Can We Talk?

My Thoughts on “Octomom”

Octomom. We all have opinions concerning Nadya Suleman. And I’ll be honest, my very first thought after hearing her story was, “Is this woman insane?! What about those poor kids?! How can anyone be so selfish! So irresponsible! So clueless!”

But then I stopped and really thought about the situation and though my initial opinions still stand, I’d like to challenge myself in breaking this down even further and giving it a fair analysis.

To kind of set the mood for what I’m talking about, watch the Momversation video below:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I agree with Heather – I think we need to be very careful in how we judge this woman’s decision to carry eight babies to term. True, her decision was probably not the wisest course of action; true, given she already has six children at home and can not afford to take care of them, she shouldn’t have made the decision to have the other embryos implanted; true, her decision to have the octuplets will ultimately be a burden on tax payers, and we can’t help but judge her because it was very irresponsible. BUT the bottom line is, it was her choice to go ahead with the pregnancy and she still has the right to decide what she wants to do with her body and her offspring.

This is the line that pro-choicers have a huge problem with – obtaining the right to tell people what they can and can not do with their lives and bodies. Because if we ultimately cross that line, then where does it stop? For example: a woman already has four kids and society suddenly decides that she has enough, she’s not allowed to have anymore and let’s say she becomes pregnant again? Does society then have the right to swoop in and take that baby away from her because she’s over her allotted limit that society set for her? If we give society the right to make our decisions for us in one area, then chances are, society will end up having the right to make our decisions for us in ALL areas.

And that’s simply unacceptable, on any level and regardless of one’s beliefs. If you disagree, then put yourself into the woman’s shoes highlighted in the above example. Would you be willing to give up your baby because you didn’t follow society’s rules, or you broke them accidentally (because these things happen, it’s life)?

But on the other hand, what about these children? Where are their rights to grow up in a normal, secure environment? Where is their right to obtain the individualized attention necessary to build healthy personalities? And who is going to stand up for them and give them those rights? Especially when a few of the children have special needs? One woman can not possibly have the time, or the energy, to properly give these children what they need, it’s physically impossible. So … where can she get the help?

From society. From churches. From volunteers. From good samaritans. From government programs. Which are funded by taxpayers. So, in essence, WE will ultimately end up paying for Suleman’s selfish need to fill the void she has claimed she has in her life. She has WILLINGLY and KNOWINGLY become a burden on society.

And yet, she hadn’t expected this to happen. Granted, she probably shouldn’t have put herself in this situation, given she already has six children, BUT she had other embryos available and she felt they had the right to life. Imagine her surprise when she found out all of them fertilized. How could she terminate her own children? Could you? I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to. It must be incredibly difficult to be put into a position where you get to decide who lives and who dies – I just can’t imagine what that must be like. It’s one thing to terminate a pregnancy because of a violent act, like rape, because the act was a violation, unwanted and certainly unplanned, but quite another situation to terminate a pregnancy when it was intentional!

And yet (see? I’m trying so hard to be fair here), someone is going to have to pay for these children. Miss Suleman is simply not in a position to do so, and will most likely not EVER be in a position to do so, unless she wins the lottery or something, WE will end up paying for these children through social programs.

Granted, social programs exist for situations like this – for unplanned (though technically, this was planned and something Suleman should have taken into consideration before making the decision to have the embryos implanted but that’s rather a moot point now, isn’t it), dire straits. I do not have any problem putting my money into social programs WHEN the people who use them NEED them, and use them as a springboard to get out of their dire strait and back into an independent livelihood. I DO have a problem with social programs when people are not only capable of getting out of their situation but CHOOSE not to!

And I think that’s why a lot of people are upset with Suleman, because realistically, she will never be in a situation where she can AFFORD these children on her own. Where does that leave her and her children? At the mercy of taxpayers – who are already buckling under the current economic situation as is. THAT is what angers people about this situation, we’re being forced to pay for this woman’s selfish actions, we simply do not have a choice, Suleman has not given us a choice and is taking advantage of the system in order to get what she wants. She chose to forfeit her personal responsibility so she could fill that void.

And while we’re on the subject of taxes, this statement from the video really angered me:

“Most of us aren’t thinking about where our money is going, are we?”

Precisely. Because people have been brainwashed into thinking that the government is simply going to take that money and why fight it? Grr. THAT’S how the government gets away with taking nearly 50% of our money from us because it’s a gradual process – a little this week, a bit more next week and OH look at the money I get back in April! Wooee! Which is peanuts compared to the money that was taken away from us, and put into programs for irresponsible people like Suleman, to begin with.

But this isn’t about taxes, it’s about Octomom (though ultimately, taxes is a by-product of Octomom).

Look, I’m not defending what she did. All I’m saying is, her situation? Is not as cut and dried as a lot of people think it is. There are a lot of moral and ethical issues here that simply can’t be tossed out because we’re shocked and repulsed by what she did. I certainly don’t have any answers.

One thing I can do though? Is pray those 14 children are cared for – one way or another.

Thanks for the thought-provoking topic, Momversation. I enjoy rational, articulate discussions like these. They challenge me to not be so quick to judge people or their situations.

Life is such a pretty shade of gray, isn’t it? 🙂

Friday Fun

Friday (Edible) Craft: Cute Birthday Cakes for Kids

I have birthdays on the brain. MK will turn 14 next month and though I haven’t ordered him a special, cutsie birthday cake in years, I miss it. I used to LOVE planning out the kids’ cakes. I had a special cake lady that I went to and she was just so awesome and made the best cakes!

The boys prefer cookie cakes now. And though I still put a lot of thought into what goes ON the cookie cake, it’s just not the same. (Not to mention, the decorators’ at the cookie cake place aren’t exactly Picassos, you know what I mean?

