Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Yertle the Turtle

This has been a favorite of mine for many years and, although I no longer have the book, I found the words on the Internet and thought I'd post them...lest anyone forget what greed can lead to.

On the far-away island of Sala-ma-Sond,
Yertle the Turtle was king of the pond.
A nice little pond. It was clean. It was neat.
The water was warm. There was plenty to eat.
The turtles had everything turtles might need.
And they were all happy. Quite happy indeed.

They were... until Yertle, the king of them all,
Decided the kingdom he ruled was too small.
"I'm ruler", said Yertle, "of all that I see.
But I don't see enough. That's the trouble with me.
With this stone for a throne, I look down on my pond
But I cannot look down on the places beyond.

This throne that I sit on is too, too low down.
It ought to be higher!" he said with a frown.
"If I could sit high, how much greater I'd be!
What a king! I'd be ruler of all that I see!"
So Yertle, the Turtle King, lifted his hand
And Yertle, the Turtle King, gave a command.

He ordered nine turtles to swim to his stone
And, using these turtles, he built a new throne.
He made each turtle stand on another one's back
And he piled them all up in a nine-turtle stack.
And then Yertle climbed up. He sat down on the pile.
What a wonderful view! He could see 'most a mile!

"All mine!" Yertle cried. "Oh, the things I now rule!
I'm the king of a cow! And I'm the king of a mule!
I'm the king of a house! And, what's more, beyond that
I'm the king of a blueberry bush and a cat!
I'm Yertle the Turtle! Oh, marvelous me!
For I am the ruler of all that I see!"

And all through the morning, he sat up there high
Saying over and over, "A great king am I!"
Until 'long about noon. Then he heard a faint sigh.
"What's that?" snapped the king
And he looked down the stack.
And he saw, at the bottom, a turtle named Mack.

Just a part of his throne. And this plain little turtle
Looked up and he said, "Beg your pardon, King Yertle.
I've pains in my back and my shoulders and knees.
How long must we stand here, Your Majesty, please?"
"SILENCE!" the King of the Turtles barked back.
"I'm king, and you're only a turtle named Mack."

"You stay in your place while I sit here and rule.
I'm the king of a cow! And I'm the king of a mule!
I'm the king of a house! And a bush! And a cat!
But that isn't all. I'll do better than that!
My throne shall be higher!" his royal voice thundered,
"So pile up more turtles! I want 'bout two hundred!"

"Turtles! More turtles!" he bellowed and brayed.
And the turtles 'way down in the pond were afraid.
They trembled. They shook. But they came. They obeyed.
From all over the pond, they came swimming by dozens.
Whole families of turtles, with uncles and cousins.
And all of them stepped on the head of poor Mack.
One after another, they climbed up the stack.

Then Yertle the Turtle was perched up so high,
He could see fourty miles from his throne in the sky!
"Hooray!" shouted Yertle. "I'm the king of the trees!
I'm king of the birds! And I'm king of the bees!
I'm king of the butterflies! King of the air!
Ah, me! What a throne! What a wonderful chair!I

'm Yertle the Turtle! Oh, marvelous me!
For I am the ruler of all that I see!"
Then again, from below, in the great heavy stack,
Came a groan from that plain little turtle named Mack.
"Your Majesty, please... I don't like to complain,
But down here below, we are feeling great pain.
I know, up on top you are seeing great sights,
But down here at the bottom we, too, should have rights.
We turtles can't stand it. Our shells will all crack
!Besides, we need food. We are starving!" groaned Mack.

"You hush up your mouth!" howled the mighty King Yertle.
"You've no right to talk to the world's highest turtle.
I rule from the clouds! Over land! Over sea!
There's nothing, no, NOTHING, that's higher than me!"
But, while he was shouting, he saw with suprise
That the moon of the evening was starting to rise
Up over his head in the darkening skies.

"What's THAT?" snorted Yertle. "Say, what IS that thing
That dares to be higher than Yertle the King?
I shall not allow it! I'll go higher still!
I'll build my throne higher! I can and I will!
I'll call some more turtles. I'll stack 'em to heaven!
I need 'bout five thousand, six hundred and seven!"

But, as Yertle, the Turtle King, lifted his hand
And started to order and give the command,
That plain little turtle below in the stack,
That plain little turtle whose name was just Mack,
Decided he'd taken enough. And he had.
And that plain little lad got a bit mad.
And that plain little Mack did a plain little thing.
He burped!And his burp shook the throne of the king!

