Monday, May 30, 2011

Mommy's IBS: A Need for Change

For a while now I have looked at Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a digestive condition I have lived with for nearly 10 years, as nothing more than an issue of stress and improper eating that needs to be controlled.

I never really saw my IBS as a major problem except when I was having debilitating attacks.

However, as of late, I am starting to recognize that this is something I need to reconsider. This condition can indeed be serious especially when the symptoms of severe cramping, being doubled over in pain, and explosive diarrhea come all at once. When this condition is not managed well, even when medication is taken, the results can be rather painful, uncomfortable and get in the way of parenting.

For example, as a parent, my stress level certainly gets tested every so often when I am trying to manage a situation with Sarah or trying hard not to worry about her in certain circumstances. However, sometimes these experiences can lead to an IBS attack especially when I am not consuming a well-balanced and healthy diet.

Without getting into specifics about my symptoms there are times when the pain in my stomach is so bad that I am bending over suffering and praying for the cramping to ease up and go away. Sometimes, depending on where I am or what situation I am in, the stress comes from desperately needing to find a bathroom for fear of an accident or inability to take care of Sarah.

While I am on medication that helps to manage my disease, and have been happy with how it works especially when an attack comes on, it's important to manage the other key, basic lifestyle measures in keeping the condition at bay including quality nutrition, reducing intake of caffeine, and cutting back significantly on consuming tummy troubling foods such as Mexican and ice cream, among others.

It's sad that I haven't really seen IBS as something serious because there have been a number of times when I am with Sarah that I desperately need to encourage her to leave the playground early, which only adds more to the stress I am experiencing, and being forced to rush her and me to a bathroom in time before an accident occurs.

It's gotten to a point where Sarah has gotten into the habit of fetching a pillow for me when we are at home, to lean on to help make me comfortable while the suffering takes time to subside.

So, despite an amazingly fun time with family and friends this weekend, a consumption of too many "bad" foods and beverages just got the worst of me and are the culprit of a full-blown, belly aching, throwing up, diarrhea producing IBS attack that I am having now.

So, as I write this blog post, in the late stages of an attack, I am trying to steer my mind elsewhere without thinking too much about my physical symptoms, hoping they will ease shortly, and making a decision.

Starting tomorrow, I need treat my IBS like it's a serious condition. Because, not managing it well beyond medication is still leaving me in pain and time wasted suffering unnecessarily. Therefore, it's important that I start by cutting out all the crap that I have been eating and drinking including junk food, soda, Mexican (even for a little while), the occasional margaritas and ice cream, and to start on a somewhat bland diet to get me back on track and moving forward in the right direction.

In plain English. IBS sucks.

There are varying degrees of this condition. However, just relying on medication, as I have been often doing, I need to take other lifestyle measures to manage this condition that sometimes is a complete inconvenience in my life, especially when it gets in the way of parenting and being there for Sarah.

A proper diet is an incredibly important factor in keeping IBS symptoms under control. So, its high time that I get my act together. There is no more room for excuses. For the past hour I could have been asleep readying myself for an active day tomorrow with Sarah. Instead, I have been suffering and willing myself to not think about how I am feeling and trying to steer my head in a different direction while trying to recover.

Parenting leaves little room for me to be incapacitated, in the bathroom for really long periods of time, let alone being doubled over at the playground in desperate need for a bathroom.

I am declaring that my IBS is something serious and important for me to manage properly. While I expect that my IBS will not go away for good, being able to take active lifestyle measures to keep it at bay is a most important step I must take, and one that must begin now.

For those of us with IBS, talk with a doctor about treatment, especially to address the attacks. Furthermore, we need to realize that what we eat and drink plays a big part in the symptoms we sometimes experience and that being more mindful of what we consume can help to reduce the debilitating symptoms that sometimes come in a moments notice and have to be acted on quickly to ease pain and suffering.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Wishing Kids Came with Computer Chips

Oh how I wish our children could have GPS or some type of computer chip implanted for us to know their whereabouts at all times.

I know that this is unrealistic, but boy there have been times I have wished for this "super" technology to be available.

Well, it appears, according to my tech expert husband, it just so happens that there are some technologies on the market, external devices with receivers, that are designed to help track down someone wearing a product. Not sure if these products can specifically pinpoint exact locations of where a person is but they do help to provide a direction in which they are.

This seems like an invasion of privacy. However, there is a part of me that is contemplating it. At least, may be considering it. It seems like this could be a great benefit for young children, especially those eager to roam and explore when at big crowded events.

