No until Death us do part

I have been thinking a lot about wedding vows with The Geek and my wedding coming up in a few short weeks. We want to write our own vows. I am sure not everyone is like me but as I think about the promises I want to make I ponder if people in the audience look at me as a divorced woman and think – “I wonder if she is going to keep them this time”

Maybe being older and wiser and slightly more cynical I am thinking about my promises more carefully. I am not religious. I don’t believe that marriage should be forever if it is damaging to either party. If there is one thing I have learnt is that life does not go to plan. I have seen friends with the greatest love, ended by a cruel twist of fate. Sometimes we marry for the wrong reasons or we grow apart or things just happen.

Did I mean my vows when I said them the first time? – of course. I was not planning to get divorced it was not even an option. But it happened. I am not a bad person. I did not fail, although I am sure there are plenty who think “you just have to try harder and it will work out”. I don’t believe that, I tried for 8 years, sometimes the bravest thing to do is to get out.

I think marriage should be viewed more like a business partnership, obviously a lot more emotional and loving but no one thinks badly of you if a business partnership ends or changes. People grow and change and sometimes it is not in the same direction.

I found this article and it rung true for me:

“People understand that anything can happen in life, and you don’t make a promise you can’t keep. When people get divorced, they mourn the fact that they said ”til death do us part’ — you didn’t keep your word in church (if they had a church wedding). Some people are in therapy because they promised ‘til death do us part’ — it is the sticking point in the healing of a broken marriage. The wording can give you a stigma of personal failure.”

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,163251,00.html#ixzz2JFi3Rala

I am no less committed to The Geek, in fact I don’t think I have ever thought so long and hard about promises before. I want to say what I know I can keep, and words that will challenge me to work as hard as I can on this relationship. I do not see it as an easy way out to not say until death us do part. I am not just presuming we will stay together, I know we have to work at it and make a conscious choice to make it work.

I know many will disagree with me and think that these are the sort of things that lead to high divorce rate. But in my mind, things happen, sometimes very unexpected things and no one should have to stay miserable in a broken relationship just for the sake of others in society worrying about our morals. There are no prizes for a life of unhappiness.

What do you think?

Wedding Hair

I went to do the colour for the wedding trial hair today. When in to the hair dresser at 11:30 and out at 4:15! It was a long day but it was quite nice not to have kids running around calling Mommy every 0.035 seconds.

We did a paler pink, left some lighter blond bits, it is hard to do it exactly like the other pic as it is not blonde to start with and rather pic. That picture was blonde with pink marbled on. So unless I bleached it all and stripped out the pink it would not work and I really don’t want to strip or damage my hair.

Here is the final result

I love the sides BUT I think the the plaits must go into the roll and be a bit less fussy at the back, what do you think?

this is the part I am not sure about

Stop Camel Light Fun colour boxes!

The Geek smokes, he is trying not to but that is another story. He usually smokes camel and he showed me with some amusement the new bright coloured box he had. It is part of a new limited edition coloured boxed like the ones in this picture. He was surprised how vehemently I reacted against them. They are fun and bright, very clever marketing, I have even heard adults on twitter say that they have not smoked in years or were about to quit and were tempted by the new fun colourful boxes.

Marketing that targets adults is one thing but using bright fun colours often associated with kids, toys and sweets is irresponsible, especially for a brand of light cigarettes, which might be a starting choice for teens. If adults are struggling to resist what about under age teens this holiday? Making smoking fun is irresponsible and dangerous. Tobacco companies can do what they like to adults, but when they blur the line and target children I get furious.

Titus (23 months) has never shown any interest in The Geek’s cigarettes, but he saw the box on the counter, pushed over a chair and got them down and tried to eat them because he thought they were sweets! If a baby under 2 is programmed to associate bright colours with sweets and something nice what chance to older kids have.

I am disgusted and appalled at the lack if integrity and regard for children’s safety.

If you like me feel strongly about this, and I encourage every parent with their child’s well being at heart to take the time to complain.

