Monday, December 20, 2010

First Times...

40 weeks

39 weeks

37 weeks

Astral and Defy are now 41 weeks old (9 months old). They are doing so many new things! They can give five (both high and low), wave, clap and even give kisses! There is nothing better than an unsolicited kiss from your babies! They are both attempting to walk and stand unassisted like they’ve been doing it their whole lives. Astral often takes two perfect steps before falling.

The boys witnessed their first snow last week. I can’t wait until they can run around and really enjoy it. Of course with the winter weather comes everyone’s favorite consumerist holiday! We are not thrilled to say the least…

They are eating a bunch of new foods including; amaranth, pinto beans, black beans, ground flax seed, nutritional yeast, blueberries, kale and green beans. They are both such great eaters now! It brings us great joy and giggles to see their little green food mustaches!!
Here is a list of everything they’ve eaten so far. They have a more diverse diet than most adults out there!

Sweet Potatoes
Asian Sweet Potatoes
Acorn Squash
Butternut Squash
Golden Potatoes
Green Beans
Black Beans
Pinto Beans
Ground Flax Seeds
Nutritional Yeast
Rice Cereal

DnA are still sleeping with us, we tried for about 5 minutes to get them to sleep in their cribs before they started scream/crying. It was too much for our hearts to handle, especially my mommy heart. I had a physical reaction to my babies' discomfort where I felt sick to my stomach, I immediately ran upstairs to soothe them (and of course bring them back right where they belong). I figure if all they want is me, I can surely accommodate them. After all, we chose to bring them into this world. I was slightly influenced by a lot of negative talk about letting them sleep with us, but I have done a lot of research and co-sleeping is very healthy and normal. I have since joined an attachment parenting meet-up and have shut the door on all the co-sleeping naysayers out there! It works for us. I feel like sleeping with my children allows an extension of my parenting time. Since I work outside of the home I feel like I am getting quality time with them that I missed during the day, even if it is only while they’re sleeping and nursing randomly through the night. Lucas and I still find private time for one another; you just have to be a little bit more creative and unconventional, which totally suits us!

Astral and Defy are going through the stranger anxiety (or more like anyone who isn’t mom or dad anxiety) stage and have been for a while now, Astral more so than Defy, who will eventually warm up to a stranger. The craziest thing happened when my college friends that are identical twins came to visit; Astral let them hold him and played and interacted with them right away, which NEVER happens. He barely lets his own grandmothers hold him! It was very intriguing to watch. Both babies kept looking curiously back and forth between the two adult twinsies. I wonder if they had some crazy identical twin connection.

Oh yeah and I’m not sure if you recall me previously writing about my “nipple anxiety”. Well my horrible fear has come to life and I have been bitten so badly that I bled more than you’d ever like to imagine due to one of the babies chomping down during a night nursing session. TALK ABOUT PAINFUL. And that was just the first time, it has happened since then with less of an extreme result, yet still PAINFUL. Of course I am still nursing, though I could just stop and exclusively pump. I just know how much they enjoy it and I can’t take that away from them just yet…

We will be taking the boys on their first plane trip in a couple of days. Thankfully it is a short flight. I can not say that I’m excited to finally be those annoying people with screaming babies X 2! Hopefully we will get through it will minimal screaming and crying and a maximum amount of sleeping and being cute…

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Vegan Pregnancy Xtranormal Vid

I got the idea to make this video after viewing Vincent Guihan's Xtranormal videos, which are as informative as they are hilarious. I highly recommend checking them out.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

We've Come A Long Way...

DnA's lovely cribs that we hope they sleep in again!

Nice organic bedding, what baby wouldn't want to sleep here?? OURS!!

35 weeks

33 weeks

The boys are 37 weeks now (8 months old). They seem to be getting prepared to walk. Astral is standing unassisted for 30 seconds and has taken a step followed by falling! Defy can stand unassisted for about 10 seconds before falling!!! They both like holding on to their baby gate and cruising around. A & D love music and will dance to any beat.

The twinsies are also in love with our furry companions, Star and Sunny! They follow them around and love playing with and petting them. The relationship is beautiful. They are just amazing and joyful little guys!

They each have the same exact 8 teeth, 4 on top and 4 on bottom. They enjoy getting their teeth brushed with their tiny little baby toothbrushes. They are just too freaking cute!

