söndag 5 december 2010

2:nd advent

Our four room apartment is quiet except for the sound of the mini-dishwasher chugging away. Today is 2:nd of Advent. Partner is at a neighbors apartment to play Dungeons and Dragons 4 with some of our friends. BB, 20 months old, is napping peacefully on the double bed.

We have yet to decorate with Christmas themed decorations. Partner is atheist, I don't know what I am, but we still enjoy some of the Christmas traditions, like putting up festive ornaments. We just haven't had the time to do so yet. We grew up Christian, Lutheran, members of the Church of Sweden.(1)

I turned 30 on friday. The day started confirming BB had a low grade fever, like I suspected. So I had to call Partner back from work, and once he was back I headed in to work. At work Suzana sneaked up on me with a box of chocolate and gave me a short and sweet version of a birthday song. I worked 9am to 4pm and then had dinner with my colleagues.  Someone leaked it was my birthday and suddenly I was surrounded by co workers singing Ja må hon leva  (2), a swedish birthday song with amusing lyrics. I was both touched that they did sing to me and a bit embarrassed. I was having very conflicted emotions about my birthday.

On saturday we had some friends over for some cake that Partner baked, cookies and coffee, traditional swedish Fika(3) and I recieved some nice gifts of books, flowers, gift cards, candles, self care products and four new fish for my aquariums. They were Pterophyllum (4).

Next year, I'm taking my birthday of work.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_Sweden
2. http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ja,_m%C3%A5_han_leva!
3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fika_(coffee_break)
4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scalare

torsdag 7 oktober 2010

Dairy free Bacon dipping sauce

white flour
oat creamer

Fry small pieces of organic bacon in a iron cast frying pan. When there is some lard greasing the pan, add chopped onion, sligtly less amount than the bacon. Add a little bit of green leek, mainly for color. For a slight tinge of sweet and sour, add some tiny cubes of apple just before you add slightly less than a table spoon of wheat flour by sifting it over the frying items in the pan. Add 1/4 cup of oat creamer ( I use Oatleys iMat) and stir until the creamer and the flour makes the sauce thick. Some say this takes 2-5 minutes, to avoid the taste of flour. You can add soy for color.

I had this to dip my potato wedges when I had a lunch made up of what I had at home.

The bacon came from an opened package. I try to always have onions and flour at home. The leek was left over after making leek soup. The apple came from friends apple tree. The oat creamer was left over after I made vanilla custard.

fredag 10 september 2010

When mama is sick

I'm sick with acute bronchitis.
Partner is handling everything, parenting, meals, cleaning.
I had already been sick with a really nasty cold for a week when I called our local health care central just before 8 am. I got the machine, telling me to enter the number I wanted them to call me back on. The machine said they would call me back at 9am. They called back sooner. A nice, registered nurse asked me about my symptoms and then said she wanted me to come down and get a walk in consultant. Just come right on down.
It is a five minute walk, but I could handle that on the amount of paracetamol(1) and ibuprofren(2) I had in my system. I paid 13.8$, the fee I pay until my medical care costs reach 124$. Then I pay nothing for a year, starting with the date on my first paid contact with care.
I waited for about 40 minutes, then a nurse took me to a small lab to take my temperature (only in my ear) and I told her I was on fever reducers. She also took a small amount of blood from my finger to get a CRP.
Then I was given a room and waited for the doctor.
He listened to the short version of my medical history, felt the lymph nodes on my neck, looked me in the ears and my throat and listened to my heart and lungs. Then he told me my CRP(3) was 87, which surprised me since I wasn't feeling all that bad on my fever reducers. His diagnosis was acute bronchitis since I've had that before. It's one of the reasons that got me to quit smoking and succeed in never starting again (the other reason was wanting to be pregnant). Because of the nature of my work he gave me a doctors sick leave note to last me through the penicillin treatment he prescribed me. I was prescibed three doses of Phenoxymethylpenicillin(4) a day and heaps of rest.
My partner notified his employer and took parental leave for the rest of the week.
At the same time he is taking sole responsibility in getting BB used to her daycarer, but that is another story.

