Childhood Poverty

This post is going to offend someone most likely.  However, my intent is to open a dialogue and gain a wider perspective on something that has been troubling me.

On Facebook, I have been seeing many different posts dedicated to raising the awareness of childhood poverty.  I’m not sure I understand this.  Why is it specifically childhood poverty?  I don’t consider my daughter to be neither poor nor wealthy.  My daughter does not have any assets, unless her doll house counts. 

I’m not trying to make light of a very serious problem that affects approximately 22% of children in the United States.  As I said before, I’m puzzled.  Does citing poverty rates for families with the label of childhood poverty somehow provide us with a plan of action or a solution?  I don’t think so.  Please enlighten me if I’m missing something important here.

Isn’t this counterproductive?  The focus should be on improving the situation of the parents, with improvements such as a living wage, or higher education that doesn’t incur lifelong debt for the recipient.  Urging people to donate to help end childhood poverty isn’t a solution.  This approach puts a band-aide on a hemorrhaging wound only to add another band-aide once the first proves ineffective at stopping the hemorrhage.  As well-intentioned as this obviously is, we’re missing the mark.

When are we going to wake up?  When are we going to quit throwing money at every problem?  Why is our system so broken that meaningful, permanent solutions are things only heard of in fairytales?

Do I have an obtainable solution?  No, I don’t.  Do I expect any one person capable of producing a practical solution that could be implemented without in depth research?  No, I don’t.  But an open dialogue would be a positive step.

I am a strong believer in community specific solutions.  What works in Detroit may not be a practical solution for Houston.  But, a successful program in St. Louis could be something that also works for Kansas City or Chicago.  My sense of social responsibility always starts with my own community.  I think solutions should start in individual communities, too.

I wonder if reducing the cost of higher education is something that will ever happen in my lifetime.  I also wonder if that would make any difference in poverty rates.

I Hate Mornings

I have never been a morning person.  Motherhood has forced me to be an early morning riser, though, and I’m perpetually trying to convince myself mornings aren’t so bad.  A time or two a week, I dare say I’m even happy to be up with my family before we all go our separate ways for the day.  However, this morning wasn’t one of them.

My new house has a whole new set of noises.  The neighborhood, the wildlife, the nearby railroad, the plumbing, all have their own pattern of noises for every time of day.  I’m a light sleeper and adjusting to these noises hasn’t happened yet.  Last night, though, has been my best night yet.  I slept wonderfully compared to the previous two nights.

This morning, as the sun began to rise and my neighbors began to leave for work, I continued to sleep.  I was dreaming wonderful, happy dreams when I felt the need to open my eyes.  Imagine my surprise when I opened my sleepy eyes to find Eva.  Not only was she in my room, but she was two inches from my face.  She was standing there smiling, two inches from my face.

She was in my bubble of space.  At 6:30 am, she had already managed to rapidly increase my heart rate.  She scared me, to say the least.  But really, I know I’m blessed beyond measure to have a smiling daughter to wake me up in the morning.  Just some mornings I have trouble remembering my blessings.

Yesterday marked the beginning of week 14 of pregnancy.  Today, I think I’m entitled to a nap.  Right now.

We Bought The House

The house: $54,000
Saturday night emergency plumber: $213.90
Being a homeowner: priceless

It’s been a day.  We bought the house yesterday, and we moved in today.  Moving always sucks under any circumstance, but I have to say I have never been happier to move in my life.  I wouldn’t say moving while pregnant has been without challenges, but it’s great to be writing this from my very own living room. 

We even have something we haven’t had in years–our own washer and dryer in our house!  For those apartment dwellers without a washer and dryer in your apartment, you get why this excites me so much.  I was so eager to use my washer and dryer, I started a load of clothes while we were still unpacking and moving things from the apartment.  This is what triggered a phone call to my local after-hours plumber.  My husband was in the basement as the washer was draining, and he saw something he has never seen before.

Water was pouring into my basement through the wall!

