Follow by Email

Monday, June 20, 2011

You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream for ....acid reflux?

After three babies, I thought I was an expert. Quieting them? Easy. Swaddling them? A snap. Burping them? No problem. Nursing them? Cake walk.

But, acid reflux? What?

My fourth baby (now 19 months old) came into this world with a proclivity to puking up everything and screaming. All. The. Time. That acid reflux was my arch nemesis. I didn't get any sleep and I'm sure my hearing was damaged from holding a screaming baby on my shoulder. Oh, and the laundry! Getting barfed on repeatedly was a frequent occurrence.

After two months of pure hell, I finally talked to the pediatrician and my sister (she's had six babies and is married to a naturopathic physician). Here's what I found to finally that worked:

  • Prevacid for babies. My doctor prescribed this and although it wasn't an end-all cure, it did help the baby sleep longer.
  • Mag Phos (which stands for Magnesium Phosphate). This is a homeopathic tablet and dissolves in baby's mouth. I gave her about two tablets every four hours. I picked it up from Whole Foods. You can also use it for common upset tummies and menstrual cramps, so it's good to have a bottle around the house.
  • Baby swing. The sitting up position worked wonders for her and kept my arms from fatiguing. I tried wearing her in a sling, but because newborns don't have the core strength to hold themselves erect, her stomach would get compressed, which would cause the acid to come up and make her scream more. (My sister said she had her babies with reflux sleep in the swing for the first six months of life! Whatever it takes to get them relief and you some sanity. Right?)
  • Waiting for about 15 to 20 minutes after feeding before putting her down on a flat surface. This helped to prevent both the puking and the screaming.
    If you have a baby with acid reflux, remember they will grow out of it and there are loads of moms who have dealt with (or are currently dealing with) it.

    Be strong.

    Friday, June 17, 2011

    Venting About Kids

    Being a mother is a lot of work and you can never truly take a day off. Even Mother's Day isn't really a day off. Your kids are still bound to need diaper changes, baths, reminders to be nice to their sister, hugs, reminders to empty the dishwasher, etc. So, how do you go day in and day out for 18+ years without so much as a mother-of-the-month plaque or paid time off? How do we let out all that pent up steam from this tough job?

    A lot of moms vent. Guilty.

    If I have a child who is driving me nuts and I don't know what to do, I whine to a friend, neighbor, stranger in the grocery store — anyone who will validate my frustrations or my choice of parental punishment. I'm not sure that those venting sessions truly solve the problems. It might make me feel a bit justified for the moment, but that feeling is only temporary, though. I still have to live with the kid who pooped through outfit number three in one day/lost my favorite shirt, brought home an F on her report card, shut her sister's hand in the door for the second time in 30 minutes, won't stop screaming and let me sleep, etc.

    Here are a few reasons I have to remind myself about for not venting to others in the heat of emotion about my kids:
    1. Those people to whom you vent might form a negative impression about your child based on your ranting, which could create problems for that child later on. The analogy I think of is one I got from Dr. Laura — never complain about your husband to your mother. You may forgive and forget, but your mother (bless her heart) may judge your husband by that one conversation for years.  The same holds true for people your child knows (or will know eventually).
    2. Your child may hear you. This has happened to me a few times. My child hears me saying something about them to a friend or family member and they are hurt. I don't know how to repair that kind of trust breakdown other than ask them to forgive me and try not to do it again. 
    3. You're teaching poor coping skills to your child. If you don't deal with problems directly, how will your child? If you discuss a frustration about someone with everyone else but that person, you can often make the situation much worse. Dealing directly with the problem is tough, but something all children (and grownups) should learn to do. I want my kids to learn this skill for their school-aged problems before they get into more real-world problems.
    4. It's not nice. This is probably the most important one. Kids are real people, too. Even if the baby can't understand you, it's best not to complain about their behavior incessantly. Asking for help for something is totally acceptable and necessary even, to get feedback on how to improve. But, we need to treat our little ones (and even our big ones -- teens are sometimes the hardest) with kindness and respect we expect them to show us and others. 
    Gosh. I better start practicing what I'm preaching here. Maybe I'm blogging about this so all of you will hold me accountable. This parenting thing is a daunting occupation. 

      Monday, June 13, 2011

      I Hate You!

      "I hate everything about you!" My 12.5-year-old daughter yells at me at least once a week. At first, I was crushed. Now I inwardly laugh and pray this emotional craziness ends soon. If you have a girl and you thought you were done with tantrums after the terrible twos, you may be in for a rude awakening. I certainly was.

