January 27, 2009

Mmmm, dirt!

In studies of what is called the hygiene hypothesis, researchers are concluding that organisms like the millions of bacteria, viruses and especially worms that enter the body along with “dirt” spur the development of a healthy immune system. Several continuing studies suggest that worms may help to redirect an immune system that has gone awry and resulted in autoimmune disorders, allergies and asthma.

These studies, along with epidemiological observations, seem to explain why immune system disorders like multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma and allergies have risen significantly in the United States and other developed countries.

. . .

Dr. Weinstock goes even further. “Children should be allowed to go barefoot in the dirt, play in the dirt, and not have to wash their hands when they come in to eat,” he said. He and Dr. Elliott pointed out that children who grow up on farms and are frequently exposed to worms and other organisms from farm animals are much less likely to develop allergies and autoimmune diseases.


Latest news on the 'hygiene hypothesis', which, I admit, I find pretty darn persuasive. But I have a little trouble with the worms (further down in the article).

That said, we do know people with Crohn's disease. And they would probably prefer worms.

January 14, 2009


Cousins, typically (plus S.O.'s; sadly minus Anne and Peter)

All but Anne and Peter:

Grams (with Bob and Barbara)

My Grams, Kay Mesle, passed this morning very early.  My Mom reports that in the minutes between when they could tell she was going and when they could tell she was gone, my dad whistled (he's an excellent whistler) the tune to the following hymn.  Unless you are RLDS/Community of Christ, you probably don't know the tune...so you'll just have to trust me that it is very beautiful, and very very right for her.

There's an old, old path
Where the sun shines through
and the savior walks
all the way with you

There's an old, old path
made strangely sweet
by the touch divine
of his blessed feet.

January 12, 2009

The Basic Hilariousness, or, 'Don't Cry'

We are still waiting for news about Sarah's grandmother. Elliot is still teething, diaper-rashing, and grumping some. Those last 2 molars are barging in. Boy wasn't very interested in dinner tonight.

But, as against all that, there is the basically comedic fact of Elliot's existence, lest we forget. Here's a Mad Lib.

While seated this evening on the edge of our bathtub, I spooned Elliot mouthful after mouthful of ____A____ for about ____B____ minutes, out of a _____C_____. His bath toys consisted of _______D_______.

Most of the time I was there, Elliot entreated me to ____E____ about various things. "You ____E____ about the fish? Now you ____E____ about the beater?... I'm swimming. In the ocean. Swimming! You want to ____E____ about me swimming?" I had to ____E____ and ____E____, but when he went to bed, he had a nice round belly, and I think he will sleep a long time.

A. Mueslix cereal with oats, blueberries, and beige flakes of some kind which he referred to as "turkey"

B. 40 minutes

C. A little plastic Cubs hat (possibly this originally contained novelty ice cream?)

D. A KitchenAid™ beater attachment, a metal bowl, a plastic fish, a green hair roller (which each of us wore in our curls, solemnly trading it back and forth), and a long flexible tube which he referred to as a "choo choo train"

E. "cry". (Sometimes after he asks me to cry or "whine" about something** (e.g. "This hat's upside down! This bowl is too small! This train is too long! This magnet is sticky!") he'll comfort me, putting his hand on my cheek, bringing his face to my face, and brightly saying, "Don't cry!")

** It all started as an anti-whining campaign, sort of a reverse psychology thing, but I don't know what it's turned into now.

January 11, 2009

Light a candle

This is a picture of Elliot, almost two years ago, with my Grams and Gramps--note how Elliot and Grams look similarly interested, and also impish.  They both have eyes a color my Grams calls "Tweed."

Grams turned ninety a few weeks ago--on the Winter Solstice, actually.  She is, as I write, in the midst of the process of leaving us.  She has been doing so in about the best way I can imagine--gently, while wearing turquoise silk pajamas, surrounded by family who are absolutely sure of her love.

I will have more to say about this is the days to come.  It has been an odd day here--both sadly and hopefully waiting for a phone call with the final news.  We went for a walk in the snow; we made hot cocoa.  We sent our love.  

As you feel able, please join me in hoping for a peaceful passing.

NB: the following is not a fantastic video, but is fantastically apt.  This scene happens over and over at our family gatherings.  Some regular conversation about whatever is going on, while quietly and off to the side Grams tells you what you need to know.

January 07, 2009

consumer safety parenting issue

So do we all have opinions on the new child safety rule going into effect next month? I certainly don't--I really hadn't started reading much about it until this morning, and, well, it's not like I have much time now. But anyway, here's the gist of it: there's a new law going into effect regarding the safety of items intended for children. It's partly a result of all the toy recalls of the last year. One of its stipulations (it seems--I haven't read the whole bill) is that all goods sold for use by children must be tested for some toxins (such as lead) and until they are tested they are presumed hazardous and cannot be sold.

I have not yet looked carefully to read about the particular standards--whether they are based on good science, whether the limits they establish are reasonable, whether the toxins they are testing are the important ones--so that's the first thing of issue.

But the second issue is that, apparently, testing is quite expensive, and thus this restriction will make it virtually financially impossible for small children's retailers and particularly resale shops to stay in business. Which is an issue both economically and environmentally, obviously. I'm not sure if the articles on this point are accurate or just sort of hysterical--"are they going to policing yard sales now???"--but it seems worth investigating.

You can read the bill here; if you do a google "news" search for H.R. 4040: Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 you can read various responses to the bill. You'll note that the main sponsor is Bobby Rush, our hometown guy--so any chicago-area people who have thoughts on this might want to give him a call.

UPDATE: of course, our friend the Green Mama has already blogged about this. more details here.

January 04, 2009

On staying focused: a Dialogue

Elliot: Mixer! Mixer!
Elliot: [farts]
B: Do you need to poop?
Elliot: No, that's a mixer.