Monday, May 31, 2010

Impact of TV Watching on Kids: Study

According to a study published in the May issues of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine and the Archives of General Psychiatry explains that the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages any television watching for children before the age of 2 and recommends no more than two hours per day in older children.

This study looked at just over 1,300 fourth-graders and their exposure to television when they were ages 29 - 53 months and recognized associations between early television watching and adverse outcomes in later childhood.


This study, to me, does not come as a surprise as it is also in line with additional previous studies exploring this issue and topic.

According to the study, "more time spent in front of the TV before reaching kindergarten age appears to be associated with adverse effects on health, lifestyle, and academic performance later on, researchers found." And, that "each additional hour of TV viewing at age 29 months was associated with less classroom engagement and lower math scores in fourth grade, according to Linda Pagani, PhD, of the University of Montreal, and colleagues."


In this day and age children are spending much more time in front of the television, on computers, and playing video games, versus being more physically active to stay fit. The is further supported by the study saying that children who were exposed to these mediums do experience less healthy eating habits, higher body mass indexes and are less active.

The sooner our children are exposed to these mediums of entertainment the more and more they are going to want them as the year's progress.

I have previously written blogs about children and television on Mommy's Point of View and agree that there is indeed a necessary limit on how much screen time children should have. My husband and I have been doing our best to manage this early especially with our daughter. We agree that there is no real need for television especially during a child's first year. There were also no influences pushing interest to ask for it.

However, when my daughter Sarah was a year and a half and moved up to the next class at school they used television for two times in the day: when getting the classroom ready for lunch and nap time. After approach the school director about it, I was provided the opportunity to not have Sarah watch television during these times but then felt she would feel left out and remain in the classroom without her friends.

Therefore, competing with the television Sarah is exposed at school, and at friend's homes, has certainly made it tougher to say no to her when she asks for it.

However, I agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics that television watching should be limited. There are times in the day when Sarah asks for it, has been on her best behavior and we offer it to her as a treat. We also do make sure that Sarah eats a healthy diet, gets much physical activity and reads and plays often to invigorate her imagination.

As parents, we just have to continue to expose our children to a healthy and active lifestyle, where some television may be included, but not too much. Preventing our children from watching television I feel is not the answer when most children are surrounded by it. Instead, managing their time and what they do with it is much more effective.

Interestingly, the study did not look at the type of television watching with regards to the quality and content of the programs. For example, children who are exposed to age inappropriate television that many include violence, could very well be skewing the results of the study.


My husband and I do expose Sarah to educational television programs like Baby Can Read and Blue's Clues amongst others. There are times that Disney-type movies just win out as favorites and we just have to continue to help her to find a balance by being extremely active participants in her life and during playtime.

5 Must-Have Fashionable Pieces to Pack for Every Weekend Trip

Packing for vacations and mini-trips, even over nighters, has often been a feat for me over the years. Interestingly, since having my daughter I have become less focused on what's in my bag than what is in my daughter's because I now have finally figured out what key elements are necessary to include each time to make any outfit work.

For out-of-town jaunts now that the warm weather is here, I always keep in mind the necessary pieces I must include that are versatile and easy. Even if everything else doesn't fall into place I am certain that there is at least one good outfit, or two if I replicate them, that fit well (especially as my body continues to change during my weight loss), are comfortable, and are my go-to outfits, being an active mom on the go chasing after my toddler.

Here are my five necessary fashion essentials this warm weather season to pack. Trust me, much more goes into my bag along with these tings but they are the absolute necessities:

+ Khaki or black capri pants
+ Metallic flats (that enable me to chase after my daughter) and go with everything
+ White short-sleeved shirt or tank top
+ Bright colored cardigan to add as layer if it gets chilly or there is air conditioning indoors
+ Fun pair of earrings

As part of a contest being done with Gap Outlet and Banana Republic Factory Story I am happy to provide you two discount codes good through June 7, 2010 for you to use. Go to the following URL to retrieve them - http://gap.twittermoms.com/

Gap Twitter Discount

Exclusive Gap Outlet and Banana Republic Factory Store Savings

Please know, I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Gap Outlet blogging program to be eligible to win a $20 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Happy shopping!!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Kids and Adults Who Learn Differently Can Still Prosper

Being a parent is a tough job. Parenting a child with a learning disability makes it even tougher. Then, imagine what it would be like for the child living with the learning disability to cope and for the parent to also have the strength and courage to help them thrive and succeed.

