Making A Boob Out Of Rights Movements

I’m pro-breastfeeding and feel very strongly that nursing mothers should have the choice to breastfeed in public rather than be relegated to some dark corner and shunned for a natural act which is healthy for their baby. (I discussed this in a post about National Breastfeeding Month and Public Display of Breastfeeding (PDB) day.) And I’m all about a woman’s right to bare breasts in general. But this whole “Breast Beanie” thing is completely another animal…

These knit or crocheted caps for infants to wear which make the baby’s head look like a boob — complete with natural yet contrasting areaola and erect nipple — are a rude push-back. They are strictly for shock and humor value and do nothing to move forward the rights of women to breastfeed in public as they reduce breasts to sexual objects and jokes. And when these hats are not just for nursing infants, but for adult men to wear too, they aren’t about raising awareness of breast cancer or breast health either. It’s the sort of silliness which is a giant step backwards.

Too Many Babies, Not Enough Babies, WTF

The ladies of The View were not immune to the irony of having a show about infertility one day after the show with Nadya Suleman aka the Octomom. In their Hot Topics discussion (always my favorite part of the show), Whoopi noted it and there was brief discussion on why Suleman arouses so much heated debate.

At first I was surprised when Hasselbeck defended Suleman — I expected her to be a hard-line republican on the welfare business at the expense of fetal life, even though that fetal life was a medical “opt in” not a manual one — and by a single mother yet. And I was more than a bit surprised by Whoopi as well. I wasn’t surprised at her talk of responsibility in having so many kid so much as what was missing from the conversation.

See, what bothers me the most about all the Octomom haters is the lack of compassion and tolerance. Not just for the buckets of crazy that motivate having so many children, but for outrage expressed at her while folks like the Duggars (of 101 Christian Pups & Counting) continue to skate — even past Jon & Kate Plus 8 before the marital drama. I vented about all this before, but here it is again:

Before watching the Dateline interview of Nadya Suleman, my only interest in this story was the passing thought of, “Will this family replace Jon & Kate Plus 8??” I honestly had no idea of the squawking & hostility towards this mother of six who just gave birth to octuplets. In fact, I was surprised to hear of it — and that’s what drew me towards the show.

(Personally, I’d like to lay a large part of this concerned indignation from our nation on the bitterly infertile; but even the fertile seem to be pissed off. So it’s larger than that… Hit a larger American nerve.)

What I saw was an articulate young woman who managed to keep her own anger at bay, who seemed understanding and forgiving of people who do not accept her decision, and was composed yet passionate as she tactfully mentioned her beliefs about the sanctity of life. But it was her earliest statements, regarding other large families, which seemed to lie at the root of all of the hullabaloo.

When two parent families give birth to &/or adopt other children, people seem to respect them. We’re fascinated, yes; we’ve got television shows, both series and ‘specials’, dedicated to such large & extraordinary families. But we treat them with respect in those shows.

However, few seem to respect this woman. As they said on Chelsea Lately, single, unemployed moms who aren’t entrenched in their community church aren’t cute. Funny? Sure. But too true; and that’s what’s not funny. As were the comments Chelsea Handler made tonight (Tuesday, February 10th) about a new mom having a French tip manicure — seeing those nails near such paper-fragile premature baby skin made me whine and wince. And yes, there are some questions about where the money for manicures and whatever is going on with mom’s new lips… But would these statements be made with such heat about other new moms?

Would we trust the judgment of children? When her older children are questioned on Dateline, they mention ‘squishy’ (aka crowded living space) and crying babies. Those may be true things, and even un-coached or non-parroted statements they heard from adults; but are children known for their unselfishness? Not all children welcome additional siblings period. Does that mean parents or persons considering becoming parents take the advice or sentiments of their children to heart and not increase their family’s size because their children complained?

I’m no pro-lifer, but as the mother of special needs children are the plethora of haters (& Dateline) actually saying that it is irresponsible for a family to increase in size because they have special needs children? And sure, special needs kids come with extra bills — but I don’t see anyone worried about me and my family struggling to care for my special needs kids… Where’s the concern for us?

