Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Medicated Child has put several of their programs online. One that I viewed tonight is called The Medicated Child and can be viewed HERE. The focus is the safety of psychiatric medications for children and, how lack of research is putting our children at risk, how medication is so quick to be prescribed vs. other therapies, including counselling, and more.

The first thing that struck me as insane is that there was no look at the basic necessities for good health: diet, sleep and exercise. Of all the cases portrayed, only one mom was NOT obese. One little boy's meal was a microwaved frozen corndog, Gatorade, goldfish and a cookie. Where is any nutrition at all in that?

As a daycare provider, I have seen that far too many parents, and I'd even say the majority, believe that their child doesn't nap well, doesn't need a nap, can't get their child to nap, etc... In 12 years of doing childcare, there has only been two children who weren't good nappers, only TWO! The most common problem, the parents waited too long to put the child down for a nap and the child had released andrenaline and couldn't relax and fall asleep. Also a very commong problem with infants: the parents did the above and when the child finally fell asleep, they hadn't eaten for a few hours and woke up after less than an hour very hungry and still tired. The parent fed the child, but didn't put them back down for a full, proper nap. Many children still have disrupted sleep at night, too. It is well-documented that lack of sleep is extremely harmful, especially so in children.

The third issue, exercise, is also crucial to kids. In this day and age of children in daycares, preschools, parents working, etc., kids don't get to run and play and explore the outdoors like we did. We have higher levels of pollution, too, so the air isn't so fresh any more. Kids need vigorous exercise, the kind that makes them sweat and condition their hearts.

I'll tell you something very basic, yet very unknown. The fluid that surrounds our brain and spinal cord, CSF, for short, isn't pumped around like our blood is. The CSF only moves when we move. If we don't move, the same old fluid is bathing our brain and spinal cord. We NEED TO MOVE to get the clean fluid our body makes to the right places. The same goes for the lymph fluid in our bodies. This is why I love my trampoline and rebounder, it moves these two fluids like crazy.

I have believed for a long time that Americans need to go back to the ever-so-valuable and crucial basics of healthy living. Only when a pattern of health is in place can we truly see the disease. What good is taking a pill when the behavior that caused or contributed to the illness is still present? Or what good is it if our body isn't otherwise healthy? What about prevention? A dentist once told me that they are the most successful doctors of all because they have put into place the most successful campaign of preventative health in all of medicine.

Another tidbit: Last I heard, medical schools in America do not require one single course in nutrition for their medical students. Not one! Yet your pediatrician or doctor is giving you advice on nutrition? An excellent example of how wrong this can lead you is to look at the doctor's advice of the early 1900s until the late 1900s that taught that formula was better for babies than breastmilk.

The next Frontline episodes I plan to watch are Sick Around America and Sick Around the World.

I challenge you to look in your pantries and fridges and see what you eat. Does it come from the earth and still look like it does? Does it come from the earth but is dried, frozen or canned? Does it come in a box or worse, a bag, and not resemble anything organic at all? Are your meals balanced? How much do you drink eat day that isn't water? How much water do you drink? Are you getting enough sleep? I know I'm not and I feel it - bad, just look at the times of my recent blog posts. Do you go outside each day for a walk, even for just 5 minutes? That little bit from the house to the car doesn't count!

We owe it to ourselves and our children and families to be healthy, especially single parents. I promise you that you will feel so much better!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Big Reason to Homeschool

Report: States set low bar for student achievement
By LIBBY QUAID, AP Education Writer Libby Quaid, Ap Education Writer

WASHINGTON – Many states set achievement standards so low that they can say their students are reading and doing math at their grade level when they haven't truly mastered the subjects, the Education Department asserted Thursday.

The Obama administration said the report bolsters its effort to persuade all states to adopt the same set of tougher standards for what students should know.

"States are setting the bar too low," Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement. "We're lying to our children when we tell them they're proficient, but they're not achieving at a level that will prepare them for success once they graduate."

The federal government can't impose a set of standards, because education is largely up to states.

