Dog Cleans Baby

If your dog gives the baby a tongue bath, does that make them clean?

I have watched this video several times now and had a whole array of thoughts

  1. How cute the dog is cleaning the baby
  2. Dont you know what else the dog licks
  3. How smelly/dirty is the baby for the dog to want to clean it
  4. Does the dog think this is his baby

So many others, but here is todays question:  As a mom do you video tape the cute baby laughter and sweet dog and baby moment or do you stop the dog from licking the baby?

What do you think?

You should be screened for potential health risks annually

Teens up to age 26 can remain under their families’ health coverage based on the Affordable Care Act to make sure they have access to preventive health care. But although teens have the chance to have annual health checkups, only two third of them actually use that opportunity.

That’s according to the data from the US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Census. Recently a survey was conducted to find out why. The online survey was conducted among teens, health care professionals and also parents. All together more than 2000 people were surveyed.

At least half of the teens admit to worrying about their health, even though only 28% of their parents feel they do. But when it comes to reasons why not to have annual checkups, 60% of the teens can think of at least one reason. And one third of them believe that they shouldn’t go to the doctor unless they are sick.

Then again, based on the answers from physicians the annual checkup is a great opportunity for informative health discussions as they trigger more questions from both the teenagers themselves as well as their parents. Even though the survey also revealed that if the teen is joined by a parent in the exam room, it might restrict the conversation.

The survey was conducted by NFID (National Foundation for Infectious Diseases) in collaboration with Pfizer Inc and fielded by Harris Interactive.

“NFID has long been an advocate of preventive health. With the drop in annual checkups during the teen years, we wanted to take a look at the attitudes and behaviors of the people closest to teen health to see if we can better understand the reason for the decline, ” said NFID medical director Susan J. Rehm, MD.

For more information about the survey and teen health in general, see myteenshealth.com.

Disclosure: This post was requested by an advertiser.

Keep your children safe

Everyone wants to keep their children safe from everything they can think of. In all honesty, in very many cases, parents tend to overprotect their children. However, with all this overprotection from bacteria, from falling when running, from eating dirt to pretty much anything else, there are some things parents really should protect their children from.

According to a new study that released just a week ago, every three weeks one child dies from a television tipping over. More than 13,000 more children are injured every year. Yet, most parents are not even considering TV tip-over as a threat to their small children. Many are also not even aware that there are ways to secure their television to their wall. However, it’s not as difficult as one might think.

Start by assessing the stability of your TV. Is it easy to knock over? Or if it’s not easy to just knock it over…what if someone tried to climb up with the help of the TV? If it’s destined to fall in these cases, it’s time to secure it. And securing it to the wall is usually your best bet. You might be able to find the best solutions for flat panel mounts with the help of SANUS.

The study about the threats of TV tipping over was released on December 13, 2012 by Safe Kids Worldwide and SANUS.

Disclosure: This post was requested by an advertiser.

Is your child at risk for life-threatening allergic reactions?

“Like most kids, my son spends 180 days in school each year and I need to know that the people he is with every day know the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis and what to do if it occurs,” said Julie Bowen, actress known for her roles in Modern Family and Boston Legal. Her son who had an allergic reaction as a toddler, fortunately received immediate help and recovered quickly. However, nearly 1500 people every year in the U.S. alone aren’t that lucky.

And it should be both the parents’ as well as the kids’ own interest to make sure that everyone in the schools would be prepared for it. As nearly 8% of children (1 in 13) in the U.S. suffers from a food allergy, it’s no small issue.

“My son is only five, but he has already started to take responsibility for his life-threatening allergies and become his own advocate,” said Bowen, who will be doing the public service announcement (PSA) about anaphylaxis.

The current campaign, launched by Mylan Specialty L.P. and joined by Julie Bowen, is focusing on raising awareness of anaphylaxis in schools and to make sure first-line of treatment, epinephrine, would be always available.

If you’re a child, your teachers, your classmates, ideally all of them should be aware of your condition, the symptoms as well as the need for immediate treatment. During the campaign, from September 26 to November 9, 2012, students in grades from 1-12 are encouraged to write a brief essay and submit up to two visual images to explain an idea to:

• Improve awareness of life-threatening allergies in schools
• Help students who may be at risk for life-threatening allergic reactions feel more accepted in their school or
• Provide a unique solution to a challenge faced by students who may be at risk for anaphylaxis.

The essays can be submitted at Anaphylaxis101.com. Fifteen best works will also be receiving a college scholarship in the amount of $2000.

