Posts Tagged ‘health’
So, what has happened since err, umm.. November? First place to look is at my photos folder, which, at the moment is in a terrible disarray. Sigh..
[… Scanning thumbnails … ] Right, Christmas, let’s start there. The holidays were fun, despite this being the second year that we stay in Europe for Christmas. It’s the hardest time of year to be expats, away from family and friends we love and miss. But hey, we had some crazy snow.
Me and Little A in the backyard.
Big D and Little A, my darlings:
At one point D tried to use electrical wire to pull her “sled” but this was slightly disastrous. We just pushed/pulled instead. Okay, fine, D pushed, I took pictures…
This is the first year that we bought a Christmas tree (and a mini tree and a wreath and ornaments and lights).
Little A visited Santa, at our gym, but sadly, there was no cardboard tree.
Christmas morning, with new boots from Grandma, and new toys.
It gave our spirits a boost when D’s parents came just after Christmas. They caught a cold on the plane (of course), and it made it’s way around to all of us during the following week, yuck!
So we stayed in… took naps, visited, cooked. Little A loved the attention, and the time with two of her important people. She was saying Grand-maman, though it sounded more like “Grah-MAMA!”
This photo says it all:
PEKiP, otherwise known as “the naked baby playgroup”.
During one of Chicken Little’s first play dates, one of the mothers said she had enrolled her baby in a PEKiP class. Where in her words, the babies all get together naked on the floor and “go wild”. I must admit, my first reaction was in the range of “what?! why?!” I mean, they invented diapers for obvious and tidy reasons. I really like hanging out with this mom, but she fits more the “free spirit” parenting style category, whereas D and I are still solidly “by the book”.
But then we were finishing up our physical therapy sessions and the doctor said PEKiP would be good for little A. Even though she’s now advanced for her age, the doctor said “it’s good for her to see what the older babies do.” Two endorsements for PEKiP in less than 2 weeks, and one by a medical professional. Hmmm… Let’s try it.
We arrived with some trepidation (on my side) on Monday morning. I paid for the class and left the stroller at the door. Upstairs, the room was set up very similar to any childcare room. Exercise mats covering the whole floor, toys piled in one corner. There was a large plastic mat in the center of the room and some space heaters in the corner making the room quite warm. After we worked out that yes, I was the English speaker with the bad German, and said hello to everyone, we waited another 5 minutes and then the class began.
First off we get the babies naked and then each was given a beach ball to stand/lay over, stomach to the ball, and facing each other in a circle. The instructor said this was so the babies could see and touch each other as they wanted, and at a distance they felt comfortable. I’m not convinced babies this age really have the proper body-to-ball coordination, but okay. At this point I find out that the instructor has her own “baby”, a doll, that joins in on the activities too. Then we sing a song that goes “Guten Tag, something something, Guten Tag” and roll call’s all the mamas and babies in the room (oh yes, the doll has a name too).
Next up, the babies move over to a set of hexagonal-shaped platformed cushions, made of soft (waterproof) material and at varying heights. Perfect for climbing. The babies love this. I was happy that baby A got right in there. And then the instructor brought out two shallow tubs of plastic balls. Another hit.
Towards the end we put on diapers and held the babies in our arms to dip and sway for a song. Then we listened to other music on the floor and played with sheer, colorful scarves, while re-dressing the little ones.
I think 4 out of the 6 peed on the floor at some point during the 90 minute session. You wipe it up with your own towel, and then wash the area with some soap and water they provide. It wasn’t as bad as I imagined. All those baby cheeks were cute but I didn’t want to offend anyone by whipping out my camera, especially one our first day.
This class could be done fully clothed. So why naked? From what I have read, it is for better motor development and a more sensory experience. And just as valid a question, why not naked? Once you have everything waterproofed, a bunch of naked babies playing together sounds like fun (and it is).
More information about PEKiP can be found here.
Let this month be better than last month.
