Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Of babies

I have learned a lot about attachment parenting, breastfeeding and giving birth in the past three years, over the internet, chatting with other mothers and looking up different websites. So much, in fact, that I sometimes wished that I could have a fifth child, just so I could experiment new things, even though we weren't trying for another child.

God works in mysterious ways, and he decided he was going to help me get pregnant, because I did, even though we weren't trying for another. Although I was not overjoyed about it at first, part of me thought, "Now I'll get that chance I wanted to try new things."

Having Nicolas and having him at home was wonderful. It is so much more pleasant to have one's child at home. I also decided to co-sleep, which makes feeding at night much easier. I have held him a lot and use a sling. Also, having gone through the whole process 4 times before, I knew ahead of time how things would go. I knew that after a month, things would get a bit easier. I knew that after three months, they would get easier still, and that at 6 months, it is even easier. I have enjoyed the early months with Nicolas much more than the early months with the others, except maybe Jean-Alexandre who was a very easy baby. So much, in fact, that I could definitely see myself having more children.

In fact, since taking workshops on breastfeeding, I have learned so much more new stuff about babies and how they work, that I'd love to have another one, just to experiment more!!! Ahhh, but then we'd need another van,...

Nostalgie

La vallée du Richelieu a ses charmes. Elle est très jolie, bordée de belles maisons, de fermes, et de beaucoup de végétation. C'est chez nous depuis trois ans, et j'adore le coin, mais pour moi, elle ne se compare pas au fleuve St-Laurent. J'ai côtoyé le fleuve de 1991 à 1997, six ans, dont trois sur la rive-sud de Québec, à St-Romuald. Le Richelieu est joli, mais le fleuve est majestueux. À l'est de Montréal, vers Québec et encore plus loin, le fleuve est accidenté, puissant, bordé de collines. La végétation est moins dense, la forêt contient plus de conifères, l'hiver est plus dur, l'été moins humide. Il y a des fermes et de jolis villages aussi. J'y suis allée la fin de semaine dernière, à Ste-Croix de Lotbinière. J'aime beaucoup le Richelieu, mais je me suis rendu compte que les grandes espaces du fleuve me manque. Le coin me manque. Le panorama m'a rappellé les premiers français venus habiter cette terre encore sauvage. Les hivers dure qu'ils ont dû confronter, les difficultés qu'ils ont eu à s'établir, la foi convaincu qu'ils avaient en Dieu, les chapelles, Églises et Basiliques qu'ils ont construites, les miracles vécus grace à leur foi et leur confiance en Dieu. Nous avons perdu beaucoup.

Monday, May 29, 2006

A day in the life of Jeanne

I woke up this morning at 6:30, after having gone to bed late last night because we were gone to Quebec on the weekend, and after having had only 2 hours of sleep the night before,... got up, got the kids out of bed, (literally had to drag them out of bed, since they all went to bed late both nights too) got everyone ready for school, herded the older ones out the door, grabbed the two youngest and everything they and I needed for the day, and went out the door. I dropped Gabriel off at a daycare, and I went and assisted in a workshop on breastfeeding with Nicolas all day, from 8:30 to 3:30, in Longueuil about a 45 minute drive from here. (Very interesting workshop by the way, I'll have to post some stuff from that some other time.)

That was probably the most relaxing time I had all day, because I had to leave, drive home in traffic, try to get to the school for 4:30 because I had to pick up Dominic, who'd been away all day with his class in Montreal doing sports, and had come in late. Then I had to rush over to get Gabriel, but the old bridge must have been broken because the new one had way more traffic than usual, and it took a long time to get across. I finally got home at 5:00, right when Dominic was supposed to be at soccer practice. I run around, trying to get Jean-Alexandre and Dominic into soccer stuff, making sandwiches, getting the others into the car, and am ready to leave, but Dominic STILL doesn't have his soccer stuff. I have to go and help him. We finally get there, 45 minutes late, he still has 45 minutes left. I rush off to drive Jean-ALexandre to his practice which starts at 6:30. (it is 5:50 by this time) I decide to take a different route to see how fast it is, since the bridge I usually take is blocked. I miss the exit, and have to turn around. I finally get there at 6:20.

