Sunday, December 16, 2012

When Tragedy Strikes

My heart has been very heavy... and honestly when my husband and I paused to pray for the tragedy in Connecticut the other night, I did not really know what to pray.  I didn't want to just pay lip service. I was gripped with such grief and can only imagine what those 20 moms might be feeling...

This poem caught my eye today and I thought I'd share it:

twas' 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven's gate.
their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
they were filled with such joy, they didn't know what to say.
they remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
"where are we?" asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
"this is heaven." declared a small boy. "we're spending Christmas at God's house."
when what to their wondering eyes did appear,
but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.
then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
and in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring
those children all flew into the arms of their King
and as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
one small girl turned and looked at Jesus' face.
and as if He could read all the questions she had
He gently whispered to her, "I'll take care of mom and dad."
then He looked down on earth, the world far below
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe
then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
"Let My power and presence re-enter this land!"
"may this country be delivered from the hands of fools"
"I'm taking back my nation. I'm taking back my schools!"
then He and the children stood up without a sound.
"come now my children, let me show you around."
excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran.
all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
and i heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
"in the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT."

Written by Cameo Smith, Mt. Wolf, PA


When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  - John 8:12

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. - John 3:16

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas Traditions

Long time no write!  This time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is pretty crazy.  I try to avoid all the hustle and bustle by doing a lot of my shopping online.  However, even so there seems to be an endless list of things to do.  

Thankfully... at least this year... my kids are not focused on gifts.  Since my oldest is five years old this year, I really hope to share and instill in her the true meaning of this season.  I've gotten so many great ideas from the last MOPS meeting I went to last week.  I wish I can do them all!  I plan to try some ideas this year and maybe some other ideas next year and see what goes.  

I'm excited because I don't remember too many set traditions growing up other than a great time of gathering with family and cousins.  The focus was mainly on just family, fun, and presents.  I remember how all us kids would put together little shows and skits and perform for our parents.  I also remember going to Atlantic City almost every year on New Years Day!  Haha... those were the "traditions" I grew up with.

Therefore, I am excited to set some traditions now for my kids... but instead of focused on just family, fun, and presents... though that should probably all still be a part of it... I want the focus to be on Christ.

Here is a list of some ideas I got from either my MOPS group or online or some other source...

Advent Candles and Wreath
We never did advent candles at home growing up though I remember our church would light them the Sundays leading up to Christmas.  I'd like to try the advent candle idea this year with my kids and see how it goes.  Oops.. we missed the first two Sundays but I figured we'll just catch up this Sunday and go from there.  Click here for a pretty good explanation of the meaning behind the candles and wreath.

Advent Calendar
I actually found an advent calendar that I started to do with my kids from the beginning of December.  My kids are excited to do this everyday because they get to open up a little compartment which has a verse for the day and a surprise chocolate treat inside.

Truth in the Tinsel
This is highly recommended by many and it truly intrigues me.  I don't think I can manage it this year but it is on my list to try for next year.  Click here to read more about it but apparently this is an e-book and there is a daily lesson, craft and verse leading up to Christmas.

Jesse Tree
This is also a daily devotion starting on Dec 1 that starts with creation and ends with the birth of Christ.  The idea is you read a verse and hang an ornament a day on a small tree leading up to Christmas.  I've heard some families use a quilt instead of a tree.  Here is one link that has the list of verses and ornaments... there are many online.  Here is a link on Amazon where they are selling a variety of ornaments/books related to this.

Nativity Interactive Set
So after hearing about this at MOPS, I ordered "What God Wants for Christmas Interactive Nativity Kit".  This is for the week leading up to Christmas where the kids get to open up a gift box a day which six of them contains a character in the Christmas story and the seventh a mirror.  Going to try it this year and see how it goes.

25 Jesus-Centered Christmas Books
I've heard about this idea from different sources and love it.  However, this year we'll just read these books during nap or bedtime without the wrapping part.  Perhaps next year I may try to wrap them up.  Realistically we'll have to see because wrapping up 25 books would take some planning during the month of November when we have Thanksgiving and two birthdays to celebrate.  Here is a great list of Christmas books from Vanderbilt Wife blog.