I’m not saying I think Ms. Suleman has all answers or answers that I’d like to hear when it comes to caring for her children; but then, see, that’s the point: This is not my family, these are not my questions to answer, I am not the judge. I’m not a Christian, but I think that’s supposed to be the Christian way; to leave the judging to God.

This is not to say that I, or anyone, shouldn’t care about the welfare of this family, these 14 children — but then most of the people worried are freaking out about the word ‘welfare’ so maybe I shouldn’t use that word…

We currently have no test or licensing practices for parenthood; even adoption has few rules if one has enough money. And don’t let money fool you either; money doesn’t free any family from neglect and abuse — which is what most everyone is talking about in defense of their questioning this woman’s right to a large family.

But it seems to me, too much emphasis is this woman’s single status. It seems to be the bottom line of all the upset reminding me of the old fuss about Murhpy Brown having a baby; a big moral debate about choosing to be a single mom.

Have a two-parent family who keeps popping out children because they don’t believe in birth control, and few take them to task for their lack of common sense, even when they live on the government dole, or in a house that is ‘squishy’. Extra points if they evoke God a lot. And when they have specific religious or church affiliations, no one dares to really berate them because they have religious protections & a coven of church brothers and sisters.

You want examples? Fine. Those annoying Duggars (of 17 and Counting) take their kids to a “wild life refuge” and allow/encourage their kids to feed animals pasty white bread from their mouths, run & chase animals despite the “do not chase the animals” signs — and when asked, bozo dad Duggar says he wasn’t worried about his kids. Apparently God will protect his kids from his own stupidity. Plus they do all sorts of impractical and stunting things to their kids in the name of religion — so we aren’t supposed to judge. Even my beloved Kate of Jon & Kate Plus 8 totes & promotes her faith.

Most egregiously of all, the Murphy family, headed by John and Jeanette Murphy, who, already the parents of four, opened up their home — aka privately adopted — 23 children with Down Syndrome and were the subject of Our 27 Kids. If you want to talk about what’s fair to the children you already have, where’s the outrage that they placed upon their young biological children (two who existed before they began adopting, and two born after) the burdens of special needs siblings? It’s not just the daily grind either — it’s for the lifetime of those children they’ve adopted. As a mom who has had to deal with the safety of one child’s future — aka legal guardianship — in light of other children’s needs, I can’t imagine saddling children with 23 such responsibilities.

But we don’t talk about these issues. Or their economic dole. The Murphy’s admit they too take food stamps, like Ms. Suleman; Jon & Kate likely don’t need them due to their TV deal, their church, etc.; and I bet the Duggars took food stamps & more — at least before the TV deal — and their children, ill-prepared for the real world, are destined to return to such public assistance in the future. But we don’t talk about them because these are two parent families who evoke the name of God & their idea of His vision of morality when speaking of their large families. In the case of the Gosselins & the Murphys, their marital status is a tacit approval of God for most of the gossip-mongering public so ready to judge Suleman.

I guess Suleman should get all kooky with an old time religion and marry a man; preferably the man who biologically fathered her kids — the man her mother claims offered to married her. Then would everyone just shut up about her — or at least just talk about the blessings and realities of raising so many tiny babies? Judging isn’t going to diaper and feed those eight babies. Or her six other children. Nor is is going to help a new mom with her stress. It’s just empty finger pointing.

Well, it’s not completely empty finger pointing… Every finger pointed at Suleman has three more fingers pointed back the the finger pointer. And maybe those people should start there, looking at what makes them so judgmental.

Whew. I’m glad to have that all off my chest. Again.

But back to The View.

(Not that this whole discussion wasn’t about The View; it was. Like I said, Hot Topics is my favorite part of the show, primarily because it’s just like how women talk. But it’s time to leave the Octomom alone and move along.)

Yesterday’s episode was a “special episode” about infertility. While I am not without my sympathies for this issue (something my sister and most of her friends have had to deal with), I am waiting for today– Friday’s — Hot Topic fallout regarding the segment with Bill and Giuliana Rancic. (I know it will be there — especially as Joy mentioned it on her HLN show this evening.)

