weebly statistics
Home About Links Contacts Show Show

Abiding Monday: Fraught With Worry

momcrowd_abidingmonday2_300x215[1] Worry has been following me around lately.  I know how to combat it – I posted about praying for peace mere weeks ago – yet I am still being pestered with a fear about this or a worry about that.  It is so annoying!  And it’s a domino effect this time around; when one thing is resolved, another issue arises, giving my weary soul minimal rest in between.

At the moment, my worry is for my son.  He’s kinda accident-prone.  He’s a toddler, so saying he trips up on his own feet doesn’t mean that much.  But he does.  Trip up on his own two feet, that is.  Regularly.  This has resulted in some pretty nasty bumps on his head.  (People actually look surprised when they see he is bump-free.)  Last week, he fell on his face again, and the bump is an ugly combo of red, purple, blue and yellow.  I can’t tell you how many times I have prayed over his little head, yet I cannot shake the worry that comes with being his mom.  I seriously break down in sobs whenever he hurts himself.

Max Lucado’s latest book, Fearless, has a chapter about worrying for our kids’ safety.  He says,

We tend to forget this fact, regarding our children as “our” children, as though we have the final say in their health and welfare.  We don’t.  All people are God’s people, including the small people who sit at our tables.  Wise are the parents who regularly give their children back to God (58).

Lucado says we have two choices when faced with our childrens’ struggles (health or otherwise): to despair over what can happen, or to believe in Jesus’ power to love and care for them.  Now, I realize that a bump on my son’s head is small potatoes compared to what else can happen to him – maybe compared to what has happened in your child’s life.  Yet the despair I have felt is very real, and dealing with it is not easy.

As one might expect, prayer is the key remedy.

Prayer is the saucer into which parental fears are poured to cool.  Jesus says so little about parenting, makes no comments about spanking, breast-feeding, sibling rivalry, or schooling.  Yet his actions speak volumes about prayer.  Each time a parent prays, Christ responds.  His big message to moms and dads?  Bring your children to me.  Raise them in a greenhouse of prayer (60).

I believe in this advice, and I have been stubbornly giving my fears about my son’s injuries to Jesus, again and again, each time I feel them.  Even though I wish I could put the boy in a plastic bubble and roll him everywhere in a cocoon of safety, I turn to God to increase my trust in Him.  I involve my kids in this praying, too, saying prayers aloud while Eli plays and inviting both of my children to pray aloud for his head during bedtime prayers.

If my worries are going to persist, my prayers must persist as well.

Jesus, thank you for keeping watch over our children as they come and go.  Thank you for standing beside us as a protective shade.  Thank you for being our help.  We depend on you.  Amen.

What Psalms comfort you during your time of worry (mine was paraphrased above, Psalm 121)?  Is your prayer time proportionate to the time you spend worrying?  How do you work through your fears?

Healthy teeth, happy mommy!

dentist When I was in college, I started a job at a pediatric dental office.  I continued working there after I graduated, until we moved overseas. I did a lot of admin stuff as well as chair-side (assisting the hygienist or the doctor), and I loved how so many parents brought their kids to our office and asked great questions about dental health. Here are a few things I learned from the doctors during my years there:
1. Limit snacking – This is the main cause of tooth decay. During mealtime, our mouth produces enough saliva to keep our teeth relatively clean (we still need to brush though!), but snacking on sugary foods in between meals will “feed” the bacteria in your mouth, which produce the acid that can eat away at the tooth enamel and cause decay. It’s important to limit snacks to fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, and dairy (plain yogurt, eggs, and cheese are your best choices). Candies are of course on the “rarely/never eat” list, but many parents were surprised to find that even carbohydrates can be dangerous if consumed frequently, especially processed foods which contain refined flour and added sugars. Granola bars, crackers, and other “weak candies” should be kept to a minimum. Amelia had a great post on snacking last year — notice how almost all of her bread-related snacks contain whole wheat flour with little or no added sugar!  In addition, beverages such as juice, soda, iced tea, flavored milks and sports drinks can lead to dental caries.  My boss always recommended diluting juices with water when giving them to kids, and limiting the amount of juice per day.  Teenagers are particularly vulnerable in this category, because many of them have terrible snacking habits.  For them, sodas, convenience foods, and breath mints are the biggest culprits of tooth decay, so try to keep these items to a minimum in your house.