For all involved, coping with the reality of a learning disability can be somewhat challenging. Once understood and embraced both children and parents can begin to see the future filled with possibility, opportunity and potential.

Jill Lauren, a learning disabilities expert, and friend of mine, has been teaching learning disabled students of all ages for well over twenty-five years. Her expertise is also in reading and writing. She also trains teachers across the country with her structured, multi-sensory approaches and works with various schools to implement successful reading programs. Jill also conducts a private practice in educational remediation and consultation for learning disabled students in New York City, and lectures upon request. She has also written a book entitled Succeeding With LD* -- 20 True Stories About Real People with LD*.

A while back Jill told me that she was inspired by one of her students who asked if others like her learned differently. This led Jill to create another book entitled That’s Like Me!, which has since received the 2010 Margot Marek award from the New York Branch of the International Dyslexia Association as a "most outstanding book written for adults or children on the subject of dyslexia or related learning disabilities."

This colorful children’s picture book includes amazing stories of fifteen people Jill interviewed with including an award-winning children’s illustrator, veterinarian, firefighter and inventor, just to name a few. These amazing people share their personal struggles with learning differences and their accomplishments to provide hope to children and their parents and help show that dreams are possible.

I was fortunate to receive a complimentary copy of That’s Like Me! and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. And, I recently connected with Jill to ask her more about her life as an educator and author including her dedication and commitment to helping others with learning disabilities.

She said “when kids who learn differently hear about people who didn’t let their school challenges stop them from pursuing hobbies or developing a talent, it’s both motivating and comforting.” Further she emphasized that she hopes “that kids will realize that they are not alone – that there are lots of people who find school hard who are also smart in many ways.”

According to Jill, it is important for children to consider ways in which they are smart or talented and to think about hobbies and favorite activities that make them happy and to pursue these areas of interest with passion, energy and enthusiasm.

I much liked the following point Jill expressed including that “while parents do everything they can do help their children with subjects that are challenging, they should also be “on the lookout” for activities in which their children shine. Be sure to put aside time so that kids can enjoy activities that build self-esteem. Kids who learn differently need to know that someone believes in them and will support them…and that it’s never too late for someone to find a passion and to pursue it.

Through additional research I also came across feedback from a mom and her 12-year-old daughter regarding That's Like Me! that I thought you would find interesting.

Alison C. Baker, a mother from New York, NY, posted a comment online after purchasing That's Like Me saying "Ms. Lauren captures the spirit of these children, and shows us that the bumps in the road should never stop us, and often provides a real opportunity to stretch and learn what makes each and every one of us tick!" She goes on to say that Ms. Lauren is "a tireless crusader and I only wish this book was mandatory reading for everyone in child education."

Alison's daughter also commented saying, "This book shares amazing stories that everyone should hear about...I felt hope because these people found happiness in their lives and that makes me happy."

Therefore, I highly recommend That's Like Me! for any child coping with a learning disability and trying to grasp at how to deal and envision success in their future. I also suggest that for any parent who has a child in this situation to read this book as well to understand the perspective from a child's standpoint and the role parents can play significantly in helping to increase children's confidence to growth and prosper happily despite learning challenges.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Women and Leaks: It's No Laughing Matter

As a woman, have you ever experienced the occasional laugh, sneeze or cough that has led you to pee in your pants? If you are laughing right now then you know full well what this experience, sometimes embarrassing, is like.

It appears that one in three women experience light bladder leaks well before, during and post pregnancy, while involved in specific types of exercise such as running and even due to certain health conditions.

For those of us who have been pregnant, we may have experienced the occasional drip (not the breaking of our waters) during and post pregnancy that led to us needing and wanting to duck for cover for fear of the odor getting out or a trickle streaming down our legs that became noticeable.

For many of us, this is no laughing matter.