The short version, for those too lazy to click the above link and watch, it that Giuliana stated that her doctor advised her to gain 5 to 10 pounds to assist conception — and Giuliana resisted.

Now I get that her career is to be a thin woman-child waif on the red carpet etc., and that such a gig requires her to be thin, plus lose an extra 10 for the camera. But her reluctance seemed to have exposed a resentment that she should have to do such a thing in order to have a baby — as opposed to the more sane response that her career ideal weight would be so low that it would interfere with her basic biology.

Giuliana and Bill are both to be admired for sharing their intimate problems for, as they state, the ability to remove the taboo from fertility issues. So I don’t want to sound too harsh or kick folks when they are already down. But…

Giuliana’s statements regarding her earlier career-formed impressions that as a 20-something watching 40-somethings having babies had led her astray, given her the wrong impression about how much time she and her biological clock really had. So perhaps it’s time for Giuliana to see that she too is sending unfortunate messages to women.

By resisting those baby-needed 10 pounds, by emotionally fearing the horrid industry standard of “fat” rather than be horrified by just what those standards do to her and other women who aim to be so slim, she is not only receiving the wrong message, but sending it too.

She would do herself and those who view and idolize her better by accepting the literal baby fat and making a stink about the fictitious and unhealthy standards.

*****

As a Brand Ambassador for The View, I am a participant in a Mom Central campaign for ABC Daytime and will receive a tote bag or other The View branded items to facilitate my review; as you can tell from my long-winded posts about The View, the tote or whatever I may get is not my priority, but I mention it to be ethical.

Aunt Lydia’s Baby Gender Prediction Method

I found the following gem in the 1977 J. Gruber’s Hagers-Town, Town and Country Almanack, along with the usually almanac-ery, household tips, and a few grand ads (that I’ll be showing off later). It’s a prediction method for pregnant women to discover the gender of their baby.

In case the name Aunt Lydia sounds familiar, this is not the Aunt Lydia from The Handmaid’s Tale who was responsible for teaching the enslaved women called “handmaids.” (The movie adaptation is where I first fell in love with Natasha Richardson, may she rest in peace.) This Aunt Lydia was Miss Lydia Cline, “a retired practical nurse who lived in and around Hagerstown,” whose method of prediction was heralded to have “an accuracy of over 80%!”

Even though Aunt Lydia had passed away in 1973, the almanac’s 1977 proclamation was to ensure readers that they could still accurately predict the gender of unborn children — under the following conditions:

Here’s an example of just how Aunt Lydia’s formula works. Say, for instance, your last child was born in 1973 on the first day of January; the birth sign under which the child was born would be Sagittarius, the Archer. As the sign did not change but remained the same for the following day, the 2nd, that year, there would be no change in the sex of your next child. If, however, the child had been born January second, it would still have been born under the sign of Sagittarius, but because the following day, the 3rd, the sign changed to Capricorn, the Goat, there would be a change in the sex of the next child.

(One assumes you’ll need the astrological information as provided in past issues of this almanc; for those of child bearing years, who want more recent issues, check the official Hagerstown Town and Country Almanack website. The article also notes that the simple formula does not work with a first child, nor for induced or Caesarian delivered births.)

If only author Margaret Atwood had known of this Aunt Lydia and her prophetic equation… With such knowledge, the gender of babies could have been more than divined, but planned.

It may not have prevented Gilead from increasing the number of gender-crimes (for that’s how, you’ll remember, women were forced into becoming handmaids) or otherwise improved the lot of women, but it would have raised other interesting avenues of thought.

However, Hagerstown’s Aunt Lydia and her formula were incorrect regarding my second child. Not sure if that signals failure on the part of Aunt Lydia, a missing part of the prediction formula retained to secrecy, or if, per the usual, I am just relegated to the position of minority.

Bridal Madness: Vintage Bridal & Baby Shower Party Plans

(Thursday Thirteen header by Jenn.)

Are a lot of your friends announcing engagements, getting married and having the stork visit — so many, that you’re running out of party ideas and ways to celebrate? Here are 13 vintage ideas, loaded with kitsch and just begging you to use them, maybe even update them a bit…

Remember — all the images get much much larger when you click them — so read away!