And Yertle the Turtle, the king of the trees,
The king of the air and the birds and the bees,
The king of a house and a cow and a mule...
Well, that was the end of the Turtle King's rule!
For Yertle, the King of all Sala-ma-Sond,
Fell off his high throne and fell Plunk! in the pond!
And today the great Yertle, that Marvelous he,
Is King of the Mud. That is all he can see.
And the turtles, of course... all the turtles are free
As turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Patience and Anticipation

I am patiently anticipating the birth of a new baby. Or maybe I'm impatiently anticipating an upcoming birth. She is currently six days overdue and doesn't seem to be anywhere near labor! A cervical check at her midwife appointment last week revealed a very thin and two centimeters dilated cervix. And she's been having on and off cramps for a few weeks now. When I spoke with her this afternoon she said that she's been walking a lot every day and will begin other methods of self-induction tonight!

Last Friday night (the 7th) as I was in a that lucid-dreaming state I dreamed that the phone rang and it was my client's number on the caller ID. After that dream I felt sure that she would have her baby within 24 hours. However, she and I were dancing together the next evening at a wedding. And now, a week later, still no baby! Oh, the waiting!

Yes, I know, get used to it. I've been doulaing long enough to know that birth is unpredictable and on its very own schedule. But right now I'm still waiting in anticipation!

In the next few days I will post a story and some photos from my vacation at the end of last month. That will keep me busy for a little while.

Friday, September 14, 2007

From Louisa to Me to You!!

The following quoted text is from Louisa, a student midwife for whom I have copious amounts of respect. She is talking about the woman in the picture, Tiffany, another student midwife for whom I have copious amounts of respect. Please, if you have any extra change laying around, donate what you can to help keep this amazing woman in midwifery school. She really IS a woman that you would want there for you throughout your pregnancy and when you are in labor and giving birth. She deserves this education. Pass this message on. E-mail it, post it, myspace bulletin it!

"Meet Tiffany. She's one of my classmates. She's amazing. Tiffany is many things; smart, smart single mother of a lovely 7 y/o, part owner of a small business, massage therapist, reiki practitioner with a masters degree. She will one day be an awesome midwife, and will join the ranks of the few Certified Professional Midwifes currently practicing in Nevada, a state where non-nurse midwifery remains alegal.

"She is 100% my kind of midwife.Tiffany is in desperate need of some financial assistance to help her manage the tuition costs at the Seattle Midwifery School. For the past year she has managed all of her many jobs, as well as the 40+ hrs a week of study which our midwifery program requires and the monthly commute to Seattle from her home in Reno, and the lack of income that time away from her work requires also. She also recently added practicum responsibilities as we accumulate the hands on apprenticeship component of our education. Scholarships for midwifery education (as many of you well know!) are few and far between. Financing this journey is challenging at best, but it would be a travesty if she were to lose this opportunity just because of stupid money, or lack thereof!

"So, If you feel like opening your heart to a wonderful woman who is working harder than I think I've ever seen one human work to make this calling of hers (ours) a reality, I encourage you to join me in contributing financially to her cause. Any amount, no matter how small will go directly to her tuition bill and I will personally ensure that any and all contributions make it there smartly. If you are lucky enough to live in her vicinity, I wouldn't mind betting that in a couple of years you'll have a fine midwife standing by to catch your baby in return for your kindness!If you are interested in helping, and/or would like more information about Tiffany, please shoot me an e-mail mlwaleshall at gmail dot com and I'll give you all the information you need to help one of Reno's finest student midwives!

"There is a world of excellent karma waiting for you :)


Sunday, September 9, 2007

A New Path on my Journey

Well, I am not going to do the doula job with the Mother Baby Center. On Friday a new offer was made to me and I simply can't resist.

The midwife who delivered my youngest child, someone for whom I have a universal amount of respect, asked me if I would be interested in birth assisting. She said that the midwives are in desperate need of assistants and she will pay me $200 per birth.

I was absolutely floored.

I was nervous that it was a dream that I would soon awaken from.

I was nervous that she would change her mind.

I was nervous that I don't have the skill set necessary to be such a significant part of the birth process.

However, she told me that really all I need to do is take a Neonatal Resuscitation (NNR) course and the rest, either I already know or will learn along the way.

The only thing that was holding me back from knowing that this is definitely going to happen was the money. That's a shitty thing to dictate what my path will be, but it's an issue. We just bought a car and now have a $300/month car payment and I need to bring in some money.