I get back to the stadium to pick up Dominic at 6:40. (His practice ended at 6:30.) I decide to go the normal route and pass by the house, but Dominic really needs to go to the bathroom, so I have to rush to the nearest gas station. We get there, and rush in, get the key, go outside, find out there is no toilet paper, the owner has to get some... Finally, everyone gets to the bathroom and we head for home. I get everyone into pyjamas, call Marc, find out he doesn't know when he's coming home, so there's no hope of leaving him to put the kids to bed early. Leave with the whole bunch to pick up Jean-Alexandre at 8:00.

We pick up Jean-ALexandre, have to stop for gas because the tank is almost empty, and rush home where I herd everyone off to sleep, (where naturally, noone wants to go.) With much complaining, and a lot of "NO!"'s on my part, the three youngest are finally in bed, and I can relax right? No, the house is a mess, I still haven't finished unpacking from yesterday, and there is a bunch of stuff in the car to be unloaded. Oh, and did I mention, I had to practice spelling with Dominic before putting him to bed too?

The car has been unloaded, but I still have a lot of cleaning and putting away to do as I type this. Nicolas is about ready for sleep. I would like to go to bed myself, but I have Jean-ALexandre to put to bed and some minimum cleaning to do.

And this is just a typical day in my life. Some days are a bit less "exciting" but most are pretty much exactly like this. Crazy , crazy, crazy.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Enfin je me suis trouvée une place...

Cela fait trois ans (presque) que nous sommes ici, à St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, et cela fait trois ans que je reste à la maison avec mes enfants, ou que je les accompagne à leurs activités. J'ai joué au soccer un hiver et un été et puis j'ai arrêté. Mon mari revenait du travail trop tard et je n'avais plus personne pour s'occuper d'es enfants. Depuis, je me résigne à rien faire car, tout se passe les soirs de semaines, et je ne peux pas emmener mes enfants.

J'ai toujours été une fille très impliquée dans son milieu. Au sécondaire, nous recevions des points pour chaque activité parascolaire dans laquelle nous participions. À la fin de l'année, selon le nombre de points que nous avions accumulé depuis notre entrée au sécondaire, nous recevions un prix. Après 4 ans, il a fallu inventer un nouveau prix pour moi, car je les avais déjà tous, tellement j'avais joué de sports et participé aux activités.

Ensuite, à Québec, pendant mes années d'université, j'ai été impliquée dans plusieurs groupes et ligues sportives. À Prince George en Colombie-Britannique aussi. Mais depuis que je suis ici, presque plus rien. Il est très difficile de faire quoi que ce soit quand son mari arrive toujours très tard le soir.

Bon, enfin, je me suis trouvée de quoi à faire. Je fais maintenant partie du groupe Les Relevailles Vallée des forts, un groupe d'entraide en allaitement. Je suis une formation très interessante sur l'allaitement et en plus, je rencontre des femmes avec qui j'ai de quoi en comun. J'aime beaucoup ça.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Conservative? Who, me?

Ok, I have had it with conservatives (maybe I should specify here: American conservatives), treating illegal immigrants as if they were criminals or something. I guess it's not a problem we Canadians have to deal with, since we aren't right next to a country that people are desperate to leave, so maybe I just don't understand the situation, but still...

I understand the situation of those trying to leave. And if those who now treat these people as if they were criminals lived in the same situation, they'd be desperate to leave too.

They might be illegal, but they are not criminals. Is it a crime to try to escape poverty? Is it a crime to want to escape violence, terrorism, injustice and exploitation? Is it a crime to wish for a better life?

There are surely better solutions to the whole problem than just patrolling the borders and limiting immigration even more. For one, we could be pressuring our governments to pressure their governments to make life better for their people, instead of aiding them. We could certainly lose the School of the Americas, we could also make laws on how big corporations do business in other countries. We could encourage governments to put their own people first, in front of big business. Just to name a few possibilities. The ignorant assumption that these people are criminals and that we have nothing to do with their problems, is a big part of the problem.

But hey! Don't worry, it's never too late to change! I recommend at least a month's stay in one of those countries you're sick of seeing people try to immigrate from. You might be a tad bit more receptive of them and sympathetic towards them afterwards.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Ahhh,.... braces

I wonder why novels geared at teenagers don't mention braces more often, the ones I read as a teenager barely mentioned braces at all, and never said anything about how horrible it actually is to have them.

