Thursday, June 22, 2006
  Old World Theories of Disease

My mother in law, who recently immigrated from Moscow, berated us over the phone tonight for bringing my toddler child up and down the stairs. It made him hot and cold and that caused his pneumonia, which he has thankfully recovered from quite quickly.

While she lived with us over the winter and spring she constantly scolded us for not wearing shoes if we took one step outside. We would get very sick.

Also, we were to massage toddler child's earlobes daily. If we do that, it will make his immunity strong and he will never get sick. She talked a lot about immunity. Some of it made sense, like stress weakens it. But it seems to me from her descriptions that it was more of a psychic entity within her than the multitude of processes we understand it to be.

Another interesting activity I saw her engage in was dressing for the season. This sounds reasonable, except that in this case it was governed by the calendar. She would wear a thick coat and take toddler child out in his furred snowsuit when it was 50F outside before March 21. At 60F, his lighter coat was okay. After March 21, she rarely used the lighter coat at the same 50F temperatures, and herself just a sweater or nothing.

I had heard of this kind of strict calendar adherence, but had thought it was not practiced anymore.

Various other activities have demonstrated to me that she has a very poor idea of germ theory.

This extremely fastidious woman has wiped my child's face with the cloth she just used to wipe the floor. Now, I know it won't kill him. I'm the mom who let him play with a worm, and lets him play in the dirt while I garden. But it still bugged me. I've seen her wash out a toilet a child was sick in, with her bare hands and a rag in the water, with an illness that had already proven to be contagious. The toilet brush was inches away. Not suprisingly, she got sick 24 hours later. It was her poor immune system, from being stressed out, she told us.

Bleach is for making things beautifully white, she has purposefully demostrated to me with the cleaning products I purchased. But it apparently doesn't need to be used on the counter that just had raw chicken juice all over it. A swipe with the three day old sink rag will fix that problem.

Okay, I've vented a little bit. There are a lot of good things about this woman, but her supersitions have driven me slightly batty.

The milk and I both agree that his mother, who we talk to much more regulary now, won't be hearing a lot about our children's illnesses. There is not much she can do about them but worry much more than is necessary (thus depleting her immune system), talk about it incessantly with my brother in law (thus depleting his immune system), and berate us for some strange negligence that doesn't make any sense.
I always get a kick out of the crowd the pushes their particular technique, supplement, etc, for boosting the immune system. Of course nothing anyone can do outside of medicine such as IVIG and GCSF really boosts the immune system and even then not in the way that people would think. The quacks always seem to forget that there are many clinical entities that result from an overactive or misdirected immunse system such as Lupus, rheumatic fever, rheumatoid arthritis, etc and their product or methods, if they worked, could potentially cause or worsen these auto-immune problems. But they will often claim that their treatments will cure such diseases. I hope that made sense. I tend to ramble.
It isn't just the old world ideas. My own mother and MIL hold to their own unproven and (to me) outdated ideas.

This is no where near the same thing as your MIL's idea of germ theory, but my mom asked me if my son, just 8 months, would stand or walk better with shoes on. I don't know where pediatricians stand on this, but I put shoes on only when the kids wants to go outside on terrain that could hurt the feet.
No shoes needed until potential toe or foot damage is a concern such as you said about going outside. They need to be able to practice on bare(or non-skid socked/footed pajamas)feet thus improving their balance and leg strength first.
It made sense, Clark. I've noticed with quacks that there doesn't seem to be a clear concept of cause and effect.

The one thing about grandmas (and grandpas) is that they do care, and they are just trying to help, even if their advice is sometimes mislead.

I heard about an interesting study a few years ago that women live well past menopause in order to support their daughters. Women whose mothers were still living had on average more children than women who didn't have mothers during their child bearing years. Called it the grandmother effect, I think.

I'm not fond of shoes, myself. I would go barefoot all the time if I could. I love feeling the world through my feet, and I like having barefoot babies. My MIL scolded me a lot.
Nice blog! Not only do you have a nice blog, but I love granola! *LOL*

Thank you kindly for the blogroll ... I'm going to blogroll you right now! :o)

By the way ... I hate shoes ... !
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A Mormon housewife who loves truth, science, rational thought, and reasonable action.

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Location: Utah

Granola is a mix of things: grains, nuts, bits of dried fruit, maybe some coconut. There's some fat in it, and it's a good source of fiber to keep those arteries and colons clean.

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