Monday, March 14, 2011

Sleep Training, Venting, Chick-Lit, and Statistics

1. Sent myself an email.  I saw a Facebook link to a Q and A program with Julia Gillard.    The questions look very interesting.  Right now I could watch the video, but they're going to have a transcript later.  I prefer to read the answers.  I thought that I'd probably forget to check back, so I sent myself a reminder.

Here's the list of questions. They look really interesting. Unfortunately, I think Gillard is going to bullshit her way through.

Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised.  

2. Read article about the crocodile victim.  The guy's having a rough time; at least his body is.  He's on his third surgery now.  His wounds are very infected.

I hope he'll be okay.  It will ruin the story if he dies.  It'll become a tragedy instead of an inspiring survivor's tale.  The world doesn't need any more tragedies right now.

3. Read article about James McKenna visiting Sydney to do lectures for the Australian Breastfeeding Association.   His big thing is co-sleeping.   There's a caption on a photograph that's a bit misleading.  It says, a doctor researching SIDS is now recommending sleeping with your baby in a responsible manner.   McKenna has been recommending co-sleeping for years.  Although I guess that would include NOW.  I think though it would be more precise  to say A doctor researching SIDS recommends sleeping with your baby in a responsible manner.  

McKenna thinks it's healthier for babies to co-sleep rather than be away in a crib in its own room.   He believes that if parents don't want the baby in the bed, they should at least keep the crib in the room.

He's also against our obsession with babies sleeping through the night.  McKenna says, They need to feed frequently to supply nutrients to the brain trying to grow and expand at a speed never again to be matched through the infant's life.

I can understand parents who want their children to sleep through the night, because it means more sleep for them.  It's selfish, but an understandable selfishness.  We ALL need our sleep.  What I don't like is the idea that sleeping through the night is some kind of necessary accomplishment in children.  OR there's the idea that if a baby doesn't sleep through the night, it will NEVER sleep through the night.  There's the idea of sleep training.  Don't start "bad habits" in infancy, because the kid will be stuck with them for life.

Jack never was able to fall asleep on his own without assistance.  He needed either breast milk, or a nice constant motion (such as being in the sling or a car). I couldn't just lie him down and wait for him to fall asleep.

No worries. The kid falls asleep on his own now, and he sleeps through the night. It didn't really take any training.  Some things just happen when a child is ready.

4. Related to lyrics from "Scar".

She told me don't, trust them trust me.
Then she pulled at my stitches one by one,
Looked at my insides clicking her tongue,

And said This will all have to come undone.

The reason for this is I broke my rule (resolution) against venting.  So, it's mostly my fault.  I complained to a friend about various things, from to other people in my life, that were making me angry or annoying me.   

I think venting usually brings up unsatisfactory results.  What would I WANT to happen?   I'd probably want someone to validate my feelings of annoyance.  How rude.  I hate when people do that.  And then in most cases,  I'd want them to wish us well.  I hope you guys can work it out.  

When we vent though, that's usually not what happens.  Sometimes we don't get the validation or empathy we're seeking.  The listener might laugh at us, or say we're being too sensitive.  They might try to one-up us by telling us a story that's "worse" than ours.  They might try to put the blame on us.

Other times, we get the empathy we're seeking, but the listener seems eager for us to simply drop the relationship.  There's the don't trust them, trust me.   I don't know if anyone ever explicitly says this.   It's usually more subtle. There's that sense of disapproval.—well, you shouldn't be friends with THEM anyway.

I didn't just break a rule about venting in general.  I made the stupid mistake of venting to someone who is against the thing I'm venting about.  If you're a Christian, it's really not wise to vent to an atheist about your annoyance with a church sermon or people in your congregation.    People might be wise not to vent to me about their annoyances with their child's school.

I vented about blogging and Facebook to someone who's against all that stuff.  They don't believe in internet friendships.  They don't believe in making our lives and feelings public. How can you be friends with someone you've never even met before?  Why don't you just write in a private diary?   Why share your feelings with the whole world? 

Anyway, the venting was a horrible experience for me.  And it was almost like an eating purge.   You know how someone will be dieting....very restrictive.   Then suddenly they let themselves go, and eat out the whole fridge.  That's how I was.   I kept rambling on and on, as if there were no tomorrow.    Afterward I felt dirty and a bulimic, I suppose.  

5. Read about Adelaide, and learned that 45% of it is parklands.  That's pretty cool. In general, it sounds like a nice place to visit.

6. Learned about some Aussie chick-lit authors from Susan's Reading Upside Down blog.  This is good, because I like chick-lit.  I don't think I've heard of these authors before.  I've read some Aussie chick-lit before.  I love some of Monica McInerney's stuff.   I loved Liane Moriarty's two chick-lit books, and the one written by her sister.  I read a Catherine Jinks novel, but liked it less than some of her young adult/middle reader stuff.  There are others I can't think of offhand. But anyway, the important thing is I've been hoping to find more.  So, I'm glad to be seeing this blog.

