Friday, November 22, 2013

Avoiding Forced Retraction

   As parents, we should be able to trust medical professionals with our children even if no one else. Yet far too often intact boys are forcibly retracted by the very professionals parents are counting on to take care of them. The outdated ideas of intact care are hurting boys all over the country. We have to reverse the epidemic of forced retraction with education and awareness. It's not that I believe doctors, nurses and other caregivers are doing this maliciously. It's just that intent does not matter- it is harmful no matter the good intentions. 

   On Wednesday my son had a minor surgery. With forced retraction so widespread, my husband and I were concerned with protecting our son from harm. We discussed this with all of his nurses, showed them what I had written on his diapers and asked that they not change his diaper at all anyway. The first time we brought up the subject of no retraction we were brushed off "I've changed plenty of diapers". So we repeated ourselves several times until it was very clear this was something we would NOT let go. I'm happy to say our son came back to us not only with the surgery having gone well but also unharmed- he was still in the diaper I'd put him in and no signs of harm.

The reason I felt the need to mark his diapers, talk to the staff AND still just ask them not to change his diapers? Because it has happened that all of those measures have been ignored and since the staff showed no understanding of what I explained, I wasn't trusting them to follow my instructions on this. The staff was great otherwise but as all of them just kind of stared when I explained this.... well, not exactly confidence-inspiring in this area.

 EVERYONE who will be caring for your son needs to know to only clean what is seen and that retraction in a young child is not just unneeded but actually damaging. Beyond being painful and the possibility of infections, forced retraction can lead to problems such as adhesions. The reason intact boys of past generations were thought to be more prone to infections? Improper care- forced retraction. 

All parents and caregivers need to know that retraction is a sexual function. There is no need for it besides that and no need for it to be possible before puberty. Foreskin should never be retracted by anyone other than the child it belongs to and the age of natural separation ranges from about 3 years old until puberty. 

Also,it's important to make sure that everyone understands that even "just a little" retraction can be both painful and harmful. Our own pediatrician retracted my son's foreskin "just a little" when he was an infant. It was enough for me to see the glans before I could stop her. Yet just this week when we brought him to have a physical done to get clearance for surgery, I had a wonderful conversation with her about how foreskin is not meant to be retracted in children and that it is often not possible naturally before puberty. I'm not sure if she's changed her thoughts on "just a little" retraction but I've made mine very clear for sure. Thankfully all LM suffered through after it was irritation but it could have been much worse. Since then I have always reminded her NO retraction should be done. 

Also, Saving Our Sons has “intact, do not retract” stickers and oversized “proper intact care” cards that would be perfect in situations like this along with new babysitters, daycares, etc. I was definitely wishing I'd had the proper intact cards to give to the nurses and the stickers to put on his diapers. Also, I've heard from other moms that they put the stickers on wipe cases, diaper bags and other belongings- anything that will be seen before a diaper change or bath by a caregiver.

To learn more-

Friday, September 27, 2013

"Everyone's Business"

 Is it everyone's business if and how my child is vaccinated?

It is, in that, if you ask me about my son's vaccination status, I'll honestly tell you and should you decide to avoid him because of that, that's your right. I could easily ask for the same information too. After all, I am not sure I want our children that close together after your's receives a live vaccine anyway. And while I'm at it, can we talk about you bringing your sick child into public and exposing everyone to whatever germs you're trying to pass off as allergies?

Beyond the right I'll concede that between friends, you can ask and be given an honest answer or at least told flatly that an answer isn't coming (rather than just a lie), nope, this is not "everybody's business" territory. You can talk about it and complain about it all you want but I won't have chemicals injected into him just to offer some maybe-possibly benefit to someone else's child. Not trying to claim I can do and not do whatever I want with my children. Society should care if a child is being abused in a proven way or being neglected to the point of their harm. Always. No matter who's child it is, we should never turn away from a hurt child.

Has everybody read the "I'm Coming Out... as Pro-Vaccine" post on HuffPost? Considering my headache after reading it, I don't recommend it if you haven't already. My irritation is not from her pro-vaccine stance itself but because of it's premise that I should do something I know is risky for my children to maybe possibly benefit someone else's child. Not happening. Obviously the last thing a child with leukemia needs is another disease heaped on top.... but my child doesn't need that many chemicals shoved into their system either. Who's health is of more importance? Neither. Both are innocent children, who's parents need to do their best for them.