Sassy Pants First Day of Middle School

Well – Sassy Pants went off to middle school today and my mind has been on overdrive. I am glad school is back in session. My sanity has really been tested this summer. Lots of drama and no vacation equals insomnia, anxiety, twitching, snapping, and under eye baggage. “School” on the surface is a good thing. I’ve sent my daughter off to her first day of middle school to get educated and socialized. But when you dig deeper, school is not so great. It is filled with young people making bad choices and being mean to one another. Cliques. Mean girls. Bad teachers. Stress. Vending machines. What have I done?

I should add that Sari has only ever had exceptional teachers. But I know bad ones are out there and I was letting my hysteria run its course.

My Sari is an individual. Which I like. But she also has low self esteem which makes her a follower sometimes and vulnerable to the backlash she will get for not liking the same clothes and music as the other girls. She gets lonely and wishes to be more accepted but she doesn’t want to pretend to be something she is not in order for that to happen. I get it. I really really do. I love her sassiness and uniqueness, but I want people to be nice to her. Even the ones who suck and would judge her for being different than them. I don’t want her to feel lonely.

Sassy Pants is very against labels. I once attempted to start a discussion about a guy we saw downtown. He had white contacts in and some crazy monster movie hair. I wasn’t judging at all – I sincerely wondered if he was in character for something or if this was his every day look. Pantsy threw a fit and told me she was disappointed to see me being judgmental.

With the same curiosity, though, I asked her, “What would you call your look?” I got the usual – you can’t put me in a box response. I told her I wanted to understand it better so that I could confidently pick up clothes and accessories if I’m out and see a good deal on something she’d like. She said “fine then. I am skate punk rock emo goth artist.” Okay then. Shopping just… got… easier?

Although it was true that I wanted to understand what she liked so that I could help her perfect her look,  I also wanted to try and understand how SHE saw herself so that I could keep a look out for any red flags. All the black clothes and her appreciation of creepy music and scary movies, even though her demeanor is for the most part cheerful and sunny, has me on alert for potential trouble down the road.

No I absolutely do not think that all emo kids are cutters or that all goths want to commit suicide. I had similar tastes when I was a kid. And I think some of her looks are really cute. I actually got her to pair a plaid skirt with a graphic tee shirt – to add a little femininity to what she’s got going on – and she surprised herself by loving it. But I also know that, alternative scene of the moment aside, adopted kids and kids who have suffered trauma are prone to depression and dark periods. As a parent I want to be as aware as I can of what’s going on with her and how she’s feeling. I don’t intend to ever try to “change” her as she comes of age and tries to figure out who she is, where she fits in, and why other families didn’t want her. But I’ll be there to guide her, listen, and be a safety net as she blossoms. I’m not expecting the worst by any means, but my eyes are wide open.

Unfortunately society isn’t as kind. I know that I have sent her off to school today where many of her girly girlfriends from last year will snub her today. They started calling her “goth” at the end of last year as her pink and purples changed to dark colors and skateboard styles.

I read an article today about kids and goths and such. A commentor said that he would rather see a “knocked up teenager” in school than any kind of alternative kid. His explanation was that the pregnant teenager represented the beginning of a new life, while the goth/emo/etc. kid was ruining hers. It occurred to me then… Is it more socially acceptable to be pregnant in school, or even a mean girl, than it is to be artistic and different?

And I know Sari. She will get in the car smiling and say, “Great!” when I ask her how school was, because she wants me to be happy. Then she will cry it out in the night and start fresh and hopeful the next day.

I suppose I do sound kind of negative as I read this back. But she has been subject to some pretty intense bullying the last couple of years, and that was just based on her unique views of the world when she was still a little pink and girly. Middle school, for better or worse, is a bigger place, and she’ll have access to more diversity. Right? This is a good thing I think. It’s almost time to pick her. up. I’m excited!

If you could look back and label yourself by today’s buzz words, what would you be? Prep? Skate punk? Emo? Goth? Scene? Nerdy? How did you fit in?

To Blog or Not to Blog- That is the Family Dilemma.

Alright. I’ve had it. This writer’s block is 50% distraction and 50% unsure how to handle sensitive family matters and the privacy of my loved ones. And I’m sick of it.

I started the year out by going on sabbatical from work and contemplating quitting that job and focusing on writing full time. The sabbatical ended up being a shit storm of anything but quiet contemplative time. I made my decision, though, to work for myself. I still love that decision. However. I don’t respect myself as a boss. Otherwise, why would my new writing career have gotten off to such a slow start?

