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Friday, May 9th, 2014
Best known for her role as Grace Adler on Will & Grace, Debra Messing also plays another role she loves: mom to 10-year-old Roman. Her most recent gig, Outside Mullingar, was just nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play. Now she looks forward to spending summer allergy-free and enjoying the outdoors with her son thanks to Zyrtec. Debra caught up with Parents to talk about juggling her career and motherhood, her most memorable Mother’s Day, and thoughts on her upcoming television series The Mysteries of Laura.
P: Congratulations on Outside Mullingar‘s nomination for a Tony Award. What was it like to juggle being a mom to a 10-year-old and acting on Broadway since time to leave for work is basically dinner, homework, tucking-in time?
DM: It was very very difficult. I’ve been offered plays in the past and it’s always been something that I couldn’t consider because normally when you sign on for a Broadway show it’s for a year. I just felt I couldn’t do that as a mother—that wasn’t the best choice for my family. This play came in and it was a limited run, just three months. I sat Roman down and told him what it would mean in terms of the structure of our week changing and he said “Mom, do it! You gotta do it!” It was hard to miss that time. But, being on that stage was a lifelong dream of mine since I was maybe 7 years old and it came to pass when I was 45. It just made me feel like it’s never too late for anything.
P: What is it like in general to juggle being a mom and a full-time acting career when your schedule is changing depending on your current job be it TV, film, theater?
DM: I try and just take it hour by hour. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed as a working mom. Juggling is just a constant part of your life. I happen to be a single mom, so there are extra challenges in that. It’s a matter of leaning on family, friends and people who can step in and be some support when needed. I think flexibility is really the key, but also trying to keep certain things a constant so that there is a feeling of consistency.
P: What are the kinds of things you and Roman enjoy doing outside now that your allergy symptoms are managed?
DM: He loves sports, all sports. Playing soccer, playing baseball, playing basketball, going on his little scooter, anything. He’s a very very active boy. It’s great. [With Zyrtec] I no longer have to worry about “Am I gonna be able to participate?” It’s like, “You wanna go? Let’s go!” That’s comforting.
P: Is there anything that Roman does that is just like you when you were a kid?
DM: Yes. [Laughs] He is a very very curious child—and I celebrate that and encourage that—but sometimes he can be a little too curious for his teachers and can ask too many questions in a class. When I was in third grade my parents were called in for a meeting with the teacher and they said, “Debra asks so many questions we are going to limit her to three a day now because there are other children in the class and there’s just literally no time for anyone else to ask a question because she’s always asking questions.” That’s a family story that people like to share because it is funny, but I’ve had similar conversations with Roman’s teachers along the way. I recognized it immediately. I was like, “That’s my fault!”
P: Where does Roman get his name? Is it a family name?
DM: Roman is not a family name. We just wanted a name that was strong and confident, unique, but not pretentious.
Download our Baby Name Chooser app to find a great pick, like Roman, or find tips in the video below.
P: Well, with a strong name and precocious personality, what is the parenting rule that you always seem to give in on?
DM: I try and do candy just on special occasions, so just at birthdays. Inevitably something will happen. We’ll be at the Harlem Globetrotters and they’ll have some guy walking around and saying, “Here kids! Here’s some candy!” Roman will look at me and say, “Mom?” I just can’t say no.
P: Does he ever outsmart you?
DM: He’s very tricky. He’s tricky and he’s smart. I think he’s discovered lying for the first time. I’ve caught him in a few fibs. He’s being a typical boy.
P: Mother’s Day is around the corner. Do you have a favorite Mother’s Day memory?
DM: I can’t remember if it was when Roman was 2 years old or 3 years old: He made a special book for me with pictures of us and he wrote in his hand little love messages he scribbled. It just meant everything to me.
P: Your upcoming television series The Mysteries of Laura is about a working mom doing her best to balance it all. Aside from being a working mom, how are you similar to Laura, if at all?
DM: I think that’s pretty defining, being a working mom. She’s also going through a divorce, and she’s very very passionate about her work. It’s something that she’s very good at and she loves. I related to that because I am fed in a way through my work that nothing else can [match]. In a similar way, being a mother feeds me in a way that nothing else can. I can’t imagine either not being a part of my life. But, one hour she is doing well balancing and the next hour she’s really messed up. I just relate to that. I relate to baby steps and little victories and trying not to beat yourself up over those mini failures.
