Don't take me to jail

Friday, October 24, 2008

When I was a kid I used to be afraid of police officers. I used to think about, "How would I know if I broke the law, since I'm not a lawyer?" There are a lot of laws. Then I grew up a little and realized that the law, mostly, is common sense.

And then I grew up a little more and have found out that common sense isn't... yes... all that common.

Child Abuse

Saturday, October 18, 2008

When Sofia was born, Gonz and I would often just sit and watch her sleep, turn to each other and say, "I have no idea how people can hurt children." Sure, even before we had children we knew that child abuse is a horrible, horrible, unspeakable thing - after we had a child, it only magnified this sentiment a thousand times.

A headline showed up in my RSS newsfeed stating, "Mom convicted in malnourished girl's death."

Evidence included grim crime-scene photos from the room where Nixzmary was bound to a chair, starved and forced to urinate in a litter box. She was so

malnourished when she died that she weighed only 36 pounds, about half the weight of an average girl that age.

Defense attorney Kathleen Mullin said Santiago tried twice to stop her husband from hitting the girl and didn't know that he continued beating her until she died. She said Santiago was a loving but overworked mother caring for five other children and was afraid of her husband.

A while back Heather Armstrong, of Dooce, blogged about:

Her name, her mother had said, was Danielle. She was almost 7 years old.

She weighed 46 pounds. She was malnourished and anemic. In the pediatric intensive care unit they tried to feed the girl, but she couldn't chew or swallow solid food. So they put her on an IV and let her drink from a bottle.

Aides bathed her, scrubbed the sores on her face, trimmed her torn fingernails. They had to cut her tangled hair before they could comb out the lice.

Her caseworker determined that she had never been to school, never seen a doctor. She didn't know how to hold a doll, didn't understand peek-a-boo. "Due to the severe neglect," a doctor would write, "the child will be disabled for the rest of her life."

And right now, my neighbour is yelling at her son, yet again - probably the seventh straight day in a row. Most of the time it's during the time he's practicing piano.

Sometimes it's beating a child. Sometimes it's ridiculing a child. But sometimes, as the two stories I cited above, it's doing nothing at all. When your child needs you, you're not there. Basic needs, such as food when they're hungry, clothes when they're cold, a bath when they're dirty, a hug when they're sad. Parenting isn't rocket science, but when the parent isn't healthy (in every sense of the word), no matter how hard they try, they cannot be a good parent.

Which makes me think, to be a good parent, it's not just taking care of Sofia, but also taking care of myself. It's having that time with God, it's eating a balanced diet, it's going to sleep on time, it's having friends over, it's connecting with my parents (and Gonz's parents) at least weekly... I might feel like I'm far from being a child abuser, but they aren't born over night. The more issues I have the more I risk taking those issues out on my children.

I have thought of many times to confront my neighbour. To knock on her door (which I did once, and she did not answer) and speak with her about how she is treating her child. Some might say it's none of my business, but I think that when you think about living in a community - whether you like it or not, we do - I have a responsibility. But what I fear is that my actions may embarrass her, which of course, is not my intention. I also feel like what good can I do if I don't have a relationship with this woman. She lives next door - I don't want her avoiding me because I know how she treats her son. But on the other side of the coin, WHO CARES IF SHE IS EMBARRASSED. SHE SHOULD BE. I dunno. I am at a loss.

I have lots of thoughts about child abuse, but most of all, it just makes me sad about how many children suffer without anyone even knowing about it.

Taken For Granted

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Gonz, Sofia and I went to vote back on Tuesday. We were behind a man who was arguing with the poll workers because he didn't bring any I.D. NONE. Like, don't most people just automatically have their wallets with them? Anyway, the poll workers were doing the best to accommodate him but I was thinking to myself, don't you take this seriously and try to do it right? Obviously not.

Well, at least he showed up.

I was shocked to read in the paper today that this past election marked the lowest turnout in history. Only 59.1% of Canadians voted this year. I am super-disappointed. What is it? We don't care? We don't feel like it'll make a difference? We're too busy...?

I just think of all the other countries who don't have democracy and have citizens literally dying for it, and we can't take the 10 minutes to go out to our polling station and have our say. It doesn't even mean that you have to vote for anyone... To my parents' horror, Gonz and I went spoiled our ballots (with smiley faces, or hearts, or something) one year because we didn't believe in any of the representatives. But that's important. It's important to practice democracy, otherwise we're in effect saying that we don't care about democracy and that's just awful.

Sure, democracy isn't perfect, but I sure wouldn't want the alternatives. What is great about democracy is what kind of society it says that we are: that we are here to live together, and create a life together. Even with all our disagreements. I think that it's all of our opinions together that help make a country greater, in the sense that we allow all of our thoughts and ideas to be displayed together and challenge each other to think more, and broaden our world views.

But I guess that's what we care about less and less: our communities - on a small and larger scale. We live unto ourselves. We think less and less how our lives all hang together. We are interested in our own interests.

