Swimming With Dolphins

I decided to write this post after I recently came across a fellow mom blog who had a detailed bucket list of things she would like to do in her life before she kicks it. Swimming with dolphins was one of them.

I’m not linking to this woman’s blog, who happens to be a TV news reporter, as she doesn’t need to be attacked by animal rights activists. But as a fellow parent who’s job it is to teach our children compassion and as a fellow writer and sometimes journalist who’s job requires being a savvy researcher, I was disappointed to see that swimming with dolphins was up there with visiting another country and opening a 401(k).

I don’t think people understand that more harm than good is being done when you swim with dolphins who are in captive environments. So here it is folks…

For starters, the capturing of dolphins is traumatic and stressful and often results in injury and death.

Dolphins are trained to look as if they perform because they like it. This isn’t the case. Tailwalking and playing ball are trained behaviors that do not occur in the wild. Dolphins perform because they have been deprived of food. Hold food in front of me when I am famished and I too would jump through hoops to get to it.

Most captive dolphins are confined in minuscule tanks containing chemically treated artificial seawater. Dolphins in a tank are severely restricted in using their highly developed sonar, which is one of the most damaging aspects of captivity. It is similar to forcing a person to live in a maze of mirrors for the rest of their life - their image always bouncing back with no clear direction in sight.

Perhaps the saddest part of dolphin captivity is how short their lives are. The average life span of a dolphin in the wild is 45 years; yet half of all captured dolphins die within their first two years of captivity. The survivors last an average of only five years in captivity.

Wild dolphins can swim 40 to 100 miles per day – in pools they go around in circles.

The truth behind swimming with dolphins could help set them free.

These are simple facts that people and especially parents, should know. If you think it would be cute to get snapshots of your spawn swimming with dolphins during your next vacation to Atlantis in the Bahamas, please, think again.

 

Sleep Deprived Yet Again

I want to write and blog so bad but I’m finding it difficult to grasp even the slightest coherent thought today. All I’m capable of is jibberish because my son Mylo decided to not let me sleep one iota last night.

It all started with putting him to bed, which is usually quite painless. My husband Jason was at work and I began his usual bedtime routine at 7:00. I bathed him, changed him, read to him, sang to him and then nursed him. I then put him in the crib awake, and he flipped out.

Before I could even collect his damp towel and leave the room he hoisted himself up the bars of his bed. (Jason recently lowered his crib to the lowest level since Mylo’s learned to pull himself up to standing.)

As I closed the door behind me he was holding on to the side of the crib, peering through the bars like a caged animal, protesting at the top of his lungs. I left the room and waited 10 minutes. Waiting, hoping, praying that he would settle down. He didn’t. I returned to the bedroom after 15 minutes and nursed him some more. I put him back down and he repeated his climb up the side of the crib followed by his freak out routine, yet again.

Defeated, I sat down at my desk in the living room questioning if I should have left and wondering if and when I should go back. Unable to write and unable to think after almost 45 minutes of what sounded like sheer distress, I picked up the phone and called my mom. An advocate for crying it out, she suggested I go in and hold him like Jason does on the rare night I am not home to put our son to bed.

Looking for any excuse to have my motherly instincts validated, I hung up the phone and ran right in to my baby.

It took a while but he eventually settled down with his head on my chest and the remnants of his hard-earned cries dissipating with each breath.

Getting him to sleep last night, which is usually the easiest part, was tough. Don’t even get me started about the middle of the night. I’m not so sure that will ever be a walk in the park.

I’m minutes away from his bedtime routine. If tonight is anything like last night, then rest assured that there will two of us screaming and crying at the top of their lungs.

The Evolution of Standing

My son Mylo recently learned how to do something new. Pull himself up. Last week he did it with a great deal of shakiness and this week he pulls himself up more swiftly and with greater assurance and posture. My in-laws snapped these great photos of him. Check out the rise of the little guy…

On another note, I wish I could tell you that my husband Jason got him dressed on this day but only I am responsible for the above fashion disaster. I don’t know what I was thinking other than that it was really early in the morning and I was half way between taking his pajamas off and putting his day outfit on when I all about gave up.

It’s become increasingly difficult to get Mylo dressed because the boy refuses to sit still for even five seconds! I thought, ‘no big deal it’s just my in-laws who are going to see him today,’ and now, well, now he’s out there for the whole world to see.

Facebook Booed When it Comes to Boobs

Facebook, it seems, is anti-boob.

This past January, Facebook deleted the page for The Leaky B@@b, a breast-feeding support group where thousands of women come to ask questions and exchange answers. It has since been reinstated but only after it was put back up and deleted a second time. Facebook has since called the deletion a mistake.

