12/17/2010

A Mother's Christmas Wish

This week is Dodger's birthday and so I can't help but reflect on the week he was born six years ago. Having a baby a week before Christmas is hectic and requires some advance planning. I had to be completely ready for Christmas well in advance; all the shopping, delivering, wrapping, and preparing had to be done because I knew that once that baby came there would be no time for Christmas preparations.

But, once he came, all of the bows and wrappings and gifts were just not what I was thinking of. As I looked at my tiny little boy, I couldn't help but realize the similarities between what I was feeling and what another mother felt two thousand years before:

A long time ago on a cold winter night, in a land far, far away, a Mother held her newborn son and with a full heart, said a prayer to thank her Father in Heaven for this treasure he had entrusted her with. She knew she had an important job to do. She had to raise her son to love and honor His Father and to be true to Himself. So, she vowed to her Father that she would do all in her power, and never quit, to teach her child the things she should so he could fulfill His role on Earth. She loved her baby, and she wanted Him to fulfill His mission. She didn't know everything that He was sent to do, but she knew that, though it would be terribly hard, it was also vitally important. Yet as she looked at him that night, all she saw a beautiful yet helpless, defenseless baby, that she would have to serve and teach and love.

In some way, isn't that how we all feel as we look at our new babies? Whether they are born in December, March or June, each child comes to earth with a role that, in some way, is vitally important. So, this year, don't forget in addition to the glitter and glamor of Christmas, to give your child the gift of service. Give her the gift of strength. Give him the gift of love. Because it is our job as parents to help them fulfill their missions.

Merry Christmas!




Whaddya think?

12/10/2010

How Much Should I Give Him?

A few weeks ago, my Rascal went in for a scheduled same day surgery. After it was done and we were taking him home, the surgeon wrote me a prescription for Tylenol and ibuprofen, even though I had both of them at home. He told me I should fill them anyway because they would come with a measuring syringe that was marked accurately for my child and would reduce the risk of giving him the wrong dose.

Overdosing our children is a common, and sometimes lethal mistake. Sometimes it is because we don't stop to read the bottle (a 2002 poll done by Harris International showed that only 19 percent of parents do read the bottle. REALLY????) and sometimes it is because the bottle instructions aren't really clear. The Children's Motrin bottle says that your 2-3 year old weighing 24- 35 lbs should receive 1 tsp and your 4- 5 year old weighing 36- 47 lbs should receive 1 1/2 tsp. But, what if you 4 year old weighs 33 lbs?? Do you give her 1 or 1 1/2 tsp? And sometimes it is measured in teaspoons (tsp)and sometimes in milliliters (ml) and sometimes in tablespoons (tbsp) but the measuring cup doesn't always coincide with the bottle. So now what? A kitchen measuring spoon?

One nurse said, "Paying attention is crucial, but even when you're sure you're paying attention, errors can be made. (I was a nurse for 10 years and made a few medication errors along the way...and each and every time, I was sure I paid close attention. It ...happens.)"

So, yes the drug companies should make it truly idiot-proof. But, until they all use the same measuring system and make those little cups easier to read, we parents are going to have to shoulder the responsibility. Here are some rules of thumb to keep your little angel safe.

1. If you suspect an overdose, call your local poison control center or emergency room immediately. Keep the number to poison control easily available by your phone, because when you realize that your child has eaten toothpaste or drank a bottle of rubbing alcohol, you don't need to have to look it up in your moment of panic. Trust me.

2.Read the label carefully to see what ingredients are in any medicine you give your child. You don't want to give your child a dose of Tylenol and a cold medicine containing a dose of acetaminophen. You'll overdose your child.*

3. Don't leave any medicines where your child might be able to reach them.

4. Keep all medicine in child-proof bottles.

5. If you drop a pill, make sure you find it and pick it up.

6. Don't tell children that medicine is candy.

7. Don't take adult medicines in front of your child.

8. Be sure you are giving your child the correct dose of the correct medicine. Read directions carefully. Example: a. with medications for multiple ages of children in the home, a mix-up between infants and children's dosages can be deadly. b. If your child does not fit into the age/weight chart, use their weight, the dosing will be more accurate. c. if you can't find the measuring cup that came with the medication, do not use a kitchen spoon, they vary in size so the dosing will not be accurate.

9. Don't give children younger than age 4 any medicines intended for older children.

10. Try to only have one parent responsible for giving the medicine to your kids. If more than one person is responsible for giving medication to a child, make sure good communication happens to avoid confusion and duplicate doses. Create a list that tracks the dose amount and times that medicines are to be given, and check them off as you give them.


