Flu flew in

Like a dumbass I didn’t get a flu shot.  Earlier this week I felt it coming on. Came on fast.  I got in the car to go to a home improvement store and by the time I was asking for vinyl mesh (so my dog doesn’t crawl out of our gate) I felt sick.  Aches, thick head, chills, cough, etc.  It’s been years since I had it, but I remember.  It truly sucks.  Fortunatly, I knew to call my GP and left a message asking her to call in a prescription for Tami Flu.  If she had made me truck cross town to be examined by her, honestly, I don’t think I could have done it.  She did not ( cancel plans to change doctor).  Mark picked it up for me and by the next day I felt a wee bit better.

how I feel and I feel I look

how I feel and I feel I look

The other issue was Rex.  He is getting his annual in a couple of weeks which will include the flu mist.  I called his doctor and got an appointment for him first thing in the morning for the flu vaccine.

“I want to cuddle with you mommy.”

keep this kid healthy

must keep this cutie healthy

” Baby, I want to cuddle with you too, but until you get your vaccine you need to stay away from mommy. Here, you can play with my Ipad. Wash your hands a lot”

I’m still a bit sloggy, aching, stupid in the head.  But, Tami Flu arrested the symptoms considerably.  I don’t care that even with insurance it cost $70.  It’s worth it.  Thank you modern medicine.

Now, if you haven’t already get your flu shot!

Cover up your kids, dang it.

All summer it boggles my mind.  Little girls in bikini’s and one pieces.

lordy, the kids a red head! She should be in a tent

I’m rolling up my big boy pants and wading into JUDGE LAKE.  I don’t get  the recklessness I see in the sunny months.  Why am I often the only parent putting my kids in rash guard style swimwear?

In my lifetime we went from a country that worshipped the sun, let people smoke on planes, made it illegal to have kids sit in the front seat.  Let alone on the arm rest like I use to, next to my groovy Ali McGraw looking mom in the 1970′s with her deep brown tan.  YET, there is a great disconnect when I see kids at the beach and poolside.  Their swimsuits make me look to see a dangling cigarette in the hands of their moms, to hear if people are calling grown black men, “boy”.   The world changed, became more aware of cultural flaws and safety issues, subsequently we buckle our kids in a special seat in the back of the car, advanced civil rights, but knowing the dangers of the sun 99% of parents I see dress their little daughters like this when near a body of water.

I don’t get it

NOT to mention the odd sexualization of childhood these suits represent.  I’ve long been bothered by little girls dressed as if they have developed bodies.  Just looking at this from a health issue, parents are exposing their children to the sun at the worst times to do so.  Sun exposure when we are under 25 is the most dangerous for our skin.  Later, our goose is kind of cooked.  A burn in childhood follows you for life.  I had been stewing about this issue of unprotected kids in the sun and today an OP ED piece propelled me to write about it. It’s about the dangers of tanning bed by a doctor who had a scare.

Not Cute

The doctor advocates for warnings on tanning beds.   where is the warning on little kids swimsuits?

The other day at a party for a friend of Rex’s a blonde boy was running around playing shirtless.  I said something to his father and the father said something along the lines “It’s okay, he was by a lake last week.”  I was confused.  I think he was using that old myth about if you have a base tan you are protected.  The little boy was obviously getting red.

from CDC

When Vivien was a baby we were given a baby bikini.  Barf.  We couldn’t throw that out of the house fast enough.  We know we have a dirty planet.  As Woody Allen said in “Annie Hall”, “Everything our parents said was good for us is bad, the sun, milk, college.” We know melanoma is on the rise,  PARENTS WHY DON’T YOU PROTECT YOUR KIDS IN THE SUN.   I hear, “I slathered on the sunscreen.”  Yes, that’s good, but c’mon it’s not as good as having material covering the body.  I put on sunscreen on the exposed legs of my kids and they still get tan. They jump in the water, run around.  DO you really keep reapplying every 30 minutes?  I doubt it.  Plus my son is wiggly and it’s hard to get as much on him as I would like.  I have a long sleeved shirt for Rex sometimes, but I’ve been getting push back from Vivien for my Victorian ways because all of her friends are dressed like Kiddie Sports Illustrated. I’m firm.  Sun is up, rash guard swimwear is on. She’s lucky I don’t throw her in a burka.

what my kids wear

 

It’s fun to have your kids in cute clothes.  That’s what dresses, and little ties and vests are for.  Cover up your kids in the sun, humor me.

