Tuesday, February 28, 2006

What happened to the lady?

SAHM. Are you familiar with that acronym? It stands for "Stay at home mom," which happens to be my current profession. If you have ever been at home during the day due to sickness, vacation, or because you too are a SAHM, then you have likely caught a daytime talk show or two. Oprah, Ellen, and even Tony Danza (who apparently has been given his own show) all give praise to the SAHM, often citing how that is the hardest job out there. They know who their audience is and know how to charm them.

Apparently Good Morning America isn't too worried about getting the SAHM's vote, because they recently had author Laura Hirshman on discussing the horrible tragedy of the new trend of college-degreed women choosing to stay at home and raise babies rather than take their place in the work environment. She went on to say, "I think it"s a mistake for these highly educated and capable women to make that choice. I"m saying an educated, competent adult"s place is in the office."

Wow! Ms. (I presume it is not Mrs.) Hirshman, shall we all go burn our bras as well? If you know me, you know I am not the meek, timid thing in the corner without a mere thought in her head. I agree in equality for everyone, despite sex, skin color, SES, choice in cola, etc. Our society has come so far in accepting differences as just that, rather than as a determination of greatness or weakness. Gone are the days when women enter college to get a degree in either home economics, teaching, or nursing. The glass ceiling for women in the workplace is slowly being shattered in businesses and companies all across our nation. The Feminist Movement did a lot for women in our country, but now this author is throwing us back into the stone age. I have a Masters Degree in Clinical Child Psychology. My thesis was presented at the American Psychological Association's national convention. I had a successful career as a teacher, creating a name (small) for myself in Special Education and behavior modification in the district in which I was associated. Now, I spend the majority of my day changing diapers, playing Peek-A-Boo, and singing the "Rice Cereal" song a million times (one of many diddies I have "written" and perform for Isaac on a daily basis--I recently heard Tobe singing the "It's bathtime, it's bathtime" song. Perhaps I will make my own CD....). Apparently this autbelievesives sactivitiesites itrivialival way to spend a day. However, Martin Luther King Jr.'s mother, Mother Teresa's mother, and even Bono's mother most likely spent the majority of their days doing the same thing in the early years. When did raising a child to become an independent, motivated adult become a waste of an education?

So I ask the question, "Where has the lady gone in our society?" Recently researchers have noticed a trend in adolescent females. Girls are becoming more and more aggressive--whether in the classroom, on the sports field, or in everyday interactions. We all love when one of roommatesates on the Real World starts pulling and clawing at another female roomie. However, we are not shocked by the idea that girls are fighting and using such colorful language that would make a sailor blush (no offense to any Navy personal who read this blog). When did aggressive, bitchy (excuse my language) women/girls become the norm? How do women expect men and society in general to hold them in high regards and show respect towards them if this is the image of woman that is being portrayed?

Right now you might be asking yourself what is the point of this blog---you were just checking to get an update on Isaac and you got a rant about women in our society. Laura Hirshman's comments made me angry and frustrated with perceptions of women in our society. I believe that anyone--regardless of color, creed, or gender---can set out and accomplish any task, from presiding over the boardroom to sitting at home reading "If You Give a Moose a Muffin" for the 12th time. I do not believe that the educated stay-at-home parent is wasting their knowledge. I am worried that the power of being a woman and a mother--the graceefficiencyency that Proverbs 31 portrays--is going to be lost to a society that craves drama and selfishness. Thus the reason for this tirade. I hope that notionsiong of "being a lady" becomes the new trend for women. That classiness and reserve are the qualities that are appreciated rather than in-your-face aggressiveness. I hope that involved parenting is revered for the outcomes it creates. Finally, I hope that Ms. Hirshman one day has a child of her own and comes to understand the value in raising a child, rather working outside the home or not.

Now if you excuse me, I am off to sing "We Shall Overcome" and tend to my garden.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Go, Dog, Go!

What did you do this past rainy Saturday morning? Did you stay in bed, snuggled down under the covers? Did you enjoy a steaming stack of pancakes and a warm cup of coffee? Over here at the casa de Phillips' we thought Saturday morning would be the perfect time to head out to Fort Worth and run in the rain. Yes, Tobe and I headed out for the Cowtown Marathon early Saturday morning. Tobe has been training for the marathon for months and this was to be my first 5K since having the baby. What do we wake up to Saturday morning? Pouring down rain and lightening. Apparently our area got more rain from Friday afternoon to Saturday morning than it has from November 1, 2005 to Feb. 23, 2006.

