Hopping mad

This article makes me absolutely furious:

Waiting Too Long to Have Sex Linked to Sexual Dysfunction Later in Life, Study Says

It’s a short article, go on and read it.

It says “People who lose their virginity between the ages of 21 to 23 are more likely to suffer sexual dysfunction problems later in life” and then goes on to cite vague information regarding men only.

Oh, and the men? Apparently, men who lost their virginity in their 20’s were at a greater risk for sexual dysfunction…but, then it goes on to say that men who lost their virginity earlier were also at a greater risk for sexual dysfunction. Um, so basically, most men are at a great risk for sexual dysfunction?

And then, even worse is the contradictory article to which this article links. On the one hand, it says:

“Our results do not allow for causal interpretations.”

And on the other hand, it says the study:

“lends credence to research showing that abstinence-only education may actually increase health risks.”

Sounds to me like somebody has an agenda here.

“This study is interesting because it suggests that sexual experimentation is a normal developmental process, and when this process is inhibited or not guided, there can be poor sexual health outcomes.”

Are they seriously suggesting that an era of high STD rates, HIV/AIDS, and abortions is sexually healthy?

I can’t stomach Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, but that scene, the sex-education scene, comes to mind when I read that sexual experimentation needs to be guided.

And I’m supposed to raise decent human beings in this culture?

Spreading Christmas Cheer

Every Christmas, I try to buy presents for at least one stranger, and I try to include my kids in the selection and purchase. Some years, we just put a toy in one of the many Toys for Tots collection boxes, but most years we “adopt” someone whose information is hanging on a tree at church or at work. I really attempt to be as generous with the adopted family member as I am with my own children or husband. I assume that my present might be the sum total of what they get on Christmas Day, and it breaks my heart to think that someone who needs much might get very little.

One year, only a few days before Christmas, Bill noticed one angel left on the tree in the lobby at his office. He looked and saw that the recipient was a teenaged boy. It’s fun to buy toys and games for little children, and their tags get picked up early. But older children and adults often get neglected. Everybody wants to play Santa for the young ones, but I guess they think it’s not as important for those too old to “believe.”

I think everybody deserves a little Christmas magic. Santa Claus is not a jolly old elf. He is a man, a holy and generous man made in the image and likeness of the Perfect Creator, and his spirit, the Christmas Spirit, though but a shadow of the Divinity, is at work whenever we take from our own bounty and deliver joy to those who have less.

My husband, much more tender-hearted than his acerbic wit might indicate, brought home the paper angel from the tree, and I shopped for the boy who might have been forgotten that Christmas.

After that year, I lean towards selecting an older child or an adult from the tree. Although it’s nice for my kids to help select gifts for someone their own age, I really would worry about an older child being ignored. A young child may have many years left to believe in the magic. It is the older person who no longer believes in Santa Claus who is the most in need of convincing that he is alive and well.

"Fun" Christmas gifts?

A woman I know was one of 5 or 6 kids. Her parents used one of these for the family milk. It holds 5 gallons. A new one is cost prohibitive, but if I didn’t have such a tiny kitchen, I would consider scouring the used market. Milk takes up so much room in my fridge.
My kids are big fans of straws. I have a few cleanable, reuseable ones, but they tend to get chewed up after a week of use. Plus, the Carnation Instant Breakfast I encourage the kids to use to make chocolate milk gunks them up. Instead of worrying about clean straws all the time, I just buy the cheap-o disposable ones. I think 100 straws cost $0.76.
For a while, we had one of these. Cute, retro-style…but I had to re-fill it every other day. I have 5 straw users here drinking several cups of whatever a day. Frequently, it would sit empty and the kids got their straws directly from the straw bag. I ditched the dispenser.
But, the cheap-o straws come in a cheap-o bag that splits open and won’t actually hold the straws. Frequently we have straw disasters and piles to pick up. Unfortunately, yesterday, the party responsible for the disaster threw a fit at having to clean it up, and even after an act of mercy presented her with assistance, she was too far gone in tantrum mode to accept the help and threw the straws back on the ground. The straws sat on the kitchen floor. I was too busy with school to deal with the mess, and figured ten minutes would calm the perpetrator and cooperation would be more easily attained.
But then some nameless toddler took advantage of school time to hunt around the pantry and find a juice box (a rare treat). Unable to open it the proper way, he merely used his teeth to puncture the box. He then enjoyed his refreshment right over the pile of straws, covering them all with sticky juice. Lovely.
I think it’s time for a new dispenser.
I found this one, which is pretty cheap. The big, fast-food types are 4 or 5 times this price (they hold more and will stand up to more abuse, I’m sure). But I was really attracted to the 12,500 straws for $27…that’s 5 straws for a penny! So, at an estimated rate of 15 straws per day, the supply will last for well over two years.
Would it be too cruel to wrap the big box of straws and put it under the tree?