Vaccine preventable disease is a misnomer to begin with. No vaccine is truly 100% effective, thus there is no way to guarantee your child doesn't get a disease. And herd immunity is a joke in a society that eats chemical-laden junk food constantly, pops antibiotics for a cold and basically does nothing to boost immune systems besides inject a massive amount of chemicals into our youngest citizens. Who's immune systems, btw, would be stronger anyway if they where breastfed in higher numbers and weaned onto real food rather than overly processed sugar-filled treats. Not to mention, how many adults (who received far fewer vaccines as children) stay up to date on recommended boosters? Getting a flu shot once a year doesn't make an adult "vaccinated". Why are children targeted and burdened with maintaining this illusion of herd immunity rather than adults? It's very easy to argue that vaccines are safer for adults because their brains and bodies are no longer developing as children's are. Children can be dragged to the clinic for shots though and parents can be pushed into doing so because of schools claiming "no shots, no school". Adults though, they are a lot harder to drag somewhere to receive several injections. The ones who DO stay up to date on boosters are generally working in the medical field and pushed to do so by their employers. Without that incentive, how many adults go along with vaccinations for themselves? I vaccinate myself and call all adults worried about herd immunity to do the same thing. If you're worried about my child hurting herd immunity, when was the last time you got a Tdap booster? Or any others?

I DO feel like this is one of the parenting choices where there are shades of grey, and anyone who researches it to make their choice rather than following blindly has my respect, no matter if that's full vax, partial vax or no vax. But my child hurting "herd immunity" is no more HER business than her child shedding is mine. Routine infant circumcision is always damaging and breastfeeding is always the biological normal way for infants to eat but vaccines.... many times a child receives them and shows no ill effects. Sometimes, they are miserable with a high fever and soreness. And sometimes the effects are much worse. I don't need to list all of those effects because all you have to do is read the vaccine inserts but here are a few of the top ones- seizures, uncontrollable fever and brain swelling. I'm not against vaccination but I am very wary of it. There is not enough research, not enough long-term studies, no comprehensive studies (the vaccine schedule as a whole has not been studied, only the vaccines separately). They are not "safe" or "risk-free", and thus they should not be forced.

The fact is... we do vaccinate. Sorta. Slowly, one injection at a time (which can mean up to 3 or more actual vaccines unfortunately) and very selectively. I can understand why some parents fully vaccinate, and why some do NO vaccinations. There is a lot of fear on both sides, and in the middle ground with me. Each time I consent to a vaccine being given to my child, there is fear. I've been one of the "unlucky few" when it comes to another area of parenting before (full-term stillbirth) and while the numbers of "unlucky ones" may seem small to you, they are still real. I'm not naive enough to say "it won't happen to MY child".

No parent should be forced to something risky to their child in the idea of possibly benefiting someone else. Many things factor into my decisions when it comes to vaccinations. My child hurting the flawed idea of herd immunity and "the greater good" are not those factors though.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Tot School: The Beginning

Tot school, or homeschooling for toddlers. 

Little Man is now TWO. Very active, curious and fearless. He loves being read to over and over during the day. 

We've decided to start tot school with him. It's mostly ideas, goals, etc for ME though. Certainly we're not trying to sit our little wild man down to do workbooks. It's focused on play and reading to him, and I'm really excited about it. He's enjoyed the first week of it but doesn't really seem to notice it's any more organized than before. Which is kinda the point. No stress, no pressure, no pushing, no set structure. Just offering up opportunities and ideas for learning thru books and play. This is how I envision our homeschooling being for a long time. Our motto isn't that learning should be fun, but that play IS learning. 

Here where my goals to keep in mind so far: 

Themes: Ducks

Letters: Familiarity with magnet board and spiral flash cards.

Numbers: Familiarity with magnet board and clock puzzle, counting toy ducks and reading his book One Duck Stuck.

Animals: Ducks! Find ducks in books, all his toy ducks, pics on computer and work on “not a duck”. Have ducks “swim” in the water on water-table, bath and bowl on the floor.

Duck facts- 1) ducks swim in water, 2) baby ducks are ducklings, 3) ducks say quack, 4) ducks eat grass and bugs and 5) a group of ducks is called a team.