I can't imagine what it must be like to have them as a teenager when you are already feeling bad enough about yourself.

I just went to the orthodontist yesterday and got a pair of braces for myself. I am 34. I don't feel bad about myself, I don't care what others think (much), and I can probably handle discomfort and even pain better than I could then. But these things are really a pain in the derrière... They scrape the inside of your mouth raw, especially when you are eating, because the inside of your lips rubs right up against them while you are chewing. Food not only gets caught in them, half your food stays caught underneath your upper and lower lips just behind the braces, and you can't get it out. If you run your tongue over them, to get out the food, it hurts your tongue and the food is really hard to get out. Not only that, but your gums ache because the teeth are moving, it hurts to clamp down, so biting and chewing make your gums hurt even more.

And I only have them for a year. Marc had them for two years, and Dominic and Jean-Alexandre will have to have them for two years too. Goodness!

They have these new clear hard plastic thing-ys that you just slip over the teeth and it works the same way, except that they have nothing poking out to rub your mouth raw, and you take them off to eat, then brush your teeth and you slip them back on. Which makes oral hygiene so much easier. I didn't even mention oral hygiene. They only cost almost $1000.00 more though... But I think one could mix the two...

Oral hygiene is a pain. Brush above, overtop and below the braces, then, with a special brush which resembles a miniature version of a brush for washing baby bottles, you brush in between the braces, rinsing between brushing each bracket. This is really necessary, because otherwise the food gets caught in there and stays.

I foresee a year of drinking smoothies for breakfast and having puree/soup/liquids/yogourt for the rest of the meals, because the only thing it doesn't hurt to eat is stuff you don't have to chew. I tried eating solids with these things on and it is just too painful. Once you're done your meal and done brushing, you don't eat again until you have too. So no snacking either.

Hey, maybe the advantage to this painful regime is that I will lose some weight!!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Beauty in the Storm

It has been a long time since I have had anything to say. Sometimes, when things are going well, there just isn't anything to say. Didn't Tolstoy say something about all happy families being the same but all unhappy families being different? As in when you're happy, there is no story to tell, when you are unhappy, THEN there is a story to tell.

Life can be stormy sometimes, but there is something magic about a storm, something powerful. Huge storms hit my island, but that is what shapes it, makes it so rugged, so beautiful. There have been no major storms here recently, however, and I have been walking around my island quite a bit.

Imagine my surprise when I came across an old stone building. It had stone arches, and tiny narrow windows. It was surrounded by a courtyard, which, in turn, was surrounded by a stone wall. In the courtyard were what I presume were once vegetable gardens, and in one corner was an orchard. It has mostly gone to weed now. However many of the trees still bear fruit.

As I walked inside, I noticed religious symbols and images. This place was once a monastery! A cloistered one it seems, from the way it is set up. The roof of the chapel, unfortunately, has fallen in, but it remains a still calm place and one where the presence of God still seems palpable.

Somewhere, deep inside of me, part of me has always dreamed of being a cloistered nun. I know that God is in ordinary life as well, but imagine, to have no distractions! To be continually reminded of his presence, to continually pray in communion with others... it must be a taste of Heaven.

I can't remember...

I know there was something yesterday that I wanted to remember to blog about when I had time, besides the Mother's Day thing and the Baptism Preparation thing, but now I can't remember it. All that I remember is that I was in the van, driving Jean-Alexandre to his soccer practice, and I mentioned that I wanted to write about it, that I'd have to remember to write about it,... and I don't remember WHAT it is!

Don't you just hate it when that happens?

Mother's Day

I know this is a bit late, but I really haven't had much time to come and write here. We went out for supper on Mother's Day. We took my mother-in-law to a restaurant and had a couple of friends as well, who also just had a baby.

Mother's day also happened to be my birthday. In fact, 34 years ago, I was born, you guessed it, on Mother's Day.

