Monday, October 20, 2008

Updates and a Question

Here are some updates to stories the reader has probably not been following, as this blog just started on Friday. So I will provide a bit of background.

--The little poker's poking finger is healing well, and not even a band-aid was needed today, which is good, because he has learned to take off bandages by sucking on them until they are not sticky anymore. (The poor guy got it into a cooling fan a little more than a week ago.)

--I called a former coworker now working in my hometown where I am looking at getting a postdoc (see prior post), but he wasn't there and hasn't called me back. I hope it's not because he is unsatisfied with his position (in my message I made it clear that I wanted to talk about my applying there). It's likely he is just busy.

--My mom is visiting most of this week, and babysitting the LP. We are taking the opportunity to do some volunteer work tonight to help with bicycle safety. Hopefully lots of people will come to our station even though it is getting cold (soon it will be too cold to ride without gloves and a hat).

--We decided to try to add another even littler poker to the Tinkering family! I guess what we decided was to go for late July, as we already knew we wanted another little one. I am not sure if my thesis defense can be scheduled before late July, but earlier is better for other reasons. 1) My mom can come help, as she doesn't work in summer. 2) It will be (much?) cheaper, because we will get all our prenatal lab tests on the same "policy year" as labor+delivery, allowing me to only go up to one year's worth of out-of-pocket-maximum costs (plus any random charges they decide not to cover). This is especially important since our little trip to the ER last week for the LP's finger. Maybe we can even get to our family out-of-pocket-maximum, which I think is smaller than 2-3 individual out-of-pocket maxima (I hope!). 3) Wouldn't it be silly to let the unscheduled thesis defense get in the way of my long-term family planning? Especially because now I will have a reason to work hard and finish earlier! 4) If we don't get pregnant on the first try, we still have time to have the baby during grad school (the basic idea is that schedules are more flexible than with a "real job").

--We have been getting ready for the even littler poker, though we are a little less prepared than last time. We just got our flu shots. I started taking vitamins just a few weeks ago, though I really should have been taking them still, since the LP is nursing, but I had run out of my prescription (they are free from the student health people if you have a prescription, so I had to do the doctor's appointment thing first).

--I have not yet told my mother about the next baby, but I know there will be a "discussion" about naming. The LP took my husband's last name because he shared his gender, and now the next one is supposed to take my surname. The other surname is/will be the middle name in both cases. Mom is not interested in the kids having different last names, but I think they will be fine. She claims that it "sounds funny" to put my husband's last name before mine, supposedly because of the particular names that they are, but I think the real reason she thinks it sounds funny is that she is looking for another excuse to be against the kids-have-different-last-names decision.

I have one question for the hypothetical blog reader(s): is it ethical to try to have a baby of a certain gender? Recently some research suggested that there might be a slightly better chance of having a girl if the mother does not eat breakfast (there was an apparently somewhat plausible reason for this discussed in the paper). Even if this is a real effect, if I stop eating breakfast the chance of having a girl is not changed very much. However, I wonder if it is a bad idea anyway. It strikes me as a poor frame of mind to put oneself in, that one kind of child is more desired than another. Somehow it seems like there is an ethical line between thinking it would be nice to have a certain kind of child and actually doing something to make it so (whether that something works is beside the point).

1 comment:

GM? said...

About trying to have a baby of a certain sex ... I think the social context should be considered when deciding whether this is ethical. In India there is a large part of the population that prefers male children. This has led to aborting female fetuses, female infanticide, and a declining sex ratio. Trying to determine the sex of a baby before birth is therefore illegal. It seems that trying to have a male child in this scenario may be construed as unethical. But what of trying to have a female child? And, in the absence of such a pressure on the sex ratio, or the social justice issues that may surround the preference for a child of a certain sex, I don't see why trying to have a baby of a certain sex should be unethical. I guess this is one case where applying theoretical limits would give you bogus answers.