But Duncan noted he is offering millions of dollars in grants to encourage states to accept a set of standards being developed by the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers. The grants come from the federal stimulus law, which set aside $5 billion to push Obama's vision of educational reform.

While the standards are not yet final, every state but Texas and Alaska already has committed to work toward adopting them.

Kids do far better on state tests than they do on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, which is much more challenging.

Duncan and the House Education and Labor Committee chairman, Rep. George Miller, argued that states should be raising their standards to help students compete with their peers in other countries. But according to the report, more states lowered standards than raised them from 2005 to 2007.

"The quality of a child's education should not be determined by their zip code," Miller, D-Calif., said in a statement. "It is unacceptable that many states have chosen to lower the bar rather than strive for excellence."

However, the head of the department's Institute of Education Sciences cautioned against making broad judgments on the lower standards.

"I'd want to look into it more carefully," IES director John Easton said. Some states were putting new tests in place and might have changed standards to adhere more closely to the tests, he said.

Yet in his home state of Illinois, which lowered its eighth-grade math standard, Easton said officials were trying to make it easier to meet the goals of No Child Left Behind, the 2002 federal law that prods schools to boost test scores to meet annual improvement goals.

Easton said a bigger concern is the wide disparity in standards among the states. A student who is proficient in one state might not be proficient in another, the report said.

"It's a very big puzzle to me, how there can be such a difference," Easton said.

The report by the department's statistics arm compared state achievement levels to achievement levels on NAEP. It found that many states deemed children to be proficient or on grade level when they would rate below basic or lacking even partial mastery of reading and math under the NAEP standards.

Among the findings:

• Thirty-one states deemed fourth-graders proficient in reading when they would have rated below basic on NAEP. Mississippi's standards were lowest, and Massachusetts' were highest.

• Seventeen states deemed eighth-graders proficient at reading when they would have rated below basic on NAEP. Tennessee's standards were lowest, and South Carolina's were highest.

• Ten states deemed fourth- and eighth-graders proficient at math when they would have rated below basic on NAEP. Tennessee's standards were lowest; Massachusetts had the highest fourth-grade math standards, and South Carolina had the highest eighth-grade standards.

In those states, the standards "are fairly low standards, relatively speaking, in terms of what students are able to do," said Peggy Carr, associate commissioner of the department's National Center for Education Statistics, part of the IES.


I'm fortunate that I live in an area where there is a huge homeschooling community since I plan to homeschool Apple, for a variety of reasons, but the reason above is the second reason on my list: the decline in the quality of education in the United States. When I was in college, I found a copy of the eight grade standard graduation test from the 1800s and I could not pass it. Now, the level of education has dropped even lower. I do NOT want less for my child, I want MORE. I have not decided on a curriculum yet, but I am very interested in the British National Math Curriculum which is available for free online. Here are some links I'll be investigating:

British Council: UK Education Systems
British National Curriculum
British Math Curriculum (all worksheets, etc.)

Side note: Here in California, high schoolers must take a test and pass it in order to receive their highschool diploma. They have three chances to take it and pass. It is a 9th grade level test!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Homemade Diaper Rash Cream

There is a pediatric practice here that gives this recipe to their clients and it works great for the kind of diaper rash caused by acidic bowel movements, especially the kind of bright red acid rash brought on by teething.

Mix equal parts cornstarch and milk of magnesia than add a little milk of magnesia as needed to keep it spreadable. After it's been on the baby, the corstarch absorbs the moisture and turns into a crumbly powder. As with all diaper creams, be sure to apply to a clean, dry diaper area and clean and dry the area thoroughly, removing old cream, after each diaper change. Also avoid "double dipping" so you don't contaminate the unused cream. Store it at room temperature in an air tight container. Only make enough for a couple days at a time. It may separate between uses, just mix it again if this happens.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Belated Happy Harvest Moon & Secret Pal Thanks

Full Harvest Moon rising over my back neighbor's house.

Thank you, Secret Pal!

Herd of Kitties

This is all but one of my cats. Meow is the only one not in the picture.

Spinning Fire

It's a little scary. If you don't keep the fire moving, it crawls up your arms and you get burned! This was my first time; it was in September on the full moon. I made a lasagna, had a fire in the fire pit, and had some friends over. Here's my friend first. You can hear me say I'll go next.