      I have four daughters and this is number two. I know I'll go through some form of this kind of separation/hatred with two more and I have started to build a thick skin.

      My friend Julie Hanks told me at lunch one day that girls have a much harder time with their mothers than boys do. She said something like they are conflicted. At the same time they look up to their mother and don't want to be anything like her at times. I remember those feelings, but it's been a while. I see my own daughters trying to become their own women and identifying with the woman their mother is, too. I guess that includes telling me off once in a while.

      I've learned it's best to just let them vent and struggle while keeping a consistent, calm and solid presence. Let them mock and fight, sass and pout — I won't get emotionally drawn in. When I feel my blood starting to to boil, I try to physically or mentally walk away. "Disassociate," says my husband, when the teen or tween start to rant at me. That's the best way to diffuse their fuse.

      Tuesday, June 7, 2011

      The Stress Test

      This is a post I wrote a little over a year ago while training for triathlon season. It originally appeared on my blog at

      The day after my last blog post I had a bike accident. The dumbest thing happened. I put my foot in the cage (it’s literally a cage for your foot) and pushed my body weight onto the pedal. The pedal didn’t budge, I lost my balance and toppled over landing on my right elbow.

      I passed out. For the next two and a half hours, I passed out about seven more times. Waiting for my husband to come check on my condition — I passed out. My neighbor and training partner loaded me in her car.  I passed out. Checking into the ER — out. Blood drawn in the ER — out. X-rays on my injured elbow — out. And on and on.

      The doctor was so worried about my passing out, the elbow was almost a secondary concern. My heart rate was low and my blood pressure nearly imperceptible.

      The next day, I had to take a stress test. The doctor mentioned “sudden death.” With that sort of thing to "rule out," I agreed to go have the test done, even though I knew my heart was fine. Have you taken a stress test? You’re basically disrobed from the waist up, lying on a table with a removable leaf at breast level while your heart is monitored both with sticky tape all over your body and a probing ultrasound wand that looks like a scanner at Wal-Mart.

      [To those of you who have had more than three children and have breastfed each one until your breasts resemble something like a tube sock with a tennis ball at the end — you know the fear of forgetting a bra. Imagine you’re topless in a loose fitting hospital gown with the opening in the front. Did I mention the table with the removable leaf at breast level? Try to keep your heart rate normal under that kind of stress!]

      I lay there on my side while the technician (who also happened to be a rather handsome lad around 23) chatted me up and ran the ultrasound all around my left breast – as it pointed to the floor below me. I wished I could will myself to pass out at that moment. Nope…didn’t work.

      I was then asked to get on the treadmill and walk. When my heart rate wasn’t high enough to register on their thing-a-ma-bob, the other technician — a smug older woman who must have derived some sort of demented pleasure seeing me clutching my sagging breasts to me as if they were the last two loaves of bread during a famine — cranked up the speed and the incline until I was jogging , bra-less, and panting.

      My heart is just fine. My arm still hurts (looks like a hairline fracture). My ego will never recover.

      Note: After a second set of x-rays, it was determined that my arm wasn't broken and, most importantly, my status as the world's biggest wuss was established.

      Saturday, June 4, 2011

      Marketing Commandments

      If you're in business for yourself, you've probably got a collection of books on how to be a marketing expert. Grabbing the attention of the media, whether traditional (newspaper, television, radio, etc.) or new media (blogs, forums, Facebook, etc.) is something most business owners dream of someday getting.

      Here are a few things I've learned over the past decade of pitching the media and being pitched to as a member of the media. Even if you just have a side hobby that you want to turn into cash, these tips are a great starting point. Who knows, maybe someday you'll be written up in the pages of Fast Company or Forbes.

      1. Know thyself. Realize why you're in business and what makes you different from your competitors. If you're not in it to win it, reevaluate things and innovate.

      2. Know thy stuff. Are you an expert in your field? Learn all you can to become one and then create press/media kit materials around what you know and what value your business represents. 

      3. Know thy audience. Find out everything you can about your ideal clients and customers. Educate yourself on who they are and where they go for information to solve their daily problems.

      4. Innovate. It has been said that the only human institution that rejects progress is a cemetary. You're alive, so accept and seek positive change. Change for the right reasons and in a positive direction will make it easier for you to be noticed. This video from Fast Company's Work Smart series will get you started.

      Pin It