With all of the different medications available to us today with so many different doses, it is easy for our children's medications to be inaccurately dosed, even by professionals, so take a minute to read the label and think about what you are giving your child. It could be a matter of life or death.

*FYI- Tylenol, though awesome in appropriate doses in extremely dangerous to overdose on. It can cause liver failure and even death. The symptoms are those of a normal flu virus and the medicine usually tasted like candy. So, be sure to keep it out of the reach of children, even if in a child proof bottle.

For more information, read here or follow the hyperlinks in this article.

Happy Dosing.

Whaddya think?

12/02/2010

Don't Cha Wish Your Princess Was Hot Like Me

When I was a little girl, I dreamed of the day that I would grow up and marry the prince. I would be the beautiful princess who lived in a beautiful castle. I would travel by carriage and and have lots of beautiful babies and life would be forever blissful.... with tiaras...

Laugh, I know. But, wasn't that your dream too? And wasn't it wonderful?

Maybe I don't really live in a castle and maybe I'm not really a princess. I don't even own a tiara *sigh*, but, it was a wonderful dream that helped shape my future. I was shocked and alarmed the other day when I read that Disney will no longer be making princess movies. They cited 2 reasons: 1. they want to target boys as well and boys think princesses are boring (ok, I get that one) 2. 5/6 year old girls no longer dream of being princesses, but instead long to be "hot" and "cool".

WHAT???? No more princesses????

Actually according to an interview by the NY Times, Disney says:

"Among girls, princesses and the romanticized ideal they represent — revolving around finding the man of your dreams — have a limited shelf life. With the advent of "tween" TV, the tiara-wearing ideal of femininity has been supplanted by new adolescent role models such as the Disney Channel's Selena Gomez and Nickelodeon's Miranda Cosgrove.

"By the time they're 5 or 6, they're not interested in being princesses," said Dafna Lemish, chairwoman of the radio and TV department at Southern Illinois University and an expert in the role of media in children's lives. "They're interested in being hot, in being cool. Clearly, they see this is what society values."
"

Yikes!!! Scary!!!

But, are we really surprised? The last time I glanced at the clothes in "Justice", they looked more like something I would see in "The Limited" or "Express", not in a clothing store for children. Little girls are dressed in bare midriffs and low cut jeans. Bikinis are the norm even among infants. Even the cartoons and shows on the Disney Channel are showing that "Less" is sexy and sexy is cool. Ad campaigns show provocatively posed models smiling and happy. Slender, beautiful (airbrushed) models who appear to have perfect lives. So from the time they are born, society is telling our girls that the way to get ahead in life is to flaunt their sexuality. Really? Is that what we want our little girls to learn? The American Psychological Association has shown that sexualization in women and young women has been linked to "three of the most common mental health problems of girls and women: eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression."


This year my family attended a large Halloween party. I was shocked at the number of young women who I felt were inappropriately dressed. Plunging necklines and skirts so short you were afraid they'd bend over. These girls came from educated, affluent families. The interesting thing though, is that it wasn't the young men or mothers I heard whispering about the costumes, it was the men, the fathers. They were the ones saying, "I can't believe her parents let her wear that!" "Doesn't she know that it's not just the boys who noticed, but all of the older men too?" Of course she didn't! At their age, these girls and young women don't realize they are attracting the wrong kind of attention. They don't think that way. That is why they have parents !

Not only were they attracting the wrong kind of attention, but they were also inviting the wrong group. The boys who would respect her for the amazing girl that she is would not want anything to do with her, but the boys who were looking for an easy lay, were sure to be attracted. The only people attracted to her were the ones who were attracted for all the wrong reasons.

I don't have girls, but I associate with quite a bit of youth, and I can tell the ones who believe in themselves and carry themselves with an aire of self confidence. We do them such an injustice when we teach them that their sexuality is their best asset (it is only their best asset when they want their husbands to buy them a new pair of boots, or a new purse or a new car.... just kidding... I think :). The interesting thing is that the self confident young women who show their self confidence in dress, speech and actions, attract just as many boys as the sexual ones.
It is the caliber of boys that is the difference.

Our little girls are quickly loosing their
innocence, and there is no way to shield them from all of the sexuality that is thrown their way. But, we can talk to them. We can bring it to their attention and call it what it is. We can let them know how amazing they are; that the shape of their body is NOT their best asset. Their best asset is what is inside. We can tell them over and over and over from the moment that they utter their first word that the images they are seeing are not real or even realistic and that the way for them to be happy, truly happy, is to first learn to love themselves. And then maybe if we are open and honest and a little lucky, they too, will be able to grow up to be princesses... with tiaras.

"The world will teach our children if we do not... What we want them to know five years from now needs to be part of our conversation with them today." -Rosemary M. Wixom

Whaddya think?