You know, the subject of stress came up in the lovely, informative (not) preparation for Baptism that I went to on Friday. (It's a consipracy - they want to keep us in the dark ages.) The guy (who was talking about everything but baptism) was explaining about how he managed to live a stress-free life, and I leaned over to my sister and whispered: "You know, I find it ironic that, for someone who is relatively stress-free, (okay, there IS soccer, but I expect I'll eventually get used to driving everyone around like a madwoman) the place I feel the most stressed out in is at mass, when I have my five children."

Well, contrary to most parishes in Quebec, the Co-Cathedral in St-Jean seems to be (in general) an exception. Which is probably why I keep going there instead of to my own actual parish, (that and because, you know, they want us in the dark ages, or maybe rather, into New Age...). I often have older people come up to me after mass and encourage me for coming, and say what a lovely family I have, etc,...

Mother's Day was no exception. In fact, I was just turning around, to get ready to pack everyone up, when a lady came up to me and said: "C'est la fête des mères? (It's Mother's Day?)"

"Oui."

"Tiens. (Here)"

And she stuffed $30.00 into my hand and walked away!

Wow!!

And at least four other people wished me a very happy Mother's Day.

I have to see about getting the baptism in my parish switched over to the Cathedral. How can I NOT have it there now?

Préparation pour le Baptême

Vendredi soir je suis allée, avec ma soeur, à la préparation pour le baptême de Nicolas, dans ma parroisse.

Je n'ai rien appris sur le baptême.

Au fait, c'est à peine si le baptême a même été mentionné.

Nous étions tous assis dans un grand cercle et on nous a demandé ce nous voulions pour nos enfants. Nous avons parlé de cela. Et ensuite des valeurs proposés par "le monde". Je crois bien que le nom de Jésus a été mentionné une seule fois. Nous n'avons rien vu de ce que la Bible ou l'Église disent sur le sujet.

Enfin, on nous a remis un genre de texte/poème, et il a fallu dire ce qui nous rejoignait le plus.

Il n'y rien qui m'énerve plus dans une situation comme ça que de me faire donner un texte et me faire demander "qu'est-ce qui te rejoint le plus?" Et si RIEN ne me rejoignait? Et si RIEN de TOUTE la soirée ne m'a pas rejoint? Et si ça ne me tentait pas de partager avec de purs étrangers de toute façon? Et si cela avait été une PERTE TOTALE de mon temps et du leur? Et pourquoi nous donner un texte de toute façon? Ils aurait pu tout simplement nous demander pourquoi nous voulions faire baptiser nos enfants, (ce qu'ils n'ont pas fait) et nous aurions pu donner nos propres réponses. C'est quoi l'idée?! Nous ne sommes pas capable de penser pour nous-même? Nous ne sommes pas capable de comprendre ce que c'est le baptême? C'est pour cela que l'on nous garde dans l'ignorance? Heureusement que j'ai un père qui nous a enseigné un peu sur notre foi. Heureusement que j'ai fait partie de différents groupes catholiques, que j'ai suivis différentes formations et que j'ai pris des cours de théologie, car s'il fallait que je dépende de ma parroisse pour mon éducation réligieuse, je serais encore, comme on dit en anglais, dans les "dark ages".

WHAT ARE YOU DOING MAY 19TH?

May 19th is the date the Da Vinci Code movie opens. A movie based on a book that wears its heresy and blasphemy as a badge of honor.

What can we as Christians do in response to the release of this movie? I'm going to offer you the usual choices -- and a new one.

Here are the usual suspects:

A) We can ignore the movie. ........

The problem with this option: The box office is a ballot box. The only people whose votes are counted are those who buy tickets. And the ballot box closes on the Sunday of opening weekend. If you stay home, you have lost your chance to make your vote heard. You have thrown your vote away, and from Hollywood's point of view, you don't count. By staying home, you do nothing to shape the decision-making process regarding what movies will make it to the big screen.

B) We can protest. ........

The problem with this option: It doesn't work. Any publicity is good publicity. Protests not only fuel the box office, they make all Christians look like idiots. And again, protests and boycotts do nothing to help shape the decisions being made right now about what movies Hollywood will make in the next few years. (Or they convince Hollywood to make *more* movies that will provoke Christians to protest, which will drive the box office up.)

C) We can discuss the movie. We can be rational and be ready with study guides and workshops and point-by-point refutations of the lies promulgated by the movie. ........

