Monday, November 28, 2011

Winter Carseat Safety Resources

Here is a 2 year old, warmly rearfacing, straps snug over a thin, fleece jacket. Additional comfort provided by his favorite blanket.
It's that time of the year again, when the temperatures drop and we bundle up our children even for the short trek to the car. But have you thought twice about using that puffy coat or thick blanket? Compression in a vehicle collision can disable the safety functions of your child's carseat, resulting in injury or death. Check out the links below for more information on this chilling topic.

All links open to a new window if you click on them.

"It is unsafe to put a thick coat, snowsuit or blanket under the harness (straps) of a carseat."

Check out this link for a simple test to see if the carseat is being used correctly:

It's not just a concern for small babies. Here is a photo tutorial showing an older child:

Hear it from a pediatrician and carseat expert. Tips on how to keep your child safe and warm:

Here is a photo tutorial showing what loose straps can do for your child:

Christie Haskell gives safe ideas:

Already spent money on that expensive Bundle Me product? Here is a photo tutorial on ways to make it safe:

Youtube videos worth watching:

 " keep your baby the safest, always remove bulky clothing or blankets before you place the child in the seat. Then, put the blanket or coat over the baby. You should never place anything thick underneath the baby, unless that item came with the car seat originally - which tells you it's been tested by the manufacturer. When a child is wearing a thick coat, it's hard to tell if you have a good harness fit, which is crucial. A coat can add a lot of slack, reducing the level of protection for your child in a crash." ~National Highway Safety Transportation Association NHTSA

Related articles

5 steps for safe forward facing:

5 steps for safe rearfacing:

Carseat videos:

Canadians, even the coldest winter can still be safely battled. Here is little Briar from Alberta wearing her coat over the harness.
Nothing scary here! This forward facing Snow Fairy is wearing a warm, fleece jacket and using a blanket over the harness for additional comfort.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Jewish Intactivism Part II
The following compilation was graciously shared with me:

The Circumcision Referendum: More American Jews are Becoming Intactivists

"We're seeing [circumcision's] decline, and we're seeing Rabbi's like me and others in other communities saying these practices are not warranted and we're seeing a generational shift away from them. One of the things that I think that's also critical is the growing popularity, and I think a rightful popularity of natural medicine and natural childbirth ideas. And I think that this is clearly seen as inconsistent - circumcision, male infant circumcision, female infant circumcision or genital mutilation - not consistent with natural childbirth, natural health. To the extent we see within nature patterns of evolved health and wellness. This is clearly not one of them. Inflicting a wound on an infant is clearly not one of those... If circumcision is ever wanted, it's not warranted at this point.“
- Rabbi Binyamin Biber

"The code of the Jewish law is called "halacha" (the way). Within the Code, there is a provision that if a mother loses a son because of circumcision, she is NOT obligated to circumcise her next son. I extrapolate from this, the inter-connection of my human family, that enough deaths and maiming have occurred because of circumcision. Therefore - circumcision is no longer a requisite! Just as we no longer practice the animal sacrifices in the traditional temple, so let us not sacrifice an important piece of our mammal in the temple of tradition."
- Rabbi Nathan Segal, One Rabbis' Thoughts on Circumcision

“Mutilation of the divinely made human body is as far from Judaism as anything could be… Torah mentions circumcision only cursorily. Circumcision is conspicuously absent from the Sinai commandments, and from the subsequent listings of rules… Deut30:6 mentions circumcision metaphorically at most, “circumcise your heart.” No less likely is the meaning, “tame your pride.”
- Israeli Linguist Vadim Cherny, How Judaic is the circumcision?

