Battered is the Wrong Word

The word Battered is frivolous and that’s it’s intent.  It implies consent and a willingness to accept the action, for both parties. ‘Battered’ as a title  certainly was never coined by the victim.  It’s part of the dishonest myth constructed by the one giving the beating.

Trees  and the shore are battered in a windstorm, something without blame or conscious intent.

An accurate word is ‘Beaten’,  she is a ‘beaten woman’.  A consequence of being hit is that every part of a woman is beaten, every facet of her life is damaged by this experience.

Who are these Beaten Women?  Statistics show that 50% of all relationships are battered and that it crosses all social, economical and ethnic boundaries.  This means half the doctors, lawyers, farmers, actors… half of those you pass on the street.

But beaten women stay, why?  They stay because the scenario is a 3 part process wherein the partner is:

  • Nice.  The first part of the relationship, the abuser is always nice.
  • Verbally abusive.  In the beginning, a woman makes excuses for this.  He’s tired.  He’s stressed by work.
  • Physically abusive.  Can be triggered by anything.  By something that happened outside of the relationship such as an event during the drive home.
  • Nice again.

Women do not tell because:

  • They fear being killed.
  • They fear for family and friends.
  • They have no money.
  • They fear loss of children.
  • And because the first relationship was nice, they forever believe they have done something to cause this nice partner to become violent toward them.

The term is never applied to men.  In news reporting, it’s said ‘he was beaten’.  The term battered is used as a global description with no further description of where or with what when describing women and their partners.

It therefore is still accepted as the right of the male in a marriage.

It’s time to call battering by it’s correct term which is beating and to describe where on the body and with what.

 

The definitive work is from 1980 Battered Women by Lenore Walker…

https://www.amazon.com/Battered-Woman-Lenore-E-Walker/dp/0060907428/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

NICU and Divorce

Parents of small, sick  preemies  can, for many reasons, lose each other.

Parents in NICU have a scenario that the normal newborn family, home in 3 days, never has.  Because of the construct of the small space for isolette and chair etc., parents come into the unit and the mom absolutely zeros in on the isolette,  (Reptilian brain again.). Her body completely fills the space at the isolette and there is almost no way around that.  The father sees her back and little else, and again and again, he eventually sits in a chair and reads a book, appearing as uncaring and callous.  Sometimes the mother will hand the wrapped baby to dad but it’s still an offering from her, not ownership by him which is a must in a happy partnership.

I would tell this to all the parents of long term little ones and now, fifteen to twenty years later, I’m learning that the majority of our families are still intact so this may be the core problem.

Now for the bad news.  The divorce rate in families with long term NICU babies is believed to be 97%.  Tulane calls it 100%.

I believe the father as ‘left out’ is the major cause.

There is an easy way around this for fathers and I have seen many do it.  They come in alone, often before work for the 6AM bath and feeding.  It seems that this experience creates a sustained bonding.

We are enculturated to focus on ourselves with such intensity that everyone else is left out.  Intimacy is frightening and humans no longer look each other in the eye.  They don’t even look their pets in the eye.  It’s too much giving up control and allowing vulnerability.  Force yourself to do it.  Begin with a child or maybe the cat.  Talk to this spirit as independent from yourself.  When brave enough, look an adult you love (and trust) in the eyes… it’s a soul to soul experience.

Only the last years in NICU did I begin looking newborns in the eye and talking to them as an adult (and what was looking back at me was very adult… try it.)  I’d say to the boys:  “You are born onto earth and have parents who are going to give you a great childhood.  And you are quite handsome, like your father.”  And they smiled!

The notion that newborns smile is gas is complete nonsense, driven by those who have no experience.  We in NICU see it all the time and a classic example is the photo called  Laughing Premie from Loma Linda.