We also don't like to be challenged, whether Canadian or not. It's tiring to be challenged and to engaged yourself in current issues that are affecting your country. Hey, I know. Which is going to demand my attention more: how my tax dollar is being used, or the fact that I have to go and get a new carseat for my baby? It takes effort, no doubt, to be involved in your country's wellbeing - whether that just be in the sense where you are actually involved in politics, or just simply voting, but we shouldn't be too lazy to do it. Because it's just too important.

You can see more facts about the turnout of our elections here: "Election 2008 records lowest voter turnout in history."

Why I love Facebook

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Yesterday, I happened to see one of my husband's cousin's profile appear in my news feed, so I decided to go check it out. And then I saw that my parents-in-law had Facebook (I was like, WHAT?!). But THEN... I saw that family that I had met in Sweden ALSO had Facebook. Back two years ago, Gonz and I went to visit our friend Tom in Germany and decided, let's just hop over to Sweden to visit Gonz's family that I had never met. We had a great four-ish days and I have missed them ever since.

This morning, I was on Facebook and found Solange - who I probably warmed up to the best while we were getting to know that side of the family. And she messaged me! We had a nice chat for a while... Now, I feel a little bit caught up with the family, seeing pictures and what not. The kids are so big now!

Technology. It's so cool.

my new family

Ten months

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

303 / Friday, October 10

The months seem to be speeding by now. Perhaps it's because we threw a wedding in there too. And now that we're looking forward to Christmas (with a one-week get away in between), it's pretty much 2009 tomorrow. But here we are, Sofia is now ten months old (October 10).

What is she up to now?

  • Crawling. Funny, after I had written that she was crawling last month, she regressed back to her military crawling, or floor swimming. A nurse friend of ours said it was probably because she was sick. Takes a lot more energy to support her weight on her hands and knees although it seems to be way worse having to pull your weight against the friction of carpet. Imagine that. Anyway, she's full on crawling now and, well, getting into everything.

  • Standing. She is fully able to pull herself up to standing using objects. She does "cruise" (that is, walk sideways using objects for stability) once in a while.

  • Speaking. I am pretty sure her first word is "bear". She says "mama", "baba", but they don't mean anything. When I hold up her bear, she says, "bear". When Tia Ana's bunny runs by, she says "bear". When Uncle Chico runs by (my in-laws' dog), she says "bear". Okay, so while it applies to every kind of animal right now, her first word is still "bear".

  • Following commands. This is quite exciting. She learned to close, open and clap her hands the other month. Now, she is able to wave bye-bye. And, I just taught her, back on Saturday, to put her hands on her head when I say, "Oh no!" This one makes me laugh a lot.

  • Frequency of, and Amount at, Mealtimes. When Sofia started to really crawl and stand a lot I noticed that she started looking like she was thinning out. However, I couldn't get her to eat more at mealtimes. At that time I was feeding her breakfast (4 oz. milk, 4 tbsp. of cereal), lunch (4 oz. milk, 4 tbsp. of solids), snack (6 oz. of milk), dinner (4 oz. milk, 4 tbsp of solids), and then a 8 oz. milk before going to bed. I thought that was tons, but actually I hadn't increased her food intake for maybe a couple of months. I decided to drop her before-bedtime bottle, and try to up her mealtimes by adding a fruit dish or something. Now, I've upped her milk at mealtimes to 6 oz. and then 4 tbsp. of bananas and raspberries, for example. And here returns her baby chubbiness.

  • Affection. Sofia wasn't known for being very affectionate. From super-early on, if you tried to kiss Sofia, she'd turn the other way, or even lean way back in order to try to escape your advances. Now, she'll head-butt you. No, she isn't fighting back, that's actually her accepting your kisses. And actually, after not really being with me all day at the wedding back on Friday, when I picked her up from my parents (after her first sleepover at her grandparents'), she wrapped her arms around my neck and then gave me a super-wet kiss on the lips. Yup, my girl missed me!

  • Increased expression. I guess in addition to showing affection, she now shows ridiculous amounts of excitement. Kicking of the legs, clenching of the fists, bouncing up and down, clapping of the hands, and even sometimes shaking. Crazy.

  • Teeth. She has been growing teeth like crazy. She's got two bottom ones now, and she has cut her two top front teeth. They're big ones. Hopefully they aren't buck. :-)

    It's mind blowing to think that she is going to be one year in a couple of months. And once I start working again, I know I'm just going to wonder where my life has disappeared to; which means it's important for me to cherish each day all the more.

  • Married!

    Monday, October 13, 2008

    Bride + Groom and Flowergirls

    All done! My crazy week is finished, Ana and Joseph are off enjoying their honeymoon, and I can go back to regular, old routine. I enjoy breaks in my routine, but I also enjoy getting back into routine - although my routine is usually less than routine. I am of the artsy-type, I guess, after all.

    The wedding was so beautiful. The reception was so fun. The weather was so perfect. I don't think Ana and Joseph could have asked for anything more. Even the speeches weren't boring - I was pretty good for the first few, after that, I started losing it. I wish I had a more absorbent tissue, instead of my polyester table napkin. Nice to see some of the old friends that I know from Ana and Joseph's circle. I got to wear fake eyelashes (which also made me quite emotional). Sofia had a good time too, all day. Everytime I looked over at her, at the reception, she was eating something... for perhaps four hours? Goodness, she IS her mother's daughter. I'm getting off topic...


