Saturday, August 27, 2011

Too Safe?

When it comes to your child's safety, can you be too safe? I've pondered this idea for awhile now, especially since so much has changed since the midget was little, so just the last 7-12 years, basically. When the midget was little, babies were supposed to sleep on their sides to prevent SIDS, but now they're on their backs again. Back-facing car seat until 20 pounds, and front-facing after that. The midget was in a front facing car seat at about four or five months, whereas now that's not legal or safe until a year of age. So, apparently the midget was unsafe for about 8 months. Horrible parent, aren't I?

And then, when she was 4, and well over the legal 40 pound limit, I stopped struggling with the car seat in the back of our tiny Hyundai. And now, the law says she wasn't safe until she was 4' 9" and 80 pounds. I was reminded of all this thanks to a fantastic rant by my beloved Archaeogoddess on the difficulties of car seats. And, because I'd just finished reading this I thought it was an interesting question, can our kids be too safe?

When I was growing up, we didn't have seat belts half the time, let alone car seats. Our moms put us on our tummies to sleep. Stranger danger was a newish concept, and the dangers of pedophiles were talked about only in cheesy after school specials, and yet, most of us grew up more or less okay.

When my oldest niece was born, I remember thinking that her mother was going to suffocate her because she was obsessed with safety. I held the child once in her baby days because I couldn't handle all the instructions--"Don't kiss the baby! We're too concerned about germs!" "Hold her like this, not like that!"--and on and on. I remember thinking, "Ya know, I've had one of these, and she's still alive and sound...that's her over there, remember?"

Not coincidentally, my oldest niece was plagued with colds and bronchitis that led to so many ear infections that she had tubes put in at the age of two. Her growth was also delayed due to her many illnesses. You see, when you don't expose a baby to germs, their immune systems don't get the strength they need that comes with the experience of fighting off small infections. Said niece, though I love her dearly, is also the most spoiled and willful of all the children, and that's saying something. She is a victim (for lack of a better term) of helicopter parenting.

Helicopter parenting, so common today, is my deepest fear for the children of the midget's generation. They are protected from everything, even the dangers of accepting their own failures...there are no longer winners and losers in games or competitions for the sake of saving the feelings of these precious little darlings, and I get it, I do. I know I hated it when the midget was sad because she didn't win at a game, or another kid didn't like her, but that's life. You aren't going to always be the winner, and not everyone is always going to like you, and that's easier to handle it when you learn how to deal with it an early age. It's very difficult to reach the age of 18 or 21 or whenever Mommy finally cuts the apron strings, if you don't know how to deal with all of those things. If you've always been protected, you don't learn how to protect yourself.

I am not saying put your kid alone in room with glass shards to keep them from leaving and fill their bottle with codeine cough syrup rather than springing for a babysitter. (That's what duct tape is for). Nor should you ignore the common sense stuff...vaccinate, use seat belts and car seats, and for the love of god, don't put their names on their backpacks and sweatshirts to make it that much easier for strangers to gain their trust. But, at the same time...let them get kisses from aunties, even if they catch a cold, let them skin their knees and feel the sorrows of coming in last. This world is not always safe and soft and protecting, and we aren't always going to be there to catch them, so they need to learn how to protect themselves.

Because, after the end you are not raising a child. You are raising a person who will one day be a responsible adult, one that must stand on her own two feet, without the training wheels, without the bubble wrap, and without Mommy's sheltering embrace.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Where the hell have I been?

I know my regular readers are down to checking once a week or so to see if I've written (well, those who don't have a blogroll which tells them when I've done so), but since you are regular readers, then this doesn't surprise you. I'm a flaky bastard on a good day, and since good days haven't been too numerous around here, lately, mostly what I've done is deal with the midget's insulin pump start and look at pictures of cute puppies on my computer. bring you (all five or six of you) up to speed, the midget is on an insulin pump now, and I love that thing more than...well, there are no words to tell you howm\ much I love that damn thing. It looks like a pager (you remember pagers, right?) and it's attached to my kid, or else I'd dry hump the damn thing I love it so much. It has made such a difference in the way we handle her diabetes, and it's only been on her body for two weeks, and I'm not yet as savvy about its software as I will be at some point. First and foremost, I only poke a needle in to the midget's skin once every three days (well, less if a site fails or we have some other issue, but usually three days). I don't give her long acting insulin any more, which is fantastic because the long acting insulin burns. We are also able to tell, at any given moment, just how much insulin is active in her system...and since we know how much one unit of insulin brings her blood sugar down, we've avoided numerous low blood sugars. It's brilliant!

The diabetes care isn't the reason I haven't been blogging, well, not the main reason. If the midget didn't have diabetes that requires my attention, I might have used the little energy I had for blogging, but then, I might not have. When I feel like crap, I only do what I have to do and these days, the only thing that falls under that heading is taking care of the midget. As parents everywhere will tell you, parenting is a full time don't get to take time off even when your body is screaming for you to do so. So, the midget got taken care of, but very little else got done. It's been a pretty bad summer, which means all my lovely plans of spending nearly every day at the pool were vanquished. We had a few pool days,and even one water park (I prayed for death the next day) but, summer's over and I can safely say we didn't spend even a quarter of it at the pool. Or the lake. And the one day we did make it to the lake, I felt to crappy to even try to swim.

I've been fighting a very nasty chest pain off and on since March. The CT scan done before I got my gall bladder removed showed fluid around my heart, which was goodish, since I'd had several EKGs and knew I wasn't having a heart attack. But, obviously, fluid around the heart is bad. It's not terrible, but definitely not good...and my regular doctor, who while not anyone's vote for sweetheart of the year, is good enough, at least, to know when he doesn't know something. So, off the cardiologist I went. The cardiologist ordered another ECG (different from an EKG) and said that in his opinion, the inflammation, and resulting fluid, he saw were text book examples of Lupus. He also said that at this time, there is no need for surgery (Yay!) but that he wants me to go back to the rheumatologist and get started on treatment, which, since I'm already on high doses of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories)which are clearly having no effect on the inflammation, will be steroids. I've taken short courses of steroids in the past, and while I hate them, they are preferable to any long term, lasting damage to my heart.

I so meant to write a longer, more entertaining post, but I've run out of energy, and if I don't just put this up now, it'll go into the huge pile of drafts I've already got and it will never be done. So, pretend I said something funny...