Astral and Defy have eaten several more foods including; yams, peas, mangoes, peaches, pears, lentils and quinoa (all organic of course). I can’t say they all were a big hit, but you are supposed to keep trying. They both can drink out of their sippy cups now. I only put a small amount of water in them so that they can practice drinking without filling up and spoiling their appetites.

The boys love bath time and splash and play like crazy. We have tried giving them baths together, but that seems to still be a little too dangerous and chaotic. We will try again when they are a little bigger.

Since the weather has been getting colder, I've been shopping for warm, VEGAN and organic winter coats or bunting. I can't find anything that actually looks like it would keep them warm. They are in 12 month clothes already. Bundling up will probably work while they aren't walking, but I have a feeling they will walk this winter. If any one has any suggestions please let us know!

Last week Astral had Roseola, the exact same virus Defy had in October (fever with no other symptoms followed by a rash lasting 3 days). I guess we should just be thankful that it wasn’t anything more serious and 1 virus for each baby in 8 months isn’t nearly as bad as it could be. Once a child gets the virus they are usually immune and won’t get it again. Astral weighed 21 lbs 5 oz. when we took him to the pediatrician because of the fever. They are both so big for their age and so advanced in their milestones! WE love proving all the negative vegan myths WRONG! Can't wait to get both of their stats at their big 9 month check up in December.

About 2 months ago we brought the boys in our bed while they were teething and had stopped sleeping through the night. It was easier for me because they both wanted to comfort nurse and I wanted them to feel secure during their tough time. I originally wanted to follow the attachment parenting style and co-sleep before I found out we were having twins. Now that the boys are bigger we aren’t as scared to have them sleep with us. We really like having the family bed (dogs included), but now that the boys are waking less during the night we really want to try to get them back in their nursery in their own cribs. It is lovely to wake up to their smiling faces and have the comfort of feeling them breathing next to us, but honestly it is very hard to get sound sleep with them in bed. We plan on beginning the transition (yes…again) this weekend. Wish us luck…

It is so strange to think that last year around this time I was prepping to leave my office and go on full time bed rest at 24 weeks pregnant and now I have 2 healthy and rapidly growing baby boys. I practically missed all winter last year being hospitalized from December 28th until March 5th. The seasonal transition has brought back a lot of memories from our pregnancy. I would do it all again to get Astral Defiance and Defy Aster…

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sitting and Crawling and Standing - OH MY…

Astral (standing) & Defy (sitting)
32 weeks

30 weeks old

26 weeks old

Carrots & Apple

Asian Sweet Potato
Asian Sweet Potato

Sweet Potatoes



VegFest DC

Astral and Defy are 7 months old (32 weeks tomorrow) now and their warm spirits and vibrant personalities are shining through more than ever. They are immensely bright and are both sitting unassisted and crawling, though Defy still prefers the army crawl as his mode of transportation. They are both already holding on to furniture to brace themselves to standing position. They will stand up holding on to just about ANYTHING including us, baby gates, headboards and each other. These kids are amazing. There have been a lot of falls and bumps with their new mobility, which just comes with the territory. Big brother Astral seems to hit most of the milestones first, with baby brother Defy following right behind…

Defy has 4 adorable bottom teeth , Astral also has 4 adorable bottom teeth and one on top that is coming in. My nipples live in constant fear. I have been bitten numerous times, but I guess after the shock of the first few times my reactions have been a lot calmer. The first time I let out a high pitched scream that definitely startled the little culprit (I can’t remember who did it first). They seem to only bite when they are comfort nursing and falling asleep. It is very important to me that I nurse them (as much as I can produce) until they are at least 1. I pump during the day while at work and mostly nurse in the evenings, but the bond of nursing them is irreplaceable. I guess I’ll probably revisit this when they have both rows of teeth and one isn’t all gum. With the appearance of teeth, they boys now have their first toothbrushes and so far they seem to love having their teeth brushed (without any paste) each morning and evening. They seem to be doing well with teething and haven't taken any drugs.

The boys are eating more foods now. Just like their clothing we are doing all organic foods for the boys. Astral will eat anything, but Defy is still on and off with solids. Defy never turns down his favorite mix of strawberry, avocado and rice cereal, that is our easy go-to if he is in the mood to refuse. Astral eats so much more than Defy that in the past month he has increased the gap between their weights. Of course, all babies are different and accept solids at different times. We refuse to force Defy to eat; he will eat more when he is ready.