February started out fine but the last half was nothing but sick, sick, sick. Turns out I’m quite whiny when sick, and my usual tactic for fighting off a cold – sleep, sleep, then more sleep, is not really an option with a 5 month-old in the house.
I’m fairly certain the bad sequence started out with the swim lessons.
Tip: Do NOT let your baby drink the water.
While we can’t be certain where A got her stomach infection, this happens quite often from pools and makes the most sense given the sequence of events. And pool water often contains bacteria (from other babies, ones chlorine can’t kill) that can cause an infection in your child’s digestive track.
So the sequence went something like this:
- Swim class (cause) *probable cause
- Baby diarrhea (effect)
- Scary diaper rash along with diarrhea (effect) *makes for a very long, worried weekend
- Doctor visit Monday morning (effect)
- Doc’s office jam-packed with booger-faced children coughing on everything (cause)
- Kat gets a sore throat (effect)
- Then full-on cold symptoms (cause) *makes for a very long week
- Baby A starts coughing (effect) *another long weekend
- Doctor visit Monday, then Thursday, and Friday (effect)
- 2.5 weeks of sick family members and lots of interrupted sleep (cause)
- D has a sore throat and headache (effect)
- And so on… *hopefully it goes easier on D
Up until now, I was pretty happy we’d gone so long unscathed by cold and flu season. Muwahaha – it caught up with us.
A few things dawned on D and I as we survived the last few weeks:
- This is normal. Being a parent means adjusting your idea of down time.
- “Babies get sick.” Our pediatrician said those exact words to me when I asked her at what age I could take the little one to different activities.
- What do parents who both work do? We had a week of diaper rash and diarrhea. Then a sick baby and 3 doctor appointments in one week. There must be many sick babies at daycare.
- This too will pass. Something to keep in mind when your little one is waking him/herself up every 2 hours with a cough.
- Trust your instincts. After our Monday morning doctor visit we had a follow-up scheduled for Friday. But after a bad Wednesday night we were worried that she was getting worse instead of better so we called in and came in a day early. The doctor said it was definitely the right decision.
What is going on with the news this week? As much as I hate to say it, maybe it was better when the news headlines were about the price of Palin’s skirt-jacket ensemble, not people getting trampled in Walmart, the deaths in India, and uninsured children. Egh.
Some good news please? I did read one interesting article – resveratrol may help fight aging. Know where you find it? Red wine. Of course red wine. It makes you wonder if there is some multi-national organization pushing red wine sales.
Also makes me wonder if I should be drinking more?
Lastly, I heard today about Canadian politics going haywire – the possibility of another election less than 2 months from the last one? A writer for the National Post has a funny rant about it here. There are all kinds of new-to-me-terms going on with this latest spectacle – I’ve got more reading to do.
Health insurers would agree to accept all customers, regardless of illness or disability, if Congress required all Americans to have coverage, two main industry trade associations said Wednesday.
If people aren’t mandated to have coverage, many would wait until they suffer health problems before they buy insurance, said America’s Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, The New York Times reported.
[…] However, there’s one major difference between Obama’s position and that of the insurance industry, the Times reported. The industry wants the federal government to require all Americans to have and maintain insurance, while Obama wants the rule, at least initially, to apply only to children.
It’s about time talk of this gets a little more serious. I have been disgusted with the US healthcare system ever since the day I learned, as a teenager, that a person who had an illness could possibly lose his/her insurance and never have it again, if the health problem was serious. A small part of your world crumbles.
How could this ever be considered okay ? I’m still boggled by the idea that a person’s illness could make them too expensive to bother treating. Even after they may have possibly paid, for years, into the “insurance game.” Yes, we need to take care of ourselves and our family. The question is, should it be the government’s job to assure more people are taken care of, regardless of their financial situation?
I remember a time when I was at university and I got very ill. It was a scary time. I was living away from home, taking a full load of classes, and working close to 30 hrs a week. Looking back I don’t know why I didn’t convince my parents to let me stay on their insurance longer, but I was very healthy and hardly ever sick. The small company I worked for then did not provide health coverage, and I wouldn’t have qualified anyway. A year or two after, the company did start offering health insurance, but only to employees that worked 40 or more hours per week. So yes, for a period of about 2 years, while I was in school, I did not have any medical benefits.