2. Cavities are NOT just the result of bad brushing or snacking habits – First and second permanent molars can be deeply pitted and grooved, and occasionally, during tooth formation, the tooth enamel will not fuse completely, creating small fissures that are incredibly difficult to keep clean.  Even with good brushing and snacking habits, these teeth can get decay.  Some dentists choose to fill these early on to prevent greater problems in the future.

3. Get sealants when your dentist recommends them – One of the things I saw time and time again was a child who had been a candidate for sealants at one visit come back six months or a year later with dental caries on those teeth, and they had to have those teeth filled instead.  Usually sealants are placed on the chewing surfaces of permanent molars and premolars (bicuspids), but occasionally doctors will suggest sealants on baby molars.  Sealants generally last three to five years (although sometimes longer), and they really save you money in the long run by avoiding fillings, root canals and crowns to repair decayed teeth.  Most insurance companies cover sealants, but a few don’t.  Some parents are reluctant to get sealants because their insurance company doesn’t cover it.  I would encourage them to get their child sealants anyway; talk to your dentist about a payment plan if money is a concern.  Most offices are pretty accommodating, especially if you are an established patient there.

4. Braces are bacteria magnets! – Many teens (and preteens) just don’t have good habits when it comes to oral hygiene.   And, as it is practically impossible to give advice to teenagers without getting the customary eye-roll, talk to your dentist about showing them how to keep their teeth healthy and clean while wearing braces.  Children with braces are more likely to develop tooth caries and/or experience early gum recession due to poor brushing and flossing habits.  Personally, I’ve noticed that young teen boys (around age thirteen or so) are the worst when it comes to keeping their braces clean, but I’ve witnessed this in a few girls as well.  As a former wearer of braces, I know how difficult it can be to keep those babies clean, but fortunately there are a wide range of products to aid us in this area.  My personal favorite is Waterpik’s Power Flosser.

5. Children with good brushing and snacking habits usually grow up to be teenagers and adults with good oral hygiene – The earlier your child learns the importance of brushing, flossing, and healthy snacking, the more likely they are to continue these habits into adulthood.

I feel like I could write a whole book on this subject, but I’ll stop for now.  I might continue this post with a second installment if anyone’s interested.  So, what about you?  What are some important lessons you’ve learned from the dentist about your child’s dental health?

For more information:

TMC article: Last June, McKenna wrote about surviving your child’s first dental visit.

Website:  Keeping Your Child’s Teeth Healthy at Kidshealth.org

Book: Eat This, Not That! Supermarket Survival Guide

Photo courtesy of .imelda

How Much Weight Do You Put In Your Child’s BMI?


baby-on-scale At our son’s 4 year old check-up in June, our pediatrician dropped a bombshell on us… “he’s obese”.  How on earth could this perfectly healthy child with easily viewable ribs be obese?  Our pediatrician suggested that we see a nutritionist and get the situation “under control”.  We walked out of the appointment baffled by the thought of our thin child being obese.   

After talking to other friends who use the same pediatrician, I found that this was almost a common diagnosis.  We compared our children and all agreed that they look healthy.  Not too thin, not too thick… just right.  (And truthfully, we are the kind of friends who would say if things appeared differently!)  I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how this diagnosis could apply to these kids.  They were healthy, active kids! 

Then it dawned on me… Body Mass Index (BMI), the way in which obesity is measured, measures height to weight proportions.  It does not take into account muscle mass.  While most children aren’t teeming with bulging muscles, they can have significant muscle mass.  I take this to be a huge flaw in the overall diagnosing process.  BMI also does not take into account a growth spurt.  Some children gain weight and then grow in height and even out.   

Of course, we have taken steps to try and reduce Andrew’s overall weight, as with his diabetes he is more prone to developing other life-threatening conditions later in life, but now we are just amazed at how thin he looks. 

And then there is the flip-side… “they are too thin”.  Two of my friends have been criticized in their parenting because their children are by nature exceptionally thin.  They are healthy children, but just tend to be very thin, even when mom tries shoving cupcakes down their throats to get them where they are “supposed” to be. 