The problem with this option: No one's listening. They think they know what we're going to say already. We'll lose most of these discussions anyway, no matter how prepared we are, because the power of story always trumps the power of facts (why do you think Jesus taught in parables?!). And once again: rational discussion of history does nothing to affect Hollywood's choices regarding what movies to make.

But there's a fourth choice.

D) On May 19th, you should go to the movies.

Just go to another movie.

Save the date now. May 19th, or May 20th. No later than Sunday, May 21st -- that's the day the ballot box closes. You'll get a vote, the only vote Hollywood recognizes: The power of cold hard cash laid down on a box office window on opening weekend.

Use your vote. Don't throw it away. Vote for a movie other than DVC. If enough people do it, the powers that be will notice. They won't have a choice.

The major studio movie scheduled for release against DVC is the DreamWorks animated feature Over the Hedge. The trailers look fun, and you can take your kids. And your friends. And their friends. In fact, let's all go see it.

Let's rock the box office in a way no one expects -- without protests, without boycotts, without arguments, without rancor. Let's show up at the box office ballot box and cast our votes. And buy some popcorn, too.

May 19th. Mark your calendars now: Over the Hedge's opening weekend. Buy a ticket.

And spread the word. Forward this e-mail to all the Christians in your address book. Post it on your blogs. Talk about it to your churches. And let's all go to the movies.

Friday, May 12, 2006

How cute was I?




















Me: at about two or three months




















Me: at about nine or ten months




















Me: at about one and a half years


















Dominic: at about two and a half years

I think there might be a resemblance here. See!!! We DO have kids who look like me too!!!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Soccer Mom


I finally had a pretty relaxed day today. Stayed home, did some housework, but not all that much, took it easy,... had the supper all made by five,... kids in bed by 8:00.

This competitive soccer is going to drive me nuts I think. I mean, I really want my kids to get better at soccer if they can, but all this driving around... I'm only one person, and they always have to put everything on the same nights. Dominic and Jean-Alexandre both have soccer practice on Mondays. Dominic, from 5:00 to 6:30 and Jean-Alexandre from 6:30 to 8:00. But Jean-Alexandre's practice is 1/2 an hour away from Dominic's! So I have to leave at 5:30 from Dominic's practice, take Jean-Alexandre to his, (he gets there 1/2 an hour early) go back and get Dominic, and drive back out to Jean-Alexandre's practice and then drive home again. I feel like all I do is drive around like a madwoman. All this while dragging three young kids (who really should be in bed).

Add to that, in a couple of weeks the games start, and both Maryssa and Dominic will be playing on Tuesdays and Thursdays, at 6:30, but not in the same place, and most of Jean-Alexandre's games will also be on Thursdays (although some are on Saturdays and even Sunday) and those are all about at 6:45, except they are not even in town. The closest are at Marieville, 20 minutes from home. (On highway) The others are up to an hour away. I'll have to drive him to his coach's place half the time and he'll have to go with his coach, because I won't be able to drive him, and I won't be able to watch most of his games, and I won't be able to watch Dominic's games either anymore... I wonder how long it will take me to have a nervous breakdown. And they say a mother's job is easy... (Well, maybe it is, as long as you don't complicate it.)

So, add to that the fact that I have a young baby that requires a lot of attention, and it shouldn't be surprising if I don't get to update here very often.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

This could definitely happen at my house, ha ha

Lots of Data Point to Fewer Births

Pope Cites a Problem That Few Would Argue With

ROME, MAY 6, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI cited an "urgent need" for reflection in the area of demography, in a message he sent April 28 to participants in a meeting of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

Experts agree that an increase in life expectancies is being met with a drop in birthrates, the Pope noted. Societies are aging and "many nations or groups of nations lack a sufficient number of young people to renew their population," he wrote.

Attention has increasingly focused on the social and economic consequences of too few babies. Last Sunday the New York Times commented on the case of Ogama, a village in rural Japan that has declined to only eight elderly residents. Town members have decided to pack everything up and sell the site to a company that will turn it into a landfill.

Sixty years ago the village had around 30 households, each with eight to nine people. Ogama belongs to the municipality of Monzen, which has 140 villages, 40% of which have fewer than 10 households, mostly composed of elderly people, the article observed.