My most memorable “peeing in the pants incident” took place during my pregnancy while I was shopping alone in a maternity store. This experience is such a vivid one for me. In hindsight it’s not a big deal. However, when I sneezed and peed, I became embarrassed. I even considered crying more so because it was the first time I realized that during my pregnancy much was going to happen to my body that was out of my control. I got over the experience quick and made sure to share with my husband at first chance to give him a good laugh and much-needed consoling.

Let’s just say that this was not the last time this experience happened to me. They got easier and easier to cope with but then I started to have to carry around underwear when accidents occurred. I began to just laugh about it, think about my daughter, do some more Kegel exercises and then move on from it. Others have to endure this discomfort much more than this.

The good news is that there is help available thanks to mom Wendy Spencer, founder and president of STRIDE Femme, who knows all to well what this embarrassing experience is like. After she became a mom laughing (from life as a mom), coughing (picking up just about every bug her son got) and running (to relax and decompress from parenting) it took a toll on her in ways she didn't expect.

This past week I was offered an opportunity to meet with her in-person along with celebrity style expert/TV personality Gretta Monahan and Dr. Jill Rabin, M.D., urogynecologist and author of Mind Over Bladder to check out a new absorbing fashion that you will want to stock up on in your intimate drawer right away.

New, machine-washable underwear have been created featuring a unique technology of multi-layer fabric to wick away and absorb up to an ounce of moisture. The lining of each panty is leak proof, breathable, stylish and has a built in deodorizer to provide freshness. According to a press release, “STRIDE Femme is a first-ever underwear collection with patented technology built into the panty’s liner to offer discreet light leak protection.”

The underwear comes in five stylish options including, if you can believe it, a lace thong. From my experience, thong underwear doesn’t typically hold pads or panty liners well and was; therefore, excited to experience this product first hand before sharing with you my point of view. The best part is the built in ultra thin pad and technology covers much of the panty bottom. You don’t feel anything moving as the liner is built into the garment and gets up to approximately a hundred wearings.

Before writing this review I wanted to check out the underwear myself. While I have not had any moments this week that would have caused me accidental leakage, I did find them to be comfortable and fashionable as well. I didn’t at all feel like I was wearing a panty liner or diaper-like product. I even forgot that I was wearing them.

I was fortunate to receive three pairs of the underwear from STRIDE Everyday at no cost to try them out to share my review with you. If you would like to own these unique garments the complete collection is available at StrideEveryday.com. The Seamless panty, which fit the most comfortably for me, is now available in select drug stores too.

The prices of the STRIDE Femme panties range from $19.99 to $29.99 before tax. While this may seem expensive to some (I thought so) much is being saved not only on the cost of pads and panty liners. There is also a significant benefit to our environment. In fact, according to Spencer the research they have conducted demonstrates that women can save as much as $125 per year compared with the purchase of disposable panty liners and it can help to reduce the billions of disposable products sent to landfills annually.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Recommended Children's Book on Tooth Care

I was recently offered an opportunity to review a new children's book called Melvin the Magnificent Molar and wanted to share with you my thoughts, perspective and recommendation of it.

Before sharing a review of this book with you I wanted to have some time to read it with Sarah to gain her perspective as well.

First, this book is extremely informational and delivers messages about proper tooth care in a way that is easy for children to understand. Second, with all of the illustrations within the book, especially of the teeth, it became easy for Melvin, the main character, to become someone Sarah could relate to because he was no longer an inanimate object. Melvin became part of a new relationship with Sarah, one that she has been enjoying each time we read this book.

The first few times Sarah and I read this book together she didn't really care for it. I thought maybe it was because there were more words and illustrations on each page and that it might have been much for her to process. I realized that some of her more recent books are just as full of text so realized this likely wasn't the case. It's possible that for my child, and likely for others, it takes time to warm up to books and have then become fond friends.

I am happy to report that after a couple of weeks of reading, Melvin has become Sarah's friend, and a book she wants to read now daily.

There is one part in the book where Melvin feels like a movie star getting his picture taken now that he has gone to the dentist and gotten the royal treatment he deserves. Sarah now insists that she must get her camera and take pretend pictures of this page every time we read this section.

