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August 14th, 2008

early b-day present for T.

I ordered him a Kettler pedal-less bike (think: likeabike, but not laminated wood and much, much less expensive). He has a lot of fun on a Little Tikes rideon toy our neighbor got him over a year ago, and also on his tricycle, which we have not yet been able to convince him to pedal. On the premise that he might as well learn the balance park of bicycling, if he won't go near the pedals anyway, I bought this thing. We also figured he had a good sense of balancing on a bike from the Bike Tutor.

Fortunately, R. assembled it.

T. was instantly fascinated and spent a good chunk of the evening (a) interfering with R.'s efforts to finish assembling it and adjust the seat to the right height (so he can sit but have his feet flat on the ground) and (b) riding it in circles around the house.

Even slacker-mama that I am (I'll bring the Little Tikes rideon upstairs to play on if he asks; R. _hates_ this and he has a good point. It would be Very Bad if he fell down the stairs), I will not let him take this sucker upstairs. He tried, but didn't persist.

Very cute. Totally lost it after a while, he was so tired. But a hugely successful toy. You could _see_ him go from just assuming he could lean to the side, like on the trike, to Not Doing That Any More. There really is nothing quite so cool as nailing the developmentally appropriate toy. Usually, I hand him something that frustrates the heck out of him and he screams a lot. Not this time.

Happy Birthday, T.! Can't wait to see what you do with it on the driveway, where his trike and the rideon are favorites to go up the slight hill of the driveway and coast down. I wonder if he'll be able to balance on this thing with his feet up?

tummy time blog entry at Newsweek

You _know_ this is going to be me going wtf?

http://www.blog.newsweek.com/blogs/tipsheet/archive/2008/08/09/giving-your-baby-enough-tummy-time.aspx

Here are the bits that got me:

"Gillham: Why is tummy time important for babies?
Jennings: All development comes from the tummy position."

Jennings does a last minute, inadequate save by adding later on: "Babies don’t have to use their muscles if they’re sitting in a car seat. They don’t have to use muscles if they’re in a swing or a bouncer seat."

Here's another one: "Tummy time needs to be scheduled just like diaper changes, feedings and naps."
Really? I thought you changed diapers when they are wet, feed the kid when the kid is hungry and let the kid fall asleep when tired. What's up with the scheduling thing? Here's the clarification: "Babies should have one to two minutes of tummy time after every nap, diaper change and feeding, throughout the day." You have _got_ to be kidding me. Wake up the kid who fell asleep at the boob for tummy time? Doesn't that violate the back to sleep rule? Kid wakes up from nap hungry and you're going to put the kid down on the floor for a couple minutes to let the kid scream in frustration? I think not.

To be fair, again with the last minute save: the final two paragraphs describe tummy time on your lap, or with the babe on the babe's side, or tummy time on mama's chest.

If they really are seeing the kind of developmental delays described, I suppose something needs to be done. But this just strikes me as massively foreign. OTOH, I've only had one kid, and T. is a bit of a freak of nature when it comes to gross motor stuff.
A friend sent me this:

http://www.seedmagazine.com/news/2008/08/a_new_state_of_mind.php

About how if your dopamine receptors are screwed up in a particular way, you are (a) more likely to be unable to stop smoking (and other Very Bad Addictions) and (b) less likely to learn from your financial mistakes. Among other things.

Bizarrely enough, apparently Jay Belsky is being rehabilitated by his interpretation of similar research in the context of parenting. Further details will have to await me actually sleeping (yeah, I should do that now. Really).

http://www.newsweek.com/id/151758

Here, the rationale is that some kids, you just don't have that much influence over. Which is a damn fine message for Belsky's renascence. But let's not forget: he originally was a big believer that care of very young children by people other than the mother had no real impact on the kiddies. It was when he _switched_ from that position that he started having Major Career Woes. Watch this man carefully over the next few years. I give it 50-50 odds that he'll blow this one, too.

smokers and elective, cosmetic surgery

FWIW, I know a number of people (some smokers, some not) who have had a variety of elective cosmetic surgery done. I've watched TV shows on the subject. I read one full length book (the excellent _Lift_ by Joan Kron). I've read articles. I'm not entirely opposed to elective, cosmetic surgery. Really, I swear. I _am_ opposed to breast reduction for women who intend to get pregnant and have children in the future; when I read what people who did have breast reduction go through trying to breastfeed, it just makes me sad and furious. I am also opposed to breast augmentation for very young women/girls (sweet sixteen gifts). I think some "work" looks a little weird and I tend to prefer the way unmodified people look as they age, but I recognize that we all have different styles and approaches to things -- and that I might well change my mind about some or all of this as I get older. I think that _anyone_ who pressures _anyone_ into getting elective, cosmetic surgery of _any sort_ is Teh Evil. If I weren't so pregnant, I'd volunteer to help you go beat the crap out of them if you actually knew one.