I have as yet not managed to get any tobacco company to take ownership of the camel brand. Everyone tells me it is someone else. I did read something that said that Camel was being brought into SA under Jti and I have emailed them a complaint, there is no direct number.
You can email a complaint to asasa.org.za There is a very simple on line form to fill in.
Blog about it
Complain to any shops that you see stocking them
Complain on Hello Peter
Complain to the department of Health
Email or tweet you local government representative. I am going to tweet Helen Zilla. @helenzilla

Our kids need protecting at all costs.

Rachel’s Egg-cellent Market Day

Rachel and her friend Thomas had an egg stall at the kids market day. They each had 7 boxes and were very equitable and alternated sales.
Ollie also made some biscuits to sell. Caleb ran around and was the ‘support’ team. Although next time I think I will make some things with him to sell too.

They sold out on all their eggs and had a good time. They will definitely be doing the one near Valentines day in February

These are the little labels she designed and made for her egg boxes
Kids market day Eggs

I took some photos of her and Caleb with 2 of our chickens so she could show that the eggs were not just from the shop and that she is the chicken ‘farmer’
Kids Market day

At the market – when we arrived she was a little nervous
Kids Market Day

Egg Table

Other tables
Kids Craft Market

Photo from the Photographer that was there on the day Akaroo

Last 2 people on Earth

We have all heard people say things like, “not even if they were the last person on earth would I procreate with them to save the human race.” This is not my reason I would not procreate, mine is that I am not sure we should survive, which I guess is easy to say now that I have 3 kids.

I have no idea how The Geek and I got onto the topic but we were talking about the survival of the human race. We have very different views. Yme is very interested in space and planets and the idea of finding other possible habitable planets we can go to one day after we have destroyed Earth. I on the other hand think that we are the most dangerous species on this planet and that if we all died off and had not destroyed everything else, that nature here on Earth would be a whole lot better off without us. The natural balance of nature would be restored. Animals would reclaim land and just about all species would be better off without us. The sad part is that by the time we can no longer inhabit this world, we would have made it uninhabitable for most other species too. I always laugh when I see the programs on TV nature channels about the deadliest animals. The top of the list is the one we see in the mirror each day!

So I do not think we have the right to go and populate other planets because we are destroying ours beyond repair. I do not have much faith in human nature on the whole. Yes there are some awesome kind wonderful people but most of us are selfish and want our creature comforts more than make sure nature is in balance.

The discussion about repopulating the Earth after our previous conversation about going to other planets, was an interesting one. I do not think that if there are only 2 people left that they should procreate. First it would mean at some point having sex with a son or daughter and brothers and sisters having babies together. Not only are we not a great species to start with but with such a limited gene pool it would be a disaster. Apparently according to The Geek you need about 400 people to have enough genetic variation not to have problems.

I sincerely hope I am not one of the last 2 people on Earth and if I am, I hope that I have batteries and a BOB ( battery operated boyfriend) because I am not having babies.

What do you think?

Secret Santa

My wish list for christmas. I have joined The Stiletto Mum’s Secret Santa gift swap. So if you want to know what Pinky wants for Christmas here is my list, very obviously some stuff will not fit in the R100 budget but maybe the real Santa is reading this too.

I have just gotten into The Game of Thrones audiobook and am listening to the first half of book one. I have no idea if you can buy an audiobook for someone but I am totally loving knitting and ‘reading’ at the same time and would love the 2nd half of book 1 and the rest of the series.

I love to take relaxing baths now and again when it is quiet in the house so anything nice for the bath is always welcome.

Pretty hair clips or hair scarfs are always welcome, they can be fairly funky

Things to eat, I love chocolate so you can’t go wrong with chocolate, and of course nougat and turkish delight and lint balls

Mugs, I love a BIG mug for my tea and coffee otherwise I just start drinking and it is finished which is very disappointing

I love handmade things, I am a knitter and crafter and appreciate the time and effort in a hand made item.