I do have one complaint about the book. When it comes time to introduce the dentist, instead of what I hoped for, a man with a big smile and white coat was instead a gray shadow. I perceived it as scary for Sarah and she did as well. In fact, she doesn't particularly like this page of the book and quickly turns the page. While Sarah has been to the dentist before, now she doesn't want to go. This; however, I believe is an age thing as she doesn't want to go to her pediatrician either. Let's just say I fully intend to bring this book with us for Sarah's next check-up.

My only note to the authors of this great new read is if there are plans for creating additional copies or future editions maybe the dentist can be modified, if possible, to appear happier and less scary.

There are two additional, positive things I wanted to point out that I liked very much. There are helpful tips included on the last page specifically for parents as well as an opportunity to make a donation to support children in need of dental care while being able to secure a certificate for lost teeth from the tooth fairy.

I highly recommend Melvin the Magnificent Molar and look forward to continuing to read this with Sarah in the future.

Happy reading.

Please know that I received a complimentary copy of this book to read and review and share my perspective. Hope it was helpful.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Please Nominate Mommy's Point of View Blog

I am writing to you my wonderful readers and supporters to ask you a favor.

Today, I was entered into a contest for ParentsConnect (http://www.parentsconnect.com/) to hopefully win recognition as a new, up-and-coming mommy blogger for my blog Mommy's Point of View (http://www.mommyspointofview.com/).

It would be so exciting and rewarding to know the support I have in you as my readers, followers and friends to help me achieve this next milestone in my journey as a writer, parenting blogger and educator.

If you wouldn't mind, please visit the following link below and scroll down to my picture and name and click on the word NOMINATE for Mommy's Point of View. The more votes I have the greater my chances are of winning this auspicious title.

http://www.parentsconnect.com/parents-picks/best-parenting-blogs

Thank you in advance for your support. I really do appreciate it.

And, I look forward to continuing to share life's trials and tribulations regarding parenting here at Mommy's Point of View and providing you what you most crave in parenting topics and important issues filled with fun, laughter, tears, and support.

Thanks again.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Children Can Give Us Purpose and Direction

Before getting pregnant and having my daughter Sarah, I often told my husband how I looked forward to what parenting could provide for me, including a sense of self and new purpose. At the time this made perfect sense, wanting to feel value in something more than me and that I could put much of my attention towards.

Now, many years later, and the mother of a toddler, I have realized that my daughter has given me a gift much greater than the love I anticipated from her arrival but also with new reason and direction for myself that was unexpected.

Being a parent is by far one of the toughest jobs I have ever experienced. And, being a full-time working mom adds even more to this juggling act. Thus, with Sarah’s health and well-being at the center of it all it took me time to realize the possibility of much more for myself when my plate was already so very full.

In July 2009 after trying to move a chair from my living room to another room, on my own, after Sarah climbed on it one too many times, my life was indeed forever changed. I know this sounds ridiculous. After dropping this very large chair on my foot and thankfully not breaking my foot, I did; however, endure a really bad sprain that led me to rely on crutches for a couple of weeks with much rest in between.

During this time I had to stay as much off my foot and spent much of this time on the couch working on my laptop, and discovering another new journey I was about to explore that was completely unknown to me.

Despite not being able to get to my front door without my crutches, this journey would take me farther than I would have imagined many more feet away from what I thought could be possible.

After Sarah was born during the winter season, I spent much of my time indoors with her during the early part of my maternity leave on the Internet reviewing parenting blogs, researching parenting topics, buying online, etc. It was too cold to take Sarah outside. So, while she slept much during the day I spent a fair bit of time educating myself on what was being communicated online.

As a result, a new idea and vision for the future was established. It wasn’t; however, until July 2009, well over a year after Sarah’s birth, that I was able to make this goal a reality. With a great interest and desire to write, and help from my husband, an amazing technology expert, my blog Mommy’s Point of View (www.mommyspointofview.com) came to life.

In addition to continuing my full-time career in addition to parenting, it was then that I began to chronicle my life as a mom, for fun and in my spare time, sharing parenting tips, advice, ideas, woes and more, to moms all over the world. My goal was to get started and to see how it would go. And off it went.

