Harambe: An Unfortunate Situation

This story has been in the media so much lately, that I had to speak on it. In case you aren’t aware, let me summarize what happened…

A 4 year old Ohio boy and his mother were visiting their local zoo. Upon viewing the Gorilla exhibit, the boy was heard by witnesses expressing desire to go into the cage with the Gorilla (of course, because what 4 year old doesn’t want to go play with wild animals? Hell, I know grown men who want to do that!). His mother was even heard telling him “No (because, of course, no 4 year old belongs in zoo exhibits playing with wild animals!), you can’t.” So at some point, she takes her focus off of him, and he is able to breach security around the enclosure, and fall into the moat surrounding the animal. Zookeepers had to make the decision to put Harambe, the 17-year old adult male silverback, down rather than tranquilizing. This was the measure taken for getting the boy out-who was being dragged and tossed around by the gorilla. These are the facts. Now, everything else is up for opinion and debate…

And the internet has been FULL of opinion and debate! Opinions on this mother’s parenting, the measures taken by the Cincinnati Zoo, the Gorilla’s intentions… there has been much speculation on exactly how long this child was “left unattended”, how he was able to break into the enclosure itself, the security itself surrounding the animals….

This tragedy has launched not only petitions to have the parents of the child charged criminally, but full on investigations by CPS and the Cincinnati Police, on the family in question. The Zoo is also reportedly under investigation by Animal Welfare Agencies to determine exactly how the security could have been broken by a 4 year old boy.

Now, at the time I am writing this post, I have read that the police have concluded their investigation and decided not to recommend charging the parents. Whether or not this is done, at this point, is anyone’s guess. But throughout all the media coverage and internet hype, all I can really think about this case, is how unfortunate it is.

It is unfortunate that the boy’s mother lost sight of him long enough, be it 5 seconds or 25 minutes, that he was able to get into the Gorilla exhibit. It is unfortunate that Harambe, (maybe trying to protect the boy, maybe simply confused) had that much interaction with the child, and didn’t just run away when the boy fell into the pit. It is unfortunate that the zookeepers had to make the difficult decision to put their beloved Gorilla down, one of a very endangered population.

It’s even more unfortunate that the parent’s are being investigated for negligence, and may even have charges pressed against them. And it’s unfortunate that the Zoo is now under the scrutiny of PETA and other Animal Welfare agencies.

But you know what would have been even more unfortunate than all that? The 4 year old boy dying. Then, the Gorilla would still have been put down, all these investigations and petitions would still be launched…but a mother would have to go through the grieving process of losing her child during everything as well.

I can be as petty as the next person, I can be as understanding as another. Opinions aside, everyone should be able to agree that this situation could have had a much more horrific turnout than it did.

Whether you think this mother is as negligent as they come, or mother of the year – the Gorilla was a gentle giant or a monster gone mad – the zookeepers stupid as hell or very educated in their field and decisions…can we all just agree on one thing?

That one thing being that, essentially, this was just a very Unfortunate Situation for everyone involved.


Potty Training From a First-Timer


Potty Training From A First Timer

Approaching time to Potty Train? Continue reading “Potty Training From a First-Timer”

The Countdown Begins…

My son turned 11 months old yesterday. And with this, our countdown begins.

He will be a year old in just one month. It feels like I only had him a month ago. Where has the time gone? Somewhere between the hundreds of diaper changes, bath times,  nursing sessions, and (the first of many) baby giggles, the time has been lost.

Just 11 months ago, my husband held our tiny newborn, and lamented on how frustrating it was that he couldn’t play with him yet. “He doesn’t really do much but look at you.”
Now they wrestle in the floor and use blankets to play peekaboo. They push their toy trucks around the floor and Dad teaches him to say “vroom”.  Baths are splash wars.

The past year has went by entirely too quick for my taste. I love watching him grow stronger, smarter, and bigger, each day. But I still wish I had my tiny baby.

This month, we will probably take more pictures than ever, cementing the “infant” time as much as we can. He will be a toddler soon, as terrifying as that is. And considering how fast this year has went by, the “terrible twos” will be here before we know it. Even though I think he started that phase months ago.

This first year, we have been lucky to have a healthy boy with no medical problems or emergency situations. And as a first time mom, I feel more confident as a parent that if I can survive this long, that I CAN do this. I’ve learned a lot-not just about babies or child-rearing-but about myself. And we still have a long journey ahead of us.


