Archive for the ‘
Random Thoughts ’ Category
Monday, May 6th, 2013
Would you agree with the TodayMoms.com survey that three is the most stressful number of kids to have?
I remember when I announced to my best friend that I was pregnant with my third, she was happy for me, but at the same time she said it was really, really hard. Our kids are all a year apart so when I had a 1 and 3 year old, my friend had a baby, 2 and 4 year old. Not long after that, it was my turn to add in that third child. Since we lived in Australia, we often took turns watching each others kids, bringing each other meals, taking the healthy kids when others were sick… I don’t know how I would have survived that early stretch without her and another close friend of mine (since our families were all in the U.S.).
I agreed with the survey that for me, going from one child to two really wasn’t much of a big deal. I just tucked DD into the sling and we still went off to Kindermusik, playgroup, kindergym or the pool. I even still worked (taught history online) part time. Honestly, life seemed to go on as normal.
Going from two to three kids was different, though. My four year old and two year old needed different things. We always knew we would homeschool, but when ED was born we toyed with putting my eldest into preschool. That didn’t go well and we continued on with our homeschooling path… but there were times when it was downright tough. I remember one time when the kids were 9 months, 3 and 5, clinging onto Hubby and sobbing in the kitchen and wondering if I’d make it until his Mom came for a visit. It didn’t help that we added Boomer, our dog, into the mix when ED was 6 months old. Puppies are a lot of work too! I just wanted to be able to go to the store alone or to go out to dinner with Hubby. We lived overseas, so she would come once a year for a month or so at a stretch.
Now that the kids are older, though, I absolutely love having three. I find it a wonderful number for homeschooling because there’s always four of us around. I can work with one while the other two play… or I can work with all three… or I can work with two while one entertains herself. The three kids play extremely well together in whatever combination… LD (9) and DD(7), DD and ED(5) or even LD and ED or all together. Okay, so they’re normal kids so they also squabble, but overall they get along well. If you have three, do you find that to be the case? I’m just wondering what you think since the survey indicated that many Moms found it hard (with 3) because one child was often the “odd man out.”
I wonder, though if having one would have been more difficult at this point. My son was always very demanding (of my time and attention) until I had my second. Now, of course, he has siblings and friends to play with. I wonder how it would be with just one. Anyone have any thoughts?!!
Some things I found interesting about the survey was that on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the most stressed) the average Mom on the Today.com survey put their stress at 8.5. Where would you put your stress levels?
I think my answer would vary from day-to-day and would also depend on if Hubby were around to help. For example, tomorrow is Tuesday… and I’d put my stress levels for that day at a 4.5. We have an easy going homeschool day with plenty of time (and no outside activities or doctors appointments) until 5pm. Wednesday, on the other hand, I’d easily put my stress levels at 9.0… and my friend, whom I see at 6pm, would probably rank me at a 12 (read about my day last Wednesday here!)!
Do you have time to get everything done that needs to be done? You’d be right there with 60% of other Moms who stress about that. If you read my blog, you’ll often hear me sigh and apologize for our… err… “lived in” house. Yup, laundry is always being cycled through, so our “laundry couch” almost always has varying amounts of piles (sometimes high piles of folded clothes, sometimes small piles of odds and ends that didn’t quite match up (grrr… those socks), sometimes with clothes waiting to be folded).
And, while the dishes are usually clean, they are quite often waiting to be put away (by the kids, of course!). (This was a trick I learned from a friend (who wound up having 7 kids… a supermom if I’ve every met one!)… put the dishes down low so the kids can help out from an early age!)
Another question on the survey asked about staying fit and attractive. Do you stress about that? The survey said that nine out of ten Moms stress about that.
I’m not sure I stress about it, but I really value my running (or walking) time and feel it is really important to take that time to myself. Even though it’s not ideal (I run on a treadmill instead of outside like I used to)… I try to keep myself in the equation… but I don’t think I stress about it. I enjoy it. How would you answer that question?
You can read more about the survey in the today.com article: Mom Survey Says: Three is the Most Stressful Number of Kids.
Let’s have our own informal survey… how many kids do you think is the most stressful? Where would you put your stress level on a scale of 1 to 10? Do you stress about getting everything done? Do you stress about staying fit and attractive? I’d love to hear your comments!