“All attempts to justify a custom such as this by means of one or another symbolic explanation collapse in the presence of the baby, in agony under the mohel’s knife.… there is enough of worth in Judaism to guarantee its survival, even after it rids itself of this disturbing custom. It may even be strengthened this way.”
- Israeli Professor Hanoch Ben-Yami, 
Letters, Azure, Summer 5767 / 2007, no. 29

"…the ritual and religious consequences of not being circumcised [in Judaism] amount to nothing. There is absolutely nothing that an intact Jewish male today cannot do. Contrast this with - I'm talking from the Orthodox [Jewish] perspective - non-Sabbath observance. Jews who are not Sabbath observant are not trusted in Halachic courts of law, they cannot be witnesses at people's weddings, they cannot be trusted with issues of Kashrut, making sure that things are Kosher... Here's an issue that is very easy to solve. You don't even have to argue for the eradication of male circumcision in the Jewish tradition for everyone to be happy. All you have to do is say that this will be a decision that an individual makes at an age when they can make the decision.”
- Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon, 
Q&A with Rabbi Steven Blane & Laurie Evans

“AS AN INCREASING NUMBER OF AMERICANS – including a sizable number of American Jews – question the act of male circumcision, a group of San Francisco activists are advocating to ban circumcision… Many of the leading activists against circumcision around the country are Jewish.
- Jersualem Post, Challenging the Circumcision Myth, 04/10/2011

"I am confident that my people have such an abundance of life-enhancing, life-affirming and mind-opening traditions, that our identity and sense of cultural self-heed will happily survive our outgrowing of circumcision, a cruel relic which has always felt to me like an aberration at the heart of my religion."
- Dr. Jenny Goodman,
Challenging Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective

"Without compromising either our children’s identity or the survival of our people, we can invite all of our Jewish children, our baby girls and our baby boys, into a brit b’lee milah, a covenant without circumcision, and school them in the wisdom, love, and beauty of the Jewish tradition. Unlike Christianity, which teaches that a child is born into original sin and must be redeemed, Judaism teaches that the soul is pure — only the penis needs “redemption.” The truth is that the whole baby is pure, body and soul, including his tender genitals, and it is both a mitzvah and our most sacred duty to protect him."
- Miriam Pollack, Circumcision: Identity, Gender, and Power, Tikkun 26(3), 2011.

“I happen to agree with you that foreskin removal should be illegal. It is a mutilation… I agree with you that men should not be circumcised. . . I don’t know where this circumcision came from, some people feel it’s a religious thing, it’s about health, it’s about cutting off the foreskin makes your penis less likely to get cancer. There’s been all kinds of myths. I think it’s nonsense. That if you’re born that way, it seems to me it’s a mutilation to cut it off. The same way in Africa they sometimes cut off a woman’s clitoris and they think that’s justified. I think our foreskins were cut off in order to desensitize us, and I think it was a bunch of religious nudnicks who decided they didn’t want us going around fornicating so they cut off some of our penis skin.”
- Howard Stern, Talk Radio Host
Howard Stern, Jewish Intactivist by Rebecca Wald,, March, 2011

“It seems to me that for liberal Jews the choice comes down to this. Do we want to in some way circumscribe the sexual possibilities of our sons by performing a body modification when they are infants so as to bear witness to the covenant? Are there not other ways to bear witness? Are there not other ways to maintain our distinctiveness from the society around us? Despite having circumcised my two sons, the more I think about the issue, the more likely – were I a resident of San Francisco – I would support the referendum.” - Sandford Borins, Ph.D., The Circumcision Referendum: A Liberal Jewish Perspective
Sandford Borins, Ph.D., is a professor of Management at the University of Toronto.

“So it’s quite obvious that to question any aspect of Judaism, including circumcision is not anti-Semitic. It is very much in keeping with Judaism’s rich tradition of discussion and debate…So what if parents don’t want the milah, but still want the brit? Several different alternative rituals have been created by parents and rabbis of all branches of Judaism. They’re typically called a Brit Shalom, so rather than covenant of cutting, it’s a covenant of peace. They tend to involve all the traditional aspects of a traditional bris, including all the same participants and blessings, just without the actual circumcision. Some will simply use the same naming ceremony used for girls. It’s not particularly common, but it is being used more often now than in the past. Support groups exist for parents of intact Jewish boys.