The reason I bring this up is that today, Sarah, Daniel and I went to an annual fair in town, which last year boasted attendance by as many as 50,000 people. We had a super great time eating treats, enjoying the rides, spending time with family and staying cool from the heat. However, it was busy. It was crowded.

In a moment when Daniel stepped away to get some cooling beverages, with Sarah sometimes holding my hand and other times trying to pull away, a rush of something went through me.

It wasn't so much that I was in a panic but more that I had fear and concern should Sarah step away and get lost in this crowd, that it would be easy to lose sight of her with this many people, and; therefore, be tough to find her.

And, with Sarah being the age she is, she likely would not remember her phone number despite trying to spend time with her practicing it to memory.

In that moment, I quickly rummaged through my bag and pulled out a pen to write under the brim of her baseball hat my cell number and Daniel's too.

Heaven forbid Sarah were to get lost, someone would hopefully discover our contact information and track us down.

I was actually contemplating writing my phone number on her shirt but didn't as it was filled with flowers and very busy and likely something to be missed. However, the next time we are at an event of this nature I will be more prepared. I intend to have us all in the same color, a bright one, for starters. This is a suggestion I have heard that some parents and families do. Then, I fully intend to add a sticker to her back with her contact information G-d forbid she were to run astray, get lost, etc.

I have thought many times in my head how I would try to explain things such as not going into any one's house (e.g., unlike Goldilocks in the story with the three bears) without mommy or daddy, or never to go into another person's car (e.g., as Curious George has likely done a number of times) without scaring Sarah, at least not too much.

I have a few children's books on learning about strangers, and have tried to read them to Sarah. They are rather upsetting considering what we are trying to do to prevent her from being harmed in any way.

When is the right age to communicate this type of information to our kids to ready them, without scaring them, at least not too much? It's important to help our children understand that unfortunately there are "not so nice" people in our world who take children, want to hurt them and not return them.

This blog post is somewhat disturbing. However, the harsh reality is that there are scary people out there who commit crimes on children and we have to be prepared, and inform our children, as best as possible on the measures to stay and be protected.

There has been on occasion when at a grocery store or new place with Sarah that she wants to explore and disappears from my sight even for a second and my body goes hot, my heart beats incredibly fast and I feel like I am going to lose my breath.

I have been giving Sarah choices for her safety when we are out of the house. When we are in a store, for example, and it's just her and me, I offer for her to either hold my hand and not let go, sit in the stroller or sit in the cart, if one is available. Many times she starts with holding my hand and then when she doesn't want to do that any more tells me and she will sit in the cart or stroller.

As parents, we have a major responsibility to protect our children. And, it's a tough job. So, if we are really tired or unable to keep our children within our sight, it's important that we establish measures instead of letting our children roam free. Determine your plan of action before you go somewhere with your child, especially if they are incredibly active, curious and known to roam. If you know that hand holding is the only option consider a cart at the store or even the knapsack straps or leashes. While I have a hard time with the "leash" concept, I totally get it and have even in the past considered it because I would rather have people stare at me in disgust than to lose my precious Sarah.

Make sure you have a back up plan if hand holding is not an option, especially if you have an active child that loves to move fast, check things out and move out of your line of sight. Bring the stroller, pop them into a cart, or bring your partner, relative or friend to help out.

We have to do what we can to keep our children safe and to keep us sane. Raising children is hard enough work. This is one of those things that raises the hair on our necks, increases our heart rate exponentially and scares us beyond belief.

Chart your plan of action for your next out of the house jaunt or trip.

Let's continue to keep our kids safe.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Thanks to My Hubby

Last week, after a really busy time with work, some late nights with Sarah getting up from sleep and an action-packed day on Saturday, I was incredibly appreciative of my husband for the chance to sleep in the following morning without having to request or make excuses.

For me, sleeping in late is around 8:00am. This time around I surprisingly rose close to 10:00am to find Daniel and Sarah packing up to go to the children's museum.

As much as I wanted to go with them I decided that what I really needed, and wanted, was some time to mentally wake up, find my desk under piles of magazines, mail and more from weeks of neglect (hence fewer blogs than usual) and time to put my head back on.

It was just enough time for me to ease into the day, which I don't normally do, and for me to move slowly without responsibility, and get done some of the tasks on my perpetual "To Do" list.

I am so thankful to have a partner who gives me the chance to unwind and decompress when I feel spent, who helps with the laundry and dishes, and Sarah's care.

It all means a great deal to me.

Thanks to the love of my life, and Sarah's daddy. She and I are both really lucky.

