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Help Moms and Babies! Take Action With The Diaper Act

diaperactAs a mom, it’s hard to imagine having a problem finding childcare, and therefore having a problem finding and/or maintaining employment, because I can’t afford to provide an adequate amount of diapers to a childcare provider. But many moms out there don’t have to imagine it, because they live this problem every day.

A wonderful organization close to my heart, Help a Mother Out, has introduced Diaper Action Week for the week of November 14th through November 18th in an effort to raise awareness about this problem and help make policy changes with The Diaper Act. The Diaper Act legislation aims to amend the Child Care and Development Block Grant of 1990, which will increase child care access and relieve a financial burden on families who cannot otherwise afford a sufficient  amount of diapers for their children. The Diaper Act does not ask for additional federal funds. If Congress enacts the Diaper Act, eligible child care centers will have the flexibility and choice to provide diapers (disposable or cloth) to their neediest families.

So how can you help? By spending a minute to sign a petition for The Diaper Act and let Congress know that you want to see changes made for struggling families. You can also help spread the word about Diaper Action Week and The Diaper Act!  Blog, Facebook, and Tweet about #DiaperAct. It sometimes only takes a minute of your time to help make a difference.

Thank you!

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A Painful Reminder

At around 1:15 am this past Sunday morning, a nurse from the children’s hospital removed the IV drip that was pumping fluids into my dehydrated and hypoglycemic little boy. After a harrowing 24 hours comforting my 3 year old stricken with a severe gastrointestinal virus, I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. His condition was improving and, after another day in the hospital for monitoring, he was released. Four days later, he is almost back to his normal self. I nearly cried when he begged for pancakes this morning.

While I watched the nurse remove the IV tube from my son’s little hand, I later learned that a tragedy was unfolding at that very moment only a few miles away. A repeat drunk driver, with a blood-alcohol level of 0.20%, slammed his truck into a car carrying four high school girls. One of the girls, 14 year old Ashton Sweet, was left brain dead while another girl remains in critical condition. At the request of her grief-stricken parents, Ashton Sweet was kept alive on life support until six of her organs were donated.

Reading about the loss of this beautiful young girl struck something deep within me. At 1:15 am on Sunday morning, I was feeling a sense of relief, renewed optimism, and nothing short of grateful for the improved health of my little boy. I distinctly remember looking at the glowing clock in the hospital room so I could etch that moment in time within my mind forever. I could finally breathe again. But now I know that as I was about to fall back asleep on the hospital cot next to my son, able to sleep more deeply and comfortably with the unquestionable knowledge that he was going to be OK, a family across town was about to wake up to the most horrible news that any parent could possibly receive.

Someone told the Dude the other day that you haven’t really experienced the lows of parenting until your child ends up in the hospital. The thing is, I knew that my little Monkey was going to leave the hospital eventually. I knew he was no longer in danger once the nurses started the IV drip. He was going to be OK. It’s the not knowing that is undoubtedly one of the ultimate lows of parenting. It’s when you can’t bring your child home from the hospital that is undoubtedly the lowest form of human suffering. And it’s those stories that are painful reminders for the rest of us that while parenting has it’s challenging moments, each moment – good, bad, and everything in between – is truly a gift that is a tragedy in itself to take for granted.

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Guest Post: Happiness Is A Gnawed Nipple

Carrie Loewenthal Massey is a writer based in New York City. When she’s not writing, she’s cooking, running, trying to control her spending here, or, most likely, building magnificent cup towers with her baby boy.

Happiness Is a Gnawed Nipple
The Perils of Ice-Cream Free Breastfeeding

I’m walking the five blocks home from the Gymboree Play and Music location where my 8-month-old son, Josh, takes classes. I have him in the baby carrier, his pom-pom hat brushing my chin.  I’m ravenous.

What to eat?  I’m on a restricted diet because I’m still nursing Josh and his lower intestines can’t quite process dairy or soy yet.  It’s a common intolerance, as the pediatrician has stressed, not an allergy, and he will likely grow out of it around age one.  But I haven’t had a chocolate milkshake since I was pregnant, and I hadn’t intended to give them up postpartum.

