Thursday, February 12, 2015

Opportunities wasted

My son has T-Mobile for his cellular service. He went to a local franchised store to get a phone, and in the course of the transaction, the associate didn't give him his ID back, and he forgot to ask for it. Crap happens, everyone is human. When he was called later to notify him that his ID was there, he said "I don't have a ride to get it, I'll be back when I can." He could have called me to help him, but he knows we're quite busy here and it would be a bit of challenge getting it for him with everything going on over here.

Getting the ID back has proved impossible, and has demonstrated this local franchisee's lax levels of customer service. I spoke to the store manager yesterday, and was given one set of information. My son was there the day before but nobody could find it, and as such, he couldn't start a new job since he needs the ID to demonstrate eligibility to work. He called again today and was told the regional manager took the IDs to the DMV "to be mailed" but they automatically get shredded due to security regulations. OK, fine, but be honest with us, and say "sorry, they get shredded". Or maybe if your store routinely has a stack of IDs, get on the ball and make sure the IDs get returned.

On the first visit, my son was told that someone may have taken his ID home even. Uh, hellooooo!!! Now we're looking at the potential for identity theft! I am beyond livid with these individuals for their slackass handling of this, plus the appearance that there is a repeated problem with failing to return IDs, and the store manager not having the keys to the safe while in the store. My son called the corporate office to find out what he can do about it, and the corporate line said he would need to handle it locally. Well, clearly after the store manager gave me a line of fluff while I was there, and then told my son the regional manager took the IDs to the DMV, we were not going to get far locally. He called the store to find out the corporate number for the franchisee owners, and was told "1800TMobile" and the person hung up the phone.

I was done. Two trips to the store to attempt to retrieve the ID, various stories given about what came of the ID, the possibility of identity theft being raised, the abrupt response and disconnect, all left me livid. I called TMobile corporate on my son's behalf. Yes, he's 21, but he's also got a snot-filled head, and coughing, and I've got some skill in dealing with customer service.

I spoke to Adrian at the corporate office, related to her what our experience was and that we're horribly frustrated, having to replace the ID, and that now personal information has been compromised, leaving us facing any number of scenarios. Then there's a week of lost income for not having the ID. Plus, the store had the opportunity to demonstrate stellar service, and instead took the crappy path. Just be honest with us if there's a problem. If we had to get a new ID because his was shredded, we could've dealt with it Tuesday, yesterday, or this afternoon between appointments for my dad instead of chasing down bad information and service, and trying to sort around other logistics tomorrow or Tuesday - both horribly busy days for the DMV. We can't do it Monday because it's a holiday. Adrian offered a partial credit toward the ID, and advised us on putting a consumer statement on the credit files (which we already knew to do). She apologized for the way things got handled, but she shouldn't have to be the one to apologize. She said she would be forwarding the complaint to the company's appropriate channels.

When tasked with serving customers, mistakes can and do happen. However, HOW the rest of the problem gets handled makes a huge difference. Owning up to the error, apologizing for it, and doing what you can to rectify it will leave a positive mark for the customer. I will say that given the entitled mindset of a huge segment of the population, some people will never be satisfied because their tush wasn't kissed enough. But if there is an opportunity to make a positive impression, do everything possible to avoid warranting a call to corporate to have me vent about the poor service. I've been on the receiving end of those kinds of complaints and they are no fun. It's not cool to have to apologize for the errors other people make. And when you have to complain about someone else, be as kind as possible to the person tasked with taking your complaint. How you lodge it could have an impact in the resolution you get from them. They're trying to make it right with you, they don't deserve being abused for the screw-up someone else caused. They are taking the opportunity the first person didn't take.

Monday, February 2, 2015

My welcome? Wha?

When I re-start my search for a job, my resume will include "FIRM grasp of the English language and grammar, including appropriate punctuation, contractions, and spelling"
This is just one of the bazillion I've seen already in the course of dealing with the people tasked with the administrative segment of dad's care.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Birthday gifts

It's been a while since I posted anything, which is not uncommon for me to do around here. Like a lot of people, I thrive on the instantaneous potential for feedback over on crackbook. As those folks over there know, I've recently been tasked with my father's care. He had a stroke, or multiple strokes, over the Christmas holidays. It is coming to light exactly the small missteps others made that led us to where we are today. It has only been a week, and like God tells us, "we know not the hour" of the culmination of this leg of the journey. I have high hopes to tolerate it for the long haul, with the rocky crags, the beautiful sunrises, the smooth terrain, and the potholes along the way.

