Category Archives: Family

The Foundation of Gender Inequality

This article is so perfect, you must go read it right now. It’s NYT, so if you don’t subscribe you might not have access, but I encourage you to try. The title is interesting: “The Men Who Want to Live Forever.” But those men (billionaires, of course) are just an excuse for author Dara Horn to zero in on the bottom line for gender inequality: throughout human existence, women have been almost exclusively responsible for the care, feeding, and comfort of other human beings.

Men have not.

More than any of the millions of words written about patriarchy, sexual harassment, glass ceilings, or male-posturing-resulting-in-war-greed-destruction, this essay brings the point forward in an easy to understand way. Men feel free to do all these things because they (as a gender) have never developed the empathy that comes from the day-to-day caring of vulnerable humans.

I am not saying that all women have empathy, or that they all enjoy caring for other people, or even that all women are good at it. I am not saying that is what women should be doing, exclusive of all else.

I am not saying that all men have no empathy, or that no men ever physically care for someone else. My own son is a nurse – thus I have positive proof that men can be caregivers.

But let’s first acknowledge that male dominance is the Way of Life on this planet, and has been for most or all of human history. Let’s acknowledge that the rules, religions, and laws of human history have been made by men, and for the benefit of men. They exist to protect and ensure the dominance of men.

Let’s acknowledge that through all of our species’ history, very few men spent time in the physical care of other human beings. This is their handicap. This denied them to opportunity to develop deep empathy. As Ms. Horn points out, caring for someone else forces the caregiver to see the world from someone else’s point of view. What does this person need?

And then, one more step beyond figuring out what the other person needs: the caregiver must then fulfill that need.

Oh my gosh, if more men – if all men  – spent their lives sharing equally in the care of vulnerable human beings – children, the elderly, the ill, the injured – I believe we would see the end of patriarchy. Men and women would be partners in the existence of the human species, and in the societies we build.

Because this is the core of life. Not power. Not money. Not dominance.

Caring.

Those rich and powerful men who want to live forever? Let’s see them spend all their years in the care of others. To actually be responsible for the humans around them.

To quote Captain Kirk: “Above all else, a god needs empathy.”

Let’s fix this.

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Are You Still There?

I wouldn’t blame you if you’re not. I certainly haven’t been around. I plead vacations, with the excuse that I was leaving occasional posts and pictures on Facebook. Then I got sick.

I went to Peru for a few weeks.

Peru won.

I did try to be careful. Bottled water everywhere, even for brushing teeth. No eating unpeeled fruit or uncooked vegetables. Well, mostly.

There’s no telling where I picked it up, but it wasn’t just me. Illness crept through our group of ten, one person at a time. In fact, I made it all the way home before illness struck, two days later. Himself got sick our last day in Peru and the poor guy had to maneuver through airports and planes while practically unconscious. That was bad enough for me, I can’t imagine what it was like for him.

I think we’re over it. Our strength is back and we’ve started weeding the yard again. Taking short walks. Housework and other chores are easier. I may even have the strength to write this post.

Peru was… interesting. Gorgeous, of course, and amazing in many ways. It was challenging for us. Altitude sickness was a problem – I needed oxygen while hiking the Incan Trail, which was scary. We did the one-day section, up to the Sun Gate to Machu Picchu. We spent more than two weeks above 6,000 feet, most of it above 10,000. I learned that, while I love mountains, I prefer them of reasonable height. I have new respect for sea level.

Here, have a few pictures. The lake is Titicaca, the town is Cusco as viewed from the Sun Temple. The group picture is on the Incan Trail after reaching Machu Picchu, which you can see in the last photo. Wild, huh? I’ll post more pics later!

 

You’re the Parent. Start Acting Like One

Here’s a good article on training our children. I think this is a very important concept that has been lost among today’s busy young families.

It’s interesting  – I am a big believer of things like on-demand breastfeeding and attachment parenting. I think we can’t love our kids too much and we can’t hold them too much. I think newborns NEED bodies and arms and breasts and voices and faces in order to thrive. They are sponges, soaking up every sensation that comes their way, and their busy little brains are categorizing and applying it all like crazy.

I think babies know instinctually how much to eat, and how much sucking they need to do, and how much holding and communication they need. I think they need warm bodies with them at night. I think we should watch them for signs of being ready for solid food (sitting up well, watching you eat, reaching for your food), and let them have some input into when to wean.

So how and when does this “baby-led or baby-centered” philosophy give way to setting the  rules and teaching the kids that they have to fit into OUR world?

Well… let’s think about it. It starts almost immediately when the nurses and doctors want to exam and poke baby after birth. When you go home from the hospital. That car seat is mandatory. When mom goes back to work and baby is taken from bed, put into the car seat and dropped off at day care. When it’s bath time and bed time.

