A couple of months ago I visited my dental hygienist for a regular cleaning and we noted some sensitivity at the base of one tooth. She said it was due to gum recession and recommended that I use Listerine Total Care to help build up the enamel or something.
It took me a few weeks to buy it because, when no one is poking me with a sharp metal stick, my teeth aren’t actually sensitive at all. Anyway, I did by the stuff and started using it at night, before bed- half of the recommended time. Within days, I noticed a funny taste in my mouth and thought little of it, but a couple of days later, I looked at my tongue and noticed it was white. The Listerine had offset my perfect bacterial balance and caused an overgrowth of the fungus candida albicans. Now I had a yeast infection in my mouth. It didn’t hurt or bother me, but it wasn’t normal and my husband was basically disgusted by it.
Many of the people I’ve told about it have been disgusted, but I’m sure most of them would happily gobble up any of my delicious mushroom dishes. That’s another issue, though. A few people offered helpful suggestions, but one, offered by two different doulas caused me to write this blog post. Gentian violet. Gentian violet is commonly recommended for thrush in infant’s mouths and on women’s breasts. The recommendation usually comes with the warning that this remedy is very messy and nothing else. The name suggests that this is a natural remedy that perhaps comes from a lovely flower. It is not. Gentian violet works for oral thrush because it is a powerful antifungal chemical. In other words, the living fungi are killed. Sound poisonous? It is. You’re not gong to use nearly enough for it to be a real threat, but I don’t even use toxins to clean, much less to put in my mouth (except for the week of Listerine).
You may still choose to use gentian violet for your baby’s thrush, but do the research first and use it properly. Consider using chamomile, yogurt or bayberry instead. Adults should increase their consumption of good sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir and yogurt. You can even empty the contents of an acidophilus capsule onto your tongue everyday.
I’m glad that my thrush has caused me no pain or discomfort and that it got me back to my blog after so long. I hope that it gets a few people to discover and opt for natural remedies for oral thrush.
On march 13th, most of us in the United States and in about 150 other countries will be setting our clocks ahead one hour. Some of us won’t and will therefore be running an hour late on Sunday and some of us may not even realize it until Monday! It doesn’t make much sense that we do this because it doesn’t actually gain us or save us any daylight. The earth will rotate and revolve just the same whether we call the time one or two.
For years I have noticed that my children start adjusting their waking time all on their own and usually, when Daylight Saving Time begins or ends, they are largely unaffected. My children are unusually well-rested, however, and are early to bed, early to rise. I imagine that many children probably have a harder time with the sudden time change, so here I offer my suggestions for an easier transition for the whole family and anyone else who might spend time with your children. Afterall, studies have shown that a great number of “behavior problems” are actually due to a lack of sleep.
First you need to know when you need to change your clocks. Even if all of your electronic devices will automatically be updated and you don’t own a watch or analog clock, you should be prepared this year to “lose” an hour on March 13th. The magic shift is supposed to happen at 2am, but I always cheat the system by changing my clocks at about 9pm the night before. I always make up for it by cheating myself by a few hours at the end of DST.
Especially if your child needs to go to school on Monday morning, you should try to gradually ease him or her into the time change. Start about four days in advance by making bedtime fifteen minutes earlier on Thursday, thirty minutes earlier on Friday and forty-five minutes earlier on Saturday. On Sunday night, bedtime can be at the regular time which is now one hour later, but only fifteen minute later than the night before.
Whether you take this advice or not, you should at least be mindful of the fact that the time change will likely affect us all. Remember that children aren’t the only ones who misbehave when they’re tired!
The day my daughter turned six-months-old, she had her first bit of solid food. It wasn’t very solid, but it was officially her first taste of table food. If I had let her, she would have eaten the whole sweet potato. Anyway, at that point I was no longer just dealing with spit-up and poop messes, but with a whole new world of food everywhere. I was prepared, though, with a set of rags for the floor and towels for the table and my very special microfiber towels for my baby’s face and hands.
I bought the microfiber towels at an auto store and, five years later, we’re still using them. They’re soft, absorbent, long-lasting and inexpensive. While we do have a stack of paper napkins at the center of the table, they are only for guests. My children ask for the rag when they need it, I am a neat eater and my husband just doesn’t seem to care much about food on his face and hands.