1. How To Tell The Secret, aka bridal announcement ideas, from The Bride’s Party Book, published by Dennison. Some of these may be tweaked to fit other announcements — or even used to invite guests to the next event.

2. The next few bits come from Bridal Shower Party Games, “For As Many As 20 Guests” (presumably because it originally had 20 copies of each of the game sheets), Leister Game Company, Toledo, Ohio, (N-1400). The company is still around (but the site isn’t working — or they did just perish — so some links are to Goggle cache).

Inside the front cover, ads for baby & bridal party games and products. The company has gotten racier since then; now they have “Naughty Bingo” and “Condom Blow Jobs”. So you may prefer the quaint & corny vintage Leister games.

Anyway…

One of the party games is Card Pass — “a relay race that’s a little daisy!”

Totally believe you should open a brand new pack of playing cards for this; you don’t know where the hands of previous card holders have been and you’ll be sticking them in your mouth. :shudder:

3. A game called Lucky Pairs:

4. Want-Ad Marriage (which, by the way, is also a fun game to play on girls’ night — having you write each other’s ads):

5. Variation Mystery Feelers

(Don’t know about you, but I don’t want any of the objects back — they’ll be covered in toe-jam!)

6. A Game Of Pairs


(I could be crazy, but didn’t we just do that?)

7. This next one is a fill-in-the-blank game — but don’t get excited thinking it’s a Mad-Lib; it’s a geography quiz. You fill in the blanks of the Honeymoon Trip.

Sadly, the answers were on the back cover which has been cut; so you’ll have to figure out some of these by yourself. (Treat it like a test — like you have to be this smart to get married.)

8. This next one, Wedding Spell, is some twisted spelling bingo thing. Too complicated for me these instructions are. May Yoda help me.

9. Back to the Dennison’s book again…

This time, it’s the bride who gives a party (and isn’t it about time!)

I love the sweet-kitschy-goodness of making these little dolls with faces cut from magazines — I totally want to do this for other parties (but that could be another list of 13…)

And the legal team wants me to tell you not to stuff the cuff party favor with cigs; totally not healthy or PC, you know.

I’m totally skipping the wedding day stuff; I’m certain your bride is not going to let you make crepe paper couple centerpieces. Or crepe paper anything. That doesn’t make her Bridezilla either; she just doesn’t want the kitsch enshrined forever in photos on the in-laws mantle.

(If, for some reason, you need these crepe paper frights delights, let me know.)

10. “There Went The Bride” is “A Mock Wedding for Your Anniversary Celebration” — complete with kitsch skit.

Highlights include:

The bride “as seen by her future mother-in-law — carries rolling pin decorated with flowers”.

The clergyman begins the ceremony with, “Dear Friends, we are gathered here before this congregation of fellow sufferers to join this headstrong couple with the shackles of matrimony. If anyone present can show just cause why this painful ceremony should never take place — for heaven’s sake — speak up — tomorrow may be too late!”

The groom, repeating after the clergyman, vows: “I ____ take thee ____ for my duly wedded wife, to hold, if I have to, from this day forward, in spite of your ceaseless conversation, your unappetizing cooking, your nagging and complaining, your silly girl friends and willful spending — until death do us liberate.”

The bride, repeating after the clergyman, vows: “I ____ take thee ____ for my duly wedded husband, to hold if I have to, to tolerate your black cigars, to laugh at your corny jokes, to clean up after your poker parties, to balance on your budget, until death do us liberate!”

It’s not just me who sees the bitter irony in these two sets of vows… Is it?

Well, at least the ceremony ends with handcuffs… :wink:

11-13 First comes love, then comes marriage — and if you make it through the mock wedding anniversary celebration — next comes your friend with a baby carriage. Some announcements for the new arrival:

Upon My Sole! Announcements with a shoe theme
Non-Stop Flight Announcement has a flying stork theme
The Family Tree is an announcement stretching things — using a hat rack?
Ship’s Log has a nautical theme.

All the patterns for these baby announcements are found on page 24 and the scan is here:

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here