Tag Archives: ouch

Get That Gun Away from My Daughter!

10 Apr

So here’s the scene: my 4-year-old daughter is sitting in a chair at the front of Claire’s boutique at the mall.  She’s about to get her ears pierced.  She’s terribly excited – she’s been asking to do this for ages and I’ve finally relented.

marking where the holes will be...

And now here comes the lady with the plastic gun.  It’s loaded with a cute, rainbow-colored daisy earring…

BAM!  The right ear is done.

My daughter starts to cry, either from the pain or the noise or the shock of it all.  I hold in all of my tears and grief and weird feelings and try not to make a scene.  My daughter, however, wants to make a scene.  A really big one.

She’s freaked out, and no amount of coaxing is going to convince her to sit still to have her other ear done.

My husband alternates between bribery and threats to get her to comply.  Dear daughter keeps saying she wants more time to think (in-between heaving sobs).  Every time hubby thinks he’s gotten her calmed down, she loses it all over again as soon as she sits in that chair.

Fifteen minutes go by.  Then thirty.  Then an hour.  By this point, I can hardly even swallow, I’m so stressed.

Soon a crowd of onlookers gathers, all of them women.  A kindly old grandmother advises us to just hold our daughter down and force her to get the other ear pierced.  A pair of tween girls show off their own earrings, and amidst lots of forced oohing and aahing, they tell her how pretty she will be if she can just summon the courage to do her other ear.

Right about this point is when I feel the bile rise in my throat and realize I can’t take it anymore…it all just feels wrong.

Is this well-meaning group of people actually telling my 4-year-old that she should suffer through her fear and pain just for the sake of beauty??!!  This is not a life-saving vaccine we’re talking about – it’s jewelry!

Once I got my stomach unclenched and found my voice again, I spoke up and got us out of there.  We ate lunch and I took my daughter back to Claire’s to have the first earring taken out.  She was a little heartbroken about it, but she got over it.  I told her she could make the decision about getting her ears pierced when she was a little older, which seemed to take a huge weight off her shoulders.  This was just too much for her.

A few weeks ago I saw a fabulous documentary called Miss Representation.  To quote from the website (www.missrepresentation.org), “the film explores how the media’s misrepresentations of women have led to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence.”  The film was nauseating, and 100% right on the money.  Women are valued for their appearance, and chastised for not living up to certain standards – even when their jobs have nothing to do with their looks and everything to do with their intellectual capability.  (Remember all the media coverage of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin a few years ago – Hillary the ball-busting troll and Sarah the hot mom?)  I highly recommend watching the movie.  It’s eye-opening for anyone who is – or knows – a woman.

I kept thinking about that movie while my daughter was sitting there, wanting to go ahead with the other ear but scared stiff and now knowing what to do.  I shouldn’t have been such a coward; I should have spoken up right away and said:

“Hey, baby girl, you know what?  This is not an important thing in your life, or in the life of any woman.  It’s just decoration – it doesn’t define who you are or what kind of person you will be.  You’re beautiful because you’re kind and loving, not because of anything on your body.”

cute as a button, even without earrings

My 6-year-old son was too upset to stick around and watch his sister go through the piercing drama.  I hardly even knew what to tell him.  What message are we sending to our little girls – and our little boys – about this?  I know it’s “just” ear piercing, but is something OK if it’s painful or scary, as long as it improves your appearance or keeps up with everyone else’s expectations?

I was 4 when I got my own ears pierced, but my daughter may be 14.  Or 44.  Or maybe she’ll never do it, I don’t know.  It’s up to her when she feels that it’s worth it.  In the meantime, I hope she realizes – no, believes – that it really doesn’t matter.

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52 FEATS – NUMBER 17 (Running)

1 May

For the original 52 FEATS blog entry, click here.

UPDATE – DAY 7 (Sunday):

Well, after my last update I had pretty much given up on running.  After listening to several people’s horror stories about joint pain, knee injuries, and surgery (!) due to running, I was ready to throw in the towel.  (I have a family member who works for an orthopedic surgeon.  Her advice about running:  Just DON’T do it.)

Tonight I was going to write my post saying that for the safety of my knees (yes, they really do hurt during and after a run) and my overall well-being, I am not going to pursue this Feat.  It’s out of my hands, right?

But then a facebook friend of mine posted a very intriguing link to something called the Joggermom Marathon, which starts today.  Before you think I’m a total glutton for punishment, let me explain.  This is a special kind of “marathon” in which you run the 26.2 miles over the course of a month.  You have to track your time, dates, and mileage on a spreadsheet, and provide photographic proof of your distance on some sort of electronic GPS device.  You have until the end of May to complete the “marathon.”  Then you’re entered into a drawing to win some sweet prizes.  Cool, huh?

While I still think running sucks – no, really SUCKS – I feel suddenly supercharged by this opportunity.  I can run a little bit at a time (doesn’t have to be a 5K all at once).  I’m sure I can cover 26.2 miles in a month’s time.  Should be no problem!

So even though this differs from my initial running objective, I’m feeling good about my new goal.  I’m glad I found out about this event before I gave up altogether.

Wish me (and my knees) good luck!!

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Bite Me!

