Friday, February 29, 2008

Is this the new pro-choice movement?

This is a clip from the movie "Juno," a movie that has generated a lot of buzz. I think it was nominated for four academy awards and won at least the one for best original screenplay. If you know anything about the movie, you know that the debate is over whether or not it has a pro-life message.

Juno, a sixteen-year-old girl, is unexpectedly pregnant and decides to get an abortion. In the clip above, we see her encounter a friend from her high school while entering the abortion clinic. Her friend's arguments don't really impact her...until the friend exclaims, "Your baby has fingernails." I haven't seen the movie, but I hear that while in the abortion clinic, Juno hears fingernails tapping on a desk and decides against having the abortion.

Now, the lead actress has very pointedly said that this is NOT a pro-life message. Juno has the CHOICE to decide what she will do. Ultimately, all the principle players in the production of this movie advocate a woman's right to choose. But I have a few thoughts.

First, I feel that the movie at least tacitly acknowledges that, when given the facts, the right choice is to go ahead and allow a "baby with fingernails" to be born. I don't think the people involved in making the movie would acknowledge that, however.

2. It is interesting to note that the pro-choice movement acknowledges all the facts that the pro-life character relates (beating heart, baby feels pain) and still believes that a woman should have the right to decide whether or not another individual has the right to life.

3. I think we may be reaching a strange point in the debate. I think science has brought us to the point where we all must acknowledge the medical evidence: the life that is in the womb is far more intricate and developed than we thought before. As I have stated before, that doesn't affect my position on the sanctity of life in the womb one bit, but it does affect the arguments of the other side.

4. At this point in time, I don't hear anyone arguing that the right thing to do is terminate a pregnancy. I hear a lot of people saying they are against abortion personally but want it to stay legal to preserve a woman's right to choose.

So my question is two-fold. First, does Juno represent the new pro-choice movement. A movement that adamantly wants to preserve a woman's right to choose to end her pregnancy but simultaneously concedes that such a choice would be repugnant on a personal level, at least to some degree? Second, how do we support this evolution in position while still rejecting its basic premises?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Stop...Potty Time

When Hannah was being potty trained, I made a gamble and lost. I told Whitney that I would potty train all the boys and she could potty train all the girls. After all, I reasoned, we already had a girl and we might never have a boy. Fortunately, I lost my little gamble and we were blessed with two little boys. True to my word, I potty trained Austin a few years ago. I worked on Noah Thursday.

My methodology is adapted from the notes of someone who read a book called Potty Training in Less Than Day. The human body is 2/3 water. The basic philosohy of the method is to so saturate your child with liquids that he or she becomes about 90% + liquid and can't do anything but go potty. The other 10% of their body is transformed into sugar through the reward system. The entire day is devoted to what we call "Potty Camp." There are no books at Potty Camp, no games. Just intense focus on going potty.

In preparation for Thursday, we talked up Potty Camp. We didn't do any practice potty sits...everything was centered on Potty Camp. Here's my journal from Potty Camp:

07:00 AM: I move Austin to the girls' room. I get him some clothes and he gets dressed. Whitney gets the girls dressed. Noah is still asleep.

07:40 AM: I inform Whitney that I am "going dark." That means no communication with the outside world from this point forward. She and the other kids leave and will not return until mid-afternoon.

07:45 AM: I wake the subject up and we go through the "Removal of the Diapers" ceremony. This is where we take off his diaper and put on the big boy pants. All the rest of his diapers are taken to another room and we talk about how he will never wear diapers again.

08:00 AM: Breakfast and first "Dry Pants" inspection. During an inspection, Noah lets me know if he is wet or dry. SInce he is dry at this point, he is rewarded with part of a cookie.

08:05 AM: Hydration process begins. Subject is given milk in ceral and a Capri Sun containing 6.75 fl. oz.

08:10 AM: Subject sits on potty. Approximately every fifteen minutes, he sits on the potty for ten minues. Nothing this first time.

08:25 AM: Coninuing hydration process. Dry pants inspection. Life saver given as reward.

08:30 AM: Subject on potty again. Nothing.

08:45 AM: Dry pants inspections have been going well. He's finished his Capri Sun and now I give him Gatorade.

08:55 AM: Still dry. I feel slight guilt as I watch my little guy stuffing another reward cookie in his face, drinking Sprite, repeatedly going mmm, mmm, mmm. This is not a health conscious methodology.

09:00 AM: Back on the potty. Boredom is setting in for both of us. I'm really sleepy. Watching a kid sit on the potty is not as exciting as it sounds. We get into an argument about what his full name is. He's convinced "Daniel" is not his middle name.