Despite the weather, we made our way to Fort Worth. Tobe has been training so long and he didn't want to pass up this chance to meet a life goal due to some weather. We scooped up some trendy ponchos at Wal-Mart on our way down and then headed out into the rain. Fortunately it was a very light drizzle when Tobe's race started. For my race, the rain would come and go, but was never unbearable. Besides, I had on my stylin' poncho (which doesn't help with the jogging) to keep me dry and warm.

This is the 3rd year we have participated in the Cowtown Marathon 5k. Every time it has been eventful. The first year it was like 30 degrees when we ran. Being rookies at the whole Fort Worth 5K thing, Tobe and I had simply worn our running shorts and t-shirts. Downtown Fort Worth has very tall buildings, which create great things for the wind to whip around and make huge, frigid gusts that almost knock you over. We froze that first year, but had a good time. Last year I was 18 weeks pregnant when I ran the 5K. My doctor had given me the "OK" to participate, however she advised me to stay very hydrated the whole time because I had become dehydrated a few weeks before and experienced cramping. Perfect, except that a well-hydrated pregnant woman needs a restroom waiting five feet at all times. My bladder was on the verge of exploding by the time I crossed the finish line last year. Finally, this year was the rain. By the time Tobe victoriously crossed the finish line, he was completely soaked. Although the rain had been light at the start, he did experience several bouts of steady rain during his 26.2 mile run. I was pretty soaked after the 5k and then drenched while standing in the rain waiting for my husband to cross that finish line. By the time we made it back to our car, we looked pretty pathetic.

Some highlights from the race included seeing a girl running in her Juicy couture sweatsuit (not made for actual exercise) holding her Burberry umbrella. I was tempted to yell, "Go back to Highland Park" as I passed her (but was concentrating on not falling on the slick pavement or drowning in a puddle). We were able to see good college friends representing Sweetwater USA and catch-up with them. Also, there was a man who ran the marathon barefoot. Apparently this is his "thing". Sounds very dangerous and really raises the risk for getting an infectious disease. The best highlight from the race can be found on the front page of the Cowtown Marathon's special section in yesterday's Fort Worth Starr Telegram. In the top left hand corner you see a man wearing a life vest, goggles, and a swim hat. Yes, dear readers, that man was in our wedding and is a good friend of the Phillips'.

Despite the weather, the Cowtown was a great experience this year. Hopefully the three readers of this blog will join us next year as we once again race through the streets of Fort Worth.

Isaac chose to stay warm and cozy in his Jammies with Nana and Papa rather than brave the elements.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Husband's Worst Nightmare

I faced a dilemma tonight: do I watch the Ladies Figure Skating or Dancing With the Stars? Tough choice. This is the type of thing that makes my husband run screaming from the room in search of something manly like a Sports Illustrated or a socket wrench. As 7:00pm drew near, I knew I would have to decide if I wanted to watch Sasha Cohen fight for the gold or Drew Lachey dance all over Stacey Keebler's face. I opted to cheat and check the results of the figure skating on espn.com and base my decision on how heated the skating competition actually became. After glimpsing the results, I decided to stick with my Thursday night standard of Dancing with the Stars. Who cares about the Olympics when one can watch Jerry Rice do the Samba? Besides, I can catch women's figure skating in four years.

Despite the fact that I was filled with anxiety all day over this decision, I actually ended up only watching about 15 minutes of Dancing with the Stars--in the dark, with the volume turned down--while Isaac slowly took his last bottle of the day. Then I ended up hanging out in the study with Tobe listening to Green Day mashups and discussing the Sing Song scandal (ACU reference for those non-Wildcat readers). However, I still plan on voting for Drew Lachey, despite the fact I did not see him dance tonight. Voting for Stacey Keebler is simply wrong for two reasons: One being that she is a fake wrestler and two being that she has been trained in ballet for over 15 years. Poor Jerry Rice simply made it to the finals to keep the husbands interest and prevent them from tearing the clicker (my grandmother's term for remote control--LOVE IT!) out of their wives hands and turning the channel to fishing.

Go, Drew, Go! Prove to the world that the Lacheys' don't need Joe Simpson to make them successful!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Reunited Again

Two reunions have occurred in the past 24 hours : Blogger and myself (has it really been a week since my last post?) and Anderson Cooper and Lisa Ling.