With that _massive_ disclaimer, check this out:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/14/fashion/14SKIN.html

The setup: nicotine (which would be in cigarettes BUT ALSO in the patch and gum intended to help people stop smoking) makes blood vessels constrict. Tight blood vessels inhibit wound healing. Docs doing elective surgery HAVE to make sure there are the absolute minimum number of bad outcomes; docs doing cosmetic surgery HAVE to make sure things look good when they're done if they want to stay in business. So at least some docs who are doing elective, cosmetic surgery are insisting their clients stop smoking some amount of time before and after the surgery. They're writing scrip (Wellbutrin, Chantix, etc.) and referring to hypnotists.

This is a good thing, right?

Altho, a little disturbing. I don't mind dying, but if I can't have work done, _that's_ a problem?

On one level, this makes me really wonder about some of those dopamine researchers. Maybe they aren't measuring the right things. Maybe there's a big chunk of the population out there that doesn't give a flying fuck about their health, or their money -- but they do care a whole lot about how they look and how people respond to their looks. Wouldn't be the first time a researcher said these people aren't teachable when what was really going on was the researcher wasn't using the right approach.

a promising small sign

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2008/08/14/many_brain_injury_patients_poised_to_quit_nursing_homes_for_freer_lives/

Medicare will pay a lot more for nursing home (skilled nursing facility) "care" than it will for in-home/community services. Which is perverse in general, but particularly ridiculous for often-young, brain injury patients who could make really good use of rehabilitative services/physical therapy/etc. that is often missing in warehouses that are focused on "activities of daily life" (i.e. diapering, feeding, medicating) than on supporting a life-worth-living.

Nursing homes didn't fight the suit. Deval Patrick didn't fight it. Why it took so long to work it's way through the process is one of those minor mysteries of public policy that area big chunk of why I, personally, am not cut out to be there for the day-in and day-out. But good news.

of insurance and regulation

R. and I have had a number of conversations lately about what happens when brokers have trouble, in terms of their customers. I keep supplying bits and pieces of what precious little I know about SIPC. Today, I did a bunch of digging to find out how that process actually works. Sort of. It is, of course, very complicated. R. said, but they've never had to bail out anyone big. This sounded wrong to me, so I went digging.

And discovered the sordid tale of MJK Clearing from 2001. The tech bubble, a short squeeze, John Gray's _Men Are From Mars_ and Adnan Kashoggi. Wow. I totally missed it, because after 9/11, I quit reading the regular news in favor of the only news that wasn't completely bloodthirsty: health. Also, there was some hiking and travel, but never mind that now.

Read it and weep: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/03_19/b3832095_mz020.htm

Or:

sipc.org/pdf/SIPC_fitch.pdf

In some ways, that latter is more horrifying, altho the BW article makes for a soap-opera style narrative, while Fitch/SIPC just say things that make your skin crawl. Like:

"According to a document issued by a SEC, NYSE, and NASD task force in 1999, the MJK
Clearing situation is not unique. In the document, the task force reported the findings of a
review of broker-dealers. The examination staff discovered various instances of questionable
control practices, including: 1) Failure to audit entire functional areas 2) Inexperienced and
understaffed internal audit departments, and 3) Instances of department heads overseeing the
risk monitoring process of their own business units."

There are days when I realize I am inadequately paranoid. Not clear what I should do about it, if anything, but definitely inadequately paranoid.

ah, more room!

A. dropped lower a couple days ago: heartburn has improved substantially and, if possible, I'm peeing even more often (altho that could be because I've also started on the cranberry juice).

The extra space is potentially dangerous, because now the near-constant urge to snack has fewer consequences associated with giving in.

Hopefully, this means A. won't be horribly late. That would be nice.