Tinsel Box
I hope I got this one right but my understanding is that every "service" or "act of kindness" done in the month of December or all year round for that matter... gets written on a sheet of paper and slipped into this box.  Then the box is opened on Christmas day and the family can read and go through all the slips of paper put in there.  “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’  (Matthew 25:40)

Christmas Caroling
I really want to do this.  I love singing and think it would be a lot of fun for the kids.  I'm just not sure if there is any specific etiquette.  I googled and didn't really see anything too earth shattering.  Hmm.. maybe we'll try it with one or two neighbors that we are more familiar with and see how it goes.  When I mentioned the idea to my kids they thought the door to door part was similar to trick or treating... ha.  Well, I want to give cookies or baked goods or something when we do this instead of asking for candy.

Cookie Exchange
Not sure if this is so much a tradition... but most people probably bake or eat cookies around this time.  I'm going to try a cookie exchange this year so we'll have more variety to choose from.

Alright, what else?  Any other traditions out there? 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Terrible Three

My middle child just turned three years old this past Tuesday.  Many of you may agree with me that the three year old stage is far more challenging than the famous "terrible twos" stage.  It definitely does vary from child to child, but this was certainly true with my older one and several parents I've spoken to have agreed with me.

What is it that makes this stage so hard?
It is all related to development and how their little minds are learning new things, their wills are earning to be independent, yet their emotions are difficult to control.  They get frustrated easily when their little hands and bodies can't keep up with what their minds want them to do.

Now our middle child is fairly mild and even though this stage is a challenging stage for her, we are not experiencing the all-out body thrashing tantrums that our older child use to throw.  No.. with this one it is more of a stubborn and silent defiance.  She will sometimes have a scowl on her face if she is not getting her way but she does not melt down nearly as much as our first.

I wrote this entry when my oldest was in her two's...  her three's were actually much harder to deal with.  Now that she is five, I think it is safe to say that she has outgrown the tantrums.  She will always be my emotionally sensitive one, but she is learning to control her feelings better...

Now, my third child was starting to throw mini tantrums after turning one.  We are already bracing ourselves for when he turns two then three...  too bad they don't stay this cuddly and compliant!

Ok.. so some practical things I've learned to deal with tantrums:

  • try to stay calm while child is freaking out (this is not always easy but important)
  • we may both need a time out to calm down
  • physical hug and assurance of love
  • don't give in to the demand or they will learn that tantrums can get them what they want
  • avoid triggers that will set off tantrums (routine really helps)
  • make sure getting enough sleep (tiredness definitely leads to more emotional breakdowns)



Thursday, November 15, 2012

Five Years And Counting...

Yesterday was my first child's fifth birthday.  Five years ago, we brought home our teeny little baby and began this adventure called "parenthood"... did we really know what we were getting ourselves into?  

There are so many books out there... but really... until I actually stepped into this role of "mommy" I don't think I ever could have imagined all the highs and lows that come with mothering.

It has been such an intense journey... filled with lots of giggles, sweet kisses and cuddly hugs... but also has its moments of agonizing frustrations and exasperated explosions.  Sometimes I feel inadequate and defeated and worry about how my reactions and actions will affect this little being.  
Those are the times I look up to my loving, patient Father in heaven in desperation and plea that His grace covers over the multitude of my mistakes.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Counting Blessings

November is here!  Which means Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  Many blessings to count for this year... especially with the recent aftermath from Hurricane Sandy, I'm reminded of all the things I often take for granted (like lights and hot water).  We were very fortunate to gain back power so quickly and to sustain little loss.  Here is a photo of the only damage from the storm really that I can see in our backyard.  Pretty impressive that the winds picked up these ceramic tile pieces and smashed them.  Oops.. we had put away the chairs and didn't think to put away this little table as well...




My prayers and thoughts go out to all those who have suffered much more loss and damage to their homes and those still without power and heat.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

No Power During Hurricane Sandy

We just got our power back!  Hurricane Sandy hit us yesterday and we lost power for about 24 hours.  I actually spent all afternoon cooking up perishables and trying to come up with a food plan since we were anticipating power loss.  We lost power during Irene, too, but we were definitely more prepared this time.  However, if this hurricane thing is going to become a common occurrence, we better get ourselves a generator!  Actually, I was mostly just worried about the food in our refrigerator and freezer spoiling.  For it was actually nice to be without any electricity, to spend some good family time bonding without tv and computers!

So how did the kids do?  