Our sewer line was obviously busted,  or at least that’s what I thought.  I called the local plumber’s after-hours line, and about an hour later, he shoved a camera down my pipes.  What he found was a sewer line overrun by roots.  He was able to get the roots  chopped up and flushed luckily.  He also told us our sewer line is made from clay tile.  Long story short, this means roots will be able to keep regrowing and causing blockages.

So, I will be budgeting about two grand for a new sewer line sometime in the future.  I’m still so glad it was easily fixable, for now.

Here we are, in our new house, and I couldn’t be happier, plumbing problems and all.

More Car Conversation

Eva, with all her curiosities, wanted to know why we live in Missouri.  Out of all the places in the world to live, she wanted to know why I had chosen this place.  I really hadn’t chosen Missouri specifically, I had responded.  I explained to her that I just never felt the need to move away because all our family lives in Missouri.

“Not all of our family,” she said.  “My dad doesn’t live in Missouri.”

I should have seen that coming, I suppose.  After a moment of thought, and holding my breath that maybe we could talk about the weather instead, I pushed on.  I agreed that yes, her father doesn’t live in Missouri.

“Why would he move away from all of his family?”

Should have seen that question coming, too.  I just spoke the truth as I see it.  I usually try very hard not to offer opinion when speaking of her father, but I did this time.  I said simply that the choices he has made do not make sense to me so I can’t help her understand his reasons.  Feeling bad for her, I said something like I was sorry that he was so far away because it is sad for her.  She agreed it was sad sometimes.  Then I asked her something I had never been brave enough to ask her.  I asked her if she gets angry at her father sometimes for moving away.

She said, “No, not really.”

“Why not?”  I couldn’t resist asking.

“Because, every year he gets meaner and meaner,” she said very matter-of-fact.  “I’m glad he isn’t around here because then I would have to see him all the time.”

My heart broke for her some more.  She is right, he is mean, but I didn’t expect this.  I didn’t expect her to be glad on any level that he isn’t here.

 

12 Weeks, 3 Days

My blood pressure has been high the last couple of weeks.  I have been very concerned about my blood pressure since this is what prompted an induction with my daughter.  Pre-pregnancy, my blood pressure couldn’t have been more ideal.  Last week, though, it was hanging out around 140/75.

This past Monday, as I was sitting in my obstetrician’s exam room, I was making every effort to have an ideal blood pressure reading this time.  The last time I was in the office, the billing department had spoken to me right before it was time to get my blood pressure taken.  The billing department had informed me that if everything went as planned, I would be paying $2,500 out of pocket.  If I needed to be hospitalized for anything pregnancy related prior to next year, however, they informed me I would be $5,000 out of pocket.  That is a LOT of money for my family.  The nurse wouldn’t even tell me what my blood pressure had been at that appointment because it was so high.

So this time, I was determined to think only happy thoughts as my blood pressure was being taken.  The nurse smiled when she was done and informed me it was 124/72.  Not fantastic, but much better than 140.

After speaking with my obstetrician (she is hilarious, and a great conversationalist), she pulled out the Doppler to listen to the baby’s heart beat.  I didn’t look at a clock, but it felt like an eternity before she found that little thumping beat.  I could tell even she was starting to get nervous as she searched, and searched, and searched for that baby.  We both heaved a sigh of relief when she found it.  The heart rate was “perfect” to quote her.

New This Month:

1. My doctor offered testing to check for genetic abnormalities such as Down Syndrome.  We declined.

2. I get to take a break from Metformin.  For the next week, I am taking half the dose.  Beginning next week, no Metformin at all.  My intestines are thanking me already.  We will probably start it back up after the glucose tolerance test at the 24 week mark.

3. I have enough energy to clean again!  This is especially good news since we are closing on our house in a week, and moving the next day!

4. I am getting frequent headaches.  Thanks, Progesterone,  as if the endless fatigue last month and the month before wasn’t enough of a present from you.

5. My pants won’t fit, even with the belly band, anymore.  I purchased new pants today.  More purchases to follow after we spend a fortune on the new house.