More knit pro cables ( 100cm) and other 2,5mm fixed cable sock needle. These can be found at www.skapie.co.za

Darning needles, I am always loosing them and could do with 100

I am a bit of a yarn snob so natural yarn ( wool, cotton, bamboo, camel, alpaca, sugar cane etc) is welcome.

I really want some cute Mary Jane’s to show off my knitted socks. Like these ones from Groundcover size 8 in fuschia please

Chai vanilla tea from Woolies is lovely

A wedding planner and person to make all the decorations and take over all the stress would be good.

Any patterns from my Ravelry queue would be nice, you can gift them to me

JoJo rainwater collecting drum

clinique par Amour Perfume

Will add if I think of more

Kids Entrepreneurial Market

Rachel and her friend are going to be at this market on 17 November, please come and support them if you are in the area. She is going to be selling eggs from her chicken, biscuits and meringues.
Here are the details if the picture is not very clear.

Join us for a Kids Market Day run by kids for kids.
No matter how funny or creative the produce, we encourage our kids to have fun making and creating their wares. Our Place Restaurant will provide grownup food and coffee sales for the day.

Theme: Xmas
 Décor: Bunting, Birds,
 Bird Houses, Bird Cages
 Market fee per table:
 R20
 Payable to: L Uys
 ABSA 9106660563
 Ref: Child’‛s name

Kids 7—13 years can apply to exhibit their home baked or homemade wares. Application Fee proceeds will go to SNAP Education (Centre for children with Autism).
Goody bag options available. Suggested Product sales between R5—R20 What to bring: Own Table, decorations, pricing, change/float and shade Table Size: 1m x 1m or 2 kids at a canteen table (1.8m x 0.9m)
Book with Lenore or Renata on uys@icon.co.za
Date: 17 November 2012
Venue: Our Place, Oxford Street, Durbanville Time: 10:00—12:00

Delayed Vaccinations, my reasons and thoughts

I was asked by a friend to give her some info about vaccinations and what I did. These are my own feelings and my decision for my family, while I am a nurse they are not medical recommendations by anyone but me and what made sense to me. I share them as it is hard to find anything middle ground out there.

First it is impossible to find unbiased information on the internet, both the for or against will scare the bejezus out of you and leave you not knowing what to do. I spoke to my dad a GP for many years but when I was little he worked in a community hospital in one of the old homelands. He is now a Professor of Family Medicine and I trust his experience. He did not try to scare me into anything he said there are risks whatever you choose, you as the parent have to weight up the likelyhood of each risk and decide which ones you are willing to live with and which not. Every medication, injection etc that anyone takes ever has potential side effects and these are worse in some and not others and who is going to react and who is not in next to impossible to know before hand.

With that in mind I started at the top and and looked through the shots and the diseases and decided which ones to do. I will list them and my decisions below.

I did delayed vaccination for a number of reasons:
– I was breast feeding exclusively and so they would have my immunity to all these diseases until 6 month A babies immune system is very very immature and interestingly enough is only ever fully mature to the same level as an adult after 6 years old ( this is the reason that some extended breast feeders use to continue until their children are older, and while I totally understand that and feel everyone needs to breast feed to an age that is comfortable to them 4, 5 and 6 were just too old for me, I got to 2 with all of mine – but I digress)
– My kids did not go to day care or creche when they were young and so were not exposed to large groups of other children all the time where they might pick up stuff earlier.
– It just felt right.
– I started at 6 months ( except the TB but I cover that and the timing below) and then kept the time spacing recommended with the repeat vaccines as they build on each other. The only other timing I changed drastically was the TB but I will explain more below

What I did and what I didn’t
Vit K at birth: No – this is a long explanation and again one you have to consider carefully, if you want more of my thoughts on this ask and I am happy yo tell you all my reasoning. Here is an article from a Midwifery journal http://www.aims.org.uk/Journal/Vol13No2/vitk.htm