Well, the power went out last night after we had already eaten dinner, bathed, and brushed everyone's teeth.  So the transition was not too bad.  Little E was already fast asleep when it went out.  My two girls wondered why it seemed darker than usual and my older one is used to sleeping with some music playing.  However, since she didn't nap earlier, she was pretty tired and went to sleep without too much drama (she is our drama queen).

The rain had pretty much stopped by the morning but there were still some pretty heavy gusts of wind throughout the day today.  I actually really enjoyed the day because everyone was home with no where we needed to be.  So the morning was filled with some music time, writing time, finger painting...  We even attempted to play a game of Candy Land... this lasted about 5 minutes with my almost 3 year old.  The almost 5 year old probably could have played to completion but the 3 year old grabbed all the pieces and started running around giggling and daring her sister to catch her.  Maybe we'll try again during Christmas break.

We bathed everyone early (before naps) because I was worried we'd run out of hot water and we'd all have to take cold baths.  Who knew how long we'd be out of power!  Bath time was actually a blast because we stuck all three kids in the tub with some washable bathtub paint / soap.  Idea is you make a mess with it and then just wash in it then wash everything off.

I needed a nap so I took one during my kids' nap time this afternoon.  This is a luxury I don't usually get especially in the middle of the workday because of work.  Even on weekends, there are usually too many activities to consistently be able to take a nap.  I probably could have slept longer but I wanted to get dinner figured out before it got too dark... so my husband had our camping stoves fired up in the garage so he can help boil water.  We basically used a large pot of boiling water to heat up leftovers by steaming!  We all ate pretty early at around 5ish but it was already getting dark so we had several candles as well as flashlights pulled out.  My girls enjoyed eating under candlelight.  I liked it, too... maybe we should do this even if when we do have lights!

So just as I was snuggling with my two girls under a blanket to read a bedtime story by flashlight, all our lights came back on!  We read the story by flashlight anyway and then tucked them in for the night.  It has been an adventurous kind of day!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cruising with Little Kids

Many may agree that vacationing with little kids is not really that "relaxing" and can be more "work" than just the normal weekly routine at home.  When you are in a different environment, sleep schedules can get thrown off which can add a layer of fussiness.  Plus, being around the little ones 24/7 may take some adapting to especially if one or both parents are usually at work during the day.  It can lead to some stressful moments where parenting styles may differ or issues not dealt with before may arise.

I think cruising is an awesome option for parents with little kids who are planning a family vacation.  These are some of my reasons why:



Economical
When we add up the rooming costs as well as food and entertainment, cruising can be a very economical way to take a week long vacation.  Of course, it depends on what you are comparing to (camping will probably be less expensive)... but especially if you get a great cruise deal (like sometimes Disney has a 'kids cruise free' deals), it can totally be worth it.

Avoid Airport Hassle
At least for us, there are several drivable cruise ports (NYC, NJ, and MD)  It is such a pain with little ones to go through the whole airport check-in fiasco with carseats, toddler bottles etc. and if still nursing the whole nursing bag etc.  Cruising is a great way to get to a far place (like a remote island in the middle of winter) and not have to fly there!

Break from the kids
Yes, we do want to spend time with our kids when we are on vacation.  However, it is *huge* to have a few hours here or there where you can leave them with kid friendly crew for kiddie activities while you spend some quality time with just your spouse.  Even just a few hours away gives me a refreshed spirit and extra patience to deal with the physical needs of my little ones.  Plus, the kids have a blast (at least they did on Disney... but I'm sure they would on other cruise lines as well).

Mealtime convenience
I love how we do not have to figure out what we are going to eat every night... or breakfast or lunch for that matter!  Sometimes figuring out food is the most stressful part of vacation.  Plus, if you travel in a large group it is not always easy to get everyone to agree on cuisine and it can easily become very costly if you eat out every night.  On a ship there are a multiple options.  You can sit down and be served every night (which is nice when you have little kids) or you can choose to do a buffet or just grab fast food or even stay in and get room service!  There are plenty of options for picky toddler eaters and the staff is usually very accommodating and can even puree food for babies.  On the Disney Cruise lines, there is the option to leave the kids in the Oceanear Club where they get fed dinner while the parents enjoy mealtime alone.  I believe this option may be available in other cruise lines but you may have to pay for it.

