Georgia Bottoms

Georgia Bottoms

Georgia Bottoms is your typical Southern Belle – poised and confidant, a regular church goer, and great at organizing. In fact, she has all of her secret lives methodically hidden away from the others. 9/11 changes that and her carefully juggled details begin to collide with one another.

Mark Childress has reached a new level with Georgia Bottoms: A Novel. It isn’t a simple book about a stereotypical southern belle. Just like Georgia’s gentleman friends stand to point a finger against her, Childress throws the spotlight on racism, sex, drugs, religion, sexism, and the hands that throw the stones.

Disclaimer: A copy of the book was provided by the publisher.

My Son Wears Girls’ Shoes

As we were looking for sandals for this year, I grabbed a couple of pairs of blue sandals and showed them to my three year old. My only thoughts in the process were that they were the same brand that he had worn last year and liked and that they were various shades of blue – his favorite color. The sandals above are the ones he chose, as the other pair was exactly like his last pair except for being one size larger.

Not until after I was asking him which pair he liked did I glance at the rest of the sandals in the section and realize that these lovely shoes were actually girls’ shoes, as evidenced by the pinks and purples these were buried in between, whereas the cobalt blue shoes were in the midst of tan, black, and camo variations.

While they are a little bright for my taste, he loves them. There is no way I would tell him he couldn’t have a pair of shoes because they were for the opposite gender. He likes them. They fit. They are comfortable. They were affordable. What more matters?

Foreskins are Functional

Foreskins are functional. Most parents wouldn’t knowingly cut off a functional part of their infant’s body. In fact, it’s illegal to cut off the majority of infant body parts, excluding foreskins. However, most people aren’t quite aware of the function of the foreskin, assuming that it’s just a piece of skin. What they don’t realize is that piece of skin is there for a reason.

Photo by Yuri Samoilov

The male prepuce, commonly referred to as the foreskin, has a high concentration of blood vessels, nerves, nerve endings, muscle layers, and skin.

Muscle layers protect the urinary tract from contaminants, thereby decreasing urinary tract infections. At the same time, the foreskin covers the glans of the penis, protecting it from abrasion and irritation, and keeping it moist, making it more sensitive to stimulation. The foreskin also contains glands in the skin which work to keep the penis clean. Similarly, there are glands which produce antibacterial and antiviral proteins which protect against infection. The pH of the foreskin also cultivates beneficial bacteria; without beneficial bacteria, men are at a higher risk for UTIs.

The foreskin contains approximately 240 feet of nerves and 20,000 nerve endings. Logically speaking, the loss of such can have a dramatic effect on sexual pleasure later in life. Three feet of veins are included in the foreskin, along with up to 80% of the penis’s skin. Altered blood flow due to scar tissue can affect urinary tract flow and result in more UTIs.

Removal of skin and veins affects erections. When a penis becomes erect, it grows in size due to blood flow. Removal of the foreskin does not allow the erect penis to become fully erect outside the body, effectively shortening the penis and at times causing pain or discomfort for the man. During intercourse, a man’s foreskin allows the penis to move in and out without abrasion, making intercourse much more comfortable and pleasant for his partner.

Foreskins serve many roles. Say no to circumcision and protect a healthy body part.

The Care of Newborn Babies

Newborn babies are wonderful. They are snuggly and tiny, elliciting kisses and cuddles from their parents. Surprisingly enough for such tiny little people, they also are capable of making remarkable messes. Parents gingerly hand over these new little bundles to eagerly awaiting relatives with the warning to watch out for spit up. Many is the person who has had to go change shirts after holding  a baby.

Photo by Nina Matthews

The there are the diaper changes. If you are a parent, you’ve been there. All of my children have managed to pee on me at least once during the early days of changing diapers. The dirty diapers are even worse. Those first few days of meconium diapers have the consistency of tar. My husband once referred to it as toxic sludge. Good luck getting it off your hands without copious amounts of soap and water. Once that is past, those early breastmilk poos begin. The only times we have ever dealt with diaper blow-outs have been in those first few months, when the poo just tends to go everywhere. My husband only changes boy poo diapers. He’ll quietly whisper that “The poo goes everywhere. You’re a girl. You know how to deal with it.”