Music: Songs about ducks, letters and numbers. Play with his music toys, talk about the names for them and the sounds they make. 

Vocab: Reading aloud books and "quack like a duck"  plus 1) Five Little Ducks, 2) The Little Ducklings, 3) The Six Little Ducks, 4) Ducks on the Bus, 5) I Had A Little Ducky, and 6) Lucky Duck. 

Active Play: Yoga and our walks. 

Health- Basic body parts, their names and what they do. 

Really, this stuff we do sometimes anyway. But we get into ruts of doing the same thing every day and us both getting bored. We're actually pretty bad at that... just hanging out, doing the same thing every day. This was a list of things to do all week, not necessarily doing everything every day. I choose a duck theme because the kid LOVES the idea of ducks... just not being up close and personal with them. To be honest, I started out the week with the idea of having an animal AND color theme for each week. Half-way into the first day, I knew that felt too forced and we ditched it. Teaching colors in a vacuum just isn't our thing for now, though that is how I taught them as a day care teacher. 

We started our days with listening to songs about ducks. My reading duck-themed rhymes/poems to him went over really well, though in a bit of a bizarre reaction. Whenever I'd read one, he'd run back and forth across the living room while giggling. Pretty funny, and whenever I paused between them, he'd stop and stare at me. Hearing Daddy and me "quack like a duck" was hilarious  but he had no interest in trying to mimic us. His favorite things to hear about ducks where about what they eat and how they like to swim. 

It was a great week, we had fun, he said a few new words (yellow, blue, clouds) and it was exactly the relaxed feeling I want it to be. Obviously this is a learning journey for me as well, and that's just part of the excitement. No idea what or how much we'll change as we go along, but it's definitely going to remain Little Man-centered. 

I've been gone forever it seems. Anyone still following? There where a few different reasons WHY but I never lost my interest in writing and I've been wanting to revive my poor abandoned blog for a long time. Maybe I'll do a separate post about what's been up/what's new. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Hug Your Kids Tonight?!?! Why?

                                    Hug your kids tonight? 

Really? This is being thrown around over and over by adults who are "shocked" by this school shooting. And it baffles me. Who needs a tragedy to remind them to hug their kids??? Who doesn't hug their child every day that they see them? Life is fragile, life is fleeting. You shouldn't need a mass murder to remember this. If you need something like this to remind you to show affection to your child and appreciate them, you need to get your priorities straight. 

Every damn day, children die. It's ALWAYS a tragedy, even though 99% don't make the news. Stillbirth. SIDS. Medical malpractice. Disease. Abuse. Neglect. Car accidents. Choking.... etc etc etc. Children die every day and no one ever thinks it could be their kid until it happens. But the truth is... it could be your kid... tomorrow, next week, next year etc. Life is fragile, life is fleeting. Every day, thousands of children die. Every single one is a tragedy, even if they don't get candlelight vigils and news coverage. Don't get so wrapped up in feeling invincible, like it could NEVER be YOUR OWN kid that you take them for granted. Hug them every day, show them you love them, do your damnedest to protect them. Don't take them for granted, because one day, your kid may be one of the thousands that die every day. Don't be so caught up that it takes a mass murder to make you remember you are blessed with having them in your life today. 20 children died in their school in Connecticut, as part of the thousands of kids who died yesterday. They're all missed, all tragedies.

Many people are emotionally exclaiming that they are going to home school now because of this. Schools DO need to be safer. But no, it's not a reason to home school if that's your ONLY reason you want to. I think metal detectors at the gates around schools and having closed campuses. It's too easy for random people to walk in. Paying for the thousands of extra cops that would require would mean a lot of money..... of course, I can think of lots of things I'd rather the govt. drop to pay for that instead but yea, pipe dream.

 After Columbine, I think some schools did tighten up... but a big problem with how people react to preventable tragedy that didn't directly affect them is they are horrified for a couple days and then go on with their lives as if it never happened. So everyone who is making a huge deal about how broken up they are today over this, what will they be doing about it next week? Next month? For many people, this is going to turn into just another date on the calendar. It's going to be just another historical event. Another paragraph to go into the history books. Instead, we need to make changes. After the Oregon mall shooting, some psychologists called the way people reacted "odd", an odd social shift to be exact. Why? Because they reacted instead of sitting there. How is that an odd social shift? But those where adults. What happens when someone takes a gun into a school instead? Kids die. Adults die trying to protect them.