Some of you (the elite who attended nice schools) are wondering what the connection is between Anderson Cooper and Lisa Ling. Those of you who grew-up in small town America know this duo well. Before there was 360 or The View, there was Channel 1. Channel 1 was a ten minute morning news broadcast shown in schools by Turner Broadcasting. The deal made by Mr. Turner was that he would put new televisions in all classrooms if the school would agree to an extended year contract with Channel 1, promising to show this quality news program every morning (which ran commercials--thus the source of money for all those sparkly TV's). The program would come on AUTOMATICALLY every morning at 8:05am--no one even had to turn the television on. Turner Broadcasting sold this deal to smaller, poorer school districts (sorry, Highland Park ISD).

The news was hosted by supposedly young hip teenagers with a nose for the world's happenings. Among these young journalists were Anderson Cooper and Lisa Ling. Bet Anderson fooled you into thinking he is a seasoned reporter with the gray hair, huh? Other famous Channel 1 reporters include Justin Gunn--formerly of Inside Edition, now on the Food Network, and Sabrina Autchul (sp????) on MTV. Yesterday Anderson and Lisa were reunited on the Oprah show to discuss the Hurricane Katrina aftermath. Apparently, our government has forgotten that thousands and thousands of people have lost their homes and livelyhoods. It was a very moving show that I hope will remind all of us of the work that remains in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Here is a picture of a future Channel 1 reporter...

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Escape Artist 101

Apparently my son is the instructor for this class. Despite the fact that he has yet to "cruise", he is finding ways to move and manipulate that continue to shock me. Just this week he has figured out how to untie the bumper on his crib (which is higher than your standard bumper) and how to pull the mobile down so he can play with it. This morning I sat him in his bumbo (see attached picture) to play while I made my toast. You might be asking, "What is a Bumbo?" Well, a Bumbo is a seat for babies to sit in before they can actually sit on their own. Very cool idea. The Bumbo is also made out of sturdy foam so baby doesn't hurt his head when he smacks it on the seat. The package to the Bumbo says that Baby cannot fall out or get out on his/her own. The Bumbo originated in South Africa, but has recently become very popular here in the US (so popular that Target has started selling them). Isaac is borrowing this Bumbo from his sweet friend Morgan. This morning he was playing in his Bumbo with his TV tray and toys. I stepped ten feet away into the kitchen to make a simple piece of toast. Upon returning to the living room sixty seconds later, I found Isaac out of his Bumbo, laying on the carpet with a big grin on his face. Tomorrow who knows where I will find him....Perhaps out by the mailbox, digging in the dirt

(Side Note: We normally do not make our child wear hats inside, especially hats that resemble something the Pope might wear. However, the particular hat featured in the above pictures went with his pajamas that morning and we couldn't resist him trying it on. Don't you wish you had a hat that coordinated with your PJ's?)

Monday, February 13, 2006

What they didn't tell you in childbirth class...

I could preach for days on the subject of what they did not tell us in childbirth class. Tobe and I attended an excellent course with wonderful, knowledgeable teachers. However, I find myself often thinking, "They didn't tell me THAT during class..."

A few weeks ago I bumped into one of our instructors who asked how the whole labor/Mommy think went and is currently going. I told her labor went well (left out the 26 1/2 hours and 2 hour pushing part) and that I loved being a Mommy. Because I know that our wonderful teacher is not a reader of this blog, I will know discuss one thing that they did not tell me during childbirth preparedness class.