Cars now bear bumper stickers which read, “Jews embracing wholeness. Saying no to circumcision”. Even in Israel, there are Jewish organizations that oppose brit milah. 
One non-profit organization in Israel working to stop circumcision took its case to the High Court of Justice in 1998 and maintained in its petition that “in a modern democratic society there is no place for the ‘barbaric’ ceremony which mauls a child who does not have any say in the matter." The movement is largely made up of Reform parents, but it is visible in other areas as well. Moshe Rothenberg is a Conservative Jew living in an observant Jewish community in Brooklyn, yet he did not circumcise his son. (Rothenberg).  The Af-milah newsletter is an Israeli newsletter dedicated to ending brit milah.  Those who question and refuse to have a brit milah aren’t necessarily doing it because they have assimilated or because they’re anti-Semitic. Some feel this way after careful study of Jewish texts and observances.”
- D.A. Huffman-Parent, Brit Milah : Inconsistent with Jewish Ethics?

Read the Voices of Over 50 Jews who Oppose Circumcision (Black texts are links, too. All links open in a new window).

Jewish Intactivist Groups in the USA:
Beyond the Bris Milah (Florida)
Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon, Orthodox Intactivist (Chicago & LA.)
Jews Against Circumcision (San Jose)
Jews For the Rights of the Child (East Bay)
Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective (Massachusetts)

Intactivist Rabbis and Religious Intactivists:Rabbi Jeffrey Falick: Eliminating The Cruelest Cut 
* "Mom, why did you circumcise me?" by Jewish Movie Producer and Intactivist Michael Schaap.
Israeli Torah Scholar Vadim Cherny: How Judaic is circumcision?  It’s not at all, he finds.
Profile of Orthodox Intactivist Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon
Brit Milah: Inconsistent with Jewish Ethics? Written by a Jewish parent.Rabbi Nathan Segal Calls for an End to Circumcision A Progressive Rabbi urges us to move to peaceful covenants.
Jonathan Friedman: On Circumcision Authority, and the Perpetuation of Abuse Published on Beyond the Bris.
Jewish Scholar and Intactivist, Leonard Glick, MD, PhD. A Jewish history of circumcision.Shea Levy: To the Mohel Who Cut Me Published on Beyond the Bris.Dear Elijah: A Conservative Jewish Father's Letter to His Intact Son Published on Peaceful Parenting.
Diane Targovnik: How "Cut" Saved My Son's Foreskin : A Movie Review Published on Beyond the Bris.
Jewish Mamma: Today’s Jews Reject Circumcision and Choose Peaceful Welcoming Covenants An Intactivist Midwife.
The Naming Published on Very, Very Fine.
Lisa Braver Moss: Evolving Jewish Practices Published on Beyond the Bris.
Eli Ungar-Sargon & Rabbi Shmuley Boteach on the Ethical Problems of Circumcision At the Manhattan Jewish Experience.
Miriam Pollack: Circumcision : A Jewish Feminist Perspective Published in Jewish Women Speak Out.

The History of Circumcision: Voices of Progressive  Jews who Oppose Circumcision:
Howard Stern: Jewish Intactivist Published on Beyond the Bris.
The History of Circumcision: Leonard Glick , MD, PhD. explains how he came to write Marked In Your Flesh.
Some Jews speak out in Favor of Banning Circumcision on Minors. Intactivism and Human Rights.Jewish mom: Circumcision spiritually wounds, breaks bonds and trust Published in the East Valley Tribune.Sarah Rockwell: Lucking Into Bris Shalom Published on Beyond the Bris.
Laura Shanley: A Jewish Woman Denounces Circumcision A Childbirth educator chooses intact.
Michael S. Kimmel: The Kindest Un-Cut: Feminism, Judaism, and My Son's Foreskin Published in Tikkun.
Stacey Greenberg: My Son: The Little Jew with a Foreskin Published in Mothering Magazine.
Intact and Jewish Published on the Natural Parents Network.
Moshe Rothenberg: Ending Circumcision in the Jewish Community? Envisioning an Intactivist Judaism.