 

 

 

 

There better be WMD’s if you are calling me at 4am

Remember during the ’08 elections, the primaries when Hillary and Obama were going at Hillary had that commerical about who would do best when the phone rang at 3am?  Now, they were thinking about a national security issue.  ”Russia has invaded Puerto Rico.”(see spoof here)

Then and now I think Hillary could do a good job in the middle of the night so I was wondering if she could answer my phone when it rings at 4am, as it did last night. It also rang at 4:16am, 4:31am, 4:40am, 4:52. It’s scary to be woken up in the middle of the night. Rather it should be, but I wasn’t rattled, I was just tired and pissed.  See, I knew there wasn’t crisis.

Cousin Floyd” was agitated.  New parents know the sleep deprivation of a newborn. But, grown up people can be more exhausting.  THERE IS NOTHING CUTE ABOUT THEM.  I don’t can’t have another Black Smoke day, but I’m exhausted.  When Rex kept me up with his stomach bug we did spend parts of the day cuddled up on the couch watching cartoons.  Now, I think I need to sleep and or find a support group.

But, most urgently, How do you block a number from calling your phone?  Would Hillary know? Do you?  Because I can’t function like this and my kids can’t either.  Vivien was so upset at being woken up and I don’t blame here.  It’s hard to have compassion at 4am, and 4:16, 4:31, 4:40…

Then the texting started.  That’s easier to turn off.

New Moms, win stuff

 

 

"I'm just chillin in my mommy, oh yeah."

Chatted with a pediatrician the other day. Not our own, but Dr. Bhargava …..  She is the spokesperson for Web MD’s new pregnancy app. Which is available for free.

It was well timed as Rex was home sick. He had been throwing up for a couple of days, but no fever.  So, my first question was,  no point in calling a doctor, right?  Basically, the answer was yes, just keep him hydrated.  I told her I was having a “Black Smoke” day, NOTHING was getting done.  I was wiped out.  Then I moved beyond my immediate life

TIRED MOM BLOGGER: As a pediatrician you want to take care of kids, but you end up having to  treat the parents in a sense.  Is that a drag?

Dr Bhargava: No, they are key stake holders.  They have to be comfortable with the information they get.

ME: ( still digging for the parent dig) Is that difficult, because you wanted to help children and now you have to deal with these adults?

THE PERSON WITH WAY MORE EDUCATION THAN I:  I like talking to parents.  It’s team work.  I’m one of the team members. It’s a priviledge.

ME GETTING TO THE SELLING POINT: Now you have this app, which I would have loved when I was pregnant because I was going online all the time to check the size of the baby and check my experience as compared to other women.   It does feel like there are so many more things available to a pregnant woman, than just 4 years ago. Is pregnancy more popular right now, or what? Is there a hunger for information or to curate that information?

DR:  There is a hunger for information on a variety of health issues.  There is a lot of information coming at people and you have to be careful who you are getting it from.  You want it based on facts.  This is a great way to get this.  WEB MD updates there information regularly.

ME WHILE DRINKING MORE COFFEE: What’s one of the big missing component that pregnant women aren’t getting?

DR: ( she didn’t think anything was missing) One thing this helps with is to remember what to ask your doctor during your visits.  It also helps keep your memories of the pregnancy.  What was your craving, things like that.

