I have had a couple of glasses of wine, which I warn might impact my ability to write (correctly) in English or any other language for that matter. I also have packed a couple of bags, three to be more precise, one with some useful help from Oliver, he is much better of folding his shirts (rolling them in fact) than me. And I am ready to embark on my three months in Latvia adventure. Very excited. Not so excited about being without my husband for the most of this time, but excited all the same. Our plane leaves at 1:55 pm tomorrow. Wish us a good journey and good-bye San Francisco and hello Riga!!!!! In about 30 hours (from now) we should be there.
Hmmmm…. I have been reading a lot of books lately. I will attempt to review them for the Book Review section (some time in the future), because some of them were particularly interesting. I have been both preparing for my Childhood Ethnography course (that I will teach in Latvia in May) and exploring different parenting styles, other than the all too familiar attachment style of parenting, that we have been practicing for four years.
I have read the book by the infamous (for attachment parents) tiger mom Amy Chua and found it well written and frank, but it did not convince me that the tiger mom parenting style would work for me. I think I would loose my mind, if I put so much pressure on myself and my kids. Have also been reading about what the French feminist Elisabeth Badinter has to say about why breastfeeding is an impediment to achieving equal rights for women in a very good analytical piece in BrainChild magazine Spring 2012. This one was not online, but there were several others that were great and that can be read online, so please check them out here. I have not read the book by Elisabeth Badinter, so I will reserve my opinion for now on that. And just because I like to approach the issue from all different perspectives, I will read the “Bring up Bebe. One American Mother discovers French parenting” by Pamela Druckerman, when I can check it out from the library. Also read a book that among others schools trashed my Alma Mater Mount Holyoke called “Who Stole Feminism. How women have betrayed women.” It was not bad actually. I mean, I never was a complete fan of an all women’s institution, but you know how it is when somebody strikes close to heart, it is hard to really be objective. Her basic argument is that the current feminist movement and she uses the example (MoHo women will love this) of the Smith college (and several others) are more anti-men than pro-women and are pretty scared to really look at their movement introspectively.
And I went to the UC Berkeley Anthropology library yesterday to do some childhood ethnography related reading. That felt heavenly. I think I will try again to apply to a Phd program there or UC San Francisco (they did not accept me for the medical anthro program) some time in the future. I just belong in a library (as long as I get to get some outdoors time as well.)
Let’s see. What have I done lately.
1) Dyed Easter eggs in onion peels and blueberry jam. A technique practiced by many Latvians (blueberries are not as common as the onions), which I highly recommend. A bit more complicated with Aleksandra trying to break the raw eggs before bundling them up with the peels, but it worth it all the same.
2) Went to Santa Cruz, a small university city on the coast with Sherwin, the kids and their Latvian babysitter, who is visiting. 🙂
3) Found out from a caring heating efficiency professional that we had asbestos tape in our heat ducts, that has been there for ever (i.e. that Sherwin grew up with it). It was not even his job to look for it, so I am very grateful. This is what happens when one starts doing home improvements. And then one wonders how many other hidden flaws there are in the place you live in.
4) Started preparing the Childhood ethnography course that I am going to deliver while in Latvia this summer.
5) Watched too much of Korean mini-series … they are addictive…. so don’t even start watching them, but if you want to – Pasta is a good one.
6) Started to dream about what we will do in Latvia this summer. We are leaving on May 1st and will be there until August 1st.
7) Hanged out with some newborn babies. That was… oh… so lovely….
Yesterday I had the honor of attending somebody else’s birth but my own and my children’s. It was also my first hospital birth in 34 years, the first having been my own. I never meant to be a birth doula, but the circumstances demanded and I rose to the occasion. As I have not been authorized to disclose any details by the parents, I just wanted to comment on my own personal feeling about it, and it is very similar to the one that Aviva Romm, the midwife (and now a doctor) whose books were of enormous help while I was expecting my own babies, has expressed in this powerful post comparing the hospital births she has been participating in as a doctor in residency for the last 6 years (after having been a homebirth midwife for years) and a recent home birth of her granddaughter she was fortunate to attend. Hereby I also have to express my gratitude to all the homebirth midwives in the world, including Aviva and of course Dina Ceple, the Latvian midwife who actually delivered both of my children, who have had an enormous impact on how I view birth, a miraculous and a natural process.