In February I was officially a freelancer. And at the same time I also started selling V3 because I went crazy for the focus it gave me to be disciplined and focused on writing while sitting alone in the house all day surrounded by TV, books, laundry, a puppy, and chips & cheese.  And also because I wanted the discount =)  You know what else happened in February? Kidney stones. Tons of them. I was sick for a day, then in the hospital a couple days, then had a stone busting procedure followed by more sick days and more doctor appointments. I finally gave up following up. I knew I had a piece left cramped up in my left side but I was over all the doctoring. So I left it until it finally worked itself loose and tortured me for one final time last week. Now. Could I get up and around and do laundry and such during that time? Yes. But the days broken up between doctor appointments, as well as the pain and pain medicine, hindered my writing process. It made sense at the time, and had I picked up right after that and gotten productive I wouldn’t be so hard on myself thinking back on February. But the truth is, I could have worked more than I did. If I had still been working for D.O.C. or Dr. Foote I would have been back to work the next day. Sure I might have passed out in the bathroom or fallen asleep in the middle of my sentence back in my eyeglass days, but I never neglected to show up and do my best.

On the heels of kidney stone February was cancer March. Something new came up in my Father In Law’s condition every other day. He was in and out of the hospital every couple of days. When there wasn’t a decision to be made, a task to perform, or a pep talk to give, there was just quiet time to dwell. “Working for the man” would have been a blessing at that time because all I did, when I wasn’t doing, was cry. I couldn’t write each day about the topic at hand because I couldn’t get past “My Father in Law has cancer and we had a bad day.” Until I wrote that, nothing else would come. But I refused to write it. As if putting it out there would have made it more real and harder to deal with. When in fact, writing about it would have likely been very helpful to me. Maybe to somebody else, as well. And definitely to my bank account. Those bills continue to add up even when you’re distracted and grieving. Looking back it’s so easy to see how just a little writing each day would have eased the burden on my mind during the crisis and on my financial situation in the aftermath.

Sigh.

So here it is August and I should be well on my way to having a big fat pile of assignments again, even after losing so many clients during the cancer period. But guess what. After almost 2 months of erratic behavior my Son was diagnosed bipolar last week and is in a partial hospitalization day treatment program for risk assessment and anger management. And I haven’t written about it.I have a family blog and have not written word one about our situation today and how we got here.  Partially because I have been so distracted that I can’t focus on anything else. Partially because my son is 15 now and there is a chance that people he knows may stumble upon this blog. Here’s the deal though…

  • Life is full of distractions! Everybody has them, yet they go to work and manage their obligations. The world doesn’t stop moving, and neither can we. Allowing myself to stop and dwell has set me back in depression recovery from the breakdown of ’08 and created more stress in getting behind in bills and other responsibilities. Withdrawing from friends and social situations has robbed me of support from girlfriends and the opportunity to create fun, happy, healing situations to balance out the tough ones.
  • Writing is therapeutic. And I’m a writer! Internalizing things is dangerous for me. Also, leading into summer I redefined Her Family Blog and set up new blogging topic schedules. I did that for all my blogs actually, to make them more honest and informative. But how can I achieve that if I continue to censor myself?
I was wishing the other day that I had maintained anonymity with this blog so that I could do and say the things I want to say without worrying about the privacy of my kids. But then it was suggested to me that I simply ASK them how they feel about it. After some thought and discussion we decided “it’s just life.”  And whether we’re dealing with experimenting with new medications to treat bipolar disorder or experimenting with new hairstyles or homework techniques, they are just “happenings” in life. They “happen” to everyone. And although I may give my own deepest darkest thoughts and feelings, I don’t give theirs.
Because it’s not THEIR Family Blog. It’s HER Family Blog. And the HER is ME.
So it appears I’ve been given the green light as long as I share from MY perspective and not give out pieces of my kid’s thoughts and feelings without permission. That makes sense and I love that they helped me define my goals here and work through my writer’s block. They are smart kids. I’m sure we all share that perspective =)

A Cleaner House for ADHD

I have thoughts sometimes, do you? I mean really good ones, ground breaking life changing thoughts – that I don’t take the time to organize and allow to flourish. Usually those thoughts are neglected because MORE brilliance pops into my head, pushing those first thoughts aside. Such is the cycle of the brilliant mind, I guess. I ain’t sure.  :)  I have been thinking a lot lately about ADHD and school performance, together and separately, and this morning I had some fresh ideas about a connection between a clean house and a kid’s performance at school.  Follow me for a minute…

What’s good for the ADHD is also good for the Non- ADHD

I have two kids with severe ADHD so I am always looking for ways to make their lives more comfortable and manageable. That’s why a lot of my parenting thoughts involve ADHD discussion. But all ADHD is – is the inability to focus which leads to a host of problems and challenges. But doesn’t EVERY kid have difficulty focusing to a degree?  Keep that in mind when reading ADHD tips and strategies because a lot of it is common, ordinary info that could help any child perform better at school and beyond.  All kids can use some help staying on task from time to time, right? Agreed. Moving on.