6. My muscles in my lower abdomen hurt, a lot.  My doctor said I am going to be stretching a lot of scar tissue from my c-section I had with Eva.  She said to expect it to be unpleasant.

Not New This Month:

1. I am still very moody.  Ask my poor husband, and I’m sure he’ll tell you all about it.

2. Meat is still disgusting for the most part.  I can barely cook it, much less eat it.  This wasn’t a problem before I was pregnant.

3. I am experiencing random bouts of vomiting.  Still.

4. Smells are overwhelming.

5. I cry over some of the most ridiculous things.

6. I am unexplainably (I doubt that is a word) excited to go through it all again.  To quote a friend, it is hard work being pregnant.  She is right about that.  Even as I whine to my husband about my headache, or my bellyache, or my backache, or as I hang up on him (again) to vomit (again), I am still so happy to be pregnant.  So bring on the hard work!  Only 194 more days to go until my due date!

Liebster Award

I have been nominated for a Liebster Award by a wonderful lady, Paula, at http://www.emptyhands2openarms.wordpress.com.  Please swing by and read her blog.  She is a freelance writer who has been through infertility and come out on the other side with a better outlook on life and a stronger relationship with God.  She is a source of strength for me, and I can’t thank her enough for all the kind words and encouragement she has given me.

Thank you so much for nominating me!

She posted a few questions she wanted us nominees to answer. Here they are below:

1.  Who is your favorite author and why would you recommend them to another reader?
Cassandra Clare is my current favorite author. I seem to pick a new favorite every few years. I have and will continue to recommend her to others, especially her Infernal Devices series.  I would recommend her to another reader because she has a very original twist to her stories.

2.  What is your favorite memory at age twelve?
I spent most of the summer with my godmother. I have so many memories of time with her I can’t choose just one.  Age twelve, specifically, makes me think of the many times she let me drive her car down the driveway.

3.  What are you normally doing at 8:00 p.m on any given evening?
Nagging my six-year-old daughter to brush her teeth and get to bed.

4. Do you have a book you are working on presently?  What are you planning to call it?
I do, but unfortunately it isn’t titled. It is a middle grade fiction book that is a bit of a coming-of-age story.

5.  What has been the most difficult challenge in your life thus far?
My divorce was very difficult for me. Adjusting my life, my dreams, and regaining my confidence was a long, arduous journey, to say the least.

6.  Where do you find comfort when life gets tough?
My child’s hugs and kisses, my husband’s embrace, and prayer bring me comfort and solace.

7.  What are the qualities of a really great novel?
Anything that evokes emotion in me is a winner. I tend to gravitate toward stories with some form of emotional turmoil.

8.  Which of your posts is the one you re read from time to time?  What brings you to it?
A guest post I wrote on another blog about my infertility struggle and resulting pregnancy at jordanforty.me/prayer. It reminds me of how I felt not so long ago, and renews my joy of pregnancy every time I read it. This post reminds me to pray and to have patience.

9.  If you could know the timing, how would you spend the last day of your life?
At home with my family.

10.  What do you value the most in true friendship?
Honesty.

 

I would like to nominate the following blogs for a Liebster as well:

1. Electric Mystery

2. Erin at What To Try When Trying

3. Stop Telling Me To Relax

4. Peas 4 Our Pod

5. Waiting for The Bump

I would like each of you nominees to tell us five things about yourself that mean the most to you each.

 

liebsteraward

Recuperating

Friday my nose began running.  My thought was surely this was allergy related.  Saturday, after only five hours sleep (thanks to working an evening shift and returning for a morning shift), I began to run a fever.  Sunday was the worst.  I was scheduled for a twelve hour shift, and I hadn’t felt so ill in a very long time.  I haven’t missed a day of work, because I haven’t exactly had a choice in the matter.  My coworkers all pitched in a bit more than usual to lighten my burden, however.  They made me feel cared about and important.

