Monday, November 15, 2010

Micah-ism #1: I want all the things...

I'm pretty sure this is what four year olds are thinking all of the time.
(And most adults.)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Routine Infant Circumcision - Genital Mutilation?

Your child is strapped down, confined to a cold contraption.

Their once radiant, smiling, pink face is now turning a sickening shade of blue from screaming, tears streaming down their perfectly round cheeks, mouth open, the screams of pain and horror are sometimes inaudible.

A faceless stranger is hurting them.

Cutting them. Where is my mommy?

The pain wracking their little body is now building to a crescendo, sending their little muscles into spams as they struggle for breath.

Little drops of blood staining the gauze a deep shade of crimson red.

And then. It's over. They wrap them tight. They wipe away the incriminating tears and pass the child off, readying the room for the next child to have flesh cut off of them.

Your child is handed back to you in a small room. They are quiet. They look so sleepy. They hadn't been a 'brave' child. They weren't tired.

They are in shock. Their little hearts which have only just began beating are now struggling to KEEP beating. They show signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Their body limp. Exhausted. Spent.

Their body forever changed, physically as well as mentally. Some of their first sensations having been confusion, fear, suffering, pain.

And you know. It's all your fault.


This is the daily way of life in American hospitals. Doctors who have sworn to do no harm, cutting on helpless children, ignorantly lining their pockets with the money of new parents (since insurance does not cover 'non-medical elective surgery'), who think the decision to cut on a helpless being is their own. Which it is not. The patient is the child. The child has not 'elected', NOR consented. Every human being has the right to genital integrity.

It's SURGERY. Would you force an unconsenting adult into a chair to be cut with little to no anesthetic? Then not inform them how to properly care for the wound? Well, it happens every day to unsuspecting, trusting children (and parents).


We should first look at the function and necessity of the prepuce, also known as the foreskin.

The prepuce is the primary, erogenous tissue necessary for normal sexual function. A retractable, double-layered fold of skin and mucous membrane that covers and lubricates the glans (head of the) penis and protects the urinary meatus ('pee hole' for you non-medical-term types) when the penis is not erect. The outside of the foreskin is a continuation of the skin on the shaft of the penis, but the inner foreskin is a mucous membrane like the inside of the eyelid or the mouth. The end of the prepuce contains nerve endings called Meissner's corpuscles which house the 5 most sensitive areas of the penis. The fold of the prepuce maintains sub-preputial wetness, which mixes with exfoliated skin to form smegma, containing antibacterial enzymes.

After circumcision the glans becomes keratinizated (calloused). The skin becomes thicker and the glans becomes less sensitive, dry and changes colour. It gets worse over time, older males often feeling very little in the glans.


What are the reasons some parents feel the need to mutilate their children? (Mutilate is not a 'strong word' for circumcision'. Please see the definition of mutilate first. Lets call things what they are, shall we.)

1. To be like his daddy and other boys. Most boys ARE.

Wrong. America (in our constant strive to stand out and be different) holds the majority in circumcised males. 80% of the Earth's male population are intact. Americans are catching on, however. Routine infant circumcision rates are down. In the years to come it will be circumcised males in the minority.

If you want him to be like his daddy, teach him to be like his daddy. But sons are not and should not be exact replicas of their fathers. They are their own person.

2. For health/cleanliness reasons.

Many, if not most, American physicians are ignorant of proper care of the foreskin. The prepuce of the penis is held to the head of the penis like a nail to a finger. You do not retract it unless you'd like to invite disease. You don't retract your nail to clean under it, do you?

Your son should be the only one who retracts his penis to clean it when he is ready.

Your job as a parent is to only 'clean what is seen'. If your Pediatrician or their staff is unaware of how to properly care for a intact penis, it is your job to stick up for your child and politely inform them.

Well, you may ask, what about cancer? The incidence of penile cancer in America is 0.8 in 100,000. And then only being fatal 0.3 in 0.8. The cancer rarely originating in the prepuce. The part of the penis removed during circumcision.

Okay, okay, hippie... But what about HIV!? In the most recent study, a total of 2585 males over the age of 15 were administered questionnaires and provided specimens for HIV testing. 916 (35.4%) of them said they were circumcised. HIV prevalence among circumcised males was 10.7% and among uncircumcised males was 12.1%. A 0.9% difference is not medically significant enough to permanently scar an infant.