My children don’t need frequent reminders not to waste paper. They have seen the reason to conserve and they won’t soon forget it. Last year, while vacationing in the Adirondack Mountains, we decided to go for a hike. Really, it was my husband and daughter who decided and I just went along hoping I wouldn’t get any dirt on my boots. We picked up a pamphlet with some directions for area hikes and selected one of the more family-friendly ones, my children being young and me being a priss.
When we got to the site, we found that the directions were somewhat confusing and, after a bit of going back and forth, we decided to go this way rather than that way and off we were on what was obviously the right trail. Well, it would have been the right trail had we intended to trespass on the property of I-don’t-know-what paper company, which is exactly what we were doing.
We’ve gone on nice hikes in the lush “forests” of Van Cortlandt Park near our home in the Bronx and here we were in the wild Adirondacks surrounded by smelly wasteland and oily puddles. It wasn’t a lovely hike, but it was useful in our household as the waste-not lesson goes easily taught with a simple, “Remember the forest in the Adirondacks?”
About a year ago I discovered that school children in Japan have, packed with their bento boxes, moist towels called oshibori. You can just imagine the variety of whimsical cases they sell for them. I remember being given warm, moist towels on airplanes and in restaurants as a child. Those days are gone, but the idea of the oshibori lives on in my family. When packing lunch for one of our outings now, we always include at least one oshibori rather than paper napkins. Not only are we conserving paper, but a wet washcloth is much more handy than a dry napkin even for a neat eater like me.
Posted by doularama | Filed under Parenting
You may think that I am posting the following video because of it’s tear-jerking quality or sappy music, but those are not the only reasons. When my daughter talks about being a doctor, I whisper “midwife” hoping it will affect her subconcious. In March, my son will start ballet classes and I should be ready for him to like them less than we had hoped. We want so much for our children, don’t we? Really, we should just want them to be themselves even if we are surprised at who those selves are.
“When I let go of who I wanted her to be and just let her ‘be’ she completely flourished and I reveled in knowing she’s perfect just the way she is.”
Posted by doularama | Filed under Parenting
One day my daughter told me that she is the only girl in her class who doesn’t have a princess backpack. She wasn’t complaining, however. She was merely making an observation. It was no surprise to me and I was surely thrilled. Why should her bookbag look like everyone else’s? She had never even seen half of these characters until she started school.
At a flea market one day, my husband found a tasteful, handmade Snow White dress and bought it. It would be years before anyone would be able to wear it, but it was purchased and put away much like many of our other frugal buys, including my daughter’s junior-sized, plain blue, Lands’ End, non-princess back pack. Although the dress was probably made for a six-year-old, last year, at the age of four, it fit my daughter for Halloween. My little girl didn’t know who Snow White was, much less any of the other newly-appropriated Disney princesses, so some time before she was to don her disguise, we showed her the movie. No need for any other princess purchases, but that of the black wig.
Now, a year later, my daughter rubs elbows daily with children who are all too familiar with the trendy toys and looks. She likely follows converstions pretty well without really knowing what they’re about. She’ll describe one friend as “the girl with the Hannah Montana coat” and I’ll be able to pick her out, but neither of us knows anything about Miss Montana other than what she looks like. How could we not know that?
My daughter is different with a purpose. I always strived to be different as a child. I don’t know when it started. Perhaps I just noticed that we’re all different anyway, so why not try to stand out? It was a bumpy ride at times, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
In my twenties, I started wearing mascara and I refused to open my mouth while applying it just because everyone else does it that way. It doesn’t really help. It’s just some kind of instinct and I declined to partake. I also heard, around this time, that it is impossible to sneeze with your eyes open. Well, not only did I feel I had to prove my superiority to the authorities of facial impulses, it also happened to be a practical matter one day as I was in the middle of closed-mouthedly applying my mascara. There I was having to sneeze and it was going to leave my makeup a blotchy mess, so I just didn’t close my eyes. It did take some effort, but it was not impossible.
Now, I really don’t mind if my children spend their lives clenching their eyes with every sneeze. They may even buy something just because someone else has it one day (but not with my money). What I do want is for them to end up being independent thinkers with some self-confidence. That would be different.