Ideally this is what should happen when a parent is sick. The parent should be allowed time to heal, and some one else takes parental leave at approximative 80% pay (of their regular income). The person that has taken ill is instead, ideally, given sick pay. Parenting is a higly engaging job, and no one should have to manage on their own while being very ill. Having been unable to parent for many days now, my love for my partner and the Swedish system is intensified and deepens. My respect and sympathy for any parent doing this on their own is actualized.

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paracetamol
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibuprofen
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C-reactive_protein
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenoxymethylpenicillin

söndag 4 juli 2010

Breastfeeding a toddler

I am now breastfeeding a toddler. BB will be 16 months on the 10th of July.
I've written before about the statistics we in Sweden collect about all kinds of things, breastfeeding included. The breastfeeding statistics only go up to a year of age, stating that for children born in 2007, only 17,7% (1)were still getting breast milk at 1 year of age. There is no Swedish statistics beyond that age.

I would like if we collected statistics about how many children are breastfed at 18 months in Sweden. Or at 24 months.
Just yesterday I got a comment, although positive, when I gave BB my breast. "You've still got food? And how does it work out?" said in a pleasantly surprised voice. My answer was a "yes" and "very well" from my part.

  1. http://www.socialstyrelsen.se/Lists/Artikelkatalog/Attachments/17783/2009-10-115.pdf

söndag 11 april 2010

How I learnt to stop worrying and love my size. Pt 3: Womanhood and Motherhood

This is my third post about fat acceptance.
If you want to you can read about my childhood in part one here


I did not exercise between 17 and 23 or 24 years old. The hatred and disdain for exercise was just to overwhelming. To many bad memories. But after moving from one city to another I had very little money. In fact, I was dirt poor. And I survived on pasta and canned mackerel. It is not a good diet, it is not a joyful diet. But it was doable and at times, tasty. I didn't own a scale, and quite frankly did not care since if I could eat and pay my rent it was a good thing. But after looking at pictures a couple of years later i realized how malnourished I must have been for dropping so much weight in so little time. I have a picture somewhere of how I looked, but I can't find them. But my clothes did not fit.
Now, analyzing this for this blog post, I think I got a lot of male attention but then I always attributed that to my large décolletage and my straightforward attitude. Since I did not feel like my body had changed I did not make any kind of connection between being thinner and being more attractive.
I found this picture taken the next year.

I'm 23. I am a pirate

As for exercise I don't even remember what happened. I told my partner we were going to go to the gym. And we did. We started out going together and I continued on my own. I paid the gym fee on my student loan. I imagined Madonnas biceps. I had fun at the gym enjoying the identification with "people that go to the gym". Along came protein shakes and creatine powders (which for me increased my stamina). I was also quite annoying with pointing out what was in peoples food (I cringe writing that now, but I was new to the "health"-thing). My goals had nothing to do with being slim, I wanted to be STRONG. I fantasized about the HULK and SheHulk. At the live action role plays I took part of in summer I choose to play strong, durable characters.

25 years old. I'm a vampire

But alas. With time my interest waned. I still did it for 3 years but less and less. I had other thing occupying me. Going to the gym, while nice when I was there, took time and money from me. I didn't really feel I was "getting anywhere" so to stop doing it was no big deal. Being fat was not a problem. There really wasn't a downside to it. I had love no matter how I looked. My friends were not the kind to comment on weight. My job as a temp and my studies were not impacted by me working out or not.

I'm 27 years old. Just prior to conceiving.

I've read it a couple of times.
How much better some women felt about their bodies when they had become mothers.

I like my body. I liked it more at times, a little less at other times. I have at some moments in life hated it. Sometimes I haven't believed in it, doubted it's capacity, belittled its capability.