"In Europe today, human rights groups have mounted a grass roots campaign opposing circumcision, comparing it to the brutal mutilation of African women. The Netherlands Institute of Human Rights wants to outlaw Bris Milah. And an article published in the prestigious British Medical Journal (April 2000), written by obstetricians, gynecologists, and midwives from hospitals in France, claimed:

“The [African] women we interviewed considered their daughters’ mutilation and their sons’ circumcision to be similar. Male circumcision is also a form of genital mutilation because it involves removing a healthy part of an organ. How can we convince mothers that they should not mutilate their daughters while they continue to have their sons circumcised?”

A group of Israelis petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court to outlaw circumcision on the grounds that it is criminal assault. Shockingly, this campaign even has adherents in Israel. In February 1998, a group of Israelis petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court to outlaw circumcision on the grounds that it is criminal assault. A joke? No. Case number 5780/98 is a real case, and the court has already held hearings.

Avshalom Zoossmann-Diskin, Executive Director of the Israeli Association Against Genital Mutilation in Tel Aviv, says that a campaign is urgently needed to end Bris Milah. “Why are they discriminating against me as victim of Jewish male genital mutilation?” he decries. “Are my human rights, bodily integrity and suffering less important than those of African girls?!”
- Circumcision: Beautiful or Barbaric? by Rabbi Shraga Simmons.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Today's Deals: Klutz, Organic Dog Food, Craft Kits and More!

Mamapedia, a daily deal site, has two enticing deals:

You can score 3 Klutz books for $34 and free shipping here.

And you can score $30 of organic dog treats for $15 here. 

Plumdistrict, a daily deal site, has a fun deal for kids:

Get a 3 month subscription to Kiwi Crate for $30! Be sure to use one of the promo codes  fabulous or pdx10 (limit once per account) to get an additional 10% off, making this deal as low as only $27! Your child will get one box of goodies a month filled with 2-3 craft projects. What a way to beat the winter blues!

Don't forget that Starbucks is offering buy one get one free on all their holiday drinks until 11/20.

Finally, Groupon, another daily deal site, is offering up $1 lunches today in select cities. Choose your city to see if you can snag a cheap lunch!

Have you seen any good deals lately, especially deals for crunchy living? Let us know in the comments!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Get a Melissa & Doug 25% Off Coupon When You Take the North "Poll"

Melissa & Doug want you to tell them which of their educational toys you think is the best! Just click on the image below to place your vote in the North "Poll!" You'll Get a Melissa & Doug 25% Off Coupon** to use at just for voting!

Monday, November 7, 2011

From a Child's Point of View

‎"When I was about twenty years old, I met an old pastor's wife who told me that when she was young and had her first child, she didn't believe in striking children, although spanking kids with a switch pulled from a tree was standard punishment at the time.

But one day when her son was four or five years old, he did something that she felt warranted a spanking--the first in his life. And so she told him he would have to go outside to find a switch for his spanking. The boy was gone for a long time. When he finally came back into the house, he was crying.

He said to her,
"Mama, I couldn't find a switch, but here's a rock you can throw at me."

All of a sudden the mother understood how the situation felt from the child's point of view: If my mother wants to hurt me, it makes no difference what she does it with; she might as well do it with a stone.

The mother took the boy onto her lap and they both cried. Then she laid the rock on a shelf in the kitchen to remind herself forever: never violence. Because violence begins in the nursery: a parent can raise children into violence."

~From a peace prize acceptance speech given by Astrid Lindgren, author of Pippi Longstocking

"What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family."
Mother Teresa

Related posts:

Spanking resources:

Seeing your child in a positive light:

The house can wait:

The bible and spanking:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Confessions of a Giving Mom

© Copyright 2011, Lyndsie

“This October marks my third year as a mother. "October?" You see, my daughter, June, likes surprises. And if the little bean in my tummy 3 years ago could be any sign of what would come of our future, I should've known she'd be a handful! 