 The poo does seem to find it’s way everywhere. It’s manageable. You just have to keep wiping and hope that another round isn’t on it’s way in the mean time. Extra towels underneath help. However, for those parents that have chosen to have their male infants circumcised, they also have to deal with bleeding and open wounds. Just as poo goes everywhere, it will also end up on the circumcision wounds.
 
Any open wound is a possible infection site. Because circumcision wounds are located in a diaper which is continually being soiled, infections are quite common, including staph infections with the ever rising rates of staph in hospital settings, where most babies in the States are born. The new immune systems of newborn infants are less equipped to deal with infections. Antibiotics which are often used to treat infections have their own issues, killing good bacteria along the way and often resulting in thrush for the baby and nursing mother.
 
The truth is that any body part can become infected. However, choosing to cause an open wound in an area which is routinely in contact with feces doesn’t seem a prudent decision, especially when the alternative is to not do anything except wipe the area, intact penis included, with a wet wipe.

To Cover or Not to Cover: A Choice

Last year I wrote a blog post entitled a matter of choice… I had originally written it after a question from my then 5 year old daughter about a woman we saw who wore a head covering. Since I knew that Nursing Freedom was gearing up for the Carnival of Nursing in Public, I saved the post and it was initially published there.

I’m not the only one to write about the topic. Many have. Most recently, Annie at PhD in Parenting has produced a fantastic video on the topic.

Tearing Others Down

Photo by Mark Probst

A woman struggled with finding balance for her family, not easily fitting her desires with her reality. Posting to a group of other mothers looking for support about how to make the reality of her situation work for her, she was given many insightful responses. Inevitably though, the finger pointing began from someone.

It wasn’t finger pointing at the woman who origiially framed the question and asked for support. Instead, it was finger pointing at others whom this other person deemed to be uppity or fake. How could/dare they post about their wonderful life when she, herself, couldn’t manage everything in her world perfectly? Because her life wasn’t like that, obviously these other woman had to be lieing in their blogs, their books, their sharing…

No one is perfect and no one person can do everything, let alone everything perfectly. However, I’ve never once seen someone who claimed to be able to do just that. Personally, I’m on my own path, striving toward my beliefs and my own personal growth. I suppose someone could tear me down for writing this blog and sharing our parenting beliefs and practices, for sharing with others about my beliefs, for my goal of a peaceful life. The truth is, someone has. I’ve had my share of attacks because I live my life, or rather work hard in my attempts, the way I believe I should. I always wonder why someone who supposedly does not share my ideals would bother themself with my parenting when it has no impact on their supposed values or beliefs or cause any harm to others.

It seems to be a trait of our society to attempt to build ourselves up by tearing others down. We see it in the the so called mommy wars. The truth is, we can’t build one thing up by tearing down another. Physics will tell you that the first object won’t be any higher just because another object is lower. Destruction doesn’t result in construction.

That simple statement is important for parents to remember, as children learn this behavior from those who model it. Tearing our children down doesn’t help them to be better people. It isn’t constructive. Working together and finding amiable solutions which work for everyone allow our children to grow as people and to be the best that they can. Disparaging remarks about others does not equate encouragement.

The Wedding was Short

Photo by Kathryn Decker-Krauth

The wedding was short.

Ultimately, the bride, dressed in white playsilks, was unwilling. She repeatedly signed all done while saying “ah duh.”

The groom was unfazed by her lack of commitment, seemingly self-absorbed in his LEGO constructions.

The officiator tried to hurry the process along, in the vein of The Princess Bride, quickly saying “Man and wife.” This prompted a small historical overview of the premise behind those words from his mother, seated in the audience. He emphatically agreed that women are not property and vowed to change the words to “husband and wife,” henceforth.

The coordinator was not phased. Despite the fact that she had spent time paying attention to all of the little details, she took it in stride, declaring that they would try again, with a shuffling of characters, after the reception.

Then followed a delightful reception of gluten free vegan carrot cake with almond milk. Not to be thwarted in her next attempt at a wedding, the coordinator then declared herself to be the bride, and another wedding ensued.

The mother, who happened to be the mother of all parties involved, quietly left the room to hide her inoppourtune chuckling.