Sunday, March 27, 2011

One Thousand Paper Cranes

A few weeks ago I received an email from my daughters’ school. It mentioned the March 11th earthquake and tsunami in Japan and said baskets would be placed outside of each classroom filled with paper cranes. For  $1, we could buy a crane and the money would go to the Japanese Red Cross to help “survivors rebuild their lives and communities.”

The letter was signed by a few moms who have kids at the school. One of them was my friend, Alice Huang, who I knew was from Taiwan. The other women, I realized, after reading each last name slowly, probably had ties to Japan.

For days I had been watching the news and reading the newspaper. I had not looked up and seen the families right in front of me.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

First Time Daddy, Long Time Fan

Before my older brother Andrew and his wife Alison became parents last September, I emailed him a few questions. Parenthood was the only thing I'd managed to accomplish well ahead of him, and I thought I'd take advantage of his momentary inexperience to do a little "before and after" segment on becoming a father. As usual, his view anticipating parenthood and now his answers six months into it prove why he's someone I always look up to--even if he's stocking up on diapers while my household has confidently moved on to pull-ups.

Interview with Andrew Maraniss, a few weeks before his first child, Eliza, was born:

What do you think you’ll feel the moment you first hold the baby?
I am expecting that I will be overcome with emotion the first time I hold Eliza. It will be so amazing to hold her and look at her and think that this little girl has her whole life ahead of her – Day One of a lifetime … Also, to think about all the events over the course of history that made this one life possible. And the responsibility as a parent to provide for her.

Who do you think the baby will look like?

I hope she looks more like Alison than me! Although it would be kind of fun to have another bald person in the family, even for a couple of days. Looking at other people’s babies, I feel like I can usually see how they look like their parents in various ways. I am thinking that it will be harder to do with our own baby.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

V is for Vasectomy

As the good folks at the Oregon Urology Institute have made clear, while watching UConn take on Bucknell, nothing goes better with chips and root beer than a package of frozen peas on your testicles.

Did I just say that?

Is this Lunch Box Mom?

I was even heard talking about vasectomies with the host of “Sandwich Moms”, an upcoming show on the NBC Philadelphia Nonstop cable station.

But even NPR’s Scott Simon was heard talking about vasectomies, March Madness and frozen peas when he interviewed Terry FitzPatrick, the administrator at the Oregon Urology Institute three years ago. Back then, the clinic sent men home with a cooler filled with frozen peas, a sports magazine, a certificate for pizza and a Subway sandwich.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A New Relationship with Fluoride? It's Complicated

The Centers for Disease Control lists Fluoridation of drinking water as one of the Ten Great Public Health Achievements of the last century.

It’s a new century, and as you might have guessed with a topic as controversial as fluoride, there are a few new cracks in the enamel of that distinction.

And these are worth taking a look at, especially if you have kids who regularly drink water and eat food.

First, when it comes to water, the Department of Health and Human Services and Environmental Protection Agency announced this January that for the first time in decades the amount of fluoride in drinking water should be lowered from a range of 0.7-1.2 milligrams per liter to a standard 0.7 milligrams per liter.

Second, days after the announcement on water, the EPA said it had “re-evaluated the current science on fluoride and is taking steps to begin a phase-down withdrawal of the pesticide sulfuryl fluoride, a pesticide that breaks down into fluoride and is commonly used in food storage and processing facilities.”