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I’m a pediatric urologist, and here’s my response to the parents of Izabella Oniciuc, the famous potty-trained 6-month-old: I know you are excited about your precocious pooper, but watch your daughter closely, because she may be headed for trouble.

Potty training is and has always been a topic up for discussion…after potty training two girls of my own and helping with my granddaughter, I feel comfortable saying that each child is different.

My statement, that each child is different in and of itself, is not earth shattering, But if you deeply believe that every child is unique it is my opinion that potty training will viewed as more of a natural process without the pressure that some parents feel with all the well meaning advice that they read and hear.

I think that this particular article has a lot to say to parents about some of the ideas that are ‘floating’ around potty training.

“My son wasn’t trained until he was 3.5 and it just clicked. My daughter is 3 and is giving me a hard time, but I have a feeling it will be the same way. Rest assured, they will not be going off to school still wearing diapers, so I don’t push it. There are more important things in life to stress over.”

via Steve Hodges, M.D.: A Doctor Responds: Dont Potty Train Your Baby.

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NOTEWORTHY WEDNESDAY!

Temper Tantrums

Tantrums are not easy to deal with…even though you love your child and grandchild to the moon and back!

During a tantrum you might want to send them to the moon!

It sometimes can seem that they are possessed by something or someone when having a tantrum…but who or what has set this usually charming child into an uncontrollable rage?

We have experienced our share of tantrums in our house…and what I have learned as a grandmother I only wish that I knew as a mom of two children less than two years apart in age.

There is always one or two events that stand out in the family tantrum history…one was my own memory of tearing a newspaper to shreds when my working mother told me she had not brought me home anything from work that evening. I was not so much spoiled as I was unhappy that she forgotten about me. I was left alone until I calmed down and the paper was completely shredded.

With my own kids…the sentinel tantrum was one at the entrance to the Miami Zoo when my younger daughter did not want to go and see any animals. She was around 3 years old.  We were hoping to have a family outing on a very hot Miami day.

I recall trying the old standby…”bye, we are leaving…you can stay here if you want”. Is that wishful thinking on the part of parents during a horrible tantrum.

Of course, nothing worked until she was ready to put her anger aside after what seemed an eternity. We then visited a pond where the resident Koi made us all laugh as they fought over food that visitors were encouraged to throw into theirwater. It was the Koi version of ‘Hunger Games“.

Usually temper tantrums and anger in children is induced by stress. Young children do not know how to handle stress and do not have the verbal skills to explain why they are so upset.

Even if they try to tell a grown up …commonly it is about something that many times parents do not have patience to listen to nor attempt to understand.

I am no different. At least I wasn’t when my kids were young.

Anger in children often comes from stress. Yes. Stress is part of a child’s life as much as it is a part of an adult’s life. Teaching a child how to handle stress is one of the best things we as parents can do for our children. A healthy dose of stress actually builds resilience …and optimism. At the same time, parents must also be aware that anger is a sign of child anxieties. There are ways to address child anxieties.

via Anger in Children: Whats Normal and Whats Not!.

I am happy to report I am different with my granddaughter…thank you, Dr. Harvey Karp and your book, “Happiest Toddler on the Block

The most important thing to keep in mind when you’re faced with a child in the throes of a tantrum, no matter what the cause, is simple and crucial: Keep cool. Don’t complicate the problem with your own frustration. Kids can sense when parents are becoming frustrated. This can just make their frustration worse, and you may have an escalated tantrum on your hands. Instead, take deep breaths and try to think clearly. via Temper Tantrums.
Dr. Karp’s advice is simple and easy to follow. It is called the “fast food rule
Follow the Fast-Food Rule. This rule is simple: When your child is upset, you should take a lesson from the order-takers at a burger joint — always repeat back his “order” (what he wants) before you tell him your “price” (what you want). Toddlers who are in the middle of a meltdown are incapable of hearing our message (our reasons, reassurance, distraction or warning) until they’re sure we understand and respect their message. So when your tot is upset, before you mention your ideas, take a minute to sincerely describe what he’s doing and how you think he feels.

Janet Lansbury who writes her own blog has this to say to a mom regarding tantrums. In this particular situation there is a ‘new baby’ that a toddler is trying to accept.