So, how can parents avoid divorce after NICU:

  • Choose a baby sitter.  Have the person take a CPR class for infants.
  • Include Dad in the daily care of the baby.
  • Do not focus completely on the baby.  It’s hard on the marriage and hard on the baby.
  • Make some feedings by bottle so Dad can see the curve of his baby’s cheek, that beautiful corner of the baby’s mouth where tongue, bottle and cheek meet.  So he can feel how strong the baby’s pull on the bottle is.
  • Don’t always hand the baby to Dad, he must be a full partner, not a participant.  There’s a difference.
  • Do not criticize parenting of the other.  It turns the critic into everyone’s parent, not a nice place to find yourself.
  • Once a month, go to a restaurant with booths (so no one can shout and no one can cry) for a family meeting. Bring notes if you want to.  The agenda is to be objective and to answer the question:  “How’re we doing?”.  This way, gripes don’t ooze out and ruin the time at home.  Just put it into the notes and save it for the family meeting.  Home must be safe for everyone, always.
  • Plan a date.  Once a month, every other week, you each plan something very special that will please the other and make good memories.  Not a dinner and movie date.  Something like sitting on a dock in morning mists, with a thermos of coffee and breakfast treats.  Feeding ducks in a rose garden pond. Visit art galleries on a First Thursday.  Sit on a bench and guess what passerby’s do for a living.  Visit a toy train store. Go to garage sales or a flea market.  It need not cost money.  The upshot of this is that you know your mate is thinking of how to please you and you are thinking of your mate in positive, loving terms.
  • Learn Partner Yoga.  Do it with your mate.  Do it with your children.
  • Become romantic.  Set up candlelight dinners.
  • Look into your partner’s eyes.

Causes of Hoarding and How to Prevent It

Our reptilian brains are about survival and continuation of the species. These two functions are beyond control and override everything else we do.  Scarcity and it’s companion fear, drive us. This is true for every living thing.

We are not all the same.  We are molded by our experiences and adapted by our drives.

From childhood, females build the nest and males build the support system.  Little girls play with dolls and boys with building.  Watch them playing… a boy may drive a plastic truck through the dirt, silently for hours and adults tend to see it as mindless pastime.  It’s not and if you watch long enough you will see the purpose.  Girls nurture and boys support.  The reptilian brain at work, busy, focused and with intense purpose.  Serious stuff.

Part of that drive includes amassing a collection of ‘things’.  Everyone does it.  Sports hero memorabelia for boys, pretty things for girls and most of the time it remains orderly and within control.

Hoarding is when it becomes out of control and the hoarder is not crazy, bad or low class.  The hoarder is trying to fix something damaged in childhood.

When a parent throws away or gives away a child’s toys, or more importantly the little things the child brings home, a stick or rock or flower…  when they pack up the child’s clothes and some favorite thing is lost forever.

Make a shelf for the child’s very favorite things.  Assure him that his shelf is off-limits to everyone but him.  When he outgrows his clothes, ask him if there is a favorite he would like to save.  Cleaning out the toys?  Ask him if there is anything he’s not finished playing with yet.  This implies that he will be finished with it eventually, a normal occurrence.

Children will look for things they loved and that have vanished and it continues into old age.  A terrible thing to do to someone.  They will have a lifetime of feeling unstable, vulnerable and certainly unsafe.  Remember that someone else’s things are important to them for reasons we will never know and the repercussions never end.

Adults need to remember also that leaving behind a room of childhood /teenage treasures when they leave home is absolutely not fair and reflects another problem.  They never wanted to leave mom and dad’s house and need an excuse to come back .  There is a bumper sticker that says ‘They haven’t left home until their stuff is out of the basement.’

So, the hoarder is keeping everything close to home, safely protected around him.  It may be a pile of newspapers but something happened to cause that.  Maybe someone interrupted a statement he made to arrogantly say:  “What is your source of information?”

Be kind to the hoarder.  Anything else is just another case of blaming the victim.

