Posts Tagged ‘ Babies ’

Parents Behind the Wheel: A Public Safety Hazard

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Guys, I know this is going to be an unpopular opinion, but it’s something I feel I have to put out there.

I don’t think that parents of young kids should be allowed to drive.  It’s a matter of public safety, really.  Let’s break this down, shall we?

Parents of newborns.  This one’s pretty obvious.  Probably even these parents would agree with me.  When you’re getting less sleep than an emergency room intern and a victim of CIA sleep deprivation torture combined, you shouldn’t be allowed to operate a moving vehicle, case closed.  Especially if you’re still on the Percocet from your episiotomy or c-section and all hormonal and post-partumy to boot.  This deadly combination is basically a perfect storm that transforms even the most normal woman into Crazy Zombie Unsafe Driving Mother and whoever she is, I’m pretty sure she shouldn’t be behind the wheel.

Parents of toddlers.  Once you get past the newborn sleep deprivation stage, you have other problems to contend with.  The hum of the engine no longer puts your child into a carseat coma.  They’ve developed a mind of their own and they have things that they want but they don’t know how to verbalize them yet.  After their attention span has been exhausted (translation: after five minutes in the car), what you’re left with is a lot of crying and seat-kicking and you have no idea exactly why or how to fix it, so you’re sweating and stress-eating handfuls of Goldfish at a time as you’re driving all crazy-eyed and there’s crumbs all over your shirt and people are looking at you strangely at red lights (assuming you remembered to stop at them) as you’re flinging every toy and book within arms’ reach over your shoulder into the backseat to try to comfort your child before it turns green.  (Although always brush off the Goldfish crumbs before I stop next to other cars.  It’s called class, people.  Look it up.)

Parents of preschoolers.  You would think that once your kid gets a little older, you might be out of the woods as far as driving safety goes.  But you’d be wrong.  ”Mom, can I have a snack?  Mom, I need my book.  Mom?  Are we there yet?  Mom, I said I need a snack!  Mom, can you pass me my Pooh Bear?  Mom, I’m hungry!!”  Just listening to the incessant demands from the backseat is enough to make you want to purposely drive off a cliff.  Not to mention having to screech to a stop every time your potty-training kid tells you they think they have to pee.  Besides, I’ve seen you guys, driving down the road, listening to orders bellowed by the tiny dictator in the backseat to “SING MAMA SING LOUDER”, so intent on your dramatic hand gestures to “Wheels On the Bus” that you’re veering from the right lane to the rumble strip and back again.  Don’t try to deny it.  I saw you.  Time to hand over the driver’s license, Mom.  You’re a public safety hazard now.

So, who’s with me?  I’m thinking we should probably all turn in our licenses at the hospital nursery and there should be some kind of carpool service (or limo… again, class) that comes and picks us and our kids up whenever we need it.  Sound like a plan?  Like I said, it’s a matter of public safety, really.

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Parenthood Rites of Passage

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

We all love our kids.  That goes without saying.  Still, there are those inevitable trials that pop up every now and then and you have to suffer through them. Once they’re over, you think, Well, I’m a real mom now.  Trial by fire, so to speak.  We’ve all been there.  No?

Here’s my list of those parenthood rites of passage– have any to add to it?

Cleaning up a bed full of diarrhea and/or vomit.

Your toddler wakes you up in the middle of the night with those six dreaded words: “mommy, I pooped in my bed.”  For a split second, you consider pretending that you’re dead still sleeping, but you know that that mess sure isn’t gonna take care of itself, so you drag yourself out of bed, down the hall and get to it.  You strip down your kid and while you’re stripping the disgusting sheets, your toddler gets into God knows what in the closet and runs gleefully amok, screaming from the sheer joy of being allowed out of bed at 2am, wearing nothing but your favorite lipstick smeared across her forehead and Crocs from last summer (where did she find those?) while you’re gagging and planning six consecutive scalding hot showers and a nose amputation and I think my tubes just tied themselves, or at least I hope they did. I forget, why did we have kids again?

Defcon 5 public meltdown in the grocery store.