Don’t feel responsible when your daughter doesn’t get her way and falls apart…. What she needs most of all (especially right now) are confident, stable, unruffled parents who project calm in the face of her storms (and the freedom you are giving her to have them).

Clarify the situation and make a plan. During more peaceful moments together, talk about life after new baby. Give her details about the changes that will occur, an imagined play-by-play of the day with the new baby.  Be honest and realistic.  Toddlers are way too perceptive to believe any whitewashing, and that won’t help her feel settled.  Tell her that although you will be very busy taking care of the baby and not be available for her all the time, you’ll make sure she always gets what she needs (through daddy, grandma, etc.). Tell her that you two will have some special time together each day and maybe once (or twice) a week a special outing that she picks.

Then, later, when you are busy with the baby and she’s upset you can say to her calmly and confidently, “I know you want me to do such-in-such with you now, but I can’t. I know it’s hard to wait, but we will have our time together in an hour (or whatever). I’m looking forward to it.”  She may have to keep testing that limit until she is certain you will hold your ground.

If you can make the outings work, I highly recommend them, even if you can only give her a choice between a walk down the street and a half-hour outing to the park. It’s not about what you do (or even the amount of time), just about being together. From my experience, those little one-on-one dates with your big girl will be very special, just the way dinner dates with a husband feel extra special once you’ve become parents.

Encourage her to process the feelings. Another thing to do in peaceful moments together is to check in with her about her feelings.  The goal is not to get her to label them, but to assure her that anything and everything she is feeling is normal, expected, perfectly all right.  You might put it this way, “When children have a baby brother or sister they have all kinds of feelings.

via Positive Parenting In The Tantrum Zone | Janet Lansbury.

What do you find helpful when dealing with a tantrum?

How often does your little one have a ‘meltdown’?

I would be interested in hearing your personal experiences.

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Sleep Solutions…

Last week, I blogged about sleep and our resident 3 year old. I thought that I should report on our progress.

Well, most nights we have done okay…after all is said and done she has usually been asleep by 8:30pm…not bad, right?

We have not been too rigid in our routine and it works sort of like this…

  • We begin bedtime routine at around 7pm … going upstairs and either a bath or washing up and toileting.
  • Books are chosen…we try to stick with only one book but I have to admit sometimes we vary and read two or three short ones.
  • Mama, Nana or Papa usually rock with her for about 5 mins…sometimes more but never less, (sometimes I fall asleep).
  • Into bed…hugs and kisses…
  • Sometimes, I return to the rocker for 5 more minutes and then leave the room with her asleep or almost .

I have to admit it was easier when she was an infant and before she learned the art of procrastination.

Back then, it was a bath…quiet time…with her toys on the bedroom floor and a picture book.

Into the crib with lights out and some music playing…she would talk to herself and then off to sleep …

We were always listening on the monitor from the comfort of our own room…

With summer fast approaching and the evenings beckoning for more time outside, this routine will undoubtedly be disrupted and refined to include trips to the ice cream parlor and to the park…I cannot wait!

Sleep schedules will always be somewhat fraught with issues but we will roll with the changes…

Bring on summer….and a more relaxed schedule.

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The Hunger Games…I have not read the book …I have not seen the movie.

But I have read an excellent review on a website that seems to be a good find if you want to know how to keep pace with your children and their exposure to technology and media.

What parents need to know…Parents need to know that although the bestselling Hunger Games books are enormously popular with tweens, theres a clear distinction between reading about violence and seeing it portrayed on screen. Developmentally, the 10- to 12-year-olds whove read the book may find the movies visceral, sometimes bloody teen-on-teen violence upsetting — especially the brutal scene that opens the Games, in which several teens are slaughtered by their fellow contestants. Even young teens need to be mature enough to deal with the 20+ deaths in The Hunger Games; characters are viciously dispatched with various weapons — including spears, arrows, and swords — as well as by having their necks broken, their skulls cracked, and their bodies ravaged by carnivorous and poisonous creatures.

Discussion suggestions for parents and kids:

  • Families can talk about how the Hunger Games’ “last man standing” premise (minus the actual killing, of course) compares to current reality shows. Which shows pit people against each other? Why is it so much fun to watch the alliances and the voting off and the cattiness of these programs? How far do you think shows like this could go?
  • Use the movie’s depiction of Panem — particularly the relationship between the Capitol and the 12 districts — to discuss how much kids understand about totalitarian governments and dictatorships. What does President Snow mean when he says he doesn’t root for “underdogs”? Or that too much hope is a dangerous thing?

via The Hunger Games – Movie Review.