All of these things teach the baby that he’s on your schedule, even if you’re squeezing on-demand feeding into the picture.

Just build on that as baby grows. Day care means your baby has to learn social skills and parents must teach them to treat others right. How to take turns. How to share. It’s important to know that kids must grow into these skills. A six month baby is not capable of sharing, but a two-year-old is. Learn about child development, then watch YOUR child to know when he’s ready to learn the skill. Appropriate ages for skills are going  to vary from child to child, but most kids will follow the general age.

And remember – the baby who never had to wait an hour to eat because of some arbitrary schedule – that baby may easily learn to treat others with respect. It’s the baby who had to scream and fight for basic needs who might turn into the bully.

 

[Starstuff, Contemplating] “Winter Solstice: Axial Tilt is the Reason for the Season” by Heather (& Jon) Cleland-Host | Humanistic Paganism

I love the ideas in this article!

Source: [Starstuff, Contemplating] “Winter Solstice: Axial Tilt is the Reason for the Season” by Heather (& Jon) Cleland-Host | Humanistic Paganism

Babies Do Not Manipulate-They Communicate | Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources

When my kids were babies, I was always told that they manipulated me, along with the accusation that I was a bad mother for giving in to them. I didn’t believe it then and I don’t believe it now.

You know those months when baby decides, like my youngest grandson has recently done, that “no one but Mommy can hold me”?  That’s not a spoiled baby forcing mom to bend to his will. That’s a baby with a real fear. He doesn’t understand his fear, but that doesn’t mean it’s not real. A baby at this stage is just becoming mobile enough to reach parts of the world he’s never handled before. Instinct drives him to explore and he wants to be independent, but of course, he can’t be. He’s also reached a mental stage where he’s knows that other people are separate from him and also separate from Mom and Dad. He understands that Mom and Dad can and do disappear sometimes, but he’s not savvy enough to understand why, nor to understand that they will return. He doesn’t understand the passage of time until they do return. He lives in the “now” and he is terrified when Mom goes away. When someone else holds him, this signals that Mom is leaving and he reacts in the only way he can – crying, struggling against the new person, and reaching for Mom.

It’s a stage. Baby will grow and soon figure these out. It’s NOT manipulation.

Babies Do Not Manipulate-They Communicate | Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources.

In Which the Author Debriefs

What a summer it’s been! We’ve visited two sets of kids’ families, one by air, the other by car. In between visits, I had the flu. Timing is everything, right? We’re home now, for a brief break before we head off to Germany. Can’t finish the year without a trip to Europe!

I love our travels abroad, but of course I like the family visits best. Grandkids are such fun. They’re all getting so big, too. The oldest of this second batch is a fourth grader next year. She’s followed by a couple who are starting first grade, with the rest following in one or two year increments. We keep track using a spreadsheet.

A postcard picture with the San Antonio batch.
A postcard picture with the San Antonio batch.
Washington provides a beautiful backdrop to visits with my son's family.
Washington provides a beautiful backdrop to visits with my son’s family.

And look here! We loaded up on my kids’ invented beverage, S’Quiela. It’s not available in California yet, so our trip north gave us a chance to buy some. I recommend it with a shot (or half) of tequila. Perfect!

Mom buying S'Quiela wherever she can find it.
Mom buying S’Quiela wherever she can find it.

The next immediate mission for me is to lose the three pounds I gained eating ice cream with the grandkids and then keep trying to lose the last ten. Also, Himself and I have returned to the gym and I’ve begun yoga again. We had let all this go with all the family obligations going on over the last year, and we could really feel the difference in our bodies. We have lost strength and energy during this time and we need to get serious about getting it back. At our age, we can’t let any opportunity pass us by!

So that’s the report around here. How are you all liking the Shipbuilder chapters? I’m increasing the frequency of those posts, otherwise we won’t finish the book before next year! Everyone must keep up, okay? If you like the story, run over to Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, or iTunes to pick up Bridgebuilders the next book in the Time Travel Journals series. If you like fantasy, give Moon Over Donamorgh or Worlds Apart a try!

While I’m on the subject of books, I received a big challenge from our friend, Bev, during our visit to Washington. She clobbered me over the head (figuratively, of course) about not getting any more books finished. No sympathy from her – I just better get busy and write!

I appreciate the shove, Bev. No more laying about for me!

Helping Kids Find Alternatives to “the Tantrum” | Evolutionary Parenting | Where History And Science Meet Parenting

Helping Kids Find Alternatives to “the Tantrum” | Evolutionary Parenting | Where History And Science Meet Parenting.

How about a few calm-down techniques for the young families out there? All part of the service.