Here's my first ever attempt at spinning fire!

Gymnastics at 40

Last month I started taking adult gymnastics classes so I could relearn how to do flips on the trampoline. It's very fun but excruciating. I'm still not able to tell what hurts because it's out-of-shape and what hurts because a 40 year-old body isn't meant to do that, and I've forgotten how to stay tight, but I'm getting better.

The club where I take my class is one that I go way back with. The summer of 1983 I was a student there and it moved locations to the local historic theater. Two years before that, the theater was a roller skating rink and I'd been skating there. Three years later, in 1986, I was coaching gymnastics, still at the theater location. Now, over 20 years later, I'm a student again and it's at a third location.

This is a quick flip only video.
If you're short on time, this is the one to see.

Here I am in open gym.
I love the in-ground tramp; you can't fall off!

Going through my moves!

Incredible Rain

Last week we had an incredible rain storm. It was the second one this month. In just a few minutes, it dropped an amazing amount of water. Several areas were flooded though I didn't see it. I heard the rain begin and ran to the window to watch it. It poured like a waterfall off the roof of my house since all the rain gutters had overflowed. I grabbed the camera and the kids and went to the back patio door but the moment I started recording, you can hear a change in the sound of the rain as it began to slow down. You can see how much, or little, Poppy has grown in the second video.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A New Vet for Henry

My first words were, "Please don't tell me there is nothing wrong with Henry."

Her first words, in a great, reassuring, emphatic tone, "Of course there is something wrong with your kitty!"

Henry now has a supply of Clavamox, an antibiotic, for when he has aspiration pneumonia, which he started again, and, best of all, he is starting Reglan. He had his first dose today and ate almost twice as much for dinner and it's staying down. Of course it's too soon to know if he was just feeling better from the antibiotic or if the Reglan really did clear out his stomach better. He also has a new eating position to help the food go down his esophagus and into his stomach, though if he'd sit it would be even better. Tonight he actually had bowel sounds (aliens) WHILE he was eating, which is normal, though his were still pretty loud.

The vet thinks that Henry has a condition called Megaesophagus or Esophageal Hypomotility. It means that his esophagus, the tube that carries food from his mouth to his stomach, is too large in diameter and is flaccid, the muscles can't move the food down to this stomach. He may also have too small an opening from his stomach to his intestine or it could be that he has nerve disease or defect in part of the brain stem, the part that controls all this, which often accompanies Magaesophagus. The Reglan will help his stomach move the food into the intestines. Once the food manages to get into his intestines, things go into hyperdrive, hence the "aliens" or rucous bowel sounds.

She told me to keep doing all that I've been doing plus give him Reglan and feed him more upright, even more than I had been doing. If I don't notice a change on the Reglan, Henry will have a special x-ray (barium study) that shows what happens to his food when he swallows and if surgery is needed, he can have it now. She is going to consult with a specialist and make sure there hasn't been some new development that she doesn't know about yet and get back to me. She also agreed with me that it's best not to have him neutered yet because of the risk due to certain types of anesthesia.

Honestly, I was prepared to go to war. I had all the charts I've kept on his eating and weight from June, a written description of his symptoms, treatments, medicines, food, supplements, his chest x-ray from his first bout of pneumonia and the vet records, the video of him regurgitating, plus, I brought Brother for comparison. The vet studied everything I'd written before she came into the room. She didn't need convincing. She noticed him swallowing constantly, like he always does, right away. She supported me in feeding him the raw food and was glad to learn about the things I've done to supplement his food, such as the ready-to-feed KMR vs. the powdered. I finally feel supported and validated for how hard it's been to help Henry. Now, there might be some of you reading who might be thinking, "Well if it's been that hard, why not euthanize him?"

The only answer I have is this: It's not the right thing for him. His condition is treatable, I just couldn't get the vet Henry had been seeing to get his head out of his, uh, behind, and quit telling me that Henry was fine, that he was too small to do anything with anyway, yeh, go ahead and give him the Pepsid if you want, it won't hurt him, nope, there's nothing but Pepsid, since you insist, oh, and he shouldn't be drinking KMR any more and that raw food you give him could poison you and your daycare kids, and Henry. So long Dr. G and welcome Dr. W!!!