They have eaten a variety of home-made yummy organic veggies and some fruits.

Sweet Potatoes

Asian Sweet Potatoes

Acorn Squash

Butternut Squash

Golden Potatoes







Next month we will start introducing greens vegetables, the pediatrician said to wait until 8 months. We have this wonderful baby food gadget that steams and blends the food. It is absolutely wonderful and makes making our own baby food easy and fun. I can make fresh food every night because it is so quick. I often have extra and just freeze it and then thaw it out and reheat it in that same little gadget. We don’t use microwaves so being able to reheat the frozen portion is a great benefit. We will also be introducing pulses (lentils, peas, beans) and sippy cups to the boys this month…EXCITING!

At their 6 month appointment back in September (Unfortunately, I missed blogging the whole month of September) Astral weighed 19 lbs 2 oz and Defy weight 19 lbs .5 oz. So Astral was only an ounce and a half more than Defy. Now only a month later Astral is weighing in at 20 lbs 5 oz and Defy is at 19 lbs 12 oz. So the gap has grown to 9 oz. We chalk it up to Astral being a total greedy little vegan gumdrop! Defy is more of a picky eater like his mommy.

We had our first trip to the doctor’s office where we had to go in through the sick baby entrance instead of the well baby entrance. Defy was feeling warm one night and had a temperature of 100.7, so we took him in. For babies their age it isn’t considered a fever until it is around 102-103, but we took him in anyway. The doctor checked him out and he was fine and she said he was probably just fighting a virus. He had no other symptoms, no runny nose, no sneezing or coughing, though he wanted to be held more than usual instead of being down on the floor roughhousing with his bro. His temperature never rose above the 100.7 from Thursday morning until a Friday night and then he was fine.

That Saturday we noticed a slight rash on his face and then on Sunday we noticed it had spread to his neck, chest and back. We took him back in to the doctor on Monday and she said it was something called Roseola and that he was going to be just fine and no treatment was necessary. She said that it was a virus that manifests as a fever and then a rash. It usually starts as a really high fever and accompanies other symptoms, but for some reason that didn’t happen to our little guy. The rash disappeared in 3 days and Defy is totally back to normal. The doctor said it could take up to a week to go away, but thankfully it didn’t. Though she did say it was slightly contagious and passed through bodily fluid like saliva, Astral didn’t catch it. We were freaking out a little because they share everything, but Astral was spared. I am assuming that Defy picked it up at the park while playing on the swings. You never truly know, but since they don’t go to daycare and aren’t around germy little kids often I figure the park was the place. Who knows, I am just glad that it is over and was only mild.

In September we took the boys to VegFest DC at George Washington University. They were too little to enjoy all the yummy vegan food, but we didn’t hesitate to indulge. We also made our first journey to Poplar Springs Animal Sanctuary in Maryland a couple of weeks ago. It was an absolutely wonderful experience for all of us. The stories of all the different animals are heartbreaking to say the least. It was emotional to see all of these beautiful animals living life without the imminent threat of slaughter, etc. Watching the chickens, roosters and turkeys wander freely totally got me choked up. We signed up to sponsor one of their many goats for the year. I think the boys will really love building relationships with all their other animal friends. I am so glad we live fairly close to a place like this, so they can utilize established relationships to increase their understanding of why we don’t exploit other animals…

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Having "The Choice"...