The why's don't really matter. Why- because the gunman was a sick bastard. An attention-seeking psychopath. Whatever they are, we can't actually lock every single crazy, dangerous person up before they cause mayhem. And who doesn't matter either- they are dead and justice can never happen. Making them into celebrities is doing nothing good either.

But how matters. It's the most important part. How did he get into that school? How did he get those guns? How can we prevent other crazies from doing similar things, taking lives in a similar manner. How can we protect our kids in places that we crowd mass numbers of them into 5 days of the week with minimal adults? During the school year, children spend the majority of their waking hours in a vulnerable place, with too few adults there to prevent tragedy. Most schools can't even keep their own young students inside, much less keep dangerous adults out. Why is that? Mainly for two reasons- a naive, idealist idea that surely nothing bad will happen to your kids, in your area AND a government that is focused on test results, not the students. Our schools need to be closed-campuses. Only approved entry and exit. Metal detectors at the gates. And for if someone does get in, there ought to be a warning system to lock it down. Prisons and some hospitals can electronically lock every door inside them if needed. Escape exits- schools have fire exits which often can only open from the inside and if opened, an alarm sounds... why not put one in every ground-floor classroom? There are lots of things school could do to be safer. But they aren't just going to magically happen because today everyone is so sad about a shooting.

I know many people are claiming this is because of guns. But the gun did not walk itself into that school. The problem is people. If we could somehow melt down every gun on earth, then sure, that would be a better world. But if we where to make guns illegal to have, then the moral, law-abiding people won't have them and everyone we should be worried about still will. Let's make guns harder to get (psych. evaluations before buying perhaps) but don't try to pretend like outlawing them would solve anything.

20 children died in their school this time. Innocent, very young kids who didn't have a chance against this gunman. Preventable and tragic deaths. But thousands kids die every day from preventable, tragic deaths. Stop talking about how this makes you appreciate your kids more (really, you need mass murder to remember to hug your kids?) and start trying to help.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Cornmeal, Oatmeal and Water: Playtime

    LM is now a year old and officially a little toddler. If I thought baby, non-mobile LM kept me busy it was only because I'd forgotten how busy mobile toddlers keep you. He started crawling while we where in Panama, at about 10months old. Now he's cruising too but not walking independently yet.

  We're been very busy in a lot of ways- LM just experienced his very first hurricane. Which is always fun (not). It seems hurricanes like the babies in my family. I was a baby when Andrew hit, my sister was about six months old when Katrina hit and then Isaac hits right before LM's 1st birthday. We lost power for just a few days and flooding didn't affect our immediate area, though our parish (county) got it really bad in many areas. Also, we went over to my grandparents house to bunker down there and that was interesting all in itself lol.

Anyway, today we where feeling bored and blah with LM teething again. So I went through the albums of the Play At Home Moms facebook page to look for some inspiration. If you haven't checked out that page, you should! Well, I decided on some cornmeal and oatmeal sensory playtime. It was a hit, not a surprise.

This playmat isn't usually used, so when I laid it down, LM was very curious. He actually just played with the mat for about twenty minutes. Pushing it around, pulling it up, etc.

Here's the materials- a few containers out of the kitchen, some old dry oatmeal and some instant cornmeal mix we never use.

He dumped, scooped, grabbed handfuls, tasted, threw around, sprinkled, laughed, banging things against each other and basically had a ton of fun exploring the materials.

    After a while, he began to do more tasting than anything else. Once he couldn't be distracted from eating it, we switched activities to snack time instead. We do baby-led solids but during the hurricane LM was introduced to purees. However, it's in the form of the squeezable/slurp-able containers and he feeds himself still. Plus they're organic. I call them baby smoothies and today's was bananas, beets and blueberry. 

Once he'd slurped his fill of the smoothie, I cleaned up his high chair real quick and gave him a couple measuring cups and some water. Using the high chair tray as a mini-water table has been a favorite of his since he first began using his high chair about six months ago- water-play never gets old! 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Beeswax Eczema "Miracle Cure"

 Ok, it's not really a "miracle" cream but it sure is close to a miracle!