TB: Rachel and Titus have had TB but not Caleb, he was born in the UK where they don’t do it and when we got back I spoke to my dad and he said that she shot really only protects them from TB meningitis and the risk for this is more in those under 18 months and Caleb was over 18 months when I got back. I had a home birth and so it was not done at birth but I went to do it at the clinic later. I was worried that I had left Titus’s one a bit long as I only got there when he was 4 weeks old as The Geek’s sister had died just after Titus was born and we got wrapped up in funeral plans and stuff at the time. Later when I told my dad I was a bit stress for leaving it so long as it was always one of those that one was warned to do ASAP and is done in hospital. He explained that the reason is TB is so very very common in SA and that babies returning to townships with relatives that may be contagious need to be protected from birth. The efficacy of the TB vax is notoriously bad it protects about 80% against TB meningitus and about 60% against Pulmonary TB ( lung) most of us actually get herd immunity for living in a place with a high TB prevalence. Healthy immune systems just develop natural immunity. If I was to have another baby I would wait until 10 – 12 weeks for the TB shot ( NOT THAT I AM EVER HAVING MORE BABIES) you might have a bit of a fight in hospital as it is a standard jab but as a parent you have the final say as long as you make it clearly known you do not want it. But be very clear as there is stuff they just do by routine. The research http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19616494

chickenpox: no, it is not dangeous, I took the risk of some scars. The CP vax only lasts 10 years and so you have to repeat it every 10 years for the rest of your life or risk getting very very sick as an adult. Adult chicken pox can be very serious. For most children it is a mild irritation and maybe a slight higher irritation for the mom who has cranky kids but getting it offer a better immunity which is usually life long. The very very rare person get chicken pox twice in their life.

Polio: yes this is a debilitating disease which is still prevalent in SA and can be picked up from water that might have been contaminated further upstream ( fecal contamination), so unless your kid never ever swims in a river, pond, lake or any other outdoor natural water source they in my opinion need the polio vax.

Pertusis (whooping cough): not deadly and is a maybe one but it can damage lungs in sever cases and my sister is a serve asthmatic after getting it as a kid, she would always have been an asthmatic and she was vaccinated but she was just unlikey but it did damage her chest. The worst thing about this disease is that it is highly contagious and for a LONG time.I had a friend with kids who got it and she was housebound for 3 months. You have to wait a month after each child first shows signs before you can see other people. The whoop and vomiting in kids especially at night is very draning on the mom and in small babies they can stop breathing. Under 1 it is dangerous.

Diptheria – not common it is a skin and upper respiratory track illness which in and of itself is not too bad and can be mild BUT there is a 20% chance of myocarditis ( heart damage) and 10% of nerve damage which is 2 in 10 and 1 in 10 which are too high risk for me. Things that are 1 in 100 000 are a different story.

Tetanus: causes lock jaw to which there is no cure and most will die, you can get it from common things like a rusty nail so I did this one. You can wait for an exposure to a risk and then vaccinate but I did it from the beginning. It was included because people used to put cow manure on the umbilical cord before it fell off and so babies were exposed. It is also one that needs to be repeated every 5 years I think but most adults wait for an exposure ( the injection hurts like hell as an adult)

Hepatitis B: is actually quite difficult to get. What we used to know as Yellow jaundice it is still common in SA and can cause liver damage

haemophilus influenza: not actually a infulenza at all and not that dangerous in adults but can cause meningitis in babies

Rotavirus: I did not do this one, it is mostly for babies in day care and crèche where they are exposed, it causes a nasty diarrhoea which kids can dehydrate from easily but I felt with breast feeding and limited exposer I did not do this one. Those with babies going to day care and creche from young it is advised.

hepatitis A: did not, very rare in SA it is common in other places in Africa and if you travel consider doing it for the whole family before you go.