This blog has been an extraordinary experience into a world of the unknown. It’s been cathartic, self-deprecating and rewarding all at the same time given me strength in ways I didn’t necessarily know I had both personally and professionally.

Most parents would say that having their children is life-changing. This is indeed very true of my experience as well. Further, the birth of my daughter also brought an incredible opportunity of growth for me, one that I didn’t see at first and one that has enabled me to explore unchartered territory.

Being at the helm of Mommy’s Point of View, breathing life into something unfamiliar, fun, exhilarating and experimental has enabled me to see myself in ways I didn’t before, be honest with who I am as a person and especially as a parent. Sometimes I get it right. Sometimes I don’t. Sarah’s role in my life has been two-fold. She has changed me forever because she is my child and I will do for her in ways that any good parent would. Her presence in my life has also empowered me to find a new voice and ways to use it to help others, while also helping myself.

Becoming a mother has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. My journey as a blogger, and hopefully future writer, is a dream and one I am thrilled to be embarking upon and parlaying my professional knowledge and expertise with my novice experience as a parent.

My life has been transformed since having Sarah. Not only has she given me new purpose but she has helped me to find new direction for myself as well. My message here to you is recognize not only the beauty in what life brings us with our children but also the paths we may walk, crawl and climb to new discovery thanks to their role in our lives. Like our children, as mothers and adults, we too need to continue to learn and grow and thrive.

I thank my daughter for this incredible life lesson and opportunity, and for this new voice she has helped me to find. I just hope that I am able to be the parent she needs and to help her on her life’s journeys including the good and bad, and be there to support her, as best as I can, every step of the way.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day Appreciation and Haiku

While today is a designated holiday to celebrate us moms, it is one of many days throughout the year that we should toast as well to the accomplishments we have experienced, the sheer beauty of either bringing to life our children or adopting them and providing them the family they needed.

Today is a reminder of what we do as parents, how much we do, how hard parenting can be, how much we love and how hard we love our children little and grown up.

My day today was an incredibly special one and not just because it was Mother's Day. With a beautiful card made by my daughter and a sentimental poem written by my hubby that both made me cry not just once but twice, I recognize how I am truly blessed to be loved by the two people who matter most to me, as well as by my dear friends and family.

I wish everyone what I have been fortunate to be blessed with and that's love, happiness and good health.

Happy Mother's Day today, tomorrow and always.

Of the many things that I share with my husband one of them is writing, and especially Haiku. Here is a special Mother's Day Haiku for you.

Happy Mother's Day
love, happiness, presents too
by children adored

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Recognizing Parental Differences

Last night I was talking with a mommy friend of mine on the phone and had a realization during our conversation. She and I both consider ourselves crafty, and like very much doing art projects with our toddler daughters.

During our chat we laughed too when I told her that what I most wanted for Daniel to do this Mother's Day was to make a card with Sarah for me.

I know this sounds cheesy as there are many beautiful cards in the stores he and Sarah could choose from with the right sentiment that will make me feel special and loved. But, cards made by Sarah are just that much better. For dear friends and family who have been fortunate to receive an original creation by Sarah know that they are really special. In fact, for all occasions, and sometimes non-occasions, we have gotten into the habit of sending these special treats in lieu of store-bought cards. Not only are they sentimental but they are also more cost-effective versus store-bought cards, which can really add up in price.

So, since Daniel is a technology junkie who lives and breathes technology personally and professionally, I innocently suggested that maybe he makes a card with Sarah on the computer where she could move the mouse around with various programs such as paint and add pictures, draw lines, include shapes, etc.

I then realized even more, that I am the crafty and creative one and I should not fault Daniel for not having this as an area of interest. There are many amazing activities that he has with Sarah that are just between the two of them, and that is what makes it special. Art projects with mommy and Sarah are one of our many special things.

I married Daniel for many reasons including what we share in common as well what makes us very different. For the latter especially, it's what makes him “him” and special too. Then it got me to thinking that when you give a gift you don’t expect the same in return. The same should go for cards and other sentiments.