At a recent postpartum visit, a client asked me what skincare products I recommended for her newborn and sensitive preschooler. I responded as a mother who has spent much time finding just the right personal care items for my family. I gave her the names of the products we use and then I gave her much more. I told her to check the Environmental Working Group‘s cosmetics safety database called Skin Deep. There, they have reviews of over 40,000 skincare products based on the effect their ingredients may have on us and the environment.
Just because your shampoo is “natural” doesn’t mean it isn’t slowly making you sick, you know. If you don’t find your brand in EWG’s database, you can do searches for the ingredients. Start with the most multisyllabic, I say. You can also see what they recommend based on the type of product you need. You will find results in a range of prices. If you’re in a hurry, you can quickly check out their Parent’s Buying Guide where you will find only the top-rated products.
I am so happy to be sharing this information with you! Good luck.
Posted by doularama | Filed under Parenting
The other day, when I picked up my daughter from school, her teacher cheerfully told me she had heard the great news. “She learned to whistle,” she offered in response to my quizzical look. The teacher seemed to agree with my husband that my daughter had achieved something grand. Now, I am always quick to point out my daughter’s signs of genius, but this one just doesn’t convince me, despite the fact that she whistles as well as I do. My husband is a masterful whistler and he’s the one who taught her, so I suppose he has something to be proud about, but doesn’t he see how unattractive a woman looks when she whistles (probably the reason I’m not better at it)? Hasn’t he heard the proverb, “A whistling woman and a crowing hen are neither fit for God nor men?” No and no.
My daughter stayed awake very late the night she got her whistle perfected. It was more than an hour after she would normally be asleep and she was whistling. When she woke up, she was whistling. At breakfast and on the way to school too. It turns out, that I will never lose my daughter because I will always hear her. Aside from that benefit, I hope that her newly-found skill will help her as she develops musically. I really would like to write some time about her musicality outside of the realm of the whistle. I suppose, though, that she’s on her way and this, in fact, could be an early sign which will be mentioned in her biographies. If only it were a little quieter (and a little less unattractive).
Well, I suppose cold and flu season are upon us. I’m not going to get into the flu vaccine discussion. Please do the research and make your informed decision. I personally have never had the flu and can’t imagine that I would ever get the vaccine. Anyway, that’s not what this post is about.
I rarely used to get even the common cold. Then I started to work with children and, you know, those darned bodily fluids were a-flowing all over the place and sneezes and coughs sprayed generously. Now I have a couple of my own germ transmitters and one of them is in school!
Last week, when I dropped my daughter off at school, I heard someone ask her teacher how she was feeling. The teacher’s nasal voice proceeded to complain about how sick she had been and that she was feeling a little better, so I wasn’t surprised when my daughter came home sneezing soon after.
Now my son, who for months was only nursing upon awakening, has recently been asking for breastmilk several times a day. He hasn’t gotten sick at all, that too is another post, but it seems to me that his body is keeping him healthy by making him a frequent diner at Mom’s Breastaurant.
My daughter got a minor cold, the worst part of which was the sound of her cough. Of course, the cough was mostly at night and, although she seemed to sleep through it along with her father and brother, I could not. The next night, right before she brushed her teeth, out came my magic cough syrup. My son loves this concoction, but my daughter has a more normal palate. Luckily, it works so well that I just need to remind her of it’s effects and she happily drinks it. You might add garlic for it’s antibiotic properties, but if this is for your child, you probably shouldn’t push it.
All you do is stir well equal parts of apple cider vinegar and honey. Half a tablespoon of each is really enough. (Please do not give honey to children who are less than twelve months old.)
The Mayo Clinic agrees that honey is a great cough suppressant and you can read more on apple cider vinegar here.
Posted by doularama | Filed under Parenting
When I first met my husband, he considered me some type of savant. Uhm, an idiot savant- how cute. The term idiot savant refers to someone with a brain disorder who excels in a particular area. That’s not me, though I have been known to be quite the fool and do have a special gift for memory, music and numbers.
I remember watching A Beautiful Mind. When John Nash started seeing codes and messages in the newspaper, I could totally relate. I mean how could you look at a group of numbers or letters without mixing them up or arithmetically changing them? Isn’t that normal? I turned to my friend sitting next to me in the movie theatre and said “I do that all the time.” I was comparing myself to this genius, but I wasn’t familiar with his story and didn’t realize how the movie would unfold and his life would unravel. I hope I don’t ruin it for you by telling you that no, it isn’t normal. People don’t feel compelled to decode any random set of three or more letters or numbers like I often do.
