Open Letter to Judge Marco Roldan

Missouri Court Cites Woman for Bringing Breastfeeding Baby to Jury Duty

A Missouri judge has actually cited a breastfeeding mother for bringing her baby with her to jury duty!  This is the letter I sent him about it.

Judge Marco Roldan
Judge Marco Roldan 

Dear Judge Roldan,

 Like many other women across the nation I’ve learned about your mistreatment of a breastfeeding mother that was called for jury duty under you.  The woman, like any other breastfeeding mother in her situation, brought the baby with her.  Your response was to criminally cite her.
I don’t know you, so I don’t know if your actions are based in a complete disregard for mothers, for breastfeeding, for babies or for women.  It’s difficult to believe that you did not realize that the options that you offered the juror were not realistic and that they would put the baby in danger.
You suggested that the mother leave her baby at home or bring someone with her to take the baby and feed it during breaks.  Leaving aside the question of where the mother could find a babysitter to do this job and how she could pay her, which is not a trivial matter for a stay at home mom, these suggestions show a complete lack of understanding and concerns for the needs of breastfeeding babies.
First of all, breastfed babies are often fed on demand.  The baby cries or behaves in a distinctive way letting the mom know she’s hungry, and then mom picks her up and feeds her.  How often this happens depends on the baby, some do it every half an hour, some every 2 or 3, but the idea of letting a baby cry itself out and be hungry until the mom is ready to feed him has been proven to be cruel and traumatic for babies.
Your suggestion that the mother “pump” is equally ignorant.  Pumping is not something that breastfeeding women, in particular first-time mothers, can casually do. Pumping is an extremely inefficient way of getting milk out.  I was fairly good at it and it would take me 20 minutes hooked to a hospital-grade pump to get 4 oz of milk. If I used an electric one-breast pump, I’d be lucky to get 1 oz in 20 minutes.  That is definitely not enough for a baby.  And it takes time to learn how to pump efficiently.  A mom who has never done it, is unlikely to take on to it immediately.  I did not read that you offered her the services of a lactation consultant or to buy her a state of the art pump so she could serve.
Even if she could pump (and assuming that she would have stayed up the night before to pump so she could leave the milk for the baby), how do you know that the baby in question would take a bottle? Many breastfed babies don’t. It’s either breastfeeding or going hungry.  Do you actually believe it’s OK to let a baby go hungry?
Frankly, your lack of concern for this mother is deeply troubling.  If you treat a woman who is trying to fulfill her civic duty – she actually showed up to jury duty! — with so much contempt, how do you treat criminal defendants? How do you treat any other woman that comes before you?
As an outsider, I cannot believe that you can possibly be a fair judge.  Your lack of concern and humanity prevents that.
Honestly, I think you should resign and find a career where you cannot so easily harm others.
Sincerely,
Margarita Lacabe
a mom

All I want for Xmas – Mika style.

A couple of days ago Mike took the girls to Children’s Fairyland to see a puppet show. They also got to meet with Santa Claus, who was “holding court” in the chapel, and of course ask them what they wanted for Christmas.
Camila, predictably, wants “Hello Kitty” stuff – she doesn’t care what stuff. Mika, however, had a more interesting request. She told Santa, in this public forum, that what she wanted was for everyone to stop believing in God. You see, she’s very much upset at Jesus since she found out that Christianity is responsible for the demise of beliefs in the old Greek, Egyptian and Norse gods. Those gods are much cooler than Jesus/Jehova (really, who can deny that?) and she’s sad nobody believes on them anymore.
I wasn’t there, but apparently Santa – who must never have heard that request before – handled it very well, told her he’d have to talk to the “General” about that and asked her if she wanted to ask for something else instead. Mika said: “A Pleo“.
Alas, we don’t think she’ll get either.

My little tooth fairy

Everyone who knows my 8-year-old daughter Mika, knows that she is quite amazing. She’s incredibly smart, has an uncanny ability to connect seemingly disparate concepts (for example, she just equated the way recipes and cooking methods evolve over time, to the way folktales change as people relate them to each other – forgetting parts and adding new parts), she has exceptional social skills and is a great kid. I love hearing how her little mind works – what concepts she takes to, and which ones she rejects.
At this age, she strongly identifies with me and is, therefore, a profound atheist (I’d even say a virulent atheist, but that’s something we’re working on). She is very much into science and the notion of “evidence”, rejecting beliefs when there is not evidence to prove them (thus her rejection of god/gods). BUT, she’s still a kid and wants to hold on to some magical beliefs. In particular, she believes in Santa Claus, the tooth fairy and unicorns.
With respect to Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, she has evidence of their existence. After all, she gets presents from Santa for Christmas and money under her pillow when she loses a tooth (enormous amounts of money, the tooth fairy never seems to have change when needed). Who can argue against that? She has postulated the notion that we might be the ones leaving the presents/money – but she has never asked outright, which makes me think that she wants to hold on to the fantasy. As for unicorns, she thinks nobody has ever seen them because they are very shy 🙂
Mike went away to a conference for a few days last week, so the girls spent at least part of the night sleeping on my bed. Saturday morning, Camila (who is 5) and I awoke to Mika’s excited voice “Look, Camila, there is something under your pillow”. It was an envelope – addressed to Camila from the Tooth Fairy. Inside there was a dollar, some stickers and a Hello Kitty writing pad! Camila had not lost a tooth, but she was super excited all the same!!! To be finally be visited by the Tooth Fairy! Mika was so cute, making gestures to let me know it had really been her and making sure I wouldn’t say anything 🙂
She did give herself up later on when she mentioned that she had no money because she had given it all to Camila. Camila figured out that the money she got must have come from Mika, not the tooth fairy (she’s smart too!), but I can’t imagine a sweeter action than to bring a little bit of magic to her sister.
Despite how much the two of them fight (mostly because Camila is an attention monster, and she becomes annoying/mean when Mika doesn’t pay enough attention to her), it’s amazing just how much they love each other – and what a great big sister Mika is.

Books for Mika

Mika’s birthday is a month away and if someone is looking for a present for her, I have a few book suggestions. I haven’t looked at these books, but they do look good at Amazon. They are all by the publishing arm of American Girl:
Tear Up This Book!: The Sticker, Stencil, Stationery, Games, Crafts, Doodle, And Journal Book For Girls!
Psst: Secret Instructions Every Girl Should Know
A Smart Girl’s Guide to Staying Home Alone
A Smart Girl’s Guide to Friendship Troubles
Stand Up for Yourself and Your Friends: Dealing with Bullies and Bossiness and Finding a Better Way
Mini Mysteries: 20 Tricky Tales to Untangle
What’s So Funny?: Silly Stickers, Wacky Jokes, Funny Posters, Crazy Photos, and More!