Ohana: Pet’s Are Family Too

Family comes in many forms. I have one human son. In reality, I really have two children.
When my husband and I first began our “serious relationship”, our first major stepping stone together as a couple, aside from co-habitation, was adopting our cat. I originally wanted a cat, and saw a mother and two kittens lingering around the fire escape. Logically, I couldn’t just rescue one; it needed it’s sibling. And they couldn’t be without Mum. Luckily for Ryan, a neighbor took them in during this conversation in which I was trying to convince him that we needed them more than they needed us. He wanted absolutely no pets – so he compromised and we got Dimitri.
I searched Craigslist for local rescues and found the cutest Russian Blue – a phone call and short trip to PetSmart and an hour later, we brought our little “fur baby” home. He was rescued by a couple in Jacksonville (Florida) who not only take in animals, but perform “Native American Weddings and Paranormal Investigations.” (I thought it an odd mix, but I don’t ask questions) They adopted Dimitri the day before he would have been put down at the animal shelter, being there too long. They put the animals, mostly cats, back online to find forever homes. We donated a bag of kitten food in exchange for our kitty, and as much as I really wanted ALL of the other kittens in the crate he was hanging out with, I knew Ryan wouldn’t allow it. It literally took weeks to convince him of one, after three already didn’t work, so best not to push my luck.
Since the first night at home, Dima (his shorter name) has slept in our bed, forcing one of us to share a pillow. Yes, he needs a pillow for his head. He also requires the milk from your cereal, his cat-nip stuffed sea turtle must be object of a game at least once a night, and he ‘helps’ you in the bathroom by keeping one company while you’re…doing whatever in there.  He has his own ways and personality. Ryan and I have both commented on how fitting it was that we ended up with him, and how he filled our home with so much more love.
Then when I became pregnant, we excitedly told Dima he was going to be a “big brother” and made promises to always give him enough attention. “Nothing will be any different.” I even joked that a day would come that I would find myself holding either the fur or human child as my husband held the other, and we would have to “switch off”, so they didn’t grow jealous. I wasn’t prepared for the cynicism towards my beloved cat that soon followed. Too many times I heard, “You gotta get rid of that cat. They’re bad for pregnant women. They’re bad for babies.”
The thing is: you wouldn’t “get rid” of your first child, for absolutely no reason, when you’re expecting another. Why would you do the same to a pet? Especially one you raised since a baby (er..kitten)! Your animals depend on you for everything: love, security, sustenance, connection…why would you just abandon them? Sometimes, in unfortunate circumstances, pets need to be rehomed, but for just no reason other than, “Well, you’re going to have a real baby now…”the whole notion just strikes me as absurd.
Toxoplasmosis is very real, and can lead to a lot of harmful complications with the developing fetus, including blindness. BUT, as my midwife put it, “You don’t have to get rid of your cat. Just don’t play with it’s poop.” I avoided the litterbox and either my husband or Mom cleaned it. Other than that, Dimitri posed no risk to my growing baby, and I didn’t have to give him away.
I eventually came to the conclusion that some people are just that heartless – they could adopt a pet and love it, and give it a good life. And then just turn their back, at the drop of a hat. Sure, most will make sure they find it a good home, but that doesn’t mean the poor animal is going to adjust easily or forget quickly.  If you aren’t willing to make a lifelong commitment to an animal, then don’t adopt. Because they don’t deserve to have the only home they know taken away, for no other reason than disinterest. Especially when they pose no real threat that can’t be contained.


When we adopted Dima, we made that promise-that we would be there for his entire life. Dima is no different than my other child. I’m his Mom-and he needs me. Writing this has reminded of the Disney movie ‘Lilo & Stitch’ and it’s true… “Ohana means family”. No one is left behind or forgotten. Your pets are family too. He’s now two (human) years old, and absolutely loves his “little brother”…most of the time. We are working on not chasing our kitty around the house.

The real Dimitri Hewitt

Ugly Truth: #BehindTheFeed

We’ve all seen it in our Instagram news feed – The perfect, all organic meal on a trendy glass plate, white lace background with a little flower in the corner that scream’s “Fresh Picked This Morning!” Complete with the hashtags that are all too familiar ; #healthyeating, #onmytable, #onlythebest

It’s easy to see scenes like this and think that the person behind the photo must have everything all together (especially for a mom) based on this one picture. it’s an inevitable conclusion if the entire feed is that way-spotless, white background, designer labels, and trendy staples.

But here’s the ugly truth: I don’t care who you are, no one has a spotless, perfect life. @jasminea5100

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We all might want one, but no one really has one.

Social media has made this illusion stronger than ever before. What was once just little tidbits heard at playdates and parks, now can be seen through the feeds, with links to favorite coffee houses that can make those awesome little foam animals that, if you’re like most moms, usually melt before you get a sip because, you know, kids. I admit, I use those same hashtags and I take pictures of my coffee treats. I do try to show the best photos I have. But, I do let a few unsightly ones slip through that show the true chaos within most homes. And that’s what #behindthefeed is about.

Alexie Flook, Blogger of AlwaysAlexie, came up with the idea to celebrate our imperfections as well as our perfect moments, with the  hashtag “#behindthefeed” and challenged other bloggers to join in with 2 weeks of showcasing the messy, blurry, uncoordinated truth behind those awesome Instagram posts. I loved this idea-because it’s true!

Behind each white background of flowers in a pretty vase, there’s 20 pictures of blur and toddler hands grabbing at petals that didn’t make the cut. Behind every flawless selfie, there’s 10 more that show the avocado stain on your neckline. And behind each family picture, there’s at least 5 of your husband and kids making an un-photogenic face. People just don’t see these! Thus, the illusion can sometimes work on those of us (including me!) that see these kinds of pictures within our feed, and look around the messy living room and wilting flowers from Mother’s Day we still haven’t thrown away, and wonder “How do they find the time?”

Kicking off June 8th, 2016, stay tuned to see the silly side, the messy side, the blurs and chaos, that is #behindthefeed, and check out AlwaysAlexie for the complete (and growing!) list of participating bloggers! And Thank YOU Alexie for allowing me to join in on the fun!