I don't do that now. My ovaries matured an egg that was fertilized in my uterus. A child grew in my womb and I gave birth to her after many hours of high impact fat burning labouring. My prolactin levels rose and my progesterone levels fell and I started lactating to feed my child. It was, and is amazing. I am very happy that it worked out so very very well for me. For us.

It makes my body awesome.

In the first few months of pregnancy I couldn't eat. I didn't feel sick or throw up, but I lost any kind of aptite and the weight fell off. I lost 15.4 pounds (7 kg) and that's not good. But it changed and soon enough I was a very hungry mama! All that wonderful food makes me happy just to think about it. In the end I gained an average amount of weight for a woman my size and gave birth at about 203 pounds (92 kg).

28 years in this awesome body.
Most of that weight stayed on and I did not care. I remember sitting in my midwifes office saying the weight stayed on, and she looked at me with kind eyes and asked me if I believed something was wrong with that. I paused and said, a bit thoughtful that no, not really. I was eating a fair share of food, and I was still hungry for more. I did not feel like scaling down my portions and I certainly did not feel like exercising. My BMI said obese and for the first time in my life it came over me....I was a happy fatty.

But breastfeeding slowly worked those extra fat reserves into milk. And November 12th 2009 I found myself talking to a friend about running. He was running to keep fit for his military job. Do it he said. There is no reason why you couldn't.
And I listened and realized that of course I could do it. The leering voices of childhood gym class had all but faded away. I believed in this body.

I could run.

So I ran.

This post was inspired by I'm giving up on diets and Fuck you, Fat shamers from Look Left of the Pleiades and was made possible at this time in my life by meeting Arwyn from Raising my Boychick on twitter, you can read her post On fat acceptance and fitness

söndag 28 mars 2010

How I learnt to stop worrying and love my size. Part two: Teen years and young adulthood.

This is my second post about fat acceptance.
If you want to you can read about my childhood in part one here

Me at 15

When I changed school at age 15, to go to Gymnasium(1.) and choose to study Art I became part of a small group consisting of mainly other female students of the more bohemic variant. There was absolutley no bullying, and body based comments were kept at a minimum. We did nude studies and our main teacher, an older man, described all kinds of bodies as being both natural and beautiful. We studied the treatment of the female form in art through the decades and learnt about how fashion went from celebrating the fat, to shunning it. That the way we view fat is dictated by the time we live in.

I even posed nude myself in my final year, after I had turned 18.
I remember having lunch with my classmates and when I had to squeeze between two chairs, I made a comment about my weight. The thin (to me) classmate replied in a most natural manner that I wasn't fat, I merely had curves. 
I started taking pride in my rounded buttocks, my wide hips and my "curves". I called myself hourglass-shaped, a most sought after body type in many kinds of art.

Me at 17

I do, off course, have body hating memories too! I was a teen, after all. Two things, the trouble with finding pant that fit my wide hips and round ass, catching a glimpse of stretch marks in a changing rooms mirror. Seeing the flab of my stomach and hating, hating, hating it. Lying in bed, voving to never ever eat again or to doing the hula hoop a 100 times a day. The other time, having troubles with boys and musing to my older brother that maybe I should put on 20 kilos and take my refuge in that. His retort?
Many men like larger women.

There was that, and the fact I hated exercise. I hated the idea of it, because of how I had been bullied, and ridiculed in primary school and being extra vulnerable at physical ed when I was forced by the teacher to do thing I failed horribly at, often with a leering crowd staring at me from the sidelines. I _knew_ I sucked at it. Never that I could run with my asthma and my weak ankles, hit a ball with my bad eyesight or do anything scary. (I did like rugby though, got all my aggressions out, but we rarely had that.)

A year after I finished Gymnasiet I moved away to Stockholm to be with friends I met of the Internet and get a job. In contrast to the small village I grew up in Stockholm had working public transportations. Instead of biking and walking everywhere, there was always a bus stop not more than five minutes away no matter where I was. I also stopped eating any kind of dairy, now that I had absolute control over my own diet, and so no longer battling the effects of lactose intolerance I quickly outgrew my clothes. All of them.
Eating a lot of fast food, living with a very thin friend who made me tasty dinners while I stressed and worked nights every other week and got up super early every other week also changed my body.