WOMEN WHO STUDIED IMPROV: Since you are a working mom, what did you do on days you had to go in a practice medicine when you had been up with your child?  When you were having a black smoke day?

WOMEN WHO STUDIED MEDICINE: (laughed) I love the black smoke days.  I’m going to borrow that from you.  I’ve had so many of those.  I thought when my kids were over 3 I was over those sleepless nights, but as they get older you are up for different reasons.  Look, moms need to take care of themselves.  They are the center of households and they need to take the time to destress.

So that was the interview, no here is the giveaway!!  If you are a new parent, or know one.  Leave your name and I will randomly pick a name on Friday to get this new app and other great things to have when you have a baby.

1.     Swaddling blankets:  SwaddleDesign Ultimate Receiving Blanket

2.     Digital thermometer:  Vick’s Baby Rectal Thermometer

3.     Towel & Washcloth:  Aden & Anais La Mer Towel & Washcloth

4.     WebMD magazine most recent issue

5.     Other collateral from WebMD on pregnancy (Note: I don’t know what collateral they plan to send, hopefully not collateral damage)

Leave your name and if you win that’s a white smoke day!

 

My letter to the editor

The LA Times published a letter I wrote them.  I was a little surprised they did as they must get so many. But, was pleased they did. I wrote it after reading an article that was sympathetic towards the LA Pot clinics in regard to treating a councilman’s cancer pain.

Here is the letter that was published.

Re “Medical pot is here to stay,” Column, March 8 

I’m glad that Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl has the marijuana he needs to help him cope with symptoms related to his cancer and treatment. But I’m sorry that his remarks at a City Council hearing on banning pot shops – “You want to kill me”? – were not balanced by someone like me, who could have said, “You are helping to destroy a family member.”  

Pot can be helpful for patients like Rosendahl, but it can also be a powerful addictive drug that ruins the mind. I’m tired of people saying that “it’s just pot.” It’s just wine unless you abuse it.  

Doctors have told my family that marijuana can cause psychotic breaks. Sadly, we have found this to be true.  

Within a mile of my house in one direction, there are eight pot clinics. Must this unchecked threat to our mental health continue? 

Daphne Brogdon

Los Angeles

Let’s just say I wrote this because of “my cousin Floyd”  I don’t have a cousin Floyd, but I can’t discuss the real person in honest terms here.  I stand by the letter despite the negative comments.  Typical anonymous online comments.

We have a weird thing in California.  Pot is basically legal if you have a prescription, which is as easily obtained.  A while back a doctor with a face like a “Real Housewife” had a billboard saying to come see her for marijuana prescriptions.  The federal government does not recognize it as legal, but it’s not enforced.  I would be thrilled if people who need it like the aforementioned Councilman could go to CVS or Rite Aid pharmacies and get what they needed.  But, cousin Floyd gets pot with a prescription with greater ease than I was able to buy pot in in my twenties.  It’s also FAR more powerful than it was in the olden days.  The last time I smoked pot was the early zeros.  It was no longer the giggly, “let’s eat chocolate” experienced I remembered, but a numbing agent that made it impossible to go to sleep as my mind kept churning.

In Amsterdam they have the coffee houses that people can get pot like we do a beer.  Holland does have issues with that.  Many there would like it to be just for residents and not for the tourists.  However, there seems to be something more honest about saying “here it is for recreation” than hiding behind the cloak of medicine.  My cousin Floyd has called it his medicine.  It is not.  It changes Floyd’s personality utterly. I think pro pot advocates think someone like me is basing my views on an old copy of “Reefer Madness”.  I am not.  I know there are plenty of people who can imbibe pot and be just fine.  Go to work, love their kids, mow their lawns.  But, don’t tell me these are pot “clinics’.  Don’t tell me pot isn’t addictive. Don’t tell me pot can’t be a trigger for mental illness.  It can.  I’ve seen, lived it and still live with it.

Getting a mouth ready for Valentine’s day

I’ve put those trays on my teeth some evenings to brighten my smile.  Discolored teeth are so unattractive, but tough when you like coffee, tea and red wine like I do.