As my readers know, I couch virtually everything in humor, whether it's truly an amusing situation, a heart rending one, or something that has drawn my ire. My father has a certain wit about him, and he instilled it in me. He is also the genetic source of my debaucherous side. He also taught us many other lessons. He is a living message of "preach the Gospel at all times, use words if necessary." He has always given his time and talent where he could. He has served as church sexton, usher at Mass, and bread slinger at a food mission. The bosses at the bread mission expressed concern over a man of a certain age who was heaving stacks of full bread trays, 5 at a time. My father quite handily put their concerns aside with his feisty wit and determination, outslinging "the young bucks"  as he calls them, and finishing the prep work for his station in less time than it took for the younger volunteers to even get their product to their stations.  Telling him no means he is even more determined to prove the naysayer wrong.

And this stroke has slapped him with a big fat NO. No, sir, you can't drive anymore, because you are blind in the right half of both eyes (hemianopsia). No sir, you can't be alone anymore because not only can you not see half your world, but you will now start seeing things nobody else can, your depth perception is skewed, and your idea of slow is still too fast for your safety. No, sir, your dementia has been made worse by the stroke, and life as we know it has changed. No, sir, you must use that walker because the vision loss is going to affect your balance. No, sir, it is no longer your time to give and do for others, but it is your time to receive. And he quite simply does not know how to sit back and accept others serving him.

For a man who has always given, always done for himself and others, this is a huge blow. It is a slow painful death to a man to not be needed. And as I just typed that, I realized that in my insistence on serving him, I have inadvertently caused him to not be needed. My oldest sister suggested I have him help with small tasks that he can do, like folding the baby's diapers for me. This is a lesson to me as well, because like my father, I have a need to do things for myself. I need to loosen the reins on the small tasks so I can focus on where my purpose currently lies. That purpose is to manage my father's care and keeping, that of my household, and to work on growing my business. And my other purpose is to serve as my dad's protector - from himself, the pitfalls of his environment, and people who would take advantage of him.

Dad has always taught us to never expect anything from anyone, but should someone give you something, you are to be damn grateful for it. It has a link to his upbringing during the 1930s, with parents who, to be polite, were difficult. For whatever reason, Dad feels unworthy. He's always felt that way, but it is truly showing itself as an impediment at the moment. He feels unworthy of being served in his old age. I know how that feels. It's exactly how I felt when I attended a retreat at church, and these women refused to let me lift a finger to do anything except tuck myself into bed, dress myself, and use the bathroom. To a mom who did so much for her family on a daily basis, it was truly FOREIGN to have someone else take care of her. Right now, I've been speaking a horrible foreign language to Dad, and he can't translate.

So, here's this aged man, who has been forced out of his world, and into ours. His presence in our home was my birthday present. He was discharged from the rehab hospital the day after my birthday. I was joking the week prior, and still do, "Happy Birthday! Here's the care and keeping of your father!" It's a very important task, and it's not rainbows and sparkly fairy unicorn farts by any stretch of the imagination. But humor is how I handle things. Despite the snark of the outward appearance of that statement, I am finally getting the opportunity to see a part of my father he hid from the world. His vulnerability calls for my strengths to be put into action. The life experiences I've collected along the way with Devildog have been training grounds for this stretch of the journey.

Having a dad who was 49 when I was born, I always had an appreciation and respect for the elderly. They've been there, done that, got a thousand t-shirts to show for it. Just this week alone, I have seen beautiful things about him, about my oldest sister, and about my husband and children. And that is a gift that can't be taken lightly.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Life matters, no matter the packaging.

There's a hashtag floating around, #blacklivesmatter and for some reason it has been a bit of a craw in my side and I couldn't figure out why. I think part of it is because the racism running rampant in our country angers me. But I also think that if there are going to be protests over things like police officers overstepping or using excessive force, then there should be protests over the neighborhood thugs doing the same. There should be protests over the incredibly low breastfeeding rates among black mothers, when it's a well-documented fact that breastfeeding a baby generally contributes to healthier children overall. There should be protests over the incredibly high abortion rates among black women versus other races. If black lives matter, then ALL black lives should matter from conception to natural death. If black lives matter, why is abortion so acceptable when it's involving an unborn baby whose heart starts beating right about the time a woman realizes she's late for her menstrual cycle, but it's unacceptable to cause enough harm to make that same heart stop beating once the person is born?
Page 6 of this report from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene breaks down the numbers by age, borough, race, and pregnancy outcome. It's eye-opening. This is JUST in New York City.
Where is the outrage over the loss of life at the hands of others across the board? Why are only the police vilified when every single day across this nation, not one person stands up on behalf of their neighbors who are killed at the hands of other citizens, often the same race as the victim? What makes the lives of the born more valuable than the unborn?