Related sites:

www.commensensemedia.org

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In our home, once upon a bedtime used to mean a simple, pleasant and relatively easy routine  until “bad dreams” became one our little one’s nighttime fears.

Fortunately, the ‘bad dreams’ have all but disappeared with the help of a magic wand and consistent reassurance whenever our toddler is awakened crying and frightened.

Now bedtime has become its own nightmare…procrastination has taken over our once relaxing routine. Our little granddaughter is a master at asking for sips of water, multiple stories, hugs and kisses to name only a few of her requests when the word ‘bedtime’ is spoken.

Before we get totally weary, we have decided to deal with this issue now and without delay.

We are about to pursue some tips from the Sleep Lady. Even though, I also work in the field of child sleep teaching, I admit that I must remain open to suggestions when dealing with issues within my own family.

First off, we will all sit down with our granddaughter to discuss the “new” routine making sure that she knows we will always be nearby….(which is actually a return to our pre-nightmare routine)…however, we will not be rocking her to sleep or reading numerous books…there will be one sip of water…good night hugs, kisses and  tuck in.

These days, naps after morning pre-school are inconsistent, so 8-8:30 pm seems to be an appropriate bedtime  in order to get the recommended ten to eleven hours of sleep for a 3  1/2 year old. She also has  one hour quiet time every afternoon.

Goal: in bed, asleep between 8-8:30 pm.

The Bedtime Routine:

  • go to the toilet
  • bath
  • brush teeth
  • read a story
  • rock for two minutes
  • get into bed
  • sip of water
  • hugs, kisses and tuck in
  • leave the room
  • gate up/door open
  • How does bedtime work for your preschooler?
  • Are you consistent with your child’s bedtime routine?

OR

  • Does a grandparent or other caregiver not follow the routine… are they more easily diverted by your child’s prize winning procrastination abilities?

I have to say that I am the grandparent who, at times  gives in, and Papa can be sometimes equally as bad as I am.

At this time, we are committed to a firmer routine so that all of us can sleep better.

It is the least we can do…

Sleep is just too important.

Related Reading:

Helping Your Toddler Go to Sleep and Stay in Bed | SleepLady.

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NOTEWORTHY WEDNESDAY!

As a professional advocate for children, I am saddened and appalled by the obesity epidemic in children.

The younger generation actually may not live as long as their parents…this is sickening…because we have the knowledge. But our social programs, our big businesses that make their money selling non-nutritional foods, and our own will power detours us onto the road to OBESITY.

Last week, Vogue published an article written by a mom who chronicled her 7 year old daughter’s 16 pound weight loss.

The response to the Vogue mom’s efforts were fast and furious severely criticizing her approach to her daughter’s weight.

While I agree that some of the situations that this mom describes are not ideal, it seems that she had her daughter’s best interest at heart.

As parents, we all know that at times dealing with our kids, no matter what their age, can actually bring out the worst in us.

We do and say things that we regret. I cannot imagine putting a 7 year old little girl on a diet without some bad behavior on both parts…mom and daughter.

What has been your experience with your own “bad” behaviors when dealing with your child’s behavior?

My response to this mother-daughter weight loss story is this…it seems to be an honest story…the outcome for the child was good in that she did lose weight and is probably physically more healthy.

HOWEVER...I can also say that some of the ways mom dealt with her 7 year old daughter’s diet may produce lasting emotional effects on her and they may not be healthy ones. Only time will tell…

It is said that children are ‘resilient’ and bounce back from adversity…many times, they do but not without scars.

I would also say, thank-you to this mom for sharing her very personal experience with her daughter so that other moms might learn from her  story.

Finally, “Mom …you hopefully did the best you could and your daughter is now healthier for it. Hopefully no long term harm done!”

The following are some of the responses to the Vogue article:

The stats on childhood obesity are sobering: 1 in 3 U.S. kids weighs too much. In the April issue of Vogue, we learn about one of them. Her name is Bea, and it’s pretty hard not to imagine her growing up to really, really hate her mother.

via Vogue Essay By a Mom Who Put Her 7-Year-Old Daughter on a Diet Garners Outrage | Healthland | TIME.com.