Sunday, April 28th, 2013
I just read about the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge and wanted to spread the word!
Does your child like to cook? Kids ages 8-12 can submit original recipes to win tickets to a state dinner at the White House to eat some of these winning dishes with first lady, Michelle Obama. The challenge is to create healthy recipes that include the five food groups either in one dish or in one main dish with a side. Judges will choose one winner from every state, the U.S. territories, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.
Last year was the first year and more than 1,200 kids entered the contest.
The judges are looking for original recipes, so they should be limited in the amount of butter, oil, cream and salt that is used. Kids can submit photos with their recipes.
Entries are due by May 12, 2013. You can find more information at recipechallenge.epicurious.com.
You can read more about the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge in the Washington Post. There’s an article in the Kids Post (Washington Post), White House Meal Ticket.
Good luck if your kids enter!
Sunday, April 7th, 2013
About a month ago on the way to LD’s allergy shots, the kids and I saw something really sad. Just a few moments before we drove through an intersection, a cat was struck by a car. As we drove by, we could see that the cat was still alive. It’s head was up and it was looking all around. It was a busy intersection and cars were racing by it on both sides. I wasn’t able to turn around and berated myself for the next hour as we drove to the doctors and back for not returning sooner to help the cat. The kids and I talked about the cat a lot and we decided we’d go back and if it were still there, we would pick it up and take it to the vet. The kids were convinced we would then adopt it nurse it back to health. By the time we got back, though, the cat was gone. The kids were extremely disappointed. They already had visions of helping the cat and they wanted to know what happened to it.
The next day I had a dentist appointment which happened to be right at that same busy intersection. I happened to mention that cat and the dental hygienist said that someone in the office saw it happen. She said the car didn’t even slow down. She rushed down and with the help of two other women, crossed into the road, picked the cat up out of the road. It’s bones were obviously badly broken because they could hear the bones crunching. With that sad story though, we had all seriously considering adding a kitty to our family.
When we left our dog at the kennel a couple weeks ago, Hubby and the kids saw a 1-year old kitten that needed a home. The kids could talk of little else for days.
A few days later we contacted the animal rescue and said that we would adopt her. They brought her by and we named her Starbuck (from Battlestar Galactica, not the coffee place!).
Starbuck has been extremely shy. She runs and hides in the shoe rack in Hubby’s closet or under our bed whenever we come in. But slowly we’ve been able to coax her out more and more. (She’s still separated from the other pets.) She’s very friendly, though.
So here’s who she shares the house with — besides us humans…
here are some cute photos of our lovely, friendly (and tolerant!) cat, Crystal Fire (the kids came up with that name!). She’s two.
This is Boomer. We got her from the RSPCA in Australia. She’s a Red Heeler, an Australian cattle dog. She’s full of energy and feels it’s her duty to keep the squirrels away. When she was a puppy she could jump our almost 6-foot fence, so her name (which is Aussie slang for a kangaroo) was quite appropriate! She’s five.
We also have some unofficial pets that have made their first appearance this spring… LD found a salamander (and promptly went to the Internet to find out what they eat!)
And a snake… which I didn’t identify. Guess we’ll be seeing lots more of those pretty soon as the weather warms up! Ugh!
I was going to write up an article about why it has been wonderful to have pets, but I saw that my colleague Bill Strickland wrote a fabulous article about the Benefits of Pets. Be sure to check out his article!
Saturday, February 9th, 2013
A few nights ago as I watched the evening news, I heard a statistic that really startled me. The story was about the teen activist who was shot by the Taliban in Pakistan for arguing for girls’ education. At the end of the segment ABC World News said that 32 million girls don’t go to school. Wow! The World Bank Education Statistics Newsletter confirmed that and even had an interesting graphic:
It looks like things have improved during the past decade, but there’s still a huge number of kids who don’t attend school. I knew that many girls (and boys) don’t have the opportunity to go to school, but had no idea that the numbers were that high! Did you? The newsletter shared that more than half the world’s out-of-school girls are in Sub Saharan Africa. One quarter of them are in South Asia (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and other countries).