On Tuesday, Reuters reported that the Japanese government is considering allowing TV ads for matchmaking agencies, in the hope of encouraging marriage, and more children. Data from Japan's Health Ministry show that the average age of women on their first marriage is now 27.8, compared with 25.8 in 1988.

On Wednesday the Guardian newspaper of Britain reported on the plunging birthrate in Europe. The report came the day after the German government decided to increase financial incentives for couples to have more children. Measures include tax breaks, more nursery places and government funds for men to take time off after a baby's birth.

But more money may not be sufficient to solve the problem, the article commented. Germany already spends 3.1% of its gross domestic product on families and children, well above the 2.1% average for countries in the European Union.

All downhill

The increased funds came after opinion was shocked by official figures published in March. Those figures showed that last year between 680,000 and 690,000 babies were born in Germany. This was less than in the final year of World War II, commented Rolf Wenkel in an opinion article published March 16 by Deutsche Welle.

"[W]e've completely failed to react to the fact that Germany's birthrate has been galloping downhill for the last 30 years," contended Wenkel.On Tuesday the Guardian published the results of a poll carried out in Britain showing that people feel forced to delay family life by career pressures and the growing difficulty of finding a partner. Around 20% of British women reaching the end of their fertile life are childless, according to the British Office of National Statistics. This compares with 10% in the 1940s. And in 2004 the fertility rate in the United Kingdom was 1.77 children per woman, well down from the 1960s peak of 2.95 children.

Commenting on the poll, Libby Brooks noted that another key reason cited for the low birthrate is that couples do not stay together in the same way as in the past. The "modern absolutes of autonomy and independence" may well be hindering the formation of stable marriages and childbearing, according to Brooks.

By contrast, France is doing relatively well. Reuters on April 26 reported that France's average of 1.9 children per woman is the second-highest rate in the European Union (after Ireland's level of 1.99). Even so, none of the 25 countries in the European Union meet the 2.1 level needed to maintain current population levels.

The French government wants a further increase in numbers of children. Last September Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said the birthrate was insufficient to ensure a stable population and announced new incentives for having babies.

Long-term projections

Not surprisingly, population is forecast to decline in Europe. Details recently appeared in the bulletin Statistics in Focus (3/2006), a publication of Eurostat, the EU statistical agency.

The bulletin contains a diversity of forecasts, depending on how fertility levels evolve and how many immigrants are allowed into EU countries. Nevertheless, "in all variants deaths will outnumber births and positive net migration will postpone the population decrease only temporarily," the publication states.

The population will be notably older. In 2004 there was one elderly non-working person for every four persons of working age. By 2050 there would be about one inactive person for every two of working age. And the number of persons aged 80 and over is expected to nearly triple, rising from 18 million in 2004 to about 50 million in 2051.

Even relatively high levels of immigration will not solve the problem. Assuming positive net migration of around 40 million people over the period up to 2050, by that date the working age population of the European Union would have decreased by 52 million. The total population would have dropped by 7 million.

A recent book examined some of the implications of these changes. "The Baby Bust: Who Will Do the Work? Who Will Pay the Taxes?" (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers) is edited by Fred Harris.In their chapter on Europe, Hans-Peter Kohler, Francesco Billari and José Antonio Ortega observe that the demographic changes will have profound social effects. Fewer siblings and increased childlessness diminishes the potential of family networks to provide social and economic support.

After a detailed analysis of the causes of low fertility, the authors express doubts over the success of government incentives to encourage more births. There is a positive relationship between reproductive behavior and a range of policies, but it is weak and takes time to have an impact.

Shrinking RussiaLow fertility is not limited to the European Union. In the first half of 2005 the Russian population shrank by 400,000, the London-based Financial Times reported April 21.

The number of children per woman plunged from 2.19 in 1986-7, to 1.17 in 1999. It has since risen to 1.3. The situation is worsened by a drop in marriage rates, and increased divorce. As well, Russian men have a life expectancy of just under 60 years. As a result, some forecast the population of 146 million in 2000 could fall to only 100 million by midcentury.

Even countries with historically high numbers of children are seeing birthrates drop dramatically. A few decades ago Mexican women on average had families of almost 7 children, but this is down to just above 2 nowadays, reported the Wall Street Journal on April 28.