 My friends and I have all come to the same conclusion: while we trust and look to our pediatricians for support and guidance, there are just sometimes that we feel we need to throw their medical expertise out the window and trust our own parental instincts as to what is right and wrong for our children. 

Have you had a similar experience?  How did you handle it?  Do you feel comfortable at times not following your pediatrician’s recommendations? 

Photo Courtesy of webchicken

Real Food for Mother and Baby: A Book Review

I should be drinking whole milk while I’m pregnant?  And better than that is unpasteurized, raw milk?

I should stay away from a low-fat diet? Especially while I’m pregnant?

What is “carbage”?

It’s okay to feed my baby meat?

So, can I or can’t I eat fish while I’m pregnant?

Industrial fats like corn, sunflower, safflower, and soybean oil are making me fat and causing heart disease and diabetes?  You mean butter, coconut oil, and lard are better choices?

What foods are good to introduce to my baby?

You mean babies don’t NEED cereal when they first start eating? Are you crazy?

41wrrks-eal_sl500_aa240_ I recently read Nina Planck’s book Real Food: What to Eat and Why based on the recommendation of a friend. Thanks Heather!  She also recommended Planck’s next book, Real Food For Mother and Baby.  When she told me that the book explains why mothers need more than iron and folic acid when they are pregnant and even trying to conceive a baby my interest was piqued.

This book will turn many of your thoughts about food upside down.  Nina is aon a mission to help people understand why it is important to eat “real food”.  Real food is food that people have been eating for thousands of years.  The kind of food that is minimally processed–meaning milk that comes straight from the cow, beef that is fed grass not soybeans and corn, grains that have been soaked, plain yogurt with your own added flavor, poultry that is allowed to roam and eat grass and bugs.  You get the idea.  Planck makes the argument that “industrial foods” are ruining our health.  Soybean, corn, safflower, and sunflower oils are commonly added into our foods.  They are also highly processed and increasing our bad cholesterol.  The information in this book will make your head spin because it demystifies so much of our wrong thinking about food.

This book addresses all those questions I wrote above. The first chapter is basically a summary of her first book Real Food.  I highly recommend reading her first book to get more of the science and information behind her food recommendations. It is eye opening.  Chapters 2 and 3 deal with pregnancy and nutrition during pregnancy.  Chapter 4 covers breastfeeding. This chapter may make your eyes get as big as saucers in some parts but it is interesting all the same.  She covers why breastmilk is best for baby, what she would do if she had trouble nursing her baby, how formula is made, some of the basics of getting baby to breastfeed and even some anthropological implications for why we have to nurse so often.  Chapter 5 covers first foods for your baby.  This chapter has seriously made me rethink how I want to introduce foods to any additional children we may have.

This book, along with her first book, has caused me to reconsider the kind of foods I want our family to eat.  One thing that I really appreciate about her approach is that she recognizes that eating a traditional, REAL FOOD diet can be pricey.  Time magazine just had an article covering the benefits of grass fed beef for farms, farmers, and consumers.  The article showed how it is cheaper to buy  unhealthy, industrial food than healthy, traditional foods. Many of us are on strict budgets and have difficulty paying for free range chicken and grass fed beed for every meal.  She encourages people to pick and choose wisely and get the best that you CAN afford.  Can’t find raw milk?  Then buy organic whole milk.  Can’t afford organic?  Then at least drink whole milk.  She does recommend that we stay away from all foods that come with industrial indredients and not to fall prey to marketing schemes that tell us that processed foods are good for us.

When we get to England I am planning on implementing several things in the books I have been reading in the last few months about food.  One thing I want to do is avoid ALL forms of industrial food: corn oil, high fructose corn syrup, soybean oil, white flours, processed grains, powdered skim milk…you get the idea.  It seems almost impossible but I’d like to try it for at least a week and see how we do.  I figure since we are moving to a different country it might be easier to stop buying some of our industrial food culprits.

Other books I’ve been reading on the topic of Real Food:

The Omnivore’s Dilemna

Nourishing Traditions

Real Food: What to Eat and Why

Have you read this book?  What do you think?  Does the idea of drinking whole (raw) milk freak you out? Eating whole, unprocessed, real, traditional foods has been getting a lot more press recently.  What have you heard?