Options for entertainment
If you pick the right ship, there are a multitude of activities for adults only, kids only, and both.  We usually like Royal Caribbean because they have more physical outdoorsy and sportsy activities (like rock climbing walls and ice skating rinks).  Recently, we went on a Disney Cruise which was awesome for the kids but didn't have as many choices for activities for my husband and I.  However, we are pretty active and prefer more sporty type of activities.  I'm sure they have plenty of entertainment on board for other adult folks since there were many adults on the ship... even adults without kids!  But regardless of cruise line, it is nice that there always seems to be a movie theater on board as well as plenty of lounges and places to hang out.  So once the kids are asleep (which is usually pretty early if they are young) you can either take turns going out or travel with grandparents who are more than happy to watch the kids sleep while you slip out together for some late night movie or something.  Some cruises will even have in-cabin babysitting for a nominal fee.  It is much harder to arrange this type of night life when you are in a hotel or house somewhere.  Plus, you'd have to drive somewhere rather than just take the elevator up or down a few floors to get to your entertainment.

So those are just a few of the reasons that I can think of why I like to cruise.  Things to consider when choosing a cruise include:

Destination and Ports of Call
You save a lot of hassle and money if you pick a departure port that you don't have to fly to.  The other issue has to do with seasickness.  Usually, the ship is big enough that you do not really feel the rocking.  However, the rocking also depends on time of year and where the ship is going.  So for those who get seasick, it would be worth it to do more research and go to ports during times of year where there is minimal ship "rockiness".  

Length of Cruise and Type of Ship
The larger the ship, the more activities and options there are.  Usually the larger ships are reserved for longer cruise nights.  So it is possible that if we cruised with a larger Disney ship there may have been more that my husband and I would find fun to do.  7 nights is probably a pretty average time frame where you get the larger boats.  We had chosen a 5 night trip which seemed plenty because our third child was only 14 months and we weren't sure how the kids would do sleeping all together in the same room.  Given the extra cost of cruising with Disney versus other cruise lines... we are probably leaning on just sticking with Royal Caribbean in the future.  Carnival is supposed to be very good for kid friendly activities in addition to being the most economical.  We just have not tried it yet because of previous bad reputation for food.  However, I believe the new lines have really improved in this area.

Well... I'm already looking into and planning our next cruise trip.  In another blog I'll spell out the differences between going to Disney with little kids versus cruising with Disney on a ship!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dropping Naps

I love nap time!  Best is when all three kids fall asleep around the same time and stay asleep for at least 2 hours.  However, in our household…this does not happen often.

So when do kids start dropping naps?  Sleep and the amount of sleep needed per child may vary slightly but in general toddlers require around 12 to 14 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period.  They require less as they get older, thus will eventually drop their nap.

So the pattern of sleep goes something like this...

Newborns
They sleep most of the time, waking up mostly to eat every 2-3 hours, after which ideally they should be awake and "play" a little before falling back asleep so to not associate eating with sleeping.

Infants
They fall into a nap pattern where they sleep about 3 times during the day… usually about an hour in the morning and early afternoon then a shorter 30 min nap in the late afternoon before going down for the night (ideally 12 hours).  They may then drop the late afternoon nap and sleep consistently maybe a little longer once in the mid morning and once in the afternoon and again about twelve hours at night.

Toddlers
By around 18 months, they will likely lose their morning nap and only nap in the afternoon.  Sometimes when this happens, the afternoon nap gets longer which can be nice.  However, the transition from 1 to 2 naps is sometimes tricky and not always smooth.  Kiddo #3 is around this stage… and I still can’t remember exactly how we did it with the other two.

Preschoolers
Eventually, they lose the afternoon nap and no longer take daytime naps.  When this happens can vary from child to child.  About 70% of children will be done with naps by kindergarten.  However, this is probably more due to their schedule and what their body becomes used to and may not necessarily mean they wouldn’t benefit from that nap.

Both my girls (ages almost 3 and almost 5) are still taking afternoon naps.  Well, let me rephrase to say that we still put them down consistently every afternoon for a time of “rest” and usually they will both fall asleep.  There were many occasions after my oldest hit 3 when we thought she was “losing her nap”. However, as we kept “quiet time or nap time” consistent she still will nap for us more times than not.

Sometimes you can really tell a huge difference in behavior with kids who are not fully tanked up on sleep.  This was especially true with our oldest.  She would totally melt down and become an emotional wreck if she skips her nap.  Plus, she would have terrible night terrors at around 11pm on those nights.  We do not notice our second child being this way.


I actually just read a very interesting article describing a recent study that suggests daytime naps reduce risk of mood-related problems later in life.  Click here to read.