The relationship between sleep and behavior

It kills me the number of parents who do not value sleep quality when it comes to helping their kids succeed.  How do YOU feel when you don’t get enough sleep? How do you treat people and perform at work? How’s your focus? I already know the answer – NOT GOOD.

An adult only requires 7-9 hours of sleep at night to achieve maximum performance. But don’t take that into account where your children are concerned. A high schooler needs 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep and an elementary student needs 9 to 11 to rest & recharge their minds and bodies for the next day. When they don’t get the required sleep, guess what – they don’t feel good, they’re short tempered, and they can’t focus. Sound familiar? This is the case for any child, but the effects are multiplied for the ADHD kid whose brain does not have a proper functioning focus control center. So can we all agree at this point that kids are affected by the amount of sleep they get? Good. Moving on again.

Factors that affect good sleep

We agree that kids need a certain amount of sleep to thrive.  So if we count hours backward from the time they have to get up for school to the number of hours of sleep they need, we should be all set? We probably think so.  But there are environmental factors you may not be aware of that are preventing your child from getting quality sleep. Think about yourself. Do you sleep better when your room is clean and free of distraction? Or do you feel a little bothered by messes and unfinished business? Children are no different.

In addition to a cluttered environment,  kids can be disturbed from sleep by improper breathing in the night. Have you ever had a sleep test? I did. I was semi awakened frequently all through the night by limb twitches and trouble breathing, but I was never aware of it.  And as far as my kids go – it’s no big thing for them to have sniffles in the morning when they wake up.  But this could be affecting their sleep in the night, couldn’t it?

Allergies, Sleep Quality, and Behavior

So let’s pull it all together.  Even on their best days, kids  are a little distracted. When they don’t get enough sleep at night they don’t have good control of themselves the next day. The number of hours a kid sleeps is not enough. We need to make sure they’re getting good quality sleep. Good quality sleep is best achieved through a tidy, pleasant environment and good uninterrupted breathing.  So far so good. But how do we get them to breathe better at night? Keep their environment free of dust and other allergens.  Regardless of allergies, everybody sneezes in the presence of dust.  So in addition to having your kids put away their clothes and toys before bed , have them dust around their sleeping area every night.  Get allergy bedding if you notice your kids have the sniffles in the morning. And wash bedding regularly.

Clean pillow cases may not immediately come to mind as an aid in combating symptoms of ADHD, but if we already know that kids behavior is affected by sleep – it is an easy connection to make.  And although kids might not know they aren’t sleeping well through the night, or be able to identify what is disturbing them during their slumber, it is up to us to make sure they CONSISTENTLY have a clean, tranquil, distraction free environment to sleep restfully in every night.  With all the homework, quizzes, and activities kids are involved in today, just one night of sleep trouble could wreak all kinds of havoc on a kid’s day.

So what do you think about  my theory? Have you tried any sleep strategies or noticed any of these patterns yourself?

Getting Sick and Losing Weight

This is a train of thought from my own little mind today, there is no medical basis or research that I have pursued to support it whatsoever.  It has to do with dieting during cold and flu season.

It’s a common joke people make. “I lost 6 pounds since I had the flu. Yay! I need to get sick more often!”  I have made that comment myself, and maybe AFTERWARD there is some truth to my words, but I know that DURING the illness, especially the miserable sick feeling that accompanies the never ending vomiting, my mind set is more like, “Please make it stop! I’ll absorb 20 pounds straight to my ass if you will just please for the love of God make. it. stop.”

I don’t think I have ever heard the topic flip flopped though. I have heard people say they feel like they get sick more often when dieting, but not so much, “Dieting gave me the flu.”  No, that doesn’t even make sense, right? Or does it?

First of all, “Diet” is a weird word. It has a bad connotation.  A lot of times people don’t want to admit they are on a diet. You may want your kids to be more active and trim some fat but you don’t want it to be said that you put them on a “diet”.  But diet really just means whatever it is that you eat.  A diet can consist of salad and cottage cheese or it could consist of pizza and beer. It does not necessarily go hand in hand with an attempt at weight loss.

How this relates to my cold/flu & weight loss ramblings today is although it may not immediately occur to you that trying to lose weight could increase your risk of getting sick during cold and flu season, it is actually health 101.  So basic we kind of forget about it.  Here’s what I’m thinking.