Among other consequences, this fall in natality could reduce in the future the numbers of Mexicans entering the United States. Right now there are millions of Mexicans in their 20s and 30s looking for work. By 2050 the median age of Mexico's population, now 25, will rise to 42, reported the Journal, citing data from the U.N. Population Division. The United States now has a median age of 36, set to rise to 41 by midcentury.

In his message Benedict XVI noted that the causes of low birthrates are multiple and complex. But, while they are often economic and social, the "ultimate roots can be seen as moral and spiritual." There is, he added, a "disturbing deficit of faith, hope and, indeed, love." That's a deficit not readily fixed by economic policy.
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Yes, and it is this "disturbing deficit of faith, hope and, (especially) love" that worries me the most. In 2050, I'll be 78. I'll be part of the huge older population. Who's to say that, with this deficit of love, euthanasia won't be a very popular method of getting rid of the problem of an aging population. In a sense, I guess it would "serve us right" as a society for aborting so many of our children, to be in turn "eliminated" by those whom we allowed to live. But wrongs don't right wrongs.

No, I don't think better policies towards families will help all that much. Although they ARE needed. Here in Quebec, those families with two working parents are definitely better supported than those whose mothers decide to stay at home. Which means that mothers are not encouraged to either stay at home or have more children. Working mothers have $7 a day child care (when they can get it) whereas stay-at-home moms have nothing extra. There are groups working to change this however, saying that all families should receive the same amount of money and be left to choose whether or not to use that for daycare. In other words, families could then choose whether they want both partners to work and pay someone else to care for their children, or have just one who works outside and the pay goes to the mother to care for their children. It isn't fair that the government should be willing to pay for strangers to care for children, but not pay for mothers to care for children. You can't just offer something to one group of parents and not to the other. Especially when the mother is the best person to care for her children. You can't just assume that families with only one person working are rich and don't need help. Or that women who stay at home do so because they are lazy and don't WANT to work. That is discrimination. That's feminism gone overboard. Often, these families choose to have less income in order to better care for their children. They struggle to make ends meet in order to give their children a better life. They could use the extra money just as much, maybe more. In fact, not only is the whole thing discriminatory, it is a policy that ENOURAGES families to have two working parents and send their children into daycare. It makes it that much easier to decide not to stay at home. Which in turn discourages families from having more children. (What working mother in her right mind would have more than one or two children right?) In our world, only families in which the parents are highly educated and one partner can get a well-paying job can afford to keep one parent at home. Poorer, less-educated people are also discriminated against.

Families where two people work get better tax breaks too. For instance, if both work, you can deduct child care and pre-school from your income tax. If only one works, then you can't, because it is considered "unnecessary" child-care. So if we decide to send our child to pre-school, we can't deduct it. And yet, we are the ones with less income.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Did I forget to mention... ?


... April 25th was Jean-Alexandre's birthday. He turned 12. Sunday we'll be taking him and (hopefully) a friend to go see Mission Impossible III. Then we'll have some cake at home maybe?

Awwwww...

...and I was hoping for a 2B form this year.

2006 CENSUS Count yourself in! May 16, 2006

I worked for Census 2001, back when we were in Prince George, going door to door, making sure all the forms were filled in properly, etc etc. I even helped a friend finish her area and finished off the area of still another guy and even did some extra work when someone who spoke spanish was needed. A lot of work for not all that much pay though. Vowed I'd never do it again.

Please save the census workers some pain and trouble, fill in your forms properly and on time!!! And to all you lucky bums who got the longer 2B form, have fun!!! (What can I say, I love filling in questionnaires, I feel like for once the government is actually interested in me. ME!! Hee hee)

Mothers aren't perfect

Sometimes I feel like a horrible mother.

Like yesterday for instance. I ordered a book about the real-life experience of a modern-day slave in Soudan. (The story of Mende Nazer - titled Slave) I have been aware of the civil war and slavery in Sudan for some time now, since reading an article in the Revue de la Sociétét des Missions-Étrangères. This is a subject that interests me and I have signed numerous petitions through IAbolish to try to make changes. The problem with reading a book is, half-way through, I usually get so involved wth it, that I have a hard time putting it down. So last evening I wasn't the most attentive, organized person.