So this is what I do: 
  • Try to keep nap time (or quiet time) regular and consistent  
  • Try to keep their sleep environment not too stimulating and not too bright  
  • Even if the child skips his or her nap for several days in a row, I would keep trying for a while because it may be a phase and they may nap again 
  • Even some quiet time in the afternoon is better than nothing

I want my kids to nap so I can have some peace and quiet and sanity in the afternoon… but good to know that it may help their emotional health!



Friday, October 12, 2012

Meningitis

It has been a busy week with hubby being away on business trips.  I was trying to get to bed before midnight this week so did not get a chance to blog.  However, I've been wanting to talk about meningitis since it has been in the news lately.

I'm sure you have all heard about the crazy outbreak of fungal meningitis that has been linked to tainted steroid injections.  You can read about it all over the internet (most recent story I found is here).  Main things:

  • cases linked to tainted steroid injections manufactured by NECC in Massachusetts
  • most patients involved received this steroid injection in their spine for back pain
  • so far 170 cases with 14 deaths
  • very slow growing so more cases will probably arise
  • this is not contagious and only those who received the steroid injection are at risk
So what is meningitis?
Meningitis is inflammation of the membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord

What type of meningitis are there?
  • Viral
    • caused by viruses like enteroviruses or herpes simplex virus
    • this is the most common type
    • symptoms are far less serious and often it mimics the common flu
  • Bacterial
    • caused by bacteria like Neisseria meningitidis and Streptococcus pneumonia
    • rare but can be life threatening if not treated
    • we have vaccines to prevent some forms so talk to your doctor and get vaccinated
  • Fungal
    • caused by fungus like Cryptococcus and Histoplasma
    • even more rare and more challenging to treat
    • usually patients with certain medical conditions are higher risk of getting this
  • Parasitic
    • caused by parasites in contaminated food, water, or soil
    • less common in developed countries
  • Noninfectious
    • caused by things like cancer, lupus, head injury, drugs, or surgery
What are the symptoms of meningitis?  
(here are a few common symptoms...)
  • fever / chills
  • severe headache
  • stiff neck
  • nausea / vomiting
  • confusion
  • seizures
  • difficulty waking up
  • sensitivity to light
How is it treated?
It really depends on the type of meningitis.  Antibiotics are given for bacterial meningitis and antifungals for fungal meningitis.  Most cases of viral meningitis are treated with fluids and supportive care.  Sometimes, hospitalization is required if the symptoms are severe.  Call your doctor if you have any of the symptoms above.  Since meningitis can be serious leading to even death, it is a good idea to vaccinate for the types that can be prevented.





Thursday, October 4, 2012

Medifast Weight Loss Program


I'm doing it!  Just last week, I decided to offer the Medifast Diet Plan to my patients.  Thank you, Dr Lee, for telling me about this!

You can read more about it on my medifast website here, but in a nutshell it is a very low calorie, no brainer method of weight loss.  I like it for several reasons...

  • No brainer - so good for the patients who don't want to count calories
  • Meals are designed to be very low in calories yet satisfying...
  • I will be the health coach walking alongside and helping my patients stick to the plan
  • After weight loss is achieved, there is a transition period and then maintenance
  • Cost to the patient is only for the meal replacement foods they are eating and comes out to about $10/day... and you should really only need to do this weight loss phase for 1-3 months before transitioning back to "real life" food and then maintenance
Initial weight loss is fairly simple and most people can achieve this if they follow any diet plan.  However, the trick is to keep it off and with the coaching that goes along with Medifast Diet Plan, I'm excited that I can offer something to my patients that can be lasting.  The goal is to develop healthy eating habits and to achieve optimal health.  Haha.. I sound like an ad on tv but I truly am excited about this and want to see my patients get off of their blood pressure, diabetes, or  cholesterol meds!  Will keep you posted...



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Appendicitis

We had a recent scare where hubby tells me he has abdominal pain and thinks he might have appendicitis.  Picture him laying on the floor of our kids' playroom in the midst of toys spread about and I'm palpating his abdomen trying to determine if it is serious enough to go to the emergency room!  At the end of the day... it is not his appendix... whew!  His symptoms have not completely gone away but we're hoping it will soon.

I figured this is a good topic to give a short 101 on because it is actually the most common cause for emergent abdominal surgery in the US.