Whatever it may be, whatever it is I get this Sunday for Mother’s Day, regardless, I know that I am loved and appreciated by my husband and daughter.

Being a mom has brought out many amazing and great qualities in me and some not so great character traits too. Through it all the love is GREAT and beyond words. And, whether it’s in a card, a kiss, a giggle, a hug or even a haiku, the sentiment will be there, and I will love them all the same.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Children and Heart Murmurs

About a month ago during a routine check-up for Sarah as part of her school's annual medical update the pediatrician told me that she had a heart murmur.

In that moment it felt as if my own heart had stopped. I said, "What? How is this possible when she is now two-years-old, been seen and treated by a number of pediatricians over her life, and also had minor surgery last year to remove a cyst she was born with and the surgeon nor anesthesiologist detected any heart murmur?

Being in the doctor's office with Sarah on my own, with my husband at work, knowing I needed to drive her to school next, I realized that there was no time for me to lose it. I really wanted to scream or cry. I needed to compose myself as I was not going to be doing Sarah or myself any good if I had a meltdown.

At this point I needed to gather all the information necessary to take the next step. I was confused and upset trying to hold it together. The next step was to take Sarah for an echo cardiogram. And, the way these types of tests work trying to get an appointment for one on the same day is not likely. I wanted to fly out of the office and get her in for the test as soon as possible. On my way to the car I called Daniel and shared with him the news. By the time I came home he had called several hospitals in our area and scheduled Sarah's appointment for the following week. Our choice hospital in the area did not have available appointments for quite a while.

On the day of Sarah's test, the hospital staff was nice and helpful, and very good with Sarah. Following the test we were then told that the pediatric cardiologist on staff was not on site daily and would be reviewing the scans in a couple of days.

After a few days following Sarah's test we called the hospital. Still the pediatric cardiologist had not come into the hospital nor did he return their calls about Sarah's heart scans. After three weeks of a ridiculous number of calls by Daniel and I, and our pediatrician's office, to the hospital we had to take matters into our own hands. Still with no answers we were then advised by Sarah's pediatrician's office to sign a release waiver to get the scans sent to their office for review. We signed the release and the scans went to Sarah's doctor. Unfortunately, the pediatricians on staff felt that they were not qualified to review the scans.

So, now with a referral in hand to see a pediatric cardiologist the hunt began to find an expert that accepted our health insurance, as the hospital where the tests were done were useless at this point. My advice here, please consider any other hospital other than Jersey City Medical Center.

While it seems extreme to decide never to return to a specific hospital based on this experience, for me it's one too many experiences that make me hesitant to ever return there. That's just how I feel.

During this time, to give us peace of mind, while the search was underway, we shared the scans with my friend's husband, a cardiologist who treats adult patients. He said that after reviewing them he did not see anything unusual or out of the ordinary. He said that he would try to help us as well to find a qualified pediatric cardiologist too so that we could get a more accurate review and diagnosis. I very much appreciated his time and honesty. It also helped to provide me calm during this time of uncertainty regarding Sarah's health.

Working in health care public relations for well over a decade I am very well aware that it's imperative to take our children to experts who know little bodies and little parts. Children are not small adults. Therefore, it's very important to seek out medical experts trained to care for children.

Fortunately, I was able to track down a specialist who took our health insurance, had impressive credentials and indeed treated pediatric cardiac patients. We scheduled our appointment with him for his first available opening.

After several more tests, which Sarah was a trooper going through, she was officially diagnosed with what's called an "innocent heart murmur."

According to the American Heart Association, innocent heart murmurs, especially those seen in children, do not require medication or a need for cardiac reevaluation unless the parent/patient or doctor has more questions. Further, they emphasize that children will not have cardiac symptoms and do not have a heart problem or disease. "The child can be as active as any other normal, healthy child."

I am happy to report that Sarah continues to be a crazy active, happy-go-lucky toddler enjoying life, running around, climbing trees and making us laugh on a daily basis.

Through this process many friends and family have been supportive and also shared their own similar experiences. Thank you to everyone who supported me during this challenging time and helping me to realize that Sarah would be okay.