The American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on Circumcision declared: "...there are no valid medical indications for circumcision in the neonatal period." No Government Organization in the world recommends routine infant circumcision. If routine infant circumcision had health benefits, don't you think it would be recommended by government appointed professionals?

3. My religion recommends it.

With all due respect to all religions; how utterly barbaric. We did away with blood sacrifices and the lashing of ones self, but kept cutting our children? It reminds me of a hazing ritual for college sororities. Except the child may not want to be a practitioner of said religion later on in life. Why not wait and let them choose for themselves?

I am sure there are other reasons (which can easily be repudiated, or put down to simple ignorance and/or neglect) for parents to wish a chopping off of the prepuce of the penis on their son. But the ones above are the most common.


Reasons to reject routine infant circumcision:

1. It is tantamount to torture. Circumcision pain is described in this research study by Howard Stang and his colleagues from the Department of Pediatrics, Group Health Inc., and the University of Minnesota Institute of Child Development: "There is no doubt that circumcisions are painful for the baby. Indeed, circumcision has become a model for the analysis of pain and stress responses in the newborn." They report that the infant will "cry vigorously, tremble, and in some cases become mildly cyanotic [having blueness or lividness of the skin, caused by a deficiency of oxygen] because of prolonged crying."

Excessive crying can itself cause harm. In a rare case, an infant cried vehemently for about ninety minutes and ruptured his stomach.

Often, no anesthetic is used. Shouldn't this be illegal?

2. It is dangerous, carrying several serious and frequently seen complications. One of the greatest causes of death for children in the United States is circumcision. More babies die from routine infant circumcision than from choking, car accidents, SIDS or suffocation in the neonatal period.

Common complications include blood loss (Losing just 1 ounce of blood results in hemorrhage, and losing only 2.3 ounces is enough to put a heart-healthy baby into cardiac arrest.), hemorrhaging, infection, scarring and death. Other complications include concealed penis, urinary fistulas, chordee, cysts, lymphedema, ulceration of the glans, necrosis of all or part of the penis, hypospadias, epispadias and impotence.

3. It is not recommended by any health organisation. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) states "To make an informed choice, parents of all male infants should be given accurate and unbiased information and be provided the opportunity to discuss this decision. If a decision for circumcision is made, procedural analgesia should be provided... The medical attendant should avoid exaggeration of either risks or benefits of this procedure... There is no data sufficient enough to recommend routine neonatal circumcision."

However, parents are not informed, they are given biased, exaggerated information and their children are routinely not given procedural analgesia. Since routine neonatal circumcision is classified as a non-medically indicated elective cosmetic surgery, insurance does not pay for it. Parents pay out of pocket.

(These are just a few, common reasons. For a more detailed list please see 20 Reasons I Did Not Circumcise My Son.)


Let me put it this way. Have you ever seen someone discipline your child or spank your child? Were you furious? What if that person cut your child with a knife? Without anesthetic? Would you be furious? Knowing you told them to do it?

Would you ever take a knife and cut on your baby? Then why would you let someone else do it?

Circumcision is genital mutilation and is a human rights violation.


Thanks for reading. I am definitely open to rational, constructive comments discussion and debate. I welcome all opinions, however, rude, degrading or demeaning comments will be deleted with prejudice.

PS - I am not here to do your research for you, provide you with hundreds of links to hundreds of studies, nor am I here to try and make your mind up for you. If your children are your LIFE (as they should be) then you should always be well informed on all subjects of their lives. It's your job to protect your children, doing your own research and making up your own mind.

PPS - Yes, I am a mother of a intact son. Before he was born my instincts told me that I would be doing him a disservice if I let someone cut on his perfectly formed body. My own research backed me up on this and when he was born, feeling his skin on mine sealed the deal. No one would ever cause him pain for money or unsubstantiated, exaggerated facts while I am around.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Breastfeeding War

7 Myths About Breastfeeding - Click for Fullsize

I may regret this later, I sort of acted on impulse and emotion. But people like this guy really get to me.