    Thursday, October 09, 2008

    Seth Godin. He's got some pretty good ideas. In fact, he's got something new to blog about EVERY DAY. Every day? I don't know if I could do that. But perhaps I need to read more and I'd have something.

    This is an excerpt of his latest post:

    1. Delete 120 minutes a day of 'spare time' from your life. This can include TV, reading the newspaper, commuting, wasting time in social networks and meetings. Up to you.

    2. Spend the 120 minutes doing this instead:

    * Exercise for thirty minutes.
    * Read relevant non-fiction (trade magazines, journals, business books, blogs, etc.)
    * Send three thank you notes.
    * Learn new digital techniques (spreadsheet macros, Firefox shortcuts, productivity tools, graphic design, html coding)
    * Volunteer.
    * Blog for five minutes about something you learned.
    * Give a speech once a month about something you don't currently know a lot about.

    3. Spend at least one weekend day doing absolutely nothing but being with people you love.

    4. Only spend money, for one year, on things you absolutely need to get by. Save the rest, relentlessly.

    If you somehow pulled this off, then six months from now, you would be the fittest, best rested, most intelligent, best funded and motivated person in your office or your field. You would know how to do things other people don't, you'd have a wider network and you'd be more focused.

    I think that's a great idea. However, place this into MY reality and that would require a heck of a lot of discipline. I know I could be more disciplined, and so this post, that I take as a challenge, would be something that I'd have to ramp up to, I think. I couldn't just decide it and be able to do it starting, let's say, tomorrow. But it's definitely a great reminder I could be doing some great things with my spare time.

    Wait a minute.
    Spare time? It's 12:29 am, and I've found a moment to blog. I'm not sure that you could call this spare time!

    The week ahead

    Monday, October 06, 2008

    I have an incredibly crazy week ahead of me. Well, at least I think it's gonna be crazy. My sister-in-law is getting married this week, on Friday, and I'm in the bridal party (as well as my hubby), so it's truckin' it to Oshawa four times total by the time the week is out. Maybe that's the part that is feeling crazy to me. I do have a few things that I have whip up for the print-side of the wedding, but it's just text layout - no big stress. I made the list of to-dos and hope to just plow through them in record time. You should have seen me fly today!

    While it IS going to be busy, don't get me wrong, it's gonna be a great week. I love weddings because, I guess, I love marriage. We wait a long time (no matter how long you have to wait, it always feels long) for the right one, and when they come along, it is not to be taken for granted. And marriage is that to me: not taking love for granted. It's deciding to commit to it, to treasure it, to work on it, to celebrate it and make it REAL.

    Sofia update:
    I have finally figured out how to make Sofia sleep although she likes to pull herself up and stand in her crib over and over again: giving her a bath before putting her to bed. I guess it helps settle her down. It's definitely not because it's a routine item - I usually bathe her during the day.

    Sofia is now for-real crawling. You should see her take off! She is definitely enjoying the mobility, although maybe not the increased occurrences of bumps to the head.

    The home is a disaster, and it always is when we're busy. And now it's ten times worse now that I have a baby. Well - tomorrow is another day and I'll try to keep all things under control. I'll TRY.

    Baby Scarf

    Saturday, October 04, 2008

    Here is my new project that I'm making for Sofia. Now that the weather is a lot cooler, it's time for a scarf. Margaret challenged me with making this stitch: purse and chevron lace stitch. I started it at something like 11:00 last night. I kept reading the pattern wrong, and also it calls for a "yarn over" at the end of the repeat, and so for the last repeat I didn't understand that I would still need to add a new stitch at the end. Therefore I was perplexed as to why my pattern kept decreasing. At about 2:30am I finally figured it out. :-|

    But look! What a beautiful pattern!
    Now, hopefully Sofia gets to wear this scarf this wintery season.

    new project

    She says, "No nap!"

    Thursday, October 02, 2008


    Wednesday, October 01, 2008

    I have been offline lately. No, that doesn't mean that I have been on my computer less. I have been on my computer A LOT doing work (Missions Convention is coming up where we'll raise something like $185,000 in three weekends). My sister-in-law is getting married next weekend so we're busy with stuff for that. And also, believe it or not, searching for the best deals on the nicest all-inclusive resort I can find for my whole family to get away for a week. I know, I know, our family isn't the all-inclusive resort type, but now that we have Sofia, it's just the easiest thing that we can do to relax and have a nice time all together. Trying to drag a, then, 11-month old baby around sightseeing and super-shopping isn't a nice thing to do to her.

    But yes, offline to Facebook, my blog (as you may have noticed), Twitter is doing alright since it's just one line, Flickr is being updated sporadically, but I am answering my emails, at least.

    I hope to get back into blogging regular 'cause I really do enjoy it and like connecting with all you people via the comments you leave. So, look out for some posts - I hope to have something to report a little more regularly.