If you want to be one of the voices crying out that black lives matter, lets make sure there's an accounting for ALL black lives lost, born or unborn. Let's make sure we're calling into question everyone who is ending the heartbeats of other black lives regardless of the job title they hold. Let's go one step beyond that, and declare that ALL lives matter regardless of the outer package containing that life.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Tenants, landlords, farmers, and parents

I love my pastor's homilies. He shoots from the hip and minces no words. His message came from today's Gospel reading that as parents we are the tenants who must produce good fruit (Matthew 21:33-43). He commented that the kids are wanting to serve, but parents are preventing it. "Parents, they can not drive." He commented that when we fail to tend our gardens properly, they yield bitter fruit. Likewise, when we fail to teach kids the things they need to learn, our own children also become bitter fruit (aka brats). Sometimes, weeds overtake the garden and our kids choose their own path that we wouldn't have chosen for them.

Twice last week, it was suggested to me to use the cry room on both Saturday at the vigil Mass, and then Wednesday when I went to Mass because I was seeking some time of peace on a difficult day. The message was not received well, and I physically bit my tongue to avoid making more problems for myself. I was angry, hurt, frustrated, and felt unwelcome in my own home. So, today, I brought it to my pastor's attention after church, wishing I could have caught up to him before Mass because this would have been related to his homily today.

I feel like a bit of a tattle tale, but honestly, the pastor needed to know this was happening. If the two individuals said it to me when my family has served as liturgical ministers, they were going to say it to others. The first is unfamiliar with my family since it was a different Mass than we normally attend. He was polite and I want to believe he was well-intended, but the second being familiar with us may not have been. They are also older, from the generation that was raised to be seen and not heard. There is a time and place for children to be seen only, but it's a short list.

As I suspected, the pastor did not disagree with me. He even said "how else will they learn?" My kids get louder, more disruptive, and more distracted by the other unchecked kids running around in the cry room. Plus it has a tile floor, making the noise reverberate. No thank you, my kids have my permission fidget all they need to, so long as they're quiet and not getting overly disruptive to the prayers of those around them. I will not be taking them to the noisy room, but instead, will continue to remind them to be respectful of those around them, be quiet in the presence of God in church, and set the example for other parents in teaching their children. If I have to take them out of church, there are consequences for junior, and then - this is key - WE GO BACK IN THERE.

This goes back to my beliefs as a parent that we are raising our children in preparation for the adult world. When my kids are somewhere with me, they must behave appropriately even when they are bored, don't want to be there, or don't like the place. There is also time and place for children's fear to be addressed, but in this instance, my youngest 3 kids have been coming to Mass with me since birth after I learned the hard lesson with the oldest 2 with regards to church. It's not an unfamiliar or unsafe place that would merit a freak-out from my neurotypical children. After what feels like a million years, the kids start figuring out how to participate in the Mass, how their actions impact others, how to adapt to their surroundings, and how to deal with things they may not like.

Perhaps my kids being difficult is divine intervention to get that person behind us to get out of their own heads for a minute and pray for peace to come to the frustrated mother who can't seem to get the pre-Kindergartener to stop doing obnoxious things in an attempt to get mom's goad, or the baby who's figured out his voice carries very well given the acoustical design of the sanctuary to not be quite so loud till he's back outdoors, or for the older sister who is being annoyed by the pre-Kindergartener because button-pushing is a favorite activity. Perhaps, the bouncing kids are supposed to be a reminder to the estranged grandparents that it's time to reach out again to their child in an attempt to mend the fence. What ever the reason behind the lessons presented, they are being presented because that annoyance is supposed to teach something. Instead of clucking or ostracizing, pause a minute, and listen to God's whisper, and find out what message you are supposed to be receiving.