What is it?
Appendicitis is when you get inflammation of your appendix.  Appendix is a finger shaped pouch that protrudes from your colon on the lower right side of your abdomen.

Who gets it?
Anyone can get it but it is rare under the age of 2 and is most common between 10 and 30 years old.  It is estimated that 1 in 15 people will get it in the US.

What are the symptoms?
Usually, you will experience dull pain that starts around the belly button and eventually shifts to the right lower side of your abdomen.  Associating symptoms may include:

  • nausea
  • sometimes vomiting
  • sometimes diarrhea
  • lack of appetite
  • low grade fever
Pain is usually worse with movement.  If the appendix ruptures you may even feel better for a little while.  However, once the lining of your abdominal cavity becomes infected, the pain will be worse and you will be more sick.

What causes it?
Obstruction from food waste may block it and cause inflammation or an infection can cause it.

How do you test for it?
It is important to get a physical exam.  Your doctor may also order blood tests looking for infection and imaging like a ct scan or ultrasound.

How do you treat it?
Usually treatment involves surgery to remove the appendix.  Sometimes you have to drain the abscess around the appendix if has already burst.

You can get really sick really fast so it is important you call and see your doctor if you suspect appendicitis.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Working Moms

It has been a long time since I've blogged!  We actually just got back from a Disney Cruise which I'll write about in another post.

I read this great article from Focus on Family that has been a great reminder / motivator for me and thought I'd share it.  It talks about "working moms" organizing their day, but I can see it applying for "stay home moms" as well.  Click here to read the entire article.

My main take away point is to get organized!  I need to make a list of important household contacts and their numbers and it would be nice to have a big family calendar.  Now if only I have time to get organized...



Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Stranger Anxiety vs Separation Anxiety

I just re-read this post I wrote 2 years ago when my second child was going through separation anxiety.  It is funny because now I'm going through it with kiddo #3 and for some reason, I don't remember the other two being this bad.  My kids sure do have a set of lungs!

I figured I'd clarify the difference between Stranger Anxiety and Separation Anxiety in this post.  Although, a lot of times they do go hand in hand.

Stranger Anxiety
  • this is a normal part of development that usually occurs earlier than Separation Anxiety and may start around 5 months and last to around 18 months (some get it worse than others)
  • child can get upset when he or she sees someone other than their primary caregiver and even if their primary caregiver is still nearby (can be relatives or close friends)
  • child will cling or hide between legs or cry when stranger approaches to interact
  • symptoms seem to peak around 12-15 months
Tips?
  • reassurance to the child
  • consistency in schedule
  • slowly introduce new faces (may need to be around a few times before leaving child alone with new caregiver)
  • explain to family members or friends so they do not take it personally
  • patience (this will eventually pass)
Separation Anxiety
  • again a normal part of development that usually occurs around the same time as stranger anxiety but maybe peaks a little later and resolves by 24 months
  • child gets upset when separated from their primary caregiver (this is around the time when they realize that there is only one mom or dad and that if they don't see you, you are not there and since they have no concept of time they don't know when you are coming back)
Tips?
  • can practice separation with short amount of time / distance
  • separate only after naps and feeds so child is not tired or hungry
  • keep surroundings familiar or make new surroundings familiar
  • develop "goodbye ritual" but do not linger or stall
==
So how do I get little E to not scream his head off at the nursery every Sunday?  He does fine with different caregivers at home.  Unfortunately, I think E has developed a bad association with the nursery because he starts to cry when we approach it from the hallway.  Therefore, I'll have to spend some Sundays with him there to get him used to the room and remove the negative associations.  In the past, we've attended early service on Sundays which was smack in the middle of his morning nap schedule, so that could have triggered this whole separation thing.  We'll have to consistently go to second service until he drops this morning nap.  Then maybe, slowly as he gets older and as we consistently introduce him to the environment, he will get over this.  My other two did!  Let's see how long it takes this time...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Bumbo Chair Recall

This news is a few days old but thought I'd throw in a blurb...

My husband got an email from Babies R Us that the Bumbo Chair we got as a baby shower gift in 2007 is being recalled.  Apparently, babies are able to get out and are even getting seriously injured falling from high places like table tops and counters.  They actually did a recall in 2007 which resulted in a new warning label to not put the chair on high surfaces.  I admit we've placed our bumbo on the kitchen table to feed our kid.  Thankfully, none of our kids have gotten hurt.  I actually really like the chair and have even given it as gifts to others!

