Thursday, September 3, 2009

Who is the center of your family?

My friend Rachel clued me into this article, which talks about women putting pictures of their kids up as their Facebook profile photo. It tied into an issue I've had for some time-- family holiday cards which only contain pictures of the children. I have no problem with family photos, but when the cards only contain the faces of the kids, it sends the message that the parents don't matter. Who are these faceless, Charlie-Brown style adults? All I see are adorable kids, so who's in control?

Parents should be front and center of everything done with the family. I love the part in the article where it talks about how by being over-engaged in every aspect of our children's lives, we have created kids who cannot play by themselves, who cannot entertain themselves. There is a fine line between supporting your children and giving them a good foundation of safety and security AND being too over-involved and smothering. It is a line more parents should be mindful of.

Make sure you as parents are the center of the family, that not everything revolves around every kid's activity, every hour of the day. Make sure you are in control of your family. Your kids will be more independent as a result, and they will thank you for it.

Monday, April 6, 2009

When Time Outs don't Work

Sometimes all the best advice you've been given simply doesn't work for your kid. I know that. You know that. It's life.

Discipline is one example. To be effective, a mode of discipline has to take a child out of their head. It has to sort of shock them. Well, shock may be a bad word-- let's say unsettle. The child has to realize what they are doing is wrong, and the consequence has to be enough to (hopefully) dissuade them from doing it again. For example, take time outs. They work for a lot of kids, but not for all. Sometimes being put in a quiet spot just isn't enough of a consequence. One mother told me today of how she deals with her spirited little girl. When M. gets too excited, her MeanMommy puts her toys in a time out. I think that's brilliant. It's all about looking for the right button to push that lets your child know what they did was unacceptable. Sometimes it's a time out. Sometimes it's putting their toys in time out. For some it's not letting them do an activity with you that they were really looking forward to. Whatever the button is, you'll know it when you find it.

I'd love to hear about what works (or doesn't) for you.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Good times, good times....

I am very excited to have my good friend Class-Factotum visit me this weekend. She will arrive tomorrow morning, her husband will follow her on Sunday and they will stay through his meeting on Monday. Follow her blog, since she will likely be posting pics from our time together. CheeseGuy Family Movie Day is tomorrow- a beautiful old family tradition, complete with the gravitas that his family attaches to all traditions (in this case, voting ballots, spreadsheets, etc). I think our movies are Slumdog Millionaire, MILK, Leatherheads, and Pineapple Express. I've seen Slumdog Millionaire already and I didn't vote for Leatherheads or Pineapple Express, but that is irrelevant- the "Process" was followed, and we abide by the rules.

Wow, I found a MeanMommy moment and I wasn't even looking!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Eight is Not Enough-- it's too much!

People have been asking me about my view of the Octuplet Mom, and I have been trying to not get into it, because it hits a real nerve with me. However, I saw Dr. Phil this week and I can't be silent anymore. His show was all about how she should get services like free nannies and free diapers and free everything so the kids don't go into foster care, how foster care is so terrible, etc. I wanted to scream at the TV, "I don't want the kids to go into foster care!! I want them to be adopted out!!" They should have the opportunity to be in real families who want them, who can love them and care for them. I agree they shouldn't be in foster care, but they also shouldn't be with that crazy narcissistic nutjob who thinks she's the earth mother to the world.

I am so angry at this whole situation. I think that IVF should not be paid for by the taxpayers. I think the doctor who repeatedly did her IVF should have his license revoked. He is a disgrace to my profession, and all of my colleagues agree. I think when she had eight embryos she should have had selective reduction. For those who believe that's playing G-d, I say, "The moment you had IVF you played G-d. It's all about semantics now." If you don't believe in selective reduction, you should never implant more than 1-2 embryos at a time, because the risk that you incur to the embryos when you allow too many to continue is too great. It's selfish, plain and simple. If you have to allow them all to continue, then exercise a little control on the front end. The reason people implant more is because of the assumption that some will not implant. You have to be prepared for the possibility that they all will, and if you cannot reduce that to a number that is safe for the children that will be born, you have no business implanting more than can be safely and healthily carried to term.