I remember buying those new clothes, and once complaining to my mother who was visiting that my "new" jeans didn't fit either. But I don't remember feeling fat. I was loving my life and whether I was fat was never an issue. It was irritating that my clothes size was beyond the "normal" sizes in H&M, but I was to thin to wear the so called "plus" sizes. 
I have scrap of paper with the year and my weight jotted down. It's the same as my current weight, one year post partum.

Me at 21. I used to call this my fat picture.

I do however remember having weak arms. Being slow and feeling sluggish. Having others carry my stuff. Wheezing when running after buses or to catch the subway. Sweating or overheating when forced to climb hills. I'm at this weight now, but pants from this era do not fit, they are too loose. Part of why the pants are loose is because I lived six flight of stairs up, and my large buttocks were made up from a whole lot of muscle. But lower body strength was all I had, body wise. My asthma was bad (in part because I smoked).

I got fed up with Stockholm and moved across the country. 
Having very little money I survived on pasta and canned fish. I walked all over town. It wasn't my plan to loose any weight but because of the life style change I did. I hit an all time low weight as an adult. But I'll leave this for the next part: Adulthood and motherhood.

This post was inspired by I'm giving up on diets and Fuck you, Fat shamers from Look Left of the Pleiades and was made possible at this time in my life by meeting Arwyn from Raising my Boychick on twitter, you can read her post On fat acceptance and fitness

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gymnasium_(school)#Nordic_and_Baltic_gymnasiums

lördag 27 mars 2010

How I learnt to stop worrying and love my size. Part one: Childhood

This is a Fat Acceptance(1) post.

I was thin as a child. At times even gaunt.
I sit here with the photo album my mother made for me, looking at pictures where skinny legs carry my tanned frame at summer. How ribs are visible when I stretch, play, pose for the camera to show of some new trick I've mastered.
I did not struggle with childhood obesity.

Me, 7 years old.

First Fat Shaming
I remember one of the first times I was fat shamed. It was in 5th or 6th grade and I was 11 or 12. I had been severely bullied since I started elementary school, mainly by some boys and one of them came up with a rhyme playing on how fat I was and that meant I would never be loved (romantically). I locked myself in the bathroom and looked down on my body. Maybe my stomach was a bit round?
In adulthood I have realized that I later found out I was lactose intolerant, so my stomach might very well have been a bit round, and remained so for most of my school years. But that is irrelevant. No matter how I looked, commenting on my body was fat shaming, bullying and a part of a larger campaign to inflict as much hurt possible on me and break me.
Fat shaming was just a part of it.

Unfortunately I seemed to have internalized this "fat kid" role. I soon got help from the school counselor who helped in many ways, the most important thing giving me a feeling that I mattered. That my body, mind and soul was important. That I was a human being worthy of respect, no matter what bullies told me every fucking day. No matter what they did. I was still severely bullied and I blame the school for it's pathetic attempts to rectify this, their fear of admitting a problem and their victim blaming.
But the counselor was wonderful.
That counselor might have saved my life in more ways than one.

But still, no matter how my body looked in reality, I was now, to my self, the fat kid.
Puberty hit and as happens to a lot of teens I gained, confirming my body image. We gain fat to be prepared for the changes that occur in the body, we gain due to hormonal changes. If we look at teen gymnasts, these often hit puberty way later in part because they lack the body fat needed. (Citation needed, contribute if you have one!)

Me at 10 or 11 and me turning 12. In second picture I called myself  "round"

This post was inspired by I'm giving up on diets and Fuck you, Fat shamers from Look Left of the Pleiades and was made possible at this time in my life by meeting Arwyn from Raising my Boychick on twitter, you can read her post On fat acceptance and fitness

Next part: Teen years and young adulthood.

