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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The definition of a good mother

There is currently the oddest competition among some mothers to be The Best Mother. They brag to each other about how long they breast-fed and how much they do for their children, waiting on them hand and foot. They buy the kid expensive designer outfits, do the child's homework for them, and let the child rule their home.

An example recently made the cover of a major magazine. A woman in a defiant pose is breast-feeding a child standing on a chair. From his height, he could be anywhere from three to five years of age. I can tell you a few other things about that child. He is very likely still wearing diapers, because she's going to let him tell her when he's ready for potty training. When he starts school, she's going to do his homework for him and scream at the teacher for attempting to make the child behave in class. When he starts trying to find a job, she'll go with him to the job interviews. If somehow he manages to land a job, she'll scream at his boss when the boss has to discipline him. His relationships with women will be transitory, because no one will ever be able to do enough for him and he's never been made to do anything he didn't want to do in his life. He will be an infant until he dies.

Because that's what these self-proclaimed supermoms do: they raise an individual who will never become an adult. And so, they will fail at the only true test of how good a mother you were: Have you raised a functioning, capable adult.

Breast-feeding is beautiful and natural and provides a child with immune-system protection and a full range of nutrients needed for a BABY. In third world countries, breast-feeding continues past infancy because they don't have the resources to nourish a small child. We don't have that problem in this country.

If you breast-feed that child past the time your child is eating solid food, you are keeping that child an infant. If you don't toilet-train until the child wants to give up the convenience of diapers, you are keeping that child infantile well past toddler age and very likely until kindergarten or beyond. If you do your child's homework, that child learns nothing. If you do everything for that child, the child never learns how to cope with life.

I have seen mothers in the library doing the research for their high-school-age children's papers. I have heard stories from friends about young people coming into job interviews with their mothers. I know a young woman, in her twenties, who lost her job due to chronic absenteeism. Her mother came in and chewed out the boss. It did not get the woman her job back.

A significant portion of an entire generation is being trapped in perpetual childhood. They won't be able to hold jobs, live on their own, have stable relationships with spouses, and will have no clue how to be parents. They will be ignorant, helpless, and unable to think on their own. They will be prime candidates for cults and hate groups because they will be looking for someone to depend on.

These alleged supermoms are in fact crippling their children.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Nobody deserves that

I looked online at a video for the stop-smoking campaign, wanting to read the background. This video featured Terrie, a once-lovely woman whose health, face, and voice have been ravaged by the effects of smoking and the treatment for cancer that had resulted. In spite of the pretty blonde wig, she looked like she was in her late 80s. She's 51, seven years younger than I am. Her skin has shriveled into deep wrinkles. She has lost all her teeth and her lower jaw has nearly disappeared. She has a stoma (hole) in her throat and can barely speak, in a voice that's barely human. She must have spent her 40s going through hell, her looks disintegrating in years she still should have looked young.

When I read the comments, I was appalled. So many people wrote that she had done this to herself, that she deserved it.

This woman wasn't a pedophile or a serial killer. She hadn't tortured anyone. She smoked. That's all. A nasty habit, to be sure, but not deserving of such punishment. Many people smoke and have anything from no side effects at all to relatively mild ones. Others, like her, like my father, suffer the harshest of consequences. Why did they "deserve" that fate while others who committed the same "crime" got off scott-free?

The people who write that are indulging in a typical human response. They think, she did something bad that I don't do, so she deserves her fate and I won't have to go through that. They also get to deride her and feel superior.

Well, think again, you self-righteous snots, and grow some compassion. It, or something equally bad, can happen to you whether or not you did anything to "deserve" it. I never smoked, never chewed, and was never more than a social drinker, but I got oral cancer anyway. Not long ago, a famous children's book author, fat and sedentary, dropped dead of heart failure. So did a locally famous marathon athlete. My father ate lots of fried food, smoked unfiltered cigarettes, and died at age 60. Linda McCartney, vegetarian, died of cancer at 56. A famous nutritionist of the 1980s died at 60 also. My chronically-overweight grandmother lived to 87.

In other words, there are no guarantees. It's a crap shoot. It's Russian roulette. You can increase your odds of living longer by healthy habits, and you can decrease them by unhealthy ones, but when it comes right down to it, you don't get a guarantee either way. You can eat everything healthy, you can exercise regularly, never smoke, never drink, and still have a time bomb in your body that you know nothing about until it kills you.

Nobody deserves to die young, regardless of what they did or didn't do for their health.

Everybody dies.
No exceptions.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Getting ready for radiation treatments

Since my cancer is in my mouth, drastic steps have been taken. I've had nine teeth pulled out, perfectly good teeth, because they were damaged enough from 58 years of life that they might cause a horrible side effect called necrotic bone which would lead to my losing my lower jaw. So I no longer have molars. One premolar had to go too. I'm grateful they left my front teeth.

The radiation treatments start Monday, May 14. They made a plastic mask to hold my face still because the radiation has to go in specific places. As there's no way to hold my tongue still without making me choke, I have to try to do that myself. The side effects are the death of many salivary glands resulting in permanent dry mouth. My sense of taste will be damaged for at least months, maybe permanently. My teeth will have to be treated with extreme care and a lot of dentist visits from now on. I've had extremely expensive fluoride trays made. I thank God my church had resources available to help me pay for part of all the dental work. My long-suffering Mother paid for some too. Nothing like being unemployed and not having insurance while all this is going on.

The mask was very interesting. It was a mesh of plastic that they heat up with warm water and then mold to my face. I can breathe through it with no problem and open my eyes a bit if I need to. I didn't find it claustrophobic, for which I'm grateful. I have a tube of that mesh in my mouth to hold it open and help me hold my tongue still. The first thing they tried triggered my gag reflex. This will be clamped onto the headrest, and then I'll be slid into the radiation machine.

I HATED having my teeth pulled. I HATE having no molars and having such a hard time eating. I DO NOT WANT TO DO THIS. But this kind of cancer likes to return, and I WANT TO LIVE. Even though my life has been in the crapper the last few years, I still want more of it. I want to keep writing. I want my husband. I want my mom. I want my cats purring, soft and warm in my lap. I want to get to travel some more. I want to own a home again, and plant a garden. There are too many books I still want to read. I want to have more good times. So for all this, I'll endure what must be endured.