But she called me this morning and offered me $200 for each birth, which will be plenty of money considering how busy she is. So I am off to Portland at the end of this month to take the NNR class and coming back ready for the parade of laboring ladies!

I will still return to midwifery school because, ultimately, I want to hold the reins. I want to offer other baby midwives the opportunity to make their dreams come true. I think my return is somewhat unpredictable at this point, and is looking more and more like January of 2009.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

On Racism, Tolerance, and Acceptance

It's taken me a couple of days to arrange this post in a way that makes me want to post. I guess you could call this a disclaimer because I still feel so uncomfortable dealing with the issue of racism and I'm still learning how to talk about it. I welcome comments and suggestions.

A couple of days ago I was just sad. Now I'm angry. ANGRY. A. N. G. R. Y.

I want to know why our newspapers and TV stations haven't had anything to say about the Jena Six. I want to know why this isn't national news. Why are we not outraged as a nation that this kind of behavior still flies. Why do I continue to be sheltered from this ugly reality so that I am afraid to have a conversation about racism?

Have we not learned anything over the last 400 years?

You see, I live in a sheltered little city in the Pacific Northwest, where our demographic consisted of mainly Asians, Caucasians and Native Americans until about 10 or 15 years ago. At 33 years old, I've only experienced a few times the racism that still exists between Blacks and Whites and it happened in other cities.

Except for once.

You see, there are racist skinheads here. But only once did I actually see them harrassing anyone. And I ended it as soon as I was witness to it. I don't hate them because I think it is wrong to hate. I think hate just puts me on their level.

And I certainly can't hate anyone for the way they look or what they believe. I choose, instead, to stay out of their way if I feel threatened or uncomfortable.

Unless they're hurting someone else. Then I will stand in the middle until they go away.

But what else can I do?

What is this concept of "tolerance?"

In my opinion, tolerance implies that something has to be put up with. If I am "tolerant" of something, that means (to me) that I have to put up with something that annoys me or makes me feel uncomfortable. Like I should be "tolerant" of a strange man putting his hands up my shirt.

Can we change that word to "acceptance?"

As in, "I accept you for who you are. Your human-being story, your skin, your hair. Everything that makes you who you are." I don't have to like you or hang out with you if you hurt me or do things that I don't want to do or make me feel uncomfortable. But I accept that you are different and the same as me.

You and I have the same insides.

Small and large intestine
Zygomatic bone

The difference is what covers it. That's the physical difference.

Well, and reproductive organs (wink wink).

What do I do to help my children understand the differences that are important and the ones that are not? Do I want them to be color-blind or do I want them to notice the difference in skin color? Do I want them to pretend like there is no difference between them or do I want them to embrace and respect it the same way that they notice different hair and eye colors?

I think the significant factor that we are missing as a nation is the difference between right and wrong. Did the parents of these children in Jena teach them that it was OK to hang nooses in a tree and taunt other kids with racial slurs? Did they teach their children that it's OK to brutally beat someone for taunting them? How do you teach a child to stand up for themselves without resorting to violence? How is it that the one child that has gone to trial thus far had an all-white jury?

What's the missing link in this situation?

Is it education? Is it tolerance? Is it acceptance?

Violence begets violence. Does one have to be educated to understand this?

During my first week of midwifery school my class was asked to engage in an activity in which a statement was made (from the instructor) and we were asked to take sides and try to convince the "other side" to agree with us. The instructor made the statement, "It's OK for black people to use the word "ni..er" but it's not OK for white people to say it." This brought about a complete meltdown within the structure of the class. There were several students from other countries, and only one Black student. When ladies from other countries didn't understand the big deal about this word I tried to explain that it has the power to evoke violence. I understand that it's used in the Black community but I would never use that word for the same reasons that I wouldn't call a gay person by one of the many slang words used to identify them. I don't identify with the word so it isn't mine to use. Many of us ended up crying and it effectively ended our session for the day.

I guess I am the ultimate hypocrite in that I was absolutely unwilling to deal with the racism issue because there was one Black woman in our class. I can't tell you why. I think it's my upbringing and the fact that, as a racism-sheltered white woman, I'm afraid that what I would say would be offensive to the one Black woman. It's a very strange mix of emotions for me. I don't have a problem discussing prejudism against gays and lesbians with my gay and lesbian friends. Why the fuck am I so afraid of discussing racism with black people?

I am naive.

If anyone has anything to say to me regarding this post, PLEASE say it. I need to learn how to deal with this issue because in my dreams of serving women through their pregnancies and births, I see people of all colors, nationalities, and cultures.