Alex Andrews writes: "This is as stupid as saying if you don't like public deification, put a blanket over your head. Nobody should be publicly forced to witness breast feeding because they were looking where they were going, or finding a seat. People claim lots of things are natural, that doesn't mean that it needs to be a public spectacle."


I write: "If you think comparing breastfeeding in public and defecating in public is okay then I feel very sorry you.

No one is "publicly forcing" anyone to look. In fact, there are LAWS protecting women from harassment against feeding their babies in public that sometimes result in fines (including just a stare). If there are laws that protect BFing women in public in every community, how is the online community different?

I assume you think women should seclude themselves to their home and become recluses until their child isn't nursing anymore. Women have to get out of the house. And since feeding a baby in a dirty bathroom isn't an option, I suggest you get your mind out of the gutter about breast feeding and look away.

Do you think a child screaming it's head off because they're hungry, or a woman meeting the child's needs is more of a "spectacle"?

Lastly, while I may not agree with your opinion, I still fight for your right to say it. How dare you say our opinions (and the LAW) is "stupid"."

Input your opinion below. Or not.

I am always open to questions, tactful comments and constructive criticism.

Why Sprint Sucks and What I Reported to the BBB (Better Business Bureau)

I have really come to loathe Sprint after my 4+ years of having them as a cellphone service provider. I have no love in my heart for them.

After multiple attempts over 2 years of trying to figure out how their customer service works and why it seems like they're always trying to stab people in the back I filed a complaint with the BBB.

Here is a what I wrote and what I have so far from the BBB:

COMPLAINT ACTIVITY REPORT Case # 300056273 Better Business Bureau

Consumer Info: (NAME OMITTED) Business Info: Sprint
(address removed for privacy) 1010 S 120th St # 300
San Diego, CA 92111 Omaha, NE 68154-4208
- - 402 491-2100

Location Involved: (Same as above)

Consumer's Original Complaint :
(NAME OMITTED) - Sprint Account #------813. I entered a Sprint 2 Year contract two years ago. I set up for auto pay with my checking account. Every month since signing up I have had to call their customer service with billing issues. That was the least of my problems. I set my brother up with a phone attached to my plan a year ago. Four months ago he dropped his uninsured phone in the toilet and it broke. We went in for a new one, but Sprint would not replace or fix it since it was uninsured. The sales representative named Manny Cardoza (his name tag says Leo) said that if I added two more lines, my brother would have a new phone, and I would save 20% on my bill every month. I had been paying $140 every month beforehand and Manny said my bill would be around $112 a month. This sounded really good to me. I asked if there were additional fees. He said no. Until I received my Sprint bill that month for almost $400! There WERE hidden fees, set up fees, activation fees and more. I went into the store to straighten this out, because I was on an auto pay system and it would come out of my account in two weeks, and would OVERDRAW my account. Manny and his supervisor assured me this wouldn't happen and that the extra amount would be credited to me. After leaving I also contacted the customer service line to explain what happened. Since the sales reps in the store never write notes about customers who come in, I had to explain everything to the customer service rep. They said that Manny and his supervisor were wrong. That the amount would still come out of my account, but I could be credited the extra amount. I said they better send me a check in the mail ASAP. Which they did, but it took almost a month to get there, sending my checking account overdrawn and giving me several overdraft fees. I later went into the same store to address these overdraft fees and have the store pay for them, which they did. I then told them to take me off the auto pay, which they said they did, but would take 3 billing cycles. NOW, 4 MONTHS LATER my bill is at $180 a month instead of $112. STILL. AND my account is still being auto paid. I discussed this in the store months ago with Manny, who assured me he would fix it. He told me to "email him later so he would remember to do it". How is that MY responsibility to get you to DO YOUR JOB? I emailed him the reminder at the email address on his card he gave me ( He never got back to me, OR fixed my bill. So I am out $204 over the course of three months in overpayments. I am sick of dealing with these people who don't know how to communicate and don't seem to care about their customers OR customer's financial problems. I am going into the store again today to give them a copy of my complaint and hopefully then they'll do their jobs, take me seriously and fix their mistakes.

Consumer's Desired Resolution:
I am seeking a refund in the amount of $208, the amount I have been overcharged over the course of three months as well as my bill being immediately taken off of the auto pay system. I also am going to take the number of phones on my plan from 5 to 2 and want the cancellation fees of the three phones I DON'T EVEN USE (but was pressured into getting under false pretense of a lowered monthly bill), WAIVED.