During this time I got what I thought was a bad cold, that got progressively worse until I stood up at work a few days later, and almost fell over. I felt a sharp pain in my back and along with the headache and everything else I decided to go home.
It turned out, a day later when I was vomiting and feeling worse still, and finally went to a clinic, that I had a kidney infection. I received a big shot of antibiotics in the butt and was told that if I couldn’t keep the prescribed antibiotics down I was going to have to be hospitalized. I spent that night forcing myself not to puke my guts out, and spent the entire next week as sick as I’ve ever been along with a terribly high fever. I was very lucky it didn’t turn out another way. I know that if I had had health insurance I wouldn’t have waited nearly so long to go to the doctor.
It makes me terribly upset and sad that people right now, in a country that has done so many great things, cannot receive proper medical attention and care.
Let’s hope real changes are really coming.
I always end up eating more nuts at Christmas time than at any other time of year. What about you?
Holiday foods with nuts, off the top of my head:
- inside cookies, breads, candies
- outside pastries and cheese logs
- top of salads and jellos (if you are my grandmother)
Just last week a friend gave me a bag of chocolate-covered macadamia nuts. Wowsa, were these were good. They were spicy, with a hint of cinnamon and coriander; they tasted like Christmas.
It’s a fatty time of year but it’s also a yummy one. And nut fat is supposedly better fat.
When we went away for our last trip, we brought our standard car snacks with us: dried cashews, dried almonds, granola bars. My boyfriend’s mother had some tasty spiced mixed nuts and crackers too. At some point during our snacking we had a discussion about the content of nuts and were questioning which had the most fat.
Tonight I did some checks online, nutrition facts per 100g:
Isn’t it interesting that almonds taste less fatty than cashews but actually contain more? I kinda always knew pecans were higher, they just taste more slippery. Walnuts are also on the higher end, but they are really perfect in banana bread. Mmmm.
When I was a child, I lived next door to my grandmother. This of course meant that my sisters and cousins and I were always running through my grandmother’s house – in the back door and out the front or vice versus. Alternately we’d run around the outside of the house or see what trouble we could find in the big dark garage.
If there was one thing we knew, regardless of our recklessness, it was that proper respect had to taken for grandma’s nap. From roughly 1 to 2 p.m., creating any noise within the vicinity was asking for trouble, and I mean BIG trouble.
I think my grandmother could be a used as a model for the perfect afternoon napper. Her routine was a nap at the same time every day, and on this schedule she could get up early and stay up until 10 or 11 p.m.
So is the afternoon nap really good for you?
There has been a ton of research into sleep patterns and the rhythms of human activity. Scientists have been investigating napping for several years also, both the 20-minute power or cat nap (choose your favorite adjective here) and sleeps of 1-2 hours.
A NASA study by David Dinges had volunteers living on one of 18 different sleep schedules. The sleep schedules combined various amounts of “anchor sleep,” ranging from about 4 to 8 hours in length, with daily naps of 0 to 2.5 hours. The findings were that naps improve some memory functions but they do not aid basic alertness much.
Another study by Alan Hobson and Robert Stickgold found that power napping may prevent burn-outs. Power-napping, which is defined as 20-30 minutes of sleep, is thought to maximize the benefits of sleep versus time.
“…naps taken about eight hours after you wake have been proved to do much more for you than if you added those 20 minutes onto already adequate nocturnal sleep.”
Of course my grandmother doesn’t need research to prove what she already knows. Do you take an afternoon nap when you get the opportunity?
Having the opposite problem? Dr. Maas has some tips for falling asleep too:
- Cut out coffee after two in the afternoon
- Exercise, but not within three hours of bedtime
- Take a really hot shower. If you raise your body temperature right before bedtime, then the process of cooling down is something that can bring on good sleep.