HMM, MAYBE I DID DRINK TOO MUCH RED WINE WHILE WATCHING “DOWNTON ABBEY LAST NIGHT?  MAYBE I SHOULD HAVE SNACKED ON SHITAKE MUSHROOMS”

I got a pitch in the mail bag from www.ManhattanDentalArts.com . listing food that dirty your teeth and those that clean them up.  So, getting ready for kisses on Valentine’s day by drinking pineapple juice and carrying a straw to a wine bar.

1.     Black Coffee and Black Tea—The darker the beverage, the more staining that can occur. So try adding a little extra milk to lighten the color and reduce the staining effect.

2.     Wine—Both red and white wines if taken in excess will stain your teeth.   Although red stains, white wine’s acidic composition actually etches tiny grooves in your teeth making them more porous and more easily stained.

3.     Colas and Sports Drinks—Because they are so highly acidic, they help promote staining by other foods.

4.     Berries– Blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, cherries and other berries, although excellent for your overall health, can stain your teeth. So, if you’re crazy for berries, be sure to rinse out your mouth thoroughly with water after each indulgence.

5.     Beets—Now here’s a vegetable that could put a powerful stain in your t-shirt, so, like all foods that stain, moderation is called for with this one.

6.     Sauces—Soy sauce and tomato sauce, as well as other deeply colored sauces, are believed to have significant staining potential.

7.     Juice—Grape, pomegranate and cranberry are highly pigmented and can cause staining.  So, if you must imbibe, try rinsing your mouth out with water or drinking juices through a straw, thereby bypassing the fronts of your teeth

8.     Pickles and ketchup—These acidic foods are good at opening up the pores of your tooth enamel allowing for easy staining.

9.     Balsamic Vinegar—While great on a salad, causes havoc to your teeth.  If you must, try it on lettuce, which has a natural ability to provide a protective film over your teeth.

10.  Candy–Sweets contain teeth-staining coloring agents. If your tongue turns a funny color, there’s a good chance that your teeth will too.

11.  Curry—Although great on Indian food, this yellow-staining food flavoring can be harsh on teeth. So make sure to rinse thoroughly after indulging.

12.  Popsicles—Did you ever look at your tongue after you’ve finished your fruity, sugary pop? Not only does it color your tongue, but also your teeth.  Plus, it has added double whammy negative effect produced by all of that sugar. So, limit your intake and rinse with water after finishing.

12 Tooth-Whitening Foods 

1.     Apples and pears increase salivary production which flushes away stains over time.

2.     Pineapple acts as a natural stain remover.

3.     Carrots contain vitamin A which is needed for healthy tooth enamel.

4.     Cauliflower and cucumbers also help to increase salivary production the natural way to flush away stains.

5.     Green vegetables like broccoli, lettuce and spinach contains iron which helps form an acid-resistant film or barrier that can protect the enamel on your teeth.

6.     Shitake mushrooms help inhibit bacteria from growing in your mouth.

7.     Onions help reduce bacteria that cause tooth decay.

8.     Cheese is rich in protein, calcium and phosphorus, all of which can help safeguard the acids in your mouth.

9.     Salmon provides calcium and vitamin D, nutrients needed for healthy bones and teeth.

10.  Poppy and sesame seeds help scrub away plaque.

11.  Ginger acts as an anti-inflammatory to support healthy mouth tissue.

12.  Basil is a natural antibiotic that reduces bacteria in the mouth.

Tis the season.. for mucus and barf

Viv woke up sounding like Brenda Vaccaro.