BBB Processing

03/17/2010 web BBB Case Received by BBB
03/17/2010 web BBB Forward to Another BBB - OTTO
03/17/2010 Otto BBB Inform Consumer Case Transferred to Another BBB
03/17/2010 Otto BBB Inform other BBB Case Transferred


I am now on my way to print this and go into the store. Hopefully now they'll take me seriously, do their JOB and fix their blunder.


It has now been nearly four months later. I am still on auto pay, but don't really care anymore, since I'm tired of dealing with it. My monthly bill is still $140. When my contract is up, I'm NOT renewing.

I am always open to questions, tactful comments and constructive criticism.

Is Eating Healthy on a Budget Possible?

With the health food craze, I've been hearing people say that the poor are the majority of obese people. Well, the poor are the majority of EVERYTHING. Because we are so many! It just doesn't stick when people say you can't eat healthy on a budget. My family and I are NOT rich by ANY means and we still eat healthy. We don't eat out, I make all the lunches for when we might be tempted. We don't eat meat unless we can afford grass-fed organic, but I do put a ham hock in a crock pot of beans every week.

We eat a lot of salads, fruit, veggies and potatoes. I can get very creative in my dinner plans. My parents grow some food in the yard, even my four year old helps out. Strawberries fresh off the stem can brighten even the dreariest of days.

The "trick" is, to NOT spend $2 every day on a burger (even when you're at work!) and instead, save that money for the grocery store! We only go out to eat once or twice a month (more, if someone else offers to pay...) As a country, we all need to start cooking more. With a little creativity, you can make healthy meals for $.50 - $2 per person.

Limit your intake of junk food and alcohol, you don't need to be spending $100 a month on booze that ruins your liver. Give up smoking; your body and wallet will thank you. Drink lots of water (at least 8 cups a day), you'll feel fuller, it helps you detox and you may even lose some weight; your stomach, bladder and teeth will thank you for drinking water instead of sugary juices, sodas and energy drinks. Limit salty and sugary foods like processed and pre-packaged foods and opt on simple ingredients; making your own meals and lunches is not only economical, it's healthier! Avoid eating many foods that are high in saturated fats like fast food. Make a shopping list, stick it to your fridge so you can update it when you run out of certain things, then stick to it at the grocery store; self-control FTW!

Plan out your daily meals weekly. Recruit the kids to think of new meal ideas. It takes practice, perseverance and dedication to stick to it.

True, a lot of people are lazy... But adults today have forgotten how to cook, sit down and eat with their families. They've even forgotten how to SAVE money for necessities and rainy days. No, you don't need that new Margaritaville 3000.

If needed, some areas offer free financial and culinary classes. Bring the kids, too!

I am always open to questions, tactful comments and constructive criticism.

Homeschooling Micah

I made this decision a long time ago. Before Micah was even born. When I was in home school, as a matter of fact. I wasn't always in homeschool. I have had my fair share of the public school system. And I still stand by my decision, probably even more so today.

First, I'd like you to read this article about the American public school system.

Now, here are my reasons, listed in order of importance to me:
1. Too many students:teachers ratio. The average classroom accommodates 50 students now. And one teacher. Can you imagine trying to learn something with 50 other students? There's no one-on-one time. And you wonder why IQ scores are down...

2. Association and socialization. Do I really want Micah in a place where there is unsupervised conduct with worldly kids for hours a day? Kids as young as 8 now learn about sex, drugs and alcohol on the playground. Not to mention the presence of bullies and disease.

3. American schools are almost last in science and a few others. Take a look at this PISA chart.

4. In order for any child to attend public school it is required by the state that they have 19 vaccinations! Vaccinations that have been proven to be harmful and in some cases, cause autism. (I.E. My brother.) Few know that the requirement was helped put in to place by powerful pharmaceutical companies. Companies who made their product a state requirement.

I love my son. And all the facts point me to only one conclusion. That home school is the best option for Micah.

They even have public home school. That's right. This online school is paid for by the government. They send you a computer, a printer and any other supplies you will ever need. It's tuition free K-12. Part of the schooling is done online and the rest is done with books and paper.

