Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Nurse-in at DFW Airport this Friday

From the local chapter of La Leche League

Many of you have probably heard about the mom who was recently asked to leave a Delta flight because she was nursing her 2 year old. A few moms came out to DFW airport last week, when all over the country several nurse-ins were held for support, but were rudely removed by the airport police.

So, the group is organizing a second Nurse-in for this Friday, Dec 1st at 10.00 am in front of the Delta counter.

Breastfeeding Rally To Take Place At DFW Airport
Maria Pokluda Tel: 972-745-8523 Cell: 214-684-1275 Email:
Amy Philo Tel: 214-705-0169 Cell: 817-793-8028 Email:
Nursing mothers and their supporters will be gathering on Friday, December 1 at 10 AM, at the Delta ticket counter in Terminal E of DFW airport.
On November 21, mothers and other advocates took part in a nation-wide nurse-in at roughly 40 U.S. airports. Like all of the rallies across the country, the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport Nurse-in supported the right to breastfeed in all public and private locations, anywhere a mother and child might be, regardless of any issues of discretion. There was no formal national organization sponsoring this event, but amazingly, hundreds of mothers and other supporters turned out nation-wide. Unlike the rest of the nation, however, the supporters at the DFW Airport rally were harassed, insulted, and threatened with possible arrest by members of the DFW police (Department of Public Safety officers), and then asked to leave.
Though the right to breastfeed already exists, many people are unaware of this right, or may choose to challenge this right, or otherwise intimidate and cause discomfort for nursing moms, posing a great threat to the continuation and exclusivity of breastfeeding relationships and compromising the health of mothers and children, and the economic well-being of the society.
The goals of this Friday’s nurse-in are:
· To insist that the DFW Airport Police (DPS) apologize to the attendees of the November 21st rally for the unacceptable comments and threats, and provide documentation that training is being implemented to educate all DPS officers about the laws concerning breastfeeding in the state of Texas (specifically Texas Health And Safety Code Chapter 165 Section 002, which states “A mother is entitled to breastfeed her child in any location in which the mother is authorized to be,” as well as the definitions of indecent exposure and disorderly conduct). The DPS should ensure that in the future, officers will protect, rather than endanger breastfeeding relationships, by refraining from engaging in harassment of nursing moms and their children. The police should not approach breastfeeding mothers, but rather the mothers should be left alone.

· To hold Delta accountable for the removal of Emily Gillette from one of their flights and to insist that training procedures will be put into place to ensure that all staff at Delta and its subsidiaries will uphold and support a child’s right to breastfeed.

To call for airlines to revisit their breastfeeding and transport of pumped breast milk policies, to support traveling families and working mothers who must travel for business and be separated from their children. Current policies about liquid items, which restrict the amount of pumped breast milk allowed on board with mothers who do not have their babies with them, compromise the health of babies who depend on pumped milk, and force mothers to dump precious breast milk that they have pumped while they were separated from their children. This situation is especially harmful for babies whose mothers already have difficulty pumping enough to meet the child’s needs during times of separation.

· To call for immediate passage of pending federal legislation that offers civil rights protection for breastfeeding women in the workplace, and new federal legislation to protect the right to breastfeed whenever and wherever mothers and their children are allowed to be, regardless of whether any part of the mother’s breast might be exposed during or incidental to the feeding. This legislation will clarify rights that already exist, and nullify any business policies or laws throughout the country that are already in place or might come into existence, which would infringe on a mother and child’s constitutional right to breastfeed (For example, Tennessee law protects a mother’s right to breastfeed a child in public only as long as the child is younger than 13 months of age).

The issue of breastfeeding rights goes far beyond a woman’s right to nurse - it also encompasses a basic human right for children, the right to eat and to receive comfort and nurturing at the breast.
The Nurse-ins have been coordinated by volunteers.
For more information about this event, contact Maria Pokluda or Amy Philo directly.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Its the early bulb that gets frozen to death

In our ongoing yard project, I'm in charge of planting bulbs. A few weeks ago, I picked out a selection of early bloomers, mid-spring bloomers and late-bloomers. I even tried to do some color coordination!

Since it was mid-November, I thought it must be time to get them into the ground so that we could get a lovely selection growing up in the spring.

So, in went the crocus bulbs around the trees, in went the daffodils and Dutch lilies around the corner shrubs and in went the paperwhites for some December excitement. The tulips and hyacinths got bagged and tucked into the refrigerator to chill for a few weeks. These were all naturally bulbs from the land o flowers, the Netherlands.

When we got back from Florida just last week, I saw green sprouts of 4 - 5 inches poking out of the ground. The paper whites were busy bursting through! Great! Perfect timing, they'll be up in time for the holidays.