My husband is a very intelligent and well- read man. We have coupled and produced a pair of genius children. Now, I know that everyone’s child is exceptional, but mine actually are. I won’t list their talents and skills because I don’t want to find out that your child is equally bright. I’m writing the blog right now, OK?
Before my daughter was two, our pediatrician was telling us about all the top public schools in the city, urging us to make sure Mita got into one of them. She was convinced of my daughter’s genius. Such a good doctor. Actually, I had started looking for schools before I was even pregnant. I was prepared. My children would be going to a great school. I did everything I had to do.
In NYC, a few of the top options required that my daughter score better than 97% of the other test-takers her age. The test had ninety questions, divided in two parts. On the first part, my daughter scored in the 99th percentile. This didn’t surprise me. Out of 100 students, only one did better than she. That sounded right. In the second part of the test, she scored in the 59th percentile. Just above average. My doctor asked if I had questioned the results as there had clearly been a mistake. I’m not so sure. One possibility is that she had never taken a test before or ever, ever been alone with a stranger. Maybe after an hour she had gotten tired or bored. Maybe she’s just an idiot savant. Part one of the test could have been her area of natural thinking, while part two was more of a challenge. I don’t know.
This week, my baby, who was just born the other day, will be starting kindergarten. I’ve done lots of crying and she is thrilled. It has been extremely frustrating for me because, after all that research, she’s ended up going to the same school I went to decades ago. I don’t intend for her to stay there, though. I will be continuing my efforts so that she is recognized for the savant she is. I will keep you posted.
Posted by doularama | Filed under Parenting
So often I hear people say that there just aren’t enough hours in a day. I can understand the complaint. By the time you go to bed, there are always so many things that didn’t get done. There are leftover projects, in my case some are more than a decade old, and of course the little tasks you just didn’t get to. Today I was going to vaccuum and mop, clean the bathroom, go to the post office, buy a bottle of wine and wrap it in a gift, take my children to the playground, cook, fold and put away some laundry and change my toenail polish. Instead, by 6:30 in the morning, I was cleaning up more blood than should have resulted from a little bump to my daughter’s nose while trying to quiet the wails of the emotionally injured party and my son, the terrified accidental injurer. I could tell by then that we were going to have a busy day (as if my mental to-do list wouldn’t have already given me that idea).
I managed to clean the blood off of the floor and out of my daughter’s pajamas and proceeded to tackle my list. By the end of the day, I had gone to the post office and the liquor store, taken the children to the playground and given them a long bubble bath, folded and put away the laundry, assembled, but not wrapped the gift, made green smoothies and frozen some into pops, heated up leftovers and watched a movie (Doubt- great characters and Meryl Streep is fabulous!) and typed in only the title of this post as “today” is actually yesterday because I was too exhausted to stay up and write it.
By the time I got to the playground, having walked uphill while pushing a loaded stroller in thick NYC August HEAT, I was ready to have the day end. While most people complain that they don’t have enough hours in a day, I think that there are just too many!
I have gotten many an awed and respectful look when I tell people that my children are asleep by 7 o’clock. Frankly, they’ve done so much by then, I wouldn’t be able to keep them up if I wanted to. Then they say something like, “Then you have all that time to yourself.” Sure. That’s when I should work on my art or writing, organize papers, even finish some household chores, ooh have a bubble bath, but by 7:01, I’m ready to go to sleep myself. I usually stay up because I don’t want my husband to watch a movie without me. Often, however, we watch half a movie because he finds me with my eyes closed at some point.
I can’t even imagine what it would be like without my wonderful husband. He does so much for me and still, things don’t get done and everyone is pooped before the end of the day. Time usually moves too quickly for us all, leaving us with more to do tomorrow, but tomorrow will bring more time and, while it won’t be enough either, to me it just seems like too much!
Really, it’s just that I’m a morning person. I would prefer to work for four hours then sleep for six and start again. That way, I’d always be working in the morning. I would be very productive and not at all tired. Alas, my wish list leaves me always wanting.