In this post, Susan admits to not usually being a fan of chick-lit.  She says, It is perhaps a sign that I am getting older (dare I admit it), but I often find it difficult to relate to the supposed trials faced by the central character (“Oh no! I’ve snapped the heel off one of my favourite Jimmy Choo boots. WHAT WILL I DO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”).   Yeah.   I wouldn't want to read that type of book either.    But I don't think many of them are like that.  I think there's a wide range. There's sisterly chick-lit.   It's pretty much adult women dealing with their siblings. Both Moriarty and McInerney deal with that stuff.  There's the young single professional type.  I'm usually less into that type, because I relate to it less.  But sometimes I like it.  And then there's the Mommy chick-lit. Those books deal with marriage and parenting.

 I think chick-lit is actually one of my favorite types of books. But with any type of book, after awhile I get burned out.  I pick up books, read the back cover, and feel like rolling my eyes.  I feel this way now about young adult vampire/supernatural literature.  I usually love it, but there's so much out there.   It's getting old. It's also hard to distinguish between authors who truly had a story they wanted to tell, and the ones who said Schools for the supernatural are popular right now.   I'll write about that.    I think it's totally possible for authors to have the same type of ideas that other authors have had.  And I also think it's possible for an author to be inspired by another series, and come up with her/his own great thing.  That's all fine to me.  But there are other times where people are just jumping on a bandwagon, so they can make more money.

7. Read article about Australians in Japan during the disasters.  There's a teacher who has returned to Australia, and she fears radiation poisoning. She also worries about her students, friends, and colleagues she left behind.

Another family heard from their daughter, and then didn't hear anything again for a few days.  They still haven't heard from her personally, but they've gotten notice that she's at a refugee center somewhere. Hopefully, she's okay and it's not misinformation.

There's another family that hasn't heard from their son.

All the waiting and worrying.  It's horrible.

One couple was on their honeymoon. They thought they were going to die, and got in touch with family members to say good-bye. Fortunately, they're alive. And I like this part. A cab driver took them home; offered them refuge.  He took them to his family home, where his wife fed them dinner and his toddler son sang to them. The couple slept on a futon until the the roads cleared and the man drove them to the airport.  That's lovely.   I love when humans do nice things for each other.  

8. Read media release about the cinema on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website.  Two out of three Australians go to the movies at least once a year. That beats out stuff like live performances, zoo visits, art galleries, and museum.

Once a year doesn't seem very frequent to me.  If someone said they went to the movie once this year I'd think of them as being the type who hardly go to movies.  I feel I hardly go to movies, and we probably see about five movies a year.  I think it's because I compare my teen/young adult years. I think in those days I probably saw 4-5 movies a month.

Oh, okay. Here we go. The study says that 53% of people go to the movies at least five times a year.  

Canberra had the highest cinema attendance. Tasmania had the lowest.

9. Read article about woman whose car crashed, and was perched over a cliff.  Scary. It's just like the way Claire died on McLeod's Daughters. But this woman was lucky, and was able to get out of the car.   That's good!

10. Read Sarah Hanson-Young's editorial about fear tactics in politics.   I like what she says here.   Just like in the United States where the Tea Party is transforming the Republicans into a fringe protest movement leading mass revolt against wickedness such as universal health care (oh dear - providing health care to people who can't afford it, what next?)

I think the idea in America is if the government does anything to help those who are unable to help themselves, we'll soon become Communist.  Oh, and if the government provides health care, this will lead to there being NO private businesses. The government will own everything. And they'll control us all!!!!!

I like this bit too.  Using over-blown and hysterical rhetoric is their stock in trade.  Yep.  Although I've seen it from the far-left as well.  I hope Sarah Hanson-Young realizes that.  I would have less respect for her if she didn't.

I'm looking at the comments, and people are saying the same thing.  The left is sometimes just as guilty of using fear tactics and hyperbole.

You know, I unfortunately do it as a parent.  We say things like, Jack, stop climbing on that chair.  You'll fall and break your arm.  Jack don't eat while you're lying down. You'll choke.  

There's a very good chance he can climb to his heart's content and be totally fine. He also could eat a whole meal lying down, and not need to be heimliched.  

Sometimes (rarely) I remember to instead say Jack, stop climbing on that chair. You MIGHT fall and break your arm.  

11. Read on the Australia Bureau of Statistic site that Australia's population is now estimated to be at 22,589,192.  Births are estimated at 1 every 1:44 minutes; and deaths are estimated to be happening at a rate of 1 every 3:44 minutes. 