Although friends, family, and medical professionals have generally been accepting and supportive of Kenya and I raising Astral and Defy as vegans, there have been some people who subtly (and not so subtly) suggest that we are depriving them of the choice to exploit and kill other animals later in life. These people have posed questions in ways that made it seem as if they were genuinely concerned about Astral and Defy's freedom of choice to exploit and kill whomever they want as if, without doing so, they will live a joyless life of constant deprivation that we have selfishly imposed upon them.
"What if they really want to eat (animal product X) when they are old enough to make the choice? Will you let them?" is a common "concern" that we encounter. Or the question has been framed this way: "But what if they choose to eat at (chain restaurant/fast food establishment X) when they're older? Will you be OK with that?" We spoke with one individual about how Astral and Defy will not be wearing popular name-brand shoes made from the skin of cows, and this individual very politely and curiously asked, "but they'll have the choice to wear leather when they're older, right?" And then there was a heated exchange with another individual about the ethics of veganism. This individual quickly became very hostile, pointed at our boys and exclaimed, "but you're taking away their choice to eat whatever they want!"
So the question posed is: Will Astral and Defy have the choice to not be vegan when they are old enough to make decisions for themselves? Before answering, let's examine the question, shall we?
First of all, those of us who speak of exploiting and killing other animals as merely a personal choice do not seem to understand the ideology of speciesism. It has been forced upon us by our parents or guardians just as it was forced upon them, and it has been, and is being, constantly reinforced by our society and its institutions. This is the reason that many of us believe that humans are not animals, that humans are naturally superior to all other animals, that other animals are “stupid”, that other animals are here for humans to use as we please, that there is no moral problem whatsoever with using and killing other animals, that humans need to consume other animals to survive, etc. These are not beliefs we developed on our own. As young children many of us were fascinated by other animals and naturally had compassion and empathy for them. Some of us considered them to be our equals. As adults, even after a life of reinforced speciesist indoctrination, most of us claim to love and/or respect other animals and do not want to harm them, especially when it is unnecessary to do so. However, most of us choose to actively participate in the exploitation and killing of other animals on a daily basis for completely unnecessary purposes such as eating them, wearing them, or using them for entertainment. Therefore, it seems that choosing to actively participate in the exploitation and killing of other animals is the result of our being thoroughly conditioned to believe that it is a “normal” and morally justifiable thing to do, not because it actually reflects our values or personal ethics.
Furthermore, questions about having a personal choice to exploit and kill other animals are based on the assumption that no one else is affected by that choice. This is incorrect and relies on the belief that other animals do not have minds capable of experiencing the distress, pain, and suffering inherently caused by their exploitation. It is also incorrect because choosing to participate in the exploitation of other animals concurrently results in the exploitation and harm of human beings and the destruction of the planet we all depend on for our survival.
Finally, there is a common misconception that vegans, by opting out of the systematic exploitation of other animals, are somehow depriving themselves of otherwise unattainable enjoyment. But being vegan is not a restrictive way of living at all. For instance, a diet consisting of fruit, vegetables, seeds, beans, grains, nuts, mushrooms, herbs, and spices has proven to be much more varied, satisfying, and healthful than the one I was eating when I was not a vegan. And does anyone reading this essay really need to wear popular name-brand shoes made from cow skins? There are plenty of other materials out there such as hemp, canvas, recycled plastics, recycled rubber, and synthetics. Most importantly, how can we justify the exploitation and killing of other animals merely for the sake of enjoyment?
Now I'd like to return to the question of Astral and Defy having the choice to not be vegans when they are old enough to make their own decisions. Will they have the choice?
The short answer is yes, they will have the choice to not be vegan when they are old enough to decide for themselves. We will certainly not force them to do anything when they can make their own educated choices, but we will in no way facilitate or condone any non-veganism.
Now for the long answer...
My feeling is that all caring and concerned parents or guardians raise their children in a way that is consistent with their own values. Not many parents or guardians would, for instance, admit to teaching their children that it is acceptable to physically violate another human being (and perhaps even the valued domesticated animals in our society, such as dogs and cats) just because it might be enjoyable. Most of us teach our children that this kind of conduct is ruled out from the start no matter what psychological or material gains would be derived from it. However, our children will still technically have the choice to participate in the exploitation and/or killing of another human, or participate in any other activity we parents or guardians find objectionable, when they are old enough to make their own decisions to do so. It is only when we speak of other animals that it becomes an acceptable personal choice to exploit and kill them, and this is a direct result of our speciesist indoctrination.
Veganism, on the other hand, is a challenge to the deeply rooted beliefs that have developed as a result of this indoctrination. Essentially a principle of non exploitation, veganism is philosophically in opposition to the oppressive arrangements humans have long maintained with each other and with other animals. Although Kenya and I have the choice to participate in the exploitation of other animals on a daily basis, we simply try our very best not to because, like humans, other animals are morally significant and have interests in living their lives on their own terms. We owe it to them to be vegan; it is the very least we can do if we take their interests seriously.
People who present us with "the choice" question really do not seem to understand that Astral and Defy will be raised in a way that actively challenges speciesism. They will be raised as vegans and their choices will be guided by vegan principles. This means that, unlike the vast majority of humans on Planet Earth, they will not be taught to see other animals as food, clothing, or any other means to human ends but rather as fellow autonomous sentient beings with intrinsic value.
Given the fascination Astral and Defy already have with other animals, and considering the joy they get from seeing the other animals they've already met, they appear to be well on the vegan path all on their own...

Monday, August 30, 2010

And We Have Teeth...

Astral and his two teeth!!

Defy and his one tooth!
25 weeks old

24 weeks

23 weeks old

22 weeks old

Yikes!! I have been seriously slacking on the posting, but as you can imagine life is pretty busy these days! Astral and Defy are becoming more and more mobile and require entertaining! The boys are the center of our universe and so much fun, especially compared to the eating, sleeping and pooping cycle of a newborn.

The boys are 25 weeks old and will be 6 months old in 4 days! Half of a year, it seems like just yesterday they entered our lives. DnA are barely recognizable from their former tiny selves. They are fully animated, strong and very vocal.

In the past 2 weeks they have come one step closer to being able to chew the yummy vegan food they'll be raised on! Little brother Defy sprouted his first tooth and then a few days later, not to be outdone, big brother Astral sprouted 2! They are the cutest little bottom teeth ever. At around 4 months they started drooling and chewing on their hands a lot so we knew it was coming, but we didn't realize how soon. Defy and Astral were both a little more fussy right before the teeth popped up and also the day they first appeared. It seemed to happen overnight. We give them cornstarch and frozen silicon teething rings and they also really love chewing on organic stuffed vegetables and fruits toys. We haven't given them unnecessary drugs and they are just fine. Astral really wanted to be held by me and no one else during this time, I was his all natural remedy! Thankfully we were on a trip visiting family so I was available 24/7. Fingers crossed that the rest of teething goes this well.

So we had our first road trip, the boys were awesome on the way there. It was a 12 hour trip each way, we rented a van to fit all of our stuff and so I could be comfortable in the back with them for entertaining and feeding along the way. On the way back they had one major freak out session, where they cried for a while. It was horrible, there was no place to pull over and I couldn't take them out of their car seats. It broke my heart to have them crying like that. I do not believe in the cry it out method at all. If my babies cry I comfort them. We have so much baby gear so flying would have been difficult as well, plus I am worried about them being trapped in a flying germ incubator at this young age. They will no doubt get on a plane, but I want to wait until they are at least 1.

The babies love their rice cereal now and will soon be transitioned to sweet potatoes/root veggies, we just want to wait until their 6 month appointment next week. They are so adorable eating their big boy cereal in their Bumbo seats or high chairs! Now that we've reached the 6 month mark, I am also going to slowly reintroduce soy back in my diet to see if they have a reaction to it.

They both love standing up while holding on to us and jumping up and down. They roll over both ways and army crawl or wiggle their way to whatever toy they want to get a hold of. It is so cute to watch them worm their way across our bed or the floor. They are well on the way to sitting up unassisted but balance has not been mastered. They do that tripod thing, where babies use their arms together in front of them to balance, but they are leaning so far forward I feel like I have to spot them very closely. Sitting up will lead to a whole new world for these guys and for mommy and daddy too. They're still sleeping through the night for the most part, they wake up on occasion, but usually a nice back rub or a cuddle will work to get them back to sleep.

The boys now steal toys from the one another, they interact all time. They stare at each other and laugh and baby babble. I think this is the beginning of their special twin language. They still enjoy exercising those vocal cords by screeching and screaming. At times I worry if they will hurt one another because they grab, bump, scrunch, pinch, poke and roll over the other. I guess this is only the beginning of having rambunctious little twin boys! Brothers...

We've been using the organic Boba baby carriers, as the boys get heavier and grab at anything and everything it is getting more difficult to hold them while doing things around the house. These carriers are really comfortable and help when they need to be soothed, but you need to make a bottle or do other things. If alone with the twinsies, we can strap one in and carry the other.

Astral has a hemangioma (red birthmark, collection of blood vessels under the skin) on the back of his neck, but it hasn't gotten any bigger in a while which is great. Hopefully it will start involuting soon. They go away on their own and are pretty much harmless depending on their location. They are really common in multiple births. Defy actually has one on the top of his head, but it is a pin point hemangioma and is super small and is being covered by his hair.

Their hair is growing so much!! It will be interesting to see how it turns out. We can't wait to find out their growth progression next week at the pediatrician. They are in 9 month clothing already and actually fit two pairs of 12 month old pajamas, though as you can see from the pics they are usually chilling around the house in cloth diapers only! They are happy healthy and have the most beautiful little spirits, we are thrilled to be their parents...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

"Farm Friends"

During a recent trip to the pediatrician I came across an illustrated children's picture book titled Farm Friends. On the cover is a barn with a bright red roof and a tractor sitting on top of green rolling hills under a blue sky with three adorable yellow chicks in the foreground. To the side of this image there are cutouts of various smiling "farm animals" that serve as page tabs.

A flip to the first page and the reader is introduced to chickens. There is an illustration of a chicken on a nest where four eggs (presumably hers) sit. A caption reads, "A female chicken is called a hen. Hens lay eggs." The illustration to the right shows that the eggs have hatched and little yellow chicks sit where the eggs once were. The caption reads, "Baby chickens are called chicks. Chicks hatch from eggs."

The next page is the pig page. There is an illustration of an "oinking" pig behind a gate with a caption that reads, "Pigs live in sties." At the bottom of the page is an illustration of three happy pigs running behind their mother on a patch of grass with flowers growing on it.

Sheep are the subject of the following page. There is an illustration of two lambs skipping and jumping behind their mother with a caption that reads, "They love to skip and jump." Above that there are illustrations of a hat, a sweater, and socks with a caption that reads, "We get wool from sheep. All these things can be made from sheep's wool."

The next to last page is the cows' page. "Cows live in fields. They eat grass," reads the captions under an illustration of three cows grazing in a field guarded by a bright red fence. Underneath this is an illustration of a mother cow and her calf. "A baby cow is called a calf," reads the caption. On the opposite page a caption reads, "Cow's help us make all these foods, and under this are illustrations of, and captions reading, "milk", "butter", and "cheese".

The last "farm friend" we are introduced to is the horse. There is an illustration of a horse neighing with his or her head sticking out of a stable window. The caption reads, "Horses live in stables. They like to eat hay". Below this are illustrations of four horseshoes and the reader is encouraged to count how many there are.

This book is a perfect example of speciesist indoctrination. Not only is it assumed that there is no ethical problem with using these animals for human purposes, it is clearly a gross distortion of the reality of the exploitation taking place. And this is presented to the youngest amongst us. Children, the targeted readers, know no better, but we adults should.

Here are some examples of our "friendly" relationships with these animals:

Virtually all chickens, from backyard operations to factory farms, come from hatcheries. Most male chicks are brutally killed as soon as they are hatched and the female chicks live lives of constantly having their reproductive cycles manipulated and exploited before they themselves are killed for no longer serving a purpose to humans. Some 9 billion chickens are killed each year in the US for the taste of their flesh and the taste of their bodily functions.

Pigs only live in sties (or whatever confinement we put them in) because we humans confine them there. Aside from sanctuary settings, they live in confinement for one reason only: so humans can kill them and eat their bodies. Around 120 millions pigs are killed each year for the taste of their muscles.

The wool of sheep is their hair and they have evolved to grow just enough for protection from the cold or to keep cool, depending on the season. Sheep that are not domesticated do not need to be shorn. Regardless of the conditions the sheep are kept in, they are all killed when they no longer serve their purpose to humans and their lambs are killed particularly because of the taste and texture of their flesh. Approximately 3 million sheep and lambs are killed each year in the US.

The vast majority of cows do not live in fields and eat only grass, but even if they did that would not deny the fact that they are exploited and killed for completely unnecessary human purposes. The milk, butter, and cheese that cows "help us" to make is actually derived from the human exploitation of their reproductive cycles and necessarily involves forced impregnation and the killing of unwanted (uneconomical) male calves after they, as well as female calves, are separated from their grieving mothers. The male calves very often become "veal", the flesh of calves. 35 million or so cows are killed every year in the US alone.

Finally, horses do not naturally live in stables. Horses that are feral or have not been domesticated (a rarity) do not by any means enjoy being confined; they may actually travel dozen of miles per day. It is only when they are trained, or "broken", that they become pliant and obedient enough to be used for human service, enjoyment and amusement. Horseshoes are attached (commonly nailed) onto horses' hooves only so horses can be of service to humans. In captivity horses' hooves harden much less than in the "wild" and are more vulnerable to injury. And yes, horses are also killed when they no longer serve a purpose to their human "owners". Tens of thousands of horses are killed for consumption each year but scores more are exploited for mere entertainment, amusement, or obsolete modes of transportation.

A book like Farm Friends denies that animals, particularly "farm animals", have any value other than the value humans give to them, or have a purpose beyond the purpose for which humans exploit them. It denies that these animals have interests in not being exploited and killed, and, in fact, it denies that these animals are exploited and killed at all. This is dishonest and untruthful but unfortunately it is a common tale forced upon our impressionable children from day 1.

It's time that we start teaching our naturally compassionate and empathetic children to respect the interests and intrinsic value of other animals. It's time to stop perpetuating the myth of human superiority to all other animals. It's time to stop forcing the notion of the acceptability of human use of other animals on our children because it's all unnecessary and, in reality, involves committing violence and inflicting suffering and death on fellow sentient beings.

It's time to put books like Farm Friends into the historical archives right next to the many other outdated and embarrassing texts that sought to normalize the exploitation of sentient beings and the privileging of one group at the expense of another group that has been deemed inferior. It's time to reject speciesism and go vegan. It's consistent with the values most of us claim to hold, and it's the truly friendly thing to do for humans, other animals, and the planet we all inhabit.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Our Big 20 Weekers...

19 weeks

18 weeks

17 weeks

16 weeks

15 weeks

Time has just flown by and our sweet little sprouts are 20 weeks old today! At their 4 month well baby check-up they both weighed in at 16 lbs 8 oz and both were the exact same height (26 inches) and even had the same head circumference. AMAZING!!! The pediatrician said that identical stats are very rare even for identical twins. They are in the 75th percentile for weight which means they are larger than 75% of babies. Those stats really mean nothing to us, but so much for the scrawny, malnourished vegan baby theory...

After their 4 month appointment we tried to start them on organic rice cereal, but they did not like it. They didn't want it from the spoon or a bottle with a y-cut nipple. Since they are doing so well the doctor said it wasn't necessary to add it to their diet, so we have given it a rest for now. After their 6 month appointment in September we will begin giving them solids, so that should be very interesting. At 6 months the doctor said I could slowly start introducing soy back to my diet. I could totally live without soy, but Lucas' delicious tofu scramble on a Sunday morning would be nice sometimes.

Astral can roll both back to tummy and tummy to back. The pediatrician said that he was advanced in the rolling from back to tummy department. He has been doing it for over a month now. Defy is rolling tummy to back and attempting to do back to tummy. It is a great new milestone for Astral, but this milestone has a scary aspect to it. As you may now, doctors recommend that babies sleep on their back. When I was a baby they told our parents to put us to sleep on our tummies, when my 14 year old brother and my 13 year old sister were babies they recommended that they sleep on their sides to reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Since the boys were born they had been doing fine on their backs, but now that Astral can choose how he wants to sleep he has decided that his tummy is the most comfortable position. He seems to have total neck and head control and moves his head from side to side with ease, but we are still so paranoid and are constantly checking on him and staring at the video monitor during the night.

Astral and Defy are both laughing out loud now and exercising their vocal cords with coos and glorious screams of joy! We haven't felt any teeth coming up from their gums yet, but they are constantly gnawing on whatever they can get their hands on, including their actual hands. They hold hands and interact more than ever. They love their Exersaucers and standing up with our support. They don't really like their Bumbo seats and seem to be growing out of them already, thankfully they finally enjoy being in their bouncer seats while they watch us in the kitchen. They absolutely love their baths and are generally happy little guys.

Next month we are going to take the boys on their first real road trip. We still aren't comfortable taking them on an airplane, so we've decided to drive. This should be a great adventure. Sometimes they like the car, but most of the times they don't. They seem to be fine if we are moving, but if the car stops it is all over.

The weather has been atrocious, I can't wait for it to get cooler so the boys can stay out for longer periods of time. We went to our first vegan family meet-up last weekend. We had never been to a vegan bbq before so it was very nice to know that every thing to eat was vegan! The boys were able to meet other vegan kiddies. It is very important to us that as they grow up they are around other children who are being raised with the same values.

Our lives totally revolve around these children and we would have it no other way. They enrich our lives and we are excited to show them how to live a compassionate life...