In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Friday, October 31, 2008

Doing the School Daze Dance

Christa, my caboose kiddo, arrived on the scene when my other children were 17 , 14 and 12.

The year my daughter Amy graduated from high school, Christa started kindergarten.

And so, my husband and I began the School Daze Dance again.

Twelve more years of homework and report cards and parent-teacher conferences.

Part of me wanted to request a special exemption. Surely all my prior experience qualified me for a "bye" on all this the fourth time around.

Only the fourth time for me was the first time for Christa.

Christa got her report card this week. As her dad and I sat down with her to look it over, I remembered doing the same thing with her older brother Josh and sisters, Katie Beth and Amy. We always made sure we looked at each child's report card privately. Each child's grades were their grades--and their concern. Nobody else's. We tried to keep academic competition between our kiddos to a minimum. We wanted our children to focus on doing well rather than focusing on besting their brother or sister.

While Christa is our fourth child, she functions like an only child, thanks to the 12 year gap between her and her closest sibling. So, there's no need to worry about keeping things private. We like Christa to let Josh and Katie Beth and Amy know how she's doing in school. It keeps them connected--and there's no chance of sibling rivalry!

And yes, Rob and I visited Christa's teacher this week for our 15 minute parent-teacher conference, going over grades and hearing once again that Christa likes to chat just a bit too much in class.

Later that day, Christa and I celebrated her good report card by going to the movies. As I shared popcorn with my daughter, I thought about how many more years I'll be dancing the School Daze Dance. 10 more years. 40 more report cards (1 a quarter=4 a year). At least 1 parent-teacher conference a year=10 more parent-teacher conferences.

Such is the life of a repeater Mommy-Come-Lately®. And I'm not complaining--not really. Do I really want a bye on any part of Christa's life?


I want to be there for all of it--the good report cards, the bad report cards--and every single one of those parent-teacher conferences!


Monday, October 27, 2008

News of Interest for Late-in-Life Moms October 26, 2008

News to know:

56-year-old gives birth to triplet grandchildren
Jaci Dalenberg, 56, of Wooster, Ohio, acted as a surrogate for her daughter, Kim Coseno. On Oct. 11, Dalenberg gave birth by Caesarean section to identical twin girls and their sister. The babies were more than two months premature and each weighed less than three pounds.

Many moms risk SIDS by sharing bed with baby
Almost one third of mothers participating in the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program report sharing a bed with their infant, according to new research published in the Journal of Pediatrics. Sharing a bed with an infant is a known risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Rashes prompt warning about baby clothing
After about 400 babies who wore Carter's Inc. baby garments with tag-less labels developed rashes on their backs, the The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a warning.
The agency said children should stop wearing these garments if they develop a rash; however it did not announce a recall of the product line. Affected clothing includes knit items such as body suits, shirts and pajamas.

Food allergies increasing in children
Food allergies in American children seem to be on the rise, now affecting about 3 million kids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
About 1 in 26 children had food allergies last year, the agency reported. That’s up from 1 in 29 kids in 1997.

Surprising success for childhood rotavirus vaccine
Rotateq, a vaccine against rotavirus, has led to a dramatic drop in hospitalization and emergency room visits since it came on the market two years ago, doctors reported. Rotavirus is the leading cause of diarrhea in infants. The vaccine also seems to prevent illness even in unvaccinated children by cutting the number of infections in the community that kids can pick up and spread.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

A Bit Sore and A Lot Thankful

I live in Colorado Springs, home to the Air Force Academy, which happens to be my husband's alma mater.
My family enjoys Air Force football games. As a matter of fact, we enjoyed one last night. We sat in the bleachers wrapped in blankets and sipping hot chocolate while the Falcons won the game.
And then, as we drove away from the football stadium, our car was rear-ended.
Not quite the way we planned on ending a fun evening.
Everyone is fine, although we're all a bit stiff this morning.
My car seems okay--but we'll let the insurance inspector figure that out when he looks at the car.
Looking back, I have to laugh at the different responses to another car ramming ours as we waited for traffic to start moving.
My husband, ever calm, cool and collected, said nothing. Just put the car and in park and probably started making a mental list of what needed to be done: Everyone okay? Check. Car registration? Check. Insurance? Check.
My 22-year-old daughter's response? "Are you kidding me?!"
Me, I just turned to stare at the person who had hit us.
And my 7-year-old caboose kiddo said, "Well, at least our car didn't catch on fire."
Hhhhhm. A bit dramatic there, you think?
We ended up sitting beside the road for an hour and a half while the police figured everything out. Turns out another car hit the car that had hit our car. (Hope that makes sense.) So, there were three cars involved. No injuries.
While looking for the car registration, my older daughter decided my glove compartment needed to be cleaned out. My caboose kiddo decided she wanted to sit in my lap. And we decided that it all could have been a lot worse, that we had reasons to be thankful. So, we sat in the car beside the road and thanked God for protecting us and everyone else involved.
And then my daughter plugged in her iPod and we listened to Brian Regan, a very funny comedian, and laughed. That saying about laughter being good medicine? It's true.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

News of Interest for Late-in-Life Moms October 22, 2008

News to know:

1.6 million cribs recalled after 2 infant deaths
Delta Enterprises recalled nearly 1.6 million cribs after 2 infants suffocated when they got stuck in a gap created when the movable side came off of its guide track.
In response to the recall, the Consumer Product Safety Commission urged parents to inspect older drop-side cribs for safety problems.
The accidents involved safety pegs meant to prevent the drop side from lowering too far and slipping off the track. If these pegs are not installed, or fail to engage, the drop-side can detach and create a dangerous gap where babies can get stuck.

No-scalpel vasectomy reversal on horizon
Men who want to have a vasectomy reversed may soon be able to opt for a "mini-incision, no-scalpel" operation, according to surgeons at Mount Sinai Hospital at the University of Toronto. They have used the procedure with success in 10 cases.
The smaller incision results in fewer complications than the more invasive approach requiring a larger incision.

Studies: Lack of sunlight, cell phones damage male fertility
Two separate studies warned men about possible ways they are damaging their fertility: not getting enough sunlight or talking too much on their cell phone.
Australian researchers looked at 800 men with fertility problems and found that almost a third of the men had lower than normal levels of vitamin D. Because sunlight is the major source of vitamin D, researchers believe that a lack of sunlight may damage sperm.
In a separate study, researchers at the University of Newcastle found that excess cell phone use may eliminate sperm. Their findings back up previous research completed by U.S. researchers.

Here's a great blog post by Dr. Walt Larimore: Tips on giving over-the-counter (OTC) cold medications to children over 4 years old.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Free Resource: Putting the Mommy-Come-Lately® Life into Perspective

**This is not a political endorsement. This is an article meant to help all moms over 35 love late-in-life motherhood.**

The media can’t get enough of Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican candidate for Vice President.
People on both sides of the political arena wonder how Gov. Palin will parent three children under 18 while being “a heartbeat away from the presidency.”
Actually, Gov. Palin is no different from thousands of other moms, like you and me, who juggle competing time demands. The daily challenge starts the minute we hear someone yell, “Mom!” and lasts until we collapse into bed at night.
If I had the chance to enjoy coffee and conversation with Gov. Palin—just one Mommy-Come-Lately® to another—I’d encourage her to remember a few key principles to keep life in perspective:

1. Priorities don’t fall neatly into 1-2-3 order. Often life is about balancing things of equal value. Your teenagers are just as important as your newborn son, Trig. Yes, Trig has Down syndrome, requiring extra time and attention, including more frequent medical appointments. Your other children have their own needs—and their emotional and physical needs are just as significant as their baby brother’s.

There’s no Superwoman costume hanging in your closet. Politics aside, you’re obviously an intelligent, capable woman—but nobody expects you to have super powers. Don’t be afraid to admit you’re exhausted. It’s okay to need a nap or a good night’s sleep. Or two. If you must pretend you’re a superhero, get a sidekick and delegate responsibilities on your “To Do” list to someone else. In the real world, sidekicks are called “assistants”—or they’re teenagers who don’t mind earning some spending money by babysitting or running errands.
To read the rest of this article, go here.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Just Making Sure

Getting my caboose kiddo ready for school this morning.
Zipping up her jacket. Kissing her forehead.
"You know, I sure was surprised when I found out you were coming along," I told her. "But, I'm so glad you surprised me."
She giggled and then headed out the door with a smile on her face.
I meant what I said--and it was tinged with only a little bit of guilt.
When I wrote Baby Changes Everything: Embracing and Preparing for Motherhood after 35, I was honest about how shocked I was by my pregnancy at 41.
For awhile, I felt like I was going in reverse and fast-forward at the same time.
My caboose kiddo is now almost 8. She's old enough to know the book is about her--that there would have been no book if there had been no her.
I just want to make sure she never doubts that I love her and I want her in my life.
I admit to being an initially reluctant Mommy-Come-Lately®, but I truly am loving late-in-life motherhood now. I also admit it took a little while for my emotions to stop reeling and for me to wrap my brain around the sudden u-turn in my life back to maternity clothes and morning sickness and being a 41-year-old mom-to be.
I've met other women surprised by late-in-life motherhood--one just a couple of weeks ago when I spoke at a Hearts at Home conference. She was trying to grasp the reality that she was pregnant again at 41.
Sounded familiar.
We hugged--and I told her that it was okay that she wasn't over-the-moon thrilled about her pregnancy right that minute. I believe she will fall in love with her caboose kiddo minute by minute, day by day--experience by experience. That's how it happens sometimes.
That's how it happened for me.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

News of Interest for Late-in-Life Moms Oct 13, 2008

News to know:

Docs double kids' vitamin D recommendation
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said children from newborns to teens should get double the usually recommended amount of vitamin D. Evidence suggests vitamin D may help reduce risks for cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
To meet the new recommendation of 400 units daily, millions of children--including breast-fed infants--will need to take daily vitamin D supplements, the AAP said.

Limit on cold remedies for kids was FDA's idea
A recent announcement by drug companies no longer recommending cough and cold remendies for children under 4 was the Food and Drug Administration's idea. The FDA also recommended the limit be for age 4 rather than age 6, as recommended by pediatricians.

Many women unaware of obesity-cancer link
Many women don't know that obesity increases their risk of several types of cancer, according to a survey in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Women who were overweight were four times more likely to develop cancer of the uterine lining, the research said, and obese women also are at greater risk of breast and colon cancer.

Newest celebrity Mommy-Come-Lately: Lisa Marie Presley
Lisa Marie Presley, 40, gave birth to twin daughters on Oct. 7th by Caesarean section. Presley is married to music producere Michael Lockwood. Presley also has a 19-year-old daughter and a 15-year-old son from a previous marriage.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Whatcha' Doin', Mom?

Never ask a 7-year-old a question if you're not ready for an honest answer.
Today I asked my caboose kiddo if she knew what I did for work.
"You sit at your computer a lot," she replied.
"But what do I do?"
"Uuuummmm, you sit at your computer a lot." She stressed the last two words, as if that made what I did more important.
"Christa, you know what I do," I said, holding up a copy of Baby Changes Everything, the book that has a photo of me and her on the back.
"Oh, yeah. You write books--and you ..."
"Edit ..." I helped out.
"You edit a magazine. Can I go watch TV now?"
In my first go-round as a mom, I wasn't a working mom. I stayed home and tried to get the whole mothering thing down. I aimed for perfection--and quickly realized that wasn't going to happen. So I tried to love my kiddos the best I could, even though I was a less than perfect mom. My mantra was: MOTHERHOOD: Perfection not required.
After late-in-life motherhood turned my life goals inside out and upside down, I decided to pursue writing again. I figured if I waited until Christa grew up, my writing dream would never happen.
I wonder sometimes if my being a working mom--albeit a part-time, work mostly from home mom, affects Christa much. Apparently not. She just thinks I sit in front of my computer. A lot.
There are times when dinner goes uncooked as I aim for a deadline. Times when I shut my office door and no one--no one is to open the door until I come out. There are times I stay up too late finishing a project or editing someone else's article.
But I guess I'm managing well enough.
I'm glad I had this little chat with my daughter.
Now excuse me while I go slip a copy of my book on her bookshelf.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

News of Interest for Late-in-Life Moms October 8, 2008

News to know:

Cold season is coming--and here's the latest on the cough syrup and young children debate:

Drug companies: No cold meds for kids under 4

Children under 4 should not be given over-the-counter cough and cold remedies, drug companies said. Problems with OTC cough and cold medicines send some 7,000 children to hospital emergency rooms each year,

The companies will also add a warning to their product labels saying parents should not give young children antihistamines to make them sleepy. Antihistamines are used to relieve allergies.

Drug companies are also starting a campaign to educate parents on how to properly give their kids cough and cold medications.

Parents should never:

  • Give adult medicines to a child.
  • Give two or more medicines with the same ingredients at the same time.
  • Give antihistamines to make a child sleepy.

Parents should:

  • Give the exact recommended dose, using the measuring device that comes with the medicine.
  • Keep OTC medicines out of sight and out of reach.
  • Consult their doctor if they have any questions.

Circulating fan reduces SIDS risk

Using a fan to circulate air seemed to lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), researchers reported.

SIDS is the sudden death of an otherwise healthy infant that can't be attributed to any other cause. These babies may have brain abnormalities that prevent them from gasping and waking when they don't get enough oxygen.

The new study, which involved 500 babies, was published in October's Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, and suggests another way to make sure babies get enough air.

Some antidepressants may damage sperm

Antidepressant drugs sold as Paxil or Seroxat may reduce some men's fertility by damaging the DNA in their sperm, according to researchers.

GlaxoSmithKline, the makers of Paxil and Seroxat, are reviewing the study's findings.

Monday, October 06, 2008

News of Interest for Late-in-Life Moms October 6, 2008

News to know:

Report: More children dying from combination flu, staph infection
During the 2006-07 flu season, 73 children died from flu because they also had staph infections, according to a new government report. Preliminary figures indicate deaths rose again during this past winter's flu season.
More than half the children who died were between ages 5 and 17 and were healthy before they got the flu.
Public health officials say the increase proves the importance of a new recommendation that all children, from 6 months through 18 years, get routine flu shots. Before this year, shots were recommended for kids under 5 years.

Doctors advise no hamsters, exotic pets for kids
Young children should not have hedgehogs as pets — or hamsters, baby chicks, lizards and turtles— because of risks for disease, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Exotic animals can carry dangerous and sometimes potentially deadly germs, and may be more prone than cats and dogs to bite, scratch or claw — putting children younger than 5 particularly at risk, according to a report in the October edition of the group's medical journal, Pediatrics.

Parents' financial stress trickles down to kids
With many families reeling from financial struggles, many parents are struggling with how to best address the economic mess with their children.
Experts advise any explanation be done in an age-appropriate way, to make sure you reassure your children, and that you use any conversation as a teachable moment.

On the "this is a bit too weird for me" side of the news:

PETA proposes that Ben & Jerry's use breast milk in its ice cream
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) asked Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream to use breast milk in its products instead of cow's milk. PETA said this would reduce the suffering of cows and calves and give ice cream lovers a healthier product.

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Friday, October 03, 2008

Hitting the Road

I'm heading out the the Hearts at Home Regional Conference in Michigan this weekend. I love hanging out with other moms and hearing what's going on in their lives. It's especially fun to connect with other Mommies-Come-Lately®.

I'll be teaching a workshop called "Baby Changes Everything: Now Tell Me Something I Don't Know", which focuses on how our children change us. I am who I am today because I am a mom.

My other workshop is "How to Help Your Son Your Son Choose Purity Instead of Pornography"--a topic I am passionate about since I believe all boys will face the temptation of pornography to some degree.

My caboose kiddo Christa isn't too happy when I travel. She lets me know she doesn't want me to go, and there are usually some tears. She also usually slips a little surprise in my luggage--a note or one of her stuffed animals. We'll see what shows up when I open my bags in my hotel room.


Squidoo is going to give away up to $80,000 to charity by October 15, 2008. Just click here and vote for your favorite charity--there's quite a list to choose from--and $2.00 will be donated to that charity. It's as easy as that!

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Living a Late-in-Life Child Life

Life is hard these days for Christa.
One of her big sisters left for Nicaragua 3 weeks ago on a 9 month missions trip.
Nine months is a long time.
Especially when you are 7 1/2 years old and you're waiting for one of your favorite sisters to come home.
Such are the travails of a late-in-life child with older siblings.
Christa wants so much to be older--as old as her big brother Josh and two big sisters, Kate and Amy. She wants to do what they do, be who they are.
But there's no way I can speed Christa's life up. And there is no "slow" button on my older kiddos' lives.
I realized early on that I couldn't fully understand my caboose kiddo's life. But I knew someone who did. My friend, Jamie, was a late-in-life child with three older siblings. Part of being a savvy Mommy-Come-Lately®, is understanding your late-in-life child's feelings--as well as being knowledgeable about the particular challenges a caboose kiddo faces.
And so, I interviewed Jamie for my book Baby Changes Everything: Embracing and Preparing for Motherhood after 35.
Jamie warned me Christa might feel abandoned when Josh and Kate and Amy left home for college or got married. She suggested several ways to help Christa cope:
1. Talk about the change.
2. Create some rituals that comfort the caboose kiddo.
I've taken Jamie's advice. Christa and I have talked a lot about Amy's trip--both before and after she left. Sometimes all Christa said was, "I don't want Amy to go. I'll miss her." And I said, "Me too." I wanted to validate her feelings.
Amy gave Christa lots of special time before she left, taking her to the movies and to the pottery shop to paint a ceramic doggy.
Amy also left a special teddy bear name Jeremiah for Christa to cuddle while she's gone. She hugged it over and over again and told Christa that Jeremiah was filled with hugs from her. That way, if Christa wanted a hug from Amy, Jeremiah could give her one.
We've started another ritual since Amy left.
Every night, Christa falls asleep in Amy's bed, snuggling with Jeremiah.
So be it.
If it eases the ache in my caboose kiddo's heart, I don't mind. I told her she can keep Amy's bed warm for her until she gets home.

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