Beliefs That Hurt Our Lives

  • Life is fair.
  • Everyone must like me.
  • Everything is supposed to be good all the time.
  • Nothing should change.
  • There is an ideal daddy.
  • Daddy will always take care of me.
  • There is only one way of doing things.
  • Wasting time is bad.
  • Beautiful people are also good people.

A story:

Our Pediatrician, Dr. Lendon Smith told me when my children were little that a boy of 4 pees, in the toilet, 25% of the time and on the floor 75% of the time.  By age 8, it was toilet 35%, floor 65% and on up to the adult male, toilet 75%, floor 25% and my daily anger at them all just vanished. It was just one of the bad percentage days in the routine of things.

Same holds true with life being fair.  As soon as one understands that life is not fair, the stress and angst vanish.  Fair is a precious gift and deep love is due to those who work to be fair.  Unfair is a rock in the road to get around, learn from and disengage from.

And when stress is going to wreck yet another day, find a favorite spot, curl up with a cup of something hot and listen to PACIFE Music to Calm, it’s magic.

Teaching a Preemie to Suck

There is only one pacifier shape that teaches good sucking.  All others, except the Nuk, work against it.

Because of prematurity the baby is born before the full, strong sucking reflex was established.  He must be taught to suck,  to gain cheek muscles,  to learn the correct combination of sucking and pulling without air leaks and to transfer these skills from the bottle to the breast. Working in NICU for 20 years, I’ve used this system of teaching sucking efficiency with hundreds of babies and it works every time.

  • Hold the bottle near the neck with the thumb and middle finger and using your last 2 fingers, support him under the chin, then when he starts sucking, put traction on the bottle. The chin support  brings the jaw forward and the tongue forward and his response to the traction is to curl his tongue around the nipple. This with the ring of the nipple against his mouth gives a firm, efficient package and he will begin to build up strength, cheek muscles and stamina.  He will take a few sucks and then stop to rest.  This is hard work for him in the beginning.  Some nurses twist the nipple repeatedly in the baby’s mouth, others pump up and down or back and forth. The baby will not learn to suck if that’s the case. They are simply expressing milk into it’s mouth. (and it makes me crazy)
  • The Pacifier. There is only one pacifier that teaches them to suck correctly. It’s the original Binky (pink image below), a rather large, rounded bulb with a stem fitting into a curved mouthpiece. This thing is magic.  It will teach him to suck at breast like a normal newborn. Email Binky (Playtex) and ask where to buy them near you.  The NUK pacifier was designed by a German orthodontist to bring a receding chin out and it does not strengthen the tongue.  Other pacifiers are either too short, too straight or too flat, preventing the infant’s learning a good tongue curl and grip.

 

 

 

 

Gerber is again marketing the original Binky for which every parent should grateful.  It’s called First Essentials and if not in your grocery stores, it’s available on Amazon.

Start a Baby Sitting Co-op

The Capitol Hill Babysitting Co-op has been working for 50 years.  

During the Kennedy years, we lived in Washington, D.C., just behind the capitol dome, an area of old row houses, some restored and known as Capitol Hill.  Scattered about were  young eager professionals in the new Administration, and someone began a baby sitting co-op which is now famous.

Capitol Hill Babysitting Co-op – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is how it worked:

People joining the co-op were friends of those already in it.  No money was exchanged.  Instead we used theater thickets (script), each one representing 15 minutes.  So for a six hour evening, you left with 24 tickets, giving you 6 hours worth of sitting from someone else in the co-op.  There was a phone list and when you wanted a sitter, you began calling.  Within months the group of parents grew into two groups, four by the end of the year.

Returning to Portland and living near our beloved Reed College, I began the co-op.  Sometimes the dad would be the sitter, sometimes the mom.  I remember every one of the houses.  How lovely to sit in a different house, listening to their music, quiet hours of reading.  occasionally new friendships were made but most often the social exchange was business-like and polite.

Would you worry about becoming stuck with children who won’t go to bed?  Take your copy of the PACIFE Music to Calm CD.  They will fall asleep.  Quickly.

