Thinking Woman’s Weblog

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Yet another reason to homeschool September 18, 2008

Filed under: health,unplugging,unschooling — Thinking Woman @ 3:39 am

A recent study showed what happens to lab rats (poor things) when they are fed typical school lunches.

I don’t know why this should come as any great surprise. What stuns me is what people think is appropriate to feed children.

Avoiding school doesn’t mean we don’t get this kind of so-called food pushed at us on a regular basis. It shows up at parks, in classes, and at most social gatherings. It’s ridiculous. There is simply no reason to blindly continue with the Standard American Diet (SAD) of mostly crap and packaged food.


More on the BOLD Birth Play September 17, 2008

Filed under: birth — Thinking Woman @ 5:37 pm
Tags: , , ,

I feel I’ve done BOLD a disservice; I didn’t mean to just dis it. It is an amazing project and one in which I was honored to take part. Sharing the word about birth is amazing work. And I could have just left it at that. I was coming from a place of having felt enlightened about birth for so long that I want people to go all the way. But that isn’t quite fair. This play is earth shattering for most of us and so kudos! The more that see it, the better. While I didn’t personally learn anything, I need to remember how long my process took and how long it was before I got to where I am now.

So let me start over!

BOLD is an amazing play. The opening scene had me in tears. I think it is brilliant the way it starts because if someone were to stay for just five minutes, they’d have come away changed.

Everyone talks about the birth of puppies they witnessed during childhood (for me it was kittens and I was an adult, but whatever). How beautiful. How there was so much faith that the mom knew exactly what to do. And how we just knew not to mess with the newborn puppies by taking them away from the mom. How we trusted that the mom instinctively knew exactly what to do. It is a powerful scene and the connection is clearly drawn that we are no different from animals and we have that instinctive knowing.

Sadly, people are going for unnecessary high intervention births for animals. Sure, I can imagine there are cases of a small mom breeding with a large breed male where the pups really could not come out, but normally, I subscribe to the hands off philosophy. I saw a horrifying video on youtube where they fussed more and more with the little ones as they were born and they clearly felt they were doing the right thing. Poor mom was probably thinking “Just leave my little ones alone. If I weren’t stuck here birthing and nursing, I’d bite your freaking hand off!”


Fighting September 11, 2008

Filed under: unplugging — Thinking Woman @ 1:23 pm

Fight for peace…Fight against terrorism…Fight against cancer.

On this day, the 7th anniversary of 9/11, I am reminded how very strangely we use language.

What sense does it make to fight for peace? How can anyone think that’s going to work? Good guys? Bad guys? Go live among your supposed enemy and you will find people. Perhaps there are cultural differences, but still, just people.

Stand for peace. Strive for health.

Until we start changing our language and our focus to positivity, we’re just focusing on what we fear and creating more of it


How to ruin reading September 10, 2008

Filed under: unschooling — Thinking Woman @ 7:43 pm

I started reading books at around 9 years old. Very quickly, I found myself addicted and staying up all night on weekends and summers to read into the wee hours. It was so much fun to get an armload of books at the library and see how fast I could finish them.

Then one day, I was having cookies with my next door neighbor, and elderly woman who always made me nervous. I suspect she was a retired teacher. She just seemed the type. When she found out I was reading, she told me that what I had to do was write up an index card for every book I read. She showed me how to do it and gave me a box to start. I was to put the title, author, and a brief synopsis on the card.

Did I ever do it? Even once? No. But the guilt! Oh, the guilt! For years after that, I felt I was cheating because I wasn’t doing this correctly.

This is a typical way well-intentioned adults steal the joy of something that ought to be done for the pure pleasure of it. Imagine if I had tasked her with the same thing? Well, who knows, maybe she is the type that would derive satisfaction from that. In fact, she might have been doing this her whole life.

But she presented it as the way to do things. Not something I might enjoy if the idea appealed. No. It was the way to read a book and Must Be Done.