Who are you…

…and what have you done with my sweet, cooperative two-year old?

My Petey used to give me hugs and kisses. When I ask you for a kiss, you say NO.

My Petey used to love to help clean up. When I suggest picking up toys, you say NO.

My Petey used to race to let the dog in or out of the house. When I ask you nicely to do this simple thing for me, you say NO.

My Petey used to go to bed or nap without too much complaint. When I tell you it’s time to go, you run and hide. When I catch you and put you in your room, you throw a fit and won’t stay in bed.

My Petey used to say please and thank you without prompting. When I gently remind you how to ask nicely, you stare at me defiantly.

My Petey used to move gently around the baby. When I ask you to stop climbing on the couch where I’m sitting with Mary, you start jumping harder.

My Petey used to follow cooperatively to different activities. But you have a repertoire of diversionary tactics I find hard to believe a mere two year old could conjure.

My Petey used to listen and obey when given a warning that his parents were wise to his intentions. But you feign innocence and claim to be “just walking” and not preparing to repeat improper behavior.

Who are you, little boy? Where is my Petey?

Behind the power curve

So many people are almost done with their Christmas shopping. I thought I was doing well, since I had done lots of internet window shopping, but I’ve only actually bought one thing: a balance bike for Pete (we actually didn’t get a Skuut, we found a cheaper brand).

And I will buy a half dozen of these (here’s the one from Kansas). I consider them to be educational. Of course, by December 26th, I will probably regret my decision to make my house sound like a bird sanctuary.

Moderation by extremes

I have four weeks to lose the ten pounds I plan to gain for Christmas. Yes, I suppose I could just eat a balanced diet with smaller portions throughout the next month and the Christmas season and avoid weight gain altogether. But I don’t know how anyone could possibly adjust their diet to accommodate one glass of eggnog and three or four Christmas cookies unless you skip real meals and just eat the good stuff for a few days.

Even just this past holiday weekend where I never really overstuffed myself, I see the scales tipping precariously in the wrong direction. And so, despite the starving children throughout the world, I am going to retire the last few pieces of pie to the garbage can and begin a calorie awareness campaign here. It’s not a diet. No, those are strict regimens where you only eat grapefruit…or on day 2 you eat cabbage soup and one baked potato…or you eliminate whole food groups. The only food group I plan to eliminate is the “Yummy” food group. If it tastes good, don’t eat it.

It’s only four weeks.

Now I’m off to see if the instant oatmeal with maple and brown sugar is too “Yummy” for the calorie awareness police.

Infant prodigy

From a kids’ joke book:

What do you call the parents of an infant prodigy?

Highly imaginative people.

During this photo shoot, Mary giggled two or three times. I know that it wasn’t deliberate I-think-this-is-funny giggling, but it certainly made us all laugh.

First the reaching-for-objects milestone from the other day, and now giggling. She’s so advanced! For the record we have NO Baby Einstein products.

A rare shot of mother and child. My kids are now old enough to be trusted with a camera under direct adult supervision.


Baby Mary is now more than six weeks old. I really enjoy the newborn stage where their little bodies are still curled up from living in small spaces, and they blink back the light, and everyone needs to talk softly to give the baby time to adjust to the new world. But she’s now entering the next stage where she wants to start experiencing her environment, safely from The Momma’s arms, of course. And I love this stage too.

When my oldest began spending time awake, I remember asking myself, “What do I do with him?” He didn’t want to eat, didn’t want to sleep, didn’t need a bath or a diaper change, he couldn’t play with anything. He just wanted to stare at me and practice cooing. But parenting children over the age of 18 months teaches you the fine art of talking to yourself. I’ve had plenty of practice in that, and can now sit and stare back at my baby and babble away.

Last night I wanted to go to sleep, but Mary didn’t. We lay on the bed, and I listened to her try to vocalize. I watched her kick her legs, not in a fussy way, but in a deliberate let-me-see-what-I-can-do sort of way. I watched her move her arms in the direction of my face, and I leaned in really close so she could reach me. And I watched the expression on her face change to one of obvious pleasure at her success. I had thought she was randomly moving her arms, but her happiness indicates that touching me was her goal.

This behavior – to reach out for an object – is one of those milestones that doctors use to gauge child development. I’m pretty sure she’s “advanced” in this. But not only am I not going to start googling infant tennis camps for my daughter with superior hand-eye coordination, I’m not even going to bother to look up the average age where they do this. It’s not that I don’t care that she’s progressing, it’s that I don’t need to compare.

With every child, I seem to be more relaxed and more appreciative of who they are as individuals. My husband’s grandmother used to say that after three kids you got good, and it would be a pity to waste all that experience. She was right.