Archive for the 'Not safe for consumption' Category

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.

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Foodie Friday: Phony Fiber, Vapid Veggies

Remember you kind of secretly knew miniature chocolate chip cookie cereal was not an acceptable breakfast, but begged your mom for a box of Cookie Crisp anyway? For my sisters and me, it was a Saturday morning treat.

Remember slurping up Chef Boyardee Beefaroni so obnoxiously that it left you with a brownish-red sauce mustache? And were you shocked the first time you saw and tasted actual pasta bolognese? Or maybe you are like me and although you can spot authentic food, you still find comfort in canned slop on occasion.

I admit to eating and enjoying junk food sometimes. But even at a young age, I knew the difference between actual food and junk food. And we always had a variety of homemade dinners and fresh fruit and veggies in the house.

As a newish mom, I am really having a hard time with corporations trying to slip vitamins, nutrients and fiber into junk food, though, thinking they are going to win points with parents.

If you’re a parent and  you think it’s OK not to offer veggies to your child anymore b/c the Chef is now putting a serving in their faux canned pasta, you’re wrong.

If you think you don’t need to serve your kids fresh fruits and whole grains because Kellogg is adding fiber to their sugary cereals, think again.

I’d like to give parents more credit than to believe they think it’s OK to use processed foods to supplement fiber/vegetable intake.

And for the parents like me that KNOW you can’t plop a dish of Beefaroni down in front of your kids and expect that to sustain them, don’t you feel a little insulted? Do we appear so lazy and ignorant that marketing people are going there?! And about the kids – is it wrong to teach them that veggies can taste good and shouldn’t be frowned upon?

If you’re truly struggling to get your child to eat real food, consider getting creative with food like this lady.

As always, I encourage everyone to vote with their forks, question the  marketing hype and for goodness sakes, give your kids (and yourselves) a little more credit!

News Item of the Week: Safety Dogs?

When I heard the buzz about how hot dogs are a choking hazard for kids and the potential hot dog redesign, a few things came to mind:

  1. Are we really feeding our kids this many hot dogs that it’s a widespread problem? Gross! Feed your kids real food, people.
  2. Are there parents out there who don’t cut up their kids’ food into bite-sized pieces when they’re too little to chew? Then it’s a parenting problem, not a hot dog problem.
  3. What’s the “magic age” that a kid can eat a hot dog in its current encased form without choking? Seriously. Is it when their molars are in or what? I kind of need to know. There is a good chance I will occasionally treat my kid (and myself) to a traditional Chicago-style hot dog when he’s ready – dragged through the garden and all.

Random Mommy Musings

A very rosy-cheeked Ollie with his ABC cookies. The end of a loooong day.

Just put Ollie to bed and poured myself a generous glass of wine. It’s been a long day. Not bad, just long and this wine is hitting the spot. I haven’t first-person mommy blogged for awhile and there’s a lot of ground to cover.

Ollie’s one-year pediatrician visit was today. Coincidentally, he’s come down with a cold and cough in the past 24 hours. Today we found out he also has an ear infection. His second in four months. Otherwise, he’s a super-healthy one-year old. Height, weight and head circumference are all 95 percentile-plus. He’s doing all the great things one year olds do: babble, grab’n’grunt at things, cruise, play and eat, eat, eat. Still, having a sick kid again is really heartbreaking. Like last time, I’m getting the feeling J and I are taking it worse than Ollie. He’s doing pretty well considering getting several shots, giving a blood sample, taking icky meds for his ears and being driven around greater southern McHenry County today.

I decided today would be a great day to take back unwanted baby Christmas presents, which explains why we were all over the county. Would it be totally shitty to tell people from here on out, no department stores or Babies’R’Us? The closest mall is an hour round trip and Babies’R’Us is not only way overpriced, but it’s also a good 45-minute round trip from my house. Also, today I went to a mall for the first time in about two, maybe three years. I felt my soul withering away the moment I pushed through the heavy glass doors, kind of how Walmart makes me feel except Walmart at least promises low prices. Also, the ladies at Macy’s and Kohl’s both treated me like total crap. I decided to be really nice because what did I have to lose? I can’t control others’ bitchiness, but I can control how I react. I know that sounds noble. I secretly wanted to just stab the shit out of their faces.

I’m getting super-stoked about Ollie’s ninja-themed b-day party. We gave ourselves and our families a little break after the holidays by postponing Ollie’s b-day party from the weekend of January 7th to next Saturday. Frankly, it also gives us some time to get our house in order and prepare this awesome ninja-themed party we’ve been dreaming about. Not only are ninjas freakin’ cool, but I’m a long-time admirer of ShawnimalsWee Ninja doll and Ninjatown. I met the toy’s creator Shawn Smith at a music fest we were both working in Chicago during my zinester days. He’s from the burbs, too, now residing in the city. Lots of parallels. Anyway, my big sister/pâtissier Nicholette is going to make Ollie’s ninja cake and baby cake (the one he gets to smash) in the shape of Wee Ninja. Of course, I need to get my order in for a plush toy and soon (supposedly their stock is low). For the party, we’re thinking about getting catered Chinese, some Singha beer and a few colorful paper lantern garlands. Oh yeah, and I scored a party-sized container of fortune cookies today (one down).

Call him Lil Hercules. Last night, Ollie demonstrated his super strength by pushing the ottoman from the family room to the dining room and back. It’s officially on like Donkey Kong.

No more Carters. I’m starting to sound like a total ingrate with my picky taste in clothing, but nothing could be further from the truth. I’m a common-sense mommy. Carters is this name-brand children’s clothing that, OK, is decent quality. But it comes with a price tag. And honestly, the clothes don’t fit Ollie very well. Admittedly, he’s not the average-sized one-year-old, but even the 18 and 24-month clothing fits awkwardly — tight in some places and super huge in others. And considering kids grow so fast, it just doesn’t feel right to spend too much money on clothes.

Does This Smile Make Me Look Old?

"Actually, Sally, I never thought about what would happen if we stopped smiling."

I signed up for free subscriptions to Parents and American Baby when I was preggo last year with the intention of taking most of their contents with a grain of salt. After all, they are largely communicating to the lowest common denominator of American readers while appeasing their advertisers. Come on, I’ve been in publishing for some time now. I know how it works and I accept it. But last night read something in Parents that I thought was way out of bounds, leaving me feeling totally miffed – had to share:

“All of the smiling you do with kids can cause fine lines even in your 20s. Try these tips to fend off the early signs of aging.”

–Page 47, Parents, Jan. 2010

WTF sort of message is that? “Don’t smile so much or you’ll get wrinkles”? “Damn kids and their smile-inducing qualities”? “Aging is bad, so buy this expensive snake oil from companies we’re trying to court as advertisers in order to “fend” off your ugly wrinkles … you old, unattractive witch”?

It’s bad enough it’s the same old “aging = bad” spiel, but they had to associate SMILING WITH YOUR KIDS with wrinkles … Two of life’s greatest joys! Take mommysalright’s advice, smile a lot, damn it! To hell with the consequences! 🙂

And by the way, this is my “beauty” secret of the day: knock-off Olay moisturizer with SPF.


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