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fat_acceptance_movement

tisdag 16 mars 2010

Swedish Vaccination Programme

BB had her 12 month vaccinations yesterday at the Children's Health Central. There were two shots, one in each leg.

I'm in favor of the Swedish Vaccination Programme. I just don't like needles piercing my beloved daughters skin. The pediatrics nurse who administered the shots was however very skilled and was quick, compassionate and effective.

This time around she got the DTaP, the IPV and the Hib in one injection and the Pneumococcal vaccination (PCV7) in another.

The DTaP is a combined vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis, in which the pertussis component is acellular. The acellular vaccine uses selected antigens of the pertussis pathogen to induce immunity. Because it uses fewer antigens than the whole cell vaccines, it is considered safer, but it is also more expensive.(1) Another drawback is that it only contains three to five antigens.
The Hib is against Haemophilus influenzae type b. The IPV against Polio.

Diphtheria is very rare these days in Sweden, according to the Swedish Institute of Infectious Disease Control there was only on repported case in 2009(2). It is a serious disease once contracted, with fatality rates between 5% and 10%. In children younger than 5 years and adults over 40 years, the fatality rate may be as much as 20%(3)

Tetanus infection generally occurs through wound contamination and often involves a cut or deep puncture wound.(4 - trigger warning for infant picture) There were 3 cases in Sweden in 2009.(5) Particularly the neonatal form remains a devastating public health problem in non-industrialized countries. The infection causes an estimated of 300,000 to 500,000 deaths each year in the world.(4)

Pertussis infection induces immunity, but not lasting protective immunity, and a second attack is possible. It is a disease of the respiratory tract caused by bacteria that live in the mouth, nose, and throat. Many children who contract pertussis have coughing spells that last four to eight weeks. The disease is most dangerous in infants. 254.000 is estimated to have died of Pertussis in 2004.(6)
Between 1979-1996 the pertussis vaccination was not a part of the Swedish vaccination programme. There were 281 cases of pertussis in Sweden in 2009. That makes it 3.01 cases per 100.000. Sadly it still causes about one infant death per year in Sweden in non vaccinated children.(7)

Haemophilus influenzae type b can cause meningitis, septicaemia or epiglottitis. Around 5% of cases are fatal, and as with meningococcal disease, serious sequelae, including deafness, convulsions and intellectual impairment may result.(8) Sweden had 34 cases in 2009/0.36 cases per 100.000 inhabitants. the risk of dying was 9%. But at least none of these deaths were in infants.(9)

Polio is cause by a virus and is most often transmitted by dirty water. Sweden has vaccinated against it since 1957 and there hasn't been a case since 1977. Up to 95% of all polio infections are inapparent or asymptomatic but could still infect others. 1% could become paralyzed. The Global Polio Eradication Program has dramatically reduced poliovirus transmission throughout the world. In 2008, only 1,655 confirmed cases of polio were reported globally and polio was endemic in four countries (10).

  • The DTaP used in Sweden is Infanrix and manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline(11)
  • The IPV we use in Sweden is the brand name Imovax that is manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur MSD(12)
  • The HiB is named Act-HIB and manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur MSD
  • The PCV7, brand name Prevenar is manufactured by Wyeth (13, 14)
The vaccinations are free of charge to us as a family.

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DPT_vaccine#Tdap
  2. http://www.smittskyddsinstitutet.se/in-english/statistics/diphtheria/
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diphteria
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetanus
  5. http://www.smittskyddsinstitutet.se/in-english/statistics/tetanus/
  6. http://www.who.int/immunization_monitoring/diseases/pertussis/en/
  7. http://www.smittskyddsinstitutet.se/vanliga-fragor/allmanna-vaccinationsprogrammet/kikhosta/#12
  8. http://www.euibis.org/haemophilus.htm
  9. http://www.euibis.org/documents/2006_hib.pdf
  10. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/polio.pdf

See also:

Diseases included in the Vaccination Programme (cases in Sweden etc)

fredag 5 februari 2010

Open Preschool: History

I've written before on the blog about open preeschool. In this post I will give some more facts about the Open Preschools.
The first Open Preschool opened in 1972 in cooperation with the Child Health Center and the Social Services following a proposition from Barnstugeutredningen (BU). The aim was to reach children who were not enrolled in Preschool and their parents with advice & ideas about the importance of play. Also, giving medical and social advice was, and still is a big part of their agenda.
Focus today is on preventative work and promoting healthy choices. This is meant to be carried out in an accesible, open, flexible & professional pedagogical setting. Sometimes this is done in cooperation with personell from the regular childcare services, Social services and Health Centrals. Any adult can accompany the child to Open Preschool, it doesn't need to be a parent. This adult will be responsible for any child he or she brings to the Open Preschool and should be given the opportunity to meet other adult to interact and share a sense of community with.

Activites can also put focus on serving the needs of different groups such as fathers, pregnant women & couples, families of adoptees or multiples, new borns, single parents or unusually young parents.

In 1984 the Open Preeschools became eligble for State support and with that the numbers of Open Preeschools rose. There were 200 in 1984, in 1991 there were 1 644. But then the State grant disapeared the number of municipal Open Preschools fell and by 2004 there were 447. That year about half of the swedish municipalities had no Open Preschool activities at all.

From 2005 those municipalities that has put a cap on childcare fees for the parents, so called Maximum Fees, can get a State grant for salaries and training of personell working at municipal Open Preschools.

Open Preschools are under the supervision of the Skolverket (State School Board).(1)

In 2008, the Open Preschools got about 290 million Swedish kronor. That's 39 710 000 USD or 25 110 000 GBP

1. Fakta öppen Förskola http://www.skolverket.se/sb/d/2562;jsessionid=05C07D9DCB7078D29ABB078139E5D396

torsdag 14 januari 2010


In 2009 my life changed.
My life changes every year.
But in March 2009 BB was born. And a new me was born.
My sense of compassion grew so did my patience. I was reeling from giving birth, searching for a new way in feminism, realizing how flawed my view of the world had been, how incomplete. That I as a woman hade special needs when pregnant, giving birth and lactating. Needs, that even though I live in one the countries that have really tried hard in reaching equality, weren't always met or understood.
That I, by becoming a mother was being coerced into norms I wasn't really comfortable with. Sure, swedish women breastfeed. But we breastfeed in infancy, and very seldom talk about breastfeeding beyond that time.
I needed to find my position on breastfeeding, and once I found it I needed to stand up for it.
I think I might be a lactivist.

But in my lactivism I've hurt people. Others tell me this is unavoidable, but I will try to speak with respect. This might be hard at times, as I sometimes hurt people just when I speak of my love for breastfeeding, everything good that comes with it and why _I_ choose to sustain my breastfeeding.

I can't stand Nestlé. Sure, I've been into the politics of food for quite some time, but before, they might have swayed me with their new line of fair trade products. I view most baby-food companies with suspicion.

I gave up chocolate.
Yes. It's because BB gets a facial  rash if I eat even a little. No, I don't miss it. And it rids me of the problem of "where did this chocolate come from?" "was slavery used to farm it?"

I returned to work in July. Later than I thought before I gave birth, but earlier than I thought after giving birth. It was just a few hours, three days a week at first, but now that BB isn't exclusively breastfed anymore I stay away for longer at a time. She and her dad are doing great, being in some ways closer than me & her. I breastfeed her in her sleep & then sneak out of the bedroom, often returning after lunch and then leave again for a few hour in the evening.

I went to Open preschool and was pleasantly surprised by the compassionate, gentle & caring staff at both venues.

I started thinking about joining the Swedish Feminist Party, have e-mailed back and forth with some members but not really gone beyond that yet. They say they're so fresh, that anyone is welcome to join and add their views on feminism. We'll see about that.