09:15 AM: As he continues to drink, I realize I'm creating a ticking time bomb. It's just a matter of time. That's both the beauty and danger of this method. I can only hope that he's on the potty when the bomb goes off.

09:25 AM: He tries going potty. He informs me that he just has no idea how to "make it work." I sagely tell him, "Oh, you'll know how soon. Oh, yes, you'll know soon."

09:45 AM: The eating and drinking are pretty much non-stop. We're two hours into this and I know it's only a matter of time.

10:15 AM: Success? Noah asks me to leave the bathroom and when I come in, he claims that something happened. I'm not sure.

11:00 AM: Failure. We have our first accident. We practice running to the potty.

11:45 AM: Failure again. We were still in the process of cleaning up from the first accident when this takes place. This is the frustrating part. You work so hard to over-hydrate and when you see water wasted (so to speak), it's as if all that work of hydrating the kid was for naught and you're going to have to start again.

11:55 AM: Failure again. On the plus side, he was completely naked since we were cleaning up the last accident. This was good because I think he was able to see how it all worked. Again, I was upset because I was losing the hydration battle.

12:30 PM: After practice sessions, restarted the hydration process. I'm thinking we're toast at this point.

12:41 PM: Success.

01:00 PM: Noah initiates a bathroom trip that is successful.

01:15 PM: Noah starts to have an accident, realizes it, runs to the bathroom.

01:45 PM: The granddaddy of success. A Noah initiated #2.

I can't say that things have been perfect since Thursday. There is still a learning curve. Those who have potty-trained boys know what I'm talking about. The confusion when they think they're going to be successful, are sitting on the potty, and all of a sudden find themselves wet. Or, thinking they're done and getting down too early. But, he's stayed dry all night both nights and has been going well for me.

There are a couple of things I have learned potty training boys.

First, you have to obsess about potty the first few weeks (years?). I'm always thinking about Noah and the toilet. Even when I'm in meetings at work, the back of my mind is worrying about his bathroom schedule. There is like a psychic connection between his bladder and my brain. I know the signs.

Second, you have to be very direct and specific with the child. ("No, tooting does not count as going potty. No, I don't care that you're doing that in the potty. I want the pants to stay dry and pee-pee and poo-poo in the potty.")

Third, you can't accept excuses or diversionary or delaying tactics. When they're babbling on, you have to just remind them of the goal ("Look, kid! I want water coming out of that hole there right now!").

Fourth, demand and seek proof. ("No, you did not just go potty. You just grunted real hard. I want results!")

Potty On!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Friday, February 15, 2008


When I came home yesterday, my two-year old had just done something semi-mean to his new little sister. Here's how the first few seconds of my evening at home went:

Me: Hey, you need to ask your sister to forgive you.

Two-year old: Will you forgive you?

Me: No, you need to ask her, "Will you forgive me?"

Two-year old: Will you forgive daddy?

Me: No, you need to say, "Will..."

Two-year old: Will

Me: ""

Two-year old: You

Me: "...forgive..."

Two-year old: Forgive

Me: ""

Two-year old: You.

Me: No, will you forgive ME?

Two-year old: Yes, I forgive you, daddy. (Runs up and gives me hug) It's OK.

Candidates Compete For Vital Idgit Vote

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

As if I didn't have enough to worry about....

A well-meaning friend sent me a link to the following video. It comes from This is a terrible website for someone like me to know about.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Life's Little Dissappointments

Many of you have asked a question that is almost too painful for me to discuss. You keep asking what was in the envelope. I'm finally ready to write about it. Please don't ask me in's too...distressing.

You have to understand, I was under strict orders from Whitney that I was not to say ANYTHING to custom agents, people with immigration, and certainly not any TSA officials. For some strange reason, she thought I might say something trying to be funny that would get us in trouble. I was to silently hand over papers and sit quietly when told to.

But when we were ushered into a separate area of the airport and gave up the envelope, I couldn't help myself. I started to sit down where I was told, but I heard a ripping sound and realized the guy was opening the envelop! I jumped up and ran over to the area where he was working. I tried peeking over the barrier and asked if I could come over to where the agent was and look inside. The guy told me no. I'm not kidding! I was just joking on the blog about it being a big secret, but he really wouldn't let me look. I asked if I would eventually get to find out what was in the envelope. Again, I was told no. I guess it goes to prove 1) power corrupts and 2) the smaller the amount of power you wield, the more likely you are to wield it tyranically.

Bottom line: I have no idea what was in the envelope. ~Sniff~

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Speaking of great quotes...

"Victims of stalking are not alone."

-Anita Perry (Texas First Lady)

I quote this way too often...

From "Raising Arizona."