Thursday, July 28, 2011

Shame! Shame! "Freakonomics"

Sam has taken to running around yelling "Shame! Shame!" at Gavin whenever he doesn't like what Gavin is doing.


I've been off my soap box for a while. Apologies to those that just want to see cute pics of the boys, but this one's been brewing in my mind for a while, and I just needed to get it off my chest.

For those of you not familiar with the book Freakonomics, the whole point of the book is examining correlation vs causation. So basically just because two variables move in the same direction together, does not necessarily mean that one causes the other. It's actually a really fascinating book.


I got to this section, taken directly from the text, and can be found here

A child who had low birth weight tends to do poorly in school. It may be that being born prematurely is simply hurtful to a child's overall well-being.

So that would be the usual assumption, that being a preemie causes injury to the brain via over/under oxygenation, brain bleeds, and sensory experiences that they are not yet able to process. That would be my assumption.

It may also be that low birthweight is a strong forecaster of poor parenting, since a mother who smokes or drinks or otherwise mistreats her baby in utero isn't likely to turn things around just because the baby is born. A low-birthweight child, in turn, is more likely to be a poor child - and, therefore, more likely to attend Head Start, the federal preschool program. But, according to the ECLS data, Head Start does nothing for a child's future test scores. Despite a deep reservoir of appreciation for Head Start, we must acknowledge that it has repeatedly been proven ineffectual in the long term. Here's a likely reason: instead of spending the day with his own undereducated, over-worked mother, the typical Head Start child spends the day with someone else's undereducated, overworked mother.

What did you read in that paragraph? I read that low brith weight/prematurity is caused by the mother, and mothers of preemies tend to be under-educated, over-worked, and low income.

Really Mr. Levitt?? Your entire book is based on peeling back the layers and differentiating causation from correlation. Had you done your research you would have found a large percentage of premature births are not a result of mothers engaging in high risk activities.

According to this article, about 40% of U.S. women that deliver prematurely have contributing risk factors - and that 40% includes ALL risk factors, not just those that mean you abuse your body or don't seek out proper prenatal care.

There is NO way low birth weight should be absolutely attributed to poor parenting. Just ask my huge network of preemie moms that would give anything. ANYTHING. to have a healthy, full term baby. Or watch those shows where the teen gives birth in the bathroom at prom having no prenatal care and the baby turns out fine. Much to the dismay of those of us on the other end of the spectrum, women that could give a s*** about their pregnancy have healthy full term babies.

Low birth weight is NOT caused only by poor parenting, and the authors should be ashamed for making such a statement in a book that is dedicated to finding true cause and effect relationships. Is poor parenting a risk factor for premature/low birth weight babies? Definitely.

But there is an overwhelming amount of the preemie population that was born to loving, awesome parents that did everything they could, and continue to do everything they can for the well being of their kids.

For this book to perpetuate that preemies are born only of a mother's inability or lack of desire to properly care for herself while pregnant - well, I'm at a loss of words to respond to that, so I will say it in Sam's words "Shame! Shame!"

That is all.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Verbatim (in the car):

Me: Sam, when we get home, I really want you to lay down and take a nap, otherwise you are going to be grumpy for your play date this afternoon.

Sam: I will not! I will not be grumpy. I will talk - I will talk to my new friend.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Minnesota trip: Day 1

I hope you enjoyed seeing all the pictures I downloaded from my phone. There were a lot, so make sure when you get to the bottom of the page, you hit "older entries" to see all of them!

I have such short windows of time to get anything done lately (it seems) that I will post this in spurts, 1) to save me the time of a lengthy post and 2) so you have something to look forward to (ha!).

So, a couple weeks ago we headed up to MN for the regionals track meet. We drove up Friday afternoon and checked into the Embassy Suites in St. Paul. After we got settled, we drove to the University of St. Thomas for a little work out. It was gorgeous running along Summit, and there was a great track at the college that Gavin ran some intervals on.

There was also a soccer team practicing in the field, and they were so nice. As Sam and I were doing a lap, the ball was kicked on to the lane and one of the guys let Sam kick it back on to the field. As Gavin was on the last stretch of an interval, the guys would cheer him along, yelling "finish strong!" and clapping.

On the way back to the car, we had a blast racing Gavin to the next light pole....until Sam decided to have a meltdown. We waited while Gav and Chad went to get the car and by the time they got back, Gavin was whining about having to stretch. Life with boys! I'm not sure what area of the country they have this saying "if you don't like the weather, just wait ten minutes"....actually I'm not sure that's a saying anywhere - it just sounds familiar! At any rate, that seems to be life with the boys lately, they go from great to non-great in a flash.