No, she wasn’t telling me about the attributes of Tampax, but a throaty voice that would make Ashton Kutcher turn around to see if his estranged wife was in the room.  Took her to the doctor, no strep. Decided she needed a strawberry shake as salve.  When we got home  I sat down and fell asleep for 90 minutes. Not normal that I fall asleep like that in the afternoon.  I wake up to Rex vomiting.   At one point Rex climbed up to the toilet seat.  He can get his entire body on the seat. I tried to move him back to the bed.
“No, mommy.”  I know, kid sometimes you just feel the need to be near the toilet.  I sat next to him and he started to snore.  I waited a few minutes till he was deeper asleep and then I moved him.  So, glad he stayed asleep.

While I lay next to him hearing him snore like a middle aged man, I read “Below Stairs”.  A memoir of a British maid that inspired Downton Abbey and Upstairs, Downstairs.  Spoiler alert, in real life they don’t like their bosses like they do in Downton Abbey. Good read.

Viv is back at school today.  Rex is all better, but keeping him home.  I really don’t know how full time working parents do this without full time help. A servent in jolly old England, forget it.  No wonder Edith turned to the streets.   Since I’m under employed right now I can lay next to my baby and rub his back all day if needed.  Course at some point I need to bring some money in here.

Maybe I could sell tampons?

 

Last day to gift wrap!

Okay, If I don’t do it today, then it’s really on Santa’s shoulders.  Tomorrow Rex has a short day so this is it.

( but not this Santa.  We have been going to Teddy Bear tea at a fancy hotel for years.  This year the pro Santa called in sick.)

This week still had the sad shadow of Sandy Hook, Vivien and I were out for two days with intestinal disturbances.  Then, another heart break.  An old friend succumbed to cancer.  I’m too upset to write about it and not even sure if I will.  Just sad.

I’m going to fire up some carols, and wrap.  Keep going.

But, if that Stevie Wonder version of “Ava Maria” comes on I will be bawling under the tree.

 

Can’t wait for 2012 to get it’s crap and get out of here.

Me and My Shingles

Lesson for moms out there… we can’t put ourselves last.  That’s my take away.  I have been consumed with the last month of Campanile.  Emotional saying farewell to regulars, staff, people who held my children when they were babies.  The place where I met my husband.  Consumed with taking care of my husband who had to close the door on a business he birthed and nurtured for most of his adult life.  Consumed with making sure my children were not upset.  That they could say good bye, but emphasizing our core is our family.  No matter where we work or live, as long as we are together we are solid.

But, I neglected me.  I virtually stopped doing my yoga which keeps me sane.  I wasn’t taking long walks. Also, since I don’t want to cry in front of my kids, when do I let the tears flow?  A couple times I sniffled with total strangers for a sec.  But, I never had a good cry over it.  My body rebelled.  I got terrible back pain.. and then Shingles.  Now instead of being at the bar with Felix and Nick. Or talking about old movies with Garrison I hang out with Shingles.

Now instead of getting Fries after school with Vivien.  I eat with Shingles.

Now, instead of putting on make up and meeting friends at Camp, I stay in my nightgown with Shingles.

So, if you have never had it, here is the deal:  IF you ever had chicken pox (  I did when I was 2 or 3) it lives in your spine..forever.  If you get stressed and your immune system takes a dive it comes out through your spine and takes a trip on your body.  There are few paths it travels. For me it was out of my lower spine, down around my left waist to my belly button and then down toward my c section scar.  It’s red, it blisters.  At best it feels like a sunburn.  At worst there are shooting pains that go up my back and down my legs. I can’t lie on my left side.  I beg my kids to not hug me around the waist.

I had the pain a week before the rash appeared.  I had gone to a chiropractor for my bad back and he said I might have a hernia.  Two days later I went back.  ”My back is better, but look.”  I showed him some red smudges.

“You have shingles.” he said.  That afternoon I went to my GP.  He concurred.  I like getting my back adjusted, but sometimes chiropractors and their alternative, no vaccine, blah, blah ways can bug.  In this case he was in sync with my MD.  This was brought on by stress.

