Since my new granddaughter was born, everybody in our household has been reading baby advice books like crazy. And last night when it was my turn to spend quality time with the tyke, I started reading to her from a book called "The Happiest Baby on the Block," by Harvey Karp, MD.
I truly believe that babies need to be read to from the day they are born so there I was, happily following my own advice and reading aloud to the latest member of the Stillwater family. And baby Mena was happily listening away and looking very concentrated, as if she was understanding every word. And about six pages into the book, even I started focusing on just what the author was talking about -- something call The Calming Reflex.
According to Dr. Karp, "Never again will you have to stand by while your baby cries and cries! There is a way to calm your crying baby...in minutes!" All you have to do is use the five "S" techniques. And they are:
1. Swaddling -- wrapping your baby up tightly.
2. Side/Stomach -- laying your baby on her side or stomach.
3. Shushing -- making loud white noise; repeatedly telling your baby, "Shhh, shhh, shhh, shhh".
4. Swinging -- rhythmic, jiggly motions.
5. Sucking -- sucking on anything from a nipple or finger to a pacifier.
And there you have it -- Dr. Karp's famous "5-S" theory. And this stuff works on my granddaughter like magic! Baby Mena stops crying in mid-wail! Honest. Why? Because, according to Dr. Karp, babies are born three months early because if they weren't, they'd never make it through the birth canal. But they really DO need a fourth trimester in the womb -- hence the need to create a womb-like atmosphere. For instance, the sound of "shhh" when repeated rhythmically simulates a mother's heartbeat.
Hey, I'm getting really good at this stuff! Got a crying baby? Send him or her to me!
And Dr. Karp has also written another book called "The Happiest Toddler on the Block". And guess what he says about toddlers? "They should be thought of as pint-sized cavemen! The key to effectively communicating with toddlers is to speak to them using their own primitive language."
Hey, if the Calming Reflex works so well on babies, maybe we should practice all these soothing techniques on our politicians and world leaders as well. Next time Bush and Cheney or bin Ladin or Olmert or the Turks and the Kurds or the Iraqi car-bombers or the heads of greedy corporate conglomerates feel the urge to bomb Darfur or blow up Iran or make a toxic dump site out of an Amazon rain forest, maybe we could practice the "5-S" cure on them as well.
"Shhhh, Georgie," we could say. "Let me swing you and swaddle you (Leavenworth or San Quentin would be nice!) until your Calming Reflex finally kicks in, you give up your temper tantrums, get over your colic and just freaking RELAX." And as for talking to our George in his own primitive language? Never misunderestimate the power of that!
From calming car-bombers in Baghdad to pacifying sleazebags on K Street, we could be onto something here.
Let's strap the world's out-of-control leaders into rocking chairs, play some chants in the background, swaddle them into the lotus position and stick a pacifier in their mouths. Voila. No more temper tantrums. No more spinning out of control. And no more "war". We'll have the happiest leaders on the block. And then maybe the rest of us can get some peace and quiet and even be allowed to occasionally sleep through the night.
PS: Yesterday baby Mena, who is usually the most well-behaved newborn in the county, didn't like being strapped into her carseat and she started to yell. Geez Louise! You could have heard that baby from three blocks away! Who would have guessed that a five-and-a-half pound baby could yell that loud?
PPS: According to a recent article by Wayne Madsen, the Pentagon has just opened AFRICOM, its branch office in Africa -- and pretty much squelching any hopes harbored by African nations that they might possibly avoid being owned, controlled, colonized and run by the globalization crew.
According to Madsen, "The spirit of John F. Kennedy's Peace Corps, a civilian program without any ties to the U.S. military or intelligence community designed to help steer newly-emergent nations, mostly in Africa, to self-sufficiency and development, is officially dead." Oops. Definitely time to haul out the swaddling blankets!
"The militarism of America's policy on Africa centers on propping up dictators who have bought into the globalization agenda and who have offered up bases for the U.S. military incursion into Africa that seeks to recolonize the continent." And don't forget the rhythmic womb-like rocking motions either. Or else Africa will definitely be in for a very long night!
Someone needs to go to the Pentagon ASAP and gently rock those generals back into being more calm.
And here's the latest episodes of my housing co-op's soap opera. NOW we are being threatened by flooding:
Letter to my HUD Fair Housing complaint's mediator after she objected to being sent my latest Savo newsletter:
In the future, I won't send you any writing not related to my case. But this IS related to my case. For 20 years one woman here, aided and abetted by her alliance, has run Savo with an iron hand, handing out favors to people who do what she orders them to and punishing people who dare disobey her. And for 20 years I've been begging HUD, Savo residents, our approximately 13 management companies, etc. for redress. And what have I got? NOTHING. That's spelled N-O-T-H-I-N-G.
If one kisses this woman's [bottom] one is guarenteed to be over-housed, given new units, have your friends moved onto the waiting list and upwards on the waiting list, keep your market-rate rents down, etc. And if you don't? You get your rent raised illegally, your name slandered, threatened with eviction, threatened with jail, called before executive sessions time after time, snubbed, denegrated, lied about, yelled at, physically threatened and called names. What again, exactly, am I supposed to do now?
Thank you for allowing me to vent.
What's happening with my fair housing case? It's been almost a year since I filed. If you need further documentation, please let me know. Thank you.
Letter to our project's HUD representative regarding the big storm heading our way:
As a Savo Island Cooperative Homes Inc. Board member, I have spent the last six years trying to get our housing project's re-hab in place and now we are about to pay the piper because it didn't happen.
Approximately ten years ago there was another great storm here at Savo and the city storm drains couldn't handle the deluge and blocked up. You should have seen us. Me and my children and all the neighbors were out in the middle of the night with buckets in the middle of a wall of freezing water pouring out of the skies trying to save our homes and.... And it was to no avail. My home was under three inches of water and we had to clean out the sludge and get all new rugs. Not to mention the leaks in my roof.
And now this same catastrophe is upon us and it all could have been totally avoided if Board members hadn't stalled around for six years regarding the re-hab and our drainage revision and our roof repair plans. Why did they stall around so long? Apparently as far as I can see they stalled around on the re-hab for one reason and one reason only -- because they didn't want their market-rate rents to go up. So now I'm facing the real possibility of having my home flooded out because of that.
Please be aware of this situation. And help if you can. Thank you.
Stillwater is a freelance writer who hates injustice and corruption in any form but especially injustice and corruption paid for by American taxpayers. She has recently published a book entitled, "Bring Your Own Flak Jacket: Helpful Tips For Touring (more...)