Unfortunately, looking around, I also so slimmer green sprouts where the daffodils and lilies had been put down. No, no, no!!! This is wrong!!! I guess the warm November sunshine had convinced them that spring was already here. These poor bulbs have a harsh reality to face once Thursday arrives and temperatures plummet into the frosty range. I'm afraid we've lost these flowers.

I still have the backyard to plant and now, a bit wiser, have all the bulbs keeping cool until around Christmas. Hopefully, by then I can safely drop them in and not see them again until spring really arrives.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Pulla time!

Grandma in Florida had made a special request for some 'rae' sugar from Finland last time Peanut's papa went there. 'Rae' sugar is in appearance the sweet equivalent of sea salt and is sprinkled on top of many Finnish sweet breads like 'pulla'. Last time I visited the IKEA food store in Frisco, I noticed that they stock it on their shelves, too.

Since Peanut & I brought the special delivery from Finland to Grandma and figured we should put it to use right away.

It was Peanut's first baking experience! She's been practicing at home with Playdough so I knew she'd be ready to handle making her own pulla rolls.

We pulled up a step-stool to the counter so Peanut could watch what all went into the mixer. She was also in charge of stirring the yeast, milk and eggs. After the requisite time for rising, Peanut was in the middle of the action with Grandma to begin rolling out the individual pullas. I could hardly get into the kitchen, she was so thoroughly in the zone!

Unfortunately for Peanut her bedtime came before the pullas were pulled from the oven. She must have had sweet bread filled dreams as she woke up and the first word from her mouth was 'pulla' (really!). After mama put on her slippers, we headed straight to the kitchen to give her a bite.

While I thought every crumb was delicious, Peanut clearly showed a preference for the 'rae' sugar and chopped almonds on top!

Has Peanut already gotten too old??!!

I just spent a wonderful week in Florida with Peanut visiting all her "grands" there. The short - only an hour and half - flight went smoothly as I picked out times that were least likely to be used by business travelers so Peanut could get her own seat on the plane.

But, I don't know if it was the impending holidays, ongoing struggles for airline employees or Peanut just looking more like a toddler than cutesy baby (don't get me wrong, I still think she's a cutesy toddler!) that no one offered any assistance to us. Here I thought an obviously pregnant lady and her toddler might get a little help with bags or strollers. Perhaps even a little extra smile from the flight crew or fellow passengers. Maybe a little extra time at security. Alas, no.

When I traveled with Peanut when she was just a little baby, it seemed everyone wanted to talk to us or to lend us a hand. In any case, we made the trip just fine and really didn't require any special help. We've done this enough times for mama to pack smart and Peanut to not be uncomfortable with all that air travel demands of little ones. Its just the 'is my baby really getting that big already' syndrome.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Making a down payment on Tex

At our recent 20 week prenatal visit, we were stopped at the receptionist on our way out. It was time to discuss insurance and payments for Tex.

The receptionist pulled out a worksheet where it outlined the "global obstetrical fee" (ie, the package deal for prenatal care + delivery of baby + postpartum 6 week check-up for mama. It excludes possible anesthesia (epidural) and post delivery hospital costs for mom and any baby-related care costs. Since we have chosen an in-network doctor and hospital, we got a special discounted rate of $2,369.00.

After we pay our annual deductible ($300.00), our insurance covers 80% of the remaining fee leaving us with a balance of $714. The entire amount has to paid by the 28th week of pregnancy though we could make interest-free payments up to that date.

As we tried to understand what else we could be billed for, the receptionist joked that anyone who enters your room will leave you with a bill, even the guy who sweeps the floor. She added that often the bills will beat the mama and baby home!

It was a very different approach with Peanut's delivery in Finland where a bill for 130 euros arrived weeks later in the mail. On the surface, it looks virtually free, but let's not forget the generous contributions Peanut's papa & I made through the years in taxes. I have no idea what the hospital charged KELA for the delivery so its really hard to compare the real costs. If I'm suddenly overwhelmed with free time, I'll let you know how it works out, but don't hold your breath :-)

Ice, ice, babies

Peanut likes to groove to all sorts of boppy hits on the radio. Her favorite stations are KLUV (98.7, "Oldies") and what has recently become the new 107.5, formerly a smooth jazz station.

107.5 plays "music that makes you feel good" mostly from the 80s and 90s. We were listening the other night, reliving our high school days, when Vanilla Ice hit the airwaves.

Soon, Peanut was singing along "ice, ice, babies"...."iss, iss, babies"....

