It’s a good time to be gluten intolerant

When my father first embarked on a gluten free diet, it was difficult and expensive to maintain. As the years have gone by, though, products are becoming more and more easily available. Not just in health food stores or online, but in mainstream supermarkets and at reasonable prices. And if there is something you can’t find (like really yummy hot cross buns and crumpets), you can always get good quality gluten free flour and make it yourself. Options are expanding all the time. And today I found gluten free Weet-Bix from Sanitarium! They’re made from sorghum, and they are actually really good. I am so thrilled, because Weet-Bix is one of those things you can’t easily make, and I love it. 

Reading

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This is just a straight up brag post. Elspeth, who is not yet five, is pictured here reading Henny Penny to Evelyn. Sounding words out, correcting mistakes, clearly not simply reciting from memory. Elspeth’s reading is just incredible and I am constantly amazed at what she reads, and how quickly she reads. The other day she glanced at my computer screen for a moment and then said, “I saw you type ‘eye roll.'” She’ll read product and brand names in shops, even things we don’t buy or have in our house. She’s quite the clever clogs!

Sacrifice

I think just about everybody is aware that becoming a parent is going to involve some sacrifice. You give up work for a while, you have to forgo certain social activities, you can’t sleep whenever you like. But over the last five years of motherhood, it’s the smaller things that stick out.

Music choice: I can’t listen to my own music without somebody saying “But I wanted Disney songs!”

TV and movies: Ditto, if it isn’t Disney or Pixar, it just doesn’t happen.

A leisurely meal: Any meal is inevitably going to be interrupted, either by the need to go and assist a child with something or by a child wanting some of what I’m eating.

Daydreaming: Doing nothing sends children a clear signal that now is a good time to need me.

Silence: What is that?

Walking: I can’t just stride off anymore, I’ve got to modify your pace to suit shorter legs. This has also lowered my level of fitness and my weight; I used to briskly walk everywhere, but now I either dawdle or take the bus.

Belongings: Nothing is really mine anymore, not if somebody else thinks it looks appealing. Without constant vigilance and repeated “That is not yours!” things get lost or broken.

Personal space: I can’t move without elbowing somebody in the head.

Doctors, dentists, and hairdressers: I prefer not to have two bored restless children hanging about while people are trying to do delicate or precise things to me.

To answer Darek Isaacs…

Darek-IsaacsThis guy here is Darek Isaacs, a “creation scientist” (I hate that term; it’s not science) with a history of saying stupid things. They include the claim that dragons were real. He pops up on my radar every now and then and always makes me roll my eyes, but this time I just had to say something.

His latest anti-evolution rhetoric is to imply that if evolution is true, then rape must be acceptable. The logic goes like this: if evolution is all about lots and lots of breeding, how could it be wrong to force a woman to breed with a man? In his exact words, “If evolution is true … is rape wrong”?

I’m sure an evolutionary biologist or other scientist could refute this with ease, but even I can immediately come up with a couple of very good reasons to give Isaacs a resounding yes. Rape is always wrong, and so are you.

Firstly, evolution has never been all about males, and it has never been all about males breeding with whichever female they want or doing so forcefully. Many animals operate under a “female choice” system, where males put on a display of some sort and the females choose the male they find most suitable. All evolution relies on (in sexually reproducing organisms) is the mutation and recombination of DNA, and both genders contribute equally to the DNA of the offspring. If rape were the way to transmit your DNA, a male would only be transmitting it to individuals incapable of fending him off (for a variety of reasons, including physical weakness or lack of familial protection), thus potentially creating offspring – both male and female – with inherited vulnerabilities. Hardly a long-term strategy.

Secondly, cultural evolution is just as real as biological evolution. Regardless of what biological imperatives we operate under as animals, humans (and indeed many other animals) have developed various ways of navigating the intricacies involved in being sociable. Moral codes are one way in which social animals ensure they can function cohesively, morality enables us to be a society rather than a collection of squabbling individuals. Morality, in modern western societies, forbids rape.

Darek Isaacs is one of a great many creationists who attempt to deny evolution whilst knowing absolutely nothing about it. It doesn’t take a great deal of effort, not even a degree, to obtain a basic understanding. Even a simple Google search could easily fill in the vast gaps in his understanding of what evolution is, what it does, and how it does it. I’m not even asking him to stop being a creationist, only to have some knowledge of what it is he attempts to refute so that he can argue effectively. Instead, he creates a strawman – he presents arguments against points that don’t exist, he denies things that no evolutionary scientist actually believes. How is that a discussion? It’s childish.