Australia gets an international migrant every 2:47 minutes.

So when an Australian dies (RIP) he is quickly replaced by either a baby or a migrant.  

12. Looked at population growth rates in Australia, by state or territory. Western Australia has the highest rate of growth.  Tasmania has the smallest. But all the states and territories are having positive growth.  That's not positive as in good; but positive as in more people are coming than going.  

13. Looked at the median age in Australia.  For anyone who's forgotten their statistics lessons, median is the number in the middle...if you line up everything in order.

Example:  In our DFW extended family, we have birth years of 1948, 1949, 1967, 1970, 1972, 1972, 1973, 1977, 2001, 2001, 2003, 2009, and 2010.  The median is 1973.  That's my brother-in-law; my younger sister's husband.

Back to the Australian age thing.  Tasmania has the oldest median age.  It's 39.9. Northern Territory has the youngest median age; 31.3. 

There's a major increase of people over 85.  In the last two decades the increase has been 170.6%.    Wow.  There's also been a large increase of people over age 100. 

I'll be happy if I make it to 75, although maybe once I get close to that, I'll want more. I guess it depends on my health, and whether or not I'm still having fun.  

14. Learned that more male babies than female babies are born in Australia. Males make up 51% of the births.  

15. Learned that 65% of births in Australia occur within a marriage.  Non-married births have been increasing since the 1950's. That's not surprising.

What I found interesting is that it's becoming more and more rare for the fatherhood issue to be secret.  In 1989, 24% of fathers in non-married births remained secret....unknown.  Now it's down to 3%.  That's probably a good thing. Maybe?

16. Looked at age-death rates in Australia.  Children 5-14 are safest from death.  That's very fair, in my opinion.  If I'm reading the chart right, babies have about the same rate of death as 60-65 year olds.  After age 40, the death rate steadily increases.  I think that's fair too.  

17. Looked at infant death statistics in Australia.  The majority (71%) happen within the first four weeks of life.  If you get past that, you can probably do a little sigh of relief.   But don't count your blessing with too much cockiness.  

18. Looked at death statistics by month.  You're more likely to have that first chat with John Edward or Allison Dubois in the winter month of August.

19. Wondered what life would be like if we all knew our exact age of death. I mean it might be depressing to know; but I think then we could live our life accordingly.    It's like going on a holiday.   Does it make things worse to know the date you're going back home?  It IS sad. I cried in the days leading up to our departure from Sydney.  I cried the day before we left for Hawaii. I always think those last few days are a bit depressing.

But I think holidays would be worse if we had no idea when it would end.  What if we're all sitting there eating our pineapple ice-cream and pineapple upside down cake; and the next thing we know we're back home sitting in the den.  That would be awful. We wouldn't even get a chance to say good-bye to our friends.  And we would have missed seeing Otherville.  I think we also would have felt on edge the whole time, knowing that any minute the holiday would end.

I know what some people would say. Live every day as if it's your last.   

Well sorry, but I don't want to do that.  Sometimes I just want to be frivolous and waste time.   I want to check Facebook and read statistics.  I want to play Sims and wash the dishes.  If I knew when I was going to die, I could time things better.  It would also help to prioritize my relationships. If I know someone's going to be around for several more decades, I'll give them less attention then a loved one who's planning to die next week.

Now I'm not trying to glorify death row here.  People there get a definite date of death, but I don't think that's a positive.  First of all, they're in jail.  That can't be too pleasant.  Second, I think my plan would have benefits only if we knew from birth. We'd need enough time to know and plan.  

20. Read article that says Kevin Rudd doesn't expect to become Prime Minister again.  That's too bad.
Although it's not a definite. While he says, It’s more likely for me to be captain of the Broncos....When Gillard was asked a similar question about her chances of becoming Prime Minister, she said she was more likely to travel to Mars.

What is the deal with these people?

21. Dropped out of the Harry Potter game. I might still lurk, but I really shouldn't.  It got to the point where I began to suspect some of the people pretending to be mean really WERE mean. I hope I'm wrong.

I'm so tired of mean people.

And you know what I learned.

People always talk about how stupidity and ignorance are the cause of our problems. I think that's wrong.  Really. People with Down Syndrome don't have high IQ's. Are they the ones causing wars and poverty?  

Lack of brainy bits aren't the's lack of compassion; plus greed, selfishness, and hypocrisy. Those are the problems.  Well, that and earthquake type things.  

Anyway, I was disturbed by the attitude of some of the people on there (although they MIGHT have been acting) and I didn't want my worship of JK Rowling and her fictional universe to be soured by all that.  I'll keep reading the Facebook stuff.  That's all really far.

22. Decided if I can manage to write a blog entry almost day, the creators of Modern Family should be able to make an episode every week.  I wish!   I was sad to learn that there's only three more episodes for this season.  That show totally brightens up my life.  