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Table for one, please

"I'd like to sit all by myself -- like a grown up -- at my toddler-sized table. Well, not totally by myself. I'd like Pooh bear, Raggedy Anne, Ballerina Duck and Witch to sit with me."
... 10 minutes later...
"Now, I'd like to move to the recently rejected high-chair. No, I don't need any help. I'll just climb up myself and fiddle around with the clasp."
... 5 minutes later...
"All done. Now, I'd like to have a chair just like mama and papa's at the big table. No, no need to place that new booster seat you just bought on the chair. Yes, I know I can't really reach the table - its OK, I'll just kneel here."
... 3 minutes later...

Its mealtime at our house. Peanut's in toddler eating mode. That is, she's eating more or less, now and then. We thought that seating might be playing a role, in addition to just being an 18 month old. Changing the venue has helped. She enjoys her meals most of all when she's at her toddler table with her friends. It gives her some control over when she sits and for how long.

But, like all toddler parents, I worry about what she's not eating which seems to be a growing list each day. Fortunately, we can usually count on fresh veggies with dip, rye bread, oatmeal, cheese bites, Cheerios, waffles, eggs and fruit going in. Didn't see a lot of meats on that list, did you? Nope, neither did I. That's my biggest worry.

Dr. Sears has some super tips. I'll be trying them out 'spread it' and 'top it' during the coming week!

Most parents advocate for a strict approach - eat it now at mealtime or you'll go hungry and eat later. After all, toddlers won't starve themselves and can only eat what we give them, so there's no excuse for 'my baby will only eat crackers'. I suppose she won't unless you give them to her.

I've also dusted off my gourmet baby food cookbook for some fresh ideas and have been trying to think of ways to take foods/servings Peanut loves and apply them to other foods. For example, the girl loves corn on the cob because of its 'cob-ness'. Would chicken on a stick have the same effect? Dipping into ketchup and salad dressing is great; could we dip into a lentil puree? Pizza is just heaven. Perhaps its the single bite or that it comes in an interesting box? Could we make little boxes for pork chops & mashed potatoes?!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

H-A-double L-O-double U-double E-N spells Halloween!

Peanut's second Halloween in the US was action-packed. We had parties, pumpkin patches, costumes, pictures, decorations and the grand finale, trick-or-treating!

With Peanut's fascination for "pua-pua!" (aka, pumpkins), the pumpkin patches were the place to be. First, we went to the local Coppell patch behind the Rejoice Lutheran Church. A nice, manageable place. Peanut could dash around without getting into too much trouble.

The second pumpkin patch trip was more overwhelming. Our playgroup had a party at THE Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch. (Not to be confused with the Flower Mound Pumpkin Village, located right next to the FMPP, and looking very much like the FMPP. In fact, virtually indistinguishable. These two rivals even had it out in court this year.) Peanut went just wild there. She ran in circles around the hay mazes barely glancing at the Pooh Bear cut outs or pumpkins or scarecrows. She just had to get it all in. Children, parents and strollers were all over the place. I could barely get Peanut to take a break to celebrate with her little friends! Not that it got much better on the way home - Peanut just bopped around in her car seat and then couldn't even settle down for a nap at home!

The toddler party at baby school the next day was the most subdued toddler event I'd ever seen. Just quiet little ones sitting around their table, munching on snacks and the oatmeal raisin cookies I'd made. I was one of the moms "in charge" of the event. I also brought everyone foam craft photo frames. They all got some pumpkin, ghost and Halloween sticker shapes to decorate them with.

That evening, papa got home early from work so he could finish setting up our spooky patio. We had the glowing skulls and pumpkins, spider webbing (with spiders), glowing ghoul and best of all, the fog machine to evoke that Halloween feeling. Our home owner's association hosted a block party so we strolled there first to meet the neighborhood. I surprised to see well over 50 people there enjoying pre-treat hotdogs and snacks.

By 7 pm it was dark and the sidewalks were bustling with gangs of costumed children. It was really wonderful to see so many people out! Peanut's papa was sure we were going to run out of candy - I had bought three bags + some special treats! Peanut and her friend Leo also gave trick-or-treating a go. Sort of. Peanut was just thrilled to be racing down the sidewalk in the dark. She didn't really get the candy concept unlike her friend who mastered it in no time.

I liked the chance to say hello to the neighbors we rarely see. One of them was a dad who had set up a chair on the porch for the treat seekers. Though he seemed more wrapped up in the laptop he was typing on and the cell phone close to his side.

Peanut was happy once we came back inside. She liked to see the "babies" come to our door and quickly started handing out candies.

This morning she woke up asking for the "ghoul" and his "hand". When she thought mama just wasn't getting it, she went over to the spot we had him set up in the living room and firmly patted the ground. She's going to miss the ghoul, skulls and pumpkins -- until she learns about snowmen, Santa, reindeer, elves, presents, trees.....