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Thursday, May 2nd, 2013
Oregon Teachers Fail Active Shooter Drill As Masked Men Shoot Blanks At Surprised Faculty
Cammie DeCastro, principal of the Pine Eagle Charter School in Halfway, Ore., admits that the plan she had to protect her school from an armed gunman is in tatters after two masked men stormed in and appeared to open fire on a meeting room full of teachers last Friday, The Oregonian reports. (via Huffington Post)
Shedding Light On the Long Shadow of Childhood Adversity
Childhood adversity can lead to chronic physical and mental disability in adult life and have an effect on the next generation, underscoring the importance of research, practice and policy in addressing this issue, according to a Viewpoint in the May 1 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on child health. (via Science Daily)
Food, skin allergies increasing in children
Parents are reporting more skin and food allergies in their children, a big government survey found. (via Fox News)
Traffic noise linked with kids’ hyperactivity
Children who live near a noisy road may be at an increased risk of hyperactivity, according to a new study from Germany. (via Fox News)
Amusement rides linked to 4,000 injuries in children each year
Nervous parents may fret about dangerous-looking roller coasters with precipitous drops, or rusty Ferris wheels in traveling fairs, but it turns out that for young children, coin-operated rides in malls and restaurants may be more of a cause for concern than expected, according to a new study. (via Fox News)
Kiera Wilmot, 16, Arrested And Expelled For Explosive ‘Science Experiment’
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Wilmot, a Bartow High School student, was arrested at her school last week for allegedly detonating a water bottle filled with an explosive concoction of common household chemicals. (via Huffington Post)
active shooter drills, allergies, amusement parks, amusement rides, childhood adversity, Food, health, hyperactivity, Injuries, mental health, noise, safety, school safety, science experiment, skin, traffic | Categories:
Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
FDA looking at caffeine impact on kids after new Wrigley gum
Wrigley’s new Alert Energy Caffeine Gum has prompted the Food and Drug Administration to look into the potential impact added caffeine may have on children and adolescents. (via Reuters)
U.S.-born kids have more allergies, asthma
Kids and teens who are born abroad and immigrate to the United States are about half as likely to have asthma and allergies as those who are born in the U.S., according to a new study. (via Reuters)
New guidelines help pediatricians diagnose acid reflux in infants
The North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology is created a new list of recommendations for pediatricians to follow when diagnosing and treating acid reflux. (via Fox News)
Heart attack risk may start in early childhood
A new study suggests there is a simple way to assess a child’s arterial health with a calculation based on an often-overlooked component of cholesterol: triglycerides. (via Fox News)
Brain structure may influence a child’s ability to benefit from math tutoring
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Parents whose children are struggling with math often view intense tutoring as the best way to help them master crucial skills, but a new study released on Monday suggests that for some kids even that is a lost cause. (via Fox News)
acid reflux, allergies, asthma, brain structure, caffeine, childhood, education, health, heart attack, infants, math, tutoring, Wrigley gum | Categories:
Wednesday, March 6th, 2013
The Rise of Tablets as Textbooks
Well before the cleanup from Superstorm Sandy was in full swing, students could read about the weather system that slammed the East Coast in their textbooks. Welcome to the new digital bookcase, where traditional ink-and-paper textbooks have given way to iPads and book bags are getting lighter. (via Huffington Post)
CPS Sex Education: Nation’s Third Largest District Extending Lessons to Kindergarteners (VIDEO)
Is five years old too young to begin receiving sex education lessons? Last week, Chicago Public Schools’ Board of Education approved expanding expanding sexual education in their schools as a means of addressing the high rates of gonorrhea and Chlamydia cases among the city’s teens, as well as a teen HIV rate that has risen 43 percent since 2000, DNAinfo Chicago reports. (via Huffington Post)
New Video Game Detects Vision Problems in Children
Technology is changing the way we view the world, and the American education system is no exception. With as many as one in four children living with undiagnosed vision disorders that may be affecting their performance in school, it’s more important than ever for kids to get screened early. (via Fox News)
New Allergy Guidelines Advises Giving Babies Peanuts Earlier
An article in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal highlights a new approach to combating food allergies: Introducing allergenic foods like peanut butter and eggs to babies as young as 4 to 6 months old, according to a study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice. (via Fox News)
Parents to Congress: Police No Solution to Mental Illness
Liza Long’s son first went into the juvenile justice system at 11. He’s mentally ill, but the woman who wrote the viral Internet essay “I am Adam Lanza’s mother” told Congress the police are often the only authorities who can help deal with violent, mentally ill children. (via NBC News)
Rate of Caesarean Deliveries Varies Widely Across U.S.