23. Read an email from myself.  The transcript is up!  I get to read Julia Gillard's answers.

The first question asked if the Labor Party will continue to support the idea of nuclear know with what's happening to Japan.  Gillard says, We haven't entertained the idea of nuclear power. The Labor position has been opposed to the development of nuclear energy. We don't need it. We're a country with abundant solar, wind, geothermal, tidal - you name it, we've got renewable sources of energy so we don't think nuclear energy is right for this country.

In other words, they didn't need Japan to convince them it might be a bad idea.

I wonder how pro-nuclear power people are feeling about the terror in Japan  Will the problems make any of them change their viewpoint?
24. Liked this person's question.   Hi. Prime Minister, in your gushing speech to US Congress last week, you tearfully proclaimed that America "can do anything!" Millions of Australians cringed. In the year 2011, can we really not have a relationship with the United States without paying lip service to the myth of American exceptionalism?

Wait! Myth?  Myth! What does he mean by myth??????

Seriously though.  America IS exceptional.  And so is every other country out there. Although since we're all exceptional than really none of us is exceptional.   But we're all very special and lovable. 

25.  Compelled to admit that Gillard has some fair insights when she talks about the difference between Australian culture and the American one.  Now, I don't think in modern Australia we talk about male bonded welfare states and I don't think that that's how we think of ourselves but I do think we still have that sense of a fair go and pulling together. I think Americans tend to a more individualised view of the world. They look less to government. You know, health care is a good example of that, where we look at the American debate and think what on earth are they going on about? We know public health works. We know Medicare works. We know the PBS works.

I like that.  She criticized America, but it was in a very polite and subtle way.  I like that mixture of positive and negative.  It's better than spewing hatred or gushing.  It's nicely balanced.  

 26. Got to the part about Julian Assange.  This is probably what interests me the most.  

Gillard says, We are supporting Julian Assange the same way we would support any Australian citizen who got into a legal difficulty overseas. We support people who are accused of drug trafficking. We support people who are accused of murder. Whatever view people have about those kinds of crimes, and I'm sure everybody here would say, "Well, drug trafficking is wrong. Murder is wrong," we support Australian citizens who have got into trouble overseas. So my view about the conduct is neither here nor there in that sense. He's getting the same support someone called John Smith would get in the same situation.

Okay. That is what I wanted to hear.  I don't necessarily believe that Assange should get special treatment from the Australian government.  But I don't think it would be fair for him to get LESS help than someone like Schapelle Cordy. Although she's still stuck in prison, so maybe that's not saying much.   

I wouldn't want Gillard's admiration for us fabulous exceptional Americans to get in the way supporting someone who needs support and deserves her support.

Gillard says, I have got a lot of respect for people who whistleblow. I know enough about American history to know the history of Watergate and Deep Throat did the right thing getting that information into the public domain. There are people who have worked for big tobacco who have got information into the public domain, been whistleblowers. They've acted and they've acted for a moral purpose. I respect that. At the centre of Wikileaks, I don't see that moral purpose.

How is it different? Is she going to explain that?

I shall keep reading.

27. Struggled to understand Gillard's viewpoint, and be tolerant of it. She talks about motivation.   It's not the information that separates Assange's whistleblowing. It's his motivation.   

It reminds me of some lyrics from Wicked.  

One question haunts and hurts
Too much, too much to mention:
Was I really seeking good
Or just seeking attention?
Is that all good deeds are
When looked at with an ice-cold eye?

How do we know that other whistleblowers from history had completely pure and altruistic motives?  

It reminds me of a conversation I had recently. I complained about people who excessively publicize their family dramas and traumas.  Sometimes it seems as if they're just screaming for attention.   Sometimes I feel that way about myself when I whine about my issues on my blog.

But sometimes we talk about our problems because it HELPS us to talk about them.  We need to get those feelings out.  And sometimes we talk about our problems because we believe it might help other people who have the same problems. It's not always about attention-seeking. 

How do we distinguish between valid reasons for sharing, and attention-seeking reasons for sharing?  In the end, I don't think we CAN tell the difference.  There's a thin and hazy line.  

28. Saw Gillard trying to prove her loyalty to Australia by saying this.  You don't have an accent like mine and get confused with being someone from another nation so let's just put that to rest.

So, it's all about the accent than?  I should assume Portia de Rossi is American then. Julian McMahon too.  Oh, and there's probably others that I can't think of off the top of my head. I'm tired.  AND I dreamed about Nip/Tuck last night.  That's probably why I thought of those guys.   

29.  Decided that it's almost my bedtime, and I'm done with blogging for tonight. I'm going to post this, and then read the rest of the interview for my own personal pleasure.   

I suggest you do the same...if it's something that interests you.