And now Facebook has shown breastfeeding the door, once again. The social-networking site put the kibosh on Boobie Beanie — a hat for your baby to wear when you are nursing in public. Their Facebook page was deemed offensive and has been deleted. Apparently even a hat, crocheted to look like a breast, is too much for Facebook.

The Boobie Beanie

Seriously? Yep. Facebook says a breast is a breast and a nipple is a nipple, and they violate the Terms of Service.

I’ve been breastfeeding my son for 7 1/2 months now and it makes me think back to my first and so far ONLY encounter with an offended bystander in public. And it was a woman no less. Yes, a grown woman sitting at another table across from mine in a restaurant told me to get a room as I was feeding my son underneath my sweater with absolutely no boob showing.

I posted my shock and outrage on Facebook and I got 44 responses, all of them supportive. Here are some of my fave:

I’ve also read reports that Facebook has a knack for banning women’s pregnancy photos too. Gasp! What’s wrong with Mark Zuckerberg? We’ve heard by now that the guy’s awkward, but is he really that bothered by two of the most beautiful things in the world? A woman who is pregnant and a woman is breastfeeding her child?

If you haven’t already heard, Zuckerberg has finally declared to the world that he is in a relationship. The bizillionaire CEO of Facebook officially changed his relationship status this past weekend to admit that he is involved with Priscilla Chan.

So if they ever settle down and make bizillionaire babies then I guess we can assume they’ll be formula fed, right? If not, THEN maybe he’ll change his antiquated Terms of Service.

Until then, someone should start a Facebook page called “Hey Zuckerberg: Breastfeeding & Pregnancy are NOT pornographic.”

 

 

Beers and Babies, My Guest Post on CafeMom’s The Stir

The wonderful Michele Zipp of The Stir was kind enough to let me guest post about my beer drinking, breastfeeding forays around my Brooklyn neighborhood. She was a bit perturbed. Not because I enjoy the occasional beer while breastfeeding my son, but because she’s a breastfeeding mom of twins who happens to live just a few blocks from me. Small world, right?? Well you can bet who’s getting an invite at the next bar meet-up!

You can check out the post, here.

 

IComLeavWe Time!

It’s that time of the month. ILCW time, which stands for International Comment Leaving Week. I check out your blog, you check out mine, I comment, you comment and around it goes…

I’ve come across some wonderful blogs this way and one of my favorite is Twinside Out. Jennifer has not one but TWO babies just a couple of moths older than my son and is therefore very relatable. Have I mentioned that I adore her writing? So much so that her recent March ILCW post prompted my very own. Thanks Jennifer!

So without further adieu, for those who know me, welcome back! For those who are visiting for the first time, here’s what’s worth knowing…

  • My name is Reedu Taha Wood and I have a fabulous shoe collection that I rarely get to wear since becoming a mom.
  • My husband, Jason, is a saint for putting up with my control-freak ways. Just when I am about to get crazy on him, he tells me to “lower the Taha-ometer.” It *almost* always makes me laugh and lucky for him (and me), I reign in the crazy.
  • We live in a luxury doorman building in Brooklyn Heights but we would trade the elevators and Manhattan views for a brownstone fixer-upper ANY DAY.
  • I am passionate about ALL animals, not just the domesticated ones.
  • We have a pitbull rescue who’s physical handicaps are a result of animal cruelty. We used to have two geriatric cats, although we sadly and very recently said good-bye to one.
  • I have two tattoos. I used to have three but got “the mistake” removed.
  • I LOVE the vegetarian burrito bowl at Chipotle and eat there at least once a week, some times even twice.
  • To support my Chipotle habit I try to make time to run every week which is no easy feat (no pun intended) as a sleep-deprived mom. And when I can muster up the energy to get out there, I am even MORE exhausted because I’m pushing an extra 38 pounds. Twenty pounds goes to my jogging stroller and the other 18 belongs to my son, Mylo.
  • I haven’t been a mom that long but I am certain that it’s going to be my life’s greatest work.

Our babies.

If you are new here and would like to leave a comment (I hope you do!), please tell me three things about yourself.

Bittman Bites Down on Agribusiness

I recently read a post by Mark Bittman about the new bills that were recently introduced by Florida and Iowa that aim to crack down on people who shoot photographs and videos of agricultural operations. In other words, big-farma is fed up with the undercover work exposing the vast inhumane treatment and suffering of farm animals.

Bittman writes:

The Florida bill would require anyone wishing to photograph a farm to first secure written permission from the owner. And what if they don’t? First-degree felony. The implicit goal here is to deter and criminalize damning undercover exposés like this one. The bill would also make it illegal for an agenda-less passerby to snap a picture of a farm from the side of the road, but my best guess is that those “crimes” might not be prosecuted quite so diligently.

