at the conference…

so i’m in vermont, at the uep conference (alumni, be jealous – it’s gorgeous here. no snow, beautiful, and they say it’s superior to wisconsin, although i cannot endorse that kind of statement…)  lovin’ it, and having a goood time in general…my first time in burlington, and what a lovely town.  i’m interacting with a lot of people involved in civil society here, and that is great, but i have to say, as somebody involved in the new york ngo scene, it ends up actually feeling a bit fluffy…i feel like some kind of a conservative for saying that, but everything seems to be focused on people feeling good, and having community, and going to potlucks, and having block parties…actually, i figured out what it is.  it’s that this town is in goood shape.  economically, they are doing well.  the town and gown is relatively well-integrated.  it’s aesthetically a great place.  there’s awareness.  there’s enthusiasm.  and since things are good here, people don’t have to focus quite so much on just issues that are more hardcore, you might say.  for instance…the lgbt community here…instead of focusing on safety issues, education etc that so many places have to have as a main focus, here, it’s focusing on having a strong, vibrant community with lots of activities.  don’t get me wrong, that’s amazing to be able to focus on something so positive instead of having the focus largely on negating the negative (i’m sure there’s a better say to say that, but….).  it’s just weird.  in a good way.  but weird.

 another example…i have had more conversations about breast feeding here than i have in…maybe my whole life?  when i arrived at the airport, there were a bunch of moms and kids protesting delta and united i think for not allowing a mom to breastfeed on a flight.  then i have a conversation with a woman who lives here who tells me about her sister that still breastfeeds her 3 year old.  my friend has a problem with continuing to breastfeed when 1. the child will grow up remembering having nursed and 2. the child is old enough to ask to nurse. 

i wouldn’t say i have a problem with it, but i do agree it’s not a social norm.  anyway, the question around here is more along the lines of…is it okay for a woman to breastfeed her 4 year old kid in public?  i’m not exaggerating on the age.  legally speaking, if it’s legal, it’s legal whether the kid is 3 months or 3 years, i would think.  however, it’s outside the social norm, and after a certain age, i find it very hard to believe arguments that it continues to be beneficial to the child from a nutritional standpoint….and then somebody else tonight mentioned that they have seen a woman breastfeeding a toddler on the street, which struck her as odd.

any comments on the breastfeeding issue are welcome, as i’m completely befuddled by the intensity of the whole conversation up here…i guess it just seems so PRIVILEGED for THAT to be the big debate.  i think that’s what really bugs me about it.

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2 Responses to “at the conference…”

  1. This is totally a question for my parents. I think I was still breastfeeding at 3 but my mom and I have always been close….:) At that age it’s more of a security issue than a nutritional issue. What is important to recognise is that there is no psychological damage to either mother or child to continue to that age or longer and that it is a prized bonding time for both. However, it can affect socialisation if the breastfeeding is getting in the way of daycare or pre-school. I imagine that in pre-birth control society it wasn’t usual to see a woman breastfeeding for so long b/c the likelihood of another child coming along was higher. Something else to add, including the father in breastfeeding bonding time is very beneficial. Also, having a father bottle feed breastmilk to the baby barechested is supposed to reinforce their bond the same way breastfeeding allows bonding with the mother.

  2. Also, I get wigged out when I’m in Northampton and Ithaca because its so unusual to be around liberal, liberal, liberals. I start feeling like my beliefs are roadkill dead center of the freeway- a mix of flat, stunned, overtaxed, exploited and covered in oil stains. Here at SOAS, I’ve started to feel like a political searcher- surrounded by all these Marxists who know exactly what they’re talking about…I feel like I can’t even call myself a Social Democrat without reading three more books. And even then I may be seen as quite a moral/polical relativist as, let’s face it, social democracy has almost completely caved in to 3rd Way neoliberal humanism “the rich are right but the poor should be helped” policies. yikes.

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