Higgledy Piggledy

Higgledy piggledy
Wiggledy wump,
I met a man
Who caught a mump:
With his left cheek lumpy
And his right cheek bumpy –
Higgledy piggledy
Wiggledy wump.

Higgledy piggledy
Sniggledy sneezle,
I met a man
Who caught a measle:
With his chest all dots
And his face all spots –
Higgledgy piggledy
Sniggledy sneezle.
– Alligator Pie, Dennis Lee, 1939

I read this book to the kids the other night.  My daughter loves the illustrations and this one in particular.  She asked me what a mump and measle was.  I explained that they were illnesses caused by germs (viruses) but that most of us don’t get them anymore because of vaccines. She kind of understands what vaccines are, I explained how it’s a needle that she gets that protects her from illnesses like the one described in the story.  She seemed satisfied with that, so we continued reading the book.

But my mind stayed on Higgledy Piggledy, primarily because of the news recently.  There have been outbreaks of measles in a few Canadian cities, mostly in communities where the vaccination rates are frighteningly low.  In the nation’s capital, Ottawa, a young boy contracted measles after returning from the Philippines, a trip he took with his parents.  The child wasn’t vaccinated.  Upon returning home, he became ill and went to not one, not two, but three different walk-in clinics (including an emergency room) before getting diagnosed. Meanwhile, the child was infecting his classmates at school, not to mention a potentially vulnerable population in the ER.  Within a few weeks, another four cases were confirmed.  Another outbreak is also happening in British Columbia.

I’ve written a lot about vaccines.  I’m not going to belabor the point, I believe vaccines work and I believe they are safe.  I don’t believe they cause autism and I believe that, in the end, after all is said and done, vaccines save lives.

Back in 1939, Dennis Lee was born. Decades later he wrote a poem about mumps and measles.  He likely had the illnesses as a child.  He probably recovered.  Not everyone he knew would have been that lucky.

Please vaccinate your children.

The (Almost) Daily Purge.

Day 25. National Blog Posting Month.

Anyone who knows us knows that we have a lot of stuff.  Be it books, DVDs, jackets, shoes, you name it, my house is full of it.  We have a home that looks lived in.  (That’s a nice way of saying messy.)  Anytime we go to our friend’s homes, we realize just how messy we live and we vow to change.

A few weeks ago, husband and I went through our countless bookshelves and selected about 20-30 books that we know we will not read again.  Then we went through the children’s toys and chose several stuffed animals and other toys that haven’t been played with, put them all into garbage bags and together with the books, hauled them off to the local Goodwill. It may not appear to have made much of difference to the outsider’s eye but we have already seen a difference.

And then the Princess had her birthday.  And got all those dolls, and stickers, and tea set.

So, husband took another look at the toy box in the kids’ bedroom and came downstairs with this:

toys

The Princess wasn’t too pleased to be parting with her beloved stuffies (which, by the way she hasn’t been seen playing with in months), but was happy to hear that other boys and girls would get to play with them.  With Christmas coming up, I’m sure there will be plenty more toys for her to play with.  Yay! [insert eyeroll here]

My closet and dresser drawers are the next project, but realistically, it seems prudent to wait until all the baby weight is gone.  So, sometime in 2015 is my guess, but that’s another post.

Putting the mobile device down …

I used to be an avid reader.  I say “used to”, because, frankly, I think its been over a year since I actually finished a book.

Growing up, there were quite possibly hundreds of books in my parent’s house.  Books were everywhere.  I was always encouraged to read from a very young age. My father learned English by reading Louis L’Amour novels with a dictionary.  I seem to recall learning to read with a light-operated pen, much like the modern-day LeapFrog reading systems.   In grade school, we had to keep track of all the books we read each school year.  I still have reading logs from those days showing that I would read up to 100+ books in a school-year.

One of my favorite series was The Girls of Canby Hall. I think at one point I had all of the books.  I loved reading about the girls who lived in a boarding school.  I would often imagine what it’d be like to go to boarding school.  Now that I think about it, my dreams of having a group of girlfriends originated from reading this series.

As a teenager, I started reading a lot of my father’s books.  At the tender age of 14, I was introduced to the world of Sidney   Sheldon.  To this day, “If Tomorrow Comes” remains on of my all-time favorite novels and made-for-TV movies.  The movie is incredibly cheesy but what a fun ride!  I remember Sheldon’s novels always had strong female characters which resonated with me from a very young age.

In my later teens I started reading Tom Clancy.  I remember being fascinated with the world of espionage and if I’m not mistaken, the first novel my father suggested I read was “The Hunt for Red October”.  I must have read it at least two or three times before I really understood the book.  Of course, once the movie came out, the book made complete sense!

The last meaningful book I read was W. Somerset Maugham’s “Of Human Bondage“. I think what drew me to the novel was that the main character attended medical school, but it is so much more than just a man becoming a doctor.  It was a fascinating read and while I rarely read the classics, it reminded me of just how incredible these works of literature really are.  A couple of friends of mine are involved in a book club that plans on reading 100 of the best classic novels over the next 9 years.  It is quite a feat!  I was invited to join but declined for now.  Maybe once I get back into the swing of reading regularly, I will reconsider joining.

One might ask why, if I was such an avid reader, I stopped reading.  The answer is simple. Damn iPhone.

Seriously.  Since I got the iPhone, my nighttime reading has declined dramatically.  Instead, my nightly routine is to:

  • 1) check email
  • 2) check Twitter
  • 3) review Facebook
  • 4) browse Pinterest
  • 5) play Sudoku
  • 6) turn off light and fall asleep

The other night, husband told me he put down his iPhone at bedtime and opened up a book. Within two pages of reading, he’d fallen asleep.  I think it’s time to put the mobile device away at bedtime and open up a book.  So, yesterday, husband and I took the baby to the local bookstore while the older two kids were at school.  I found two books – the first, a fun read, Michael Crichton’s posthumously published “Micro“, and the second, an intelligent read, “Far from the Tree“, by Andrew Solomon.

Now it’s time to put the computer away and open up a book.