I have been coughing and coughing, especially at night.  I haven’t taken anything other than Benadryl and Tylenol for fever for fear that something will harm my little, growing baby.  I am 9 weeks and 3 days pregnant today, and all this coughing has made my abdominal muscles so sore.  It makes me nervous.  I felt my lower abdominal muscles cramping last night.  I immediately sat down, and then laid down and just rested.  The least cramp or discomfort in my lower abdomen definitely grabs my immediate attention.

I am in the process of recuperating still, and now Eva has it as well.  I’m hoping life returns to normal soon.

Those of you that are waiting for the Liebster Award post–it is coming, soon.  Thank you each for your patience.

8 Weeks, 3 Days

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I went back to the doctor today to check on my little soybean.  She (no, I don’t have gender confirmation) is right on track with a healthy heart rate at 170 beats.  Everything looks perfect right now.

I also spoke with my obstetrician about VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and natural birth.  Both are very important to me this time around.  She was very open and honest about her practices.  She made it clear there are no hard and fast rules for labor anymore.  It is all about how the baby is handling labor.  She even gave me an example of a recent patient that labored for a full 48 hours before it cesarean became a topic of discussion.  Everything she had to say was very encouraging.

Four weeks before I go back for another check up.

For All The Piano People Out There

There is an excellent 130-page piano lessons book available tomorrow only for free on Amazon in ebook format.  It covers technique and music theory.  It isn’t a song book, though.  It is meant to replace about 3 years worth of piano lessons.  It is made by Steeplechase Arts, and written by a music professor.

If you don’t have a Kindle, you can get a Kindle app for pretty much every smart phone, computer, laptop, or tablet.  Once you download it, it will remain in your Amazon cloud so you can look at it from any device that has the Kindle app.  The Amazon link will take you straight to the book.  There are 30 free videos stored on YouTube to go with the book to get a better handle on technique.  The YouTube videos are pretty helpful.

Can’t beat free.

Looting in St. Louis

Let me begin by saying that my heart goes out to Mike Brown’s family and friends.  It is so hard to lose someone you love under any circumstances.  My prayers are with them.

I live outside of St. Louis, and at the moment, I couldn’t be happier with that.  Everywhere on the news is someone reporting on the incident in Ferguson, a neighborhood in St. Louis, Missouri.  Some of the reporters, though, just make me angry.  Many seem to think that looting and rioting is a justifiable reaction to the death/possible murder of Mike Brown.

First of all, the immediate headline on any article concerning this shooting/death of Mike Brown, is something along the lines of ‘unarmed, black man was shot by police’.  There aren’t a lot of details out as the investigation is still ongoing.  That is to be expected.  However, the details that are out make it clear that the police officer that shot Mike Brown was being attacked, by two men.  These men, one of which was Mike Brown, attacked this officer as he was exiting his vehicle.  Everyone agrees on this.  There has been no dispute between sides that this is what initiated this encounter.

The part that is disputed was that Mike Brown had quit fighting after a struggle with the officer’s gun, and that Mike had put his hands in the air.  If he did surrender, obviously the officer shot the wrong man.  If a thorough investigation reveals that the office did murder Mike Brown, then by all means send the officer to prison.  I do not understand looting and rioting over this, however.  How is that showing that you stand on the side of right?  How does that prove that this is a social injustice?  How does it help this situation at all?  It doesn’t.

Looting and rioting is not motivated by self-righteous anger.  This is not what people on the side of justice do.  This is what self-serving, greedy criminals do.  The looting keeps expanding ever outward every night.  An incident that occurred in North St. Louis is now being felt in South St. Louis.

If I had a problem with the police, and I truly felt that violence was the only resource left at my disposal to resolve this problem, I would not then turn that violence on residents and business owners.  The logic doesn’t exist.  Taking one event and using it as a banner and as a pass to participate in looting does not give the looting some noble purpose.  There have been people in South St. Louis county that have reported having their homes shot, cars vandalized, and businesses burglarized.

How is this honoring Mike Brown?  How is this bridging the gap to heal the racial divide that splits our country?  How is this preventing another death such as Mike Brown’s?