Ways to Support Your Friend Whose Child Has Special Needs

by McKenna on August 10, 2009
category: Children’s Health,Down syndrome,Inspiration,Special needs

1124722_girls_talking_women_issues I began motherhood as a parent of a child with special needs.  I really don’t know what parenting is like without having children with medical concerns and special needs.  What I do know is that I view motherhood as one of the most beautiful gifts I have received.  My children are beautiful creations and through them God has placed some amazing people in my life.  My dearest, closest friends are friends I have made or become closer to after becoming a mother.  I often have struggled with feeling as though I have been loved much more than I am capable of reciprocating because these people in my life can love like no one else I’ve ever met. 

I am sure it can be intimidating if one of your friends or someone you know has a child with special needs.  You may not know how to approach them or may feel awkward around them or their child.  When that mom talks about frustrations that are bigger than anything you’ve dealt with as a mom, you may not know how to respond to them.  As the parent of children with special needs, I’d love to share with you some ways to support, encourage, and deepen your friendships with moms of children with different needs than your children. 

Allow the friendship to be two-sided

  • It is hard for me when a gal pal makes the entire friendship about my needs and doesn’t allow me to encourage and support them.  My closest friends are friends who talk to me about the things happening in their lives without fearing that their drama is less important than mine.  Don’t hold back discussing your life with your friend because you are afraid that they have more important issues than yours to talk or think about!  Allow them to comfort and encourage you!

Ask questions

  • If you do not understand what their child’s needs are or want to know about something, do not be afraid to ask.  Most parents would rather you ask questions than make an assumption.  For example, when my daughter had feeding issues at birth requiring a feeding tube that most people had never seen, it was relieving to me when someone would ask me what the tube was.  I felt like most people were scared of the odd tube coming out of my newborn baby’s nose and it felt good when people would approach me and ask what it was or why she had a feeding tube.  
  • Be slightly careful with advice or suggestions though.  Even if you have experience with an issue the mom is dealing with, don’t be too forceful with your input or opinion about the situation.  They likely have a bunch of specialists, therapists, and mother-in-laws helping them with the issue and probably forcing their own suggestions on their shoulders.  Just like with all your mom friends, they are not going to share the same parenting philosophy as you on every issue.  And the definition of their issue may be different than in the world off the typical developing child.  For example, with a child with medical or developmental issues, they may not be able to use the “he’ll eat when he’s hungry” approach with their picky eater.  However, don’t allow yourself to cross over from being sensitive with advice to being afraid to talk about their child’s struggles.  It’s ok to suggest anything, just without becoming forceful or overly opinionated. 

Pay attention to what is said

  • Write down important days coming up  in your friends’ life.  If they have a special education meeting with their school, remember the day so you can follow up with them about how it went.  If they mention a week full of doctor’s appointments, ask if their other children can come over to play while they’re at the appointments.  It always feels good when somebody remembers what you tell them.  

Allow them to be negative and vent

  • It is hard to maintain a positive attitude about the struggles involved in raising a child with special needs.  When your friend vents, pouts, cries, or is ultra negative about a situation, give them your ear and shoulder.  Try not to assume that they are overall unhappy about their lives though because they have these bouts of negativity.  I get frustrated whenever I see my OB/GYN doctor because he saw me at my very worst when my first child was born with Down syndrome and my second child was born with a heart defect.  I always feel as though he doesn’t believe me when I tell him that life really is going great because he will always see me as the mother grieving for the children she expected to have, but didn’t.  I wouldn’t trade my kids for the world and even though I pout and become very negative about certain health issues they face, it is freeing to know that I have a few ears and a few shoulders who can handle that crying and even whining knowing how much I love my children.  Those people have even told me I’m very positive about the situations I’ve faced, which shocks me because they get to see the nasty side of me during hard and scary times. 

Remember that they’re moms just like you

  • Talk about the things you talk to other moms about.  Do not feel intimidated because their parenting experience is a little different than yours.  Invite them to playdates.  If they’ve mentioned that their child has sensory issues and does not like over-stimulating environments, plan a quiet playdate at your house.  Ask them mom advice.  Don’t assume that they are too tired for a phone call or a moms night out.  In fact, plan a time for you to get together sans kids! 

All of these suggestions have come from being on the very wonderful receiving end.  I hope that you will reach out to a mom you know who has children with different needs than your children!

« Previous PageNext Page »


Blog Ads: