In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Friday, October 30, 2009

Such is the life of a 21st century child

Katie Beth and Amy, my two oldest daughters are astounded by their little sister's life.
They came home tonight to find her e-mailing her buddy, Justin, via our Wii!
Did they stand amazed and say, "Wow! Technology these days!"
It was more like, "Are you kidding me?!"
They couldn't exactly go the "you-didn't-let-us-e-mail-our-friends-when-we-were-that-age" route, because ... well, e-mail wasn't around when they were eight years old.
I think they equated her e-mailing Justin to them calling a boy on the phone--and, in our house, that is a definite no-no.
But e-mailing Justin using our Wii Internet connection had some extra layers to it that calling boys on the phone doesn't have. For one, I was talking to Justin's mom while Christa and Justin were instigating the flurry of e-mails. I was Christa's human spell-checker for her messages. Christa wanted me in on the jokes she was sending her buddy. I read each and every e-mail sent and received.
Christa and Justin were disappointed that their attempt to play a Wii game together online failed. Katie Beth and Amy once again ignored the technological marvel and wondered why I was even allowing Christa such freedom.
Why, indeed?
Well, because this her time to be eight, not their time. And, with appropriate parental involvement, this is harmless. The Wii has parental controls. Christa knows she is only on Wii Internet if I'm there with her. She knows about online "stranger danger"--we had a frank talk again today. When my first three kiddos were growing up, I only had to warn them about the bad guys lurking in cars or stores. Now I have to warn Christa about the World Wide Web.
For the most part, Christa is being raised like her siblings were raised. But she's being raised in a very different world--and there have to be adjustments made for that reality.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

News of Interest to Moms October 28, 2009

News to know:

CDA Recommends Halloween Tips for Good Oral Health
With the yearly Halloween candy-fest looming, The California Dental Association has several recommendations to help children avoid cavities:
1. Offer healthier alternatives to candy, including candies containing 'xylitol,' a
natural sugar substitute, and sugar-free gum.
2. Monitor you child's candy consumption by setting up a "candy bank" and determining when and how much candy your child can eat.
3. Avoid sticky candies like taffy and gummy candies. Anything that
stays in the mouth or on the teeth for an extended period of time leaves
acid on teeth that causes tooth decay.
4. Remind your child to brush and floss at least twice a day.

Report: U.S. children watching more television than ever before
Children are watching 28 to 32 hours of TV a week, according to a new report.
Children aged 2-5 now spend an average of more than 32 hours a week watching TV.
Children aged 6-11 spend about 28 hours per week watching TV, the report said. The decreased hours are due in part because they are more likely to be attending school for longer hours.

Children Between the Ages of 1-11 Not Getting Enought Vitamin D
One in five U.S. children between the ages of 1 and 11 are vitamin D deficient, according to a new report.
Black children, and to a lesser extent Hispanics, are more susceptible to this problem because people with darker skin absorb less sunlight, researches said in the study published in Pediatrics.
Vitamin D plays many roles in childhood development including growth and development of strong bones.

Antipsychotic Drugs in Kids Linked to Weight Gain
Children and teens who took antipsychotic medicines gained weight and developed increased blood-fat levels, according to a new study.
Children gained from 9.7 to 18.7 pounds, according to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

In Pursuit of #1

Photo by raichinger/

I caught a glimpse of the world's top mom the other day.
How did I know?
She was driving a car in the lane next to me -- two cars ahead of me. Traffic was stopped at a red light, and there it was emblazoned in white letters on her green license plate: #1 MOM.
Surprisingly, #1 MOM wasn't cruising around in a minivan or pricey SUV bearing a "My kid is smarter than your kid" bumper sticker. No, she sat behind the wheel of a nondescript four-door sedan.
Having a vanity license plate declaring "#1 MOM" is equivalent to when a coffee shop has a sign claiming "World's Best Coffee Served Here."
I don't know about you, but my knee-jerk reaction is, "Oh,yeah? Sez who,besides you?"
As I sat at the red light, I wondered, Did she buy that license plate for herself? In all her self-assured mom-ness, was she determined to snag the top mom spot?
And then I calmed my unusual brand of road rage--fueled by insomnia, caffeine and hormones--and realized maybe someone else gave her the license plate as a gift.
Maybe her husband, creative genius that he is, wanted to affirm her for all those mommy hours she logs behind the wheel of her mom-taxi, behind the stove, along the sidelines of her kiddos' games ...
Or maybe her children celebrated Mother's Day, not with a bunch of flowers, but with a thin piece of metal screwed to the back of their mom's car.
True confession: Too often I think of motherhood as a competition.
How am I doing compared to you? Or you? Or you?
What's my standing in the world of moms? Am I in the top ten percent of good moms? The top five percent?
Reality is, I am the mom of four children: Josh, Katie Beth, Amy and Christa. If I spend less time comparing myself to others, I'll do a much better job loving the son and daughters God gave me.
It's not about being #1. It's about being the best mom I can be--imperfections and all.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

News of Interest to Moms October 21, 2009

News to know:

Study: Normal Mercury Levels Found in Autistic Children
Two to five-year-old children diagnosed with autism or autism spectrum disorders (AU/ASD) had blood mercury levels similar to other children, according to a study to be published in Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP).
Some people believe there is a link between autism and mercury because of its toxicity.

Prolonged Thumb Sucking or Pacifier Use May Lead to Speech Impediments
Using bottles and pacifiers, as well as thumb sucking, may increase the risk of speech disorders in young children, according to researchers.
After evaluating 128 three to five year olds, researchers found delaying bottle use until a child was at least 9 months old reduced the risk of developing speech disorders. Children who sucked their fingers or used a pacifier for more than three years were three times more likely to develop speech impediments.

AAP Advises Docs Learn About Kids' Media Use
Pediatricians should find out what their patients watch and listen to, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Music plays an important role in the socialization of children and adolescents, according to an AAP policy statement, and an increasing number of studies are showing that violence in music, movies, television, and video games is affect young people's behavior.
Read the policy statements href="">here.

The 100 Best (and Worst) Places to Raise Kids
The editors of Children's Health considered more than 30 factors that parents deem vitally important, including crime and safety, education, economics, housing, cultural attractions, and health. (See criteria)

Plum Organics Recalling Baby Food Contaminated with Botulism-Causing Bacteria
Plum Organics voluntarily recalled portions of its Apple & Carrot Baby Food in Portable Pouches.
A letter on the Web site said the "formulation was incorrect" and that a "mixing error resulted in an improper blend of carrots and apples."
The mixing error resulted in the baby food being contaminated with clostridium botulinum, which can cause botulism, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. No injuries or illnesses have been reported.
best by
Product recalled has a best buy date of May 21, 2010 and is marked with the following number “890180001221” located at the bottom of the package.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Motherhood: Perfection Not Required--but Apologies are Mandatory

Photo by bies/

I knew motherhood came with certain requirements.
Moms are required to sleep a lot less.
Moms are required to change diapers in the oddest places: on the floor, on bathroom counters, with their children balanced on their knees, while their children stand up on the backseats of(not-moving) cars.
Moms are required to sing their children's favorite songs over and over and over and over again -- but only after they've read their children's favorite book for the gajillionth time. ("Gajillion" is an actual number in my overworked mommy-mind.)
Moms are required to be strong enough to let go of their children as they grow up -- and yet always be that safe place for their children to come home to when they need a hug or an encouraging word.
The one mom-requirement that surprised me?
The number of times I've had to ask my children to forgive me for being a less than perfect mom.
I've often said my four children have taught me more about forgiveness than anyone and anything else. Not because I've had to forgive them so much, but because I've had to say, "Will you please forgive me?" to Josh, Katie Beth, Amy and Christa.
Just two days ago I realized it was time, once again, to ask one of my children to forgive me. I'd misspoken to my daughter, Amy. "Misspoken" is a nice way of saying that I'd been judgmental and harsh.
My goal with Amy--with all my children--is relationship. And no relationship survives an atmosphere of harsh judgement.
I approached Amy and confessed that I'd spoken inappropriately to her, asking her to forgive me.
"That's okay, Mom," she said.
"No, it's not okay. I was wrong. Please, forgive me."
Amy hugged me and said, "I do. I forgive you."
Relationship restored.
Some mom-requirements come and go. The sleepless nights, the diapering days--those are long gone.
But the need to humble myself and ask my children's forgiveness?
That will always be necessity if I want to have a good relationship with my children.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

News of Interest to Moms October 7, 2009

News to know:
Health secretary tries easing flu vaccine fears
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius declared the H1N1 flu vaccine safe and said it was important to protect the more vulnerable population such as children and pregnant women from the H1N1 flu.
Sebelius recommended people go to for information about H1N1.

Autism is on the rise (or is it?)
According to two new studies, the number of kids diagnosed with autism or a related disorder in the U.S. is close to 1 in 100, not the previously estimate 1 in 150 children.

The new statistic sparks continued debate: How many more children actually have autism now than had it in the past? And what are the underlying causes? The new numbers don't just fail to resolve either of these debates—they turn up the heat on both.

Internet addiction linked to ADHD, depression in teens
Children who are depressed, hostile, or have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or social phobia are more likely to become addicted to the Internet than their peers, according to a new study.

Internet addiction usually includes symptoms such as:
~spending a lot of time on the Internet (especially more time than intended)
~an inability to cut back on usage
~a preoccupation with online activities
~symptoms of withdrawal such as anxiety, boredom, or irritability after a few days of not going online.

Researchers found that ADHD and hostility were linked to Internet addiction in children in general. In girls -- but not boys -- depression and social phobia also predicted problems.

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Friday, October 02, 2009

News of Interest to Moms October 2, 2009

News to know:

Swine flu spreading widely; worry over pregnant women
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) said swine flu has spread across the country.
There is also concern for pregnant women. As of late August, 100 pregnant women have been hospitalized in intensive care, and 28 have died since the beginning of the outbreak in April.

Over half of today's babies expected to live past 100
More than half of all babies born in industrialized nations since the year 2000 can expect to live to be 100, according to a study published in The Lancet.

The study's lead researcher said increases in longevity will come from continuing to improve lifestyle at older ages. The aging population will also likely be a more vibrant population, with a higher quality of life than people of that age now.

Mom, babies benefit from treating pregnancy-related diabetes
Women who develop a mild case of gestational diabetes during pregnancy tend to have fewer complications and healthier babies if the diabetes is treated,according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Gestational diabetes can be treated with dietary restrictions, the oral drug metformin, or insulin injections. Some medical practitioners choose not to treat mild cases of gestational diabetes.
The study showed that women were half as likely to have larger-than-normal babies if they were treated. Fourteen percent of women who weren't treated had a baby that weighed more than 8 pounds, 13 ounces, compared with only six percent who were treated.

Latest Examiner column:
FDA delays approval of cervical cancer vaccine Cervarix

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