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The rate of Caesarean deliveries, the most common operating-room procedure performed in the United States, varies drastically among hospitals across the country, a new study has found, ranging from 7 percent of all births at the hospital with the lowest share of Caesarean deliveries to 70 percent at the hospital with the highest rate. (via New York Times)
allergies, c-section, caesarean delivery, egg allergies, kindergarten, mental illness, online textbooks, Parents Daily News Roundup, peanut allergy, sex education, tablets, textbooks, video games, vision problems | Categories:
Friday, February 15th, 2013
Massive Food Fight At Minneapolis High School Turns Into All Out Brawl
A food fight quickly turned into a brawl involving hundreds of students at a Minneapolis high school on Thursday, forcing police to use chemical spray to break up the melee. (via Huffington Post)
Bilingual Babies Know Their Grammar by 7 Months
Babies as young as seven months can distinguish between, and begin to learn, two languages with vastly different grammatical structures, according to new research from the University of British Columbia and Université Paris Descartes. (via Science Daily)
Study Links Smoking Bans to Fewer Pre-term Births
Banning smoking in enclosed public places can lead to lower rates of preterm birth, according to Belgian researchers who say the findings point to health benefits of smoke-free laws even in very early life. (via Reuters)
Boy With Life-threatening Allergies Attends School Remotely, Thanks to New Robot
A 4-foot-tall robot is giving a New York second-grader the chance to go to school. (via Fox News)
Charter Schools Put Parents to the Test
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Charter schools pride themselves on asking a lot of their students. Many ask a great deal of parents, too. (via Reuters)
allergies, bilingual, bilingual babies, charter schools, food allergies, food fight, language, Parents Daily News Roundup, pre-term birth, premature, smoking, smoking ban, VGo Robot | Categories:
Tuesday, January 15th, 2013
New Autism-Related Gene Variants Discovered
Genetics researchers have identified 25 additional copy number variations (CNVs) — missing or duplicated stretches of DNA — that occur in some patients with autism. These CNVs, say the researchers, are “high impact”: although individually rare, each has a strong effect in raising an individual’s risk for autism. (via Science Daily)
Colicky Babies May Have Wrong Bacteria
Doctors don’t clearly understand why some babies cry excessively and others don’t, but a new study suggests abnormal gut bacteria could play a role. (via My Health News Daily)
Fast Food Linked to Asthma and Allergies in Kids
Obesity isn’t the only potential toll that dinner from the drive-thru may have on your health. It’s not just your waistline that may pay a price for eating fast food meals three or more times a week, but your immune system as well. (via TIME)
Docs Should Know About Kids and Alternative Medicine
Your child’s pediatrician isn’t likely to ask whether you are giving your youngsters herbs or treating them to acupuncture. But enough children are now using alternative therapies that physicians should be inquiring about it, and parents need to volunteer information about any complementary medicine approaches their children are using to avoid any potential harmful interactions with conventional treatments. (via TIME)
Parents Television Council Blasts Torture Scene in ABC’s Scandal-Group Calls for Reform In TV Rating System
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ABC could have had better timing. On the same night the entertainment industry was meeting with VP Joe Biden to discuss media violence, the network aired an episode of Scandal that included a graphic, three-minute torture scene.