In addition to the closing we also have a relative who has an addiction issue.  I can’t say more except it makes me CRAZY. Breathe.  Trying to distance myself for the time being.  Shingles is a companion, because when I have any stress, even a door slamming, I feel it in my body in the normal way and then it shoots through the path of the rash on a speed train of pain. Bonus stress!

Doctors said I should meditate.  I took that to mean, go to bed and watch home remodeling shows.  Thank goodness my husband is home now.  He has been a big help.

I caught it early enough so I can tell it’s clearing.  I feel for people with chronic conditions that cause them pain.  Because if I have to I can rally, and look fine, but it’s tough and it’s draining. I’m jacked up on meds.  Which I blame for getting the times wrong for soccer.  Kind of bad the coach shows up half way through the game.  I flashed the parents my red waist, “Sorry, I have shingles!”

So, everyone… take care of yourself. Really.

I still need to cry.

children make you lose weight

Can having children help you lose weight?  Here I am starting on the journey of both kids in school five days a week:  Rex preschool, Vivien 2nd grade, and  Oliver off to college. I’m hopeful that this new schedule means my workout routine will skyrocket me back into my size 4′s. Here I am jogging for 30 minutes on the first day of this new, freed up mommy sked.

Yeah, not pretty.

However, I was asked by a fitness writer if she could contribute a post. I don’t normally do that, but I’m  wondering, “did I just send my best personal trainers off to school?”Wouldn’t I look cuter playing with children than the hot mess I am here?”  Pass me the air guitar!

So, from Jennifer Bayliss, who has lots of initials after her name, from Everyday Health is part of the answer.

Channeling Your Inner Child

I don’t know how or when it happened, but my kids are growing up. My oldest child is now entering kindergarten and I am finding myself bombarded with organized activities–soccer, T-Ball, hockey, karate, even outdoor play is now a scheduled event instead of a spontaneous childhood endeavor.
I can remember being the same age as my son and asking my parents to go to gymnastics, tennis lessons, and dance classes like my friends. As the proud, but overwhelmed, parents of a new set of twins, their reply was to tell me to go play outside, but not to leave the yard. What? How fun is that? But I found myself, literally, outside and running laps around our house. I would try to see how many times I could go around without needing to stop and each time I would try and top my last number.
I find myself trying to find a balance with my son. I want him to be part of an organized activity so he learns the benefits of team play and working with others, but I also yearn for him to spend lots of time running and exploring on his own. I now understand the value of unplanned and free play as an opportunity to tap into his imagination, to learn that not only is our yard an outdoor extension of our home, but it can also double as an Olympic Track and Field venue. And to top it all off, it’s great for his health.
These days I find myself playing right alongside my son

(a)because I love spending time with him and

(b) because now I know that outdoor play burns calories and builds lean muscle. As an adult, I still tend to crave organized activity as well–Spin Class, Zumba, Boot Camp Class, or a half marathon. And I still do all of those classes and running events, but now I find myself looking at the playground at our local elementary school in a different light. Those monkey bars and wobbly bridge are a boot camp style obstacle course. I just need to use my imagination and be creative with my workouts. So while my son is acting like an almost 6-year-old little boy, I am getting my exercise in for the day. Just to give you a little idea of how many calories you can burn per minute playing with your child:
Average Calories Burned Per Minute (based on a 150lb person)

Riding Bikes: 5 calories
Jumping Rope: 14 calories
Climbing a Tree: 4.5 calories
Hop Scotch: 7 calories
Dancing: 9 calories
Exploring in the Woods: 7 calories
Jumping On and Off a Tree Stump in Said Woods: 14 calories
Playing Tag: 7 calories
Running Laps Around the House: 12 calories
Playing Air Guitar: 4 calories
Just think how good this is for your child too! Now get out there and play.

Jennifer Bayliss, MSEd, ATC, CSCS, Manager of Fitness for Everyday Health’s Calorie Counter is a guest blogger and mother who loves burning calories while benefiting her son’s health. 

Source: 2011 Compendium of Physical Activities