You’re peacefully strolling down the aisle with your kid in the front of the shopping cart, checking out the cereal selection.  You’re cool, calm, collected, and little old ladies think your kid is just criminally adorable and you’re thinking, damn straight, she is.  Then it happens.  Your child sees cookies, or fruit snacks, or something she wants.  She wants it, and all hell is gonna break loose if she doesn’t get it.  You always hated seeing those parents who give their kid whatever they want to keep them quiet, so you say no and stand your ground.  Your “criminally adorable” child flips the Crazy Switch to just plain criminal, screaming at top volume and trying to fling herself from the cart.  Everyone is staring.  Those little old ladies are now shaking their heads in disgust at your parenting skills or lack thereof. You’re trying to calm your kid down but nothing is working and finally you wave the white flag and beat a hasty retreat to the parking lot.  If you’re lucky, you have your groceries with you.  If you’re extra lucky, you paid for them.

One full night of no sleep.

None of this “I got a couple hours” business– I mean not one single minute. We’re talking none at all here, people. And then you have to go to work the next day and pretend to be a normally-functioning member of society. These nights from hell usually end with the newborn stage, but can still happen later on when kids are teething or sick or whatever. You know the drill– baby wakes up, you feed him, he takes forever to fall back asleep. By the time he’s asleep, you know he’s going to want to eat in about a half hour. You lie down. GO TO SLEEP, you tell yourself. QUICK!! Before he wakes up! He’s gonna wake up soon, just try not to think about anything and grab a few quick minutes of– WAHHH! WAHHH!!  …Damn it. (And repeat. All. Night. Long.)

So, what do you think?  How have your kids hazed you?  (Personally, I’m expecting some kind of medal to arrive in the mail.  Any day now…)

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Dental Care For Kids: Q&A

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Thanks to everyone who joined me at the American Baby Q&A session today on Facebook!  For those who missed it or anyone who’s looking for information on kids’ dental care, I thought I’d put together a post of the most commonly asked questions, and a few things I didn’t get to mention.  (Note: this post, just like any information on the internet, does not substitute for an exam and regular dental care– see your dentist for any specific concerns.)

When should I schedule my child’s first dental visit?

The official recommendation is by one year of age or the first tooth, whichever comes first.  The purpose of the first visit is to establish a dental home for your child, to educate you (the parent) about proper home care and diet, and to start establishing healthy dental habits and introduce the child to the dental office environment.

When should I start brushing, and what kind of toothbrush should I use?

You should start brushing as soon as the first tooth appears.  (Some parents like to wipe the gums with a clean finger or washcloth even before teeth start coming in, to get the baby used to the parent cleaning their mouth.)  You can use any brand of kid-sized toothbrush.  I like the Oral-B Stages brushes because they are appropriately sized for different ages.  If you choose an electric toothbrush, be aware that the technique is different.  With a manual brush you do the scrubbing motions, angling the bristles toward the gumline.  With an electric brush you hold the brush still for several seconds in one area and then move on to the next.

When should I start using regular toothpaste?

As soon as the first tooth appears!  The “training” (fluoride-free) toothpaste is actually not necessary.  Until your child learns to spit out well (around age 4), you should use a tiny smear the size of a grain of rice, twice a day.  It is assumed that the child will swallow it, but such a tiny amount is not considered to be harmful.

What about flossing?  When do I need to start, and how can I get my child to let me do it?

When the teeth touch each other (no spaces between them), you can start flossing.  Let your child watch you floss first so they know it’s not a bad thing.  You can try the mini-flossers that look like a plastic hook with floss threaded through it, and let your child hold one and play with it before you try any actual flossing.


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I Was a New-Mom Germaphobe

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

When I was a brand-new parent, I was a complete and total germaphobe.

Gallon-size jug of hand sanitizer at the entrance to our apartment as a hint to everyone who entered?  Check.  Shopping cart covers and antibacterial cases for her binkies?  Check, check.  Toys washed in diluted bleach, bottles boiled, and pump parts sterilized every night?  Check, check, and check.

To be fair, we did two weeks’ hard time in the NICU for pneumonia, so it was somewhat warranted…

However, I, like most of us, slowly made the transition from germaphobic brand-new parent to, well, it’s not that I want her to be dirty, but if it happens, it happens.  I hadn’t really thought about this until the other day, when we were on a train to Grand Central.  Caroline licked the window of the filthy train and I barely even flinched.

At work last week I walked into the conference room and some of my coworkers were having a conversation about how they think that growing up “too clean” can lead to improper development of kids’ immune systems.  “Hey, Julia,” one of the faculty said.  “You have a baby, right?  Are you a germaphobe about everything she touches?”