No one told me that I would basically have to become a professional bodybuilder just to haul around baby and baby carrier. I did a lot of research before we registered/bought any baby items to make sure we were getting high quality items at a good price. Although I thought I did my homework on choosing a quality baby carrier, I obviously never factored in the idea that I would one day have to carry carrier and child together. Despite the fact that Isaac is at the six month mark, we are still using the carrier until he can sit unsupported. Add together the ten pounds the carrier weighs and the 16 pounds Isaac weighs and that is a lot to haul around. I quickly discovered the need to park by cart returns and always have a stroller in the trunk. However, this morning we had to mail some things at the post office. Since there are no shopping carts at the post office and it seemed very time-consuming to drag out the stroller, I decided to take Isaac and carrier plus our mail inside. As I trudged towards the front door, hoping to find a kind soul to help me get the door open, a Brittany wannabe with an unseasonable tan,cropped tank-top, sagging sweat pants, and flip-flops raced ahead of me and basically allowed the door to shut in my face. Then I managed to drop about half my mail as I attempted to open the door while at the same time Isaac decided Spiderman wanted to dive to the ground. Fixed that crisis and then made my way to the cheerful line of postal customers, holding this 26 pounds of plastic and love. As beads of sweat are glistening on my face and I am contemplating if stripping down would be inappropriate, I finally was granted my turn at the postal counter. The worker tried to make small talk, commenting on how Isaac couldn't possibly be my baby....too young-looking...what will the Dallas Cowboys squad do without me now that I am a mom (no joke, this was actually said. Those that know me well are probably laughing hysterically at the thought of me being a cheerleader. Those who are not so familiar with my lack of grace, just ask Tobe about the time I managed to hit myself in the face when I sneezed. This postal worker is known for being over-complimentary of all customers--he makes a point of always saying something gracious to each person in his line. I went in to buy some stamps about one week before I had Isaac and he said I barely looked pregnant. Wish I could say that was true, but I did resemble the Stay-Puff marshmallow Man by that point.) I refrained from telling the nice man that I just want to mail my packages and retreat back to my car before my arm falls off. Finally the packages are sent and I trudge back to my car, my arms feeling like spaghetti. I make a mental note that tomorrow I can skip the bicep curls at the gym and vow never again to go to the post office until Isaac can walk.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Big Head Blues....

Yep, that is what we get to sing! Thank goodness! The MRI said everything looked good and there is no further reason to be concerned. I have never been so thankful for someone to tell me my child has a big head in my life. Thank you for all of the prayers, encouraging comments, and sweet emails. They were MUCH appreciated.

I will post more later--I am in the process of making dinner, baby food, and putting Isaac down for a late nap. What a blessing it is to be doing the normal things of life!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Snoozin' in the crib

Long day....

Enjoy the new highchair (thanks again Baylor employees!) and some H2O

Splashin' in the tub

Greeting his new friend, Davey the Duck (notice the duck is wearing a cowboy hat, boots, and has the inscription "Lubbock" on his chest--this is just one duck in Isaac's growing population of bath duckies)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

MRI Melodrama

Yesterday we scheduled the MRI for Isaac. It will be this Thursday at 8:45am at Baylor Grapevine (of course). I believe lots and lots of people are praying that Isaac's head is just big (which sounds like an odd thing to pray for) because I really feel a peace about the whole thing tonight. Thanks friends! The drama around the MRI--besides having to get an MRI-- is that no one bothered to tell me I must request sedation for my child, which has to be prescribed by our pediatrician and administered by me on the day of the MRI. I happened to do a little investigative work and found this out by talking to a very disinterested man working in radiology. He said if my six month old could not sit still (in a tone that implied that my child would be unruly if he was unable to control himself) then they would have to strap his head down. Not fun times for me. I was able to drag out the details of how to get sedatives if I thought Isaac wouldn't be able to sit still through this loud and long test. I now have in my hands a nice little sleep aide meant for babies prescribed by my doctor. Hooray!

We'll keep you posted. Terri Chapell is telling me that the nine o'clock news is winding down so I am off to bed!

Sunday, February 05, 2006


Has it really been over a week since my last post? Oh my. So much has happened in a week's time!

My mom was here visiting all last week, catching up with Isaac and doing all "Nana" type things. We took him to get his six month portraits taken on Monday and they looked great. I declined putting him in the suggested Cupid outfit (red diaper cover, bow and arrow, wings, crown of leaves) for his Valentine cards, but the session still went well. Although Isaac grew weary of smiling and flirting, he hung in there and we got some great shots. I will get Tobe to copy off the proofs from the Picture People website and post them here soon. If that happens to be illegal, please make sure you share some kind words with Tobe before he is hauled off to the Big House.

Tuesday morning found us at physical therapy as every Tuesday morning does. This past week was the first time that Isaac held his head in the neutral position (not tilted or favoring one side) when our therapist did her measuring. This was great news! His goal is to be able to keep his head in that neutral position while playing and exercising for at least half of the session, then we can go start going every other week to therapy. I was glad that my mom was able to come with us and wittiness an actual therapy session. There are two other children having therapy at the same time as Isaac. The clinic is set up with smaller rooms and then one big therapy area. All three kids are having therapy at the same time with different therapists in this big area. It is chaos--but fun chaos. Did I mention that there is also a therapy dog running around? It is no surprise why Isaac immediately falls asleep in the car as we head for the house each Tuesday. One of the children is about four and the other child is one. Both of these children have bigger obstacles to overcome in comparison to Isaac. It is interesting to see how their mothers react during these crazy therapy sessions. One mother is bubbly and talkative and the other mother looks on the verge of tears each week. It is an interesting diatribe in that therapy room. The individual reactions of these mothers demonstrate to me what a positive attitude can do for your situation.