MMR: No, but not for the autism reasons. I will explain each disease separately. The autism link has been disproven but everyone needs to do their own research and make up their own mind on that one. This was not my reason at all

Measles: This might sound like a mild childhood disease, a rash and not feeling great and in many this is all that it is. BUT like diptheria while mild in many it has common complications as many as 20% of all case will get some of the more severe complications like pneumonia and menengitis. The wiki says Between the years 1987 and 2000, the case fatality rate across the United States was three measles-attributable deaths per 1000 cases this might not sound high but these are the death not just those than got very very sick. My dad said when he first started working out in the rural hospital their wards were full of children dying on measles, he said if he has seen any medical miracles in his 40 years as a Dr it was how in the space of the years they introduced the vaccine this number dropped away to next to none. He said it was the hugest case and effect of any health care preventative measure that he witnessed in his years as a Dr. Yes there is high mortality (death) in poorer lower economic groups with poorer nutrition but he said even as a GP in a affluent area later in his career he still saw measles causing nasty complications in healthy well nourished kids.

In SA they start the measles vax at 9 months and again at 18months, but all the research I could see was that they baby was well protected by the mother antibodies until 18 months and if you do it at 9 months the immunity is not very good and it has to be topped up at 18 months. I waited until between 18 month and 2 years and did one shot then for all my kids.

Mumps: Is a mild childhood disease with few life threatening risks. You just look like a chipmunk and have a face that hurts like hell. My reasons for vaccinating was against disease I felt there was a life threatening risk of. I did not feel that with mumps. I will never give it to Rachel as she is a girl and has no risk. I would ideally like the boys to get it and then their immunity is better but if neither of them has had it when they get to about 9 or 10 I will get them vaccinated. It can damage sperm if a teenage or adult man gets it and I want to be a Granny ;-)

Rubella: Again a mild disease but very dangerous to unborn babies if the mom gets it. Therefore women of childbearing age should have this in my mind. As a woman wanting to get pregnant or have more babies gets tested if you have antibodies great if not get the shot. I will tell Rachel the risks to her babies when she is older and advice that she gets it in her teenage years while I am around to remind her, but if she wants to wait and do it when she is older and has moved out then that is fine too.

I think that wraps up all of them, have I forgotten any? If you got this far well done. As I said in the beginning there are risks to everything and some kids react very badly to vaccinations and even have anaphylactic reaction but these are very rare. I thought the risk was worth taking for some of these diseases.

A note about Thimerosal, you might have heard that it is a mercury based preservative and that you can pay and get much more expensive vav without it and in the US it is being phased out.

Thimerosal is an antiseptic and antifungal agent that is used to help preserve the vaccinations. In the past there were cases where children died from infections from vaccinations that lacked preservatives. Unlike some other preservatives it does not reduce the potency of the vaccines that it preserves.

The concern is that, Thimerosal is a mercury compound. The risk were however based on a substance called methymercury and cause Thiomersal to be removed from childhood vaccination in the US starting in 1999. Since then this been found to be eliminated from the body and the brain significantly faster than methylmercury . The late-1990s risk assessments turned out to be overly conservative.

Preservatives like thiomersal are not needed in the more expensive single dose injectable which are available at a private clinic. Yet the World Health Organization has concluded that there is no evidence of toxicity from thiomersal in vaccines and no reason on safety grounds to change to more-expensive single-dose vax. Government vaccinations in South Africa do contain small doses of Thiomersal but after extensive research there is no proof that the more expensive vaccines are needed. But due to world wide pressure and the bad name it has in the general population it will probably be phased out in time. Which one you decide to use is again up to you.

Sorry to be MIA

Soory I have been MIA and have been delayed in drawing my competition but I am knitting a new pattern. I know if you are not a knitter that this means nothing but believe me it is exciting. Yes really, not like old lady exciting like proper exciting ;-)

Anyway without further ado here is the winner: Congrats Dhesh

A friend asked me to tell her about what I did with vaccinations, which can be a really contentious and one that can be hard to find a middle ground. I wrote a long reply to her and so I thought it might be worth sharing. Will start a new post to do that and then I have one about unschooling in my head too, stay tuned.