I am keenly aware my kids are disturbing the peace. I live with them. Peace comes about midnight when they're all drooling on the pillow, and even then there is no guarantee it will remain till sunrise. As a mother of an interfaith marriage who wrangles her children at church solo, I want nothing more than my children to be quiet and not disrupt your time at Mass. Because when they do that for you, they also avail it to me. And by the time my nest is empty, someone near me will have a full one, and the shoe will be on the other foot. I hope I can remember the challenge, and offer prayers for peace for them, and not cluck at them.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Seize the day, before something seizes you

I have a group of online friends who all had babies around the time Blur was born. My friend Lauren is among this group, and is also on my Thirty-One team. Her oldest son has been in the hospital all week after having a seizure at school, and many more seizures after that. Please keep this family in your prayers. Someone from another online group has set up a fundraiser as well, to help the family cover living expenses while their son is in the hospital and mom is camped out at the hospital. Whether you're only able to offer prayers, or you can help this family, anything you can do will be appreciated.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The gift of a wardrobe

There was a post in my crackbook feed several months ago, proffering the contents of a closet being culled as the owner worked her muscles into compact form and these fell off her. I'd just had a baby, and faced the potential of a wardrobe challenge over the coming year. With each subsequent baby, my body takes its sweet time to go back to something smaller. Here, the heavens were opening up before me, and someone was blessing me with something I needed so very much. I took what I could use and passed along the rest to someone else.

I was going to be traveling through multiple seasons with a not-pre-baby-size body, and I trusted that it would be a short lived transitional wardrobe. I would be ok with being the size I am now, because I know I'd be more in line with an "average" size, and it might actually be easier to find things that fit me. Somehow clothiers think my pre-baby size equals twig, not scenic tour with curved roads. I wasn't willing to buy a whole new wardrobe at retail for potentially one season. I wasn't willing to buy out of season on clearance hedging bets on what size and shape I would be for that future season. I still don't know where my body is going to land, so I still can't hedge bets for later.  My luck, I'd buy a size down and my butt would refuse to go any smaller. There are some things that no self-respecting mother should ever allow her clothes to do to her.

This gift was an answer to a whispered prayer for future need. That future is the current moment and season. I have been wearing the 3 pair shorts from that bundle so much that I've killed the hems and have to re-hem them all. They are my "uniform", and literally get worn daily. Today was just below Hell Hot, and I could wear a pair of the pants. Like usual, I have ghetto bootie gap because of my curves. I've killed my belt with that issue. As I was changing into my pajamas tonight, I was feeling extraordinarily grateful for pants that fit, albeit a smidge loose. Far better they are loose than too snug! Between the pants from that bundle, and a seriously awesome pair of shoes from another friend, plus the shirt I found on clearance while I was still pregnant (that was a safe bet to make, pants not so much), I looked pulled together at church today. I felt like a grownup, and not a schlub. As a liturgical minister on hiatus, I am seen and known at church, whether I know everyone or not. Therefore, I am an example to others. As such, I should be the good example, not the horrible warning. As a business woman, my appearance does matter to those who may eventually do business with me. If I look like a bag of butt, people will treat me as such.

It may seem like a simple thing to the giver. She was just clearing out the stuff that was too big. But to the recipient, it has been a literal God-send. I am able to pull together outfits, and dress professionally where needed. I can take kids to appointments or school functions and not embarrass my offspring or myself. I can wear shorts that aren't cotton elastic gym clothes because that was my only other option short of consignment shopping, which is always a crap shoot regardless.

And thanks to another generous friend with big feet and excellent taste in shoes, I have some seriously cute shoes that go with almost everything. Pregnancy changed my feet too, and I killed some shoes, but my feet have followed the same path my hips have. So several pairs of my shoes still don't fit me, or they are no longer comfortable to wear. This will come as sacrilege to some, but there are only so many occasions that flip-flops can be worn.

Anyone who has that one outfit that makes them feel super, powerful, or gives a new posture, knows how important it is to feel good in the fabric dressing your person. So when you're clearing the closet, and passing it on, you really ARE blessing someone else in more ways than you might imagine. In short, I don't just have clothes and shoes. I really do have a functional wardrobe. If you knew me 15 or 20 years ago, you know how monumental this is. And if you know me at all, you know how swollen with gratitude my heart is that I have this gift, and that people shared it with me.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Aliases and blurry pictures

That's how I put my kids on the internet. I use funny names, blurry pictures, pictures without faces, or pictures of the back of them. I keep it real without being reality tv online.