I read that 60% of countries don’t offer equal opportunity to education. Just why don’t girls go to school? Here are a few of the reasons:
- poverty — Many families are too poor to afford school. Even if there are no school fees, many families can’t afford the extras (books, clothes, etc.) Girls are often expected to work to help support the family.
- discrimination — If families can’t afford to educate all of their children, girls are more likely not to go to school than boys. Girls are often seen as potential homemakers.
- early marriage — One out of seven girls in developing countries are married before their fifteenth birthday.
- getting to school is dangerous
This story and that sad statistic makes me very thankful that our country has such a broad range of educational opportunities for our children.
In light of this information, you might be interested in the world’s largest education event… more about that tomorrow!
Tuesday, January 29th, 2013
We’ve all heard the experts tell us that time outside has huge benefits for kids. It helps them concentrate and focus in school, boosts learning, helps fight obesity, and is even beneficial for social development. Research has proven that recess is good for kids: “A recent multicenter study of more than 11,000 eight- and nine-year-olds, led by pediatric researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in New York, showed that kids who had at least 15 minutes of recess a day (even just 15 minutes!) behaved better in class.” (from cnn.com)
Today I read about another important reason to send the kids outside. It may save their eyesight!
I read a fascinating article in Science News that indicates that kids who spend more time outdoors doing physical activity were less likely to become nearsighted. The article explains “too much time spent indoors may be behind a surge in nearsightedness.” I went on to do a bit more reading on the subject.
Nearsightedness (myopia) has increased steadily in North America and Europe in the past few decades. A National Eye Institute (NEI) study found that between 1971-72 and 1999-2004 the prevalence of myopia, or nearsightedness, increased from 25 to 42% for people ages 12 to 54 here in the U.S. That’s an increase of almost 66%! (nei.nih.gov) Similarly, there has been an explosion of nearsightedness in East Asia. The Science News article shared this startling fact… a recent study of young men in Seoul and college students in Shanghai find that more than 95% are nearsighted. Similar findings have been found in other urban areas in the Asia. This rising rate of myopia have led to declarations of a “myopia epidemic.”
Look at this chart from the National Eye Institute about the increase in myopia from 2000 to 2010 here in the U.S.:
image from nei.nih.gov
Society has changed dramatically in the past couple of centuries with many of the changes coming in the past fifty years… kids spending large portions of their days in classrooms and doing “near work” indoors like reading, writing, working on computers, and watching TV. All these things place unnatural demands on the eyes.
A few years ago some studies showed a link between nearsightedness and limited outdoor time during childhood. Scientists aren’t yet sure how outdoor exposure can help prevent myopia but some speculate it could be the natural light, the relaxation of the eye as it focuses on things at a distance, the broad field of vision, the use of peripheral vision or a combination of all those things. Studies have show huge increases in nearsightedness in urban areas, but this hasn’t shown up in rural areas.
One scientist explained the importance of outdoor time this way: ”If you have two nearsighted parents and you engage in a low level of outdoor activity, your chances of becoming myopic by the eighth grade are about 60 percent,” he says. “If children engaged in over 14 hours per week of outdoor activity, their chances of becoming nearsighted were now only about 20 percent. So it was quite a dramatic reduction in the risk of becoming myopic.” (npr.org) Even playing sports inside doesn’t seem to have the same benefit as outdoor time, so it’s not necessarily even stopping your kids from doing ‘near work’ like reading or watching TV that would help prevent nearsightedness. It’s the wonders and benefits of being outdoors.
The epidemic of nearsightedness is projected by the National Institute of Health to increase, but at least there’s something we can do to help protect our kids.
image from nei.nih.gov
So, the lesson I learned from all this is send the kids outside to play!
Interested in learning more? Be sure to go read the Science News article, “Urban Eyes”
Read this NPR article (or listen) to the story: Medical Detectives Focus on Myopia
Another interesting article is Genetic vs. Environmental Risk in the Mediation of Myopia
Categories: 5 Senses, Health, Must Read, Outdoor Fun, Random Thoughts, Science | Tags: importance of outdoor playtime, importance of recess, myopia, myopia and outdoor time, nearsightedness and children, reasons to send kids outside