Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Thanks to AcmeGirl for the tag. Bean was enthralled at a recent Halloween-themed event by the pumpkins with kitties carved into them. So Husband kindly obliged her kitty-loving fancy.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Six random facts meme

Thanks to ScientistMother for the tag. And now six random facts about ScienceMama.

1. I am still in close contact with every single one of my friends from high school. It makes me very happy.

2. I am happier when I exercise on a regular basis. I am not currently exercising on a regular basis. My favorite jeans tell me this is a problem.

3. I have not had a haircut since last December. My split ends tell me this is a problem.

4. Husband and I met while working in the same lab. I am on one of his papers.

5. I used to suffer from chronic migraines. I have only had one since I got pregnant with Bean.

6. I work fewer hours in lab as a postdoc (and mother) than I ever did as a graduate student. I try not to feel like a terrible person. It doesn't always work.

Funk... and not the good kind

Get up (get on up)
Get up (get on up)
Stay on the scene (get on up)
Like a lovin' machine (get on up)

Bobby, should I take 'em to the bridge? (Go Ahead!)
Take 'em to the bridge? (Go Ahead!)
Take 'em to the bridge? (Take 'em to the bridge!)
Should I take 'em to the bridge? (Yeah!)
Hit me now!

Husband is pretty much not going on the job market this year. Long story short: certain experiments are bastards and his paper is not finished. He will miss the vast majority of deadlines for this year's TT jobs. He will have to wait until next fall before he can do a full blown job search. This will delay... everything.

It's disappointing, but it's fine. I am... regrouping.

Get it together, right on, right on
right on, right on, (right on, right on)
right on, right on, (right on, right on)
right on, right on, (right on, right on)

In other news, Bean likes James Brown. She knows how to shake what her mama gave her.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Mother of All Ironies

A friend of mine just passed along this link. In short, over a million dollars have been donated to Planned Parenthood in Sarah Palin's name over the past few weeks.

I regularly give to Planned Parenthood anyway and couldn't resist making my own donation for Sarah. I only wish they would have allowed me to include a personal message to Sarah in the card she'll receive...

Sarah, I can't express it any clearer: you are not a role model to women, you do not represent me or my values. May the discord of your own hateful rhetoric ring in your ears for the rest of your days.

I remain,
The Mother of All Scientists

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Gratuitous cute baby pics

The (now) annual trip to the pumpkin patch.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

On extended breastfeeding

The Bean is coming up on 18 months now. Damn does the time fly fast. She is not a baby anymore, but a firecracker of a little girl.

We are still breastfeeding. I committed to breastfeeding full time for her first year. Right around her first birthday, I stopped pumping at work (which was incredibly freeing). We quickly dropped to nursing just twice a day: first thing in the morning and last thing before she goes to sleep. I figured we'd use that schedule as a transition for awhile until she felt ready to stop nursing altogether.

Well here we are six months later and we're still nursing twice a day. At Bean's last checkup, the doctor asked what my plan for weaning was. Um, I don't have one.

It's actually pretty freaking awesome to be able to nurse Bean at this point. Nursing is no longer the centerpiece of my life, but we still get to enjoy that quiet time together each morning and evening. It's so nice. Especially on weekend mornings when Bean wakes up and I'm dying for just a few. more. minutes. I can bring her to bed and let her nurse while I grudgingly admit that I have to wake up.

And at night, nursing is usually followed by a few minutes of cuddling before I put her to bed. This is a rare treat, as my go-go-go daughter rarely sits still for more than a minute.

So, while I doubt that we will nurse past her second birthday, right now I would be loathe to give it up.

Unfortunately for me, it's decision time. My doctor has recommended a particular medication for me. I know I need it. But I also know that it comes through in breast milk. And I also know there are not adequate studies on the long term effects of children exposed to this medication via breast milk. My doctor doesn't view the decision as an either/or prospect. She thinks that since there's no data showing a negative impact of this medication that it should be considered safe. I strongly disagree.

I know that it is almost impossible to monitor the long term effects of a drug on normal childhood development. Even for something as common as hormonal birth control, they really can't say whether the exposure via breastmilk might have a subtle effect on, say, sexual development. Virtually all medications have warnings about pregnant and breastfeeding women, and that's because we just don't have the data to be able to what is safe and what isn't.

