Want a Slice?

A final funny car trip story from my trip to my parents’ house last week:

We were less than a mile from my parent’s homestead, on a very curvy country road with zero traffic, so I slowed the car down to crawl and opened all the windows in order for the children (and adults) to enjoy the summer scents of mown hay and honeysuckle. We were all enjoying the country air when suddenly Sheldon announced, “I smell cow dung!”

Yes, he used the word dung. Yes, this ignited a firestorm of suspected animal dung smells detected in the evening breeze, including the poo of the horse, sheep, rabbit, and raccoon. The mirth in the back of the van was great.

Yet, it became greater.

My five year old daughter, Spock, chimed in with the piquant information that she could smell “frog farts”.

Oh, the hilarity.

There was untold levity in my van. The hilarious joy of the word “fart” had been unleashed and there was no way to recapture it. There was a veritable miasma of happiness going on amongst the little ones. Finally, Sheldon took it to the next step and asked, “Who cut the cheese?”

As soon as kiddie laughter had resumed tolerable decibels,my sweet little Stitch replied. “I did. You want a slice?” The way she drew out the sibilance of the word slice had to be heard to appreciated. No sooner do the howls of laughter, as much from the adults as the children, died down Stitch stole the show again by proclaiming, “You might like it on toast.”

If we had not arrived at the parental abode shortly thereafter, I fear I would have ruptured an internal organ from laughing.

Posted in Asperger's and Autism Spectrum, daughters, I like this, dammit., life as I know it, motherhood, scared for life, Too Much Information | 2 Comments

Sweet Pea and Sheldon

I went to KY to visit my parents, and I forced my very nice friend Sweet Pea and her son Sheldon to come with me. Sheldon is on the autism spectrum like me and Lilo, and is phenomenally smart. His mother is a wonderfully talented ‘normal’ person, so I wind up ‘translating’ (as one ASD person to another) what Sheldon is probably thinking. I also find the kid hysterically funny. Here’s some of the events that have occurred, told with Sweet Pea’s permission.

Sheldon sustained a scratch while playing in the woods. His mom asked, “Is that where a stick scratched you?” Sheldon, looked at the scratch, looked at her, and precisely explained that, “If the limb is still on the tree it is customarily called a twig. A twig scratched me.” His mom told him that stick was a suitable synonym for twig, but Sheldon and I knew that it was a twig dammit. Muggles and their loosey-goosey definitions!

Sheldon and I were talking about why I was ‘aunt’ Betty, even though I am biologically not related. So I explained the concept of fictive kinship based on sociocultural bonding. He listened, was thoughtful, then looked me right in the eye and said “I find you disturbing.” His mom was embarrassed but I was enchanted. Why? Because to her he was being ‘rude’ whereas I knew that he was communicating to me that my new definition was causing a processing disturbance. Fictive kin? That is a whole new set of rules!

The little guy also trusts me to answer bigger concerns. He was over playing with the Fokker Daughters and he took a break to come tell me, “I think my parents have sex.” I asked him why he thought that. He said it was because they didn’t want him to come into their room some mornings. I told him that they were probably wanting to continue sleeping rather than having sex. They probably had sex when they knew he was asleep. He was happy as a clam to know WHY his parents wanted privacy at 5:00 AM. Sleeping in? Puzzle solved!

He’ll also rat his parents out, because like a lot of ASD kids he is a miniature tape recorder and you THINK he isn’t listening but he is, and he doesn’t understand that some things are public v/s private information. Sheldon meandered up to me and said, “My mom got so mad at my dad she used the f-word.” Then, afraid I wouldn’t know what that was, he said, “You know; fuck?” Why yes, Sheldon. I do indeed know what the f-word is, but thank you for clarifying. Now, help me mop up the floor because I have peed myself laughing.

Finally, Sheldon discovered his budding heterosexuality, thanks to Lilo. He leaned over the couch to kiss her (they are ‘engaged’ and have been for a few years) and missed, landing face first on her chest. He reared back, confusion on his face. Her chest had changed! It was softer! There were some tiny squashy lumps! Well, Sheldon knew what you’re supposed to do with the squashy lumps on a lady’s chest. Thus, he started motorboating Lilo just like his dad does to his mom. Lilo looked bewildered at his weird behavior, but not perturbed.  Sweet Pea shrieked and ran to stop him, her face flaming with embarrassment, while I fell on the floor guffawing. When Sweet Pea had hustled him away for The Lecture, Lilo asked me, “What was that?” I told her it was nothing she needed to worry about yet.

So here’s a big THANK YOU to Sheldon and Sweet Pea for going with us to my parents’ house and keeping me profoundly entertained!