Well, it started when I was ranting about the asinine behavior of my oldest child, who has become dubbed with the alias of Evil Genius. He's an adult now, but when he was a kid, I didn't use real names, and still don't. I didn't want something I posted online about him to come up in a search by potential employers and it prevent him from getting a job. I followed suit with the other kids. Plus, I live in a city that isn't entirely Stepford and Mayberry. I have a public presence online, and my kids deserve some modicum of privacy where it can be afforded. And on my blog and crackbook feed, it absolutely CAN be afforded. I do not note relationship connections in my profile, and I don't accept the ones others attach to me. Why am I going to just GIVE people that detail? If they know me personally, they know this information. I have nothing to hide, but everything to protect from unscrupulous folks.

So, if you see pictures on my blog or crackbook, they do not include the faces of my children, and they won't be tagged with my kids, nor will their real names be used. The exception might be the grownup adult children, but even that is a rarity. Why? For the same reasons I did that when they were kids.

There's also a matter of other relatives who live in places that still carry some Mayberry to it, who forget that we don't live in Mayberry. We have to lock doors, use aliases for the kids, and I don't just blurt out where we live either. Handy internet searches come up with information really easily. I've found pictures of my children posted with faces shown, full names, our city, and that just makes me incredibly uncomfortable. I can't be everywhere all the time with my kids, and I shouldn't have to be either. They need to learn how to function independently of me, and not be in fear of their safety because mommy made someone mad on the internet and that someone happens to be a sociopath.  Quite honestly it isn't difficult to do some minor sleuthing that even my tween can manage, and begin a stalking campaign. No, I am not paranoid. But I absolutely AM careful. And while you may be ok with posting all the details of your life online, *I* am NOT. If you have people in your life who do the same things I do, please respect their wish for any privacy still left in this world. If you do not uphold their privacy, you are going to find yourself prevented from seeing your loved ones from afar via the social network connection. You're going to wonder why nobody sends you pictures, when the fact remains they don't trust that you're going to respect their privacy.

There is a group of women in a mommy board group I belong to, who after almost 6 years of connecting online, STILL do not know what my kids look like, or their real names. There are a handful I've met in person, and they finally learn the kids' names that way. A couple of them who I've connected with via the private message aspect know the kids' names or have seen pictures. But I absolutely trust that they'll uphold our privacy, and they have.

So, you'll have to suffice with names like Devildog, Evil Genius, Hot Sauce, Clone, Blur, Speedy or Devilpup. And if you don't like that, tough noogies. It's not your blog, your household, your family, or your privacy. Enjoy your Mayberry and your Stepford. I'm in Big Fish and have to act accordingly.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Of snails and puppy dog tails

That's what my little boy is not made of at all. He's a greased pig, flying out a greased chute and like his siblings before him, he has a mind of his own. He crossed over to the 7th month on my dad's 87th birthday. He's crawling, negotiating from sitting to crawling and back to sitting. And then he decided to start pulling up on things. NO, dude, just NO. This means he's going to walk at 8 months like all the others too. We have tile floors, and none of the other kids learned to walk on tile. For the first time ever, I'm giving consideration to buying one of my kids a helmet. He lacks spatial ability quite yet, and is still grossly top-heavy. It's mildly amusing that we can barricade him off from some place by a chair because he hasn't figured out ducking under the rungs...I give that 2 more weeks tops before he wrinkles that corner of his brain. I'm trying to stave off another few weeks the inevitable walking, at least till he and I return from a trip to the crazy bag lady convention.

He's also teething - EN MASSE. He *just* got one tooth to pop through the surface of his gums a couple weeks ago, and dang if I didn't find the 2nd one today. I was not expecting that to happen so soon. I've caught him trying to gum the refrigerator door because it's cold and his mouth hurts. I'm praying he is not mid-teething on our trip, and that he hits the Sir Sleeps A Lot phase of a growth spurt while we're traveling.

He's got a decent receptive language, understands a few basic signs, and tries to mimic what we're saying. Daddy is his favorite person. I'm just his favorite when he's hungry. He loves his sisters, and when the big boys are home, he loves them too. Hot Sauce won't admit that he likes his baby brother, but you can tell when he's home on leave who his favorite person in the family is. Evil Genius talks to him in Spanish, like he did for the girls. Moments like that make me wish the older boys were still home, because I feel like the youngest sprog is missing out on some things they have to offer.