But that's not the worst. I have a temper. And when I am about to be late for something, and am trying to rush out the door as quickly as possible because I happen to know that crossing the bridge is going to be really slow, since the other one has been closed for cleaning and this one has been reduced to one lane both ways for repairs, the last thing I need to discover at that moment is that TWO of my children have messed their pants!! This put me behind 20 minutes. I was NOT happy. And it went downhill after that.

Sometimes Maryssa gets on my nerves with being so whiny and demanding and rude. But then I'm not teaching her anything by yelling at her either, am I? Sometimes I notice I am just NOT nice to her either. Such a horrible mother.

Tempest Fugit

Je n'ai pas eu beaucoup de temps dernièrement pour venir "blogger". À chaque fois que je viens à l'ordinateur, ça prend tellement de temps lire tous les messages et ensuite je me sens coupable du temps "perdu". Je pourrais être en train de faire le ménage, entretenir la maison, etc, mais non, je perds mon temps ici.

Ahhh, le bébé pleure... le devoir m'appelle, il va falloir vous quitter une fois de plus.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Headache or migraine?

I often get headaches, especially if I am tired. With them I often also have sensitivity to light that is associated with migraines, and of course, sensitivity to sound which, I'm pretty sure is typical of any headache, migraine or not. They don't usually last more than 6 to 8 hours, usually starting in the mid-afternoon and going away once I fall asleep. (Unless I take coffee and pain-killers).

So while I've never really considered that I suffered from migraines, I have wondered about it, since my mother suffers from them. Are my headaches actually migraines? I read somewhere that if what you have is a migraine, you don't wonder if it is more than a headache, you KNOW it is. So I figured it must not be since I'm not feeling debilitating pain. Apparently this is a myth and you might have them and not know it.

But recently I've noticed I can tell when one is coming on and take coffee and a pain-killer right away to avoid the pain, and even more recently, I've been feeling dizzy as well and even getting nausea. And a couple of times recently, I've actually woken up with a headache.

So I decided to look this up, wondering especially if nausea isn't a symptom of a migraine, (it is) and found this questionnaire: Symptoms Checklist

They say:

It's estimated that 1 in 10 people experience migraine and yet many don't realise that this common condition is the cause of their suffering. If you are to find effective relief it is important to get an accurate diagnosis. Although there are no medical tests that can detect the presence of migraine, your doctor will use a checklist of questions to confirm whether or not you are one of 6 million people in the UK who suffer from migraine.

So I could be suffering from migraines and not realize it after all? It must be what my mother calls a "mild" migraine if it is one, because I'm not lying down in a darkened room for 3 days when I get one. Although, come to think of it, neither was my mother. Not all the time. She didn't have a choice though, with young ones running about. Come to think of it, neither do I. If I did have a choice, most of the time, I WOULD go to bed. I DO remember times it was so bad my mother did go to bed though, and her migraines usually lasted for 3 days.

Here is the checklist: (My answers are in bold)

1
2-3
4 or more



Yes
No



Less than 4 hours
4-24 hours
25-48 hours
2-4 days



Stress & emotional upsets
Over exertion (Actually, lack of sleep would be closer to the truth)
Certain foods
Hormonal factors
(and staring at a computer screen too long will do it too.)


Yes
No



Yes (Although I don't know if it is as bad as some.)
No



Yes (but only recently)
No



Yes
No



Yes
No



Yes (I guess a bit)
No



Yes
No (Well I do get that sometimes, but I don't think it is in connection to a headache)



Yes (Kind of depends on what kind of movement)
No



Yes (It is definitely harder, although I am by no means incapacitated)
No



Yes
No

They also say:

Anyone who suffers from migraine will tell you that it’s no ordinary headache. “It can be excruciating. Agony. You feel like you’ve been hit with a sledgehammer.”

I can't say it's ever been that bad for me. Not sledgehammer bad. But maybe I have a higher pain threshold? Or maybe I just don't get migraines. Do regular headaches give one nausea and sensitivity to light and sound etc,. too?

And then again:

“My migraines started when I was 19 years old. Symptoms would include extreme tiredness and a slight headache followed by nausea."

This person only got a slight headache. That sounds more like me, extremely tired, but the headache is more than slight.