As parents we are our children's advocates. When they cannot speak or tell us exactly what they are feeling or experiencing we must help them. We must provide them the best care possible and consider all of the options. Further, as I have learned in life, and especially since becoming a parent, getting worked up and stressed out when answers are not firm or final doesn't help you or your child. With answers and solutions, problems can then be addressed, sometimes solved, and done so in a manner best for all involved.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Teaching Kids Healthy Eating Habits

As a mom it should come as no surprise that I want the absolute best for my child. This certainly holds true for the lessons my husband and I will teach her over the course of her life, especially as it relates to food and healthy eating and exercise habits.

Looking back on the years of my life and the relationship I had, and have, with food, it wasn’t exactly healthy or ideal.

In the eyes of my child I have been set straight. There are many lessons I want to teach my daughter, with my husband, and many lessons I need to continue to teach myself.

In the first year of Sarah's life I nursed and pumped breast milk. During this time I also became hungry in a way that I never thought could be possible. Surprisingly, during my pregnancy I did not experience the overwhelming desire to eat as I had expected to have happen. The hunger surge started a few months after nursing and pumping became routine. Of course, after losing much of my baby weight in the first few months after Sarah was born things changed. Being tired and with little energy to cook or exercise the weight piled back on.

Fast forward another year; I had my wake-up call in winter of 2009, which I previously wrote about here. I had an epiphany and asked my husband to join me on the journey to a better, healthier life that involved more healthy eating and more active lifestyle including regular exercise. Fortunately, I have since been able to lose all the baby weight and start feeling more in control again of my body with healthy cooking, exercising, and especially portion control. The biggest change was removing sweets and soda and also downsizing my meals.

This past month I have thought more and more about my relationship with food and remembered what it was like growing up. The mentality when I was younger was to eat your plate of food until all was gone. Seeing my weight fluctuate much over the years as a youngster and adult despite regular exercise, has made me realize how much I have to do to educate myself as well as my daughter about healthy eating and exercise. For example, my husband and I have been very good about not pushing Sarah to finish all of her food on her plate and instead encourage her to eat as much as she is able and interested and also providing good, healthy choices for her to choose from.

Sarah is not deprived of sweets but we do indeed keep them to a minimum. We definitely don't use food as reward and highly encourage this as it could very well backfire in the future.

Sarah is a happy, healthy and well-adjusted child. It's imperative that my husband and I set the right example for her so she doesn't struggle with weight challenges as a child and adult as I have. And, thus, we must be good role models as well.

Therefore, I will never tell Sarah she must eat all of her food but instead to encourage her by providing healthy choices and being part of her exercise routine, which is definitely not a problem for our overly active, playground-loving toddler.

I look forward to continuing my journey to additional weight loss, gaining better control of my relationship with food and paving the way for my daughter to live a happy and healthy life.

OTC Recall: Kids Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec, Benadryl

Moms, dads and caregivers, there has been yet another set of recalls on the popular liquid OTC treatments we give our little ones including infant and children's Tylenol and Motrin, Zyrtec, and Benadryl.

The manufacturer of these products, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of Johnson & Johnson, announced in a press release on April 30, 2010 that they have voluntarily recalled certain lots of infant and children's products and are advising consumers to check their products to see if they are impacted.

For more details on the recall visit the following link below as it includes a full list of the products affected. Before throwing away your purchased treatments check the lot numbers as you may not have to get rid of them.

http://www.mcneilproductrecall.com/page.jhtml?id=/include/new_recall.inc

According to the press release, "some of these products may not meet required quality standards. This recall is not being undertaken on the basis of adverse medical events. However, as a precautionary measure, parents and caregivers should not administer these products to their children. Some of the products included in the recall may contain a higher concentration of active ingredient than is specified; others may contain inactive ingredients that may not meet internal testing requirements; and others may contain tiny particles. While the potential for serious medical events is remote, the company advises consumers who have purchased these recalled products to discontinue use."

Should you have any questions at all please contact McNeil Consumer Healthcare directly toll free at 1-888-222-6036 and also visit their Web site at http://www.mcneilproductrecall.com/.

Let's continue to keep are kids safe.

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