You are very likely to come into contact with contagious sick germs, right?  And the stronger and healthier your body is to begin with dictates your likelihood of getting sick.  So naturally if you are practicing some sort of starvation diet, your body, although it may be getting skinnier, is not going to be at its peak health to fight those germ bugs off.  You already know that starvation diets are unhealthy and ultimately result in weight gain.  Well also by not eating a balanced diet, or not eating at all, you are robbing your body of antioxidants and vitamins that good fresh food provides. This poor nutritional quality of diet will make your body very weak, increasing your susceptibility to all the bugs you come into contact with during the cold and flu season.

Now this is not to say that you cannot attempt to improve your level of health and fitness, and lose weight during the winter months. Increase your activity and decrease your food intake! Go for it! But make sure you are eating ENOUGH and that you are loading up good healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. With this “diet” you can lose some weight, get healthy, AND build a stronger body to carry you through to Spring.

In summary, I declare there is truth to the notion that trying to lose weight during the cold and flu season can make you sick.  What do you think?

Kid Proofing with Baby Gates

babygate You know what one of the biggest distractions for me is when I am out showing houses? Baby gates!  Isn’t that funny?  I skipped the whole baby and toddler stage with my kids so when I am in a kid proofed house I get completely distracted.  For one thing because I am amazed by how clever some things are, and for another because I get frustrated by inability to work the work the dang gadgets!

I have been embarrassed on more than one occasion when I couldn’t get upstairs to the next part of the tour of a house and had to ask the potential buyer to get the stairway gate open.

There is a website called KidSafeInc.com that offers everything you need to keep your kids and even your pets safe and where they need to be.  If you’re into social media like me you can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, and the KidSafe Blog

Feeling Sluggish? Take a Sleep Quiz.

The majority of my stats & research revolve around moms and women in general, but I don’t think I’d have to convince anyone that men suffer from sleep issues and lagging energy the next day just as frequently as women.  I do.  My husband does.  My son can’t get to sleep at night.  We all have different solutions.

My daughter is the sleep queen!  She will be in he middle of a Zac Efron movie at 9:00 on a Saturday night, decide she’s tired and say, “Well Guys, I’m turning in. Somebody dvr the rest of the show for me. Goodnight.”  She will be asleep before I make it to her room to tuck her in.  She has no struggle, no burdened mind keeping her up.  It relaxes me to see her so peaceful and I actually sleep easier if I crawl in bed with her.  Supernanny would not approve of that technique, though, I don’t suppose.

I actually took a sleep test some years back.  This is a really cool experience.  It wasn’t totally comfortable being tangled up in wires, but very interesting.  We learned that my limbs are very active while I sleep and that the activity actually wakes me up several times through the night, preventing me from getting fully rested, resulting in feeling tired throughout the day.  This plus the “creepy crawly” sensation in my legs that I described added up to a diagnosis of RLS for me.  (restless legs syndrome).  There is a medication for it and it improved my comfort and sleep quality over night.  The best part is once I started getting more sleep and felt better throughout the day, I needed less caffeine.  I had energy for exercise and I became motivated to eat more healthy.  Less caffeine and a healthier lifestyle eliminated the need for the leg medicine!  I still have the creepy crawlies at times, but nowhere near what I did and I am never interrupted in the night.

My son has a mad case of ADHD.  He cannot FALL asleep at night, but once he gets there, he sleeps heavy and he could sleep until noon if his schedule and surroundings allowed it.  We are experimenting with foods for him, as well as morning wake up times, but something we found that works for now is meditation.  There is a sleep cd for kids we have called SLEEP JOURNEY where this relaxing voice guides you trough a peaceful adventure and then off to sleep.  That’s definitely something to look into if you have a child who has trouble falling to sleep.

Now  Hubby has all kinds of issues and needs a sleep test more than anyone I know.  He gets got, he gets cold.  His nose stops up.  He snores.  He NEVER dreams.  And he is grouchy and in desperate need of naps every day.  (Believe me, we ALL need him to get his naps) :-)  I found this quiz for him to take since I can’t get him to go to the doctor for it.  I took it first and it was dead on!  It diagnosed me with RLS and something called Carcadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder.  I haven’t had time to research it yet, but it involves light therapy. I am still trying to get a sleep number bed, though, so I might tell Hubby that it is part of therapy, too.   Sounds nice. :-)

Three different sleep issues in the same household.  What are your symptoms?  Sleep patterns?  Here is the link to the quiz.  Take it and see what you’ve got going on.  You might be surprised how easy it is to fix and how close you are to getting a good night’s sleep!