Archive for the 'Habits' Category

A Cookie Story

Photo: BeeInOurBonnet

Photo: BeeInOurBonnet

Ollie and I made oatmeal cookies last night. They turned out misshapen and crumbly. Kind of an aesthetic disaster, but tasted fine. We kept them. I ditched the recipe.

I dubbed them Ugly Cookies and got in trouble. “That’s not a nice thing to say,” Ollie said.

Stupid is a bad word, too. Sometimes J or I say something is “stupid” in conversation with each other, and you’d be surprised how many times you hear “stupid” on TV, even (especially) kids’ shows. The Bad Word Police corrects us. He’s got some serious radar for forbidden words.

Mean words, bad words – whatever you call them at your house – they hurt, period. And I’m glad we’re making Ollie aware (and he, us). Kids, with their innocence and lack of a filter, say things that hurt sometimes out of sheer ignorance. That’s why having these discussions, often, matter. You know, so you don’t end up with a bigger kid with a  mean-word problem (aka: a bully).

I think Ollie has a good handle on things, but we will continue our diligence. And he will continue his.

The part that kills me is that I can’t control what other kids say to my child. In my personal experience, as a sensitive kid, mean words hurt, fester, then dissipate, but never actually leave. If you’re dubbed “dumb,” “ugly,” or “fat” among peers (or god forbid, adults), even if you aren’t, even if they grow up, even as time passes, even if they forget – you never forget. Even though mean words are completely illogical, completely absurd when you think about it with your adult mind, your child mind still hangs on.

I guess we just have to watch what we, the adults, say at home. Make sure we’re very careful about throwing around mean words, even if it’s a joke. Even if we’re literally poking fun of cookies – that we made. And keep nurturing confident kids and keep building our kids’ self worth so if mean words come their way (and they probably will), they feel good enough about themselves to know better. It’s all we can do. Now excuse me, I’m going to go have one of those, um, cookies.


Ice, Ice Baby: Pica, Anemia and Me

I’ve seen a few shows lately featuring women who eat chalk. “It’s like candy” “I love the texture” “it soothes me” – these are some of the sentiments of chalk-eaters. Seems really odd, right?

The condition of craving and consuming non-foods like chalk, dirt, ice, clay, etc., is called pica and I partially know this because I had it.

I started craving ice very late in my pregnancy – I think it was in December, my final month. December in Chicago. Who craves ice in the winter?

I’d read all the books and was aware of pica, but it didn’t dawn on me that maybe my insatiable craving for ice was pica. I wasn’t eating paint or dirt. My thinking was, it’s ice. It’s frozen water. Water is healthy.

The texture and feeling of ice in my mouth was so soothing, I didn’t want to stop. I was a junkie. I found my favorite gas stations and fast food places for ice (I remember Thorntons was pretty legit). I even got the guy down at the Dunkin Donuts in my office building to give me cups of ice for some odd change. I learned how to thaw out my freezer ice to the perfect texture, too. Sure, it was a little manic, and I’d be a liar if I said eyebrows weren’t raised, but no one got hurt. I mean, your body does so much freaky shit during pregnancy, craving ice seemed pretty vanilla. What’s more, what person in their right mind is going to argue with a preggo as big as a house if she wants to crunch on a cup of ice?

Somehow my doctor aunt got wind of this and said I might be iron deficient. I brushed it off. Like, how does craving ice have anything to do with iron deficiency? Seemed totally unrelated. This was part of my defense. The other was entitlement. I guess I was thinking I was due really soon and my pregnancy has been pretty uneventful, why can’t I just satisfy this one harmless craving? I feel really stupid now even trying to defend my ignorance. I mean, I had all of the tools to add it up, not to mention by 8 months, I was seeing my OB weekly. And it’s not like I didn’t care. I was very cautious during my pregnancy. But I guess I was just being a shithead.

Turns out, I was iron deficient. Anemic, in fact. According to the Mayo Clinic, “ice has a new and better taste to some people who are iron deficient.” I take the blame for not being in tune with my body.

I found out about my anemia after I gave birth. I almost fainted in the recovery room. My complexion was so ashen, my freckles (of which I have many) had all but faded. This made worse by people commenting on how bad I looked. I had a total of two blood transfusions. I started on an iron pill after I came home from the hospital. Now I try to eat iron-rich foods like beans, eggs, whole-grain bread and nuts. All I know is next time I’m knocked up, I’ll commit myself to more steak and eggs. Far tastier than ice.

Review Wednesday: Training Toothpaste

We choo-choo-choose the training toothpaste!

Ollie is a big eater and has the chompers to manage his appetite. I can’t complain. He’ll eat almost anything, which is great because his diet is largely whole foods, whole milk and water. No junk, no juice and no processed foods. Has he had fries? Of course. And he is enamored with them. But he only gets them sporadically.

Anyway, with food comes plaque buildup and with buildup comes the necessity of brushing. As a self-proclaimed oral hygiene freak, you won’t see Mountain Dew mouth in my family. But I was really struggling to brush Ollie’s teeth recently.

I got the kiddie toothbrush with the cartoon character on it, but he just wasn’t feeling it. Anytime I got the brush into his little pursed mouth, my brushing attempts were always a haphazard and ended in tears. I tried to get him to mimic me fake brushing my teeth like I read about on some parent message board — that kind of worked. But I finally ended up using damp cotton rounds and wiping his pearly whites. I know it sounds odd, but I figured it’s no different than a washcloth, which I also heard is an alternative to a brush. That was the only thing that seemed to work.

My pediatrician wasn’t impressed, though, stating there wasn’t enough friction with the cotton, and gave me all sorts of ideas like brushing along with the William Tell Overture to brushing fun. Mkay.

I settled on trying “training toothpaste” – another suggestion she gave me. She said kids largely end up liking the taste and swallowing the toothpaste, but it gets the brush in there and they chew on it and work it around. And the paste is safe. Good enough for me.

I got Orajel training toothpaste with Thomas the Tank Engine on the box. Training toothpaste does not have fluoride in it, therefore if swallowed, it is not harmful. Too much fluoride during the years of tooth development can result in fluorosis, which creates defects in tooth enamel. Ick.

The Orajel seemed to go over well. Ollie does just what Doc said he would (chews on the brush), but the key is the brush is in his mouth. I interrupt him occasionally to actually brush and let him resume chewing.

So the Orajel gets a sparkling review from this chick’s kid.

First Lady/Mommy-Hero Takes On Childhood Obesity

Very excited about the launch of Michelle Obama’s campaign against childhood obesity tomorrow. This is one of many reasons why she’s such a mommy-hero to parents like me. This effort couldn’t come at a better time. Our nation is facing a childhood obesity and diabetes epidemic. Fast-food chains and retailers are marketing super-unhealthy foods to kids. Fresh food markets are closing in poor neighborhoods (I know about this firsthand – I used to live in a “food desert” in Chicago). We have to educate parents and children about the risks of too much junk food, the benefits of healthy food and exercise, etc. and get real solutions to the lack of nutritious food in schools and neighborhoods. Interestingly enough, the Canadian Press did a nice job breaking down the campaign here.

Here’s the kick-off speech at a YMCA in Alexandria, Va.

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