And I think I finally have a pseudonym for him. I've called him a variety of things, but as days pass, and he leaps over milestones in proud fashion, I keep thinking "dude this kid is just fast." Since we already have a spawn nicknamed Blur, and given part of his name, I think this little boy's moniker online is going to be Speedy. If he stays fast, it will suit him. If he's laid back like Hot Sauce, it'll be an amusing irony.

Somehow, I think he'll be quite a bit like the other siblings, and do things fast, and the name will be oh so apropos.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

One little thing can cause big issues

Today, I am in the mood to talk about mouth ties. Tongue ties and upper lip ties are small little things. But they can create really big issues. And long term, they can become even bigger issues.

I have 5 kids, and 2 have a known mouth tie, 1 is suspected. That one is now an adult. But the youngest 2 kids have confirmed mouth ties. The fourth child has an upper lip tie that did not impede her ability to nurse till 14 months of age. I ended up with major vasospasms and had to stop due to pain lasting all day. I now believe that the tie + a growth spurt changed the mechanics of her mouth and latch, and my body didn't do well after that. I was ok with weaning at that point. Because upper lip ties (ULT) can cause speech problems, dental issues such as decay or orthodontia needs, we are monitoring her mouth over the long term.
The youngest is now 6 months old as of this blog post. But he and I had a rocky start. I was told in hospital that he had a tongue tie, but that it was minor. He had a champion latch, nursed well as far as we could see, and seemed to produce the requisite # of diapers typical of a newborn. Then we went home. He was a speedy exit, like #4, and he too was a bit jaundiced. The ped wanted to monitor the bilirubin levels, so we had to get labs drawn. Instead of leveling off or coming back down, #5's went up as the first week progressed. I was advised to try pediatric rehydration drinks, formula, pumped milk....but the baby refused anything but the breast. I dutifully pumped so I could do what I had to do to feed him, despite his refusal of any bottles. Meanwhile, we made about 5 or 6 lab visits in the first 2 weeks for bili checks. It was draining in every possible way, and if this had been my first child, it would have definitely painted my perspective of motherhood in the negative.

By day 10, my son was going through maybe 4-5 diapers a day, when the "norm" for newborns was almost twice that. He should have been having a poopy diaper at least every other day or so, not just a smear. His bilirubin should have been back down to what it was when he was born, not doubled that. I knew what the problem was, and was looking for a way to solve it. I was considering a laser revision with a local pediatric dentist who trained under Dr. Larry Kotlow.

That same day my friend took her 3 day old for frenectomy, and related my situation. I'd just gone to the lab that morning and our own ped at lunchtime for yet another round of the same. I was about ready to find a new ped over it for their not listening to me. My friend's pediatrician is also an IBCLC (highest level of schooling/certification a lactation consultant can attain), and helped with a UNICEF breastfeeding campaign in the 1980s. She told my friend, "tell her to get in here right now" because my supply was not going to hold out too much longer the way things were going. I high-tailed it to her pediatrician's office. While we had to wait, I decided to do a weighed feed. Weigh baby, feed baby, weigh baby again. Half an ounce in 10 minutes of feeding. A while later, we weighed, ped revised the tongue tie, I fed him for 10 minutes, and we weighed him. This time, a full ounce difference. Over the course of the weekend, he pooped 4 times in 3 days, peed through the "normal" number of diapers for a newborn and other things that made me sing.

He could move his tongue past his gums. YAY! look at those cute faces he makes now - and still does! My nipple was no longer flat, lipstick shaped, or in pain. And here's a biggie: He was able to empty the breast!!! Yes, he was getting full and I was getting emptied. I was no longer engorged and in pain from the backup it was causing. And then on Monday, just 3 days after revision, we went back to the lab and ped again for yet.another.draw. The phlebotemist was one of our previous foot-stickers and she said "oh my gosh, you have meat on your feet now! The blood draw was so much easier and faster versus the 10 minutes of screaming, squeezing, and scraping to get any drop of blood they could out of his tiny foot the previous week. The scale at the ped's office indicated he was up several ounces from that Friday. His color was getting better.

