Friday, June 3, 2011

Gary Ezzo is Not a Christian

As I am a parent, some of my posts will pertain to parenting. My children range in age from 4 months to 8 years old. One baby, one toddler, and two grade-schoolers. I have been attachment parenting for eight years now, so when I heard about Gary Ezzo and his book Babywise, I knew immediately I wasn't a fan. Cry-it-out? Scheduling feedings for a newborn? Nonsense! But I assumed that it was similar to Ferber or Weissbluth- just not my personal cup of tea....

Then while doing research on how to sidecar a crib to our bed (I have co-slept with all my children for varying lengths of time but this is the first time we have bedshared 100%) I stumbled upon this website and was shocked and appalled at what I read about Ezzo and Babywise. And I dug a bit deeper, and found even more disturbing information about this cultic organization. Yes, you heard me right. Cultic. Not quite insane enough to be an actual cult, but cultic, as in having cult-like tendencies. Scary stuff.

The Ezzo's claim that in order to raise children to be moral people and good Christians you need to show them who's in charge from birth. They are to be fed on a schedule. Left in their cribs to cry for hours at times. But hey, if you follow the method your baby will sleep through the night by 8 weeks old! Never mind that cases of failure to thrive, feeding aversions, and attachment disorder are common side-effects. But this is "God's Way", apparently, as Ezzo splashes just enough scripture throughout his writings to come across authentic. But the Bible doesn't include specific schedules or regimes for infants....oh and if you breastfeed, be prepared for supply issues because you have to feed on demand in order to make enough milk. And should your child make it to toddlerhood, you will continue his or her training by teaching highchair manners between 5 and 15 months. Yep, by holding their little hands down to prevent them from experimenting with food and smacking them if they throw food. 

Basically the wise way to parent a baby is to prevent them from being a baby at all. Because, after all, parenting was meant to be convenient. 

The Ezzo's are not doctors. They also do not have one doctor, lactation consultant, or other medical professional that back up them or the parenting classes they give. And the original church where Ezzo began his classes for new parents will now have nothing to do with Ezzo or his practices. Oh yeah, and the AAP even issued a statement indicating the dangers of so-called parent directed feeding in favor of feeding infants on demand, particularly when they are breastfed. So why on earth do thousands of parents continue to pay money to these people? Reasonable, educated people. And why still, when something goes wrong, are they hesitant to stop using the programs or to even acknowledge that maybe Babywise is not so wise at all? 

Back to cultic, I am certain. 

I am a Christian. I am a mother. I also believe in having secure attachments with my children. It is my opinion that raising them to be emotionally healthy will result in them being morally sound.  You cannot have anything if you don't first build a foundation of trust. The instinct to pick up a crying baby is God-given. There is a reason why it disturbs me on a visceral level to hear my son cry, why my milk lets down if I sense he is upset. Children are a blessing, and they are not meant to conveniently blend in with our lives. Bend a little now, reap the rewards later!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What They Don't Tell You....

I flashed on this last night.

We were sitting in Brad's hospital room, warm late July sun streaming in the window. We'd been there forever, it seemed. The doctor sat across from me as I stared numbly into the distance. Brad was there, or not. It's hard to say exactly. I remember avoiding his eyes, which were rolled back into his head....

"We're not supposed to tell you this, but it will go faster if we stop dialysis...." he started.
"Then stop dialysis. I can't take anymore, " I replied.
"I think it's also time to remove the life support....." he tried to begin again.
"I've been telling you this for nearly a week, " I interrupted. "This is a fucking nightmare."

So we did. Eventually, once we got through the red tape involved. We stood round him and prayed. They had prepared us that removing the tubes would be "traumatic" and that maybe I shouldn't be present. It really wasn't. He finally looked peaceful, like he was sleeping. But the brain stem was ironically working at some very primal level, and his heart kept beating another 3 days.

It was 3 am when I got the call. The children were asleep on the couch. Of course I knew. Who calls at 3 am? She asked if I wanted to come see him. My babies were sleeping. I had no one to watch them. I told her this, but really I was relieved. I didn't want my last memory of my husband to be of a body. Then she informed me that I needed to get the funeral home to come take him. This was beyond what I could handle,  they couldn't wait till morning.....crawling on the freezing tile floor,  crying until the sun began to rise and I passed out. It was over, but really it was just beginning. There was no one left to visit. We had the funeral and eventually they all went home, and it was just me and the kids. Huge flower arrangements died. I was picking up dead flowers for weeks. Meals stopped coming. My kid started screaming and hitting me.  After they fell asleep each night I sat in the backyard and screamed at God.