Thursday was Isaac's six month check-up and vaccination time. Although the nurse assigned to us was very nice, she was not the fastest shot administer ever. Isaac had to get four shots and it felt like it took her half an hour to give them. Once he would get over the initial yelp of one shot, she would then stick him with the next one. Not fun. He survived though and was done crying by the time we stepped out of the examine room.

During her check-up, our pediatrician asked all the normal development questions, including, "Is Isaac sitting up with support?" I told her no and that we were still doing physical therapy every week to help with his torticollis and muscle weakness. The pediatrician then went on to say how she was concerned about Isaac's head growth. Babies heads are bigger than their chests until around the age of two, then the chest becomes bigger than the head (go look in the mirror--your chest is bigger than your head). Isaac's head is measuring larger than expected for his age (increased head circumference) and his soft spot on top is raised rather than being flat across. This is not something we had noticed, nor knew to look for. This could mean two things: 1. Hydrocephaly (unsure of what the cause could be) or 2.Isaac just has a big head and the growth might plateau in a month or so. Here I sit at this appointment thinking, "Something is terribly wrong with my child's head or he just has a large noggin---pretty big extreme." The peditrician questioned if he had been throwing-up and I told her about last Saturday and the times back in November. She feels like these incidents are not related to the head. That afternoon we were off to get a head ultrasound. The radiologist told us that she didn't see anything on the ultrasound, which sent us home in good spirits. Friday I talked to the pediatrician who said the ultrasound came back inconclusive and was unable to show everything. The radiologist said in her report that she strongly recommends Isaac gets an MRI and possibly a CAT scan. Our doctor is also strongly recommending he gets an MRI and said that she was pretty concerned about what was going on with his head. She did restate that it could just be genetic and he could just have a large head, but that she wouldn't rest until she knew for sure what was going on (we just LOVE our pediatrician!). Tomorrow morning the doctor's office will be calling me to tell me exactly when the MRI is scheduled.

Friday afternoon a good friend/former co-worker called to chat and to tell me one of my former students had killed himself. Not the kind of phone call a teacher welcomes. I had lost contact with this child over a year ago (I only taught him my first year), which I regret. Last I had heard he was doing well and was in regular ed. He was a good kid, who despite the typical behavior issues of a child in a behavior-mod class, always tried to please me and do his best. He had a horrible homelife and a very low self-esteem, a terrible combination. With all of the Isaac stuff going on, I don't think my brain has fully registered what has happened to this child. My heart hurts for him and for the pain he must have felt to make such a choice. My goal as a teacher was not to have excellent TAKS scores (GASP!) or teach the basics of math and spelling. My goal was to plant a seed of hope in my students. All of them knew they were different in some way, but couldn't quite figure out how to balance that difference. Upon being placed in my room, each one would question why they had to be in MY class, as if their life had ended. My response: "Because I chose you. There are a lot of kids in our school who have behavior problems and I chose YOU because I know you want to work on your problems and make yourself a better person." One time I actually heard one of my students brag to someone that I picked him for my class and hadn't picked that student (hopefully one day he will never research the actual Special Ed process). So I tried to plant this seed in each of my kids, instilling in them the skills to succeed in the interpersonal aspects of this society. I can't help but wonder where this seed went with this boy who gave up his life and I can't help but wonder if in time I will hear of other students making the same choice.

So that has been our week. Fun times, huh? I did save a funny Isaac story to close this post to prevent it from ending on a sad note. Mom, Isaac, and I were driving back from a quiet lunch at Cozymel's on Wednesday. All of the sudden we heard this horrible noise coming from the back seat. Isaac had stuffed the whole tail of his toy giraffe down his throat and was gagging horribly (Thank you, Lamaze, for making that possible). Fortunately we were at a stop light and my mom was able to jump out and get in the backseat (almost throwing my prized diaper bag in the middle of Northwest highway in the process) to pull the tail out of Isaac's throat. Fortunately he did not throw up. Needless to say, Greg the Giraffe no longer has a tail...............