Earlier today I was asked questions about it in a way that made it seem I would be doing Micah a great disservice if I homeschooled him.

I don't want anyone to think I am doing Micah a disservice by homeschooling him. I'm not offended or angry that some people don't agree with me. I just hope they do their own research and don't rely on third party information and then pass judgement on a parent's decision.

I sent them some information. I hope they read it in it's entirety.

Homeschooling is the single fastest growing educational trend in the United States, and that trend is expanding worldwide. Dr. Brian Ray, one of the leading homeschool researchers, estimates that homeschooling has increased 15% per year over the past several years. While accurate statistics regarding the number of families homeschooling is difficult to come by, Dr. Ray’s estimates are supported by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Household Education Survey program.

In 1999, the Department of Ed estimated that there were about 850,000 homeschoolers nationwide, and had increased to about 1.1 million by 2003. Ray’s estimated that there were between 1.7 and 2.1 million homeschoolers at the end of that period, and that currently, there are between 2.5 and 4 million homeschoolers nationwide.

It is not hard to see why. Every day there are reports about how our traditional education systems are failing to keep pace with business and industry, and indeed, worldwide education systems, in preparing our nation’s youth to enter the workforce. (In San Diego, for instance, there are up to 30 children per teacher. You can't learn that way. Too much distraction. Too much violence in the schools as well. Not including rare but there teachers who have inappropriate conduct with their students.) Students in Japan, India and China spend more time in school, and far surpass our nation’s youth in Math and Science. So how do homeschoolers do, comparatively?

Socially: There is a common myth that homeschooling produces social misfits. This myth partially arises from an assumption that traditional education systems provide “normal” socialization activities. Dr. Raymond Moore, in his book Better Late than Early writes that “The idea that children need to be around many other youngsters in order to be ‘socialized’ is perhaps the most dangerous and extravagant myth in education and child rearing today." There is ample research that indicates that because home schooled students are exposed to a wider variety of people and situations, they learn to get along with a variety of people, making them socially mature and better able to adjust to new situations. Since Micah has friends of ALL shapes, sizes and ages, he will be more well adjusted and socialized than public school kids. We aren't hermits. We go outside. We just have class at home.

In their Communities: Many non-homeschoolers believe that homeschooling can turn out better students, but because homeschool students are educated in greater isolation from the world, they are less politically and socially involved. This concern comes at a great time, for homeschoolers at least. The first generation of homeschoolers has now grown up and entered the workforce. Dr. Ray surveyed over 7,000 adults who had been home schooled and compared them against their more traditionally educated peers. His research found that:

Ninety-five percent of homeschoolers had an adequate comprehension of politics and government, compared to 65% of U.S. adults.
Seventy-one percent of homeschool graduates participate in ongoing community service activities, including politics, compared to 37% of adults in similar ages.
Eighty-eight percent of HS graduates are members of organizations (community groups, church, or professional organizations) compared to 50% of U.S. adults.
Significantly, 76% of homeschool graduates voted in a national or state election within the past 5 years, compared to 29 percent of similar U.S. adults.

In college: Many homeschool families are concerned whether their child will be able to do well on the SAT/ACT’s and get into college. Every year, colleges across the nation and around the world are opening their doors to homeschoolers. Many of the most prestigious colleges around the nation have accepted homeschoolers: Brown, Georgetown, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, the United States Military Academy at West Point, UC at Berkeley, University of Michigan, Notre Dame, and Yale, just to name a few. Homeschool Facts has compiled a list of over 1,400 colleges that accept homeschoolers, and that list grows longer every day.

Colleges and Universities all around the nation have realized the positive benefits of attracting homeschoolers. Research indicates that homeschoolers who have gone to college have no social skill deprivation, exhibit greater leadership skills, demonstrated stronger work ethic and had higher moral values, integral in their college success.

Homeschooling is obviously not for everyone. However, it is also an education option that should be considered for any family that does not feel their student’s needs would be met in traditional educational systems. I'm not anti-public education, I'm pro-education choice. I support the parent’s right to choose which educational environment will work best for their child.

Hope I've been helpful in showing any reader out there that I have decided homeschooling is the best option for Micah and to not question or berate my decision. It's insulting.

I am always open to questions, tactful comments and constructive criticism.