I don't even have words for how selfish and reckless that woman and her doctor were. Now we as a society are faced with giving her the resources that support her irresponsibility. No consequences. Why not continue? Why not do it again? Hell, let all people who can't afford kids get pregnant on the community dole and give them free stuff so they don't have to be responsible. Let those of us who work hard and raise our families scrimp and save and go without so our kids can go to good schools, so we can teach them values of responsibility, kindness, stewardship. The reckless ones? We'll pay for them. They don't have to answer to anyone.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I can almost count on one hand the times that parents have actually listened to me when I've recommended something that is not a "quick fix." I'm not talking about turning around the car seat when they turn 1 year old and weigh 20 lbs. I'm not talking about switching from formula to whole milk, or not feeding infants and small kids honey. I'm talking about the tough stuff, that requires some significant commitment.

I remember the Dad in my residency who quit smoking when I told him that the risk of SIDS goes up 7 times when a baby is around a parent or caregiver who smokes (even if it's not inside the house). I remember the parents who I mentioned earlier, who stopped babying their 3 year old when I told them they were holding him back. And from this week on, I will always remember my darling D. and her courageous parents.

They don't speak very much English, and are incredibly patient with me as I muddle through with my Spanish. Last time I saw D, her height was 25% and her weight was over the 95%-- she was off the charts. I know their culture is such that chubby is preferable to skinny, and so I try to take that into account, but this was really too much. I advised them that her weight was a real concern-- hard on her bones, hard on her health, hard to start out overweight as a child and change it as an adult. They seemed to understand, but I always wonder how much translates-- they're a jovial couple and always smile and nod when I talk to them.

This week D was my first appointment of the day, and as I walked into the room I skimmed her growth charts, and was stopped in my tracks. Her weight had dropped to the 85%, even lost weight by a pound. I was stunned! I went in with the hugest smile on my face, and couldn't contain my joy. I even got teary-eyed as I told them how proud of all of them I was. They had made some changes in her diet ("red" milk to 2%, less fat, fewer packaged snack foods), and kept her active. She looked so wonderful-- she got three stickers from me, I was so happy.

It made my day-- my week, really. To have a patient begin to be more healthy, make better choices, because of something I said-- that's a huge compliment. It's an even bigger responsibility, and I don't take it lightly.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Not a drop to drink

I was leaving the downtown Target the other day via the underground garage, and passed by a pitiful sight.  There was a grandmother  with a full cart, admonishing her grandson, "Now, if you finish the drink I won't have anything to take my pills with, and that will make me upset."  This child was maybe 4 years old, and was drinking the drink as he was watching his grandmother talk to him.  

Note I didn't say listening to her, because he clearly wasn't.  He was still drinking.  Let's set aside the fact that this small child was drinking soda-- the diet of our nation's youth is an entirely different subject for another post.  He was clearly disobeying her, and she was tolerating it.  If she allowed him to continue, I have no doubt he would finish the drink-- and what reason did he have to think she was serious?  She was ensuring that he would not listen, and ensuring she would get mad.  

Trying to reason with a child of that age is simply ridiculous.  They don't have abstract reasoning skills yet.  Why set them up for failure?  Either give him his own drink, or when he is getting close to not leaving you enough, take it back.  He may cry, but you tell him you need the rest, and he has had enough.  Why????  Because you said so.  


Sunday, January 4, 2009

I need a 12-step program

I am a Journalspace refugee.  Well, my other persona is.  I always blogged more personal stuff at the Cheeseguy blog on Journalspace.  

I also futzed with the HTML to make it look nice, and I was really proud of that-- it took a lot of time!  Despite my other job consulting with doctors and technology, I'm really not much of a programmer.  I do consider myself a logical person, so trial-and-error with the HTML wasn't too awful.  I could definitely use a class... be sure to put that right at the bottom of my to-do list.  

Well, journalspace is no more.  We have moved Cheeseguy to blogspot, but now all the recoverable stuff has to be dealt with.  I am grateful to friends for helping us recover as much as we have, but Paris and Barcelona are mostly gone.  It's really hard to think about it at times.

So now back to real life- to 2009, and the hope that it will bring us a baby.  I know that will change everything, but I think we will be able to handle it.  Ah, the folly of the end of youth.