Helping a child who weighs too much now, but still needs to keep growing, is a challenge that there’s more than one way to meet, and there is obviously more than one difference between these two children and families. Yet I’m struck by this one: the Reids suggest that it’s possible to shift to healthier habits together, and support each other through the moments when it just doesn’t feel like a single Oreo will do. Ms. Weiss seems to argue that sometimes, a parent has to force her child to do what she knows is best, and that children are not always going to willingly go along with the program.Can a parent’s demands create long-term change in a child, or does a successful healthy relationship with food have to come from within at any age?

via Putting a 7-Year-Old on a Diet – NYTimes.com.

I called Dr. Dolgoff, the founder of “Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right,” the Weight Watchers-style program that Bea based her diet upon, to hear what she thought of the piece. She said that while Weiss “clearly loved and wanted the best for her daughter,” she “wasnt thrilled” by the article, especially since it somewhat misleadingly portrayed her program, which focuses on empowering children, stresses that parents refrain from embarrassing their kids in public, and allows kids a number of indulgences to enjoy with friends. “The program has to be run by the child,” she said, “and the truth is that making a child feel bad only causes problems. Its not going to help with weight loss, and its definitely not going to help the child emotionally.”

via Mom Puts 7-Year-Old on a Diet in the Worst Vogue Article Ever.

For Bea, the achievement is bittersweet. When I ask her if she likes how she looks now, if she’s proud of what she’s accomplished, she says yes…Even so, the person she used to be still weighs on her. Tears of pain fill her eyes as she reflects on her year-long journey. “That’s still me,” she says of her former self. “I’m not a different person just because I lost sixteen pounds.” I protest that, indeed, she is different. At this moment, that fat girl is a thing of the past. A tear rolls down her beautiful cheek, past the glued-in feather. “Just because it’s in the past,” she says, “doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.”

via Good Parent’s Are Not Afraid To Put Their Overweight Children On A Diet « Beyond Black & White.

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Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle-cell is an inherited disease. It is a blood disease caused by inheriting the gene from both your mother and father. A person is thus born with Sickle-cell disease.

You can be a carrier of the gene and not have the disease. If only one parent has the gene they can pass the gene on to their children. A child who inherits only one gene for Sickle-cell becomes a carrier of the disease but does not have the actual disease.

Sickle-cell is when the red blood cells are misshapen. Rather than round concave, convex smooth shape the red blood cells are in the shape of a sickle or half-moon.

This abnormal cell shape impairs the blood cells’ ability to carry oxygen throughout the body. The abnormally shaped cells can get stuck inside the blood vessels and cause intense pain throughout the body. When our organs such heart, liver, kidneys and our tissue in general does not get adequate oxygen it leads to very intense pain.

Sadly, there is no cure for Sickle-cell disease.

Some of the ways of managing sickle-cell disease:

  • high fluid intake
  • heathly diet
  • folic acid supplements
  • pain medication
  • vaccination and antibiotics for the prevention and treatment of infections
  • Blood transfusions when anemia is severe and life threatening

via WHO | Sickle-cell disease and other haemoglobin disorders.

Here are some things that you also might want to know about Sickle-cell disease:

1. Sickle cell disease is the most common genetic disorder in the United States.  World wide it affects  about 500,00 babies a year, about 100,0oo Americans have sickle cell disease. In the US as many as 2 million people carry the sickle cell gene.

2. Sickle cell disease is chronic but treatable and is not a death sentence. Sickle cell disease is a chronic illness and can be debilitating but with treatment people are living longer into their 40’s and 50’s. Twenty years ago, in many cases children did not live to be adults.

3. Sickle cell disease affects people of many different races.  This is not an African-American disease…it affects other races as well, including Mediterranean, Indian, and Middle Eastern heritage.

4. Patients with sickle cell disease require comprehensive care.   “A lot of day-to-day care can be done by a generalist,” says Dr. George Buchanan, professor of pediatrics at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. “But it is important to have a team of experts who work together and are in ongoing consultation with a large institution or center that specializes in sickle cell disease.”

via Sickle Cell Disease – 5 Things to Know – NYTimes.com.

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