So for me, it is an either/or decision. And for now, I'm choosing breastfeeding.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Hippie U

I did my undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at Hippie U. Hippie U is full of a lot of different types of students, not least of which are the 90s version of a hippie: the yippie (part yuppy, part hippie). Yippies are the kids that drive a brand new hybrid (that their parents gave them), live in a commune and grow their own organic weed in the basement.

Living in a town of yippies has its high points... recycling programs were top notch. Composting on campus. Plenty of organic, locally grown produce. A fantastic farmers market. A generally easy going, friendly attitude around town. But the yippies also have a lot of hip causes. There were plenty of Che posters in windows around town, though most of the people who hung them only seemed to vaguely understand who he was. "Free Mumia" was the most frequently seen graffiti in town. Hippie U had a policy of only cutting down trees for new buildings in the summer to avoid students chaining themselves to trees. Animal rights was another very hip cause on campus, and there were occasionally protests or information tables on campus.

I recently heard from my undergraduate adviser that an animal rights group had been passing out "wanted" posters around campus with the pictures, names and home addresses of scientists doing animal research. This included a young faculty member in the department who works with mice.

Later that week, that young researcher's house was firebombed as he, his wife, and two small children slept. The family was forced to escape their burning home through a second story window.

Shortly after that, protesters firebombed the car of another member of the department.

Since the two attacks, Hippie U has raised security in the various lab buildings on campus. But I have a hard time imagining how any of the faculty, postdocs or students can possibly feel safe. How could you possibly work another late night in the lab, how could you feel safe in your own home, knowing that this group was willing to set fire to a home with sleeping children inside?

And what of this poor researcher? He's spent his whole life working to get where he is today, doing research he hopes will help humanity. But with the safety of his family at risk, what will he do? What would I do? What would you do?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Speaking of idiots...

...anyone catch the debate last night?

Husband predicted last week that the media had so hyped Palin as an idiot that as long as she didn't use the N-word or physically implode during the debate she would be hailed as a champ. And sure enough pretty the entire world is claiming that she did a good job.

Are you f*cking kidding me?

I swear to god, I actually found her attitude offensive. Her "I'm just a mom from Alaska and I share your values and hardships" attitude made me want to smack her in the face. The Republican party is not working for the middle class...

And who the hell was she winking at?

I thought that Joe Biden did an good job. He talked about real issues. Unfortunately he was about as personable as a snail. But he's intelligent and well-spoken, I agree with virtually everything he had to say. I was also a little disappointed that he didn't go for the jugular.

The debate was something of a letdown. She did a good job of listening to her debate coaches. She wasn't forced to deviate from her script, which was a disappointment. I fear this may have alleviated some people's fears about her. I can only hope that enough people weren't fooled.

An aside: As a mom, I found it extremely strange that after the debate had ended, Sarah Palin did not take her infant son from her daughters arms. I'm assuming she's had very little time with her son over the past week, and I found it very odd that she wasn't rushing to try to hold him. He's still a tiny infant... I found it weird. I wonder if she was told not to hold him... I've never seen any pictures of her holding him.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Science: 268 ScienceMama: 0

I'm a complete idiot.

I'm known in various circles for my propensity to break glassware (usually with important samples or toxic chemicals inside... the Bottle of Formaldehyde Incident of '03 was hard to live down). I've got a weird brown spot on my middle finger from a time when I was handling formadehyde without gloves. I once accidentally splattered DMSO in my mouth (a tiny flick off the inside of an eppie tube lid, but still... it made my tongue feel weird). I mean I've always been an idiot, prone to accidents, but seriously guys, this one takes the cake.

Yesterday I VERY CAREFULLY cut out bands on the UV box wearing eye protection... instead of a face mask.

Today, I look like I fell asleep in a tanning bed. Or went snorkling on the sun.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Something good

Every once in awhile, you have one of those moments that you know you will always remember.

Like watching the man you love holding your child in his arms, teaching her how to blow on a dandelion just right. Her squeal of unparalleled joy as the little white tufts break away and float down to the grass.

Then watching her shove the naked dandelion head into her mouth, dandelion seeds caught in the river of snot dripping down from her nose.

Bliss, I tell you. Bliss.