I walk past the three, yes, three, pizza places on the next two blocks.  I see fresh pies emerging from the oven as I pass the last shop. The 20 pounds of baby strapped to me dissipate as I make a hard left toward the door, ready to devour a whole cheese pie, baked ziti, even the “B” health grade sign the New York Sanitation department has displayed in the window.  Alas, nearly everything has soy in it, so the sign probably isn’t safe.

On the couch back home, I’m malnourished and cranky.  Mr. No Dairy No Soy is latched to my breast, drinking away.  I debate ordering a rare steak à la carte from the Argentine place up the street, when little blue eyes takes a break, smiles at me so wide I see all five of his adorable teeth, nuzzles me, then chomps down so hard on my left nipple that he breaks skin.

I scream.  He giggles. (continues…)

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Our New Addition

It’s been a busy week and a half at the House of AYMB – our family adopted an 8 week old Portuguese Water Dog!

As I wrote in a post back in June, we’ve been wanting a dog for a long time but needed to find the right breed for our family. We found him.

Our new dog is named Noah and the Dude and I fell in love with him right away. He is cute, cuddly, sweet, intelligent, and has a great temperament. He also doesn’t shed, which is a huge bonus. However, as fun and playful and sweet Noah is, it’s been a big adjustment for all of us.  Noah is every inch a puppy – he likes to chew, jump up on people, isn’t totally housebroken, wakes up in the middle of the night, and doesn’t understand commands. We’re watching a lot of the “Dog Whisperer” these days.

Bringing a puppy home is challenging. People told me that it would be difficult but, just like parenthood, you don’t fully understand the demands until you actually live it. Like parenthood, puppyhood has tested me in every way. But what I’ve quickly learned is that, just like parenthood, it’s an awesome way to live and worth every challenge.

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A Mother Moment

Once you become a mother, you don’t need to reminded of it. Your life becomes dedicated to mothering and many of the everyday things you do and decisions you make are based around your role as a mother. From the mundane everyday chores that go hand-in-hand with mothering to difficult decisions, like whether to stay at home or go back to (paid) work, us mothers incorporate our role into everything we do. We live, breathe, work, and sleep in our mother role. But when we live in a mother role, we often forget about it. It consumes our identity. And when something becomes all-encompassing, it often takes something profound to make us step back and recognize its meaning and value.

Ever since I became a mother roughly 3 years and 4 months ago, I occasionally have what I call a “mother moment.” It’s a moment that hits me in a significant way that reminds me of the importance of my mother role. From the moment our children enter the world, we want to protect them. It’s a basic maternal instinct. From aggressive drivers to mean children at the playground, we want to shield our children from the dangers, disappointments, and hurt that will inevitably surround their world. We would do anything for them, even if that means that we need to confront or even ignore our own fears. When I hear a bump in the night, I don’t hesitate to seek it out. When I see large spider, I don’t freak. When my baby is sick, I comfort with kisses and hugs without thinking twice of my own health. And when my son calls out for me in the middle of the night because of a bad dream, I run to him, no matter how tired I am. Unless the Dude beats me to the punch, which he often does.

Last week, it really hit me that my mother role overrules everything else. As our flight took off in the midst of stormy Utah clouds, we hit a great deal of very rocky turbulence. Since I am no longer the fearless flyer that I used to be, especially when I’m flying with my son, I could instantly feel fear taking over my otherwise calm demeanor. As I struggled to control my anxiety, I looked down at my son sitting next to me. His eyes were widened and he started to clutch his Curious George monkey tightly. In that moment, I pushed my anxiety and fear away. I didn’t have a choice. I soothingly told him that everything was just fine and then made a game out of the rocky motion – doesn’t it feel like a ride at Disneyland? Wheeeeee! We both giggled and relaxed. And then he slept for the remainder of the flight. I couldn’t sleep. All I could do was look down at my son and think about what I would do for him. There was nothing extraordinary about what I did to calm his fears. It was nothing compared to the things I would do to protect him.  I’ll do whatever it takes. Because that’s just what we do.

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