Here's the video I gave her. I took it about 10 minutes after Henry had breakfast. Count how many times he swallows and watch for the head shaking thing. That's what he does when he's gagging and trying to clear it out. Also note, this was actually a good day. Usually he does the gag thing constantly and I have to burp him. I don't usually touch him the way I did in the video, it was to bother him so he'd move and be more obvious with his problem.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fashion Friday #15

Like my new mannequins? I made them!

Size 4
The shoes, a handed down, are sequins mary janes with rubber soles.

Size 2

Size 2

Pictures don't do this outfit justice at all. Size 4

To celebrate my 2 1/2 year LID anniversary, I hit eBay and discovered a new brand called Nick Nack Patty Wack. They are exquisite! Very well made, great fibers, they seem like they'd be comfortable, and I don't think I'd ever be able to afford them new in the store! All the outfits above are this brand.

This coat is so gorgeous in real life. It's knit in two layers. Size 4

Size 4/5, super soft, second-hand!
I think this is a European brand. It's a super fine knit.

Also from the second-hand store,
size 4/5, it kept catching my eye for weeks.

Vintage Gymboree swing top/jacket and pants. Size 4

Pants detail, a sort of untied bow; just pass the ends through a loop.

Nartje set, size 4

I fell in love with this outfit when I saw it HERE.
I won it on eBay for $11.94 including shipping! Size 3

*photos finally added Oct. 26*

Thursday, October 15, 2009

:( Henry Shrunk

Yep, in the SIX days since I weighed him, Henry lost 1.6 ounces. He ate a lot this morning, then and hour later drank his special fortified milk. Cheers right? Nope, he's been bloated all day and won't eat dinner. He did, however, drink special unfortified milk. His tummy is like a hard rock, poor thing. This is what I get for adding more store-bought grain-free food to his mix than homemade raw food. Why did I do it? He was tempted by the smell to eat more. The motto around here is "Grow, Henry, Grow!" My saying for when his tummy rumbles (as loud as a 6 ft. man in a pub after a keg or two or, and I'm serious, like water cooler air bubbles) is "You've got aliens again."

*Update* I gave Henry an hour of tummy rubbing and got some aliens but not a lot. Hopefully the bloating will ease by tomorrow. I know when he needs a good tummy rub/massage by the tightness of his belly and when he cries out, which he did twice.

2 1/2 YEARS!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It's a Miracle!

I actually have the dishes done in BOTH kitchens, the floors steam-cleaned in BOTH kitchens and BOTH bathrooms ALL IN THE SAME DAY!!!

The trash is also out, the trampoline covered for the storm that is at this very moment arriving and I picked up the stuff off my bedroom floor that actually has a place. If I can pull out the Dyson and in a minute after I post, I'll have the upstairs and downstairs vacuumed at the SAME TIME, too.

One of these days, everything will have a place, there won't be boxes in corners and miscellaneous on the counters and I will get rid of the following in my garage that came with the house: large freezer, Victrola, antique dresser, 2 antique chairs and an antique stove. These items currently take up about 1/4 of my garage! If I get rid of them I can put the following IN my garage (stuff currently under my back patio roof): large wagon full of firewood, fire pit, patio table and chairs, shelf of canning jars and misc. kid toys.

I also have a lovely collection of misc. inexpensive furniture that I don't need anymore, a dresser in Apple's room which is currently the infant napping room, a matching nightstand that I keep bumping into in my middle of my laundry area, a smallish armoire blocking the closet door in the daycare playroom, and a "puzzle" shelf in the cat's room (schoolroom/Apple's playroom). Oh, and in the yard I have two small kid play structures that I don't need anymore and probably the EasyPeasy play thing, that's never been out of it's box. If the trampoline wasn't in the driveway, I'd have had a garage sale by now.

Time to get that Dyson moving... do notice that's it's after midnight!