Communication is the most important component to any relationship. This is even more so the case for two people parenting a child or children. There can sometimes be communication break down and it's important to be mindful of each other's needs and wants. Sometimes parents and caregivers need a time-out or time off and it's okay to either ask for it directly or convey it as part of your regular dialogue so that it sometimes becomes an unspoken language well communicated and acted upon.

Thanks again to my wonderful husband Daniel.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cool News to Share

As readers of my blog, Mommy's Point of View, I thought of you to share some really cool news.

As you know, I have often been writing and sharing parenting tips and advice here with you at Mommy's Point of View and also on other blogs as a guest, social networking sites, parenting Web sites and sometimes conducting interviews with parenting magazines, local newspapers, etc.

I am excited to report that a set of my tips about helping to raise a reader has been included in a local newspaper near where I live.

I am very excited about this and wanted to share this news with you since it makes me very happy to see that I am able to help here on my blog and also beyond the borders of Mommy's Point of View.

It just proves even more how much Sarah has given me purpose well beyond her being in my life. I thank my beautifully bright and gifted little girl who provides me with inspiration and motivation to try new things and help others.

Check out the story on Montgomery News's website
here and below. I am on page three at the top, under the section "Read early and often."

Here are links to previous stories that I have written on reading with additional tips and insights beyond what's included in the article.

Getting Kids to Embrace Reading

Jewish Pajama Library

Reading with Toddler: A World of Exploration and Humor

Thanks again to you for following me, reading what I write, receiving my RSS feeds each time I post a new story, and being with me on this journey of parenting including exploration, experience, trials and tribulations, fear, happiness and so much more.

Thanks for being my supporters and followers and friends. Together let's help to continue raising our kids to be future readers.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day: Appreciation and Haiku

When I was asked by my hair stylist today what I was doing for Mother's Day he was surprised when I told him that I was taking Sarah, with Daniel, to see a local performance of the ballet Swan Lake. He, a dad, said, "this is supposed to be a day about you. You should do something for yourself."

While in a few years or ten I might very well be saying that I want to spend time at the spa getting a massage, manicure and pedicure away from my child in peace and quiet, I instead, now with my 3 year old, love too much the experiences I share with her to miss any more time with her.

I have also come to realize that over the past few years there just haven't been enough days to spend with Sarah, especially since I work full-time outside of home. Therefore, even a day like Mother's Day I want to spend it with my daughter, and husband, as a family.

When I saw the opportunity to get the tickets for the ballet, a potential new interest and passion for Sarah, one of the show dates happened to be on Mother's Day. I didn't think twice about choosing another day. I thought, how nice it would be to spend the day with my husband and daughter doing something like this together. An experience, hopefully good, to remember.

So, what ever it is that you are choosing to do this Mother's Day, it's your day to do whatever it is that you would like. Feel free to take time, guilt-free, to get some pampering. Or, if you choose, like I do, to spend time with your family in an activity that's great too, go for it.

Have a blast.

Mother's Day just happens to take place on May 8 this year. I personally believe that Mother's Day is every day.

The one thing Mother's Day helps to remind us is that we are loved, appreciated and recognized for the everything that we do to keep our families functioning and everyone as happy as possible.

If anything, this holiday is a time to remember how much we do for our children, what it means to us, and why we do it.

We are moms. We love our children unconditionally. And, even if on Mother's Day, our children drive us crazy even for a little bit, it's all part of the big master plan, to give us the opportunity to love our children and be loved by them in return. Being a mom is a special gift and one we are truly blessed to have.

I thank G-d every day for my precious, adorable, and sometimes exhausting, Sarah. She is, to me, the most amazing human being in this world, and one in which I enjoy life through her eyes and the experiences we have together and as an entire family. She is the center of my core and my inspiration. She has become my motivation to make a better world, for her and others. She gives me purpose and meaning.

Motherhood is not easy. While it's important to acknowledge our accomplishments we must also realize that we have had some challenges as well, and that's okay. We are human. We love hard and we hurt hard too.

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

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 all the moms 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 are some Mother's Day Haiku for you.

Happy Mother's Day
Time to spend with family
Beautiful May day

With love from children
And their appreciation
For all that we do

To all the mommies
Love, happiness and good health
Happy Mother's Day

Be good to yourself
As parenting is tough work
Wanting most for kids

As moms we aim to
Love unconditionally
It's our nature

Happy Mother's Day
Have a great time together
Celebrating You

Halloween Candy for the Troops

While we all recover from over indulging in too much candy during Halloween, still the candy is in our homes staring at us willing us to...