As for the Iowa bill, we get this gem from the Animal Agriculture Alliance (AAA): “It is imperative that activists be held accountable for their actions to undermine farmers, ranchers and meat processors through use of videos depicting alleged mistreatment of animals for the purposes of gaining media attention and fundraising—all in an effort to drive their vegan agenda.”

If activists, radical vegans, or whatever you want to call them, break the law by sneaking onto private property to document animal or farm worker abuses, then yes, they should be held accountable for their actions – though unless I’m misinformed, that’s what trespass law is for. But these people shouldn’t have to sneak the cameras into the farms that are torturing animals or mistreating workers: the cameras should already be there. It should be the state’s responsibility to find and monitor the few farmers that are giving the rest of them a bad name. You want to quiet the crazy vegans with the video cameras? Do their job for them.

It’s so true. Quiet the crazies by making it a state law to monitor the farmers that practice inhumane farming.

While most vegans advocate for plant-based diets, most vegetarians, myself included, understand that man can’t live on plants alone. I think it is a waste of time to even lobby for that. But as meat eaters, I think it is incumbent on man to come up with more humane ways to end these creatures’ lives.

As an animal welfare advocate who does not eat meat, I would be honored to live to see that day. According to animal rights philosopher Peter Singer, I will.

If what Singer says is true, that by 2020 all farm animals will be able to stand up, lie down, walk around, and stretch their limbs, then who knows, I may even start eating meat again.

Ok, so I’m probably exaggerating but it’s my way of trying to remain level-headed about something that deep-down inside, I am raging about.

Springtime in Brooklyn, if Only for One Day

It was an absolute gorgeous spring day in New York City today. There’s something in a New Yorker’s’ step when the first signs of spring begin to unfurl themselves. The sidewalks are jam packed with strollers, parks fill up with screaming children, restaurants with sidewalk seating become standing room only.

I spent the day in the new park at the foot of Atlantic Avenue with my son Mylo, four of my mommy friends and their sons.

Matias, Odin, Mylo, Eli and Lucas

 

The wind coming off the river had our hair running amok.

My friend Katie and I peeled off and took a stroll down Court Street so our little guys could nap. We landed outside Abilene’s where we sucked back a couple of pints and a plate of nachos, too.

The park, the boys, the sun, the Hoegaardens, the nachos. It was all very wonderful. And very telling of a delightful season that’s just around the corner!

Giving Up Bread for a Week

I love bread. It’s in my Middle Eastern blood.

I love whole wheat bread, foccacia bread, garlic knots and croissants. It’s safe to say there is not a day that goes by that I don’t eat bread.

And well, I live in New York City, where there’s s something in the water that makes our pizza rock and our bagels rock, too. And lord knows how easy it is in this city to grab a slice and a bagel.

The old Reedu, the one who ran 40 – 50 miles per week could afford to eat all that bread. But the new Reedu can’t seem to get rid of every last pound of her pregnancy weight. The new Reedu only has time to run about eight miles per week at best, and the new Reedu is sick of feeling sluggish all the time. So she’s throwing in the towel on bread. For a week.

And now writing in the third person will end.

I told my husband Jason about my ban on bread after our four mile run over the Brooklyn Bridge this morning. Hopefully he’ll make my withdrawal period – because there will be one – easier by joining me.

It’s a big move on my part, not just because I love bread but because I don’t buy into fad diets. That’s exactly why I am not giving up carbs for a week. Besides the fact that it’s a proven scientific fact that your body needs carbs, I believe in eating what you want if you exercise regularly. And if exercise isn’t your thing or if your busy schedule doesn’t allow for it, then eat what you want but just keep it in moderation.

I’ll still be consuming grains and wheat through other yummy things such as rice and cookies (I allow myself two a day). But there will be no baguettes, no bagels, no pizza and no whole wheat toast for an ENTIRE week.

What’s the point then?

To lose a couple of pounds and to just feel better. To see how my body responds to not being bogged down by all that processed and refined sugar.

Have you ever given up something you love very much? If so, what was it and for how long?

 

Guest Post on A Lot of Loves

Happy St. Patty’s Day everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The wonderful Marilyn of ALotofLoves.com welcomed a guest post from me today. It’s the story of when I became a new mom — just six days into this incredible journey and I had made my first mommy-fail. I drove 55 miles with my son in the wrong car seat. I know I’m not going to do everything right, but at the time, I felt like the WORST mom in the world. Go on over to her blog to check it out.