For more on the recall you can read or watch a clip about it here.

So now, they have this new seat restraint that is supposed to keep kids on the chair.  We just ordered it. Will let you know how it goes once we get it but the thought of having to install it is already not attractive to me.  I usually just leave those kind of projects for my husband to figure out... too much time and energy for my tired brains these days.  I guess it would be too chaotic for them to have folks go and exchange our old chairs for a new chair with the restraints already installed.  They say 4 million chairs are being recalled.

This is what the new chair should look like:


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Roseola

So I don't remember if my two older girls got this since it is so common, but I'm pretty sure little E got it.  And boy has he been fussy this past week!  Maybe it is in our genes because this boy does not just wimper or cry... he screams!  Poor little guy... had the usual runny nose with mucous all over whenever he sneezes... then developed into a cough with decreased appetite and irritability.. then fever (usually high even above 103 but we didn't actually measure his)... just as the fever resolved he developed the typical red bumpy rash all over.  It is usually at this point that the diagnosis becomes apparent since all the previous symptoms could be any number of viruses.  I do know he didn't have an ear infection since I checked it... but usually with fevers, you have to make sure there is no definite bacterial cause (ears, urine, throat, etc).

Here's the quick 101 on Roseola...

What is it?
It is a common childhood illness cause by a virus.  It is sometimes also called Sixth Disease.

Who gets it?
Usually children between the ages of 3 months and 4 years, though  most common between 6 months and 1 year.  In fact, it is the most common cause of fever in this age group.

What are the symptoms?
  • eye redness
  • irritability
  • runny nose
  • sore throat
  • swollen glands
  • diarrhea (even vomiting but both of these are rare)
  • high fever (usually above 103)
  • after fever resolves about 2-3 days in, rash appears (rose-colored, small bumps, slightly raised)
  • rash does not itch and can last few hrs to days to weeks
How do you treat it?
There is no specific treatment and the disease usually gets better on its own.  Supportive measure for comfort can be taken.  For example:
  • tylenol or motrin for fever
  • encourage fluids and rest
  • lots of love (see prev post here about sick babies and toddlers)
Is it contagiuos?
Yes!  It is probably contagious about 2 days before the fever starts to 1 to 2 days after the fever resolves.  It can be passed through bodily fluids (like saliva, runny nose, cough) and it can be 7 to 10 days after exposure before you get symptoms.

How do we prevent this?
Wash hands!  But this is so tough in a the 6 month to 1 year age group since they are putting everything in sight into their mouth like all the time.  So it is no wonder this is so common in this age group!

When do I go to my doctor?
It never hurts to call and get medical counsel on whether or not your child needs to be seen.  But if your child has any of the following, make sure you seek medical attention immediately:
  • decrease urinary output (less than 3 diapers/day)
  • listless and lethargic
  • fever that does not resolve with tylenol or motrin
  • having seizures (can sometimes get febrile seizures as a complication)





Monday, August 6, 2012

Beach!

I love the beach!  I love the soft sand, the crashing waves, and the soft serve ice cream cones that taste different when you eat them at the beach.  One of my favorite things to do in the summer time is to go to the beach.  Around here, the closest beach is the Jersey shore.  It is not exactly like the crystal clear waters and bright clean sands that you may find in Kauai (my favorite being Hanakapi`ai beach which you have to hike to on the Hanakapi trail...  and which so far is the most scenic trail I've ever hiked)  However, Jersey Shore has a culture of its own with greasy fried boardwalk food, games, rides... so for lots of folks around here, Jersey Shore is a tradition.  My favorite Jersey shore beach at the moment is Ocean Grove.  It is the shortest drive for us and is quiet and never too crowded during the times we've been there.  Further more, I think it has the best quality sand and water compared to the other Jersey Shore beaches we've been to.

Now, going to the beach with little kids is a whole different ball game.  This past weekend, my two older girls made friends with these other two girls exactly their same age but they had an older brother instead of a younger brother.  I got talking to their mom and she told me that this is the first year where she finds herself really "relaxing" while at the beach.  Her youngest is two and a half and her oldest is six.  So all her kids are capable of playing on their own with some supervision.  Previous years, she still had to deal with sand eating.  Well, that's about the stage we are at with our youngest who just turned one.  However, different from his sisters, E actually fell asleep while I was bjorning him and I was able to transfer him to our beach tent where he stayed asleep for greater than an hour!  He did this two days in a row.  The crashing waves must remind him of his sound machine that we use in his room when he naps and sleeps at night.