My partner, Frank, and I were barely in our 3rd month of dating. We had been friends for a few months, and as carefree young adults, we took chances. Looking back, some were stupid (playing wiffleball IN Walmart), some were just plain fun (playing video games with friends) and others were pure, irresponsible mishaps. I was 19, on birth control and going to college while working full-time at a large video game production company, making an unheard of amount of money for a 19 year old with no college degree. Maybe I bit off more than I could chew, maybe I just "forgot" proper placement of my NuvaRing, or maybe, just maybe, it was fate. 

Fate is defined by events outside a person's control, regarded as determined by a supernatural power. Frank and I were irresponsible most of the time, but when it came to safe sex, we were safe! I was on birth control (NuvaRing). I had endometriosis and was told that conceiving naturally would be difficult (or as the doctor claimed, "nearly impossible, but maybe not.") We used condoms, but due to my latex allergy and the previously mentioned irresponsible mishaps, there must've been a night that we ran out of fancy polyurethane. 

"Pull out and pray!"--I remember saying that to Frank. For the remaining 8 months I was pregnant, that statement burned in my brain. Pull out and pray. What DID we pray for? A baby? No baby? 

Frank and I stared at a BIG F-ING POSITIVE, in complete silence. I was in denial, it wasn't positive, it was "too light"...Frank grabbed the instructions and said, "ANY positive is a positive. You're pregnant."

"I can't DO this. I CAN'T just STOP and give up EVERYTHING I have worked for up to now. There's NO WAY." 

Frank and I talked it out. I'd call in the morning and make an appointment to get the abortion pill. I could do the pill. 

I called the clinic after a pep talk from my older sister. She claimed Frank would leave me and that I would be alone. She said it like she was so sure, having never met him. The receptionist asked me how far along I was and if the next day was "fast enough". Fast enough?? What I needed was more time to think, while I knew that if I had been beyond 9 weeks, I wouldn't be given the pill. 

After a sleepless night I made it to the clinic for my appointment. I sat in the parking lot a whole hour early. I talked to my stomach.

"I'm sorry Little. I can't be a good mommy right now. I'm young, I just started my life. I need to become better first."

I took a deep breath and unbuckled my seatbelt. The buckle noise startled me, and at that point I was reminded that my stomach was empty and I needed to eat. I had a BABY inside of me. The least I could do was give it a "last meal", right? I drove to the closest fast food joint.

My phone rang. It was Frank.

He begged me to not go to the clinic a whole 15 minutes beyond my appointment time...sigh, men! He reassured me that together, we could do this. He said he was ready to be a father. He would support me, no matter what. And, hey, there are lots of young moms. We planned on me going to school and working through the pregnancy, then daycare and eventually we'd be moved out of our parents’ houses and live on our own with little pitter-patters down our gorgeous hallway. 

Fate. Let's get back to that. Fate changed my life. It changed my whole dynamic, who I thought I was going to become and who I am today are two different people. 

My daughter June is now 28 months old and has been nursing from my breasts since birth.

She was cloth diapered for 2 years. 

She is happy, healthy, smart and becoming an amazing little girl right before my eyes. She grows every day, learns new things every moment and teaches me more about myself with every second that passes. 

She has changed my life for the better. No job, no paycheck and no beautiful house is worth the toothy-grin and giggles that I see daily. The smell of her skin, the softness of her hair and her tiny fingers... these are things that I never imagined would be so beautiful that they would make me cry. 

She loves her Daddy. And he loves me. He praises me for being such a good mom, for giving up what I had. 

But, it's funny. I don't feel as if I've given up anything. Instead, I was given the world in a pink blankey on June 22nd, 2009."

...Oh, and, little did I think of at the time...This life hadn't "just started" starts at conception. I couldn't take that away. In return, I was given more than I could ever imagine.