Someone said I must be relieved, right after he died.  I wasn't offended. I honestly thought it would be a relief when he finally went.

It wasn't. Because no one tells you what you are supposed to do when they all go home.....when all of the details that take up space in your mind are finished, when people go on living and on some level expect that you will too.....

Thursday, May 19, 2011


We met at a Mexican restaurant after a short online correspondence. He was the one. I knew it from that first date, when his kind blue eyes met mine. He is truly my best friend.  We were married 3 months later, on November 28, 2008. It was time to begin again.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Brad and Hunter

Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time I had a different family....       
I found him quickly and lost him slowly. We had eight years together, connected like Christmas lights strung around a tree, before our children were born. He was always with me, except when I was hospitalized. The ironic thing is we had no suspicion that he was slowly dying, without warning. On our 5th anniversary, I booked a cruise with a hike over beautiful Ventura, with the blue October sky and a supposedly easy hike in the mountains adorned by the sea. That day looms over me- when we got to hiking, he couldn’t climb the simple trail. I teased him that was out of shape. But things didn’t seem so funny when an emergency technician had to come and get him down the hill.
It was his first doctor’s appointment in years.
His creatones, the measure of kidney function, were far too high. His heart was surrounded by fluid that should have been excreted by his kidneys. At first he was put on diuretics, but within a short time, he was on dialysis. Hospitalizations became frequent. I was pregnant with my son and would often go to movies alone, crying through the entire show. Everything seemed to go wrong- the dialysis site in his arm kept collapsing and required surgery to open it. When he first started dialysis, a day off would not affect him. When I had my son, he was able to spend two days in the hospital with me. By the time we had our daughter, I had to leave within 24 hours of having her because he would bloat up if he missed one of his three days of dialysis a week.
Right after Brad started dialysis, he was put on the kidney transplant waiting list at UCLA. We all offered to donate him a kidney; myself, my mother, his older children- but we were all ruled out for different reasons. 
He started dialysis in February of 2002, and we desperately wanted a child. We had tried for years, and finally got involved with a fertility specialist who helped us get pregnant. The day I found out I was expecting Hunter was probably one of the best days of my life.  
Everybody loved Hunter, especially my husband. We took picture after picture, of me pregnant, of the baby, of all of us together. These pictures still adorn my walls. 
Then, suddenly, when our son was four months old, I discovered that Brad’s favorite tuna salad made me unbelievably sick. I was in shock, but I knew I needed to take a pregnancy test. I went to the store and peed on the stick right in their bathroom. I started shaking as the pink line turned a bright, unmistakable positive. I rushed home to find my husband rocking our infant son. I simply handed him the stick and he said dryly, “You’re pregnant.” He went back to rocking Hunter and I left the room and shut the door. 
I know now what I didn’t know then- if our children weren’t 13 months apart, I never would have had a daughter. It was nothing short of a miracle from God. 
The endless picture taking never ceased- once I looked at a picture of Brad and thought, “ Am I taking this many pictures because something is going to happen to him?” It was one of those intuitive moments that you stop immediately, thinking, “How could I even think that way???”
But like the first answer you come up with on a test, my intuition was right.  On August 1st, 2006 he lost his battle. And what once I could hardly imagine became my reality. I was the "W" word- a widow. We had to survive on our own. My mom expected that the kids and I would surely be moving in with her, but I am stubborn by nature. I took my kids and moved them up to Washington state where we would have a fresh start.  The cataclysm of grief was not over, not even close. Maybe I was running away, like everyone thought. Maybe I was crazy, which they surely thought as well, as my family had been there and done that with me since the beginning of time. But somewhere in the damp and gray that was to become my home, I found my rainbow. See that is the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, and it follows a parallel with my life. It rains and rains, and the clouds are so dark and gray that you don't think you can take another moment, until it stops. And amid the silence a rainbow appears, colors splashed upon the horizon. They say if you don't like the weather in Washington, wait five minutes.

I guess if you don't like your life, just wait. The rainbow is on the other side of the storm....