I did, however, find some pretty cute cakes from Family Fun to share with you …

The Princess & the Pea Cake
cake-princess-pea

Fairy tales can come true with this sweet rendition of the extra-sensitive princess and her super-tall bed. Despite the cake’s magical appearance, you won’t lose sleep worrying about making it! The mattresses are two cakes that have been cut into quarters and stacked. The quilt and dust ruffle are made from store-bought fondant. For the headboard and footboard, just use melted candy and our printable template to “draw” the designs on wax paper. I

RECIPE INGREDIENTS:
Headboard/footboard template
Wax paper
8 Pepperidge Farm Chocolate Fudge Pirouette Wafers
1 cup dark cocoa melting candies (we used Wilton Candy Melts)
9 ziplock bags
2 cakes baked in 10- by 15-inch jelly roll pans
5 1/4 cups vanilla frosting
4 drinking straws
Plastic gloves
Red, blue, yellow, and green food coloring
8 ounces (about 1 cup) fondant
Cornstarch (for dusting)
5 marshmallows
1 vanilla wafer cookie
1 tube chocolate decorators’ icing
4 brown M&M’s and 1 green M&M

Click for instructions.


Jungle Cake
cake-jungle

Is your child an animal-lover? This is just the cake for a zoo, rain forest, or safari birthday party theme. Start with a frosted 9- by 13-inch cake, decorate with a handful of colorful candies, and get ready to sing “Happy Birthday.”

RECIPE INGREDIENTS:

Frosted 9- by 13-inch cake
Caramel Cow Tail
2 (1 1/2-inch) Tootsie Rolls
Green Fruit Roll-Ups
Green Fruit Streamers
Banana Runts
Milk Duds
Midgees Tootsie Rolls
Yellow hard candy

Click for instructions.


Fantastic Flask Cake (*squee* Isn’t this a fun one?? I can see doing something like this for MK because he enjoys science.)
cake-flask

Made with cotton candy vapor and a cardboard-tube neck, this cake is modeled after a real piece of lab equipment: a Florence flask. Experiment with serving it at the Mad Scientist’s Blast Party.

RECIPE INGREDIENTS:
Neon blue food coloring
4 1/2 cups white frosting
1/2 cup dark chocolate frosting
3 ziplock bags
2 Bundt cakes
1 cardboard wrapping paper tube about 2 inches in diameter, cut to a 12-inch length
Aluminum foil
Tape
Blue cotton candy

Click here for instructions.


Cake Sleepover (This one would be fun to customize – same color hair as the girls spending the night, etc.)
cake-sleepover

Since sleepover parties aren’t really about sleeping, let your wide-awake party-goers decorate the cookie faces to match their own features, then tuck them into this sweet bed.

Watch a step-by-step video demonstration of this recipe.

RECIPE INGREDIENTS:
1 baked 13- X 9- X 2-inch cake
6 cups frosting (pink and light pink)
5 Twinkies
5 marshmallows
5 vanilla or chocolate wafers
Gel icing (pink and green)
Mini jawbreakers
Pink and green Fruit by the Foot

Click here for instructions.


Sunflower cake (this one would actually be fun to make for Mother’s Day, too!)
cake-sunflower1

Golden Gummy Bears frame this spin-off of Van Gogh’s series of masterpieces, making it the piece de resistance at an art- or garden-themed party. Just start with a frosted 9- by 13-inch cake, decorate with a handful of colorful candies, and get ready to sing “Happy Birthday.”

RECIPE INGREDIENTS:
Frosted 9- by 13-inch cake
Necco wafers
45-60 yellow and orange Starburst candies
Mini chocolate chips
Green Fruit Streamers
1 pound yellow, orange and clear Gummy Bears

Click here for instructions.


Wonderland cake
cake-wonderland

This topsy-turvy cake makes a dramatic centerpiece for any party, but it would fit in especially well with a Mad Hatter’s theme. The vibrant colors on our cake were created with gel food coloring, available at many grocery and craft stores. Follow label directions. .

RECIPE INGREDIENTS:
2 each: 6-, 8-, and 10-inch round cakes (If using mix, you’ll need 3 boxes: 1 box makes one 6-inch and one 10-inch cake, or two 8-inch cakes.)
3 cups white frosting
6- and 8-inch cardboard cake circles
6 drinking straws
2 cups pink frosting
1 1/2 cups each yellow and green frosting (we used gel food coloring, available at many grocery and craft stores.)
4 pastry bags, with a small star tip and a small round writing tip

Click here for instructions.


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Life

Stuck in the Woods

Out in the Woods

This was taken on a camping trip a few summers back shortly after GD got his braces. I’m posting this because GD went to the orthodontist yesterday and was told he could get his braces off in May.

This was after they told us last September. Then last December. Then April. And now, May.

We’re BEYOND frustrated at this point. The kid has had braces now for 30 months (original prediction was two years, tops). These people have been paid off for months. And yet, here we are, with no clear-cut end in sight.

I’m no doctor, and I certainly don’t want them to screw this up by trying to rush him out of braces when he’s not ready but seriously, it’s time. His teeth look great. Let’s put the boy out of his misery and remove them already!

They gave him the annoying rubber bands to wear again. They gave them to him back in December and we, uh, sort of blew them off because they seemed silly to us and were they really making that much difference? Well apparently, yes. And I can’t help but wonder if we brought this delay on ourselves because we didn’t follow directions.

*sigh*

Fine. He has to wear these stupid rubber bands 24-hours a day until the first week of April. We’ll follow the directions to the letter this time but by gosh, they better not move the removal date on us again or I’m likely to go postal.

Poor kid.

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