed to finally sleep longer than 3 hours between feeds, I could have simply reached over and put my hand on their chests to feel them breathe, instead of waking up in a state of panic and running into their room every hour.  I know without a doubt that I still would have woke up, but it could have been better.  Less traumatic and extreme.

Before we were allowed to take them home from the hospital, we were required to make a Dr.'s appointment for them, and provide the hospital with the date and time, so they would know that our preemies were going to be okay in our care.  We were also told that at that visit, our children HAD to be vaccinated, or they would not release them to us.  (We were told more than once that our children were "property of the hospital" until released to us upon discharge.  Seriously.)  So I did what I had to do to take my babies home.

At that Dr.'s appt., I asked about why they'd be getting vaccinated at that time, considering that they shouldn't  have even been born yet.  My Dr. simply said "that's just how we do it."  My mommy instinct was SCREAMING, but I handed them over.  I let them vaccinate the kids.  They were vaccinated at 2, 4, and 8 months actual age...which means that when you "correct" their ages, they were vaccinated 2 weeks before their due date, at 1 1/2 months old, and at 5 1/2 months.  Also, starting at 5 months actual age (2 1/2 months corrected age), they started getting a monthly RSV shot.  The Dr. told me that we should be "so thankful" that our twins qualified for this would save their lives.  I was told that RSV in preemies is among the top killers in the first year.  I can honestly say that I was too afraid to say no.  For 5 months throughout the winter, the twins got their RSV shots, and I did my best to spread them out so they didn't have them too close to their routine shots.

I'll never forget the day I took the twins in for their 8 month shots.  My son went first, and my husband stayed in the room with him because I couldn't hold him down while the nurse put that needle in his leg.  I did it the first time and it broke my heart.  So I stayed out in the waiting room with my daughter, playing with her on the floor until it was her turn.  When my husband brought my son out, he stopped crying as soon as I took him.  Then my husband took our daughter into the room.  

I could hear that high-pitched scream clear as day, and she was in the farthest room from the waiting room.  When she came out, she wasn't just crying.  It was a scream I'll remember for my entire made the hair on the back of my neck stand up, and the mommy radar inside of my guts was just going insane.  I knew something wasn't right.  I knew these kids better than anyone else, and that scream was NOT normal.  

We were told to stay until she calmed down.  We spent half an hour in that waiting room with them.  She finally calmed down, and we took them out and put them in their carseats.  She started screaming again.  Instead of taking her back in, we went home.  I knew that all she needed was to get home, where it was safe, and snuggle up with Momma.  

That night I slept on the floor of their bedroom.  I couldn't get the sound of her screams out of my head, and I couldn't go to bed and ignore what my gut was saying.  Every hour I would rouse her so she didn't sleep too soundly, terrified that she might die if I left her to fall asleep too deeply.  The next morning when I got her out of her crib, the spot on her left thigh was swollen and felt like there was a golf ball inside of it.  If I touched it, she would scream again.  I called the doctor's office and was treated like I was stupid.  I was told it was "normal", and that I shouldn't worry so much, that my fears were "normal new mother fears".  The receptionist told me that if she continued to scream and it lasted more than a day, or if she got a fever over 101 degrees, to bring her back in.  Otherwise I should stop worrying.  Yeah.  Easy to say when it's not your child!!!

That day something inside of me snapped.  I was suddenly unable to ignore the feeling in my gut that something was seriously wrong with giving these babies those shots when they should have not been getting them for months after they got them.  If they were born full term, none of these shots would have been timed like this.  And so I started researching.

In the beginning I wanted to believe I was wrong.  That I was the crazy one...that I was just an overly-worried new mother.  I wanted to dig and dig and find that the Dr. was right, and that I didn't make a horrible irreversible mistake letting him vaccinate my twins according to their actual age, rather than their corrected age.  I wanted to read that I had no choice, and so I did the only thing I could, which was to shut up and go along with the program.

The more I dug, the worse things got.  I couldn't sleep.  The things I found were terrifying.  The truth about the ingredients of vaccines, the truth about the diseases...I bought books and read them in bed when I couldn't be on the computer.  My brain felt like it was turning to liquid as I learned more and more about how I had been living my life with the wool over my own eyes.  At first I had to look up every second word, because a lot of that vaccine information is in medical terms.  By the time I was 2 months into it, I no longer had to look them up.  And I couldn't stop reading this information.  I was obsessed with finding the truth.  

The more research I did, the more I realized that I knew nothing.
I fell down the rabbit hole.
The truth is that it would be illegal to give a vaccination to an unborn child, but it's perfectly legal to give one to an infant that was born early.  It just made my jaw drop.  The more I knew, the less I was able to ignore the truth.  My twins never got another vaccination, and our new baby is 100% vaccine-free.

Along this parenting path, I've encountered some amazing women who have put raising children into a whole new light. I knew after I had my children, after all we'd been through with them, that I could never put my hands on them to "discipline" them. My mother still to this day tells me that they "need a good spanking", in one breath, and in the next she tells me how she loves that they are so sensitive, and says it makes her want to cry when she thinks of how sweet they are. I think that after 50+ years of believing that spanking is the only way to teach children to behave, she's torn. I think she knows in her heart of hearts that no one should ever do anything to children that might damage them emotionally, but she's unable to ignore a lifetime of believing it's okay to hit them.

I think our children need to know they're safe. I think they need to be allowed to act out if that's how they're feeling. Adults do it everyday, but we expect MORE from children than we do from adults, and that is so very unfair. I think children need to know that mommy and daddy are going to protect them from pain, not inflict it. And I think children need to know that love is un-conditional. Even when they are not behaving appropriately, they need to know that they're not going to be punished, when all they really need is some guidance and patience!

Parenting is this learn-as-you-go experience. Sometimes our older children are given less than the best, but not because we love them less. Because we just don't go into this with all of the answers. I think parenting is one of those things that really never stop changing and growing...I do better now than I did then, but I'll do even better than I am right now, as time goes on. And we just can't change what has been done in the past, and that's okay. From every experience, good or bad, we learn. Sometimes we need to do wrong to see what was right, so that next time we can do better.

What I once believed, I no longer see as being what's best for my children. Mainstream was fine before I had them, and now that I have been blessed with three children I never thought I'd ever have, I see that the hippies were right all along. And, as time goes on and I'm getting a little more crunchy by the day, I know that before too long I'll be able to call myself one of them...and I'll be proud of that!