Monthly Archives: August 2009

Some wandering through Pubmed…..

And it is quite fantastical what is being researched when it comes to the gut and the immune system.

Believe it or not, it actually makes a difference whether a baby is born C-section or not when it comes to populating the sterile gut of the baby. A vaginal birth in a home environment actually makes the most sense if you want to colonise the babies gut with the best flora, considering the mother is healthy and has the ‘right’ flora to pass on. It seems that C-section babies are more at risk for allergies This idea is not in the conclusion of the linked in study, but it is an idea I came across here, and it makes sense to me. This study describes the colonization of the gut from the mother to the baby during birth. My conlusion is to optimise the birthing environment with health flora, not put a mother into a hospital brimming with germs and nasty ones at that. Perhaps in a couple of generations, this too will be the conclusion that the medical establishment come to.

And research is showing the potential cost benefit of prescribing probiotics in hospitals and overall health. Imagine that?

Not so long ago my SIL, the medical student, dismissed any concern about overprescription of antibiotics claiming that anitbiotics can’t do any harm and may do some good. At least in some medical circles this opinion is being challenged. The only potential harm, in her opinion, is the creation of superbugs from indesriminate use of antibiotics. But children suffer no side effects. While it is still a bit of a leap to say antibiotics kills all bacteria, we have some good bacteria that are the backbone of our immune systems, lets not use antibiotics unless it is a life and death situation, that is my present thinking. I cannot imagine undermining my child’s health for something as simple as a cough, unless it really makes the difference between life and death.

Eat fermented foods, avoid antibiotics unless they are absolutely needed, avoid antibaterical soaps in the home…. and give birth at home if at all possible. Keep your gut and skin flora in tact and healthy.

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Why am I comparing?

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Not having many friends who are mothers around me and living far away from my good friends who are mothers, I rely quite heavily on the internet for my support and inspiration. I have learned a phenomenal amount from other mothers on discussion boards and through blogs.

I was reading A Small Tribe, a blog I found through the Waldorf forum on MDC and was really struck by a post written about the reality of a Waldorf Inspired home – behind the scenes so to speak.

I do aspire to have a TV free home, eat orgnanic food, use cloth nappies, rely on lifestyle to support immune systems rather than vaccination to create immunity, have open ended toys made from natural non toxic material, etc etc etc. I work really hard to make this happen for my family.

However, we do have a 3 computers for 2 adults – one lap top each and a large computer that is used as a media centre for late night movies and music. And DS is very attached to a black 4X4 look alike toy that was given as a present some time ago.

But what got me thinking is that perhaps I am not being honest with myself in my portrayal of my life, both online and in my own head. I often wonder how it is that I have managed to cut TV out from our lives and ensure that DS has tasted sugar once, maybe twice in his almost 18 months. And keep the branded, electric, plastic toy fest out of our house.

I read about other mama’s who only eat home made orgaic local food – EVER. And I know that will never be me. We do go out to cafe’s and even order pizza on nights where I am just finished. I like to think that we will only ever have local fresh organic made from scratch meals on our table – but I also know that that will never be possible 100% of the time. If I can get 18 out of 21 meals a week made from scratch I am achieving my 100%. And even that is a strech. In all honesty, I reckon 17 out of 21 meals is more realistic. And this is with DH doing most dinners.

I also read about other mama’s who keep a very strong rhythm in their homes and I cringe inwardly. I have read enough to suspect that rhythm is very important – but I just can’t get the kind of rhythm going that I have read about in Waldorf Homeschooling materials. I might get there one day, but for now it is work in progress.

Pictures that I take invariably show the mess in my house and I rephrane from posting the pics It’s crazy, but I worry about the bag of rubbish hanging from the cuphord handle in the backround or the litter of objects that DS has taken out of the cuphoards or brought in from the yard… This is perhaps the most intimidating thing for me. Other blogs from mama’s who have the richest most vibrant photos – and I feel so bland in comparison.

It is quite intimidating having glimpses into other families lives and wondering what my choices say about me and my life. Although for the most part, I take inspiration from the women I come across on the internet. I feel a little less lonely and isolated.

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On being married to a man from a foreign country

I have written a couple of times about living in Israel and my difficulties – those related to being in Israel and those related to being in a foreign country generally.

Today I met a mum at the park who is originally from Kuwait. She has been living in Israel for 10 years after she married an Arab Israeli. She has two beautiful children. And I am so very sorry that I did not get her number.

We spoke in English, and my DS was so friendly with her, taking her hand and playing with her, while her older children played on the round about.

I asked her if she goes back to visit her family in Kuwait and she was talking about meeting them in Jordan, and then hurried off when her husband came out of the bank.

I felt so happy talking to another woman who has moved to this country to be with her husband and who also feels the stress of living in Israeli society – but who does not feel bound to the land as her national heritage. I admit too that I would love to find a way to be friends with an Arab family – as much for myself, as for my DS. I do have a political agenda as such. But mostly, it was just so reassuring to talk to someone not born in Israel who spoke about being here for her husband, not for an an ideology. I do not fit in with Immigrants in general in the Israeli society. I find it hard to idenitify with a rhetoric that inherently denies the right of a nation to exist.

I did not even get this mums name, only the names of her children. I really do hope I meet you again at the park and that just maybe we will sit to coffee one day.

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Currently reading

I am reading Smart Moves, by Carla Hannaford and loving it. I think that there is so much to learn and apply when it comes to how children learn and what we want to teach them.

I am quite sure that Waldorf schools are onto a good thing when they don’t rush reading and generally have a take it slow appraoch with introducing technology and ‘scientific thinking’. I do not see the benefit in rushing children to know their numbers and letters – or generally pushing kids to perform academic skills. I am inclined to believe that it is a misplaced belief of this being for the good of the child. Of course if every child is reading in grade one, it could be hard for my child if he were not. He might be made to feel stupid or inferior in some way. But that is still not enough of a convincing reason to prssure him to be reading and writing and doing math when he is younger than 7-8. I see reading, writing and math as the culmination of years of having developed the foundations – essentally perception. Without an understanding of how objects related to one another and how you relate to objects around you in space – reading and writing are going to be that much more difficult. Behind, in front, left, right, under, over, etc are the foundations for being able to decode written language. And the strongest way to lay the foundation for these perceptions is through movement. Children first learn kinesthetically (through movement) and then through 3 dimentions (ie blocks/toys), and then in 2 dimensions (on paper).

Anyway, many books have been written on this and I am defintily not the first to choose to stay away from ‘acamdic’ material in the first years. It makes sense to me and fits with my values and seems to be more in line with the ideal environment for little children to be growing and learning in.

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