Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Another Reason Not to Circumcise Your Baby Boy

The debate about circumcision continues unabated in the United States.

Though more parents are choosing not to circumcise their infants in the absence of medical indication, there are still many American parents who have no religious reason for circumcising who choose to have it done anyway.

If you're on the fence about circumcision, here are some questions to consider:

Why have one of your newborn's first experiences be painful?

How could cutting off part of a baby boy's genitals possibly be of benefit?

Why do something irrevocable at birth that you may regret later?

Why not wait and let your son decide for himself?

When a circumcision gets botched, sometimes the damage done to a newborn's penis cannot be fixed. This boy lost his penis in 2004. The 2.3 million awarded to his family will not change the fact that their son is permanently deformed and will never have children of his own.

At the most recent meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics in Boston this October, it was reported that the number of botched circumcisions has risen precipitously: "Data contributed by pediatric hospitals nationwide showed a 119% increase in the rate of revision circumcision procedures from 2004 to 2009."

If that's not enough to give you pause, consider this:

Circumcision cuts length and girth off the penis.

It also seems to contribute to sexual dysfunction.

This recent scientific study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology and conducted in Denmark, where fewer than 5 percent of men are circumcised, found that circumcised men had more orgasm difficulties, and that women with circumcised spouses more often reported sexual dissatisfaction.

The first days of your newborn's life are precious.

You should be spending time skin-to-skin, looking into your baby's eyes, and enjoying the warm, heavy weight in your hands.

You shouldn't be tending to a raw and painful wound on your son's penis, bringing him to the emergency room because of excessive bleeding, or causing him pain.

If you're not sure, don't do it. You'll be so glad you didn't.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

DIY Dad: Laundry Detergent

I like Do-It-Yourself things, at least as long as they are easy, and rescue you from being at anyone else's mercy. I didn't grow up that way--my dad and grandfather couldn't change their own motor oil or fix a bike flat. When we bought our first house I fixed things using the only tools I had: those on my Swiss Army knife. Once I realized that many things can be fixed faster than calling in a repairman, and that you can't do anything without Vise-Grips, I felt a lot more in control of my world.

I hate running out of detergent. With four kids, one of them in cloth diapers, we do a couple loads of laundry a day, so making our own not only brings the cost of detergent down to about a penny a load, but it means I can make 3 gallons at a time, and when I run out I can make another 3 gallons in just a few minutes--less time than it would take to get to the store.


1/2 cup washing soda
1 cup borax
3 oz. plain bar soap, or soap flakes, or Dr. Bronner's
5 gallon plastic bucket

The washing soda, borax and soap flakes you can get at the hardware store (I got mine at the local Ace). Likewise the bucket. I have a bucket just that size that I got some bulk tofu in years ago (when we were eating a heck of a lot of tofu); but that one has since been used as a cloth diaper bucket, and now holds about 40 pounds worth of my longer, heavier tools (the Swiss Army knife was more portable, at least).

Fill the bucket with 11 liters of water (many are marked in liters, or in quarts, which is close enough). Add the wash soda and borax. Dissolve the soap in a liter/quart of hot water, and pour that in. You're done.

You can use it right away. Overnight, the chemical reaction will finish, and there will be a gel taking up a lot of the bucket, plus some liquid. Scoop up a half cup, including some of each, for each load. Works great in cold water, and cleans as well as any detergent I've used.

The soap: you can use any bar soap you may have around (3 oz. is a typical size cake), and shave it into the hot water with a cheese grater until it dissolves. Or save yourself the grating, which is the only step that takes any effort, and just use soap flakes from a box. Dr. Bronner's is already liquid, so if you use that, you can just pour it and the hot water right into the bucket and be done.

You get to do chemistry in your kitchen, and the reward is finding the finished liquid detergent in the morning!

Thanks to Frugal Kiwi for first turning me on to this recipe and what a ripoff commercial laundry detergent is.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Featured in the Toronto Star

Ann Douglas, Canada's best known parenting writer and a mother of four, included THE BABY BONDING BOOK FOR DADS in today's article in the Toronto Star, "A guide to books about babies and pregnancy."

Here’s an excerpt from Douglas’s review:

“Looking for a gift for the new dad? (First of all: good for you. Most people forget all about the new dad in their rush to shower love, attention, and gifts on the new mom and the new baby.) This lovely book celebrates the unique bond between babies and their dads through a mix of photographs and positive, encouraging text.”