So couple of tips I found helpful when going to the beach with little ones:


  • using the spray type of sunblock is much faster to apply on the kids and less greasy especially when it is time to reapply and there is sand everywhere!
  • having some sort of beach tent is huge when there is a baby involved because if they can fall asleep under some shade then you've just bought yourself some "relaxing time"  (i suppose a towel and an umbrella would work too but if baby wakes up and you want them out of the sand a little longer they may play in the tent if u have enough entertainment for them)... if possible get the kind that just pops open without all the poles.  I miss our old tent that does that.
  • we didn't try this yet but a friend of ours would bring an inflatable kiddie pool... fill it up real good once and may save lots of back and forth trips with little buckets for the kiddos' sand creations... plus they can splash in it or just play in it and be entertained for hours again buying more "relaxing time" for mom and dad
  • water shoes helpful if lots of shells on the beach or if sand is super hot
  • keep reapplying the sunblock!
  • beach toys... gotta have lots so they stay entertained and best if more than one of each type is brought to decrease the chance of fighting
  • so how to lug all this stuff to the sand?  we've used a wagon... or their stroller... may be hard to drag on the sand but I think it's still easier than carrying it all by hand
  • finally, decrease expectations, relax, and have fun!

Anything else you all can think of?


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Childhood Obesity and Diabetes On The Rise

This morning I read an interesting article by Dr Mark Hyman.  It is not a new concept but he sure does have a strong stance and is calling the government to action.  Click here to read and even listen to his interview on CBS.

Last year, I remember my au pair (who is from China and taught at a Montessouri Kindergarten there) was appalled and amazed at how much candy my daughter (three years old then turning four) brought home from preschool.  It was not just at Halloween but also Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentines Day, Easter... you name it!  Every month there was an "excuse" to party and bring home a ton of candy.  I confiscated most of it but after a few times I saw empty wrappers in her bag.  She probably caught on and started eating them before I got to them!  So I then had to tell the preschool teacher to please not let her eat candy until I can ration them to her at home.

Now the other day, coming home from the beach we swung by Burger King for drive-through lunch.  It was fast and convenient and cheap.  We normally do not eat fast food... so when I got my hands on my whopper, it was like this huge treat!  I also ate up the fries that came with it and I have to tell you... for a few hours afterwards I really felt very sick.  I'm not sure if everyone experiences this but I really felt lethargic and just "blah".  Dr Hyman mentioned in his article that you have to run 4 miles every day for a week to work off one fast food meal.  Hahahaha... I actually made myself swim like 20 laps that day because I was feeling so 'yuck'.  But you know the funny thing is.. here I am a few days out and I'm thinking about that whopper and fries and actually craving it!  It is so addictive!

Anyways, we get bombarded with the message "eat healthy" but I really do believe it makes a huge difference not only in our overall longterm health but also day to day emotional well-being... to both kids and adults!  Now childhood diabetes and obesity is on the rise in our country... a topic for another entry...


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Rest

Life has been busy here for me... between an overbooked schedule while at work and house maintenance issues at my home on top of the usual busy-ness that comes with three kids ages four and under... it has been hard to find time to just "rest".  Usually, night time after the kids are down (which is usually around 9pm) is when I find that "me time" and I would do my online thing... including jotting down some random things from my days/weeks onto this blog.  Lately, I admit my mind has been shutting off and my body crashing.  Need rest! When I don't get my sleep, I am super cranky and my patience and tolerance is worse than usual.  I really need to throw exercise back into my schedule because that is my usual outlet for stress and it gives me a natural endorphin kick.

Jesus says in Matthew 11:28, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest."

I know this verse well but I admit I don't always know how to exactly achieve it.  For me, it has to be very intentional to sit at Jesus' feet as Mary does.  I am very much a Martha.  Every time, I find myself trying to go to Jesus to rest, I fall asleep!  Hahaha.  So, even my "quiet times" become an item on my "to do" list.

Well, I love music and worship.  So one way I've been able to find my "rest" in Jesus is to pump up the music and sing on the top of my lungs while I'm driving to work or other random errands.  It's tricky to find a time when the kids are not napping but I love just jamming' on my piano with different worship songs as well.

So I'm curious what you moms do out there to get your "rest"?


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