My older daughter reads now. Not well, but she’s getting there. I let her choose what she wants to read and offer suggestions if she allows. I thought the early readers were the way to go; they must be. So I bought some and they lay collecting dust. Not wanting to take the joy out of reading for her, I chose not to nag her to read them. Then one day, she started taking down full length books and giving them a whirl. This is a girl who was still sounding words out. I was a bit concerned that she would get frustrated but she never did. She did quit all the books we had lying around because they were too advanced for her but we are finally finding books at the library that seem easy enough for her but compelling enough to finish. Not those contrived early readers that I’m sure sounded strange to her as she’s auditory and knows no one sounds like that in real life!


BOLD could be BOLDer

Filed under: birth — Thinking Woman @ 6:54 pm

I recently read the transcript for the BOLD birth play. I love the idea of it; getting it out there that women have options about birth. Making it real and tangible for the audience that these options get taken away. And also that any intervention at all can be so damaging. Making it so real that one intervention leads to another. Well done!

My issues are with a few areas where it could have been even bolder. One mom, who comes across as very professional, polished, in-control all the time, has a scheduled C-section. She is happy with it. At the end of the play, each mom briefly says how she feels about the next birth experience she has and the C-section mom quite happily has another. I don’t know why this needed to be in there. I appreciate that the other women with C-sections will have made an impression on the audience with how horrible it can be to have this surgery, especially when it is not planned and feels pushed upon the mom, but leaving the audience with this chipper mom who is so darned happy with her C-section seems wrong to me.

Also, there are comments that medicos make that go unchallenged, thereby perpetuating myths. One mom’s ultrasound “indicates” that her baby could be large (which I know by now means nothing; these are generally off by 50% in either direction) and that big babies can’t be birthed vaginally. A fear tactic used is, “You could have an 11 pound baby in there and you can’t birth that baby vaginally.” Spoken with authority, who would not believe this? I think it was irresponsible that BOLD did nothing to dispel this belief and in fact perpetuated it.

What a bunch of hooey! If you think about it a second, it makes no sense. Babies put on a whole lot of weight at the end, but it’s weight everywhere. The head and shoulders are the deciding factor on what can be birthed vaginally. If a baby is putting on a lot of weight, so what? Is the head getting larger or the shoulders broader? No; you’re just getting a chubbier little baby.


Deodorant / Anti-persperant September 2, 2008

Filed under: unplugging — Thinking Woman @ 8:58 pm

I have used many products on my armpits in my lifetime. Way back when, I fell for advertisements from Secret and bought into needing something “made for a woman”. That appealed to my girlie side.

At some point in my 20s, it just struck me as wrong. I certainly didn’t want to stink, but nor did I want to continue using weird pore blocking products. I came to understand that it was not without purpose that we sweat, so perhaps I could get used to sweating. I will never get used to being stinky, but sweating, within reason, does seem something we are meant to do and it must serve a purpose or two. Perhaps a bit of natural air conditioning and also some detoxing. Both sound pretty useful so who am I to question what my body knows how to do?

Yeah, okay, I’m not a very stinky person except when pregnant and for a while afterward. For some reason, it’s been tricky for me to keep up with odor at those times with my natural methods. If I had had more energy, I am sure I could have found a natural solution that worked even then.

But for now, I am enjoying using my cheapie mix of rubbing alcohol and essential oil which I mix up in a used Weleda glass deodorant spray bottle. I intend to check into some other options like witch hazel when I get around to it, but for now, this works quite well for both me and my husband.

I usually spray right after I shower, even if it’s at night. I might give a quick spray here and there before going out. Or not.

When I first rebelled against mainstream products, I actually went a cool route which led to using nothing at all and having no detectable odor. I used some product that was thick, white, and perhaps a bit sticky. I smeared it on at night and had to work rather hard to scrub it off in my morning shower. This I did for maybe a week. And then I didn’t need to use any product at all; I had no odor! I’ve never found exactly the same product since. I wish I knew what it was called.

As to people who think they need to use products anywhere else on their body – that seems pretty strange; perhaps a bit better personal hygiene but definitely no products. I am concerned about plain old soap, preferring water for most washing up and keeping the use of soap to a bare minimum. Ideally, I’d make my own non-detergent soap. Next best would be to buy some. One option is time-consuming, the other is expensive. So so far I have cheaped out and gone with the minimalist approach.

Maybe next time I’ll tell you about my household cleaning products. If you’re expecting much more than water, essential oils and elbow grease, don’t hold your breath!