As we drove back to the hotel and pondered dinner, we passed a Thai place that Chad remembered as being awesome. I went in and ordered take out and had an interesting discussion with the owner when I asked for "just a side of beef". All the dishes had meat options: tofu, beef, chicken, pork, salmon, catfish, etc. Sam, oddly enough, insisted on catfish! Gavin just wanted beef and an egg roll. The owner insisted I need an entree and I asked if he couldn't just cook some beef? No, they can't do that! Well, if I order an entree, can you just put the beef on top or on the side?

He scampered off to the kitchen and told me they could steam some beef, and I agreed. It didn't turn out great (but I was able to turn it into an awesome meal for the next day - stay tuned!). But the rest of the food was fantastic - except the coconut soup. Fortunately we had a fridge in our room so we were able to save the leftovers for the next night.

And that sums up Friday, July 8th, 2011 - or day 1 of our MN trip!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Cell Phone Photo Purge

Keep scrolling for a whole bunch of photo's from my phone from 4th of July and our trip to Minnesota. One of these days I will get the pictures off my camera and give you an update on the track meet!

Before the Urbandale 4th of July kids mile. I love the look on the face of the kid next to him.

I'm not sure who's holding the other sparkler....these things really made me nervous!

Not DuPont safety approved!

Gavin's been practicing riding his bike in the cul-de-sac
I'm tired of pictures....and of waiting in line for the rides!

He was not a fan of the fuzzy costumes

Frog Hopper aka the Wonder Pets FlyBoat at Nick Studios
I told them to give me their best "I Miss You Trisha" face and this is what I got
Sam listening to some tunes during the MN track meet

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th of July Races

Yesterday we had an early morning of racing! Gav and I left the house around 6:30 to stop at my mom's and pick up Dan & Jan. We hit the Urbandale course at Walker Johnson Park around 7:15 for my race that started at 7:30. It was a nice cool morning for it, and I was happy with my time - 26:23. I started at the back of the pack though, and my watch clocked my distance at 3.18 miles (a 5K is 3.1) so I figure my actual starting to finish line was somewhere around 25:30 - which was well under my goal time of 26 minutes!

Then Chad and Sam got there to cheer on Gavin (Sam has not been an early morning riser lately, so they got a pass on seeing me run!). I forgot to start my watch so I don't know Gavin's time - but it doesn't really matter. He gave it his all, and that's what counts! He came through the finish line in good form, giving it one last kick, sweating and out of breath. He ran the whole mile and didn't have to stop and walk. He came in 19th over all for the boys, but that included kids in middle school. We were so proud of him!

Then Sam ran the Tot Trot, which was just the cutest thing ever. Gavin was such a proud big brother and wanted to be the one helping him at the starting line. Both boys enjoyed nice cold popsicles as a reward for their effort!

I have more pictures that I need to download (shocking right?) but here are some that my mom snapped.

Pre-Race Pep Talk by Grandpa Dan

Awesome form coming to the finish line (and I think I need to go after an Adidas sponsorship!)

Sam's race - with Gavin close behind and me cheering him on

"I didn't want to hug the bear" - Sam who is not a fan of fuzzy things

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Family Affair

I am so excited to make running a family affair. It's something I started doing a little over a year ago, and while I am not yet speedy, I'm comfortable enough to start running some 5k's. This Monday Gavin and I are both registered for the Uniquely Urbandale runs - I'm doing the 5k and Gavin is running the kids mile. Then Sam can do the "Tot Trot" after that!

It's so great to get out and do something active as a family that we can all participate in.

Regional meet in MN is coming up the following weekend. Last night coach told Gavin that he was on a "no pop, no candy" diet. Sam's going to have to follow it too, for moral support, even though he doesn't know it! How the heck am I going to bribe them to behave now??

Since they didn't actually run last night, just worked on the long jump, Gavin wanted to come home and run on the treadmill. He's only done in a couple times, but last night he really seemed to get the hang of it. I think it will be good for him, he needs to build his endurance up, and not sprint everywhere. Our treadmill at home seems to be calibrated a little fast - I can't run at nearly the pace on it as I do outside or at the treadmill at the gym. So it seemed to take him forever to do a mile - he got up to about 5 mph at times, but needed to take some walk breaks for side stitches. At any rate, the goal right now is to build the time those legs can run without taking a break, rather than how fast he can run a mile, so I think this will be great if he can do it consistently. I'm headed to Target to get him a little iPod as a motivator!