My Days These Days

There are several reasons I haven't been blogging. First, I took a four-day-long break from the internet when Jonathan, Henry, and I went to Florence, AL to see family and friends. I didn't really miss it.

But the main reason is that I'm using what little free time I have to work on research. I sent off an article manuscript earlier this month -- an article that wasn't based on my dissertation, but written from scratch this summer. I'm working on several other projects too. My days are looking something like this:

8:00: wake up, play with Henry, eat breakfast, do intermittent online reading

~10:30: put Henry in the swing for morning nap. WORK WORK WORK on research during this time.

~12:30: both Jonathan and I play with Henry

~3:00: run errands while Jonathan does baby duty

~5:00: Henry goes down for another nap, research resumes

~7:00: evening relaxation, Henry sits on our laps

~9:30: Henry and I go to sleep (Jonathan stays up later)

I don't, of course, get 11 hours of sleep each night; Henry wakes up to feed a couple of times, and it's not always easy for me to go back to sleep after that. I figured out a while back that if I'm going to have waking periods mixed in with my night sleep, I'm going to have to stretch out the overall night-sleep period so that I still get a good number of hours.

I feel pretty satisfied with my research pace, so that's good. There's always more that needs to be done (stuff I should have done a year or two ago, actually), but I don't feel like a loser, at least.

Compounding Pharmacies

This issue wasn't on my radar until just recently when I had to get some prescription cream from a compounding pharmacy, but apparently there's a conflict between compounding pharmacists and the FDA over regulation of compound drugs. The drug companies have a lot at stake in this, what with patents for combinations of drugs and all. That's what interests me the most -- the view from the intellectual property angle. I'd really like to write an article about the way each side is using rhetoric, especially as it pertains to patent rights. There's a lot more information about the various issues in these white papers.

But if you know someone who's already doing research on this topic, kindly let me know so that I don't waste my time, and direct me toward the person doing the research so that I can read it with interest.

The Claims

1. Breastfeeding will save you $1200 a year!

Um, no. If I were to add up the cost of what I've spent on breastfeeding, I'm sure it would be more expensive than formula. I won't exactly add it up here, but I'll give an idea:

Breast Pump: $330
Nursing Support Pillow: $35
Session with Lactation Consultant: $85
Nursing Cover: $35
Nursing Bras and Tanks: ~$60 (I get the cheap kind at Target)
Lanolin Ointment: $10
Second Tube of Lanolin Ointment When First Became Contaminated with Thrush: $10
Prescriptions to Treat Thrush: ~$60
Acidophilus, Yogurt, Gentian Violet, and Tubes of Lotrimin AF and Monistat for Thrush: ~$60

I think this will only save me money if I were to nurse Henry exclusively for the next two years, which I don't think I'll be able to do since I go back to work in the fall. [Edited: Okay, not exactly, but I think that if I end up weaning at six months, which I may not, but we'll see, I won't have saved much money at all.] It *might* save money in the long run if -- as we hope -- we have another child and exclusively breastfeed for at least part of that time.

2. Cloth diapering is addictive.

Um, yeah, it kind of is, actually. Or at least I can see how it can be for some people. Cloth diapering and knitting have a similar appeal: they both make me feel more connected to the past, if that makes any sense. Plus, they make the CUTEST cloth diapers and diaper covers now -- very colorful with cheery prints.

New Henry Photos

I just uploaded a lot of new pictures to my Flickr page. Some favorites:




Trying to stay ahead of the demand

It has been a very busy couple of weeks. We had family in town for a week, then of course there's the daily Henry maintenance. On top of that, I have some outstanding committee work to do and several research projects: an article, a book proposal, a book review, and an article proposal. I'll be lucky to get even half of those done, I imagine.

Then we leave to see my family in a few weeks. Henry's first plane ride...any suggestions? Is the pressure going to make him miserable with ear pain?

Off the subject, but it's been on my mind: Andrea Lunsford said, in 2005 I believe, that research is needed about the concept of "common knowledge." This was at the IP Caucus meeting, by the way. She's right, of course; common knowledge is a nebulous concept in classroom practice. I'm wondering, if you were to do a research project on this topic, how would you start, assuming your goal is to historicize this concept? I can think of two ways, neither of which may be very good:

1. Search JSTOR for "common knowledge" in quotes

2. Find all the composition textbooks you can get your hands on, locate the section on plagiarism in each one, and see if there's a reference to common knowledge.

One goal would be to see if common knowledge is defined in any other way besides the following:

1. The magic number 3: if you find a piece of information in at least three of your sources, you may consider it common knowledge and not cite it.

2. By contrastive example (I admit I do this in my own teaching): Some examples of common knowledge that you wouldn't need to cite are a.) Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth; b.) the key to losing weight is to eat foods low in fat and calories and to exercise; c.) breast milk contains the mother's antibodies, which can help keep a child from getting sick. An example of something that is not common knowledge would be: Congolese diamond miners who were banished from Angola are dying from and spreading yellow fever. Obviously I got that somewhere specific.

Quote of the day

I LOLed at this one (comment in this thread -- yes, I read FARK; it's a guilty pleasure):

Well, have a little bit of mercy on me, at least. Could you give a code word or something so that when society collapses and the cities are in flames and I'm leading a rag-tag group of survivors west away from the cannibals and zombies in the small hope of finding peace in the open desert and we arrive at the stronghold in which you're ruling over a tribe of like-minded individuals, we could at least be allowed in as gladiators and clowns for your amusement? It would mean a lot to me to be able to tell everybody that we have a destination in mind.

My dad always loved a laugh, and I know he would have liked that one too.

Do Not Ask

Questions you should never ask new parents: these are along the lines of asking a torpid ABD graduate student, "How's the dissertation going?"

1. "Were you able to sleep much last night?" or a variation such as, "Are you getting much sleep?" The answer is always no, and I don't want to talk about it.

2. "Why is he crying?" I DON'T KNOW WHY. It's not like I'm just walking around, tra-la-la, and when my baby starts screaming I need someone to prompt me to think about the possible reasons. BELIEVE ME, if Henry is crying, I have tried feeding, changing, cuddling, rocking, swaddling, pacifier insertion, swinging, shhhhh-ing, and everything else I can think of. Other than that, I don't know what I can do or, indeed, why he's crying.

Nursing Is Awful (TMI, Perhaps)

UGH. Friends of mine have told me before that breastfeeding is "an art." La Leche League has a book titled The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. I never understood the claim, and after nearly a month of doing it myself, I still don't. Not unless one means that it's art in the sense of some kind of masochistic performance art, like if an artist stands in a museum and lets people come up to her and inflict pain on her in the form of pinches, burns, and cuts.

In other words, nursing HURTS and I hate it. They say it goes away after a while, but it hasn't yet for me. I completely understand why so many women don't want to do it and why they stop after a short period of time. I lay in bed for an hour today simply knocked down by the terrible stinging pain. I've had problems, too, including a plugged duct and milk blisters. The pain takes up all of my mindspace; it really affects my ability to function or even think about anything else. I think I may need to go to the doctor this week.

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