The coincidence didn’t get by the Parents Television Council, which pointed to the episode as another example of a “failed [TV] ratings system.” (via Adweek)
allergies, alternative medicine, asthma, autism, baby colic, colic, fast food, genetics, media violence, obesity, Parents Television Council, pediatrician, TV violence | Categories:
Friday, November 9th, 2012
Preschoolers’ Counting Abilities Relate to Future Math Performance, Researcher Says
New research suggests reciting numbers is not enough to prepare children for math success in elementary school. The research indicates that counting, which requires assigning numerical values to objects in chronological order, is more important for helping preschoolers acquire math skills. (via ScienceDaily)
Malaria Vaccine a Letdown for Infants
An experimental malaria vaccine once thought promising is turning out to be a disappointment, with a new study showing it is only about 30 percent effective at protecting infants from the killer disease. (via NBC News)
Leftover Newborn Blood Samples Need Better Regulation, Ethicists Say
The tiny spots of blood left after routine tests on newborns could provide valuable information for researchers, but clear policies that govern their use are needed so that the samples are not destroyed or otherwise lost entirely, experts say. (via Fox News)
Iron, Omega-3s Tied to Different Effects on Kids’ Brains
For children with low stores of two brain-power nutrients, supplements may have different, and complex, effects, a new clinical trial suggests. (via Reuters)
Chocolate Nesquik Mix Recalled for Salmonella Risk
Chocolate giant Nestle USA is recalling some lots of its Nesquik chocolate powder drink mix because it might be contaminated with salmonella. (via NBC News)
Socioeconomic Status Linked to Childhood Peanut Allergy
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Peanut allergies are rising among American children and one reason might be due to economic status. According to a new study, greater rates of peanut allergy are found in families with higher economic status. This supports the “hygiene hypothesis” of many allergists. (via ScienceDaily)
allergies, Babies, brain development, Brain Function, iron, malaria, math, math skills, Nestle USA Nesquik, Noelia de la Cruz, omega 3, Parents Daily News Roundup, peanut allergy, preschoolers, salmonella, vaccine | Categories:
Wednesday, September 26th, 2012
A few days after her Emmy win, I had a chance to chat with actress Julie Bowen but, following a quick congratulations, asked her to switch gears from an exciting moment in her life, to one that was downright scary. When Bowen’s oldest son, Oliver, was a toddler, his face and neck swelled up after eating a bit of peanut butter, and he began having trouble breathing. He was rushed to the emergency room. “My husband and I thought we knew a lot about children and food allergies,” says Bowen. But after his allergic reaction, “we realized how little we knew. That wasn’t even his first exposure to peanuts.” Luckily, Oliver, who is also allergic to bee stings, recovered quickly, but for Bowen, it was a wake-up call.
Now she’s taking part in the Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis initiative, which aims to increase awareness of and preparedness for allergic reactions in school. Bowen says that, in a way, it was helpful that Oliver had such a strong reaction: “We knew right away to take him to the emergency room.” But sometimes symptoms can be more subtle. Your child may experience dizziness, headaches, chest pain, trouble breathing, an itchy throat, nausea, or a rash, among other things.
The best way to cut down on the risk is to avoid allergic triggers, but of course, accidents can happen. So what can you do? First, know the most common causes of anaphylaxis: cow’s milk, eggs, nuts, fish, soybeans, and wheat, as well as non-food triggers such as insect stings, certain medications, and latex. Children who are younger than 3, have a family member with allergies or asthma, or other predisposition are more likely to develop allergies. If your child has one, find out if his school has a prevention and treatment policy, and meet with the school nurse to discuss an action plan in case of anaphylaxis. Even young children can look out for themselves, as well.
“Oliver is his own best advocate,” says Bowen, of her now 5 year old. “He never puts anything he’s never had before in his mouth without asking, and he always asks a grown-up to read him the ingredients label.” When I seemed impressed by his proactive attitude, Bowen told me that, for younger kids, having an allergy can make them feel cool and special. As they get older, they may start to feel like an outsider. That’s why Bowen makes sure her son understands his allergies are just another characteristic, like having red hair or blue eyes. She tells Oliver, “You can’t eat nuts and, if you get stung by a bee, you need to get immediate attention,” then moves on. “I don’t want it to define him, but I do want it to be part of his everyday awareness.”
Today, Oliver keeps a prescription epinephrine auto-injector with him wherever he goes, and Bowen makes sure that, if he’s not with her or her husband, somebody knows how to use it. Aside from that, she says, “We really encourage Oliver to do the things kids love, like taking part in recess and play dates.” (Or perhaps attending awards shows with his mom?) And with a few precautions, there’s no reason he can’t!
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