  As some of ya'll might remember, back at the beginning of May, LM was dealing with a bad eczema flare-up and used a tester product that we loved. This cream is from Bocage Bee and Honey Co. and it is amazing. Faster than I could have even hoped, it cleared up the eczema.

Here's the original post about this cream (  )

 Unfortunately, just a couple weeks later, the eczema returned in the same spot. Because the cream wasn't released yet, we couldn't get anymore. This flare-up actually resulted in a fatty tissue infection in his leg and a trip to the ER. It took two weeks to get rid of the infection and a month for the eczema itself to go away. eFor most of the trip, the eczema stayed away, only to flare up again badly a week before we came home.

This week, I found out that cream had been released while we where in Panama. We got some 3 days ago and it's already improved it so much it's unbelievable. Nothing else improves it this fast. Really the only thing that sorta works is steroids and even then it took weeks to clear it up as much as this cream has done in 3days.

The name of this miracle-working cream is "Creme Bebe Pour le Derriere" and it's from the Bocage Bee and Honey Co. They don't technically sell it online because they're tiny (but growing) business and couldn't keep with all of the sales they think they'd get online yet. However, you can email them and they def. will ship it to you! I asked about this specifically because when we tested the cream back in May, so many people wanted to know how to get their hands on it. The ingredients are all-natural beeswax, shea butter, grapeseed oil, coconut butter, corn starch and vitamin E. Part of the beauty of it is that it's whipped and thus so very soft and easy to apply. It's always totally safe for little ones to get in their mouths. It's not meant to be eaten obviously, but if your LO sneaked a taste of it, they won't be hurt by it. If a lot is ingested, the worst thing would be minor diarrhea from the shea butter. No chemicals, nothing in it that doesn't need to be there. This company is amazing all around, they are natural-minded and really interested in their products being healthy. One of their customers is a surgeon who uses raw honey to pack surgical dressings, another is a pediatrician who gets tons of samples from them to pass out to his patients with eczema.

I would not be raving about this stuff if I didn't truly LOVE it. LM's eczema drives me crazy, trying to keep it under control. The hospital visit in May was horrifying and trying to get enough antibiotics in him to fight the infection was awful work that made us all miserable. Hearing that it had been put on the market was such a relief. His leg, where this reoccurring spot is, is just looking so much smoother and less red.

Also, today he had an allergic reaction (second one he's had). He got his hands on some guacamole that had buttermilk in it and broke out in hives. I put some of this cream on him and the hives went away much faster than they did with his first reaction. The 1st reaction was during our Panama trip, when LM was given strawberry preserves by someone else. Broke out in hives almost immediately and they lasted for three or four days. This time the hives almost lasted several hours. Don't know if it has anything to do with applying the cream or not, but maybe it helped.

It comes in an 8ounce container which costs 16$, which I think will last several months of constant use.

For those local (Baton Rouge area), the company attends the Red Stick Farmer's Market on Saturdays with many of their products. But they also have a physical store at 3358 Drusilla Lane, Suite 1D. Their number is 225-448-5364.

But for those who aren't local, email them at and mention me (Katherine Eagerton). Their website is

If you try this cream, let me know what you think! All I've heard so far are people raving about it just like me.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Facebook Photo Policy Just Got Worse

Baby Grayson was born on Feb. 15th 2012 and lived for only eight hours. He was born with Anencephaly- a rare neural tube defect in which part of the brain and skull are missing. You might have just seen an episode of Private Practice which featured a baby with this defect. Grayson's mom Heather Walker recently shared photos of her beautiful baby boy- and had them deleted and was banned from Facebook for them.

As if deleting breastfeeding photos wasn't bad enough, now Facebook is messing with angel moms too? Support this family and tell Facebook they've yet again crossed the line!

Three weeks ago, I was banned for a photo myself. And before that, I was banned for sharing my own breastfeeding photo. It's infuriating and insulting. But if I choose to share my angel's photo and THAT was taken down? After I finished sobbing at the cruelty, I'd be screaming. I can only imagine how angry and hurt Heather Walker is right now. This is just so unfair. Facebook is supposed to be a social media site, not an insanely censured dictatorship. PORN is fine, but an eating baby or an "imperfect" baby is judged to obscene.!/TeamGrayson215