Posted in Asperger's and Autism Spectrum, daughters, I like this, dammit., life as I know it, motherhood, Too Much Information | Leave a comment

Hello Gozer and Gamer :)

Soooooo … guess who I am watching swim in my mom’s pool right this minute? That’s right – Gozer!! Gamer is inside playing on the Wii (as apropos hiss moniker). Although my BabyBro isn’t speaking to me (big whoop) they have apparently decided Mom’s babysitting services are too needed to maintain the hardline anti-Auntie stance. Whatever, I am just happy to see them.

I’ve also gotten to meet the New Baby, codename Aqua Velva. She is very teeny, but Taintface is being very attentive to this baby so YAY! Whether she has matured as human or wants to ‘prove me wrong’ I care not. The results are what counts.

Right now Lilo is holding Aqua Velva and Gozer is playing with Spock and Stitch is hanging with Gamer and all is right in the world.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Breastfeeding & Blame & BPAs

When a woman has difficulty breastfeeding and becomes emotionally distraught because she WANTS to breastfeed, it is often the pro-breastfeeding movement that gets blamed for making her unhappy. The argument is that if breastfeeding advocates would just stop harping on about breastfeeding, then women could formula feed with much less stress.

Okay, I understand that our culture puts a ridiculous amount of pressure to be a “good mom” on mothers while simultaneously demanding an unattainable level of perfection to win the desired “good mom” accolades. The ‘mommy wars’ could drive anyone batshit. I get it.

However, it isn’t the pro-breastfeeding sites that are calling formula-feeding mom’s “bad”. I just check dozens of sites and all of them have at least a sentence or two about how a woman should cut herself some slack if she chooses to formula feed or cannot breastfeed. It is the misogynistic, patriarchal culture that treats motherhood as a ‘contest’ with only one way to ‘win’ that is to blame. Because breast is best, any mom is implicitly told BY HER CULTURE that formula feeding is ‘bad’ because second-best is equivalent to dead-last and for total losers who don’t really love their babies and are bad moms. This is profound bullshit, but most of us buy into it anyway, because we’ve been exposed to the messaging for decades before we become moms.

Instead of breastfeeding advocates being called “Nipple Nazis”, what we need is push back against a culture that acts as if there is only one right way to be a mom and if you don’t win first prize then you lose and have failed your kids and are a horrible worthless woman. Just like you have to be a size zero twenty-two year old or you are ‘ugly’. Culture, not breastfeeding advocates, is the culprit in making moms feel inadequate and wretched.

For example, my kids act as though green veggies are dog poo in arsenic gravy. It is a battle to get them to eat green veggies and I know they are NOT getting the ‘ideal’ amount of green veggies that pediatricians recommend. Yes, that makes me feel bad because I too want to be a “good mom”. Nevertheless, I don’t assume pediatricians and their obsession with nutrition are to blame for my feelings of failure. I don’t regard nutritionists as “Broccoli Nazis” because they keep yammering on about the health benefits of green comestibles. It is my yearning to live up to the cultural ideal of motherhood that makes me feel bad. THAT is the part I am trying to resist, even as I try to coax my kids into eating their veggies.

Moreover, the women who are unable to breastfeed aren’t ‘inadequate’ or ‘failures’ and it is only the cultural message of win/lose parenting that makes them feel that way. Worse, they are usually sabotaged by their culture and set up to ‘fail’ before they even start playing. And I am not just taking about easily seen phenomena, like the fact women aren’t given enough maternity leave and breastfeeding becomes ungodly hard once you return to work. Nope. I am talking about the fact many women have been poisoned by endocrine-disrupting chemicals and pesticides as kids (or even when they were fetuses) and there is no WAY they can breastfeed because they never developed mammary tissue, or didn’t develop enough of it:

“research finds that some pre-adolescent daughters of mothers exposed to pesticide spraying will never be able to breast-feed their babies. With others there is uncertainty. Although there is breast growth, some daughters lacked development of the mammary tissue needed to produce milk, or developed a minimal amount. As the girls in the exposed group matured, their breast size became much larger than normal, yet they had less mammary tissue and often none at all, while the unexposed girls were normal.”

Don’t think you were exposed to pesticides? Think again. Your conventionally grown food is laden with pesticide residue, which the government insists won’t harm you in such small amounts. These are the same folks who gave you the okay to the now-shown-to-cause-cancer-and-diabetes artificial sweetener aspartame.

Endocrine disrupters, or EDCs, aren’t just in pesticides either:

“Chemicals that are known endocrine disruptors include diethylstilbestrol (the synethetic estrogen DES), dioxin and dioxin-like compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), DDT, and some other pesticides.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical produced in large quantities for use primarily in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. The NTP Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction completed a review of BPA in September 2008. The NTP expressed “some concern for effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and children at current human exposures to bisphenol A.

Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) is a high production volume chemical used in the manufacture of a wide variety of consumer food packaging, some children’s products, and some polyvinyl chloride (PVC) medical devices. In 2006, the NTP found that DEHP may pose a risk to human development, especially critically ill male infants.

Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring substances in plants that have hormone-like activity. Examples of phytoestrogens are genistein and daidzein, which can be found in soy-derived products.”

Oh, and let us not forget the dioxins! “Dioxin exposure (perhaps in utero) has been shown to have a profound effect on mammary gland development — rendering exclusive breastfeeding impossible in some cases … Studies have indicated that dioxin exposure can affect mammary gland development in mammals, including humans (see Rudel, et. al; Fenton, et. al; and Markey, et. al in references).” The amount of dioxins in the air/soil/water have declined, but have they been phased out enough? Because 90% of the dioxins in our bodies get there via our food; even if we aren’t breathing it in, it’s in the soil for decades and thus in our food supply.  The foods that are most highly contaminated with dioxins are:

  • beef
  • dairy products (cheese, ice cream, yogurt)
  • milk
  • chicken
  • pork
  • fish
  • eggs

So, try not to breathe, eat, or drink and MAYBE you can breastfeed your baby before you return to work and have no place to pump and your supply dries up. If this upsets you then you know who to blame – breastfeeding advocates, because if we would just hush then you wouldn’t even know what you had been cheated of.

Posted in daughters, Feminism, health, motherhood, shit I think y'all should know, victim blaming | Leave a comment

Who Could Not Love Her?

My mother is heading to MiddleBro’s house today, to look after his two daughters (who are adorable and sweet). She asked if she could bring Gozer, whom the cousins love to play with and who loves her cousins. Mom would watch all three girls while they played together. Easy, no?

No.

MiddleBro and his wife don’t want Mom to bring Gozer. The excuse is that the wife will have too much studying to do and it would be “too disruptive”, but considering that Mom will be watching the kids and there is a full size basement for them to all play in, I call bullshit. I think MiddleBro and his elegant, upper-middleclass wife don’t want Gozer around their kids if they can help it lest she contaminate them with Taintface’s white-trash ways. They certainly don’t want Gozer for herself. It is obvious they don’t love her. Do they not love her because she has autism, or do they not love her because her parents aren’t ‘good enough’, or do they not love her because they can love no one but themselves, their children, and their parents?

Regardless of WHY they don’t love her, it stinks. It also sucks all the donkey balls that they won’t let her come play with her cousins.

Personally, I would be ashamed to show such heartless disdain for a child. I would also be ashamed to deny a Grandmother’s request to bring another granddaughter when said Grandmother is driving 100 miles and spending the night so that she can babysit, allowing me to study and my husband to work. But I am not as well bred as my MiddleBro’s wife, so what do I know? Loving children who aren’t quite the thing is probably a low-class thing to do.

You know, I respect MiddleBro and his wife as parents, since they have Fokker-approved levels of devotion for their own daughters, but they flat out do not give the furry crack of a rat’s ass about any kids other than their own. Well, from my brother’s side of the family, that is. They seem eager to share in the joys of parenting with the doctors and lawyers in their neighborhood. They LOVE to discuss good schools over cocktails with people who are worthy of their acquaintance.

As for myself, I will take a redneck BBQ where the kids are all running and hollering and getting hugs and kisses from every adult and being told by aunts and uncles and cousins that they are just precious than cocktail hour with the McSnooties any day. I will always choose substance over style.

Fokk them in the earhole for not loving Gozer. There is something repugnant about anyone who cannot see what a wonderful, special, amazing child she is. I am pissed and offended on her behalf.

*stomps off to load the dishwasher in a fierce manner*

Posted in are you kidding me with this shit?, Asperger's and Autism Spectrum, daughters, I've been thinking too much, life as I know it, motherhood | 5 Comments

Gut Balance and Microbiota

So, looky what popped up on my news feed: “Imbalances In Our Gut Flora Contribute To The Obesity Epidemic: How Do We Fix This?”

The article says that,

“We’ve known for a long time that the gut microbiome influences a vast array of bodily functions — it maintains proper immunity, for example. More recently, gut microbes have demonstrated an integral role in many facets of brain function, and they also profoundly influence body weight. How? Gut microbes regulate insulin, and control appetite and metabolism, and more. Let’s consider how we’ve disrupted our gut flora, and the strength of evidence showing how we’ve transformed our once-thriving inner ecosystem into a polluted pond of fat-favoring microbes. Investigators first discovered that an imbalanced gut flora could lead to obesity in animals. In genetically engineered obese mice, scientists found a class of gut microbes called Firmicutes was consistently overrepresented. They discovered that the Firmicutes are too efficient at extracting energy from food, breaking down fiber and even increasing the absorption of dietary fat. In this way, gut microbes could cause retention of body weight without the animal eating an extra morsel of food. Investigators were also able to transfer obesity to germ-free mice via fecal transplantation from obese mouse donors, and even modify the expression of obesity via diet. A Western high-fat, sugary diet facilitates the colonization of obesogenic flora. Again in mice, research teams were able to show that consuming a Western diet not only led to obesity, but that it also transformed the gut flora into an obesogenic mix in as little as 24 hours.”