I snorted.  “No,” I said.  “Are you kidding?  That kid is constantly filthy.”  They laughed at me.  “I’m serious,” I said.  “If I were to keep her and everything she touched completely spotless and sterilized, I’d never have time to do anything else.”

Maybe it’s that I work at a place where there sometimes is literally hepatitis all over the counter (until I sterilize it, okay?  Don’t freak out), but a little dirt and grime doesn’t get to me like it used to.  Besides, she’s in daycare all day.  I used to whisper to her to stay away from the snotty kid as I was leaving, but she never listened (kids these days!) and anyway they were all “the snotty kid” by mid-December anyway, including her.

In any case, I believe that in many ways it’s counterproductive to raise your kid in a bubble.  I won’t go into technical stuff about the immune system, but I think it’s better for her health and it’s definitely better for my sanity if I don’t go around spraying everything she touches with bleach.  It doesn’t mean I’m a bad or negligent mom… it just means I’m realistic, you know?  For me, relaxing a little bit about stuff like this is sort of part of my development as a parent, just like I’ve slowly tried to let go of my helicopter mom tendencies.

So go forth, child.  Be free, and be dirty.

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My “I-Will-Never’s”: Toddler Edition.

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

I wrote a post like this, long ago, about things I always said I’d never do once I had a baby that got shot to hell once my baby was actually born.  I think it’s about time for round two: the toddler edition.

“When my kid is a toddler, I’ll never…”

1.  Let her use a pacifier.  Little kids walking around with binkies in their mouths were always a pet peeve of mine.  Well, let me tell you (as I’ve told you before), Caroline is so attached to hers that prying that thing out of her mouth is a lot easier said than done.  We’re pretty much down to naps and nighttime, but I haven’t dared to take the final push just yet.  It has taken me this long to even get to that point because the fact is, I don’t have time to deal with my entire house going up in an apocalyptic mushroom cloud every morning over a stupid piece of plastic and rubber.  I’m late for work, here’s your pacifier.

2. Feed her junk food.  I try not to do this often, but there are several reasons I caved on this one.  First of all, some days she’ll refuse to eat anything at all and if I can get a couple of Goldfish in her so she doesn’t starve and/or stay up all night, then that’s what I’m gonna do. Second, I just don’t have time to whip up wholesome food every single time she eats.  Third, once in awhile I want to eat junk food, and she sees me doing it and makes a beeline for the bag of whatever salty, fatty deliciousness I’m shoving into my own face.  And people, I’ve got enough on my plate as it is.  Let me have my junk food, I beg of you.

3. Let her watch TV.  I was opposed to this because of all the studies that tell you that if you let your kids watch TV they’ll end up with ADHD or Ebola or it’ll make all their teeth fall out or whatever.  But listen, that wonderful machine lets me prepare dinner and clean the house and occasionally get an extra twenty glorious minutes of sleep.  There’s no way I’m ever gonna pass that up.  Everything in moderation, right?

4. Allow her to talk back to me in public.  Haha.  Hahahaha.  Isn’t it hilarious that I ever thought I’d be able to control stuff like that?

5. Carry her everywhere she goes.  Okay, she is getting to be way too big to be carried anywhere, at least for me, since she’s nearly a third of my weight at this point.  And I shouldn’t let her force me to.  But the fact is, sometimes I really need to get somewhere, like work, and she just. will. not. go where I need her to.  So I have to pick her up.  And then she wants to be carried the next time around.  And repeat.  It’s a vicious cycle and I haven’t figured out how to break it.  In the meantime, the kid’s getting carried into daycare every time I’m late.  Which is… every day.

6. Refuse to read books over and over.  Because reading is good for them.  Right?  It feeds their brains.  And sets up good habits for lifelong learning.  Except by the time I’ve read If You Give a Pig a Pancake seventy-five times, there is nothing on this earth that could possibly resuscitate my brain from its childrens-book-coma and make me become a normal person who can function normally in adult society.  The other day, after a particularly long weekend of The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, a patient asked for whitening and I came thisclose to asking them if they’d tried something called VOOM.  I wish I were kidding.

Now, it’s up to you: leave your toddler I-will-never’s in the comments, so I don’t feel so bad!

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