Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Can't Keep UpDate

So much has been happening that I can't keep up.  For those of you not following Facebook or who may have missed it there, here's the most important update of late, posted to fb last Friday:

This is my baby with the superintendent, Dr. Carstarphen, after the board meeting on November 19.

We have made a difference! I received an email from Dr. Carstarphen, and based on Mr. Waxler's recommendation following comments from the SHAC members, the existing regulation has been rescinded, effective immediately!

I am thrilled at this news! I look forward to working with the district in the creation
of a new policy that will follow Texas law & serve as a model for other school districts in Texas & throughout the country. I love this town of ours, & I will be even prouder to live here when AISD has a new mother- & baby-friendly regulation in place.

We couldn't have gotten this far without hundreds & hundreds of thoughtful and respectful people - thank you all so much for everything you've done - whether it was clicking "Like" on this page, sharing the petition, writing the district or calling a legislator - it all matters. It all added up to make a big difference, so from the bottom of our hearts, thank you! Please stay tuned in as we continue this process. When there's a new policy that upholds the law & respects breastfeeding mothers, that's when it'll officially be a victory.

And then - the rest of Texas. :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My Birthday Wish

Tonight I celebrated my birthday by attending a meeting of the School Health Advisory Council (SHAC).  I'll try to write more on that later, but I just want to quick post my birthday wish. 

I hope that the support of many of the SHAC members tonight leads to a change in the district regulation to one that reads something like this:

AISD recognizes that breastfeeding is an important and basic act of nurture that must be encouraged in the interests of maternal and child health and family values.  It is also crucial for public health and reducing health care costs.   The Texas Legislature says that a mother is entitled to breastfeed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be.

In keeping with these principles, mothers are welcome to breastfeed on AISD school campuses.  Therefore, a visitor who is breastfeeding her baby may not be denied the right to be in any part of a campus that would otherwise be available to her.  If she requests, a breastfeeding mother must be given access to the private room designated by the campus principal to be used by employees to breastfeed or pump.  Any offer to use this room should be made only with genuine assurances that the mother is welcome to breastfeed her baby wherever she chooses.

Editor's Note:  Above is the language we proposed before the winter break.  Below is what I originally posted here, before Marianne Baker and I worked on it some more.

"It is the policy of the Austin Independent School District to comply with Texas law, which protects a woman's right to breastfeed wherever she is authorized to be. A visitor will not be denied a right to be in any part of a campus that would otherwise be available to her. If she requests, a nursing mother shall be provided access to the private room designated by the campus principal to be used by nursing employees. Any offer to use this room should be made only with genuine assurances that the mother is welcome to feed her baby wherever she chooses.”

Sunday, December 2, 2012

KEYE News Interview 11/21/12

I had my 15 minutes of fame in high school when I was cast as Claire Zachanassian in "The Visit."  So I'm good.  I had my moment in the sun.  I wasn't/am not looking for a spotlight.  

When I realized that I was going to need to "go public" to find enough support to have any hope of convincing AISD to change their policy, I thought about remaining anonymous.  I even made up a pen name for my blog - Kaydee Pine - not much real significance there, besides the fact that it felt super dorky - or at least, just really not right.  

Then a friend on Facebook (cause I asked my fb friends if it was super dorky to use a pen name, because I'm a terribly indecisive person) basically likened being anonymous to nursing in the private room.  

That resonated with me, and I scrapped my efforts to move my blog under a nom de plume.

I'm an introvert.  I prefer to express myself in writing rather than verbally.  In elementary school, kids thought I was a snob.  But I was just intensely shy and quiet - I didn't even want to talk to a waiter to order for myself in restaurants.  Now, at 36, I can order a meal from a stranger without anxiety, but ask me to give a sound bite to a question on camera - ugh.  

So I put off doing a news interview as long as I felt I could, even though I was contacted by a couple of news anchors who wanted to plan for an interview.  Then Mel Waxler was quoted in the Austin-American Statesman and I felt our point of view deserved representation in the news media.

I was so stressed when another anchor, Cassie Gallo from KEYE-TV, called unexpectedly and asked if I wanted to do an interview not in a week or two but in 45 minutes. I was so stressed that when my kids went bonkers about me leaving the house without them, I was totally calm.  

You know that spectrum of stress responses to your children that starts out at 1 - calm and laid back, then gradually ramps up to 10 - yelling like you're the three-year-old.  But when your stress is so intense you speed past 10 and find yourself at 11+ and then - you're all zen. 

That's how freaked I was - zen freaked.

I managed to string together enough sentences to not look like an idiot.  And here it is, if you didn't catch it on Facebook a week and a half ago:

This links to our YouTube channel, to which you can subscribe. 

You can also see it on KEYE-TV's website where there are a handful of comments, and there are many more comments in their Facebook discussion.

I hate that I'm supposed to end blog posts with a question to encourage discussion, but I do what I gotta do.  So - how cute is my baby?!