16 Feb

Some of you may know by now that I am involved in an international breastfeeding support organization. To date, I have breastfed my three children a combined five years and a handful of months. I breastfeed my children in public (a LOT) and oftentimes, I get approached by women.

Some congratulate me on breastfeeding. Some say they do not know how I do it, and then proceed to tell me how something or other caused their ultimate failure (their description, not mine). Lately, women have been commenting about how they nursed their baby until the baby got teeth. At that point, they usually say it hurt, or that the baby persistently bit, and so they decided to start bottle feeding their child formula. I never really had a good understanding of what these women have gone through, until now.

My first two children both started biting when they started getting teeth (at around 8 months). The girls were easy. When they would bite, I would say “Ouch. That hurts mommy. No biting!” and stop them from nursing and put them down. I literally remember only having to do it a handful of times, and the behavior stopped.

With my third child, it has been a whole different experience! He has been persistently biting me for the last two or three weeks, almost every single time I nurse him. I know he is cutting one of his upper front teeth, which is certainly a contributor. When I use my technique, he literally laughs at me. Then he fusses, letting me know he wants to nurse again, and when we start over, he bites all over again. It seems like he is trying to get a reaction from me. I have been persistent in my method, and now, three weeks into it, he is getting the message. When he bites, he stops nursing, so if he wants to nurse, he has to not bite me.

I have definitely developed more empathy for mothers who struggle with a child who is biting at the breast. I understand how, without proper information and support, it would be easy to give up. I just want to encourage anyone who is struggling with this same issue! You do not have to give up. It is a phase, and with some love, encouragement, and repetition, your baby will learn it is not ok!

The method I use with my children is described in more detail in The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (P. 116). “If a baby shows a tendency to bite down when he is finished nursing, a mother can be alert to signs that he is ready to bite down. She should remove him from her breast immediately. This action, along with a firm, “No biting” is usually all that is needed to convince baby that this behavior is not acceptable. Having another more suitable object ready to offer him will reinforce the message.”

I started doing that with my baby. He likes to snuggle with a blanket when he is sleepy. I would have it handy while I nursed, and when he started to bite, I would remove him from the breast, say “Ouch. That hurts mommy. No biting!” Then I would let him bite his blanket. Sometimes it works, other times it does not.

Sometimes mothers will yell or scream when they have been bitten, because it hurts and can be surprising. I have heard from several mothers who report that this reaction actually caused a nursing strike for their baby, so be aware of that as well. It can also be helpful to pull the baby into your breast, partially blocking the airway. It can be effective if done quickly, because when this happens, they will release the nipple. Babies are very sensitive to even a slight blockage to their nose. Some women do this by gently pinching the baby’s nose, causing him to open his mouth, releasing the nipple. If you try to pull the baby away from the breast (which tends to be most women’s natural reaction), you can cause more damage to the nipple, especially if the baby is clamped on.

Another great resource is the La Leche League International’s The Breastfeeding Answer Book. This book offers the following tips for biting (pp. 478-479):

  1. Give the baby your complete attention while nursing
  2. Learn to recognize the end of a nursing session
  3. Don’t force a nursing session
  4. Give extra attention to positioning an latch on
  5. If the baby falls asleep, remove him from the breast
  6. Keep your milk supply plentiful
  7. Keep breastfeeding relaxed and pleasant
  8. Offer positive reinforcement when the baby does not bite

If the problem becomes more persistent, you can try:

  1. Stopping the feeding
  2. Offer an acceptable teething object
  3. Quickly put the baby on the floor
  4. Keep a finger poised near the baby’s mouth to quickly break the suction in case he turns his head

Sometimes, you can try any/all of these methods and the baby will continue to bite. Be consistent and eventually, the biting will stop. Know that this change in nursing is temporary and it is not necessary to wean when a baby’s teeth begin to erupt.

If you have any ideas that would be helpful for other nursing mothers to know with regard to nursing and biting, please feel free to share those ideas with us!

52 FEATS – NUMBER 3

17 Jan

Click here for the original 52 FEATS blog.

Time for something really juicy.  (NO, it’s not the sex thing.)  I’m going to do something that is extremely helpful to humanity, is really easy to do, and almost anyone can do it.  It costs you nothing, and you can do it over and over.  But it’s also gross and makes me reeeeeeeeaaaally squeamish.

Can you guess what it is?

Blood!  The stuff of life.  Vampire food.  I’m going to give blood for the first time.

I’ve always known the importance of donating blood, but my life-long fear of needles has prevented me from doing it.  I remember several years ago when my office had a blood drive, saying that I wished I could donate, really I did, but I didn’t weigh enough to meet the qualifications of being a donor.  Oh, darn.

That being – ahem – no longer an issue, I think it’s time I get over my fear and just do it already.  I’ve had 2 kids, for crying out loud!  There are few things more gruesome than that.

January is National Blood Donor month.  And these 52 Feats are about going beyond my comfort levels, doing things that are good for me or the world at large, and really sticking my neck out there.  So I’m going to do it.  I have an appointment on Thursday at 6:30 pm.  Between now and then, I’m going to post some statistics for you about the need for blood, fill you in on the donor guidelines, and basically just try and recruit as many people as possible to give blood this month along with me.

I’d love to hear your encouragement and stories of how you’ve donated blood – or needed donated blood.  I’m willing to bet most of you have been personally touched by this issue in one way or another!

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