I may have mentioned these facts a time or two on my blog, along with the evidence showing fat people can be healthy and that the obesity epidemic is more mass hysteria than just mass, no?

My personal theory about why Plexus Slim has worked so well to help so many people lose weight is that it restores gut microbiota or kills of candida yeast or makes the gut hostile for firmicutes, but that’s all speculation on my part. What I do know for sure is that it has made my fibromyalgia pain stop and made several of my friends significantly thinner as well as making them feel better. I have gone down a couple of pants sizes, but I don’t take it for the weight loss; I take it because I don’t like the stabbing pains and random aches all over my body fibro gives me, thank you.  (If you want to try Plexus, my friend Lora’s website is http://lmathews.myplexusproducts.com/products. No, it is not secretly my website.)

The doctor who wrote the article, a gastroenterologist, nutritionist, and associate professor of medicine at The Johns Hopkins University named Gerard E. Mullin, also wrote the book The Gut Balance Revolution. I highly recommend this book, which is available in paperback and e-book formats.

Posted in fat hating, health, I like this, dammit., shit I think y'all should know | 2 Comments

Happy July 4th; Here’s Some Interesting Animal Penises

In keeping with my traditional posting of a weird animal dong to celebrate the 4th of July, let us discuss the flatworm’s meatstick. Well, actually the faltworm doesn’t have a meatstick so much as it has a hypodermic needle-dick … which it uses to inject sperm into it’s own head to self-fertilize when needs be. According to the study (done by Swiss zoologists because why not?):

“Self-fertilization occurs in a broad range of hermaphroditic plants and animals, and is often thought to evolve as a reproductive assurance strategy under ecological conditions that disfavour or prevent outcrossing. Nevertheless, selfing ability is far from ubiquitous among hermaphrodites, and may be constrained in taxa where the male and female gametes of the same individual cannot easily meet. Here, we report an extraordinary selfing mechanism in one such species, the free-living flatworm Macrostomum hystrix. To test the hypothesis that adaptations to hypodermic insemination of the mating partner under outcrossing also facilitate selfing, we experimentally manipulated the social environment of these transparent flatworms and then observed the spatial distribution of received sperm in vivo. We find that this distribution differs radically between conditions allowing or preventing outcrossing, implying that isolated individuals use their needle-like stylet (male copulatory organ) to inject own sperm into their anterior body region, including into their own head, from where they then apparently migrate to the site of (self-)fertilization. Conferring the ability to self could thus be an additional consequence of hypodermic insemination, a widespread fertilization mode that is especially prevalent among simultaneously hermaphroditic animals and probably evolves due to sexual conflict over the transfer and subsequent fate of sperm.”

May I just say that I hope “selfing” becomes a commonly used verb in the English language? As in, “My husband said he was going to cook dinner for me but then he forgot so I’m selfing some beans on toast.”

Flatworms aren’t the only needle-dicked hermaphrodites on the block:

“The brightly-colored sea slug Siphopteron quadrispinosum is hermaphroditic, meaning that individuals have both female and male genitalia. When mating, the slug playing the role of the “male” will stab its partner with a syringelike penile appendage and inject prostate fluids into the body. The sea slug penis also comes equipped with four to five large hooks on its base and 20 to 30 tiny spines on its tip, which anchor it into the female reproductive system.”

Nonetheless, the flatworm family (Pseudocerotidae) DOES come up with the weirdest needle-dicked hermaphrodites on the block. A species of flatworm called Pseudobiceros hancockanus engages in “penis fencing”:

“The flatworms “fence” using two-headed dagger-like penises which are pointed, and white in color. The mating ritual involves a violent battle during which two hermaphroditic flatworms attempt to pierce the skin of one another with one of their penises. One organism will inseminate the other; this flatworm becomes the father. The sperm is absorbed through pores in the skin, causing fertilization in the second, who becomes the mother. The battle may last up to an hour.”

Y’all, the fact that this flatworm is P. han-cock-anus makes me happier than I know how to express. It was like they were named by Star Wars slash-fic fans.

Plus, they’re cute.

flatworm p hancockanus

Happy 4th of July everybody! In the spirit of the day, I leave you with a red, white & blue flatworm!

Posted in I like this, dammit., Sexy Sex, shit I think y'all should know, Too Much Information | 1 Comment