August 2005


Thanks, Mike I do not read Chicago Parent on a regular basis. If I see one I’ll pick it up. If not, I don’t miss it. The June 2005 issue just happened to be in my neighborhood park district lobby. I haven’t set foot in this facility for almost a year. Coincidence? I don’t believe in them. After reading Mike Phillips’ essay, “Saying goodbye to Jack,” I am compelled to write you. Your essay hit home.        

Thank you for sharing your heart. I am a single father. My son is 22 months old. His name is Connor. His mother moved out of state with him approximately eight months ago. I have started court proceedings to attempt to gain custody. People tell me my chances are slim to none. But I know I must try.

I didn’t know how to put my feelings into words until I read your essay. I cried. For months I wondered if my son would remember me after not seeing me for two weeks. If he knows the sound of my voice on the phone when I call. If he knows that I love him. And what it’s doing to him that I’m not around to “do the day-to-day.”

I seem to have always had an extremely close bond with my son from the day he was born. It’s the insecurity, the self-doubt that creeps in when I’m not with him. Perhaps it’s something I’ll have to live with for many years to come.         

This Father’s Day was special for me because of your essay. Again, thank you. It was what I needed at just the right time. And for whatever it’s worth, your son knows you love him.

Happy Father’s Day, Mike. GLENN IWAOKA Elk Grove Village Benefits of massage for colic As an infant massage instructor and parent, I read Judith Weinstein’s article about colic (“The fourth trimester: colic,” June 2005) hoping she would mention how helpful massage therapy is for relieving colic. Alas, she did not.

I massaged my own adopted son every day from age 3 days until 7 months. Infant massage has too many benefits to list, but it speeds up a child’s neurological development and relieves colic. There is a “colic relief routine” that works wonders.

There are also a number of different ways to hold a baby to help him pass gas. I encourage every parent to learn how to massage their child. There are classes throughout Chicagoland. LESLIE KAHN Chicago Bad sex advice I’m writing to you with mixed emotions. I want to congratulate you on your article about colic (June 2005). I found it so helpful I sent it to my sister-in-law in Minnesota, who is due in July.

But I was deeply disturbed by the guidance in the article “Is there sex after children” by Liz DeCarlo (April 2005). Sex therapist Laura Berman’s statement that “Women will find that if they make themselves sexually available, men will feel connected and women will enjoy the after-effects. ... Sex is a way to show men they’re still important” is particularly offensive.

The words have lingered in my head as the smell of cooked cabbage lingers in an unventilated kitchen. All I can think is that if I followed this advice, the sexual component of my marriage would be destroyed, followed shortly by my marriage. This is the worst sexual advice I have ever seen. 

The strange thing is, I agreed with the article up until Berman’s quote. Until then, the article did a good job suggesting men and women are equally responsible for their sexual relationship. That quote took all the equality back and placed it in the woman’s lap, which is where it doesn’t belong.

If there is a problem in the sexual relationship, trying to make sex happen won’t fix it. The foundations of sex are in the the emotional intimacy. A couple needs to first “fix” the problems in their emotional chemistry. Sex is a result of the emotional bond, not a generator of it. 

In short, for an enjoyable and healthy sex life within a marriage with children, Berman’s advice should be completely disregarded. JENNIFER WESTERN Johnsburg Big family story hit home I was pleased with your article “Not necessarily cheaper (or easier) by the half-dozen: How today’s large families make it work” (July 2005). I am getting married in August and my future husband and I want a large family—at least five children.

When I tell that to people, they are shocked. We are both college educated and make enough money to provide a good home. This article was refreshing because you too often hear about how impossible it is to provide for so many children.

I hope my future children will benefit from being a part of a large group and will be better people because of it.

Thank you for addressing this important but often not talked about topic. MICHELLE MANTIA Chicago Don’t declaw the cat As a parent and the director of Tree House Animal Foundation, which rescues injured and abused stray cats, I was alarmed to read a letter about an incident in which a cat attacked a woman’s son (June 2005). This incident would cause any parent to take precautions to prevent it from happening again.

However, declawing is cruel and harmful. At Tree House, we found that declawed cats are more likely to bite, perhaps because they feel their natural defense system has been taken away, or in reaction to the pain that often lingers after declawing. 

Education in proper animal care and handling, as well as supervision of kids, are keys to avoiding harmful situations.

Tree House Animal Foundation offers a volunteer program to educate kids and young adults in animal care and handling. For more information, visit our Web site, www.treehouseanimals.org. DAVID DE FUNIAK Tree House Animal Foundation, Chicago


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