All that improvement over such short time, because one pair of sterile surgical scissors, 2 sterile cotton swabs, and a pediatrician with actual breastfeeding experience and knowledge made things right again. There's plenty of debate over circumcision versus remaining intact, and the thinking that leaving a mouth tie intact is on the same level as circumcision. But that's comparing apples to oranges. This is the ability to feed, nourish, and grow that is at stake. This is future issues with apnea from a high palate. This is potential for speech problems. This is potential for things like TMJ, neck and back issues. This is potential issues for the mom trying to feed her baby - mastitis, mangled nipples, breast pain, nipple pain, needing nipple shields, having to pump and feed vs nursing directly at the breast. Tongue ties are even related to acid reflux issues.

This is NOT an old wives tale.

Medical school barely spends time teaching about breastfeeding, much less anything that could interrupt that. A couple generations of formula feeding has drastically changed the landscape of medical training in regards to the art of feeding a baby the way nature designed. So, as such, women were told "oh your milk is bad" or "you're not making enough milk". And subsequently, babies were moved off the breast and onto a bottle. I don't know about my mother-in-law who was told this twice, but I could pump 4 ounces at a time that first week, which is more than a newborn would typically consume. The problem was not me, or parts of me. It was with that little frenulum being too attached under my son's tongue. My supply was never an issue. Again, had this been my first or maybe second, it would have stressed me out, and given me some emotional and mental scars. This was my FIFTH child, and as a veteran, I still had some emotional and mental hiccups over it despite my logical brain knowing what was happening and how to rectify it.

So, if you are in a position to provide medical or dental care, please, I BEG YOU, do not dismiss or minimize the presence of a mouth tie. Please reach out to other trained professionals such as Dr Larry Kotlow in New York, or Dr Bobby Ghaheri in Oregon for advice. Educate yourselves on breastfeeding, its mechanics and physiology for both baby and mother. Advocate for the mother and the baby. Don't just stick your gloved finger in baby's mouth and say "baby has a good strong suck, baby is fine." That tongue has to move milk from breast into the baby's mouth. It's not like a bottle nipple where sucking does the job of transfer. Don't take a wait and see approach. If we'd waited longer than 10 days, baby and I both would have suffered even more.

In the Breastfeeding group on one site, and a Tongue Tie Support group on another site, there are posts relating how the tie impacted the ability to feed a baby directly at the breast. On the Tongue Tie Support group, there are posts DAILY relating how frustrated parents endure doctor after doctor refusing to revise a lip or tongue tie because the doctor doesn't believe it has a negative impact. Or a doctor says it's an old wives' tale. Or a doctor blames a mother's supply. These doctors are pediatricians, general practitioners, ENTs, dentists and other well-trained people. They're all misinformed, and misunderstand. There are kids in speech therapy who are learning to make sounds close to the ones they're missing, when all they could potentially need is a revision to a mouth tie, a little retraining on how to use the tongue, and some time for the mouth to heal from the revision. There are newborns who can't or won't latch for several weeks and suddenly they get a little bigger and can get more of the breast into the mouth and figure out how to eat.

If you're in school for a medically related field, take up this topic in one of your research papers. Share it with your peers, educators, patients and friends. The only way for this to gain more respect or recognition is for other providers to share it. Many highly-educated people still attach a stigma to mothers as being uneducated or uninformed or misled. Mothers are in the trenches, and we've got battlefield medicine skills and experience that hasn't reached the books yet.

I have a friend whose 4 year old had challenges nursing as a newborn, and has been going to speech therapy, but still unable to rectify a set of sounds known to be related to mouth ties. She shared a picture of her child's mouth, and I told her that it looked to me that there is a tie present and she may want to explore that as a potential means to help her child's speech. She contacted Dr Kotlow, who indicated it seemed like a tie to him, and that the child might benefit from revision. She has a mix of relief that there is a solution, and sadness that the speech therapist hasn't connected the dots. How many more suffer without the benefit of knowing?

You can also use your preferred search engine to search for "tongue tie baby" or any similarly worded query and come away with a broad range of blog posts, support group forums, medical provider pages, and other information from well known medical facilities. My point here is that if you ever have a patient who is exhibiting the signs of a mouth tie, do not dismiss it!

Some helpful links:
Dr Lawrence Kotlow
Dr Bobby Ghaheri
Blog post on The Leaky Boob regarding mouth ties written by Dr Ghaheri & Melissa Cole, IBCLC that also has photos