Yes 41, I can hardly believe it, my favorite daughter is going to be 41 years old next month! I know, I know, she doesn't look a year over 30 - she really doesn't.
It is a private joke between us when I introduce her to someone and tell them that she is my favorite daughter, because of course, she is also my only daughter, only child for that matter. But she really is my favoriete daughter - hey I could say she is my least favorite daughter couldn't I? But I don't care how many daughters there are in the world, and there are a lot, she is the best one, and my favorite one.
We have to claim some credit for how she turned out. We still read horrendous stories of children born with awful physical and mental disabilities and while many are undoubtably not the fault of the parents but of their environment, their family anscestry, etc some could probably be avoided by use of common sense.
Julia became pregnant in 1970, 42 years ago, not exactly the stone age, but it might as well have been when it came to taking care of your body and the new life inside of you. Doctors said the baby is protected by the mothers body from outside dangers etc, etc, etc. But hey what is wrong with taking extra care of something so valuable? If you get a new car you take care of it by parking away from other cars, leaving it where you can see it, well most people do, I don't. As I said to someone who was installing a roof rack on my new Jeep Grand Cherokee one day, "Just drill holes through the roof and bolt it on securely, I don't want it falling off." When he looked at me horrified, I said "It is not my wife, it is just a car."
Anyway we decided, well not even decided really, it just seemed natural, that Julia would not take anything, or do anything that could endanger Baby. So she took no alcoholic drinks at all, not one, and no drugs at all, not even an Aspirin. If she had a headache, she had a headache and she put up with it, period. She didn't even have her hair permed or dyed We didn't want to take a chance on any chemicals making their way to Baby. Food labels were carefully examined for contents and if there were any doubts they were not used. We didn't use any chemicals around the house, well as little as possible that is, obviously we had to use bleach, washing machine and dishwasher powders, but no sprays like hair sprays, air fresheners, no insecticides, or even perfumes. If I saw a roach or a fly, a fly swat or a shoe was the answer. In fact one day when she was at work at Williams and Wilkens, the book publishing house where she worked, there was a roach problem and an exterminator company was brought in to spray for bugs. Before they could start work Julia told her boss that if they were going to spray she would have to leave work for the day. The company assured her that "It was completely safe."! Which is about as stupid a statement as anyone could make! The spray was designed to kill insects - how "safe" could that be? So she went home for the day.
The same common sense approach continued after Sarah's birth. She was breast fed for 6 months. That seemed to be the best and most natural start to life. When she went to a bottle we used glass rather than plastic bottles. We had no evidence that there was anything wrong with plastic, it just seemed to be common sense - there are those two words again - that we did not know a whole lot about plastic and it seemed much more likely that anything contained in a plastic bottle is more likely to pick up something from the plastic than it was from glass.
Again, while breast feeding, of course Julia took nothing that we felt could in any way affect Baby. So headaches continued to be untreated with pain pills and alcohol stayed in the cupboard. Once Sarah was weaned Julia felt that she was able to get a perm, have her hair dyed, use hair spray, use perfume, take aspirin and have a glass of wine. But poor Sarah had to forgo most drugs that babies take. No Aspirin, baby Tylenol, etc for her! She did get a shot of whiskey once at the age of one when we were on an overnight flight on a an airplane to the UK and she insisted on crying for 7 of the 8 hours of the flight. (someone suggested that a little spot of whiskey in her bottle might help! It didn't.)
Another "Unknown" was the Microwave oven. I had worked with Microwaves while working with the Admiralty in the UK and knew that they were dangerous. We went to extraordinary lengths to make sure that we were protected from them. Knowing that Microwaves might affect our bodies and not knowing how safe the new household Microwave oven was, and having a new baby - the most susceptable time of a persons life - we decided to forgo the convenience of the Microwave oven. At least while she was young and until more was known about it. I think Sarah was about 10 years old before we decided they were safe enough! (I am still not certain.)
As she grew, we almost went to the opposite extreme about keeping her away from 'stuff'. But this 'stuff' was natural 'stuff'. We had noticed a tendancy for people to keep children away from 'nature'. As children, we had been allowed to play outside, even encouraged to be outside in the air and around nature for hours every day. It did not appear to have harmed us. Was it just our imagination but did today's kids seem to get more colds, allergies, earaches, etc, etc, etc than we did? Maybe it was our imagination, but we did not think so. It seemed better to let a kid get in the dirt, eat some of it if she wanted, if she had a headache a nice cuddle wih Mummy or Daddy was better for her than children's Tylenol. Drugs, antiseptics, we tended to forgo all kinds of treatments for normal children's ailments in favor of allowing her natural body's defences to work, thus allowing her body to build up its own natural defence agains germs and bacteria. I think it worked, I hope so. I think it worked for us. As children we had very few treatments available other than a hug and a kiss if we got sick or hurt. Maybe a Band Aid for a big cut, and it probably got washed first too! Nowadays the slightest ache or pain requires a box full of drugs as well as multiple visits to multiple doctors. Quite apart from breeding hypocondriacs, how can anyone afford such largesse? And how is anyone's body going to learn how to treat itself?
I'm sure most people have noticed - I surely hope that they have noticed - that todays children have more ailments than we had. Many of today's problems did not even exist in my childhood, or if they did they were very few. Allergies, Asthma, Autism - just to start with the A's ! Something is wrong somewhere.
The obsession with Antibiotics may be one cause. Antibiotic handwashes, mouthwashes, body washes, soaps, for clothes in washing machines, for counter tops, for floors. Some bacteria escape with just a light touch and "get over it", next time they are exposed they are immune, they meet another immune bug, and have lots of baby immune bugs. Soon more and stronger Antibiotics are needed.
Even our food animals are routinely fed antibiotics! Chickens, cows, pigs, etc are all fed antibiotics, "In case hey get sick", not only that, it has been found that they get bigger, faster if they are fed antibiotics! So we eat the animals, and of course the antibiotics that are in them. Most of the antibiotics produced today are fed to animals. Bacteria are rapidly becoming immune to antibotics. This is a terrifying scenario. There are no new antibiotics being found. There are some bacteria around today that are only susceptible to one antibiotic now! How long will it be before they become immune to that one? Then it will be open warfare on us. Already people are dying every day because antibiotics don't work any more. We have destroyed one of the miracles of modern medicine and science with our greed.
Antibiotics were indeed a miracle and responsible for saving millions of lives and much suffering, but by feeding it animals, animals that didn't even need it, and putting it into most of today's cleaning products we have rendered it impotent.
Well now, somehow this little blog that started out as one thing has developed into something else so I had better wrap it up before I go off into another rant!