Rules of the co-op can be expanded to taking your children to someone elses house during the day. This probably needs a bonus such as double or triple scripts depending on the number of children.

Add another twist.  Include grandmotherly types who can exchange their script for some garden help for example.  Or for cat sitting.

Co-ops need a set of rules, a board and one person for oversight. All paid by script.

Shaken Baby Syndrome

Shaking a baby that won’t stop crying may be an instinct of frustration. Even the saints among us have been to that point and somehow stopped themselves.

PACIFE Music to Calm stops the crying minutes after the screamer takes a breath and is quiet enough to hear it.  The mathematical character of this music along with the primal tunes Bernstein talks about quickly engage them.

Newborn drug babies, after the third day, begin a terrible and violent drug withdrawal.  The muscles in their legs undulate and cramp (we can see it and feel it), they purple cry nonstop, they shake, they have explosive diarrhea that eats their bottoms raw and they are beyond comfort.  This is the comment of one NICU nurse about a baby in drug withdrawal…

“I found a tape player and began to play the PACIFE music for him… I’d no sooner put it into the tape player than he stopped crying. It’s instantaneous. He’s looking around with a relaxed, peaceful face.”

– S. S., NICU Registered Nurse

 

Watch a Child’s School Experience Carefully

Several years ago, in a Portland middle school, a little girl did not have a food voucher at the end of the lunch line.  Her mother forgot to renew them.  The cashier scolded, berated and humiliated the child, took her food tray and threw the food into the trash.  The nightly news reported it and interviewed the principal who defended the cashier.

A similar experience of public humiliation from a kindergarten teacher, has left me with a lifetime of horrible consequences.  And because children are cheerfully sent off to school by parents, they believe that the parents are in agreement with everything that happens to them.

Parents need to keep an open, clear conversation with children, every day, about what happened in school that day.  Pay full attention, careful to not blame the child for anything or become overly agitated as the story unfolds.  You don’t want to shut this communication off, children are literal, they only learn embellishment and lying later, embellishment if they are not listened to and lying to avoid bad consequences to what they are saying.  Then go to that school and raise hell!

One of my children did not bring an expected drawing home from her small religious school that day. When asked she said the teacher threw her drawing into the garbage. I took the book Picasso’s World of Children,  went to see the teacher and told her she would have thrown away Picasso’s work and that she had no business being anywhere near a child. Then I joined the Board of Director’s of this school and fired her. As an adult, this child of mine was blessed with the entire gene pool of generations of portrait painters, she could draw as a photograph looks. This could bring hours of delightful magic to her life but she will not draw or paint.

Teachers, nurses and police are professions that appeal to the same segments of society, the supporters and the controllers.  Because exchanges between them and client patients, students and the public are essentially private, the controllers can be as nasty as they wish.  Watch out!

With Children, Our Goals Change

When our children begin to venture beyond home, our goals are that they have wonderful experiences and remain happy always. Then in school the goal changes to ‘may their quest for knowledge not be harmed.’, then as middle school rears it’s ugly head the goal is singular… that they come through it without a drug or alcohol addiction.  In high school, black parents goal is that their child live through it.

Parents however have no idea what is happening to their child’s self esteem, his confidence and his view of the world. In his very special book, Real Boy’s Voices, William Pollack interviewed boys from ages 10 to 20 around America asking them about their lives and learning they’re being taught a formula of secret angst and fears which evolve to rule their behavior and preoccupy them constantly.  Who is saying these things to boys? Who cultivates these fears?  Teachers.  Women teachers! Why?

“Call Home for a Ride”

Parents need to show this sequence to children and tell them to: “Call home for a ride… no questions asked, happy to come and get you”.

This is an episode of the Judge Judy show that illustrates the fragile relationships and betrayals of teenagers.  It’s called Set up for an attack and there’s a 3 video clip sequence telling the story.

Ashley, the victim in this scenario, needs expensive and extensive plastic surgery to repair that broken nose and restore her beautiful face.