Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
It was gorgeous...even my daughter one night while enjoying sunset on one of the house's balconies remarked about all the pretty shades of pink and red. We are super-excited about returning here in a couple of years when the kids are a bit older and the $50+ per child 2.5hr jeep ride make more sense.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
So for this week's column I am going to defer to a wonderful friend, reader, and now contributor who lives in the beautiful high dessert of New Mexico. Located at the southern end of the Rockies their backyard provides them with lots of hiking, biking, lakes, winter sports, and an untold number of other outdoor activities. They have made this their home and are raising a nearly 3 year old boy there. Other than family they were of course drawn to the area as they are very active parents...she a runner, hiker, personal trainer. I used to be envious of her confidant spirit pre-children as she and her dogs, no hubby, would go out hiking to a cabin in some wilderness and stay for the weekend. Dad's career has him outdoors on a daily basis and he loves spending his free-time there too. So when their little boy' teething started to put a major cramp in their active style....the parents endured trials and tribulations of various soothing methods...medicinal and otherwise to allow their lifestyle to endure. Mom, Ness, has written an incredibly informative piece here below to help other parents who may be embarking on the not-so-wonderful world of teething.
Our Child-On-The Go was born into a family who does not merely recreate outside, but lives in the outdoors. We are rookie parents to a very decent 2 ½ year old boy, living on five acres at 7000’ in the Southern Rocky Mountains. Our backyard and our town are both surrounded by the National Forest. So, between working on our land and enjoying our mountain hikes, walks and jogs, we are outside all year around. Not to mention, I am an exercise nut, and have jogged or backpacked with him since he was one month old. All of this sounds like a fairy tale, until you understand how he our son has suffered and how we have learned and adapted to this repeated teething process. Alas, if you are one of those parents who never even knew their children’s teeth were arriving, don’t bother reading ahead. However, if you have either directly or indirectly experienced a teething toddler on the “Go”, the following little snippet may be helpful.
Since the arrival of his first teeth, we knew we had been blessed with a great little guy who would struggle with each tooth. All the signs arrived at once, like a four alarm fire in his first year of life. His cheeks would get red as apples, he would become irritable, eat very little, and always run a low-grade (99-100… degree) fever. At first, we stayed home and adjusted our plans. (Remember, I said we are/were rookies.) Then, we evolved and realized this was going to be a reoccurring process until all his teeth were in at roughly 3 years of age. Life had to go on; on occasion the kid had to be mobile even when feeling crummy. So, I read, I chatted, I called our Pediatrician, every Grandma, Mema, Nurse and Mom I knew and alas, I filled my knowledge cup with more than anyone would care to know about teething in children. The teething symptoms and challenges evolved as he grew and as the teeth became bigger (molars) or elected to arrive in multiples (four at a time). Poor kid, I am so glad he will likely not remember any of it. However, our family and friends will as we watch him persevere and come back around to his sweet, kind and silly self.
Here is what I know about being an active parent with a teething infant and now toddler under my wing. (Remember, I am not a Doctor, so check with your own for a “real” opinion should you desire.)
o Make sure you know it is the child’s teeth and not something more serious. You will become acquainted with the signs if you pay attention.
o When possible, plan your activities in the morning when your child’s endorphins are high and he/she is able to have better pain management. Endorphins crash in the afternoon which is when most parents see their kids really struggling. (See me pulling out my hair at naptime or during dinner preparations.)
o Teething generates more acid in the saliva and that ends up in the digestive tract, i.e. (really foul smelling poop.) Thus, try to give them easily digestible foods with low acidic value: mine gobbles any kind of yogurt…bananas, saltines, etc. I avoid milk for 1-2 days and use diluted juice, diluted Gatorade and plenty of H2O. Pack food when you can. (Airplanes, car, friends house, picnics etc.)
For pain management you will need to decide upon an escalation plan. Here is ours.
o If at home with no plans, we give him homeopathic teething pellets and gels. There are many options at health food stores so try a few until you find something that works for your kiddo: we like Humphrey’s, Boiron chamomilla 30, and Boiron Ferrum Phosphoriccum and Little Teether’s Gel. 2) If he continues to be in pain, we do the above and ice cubes crushed inside a small (kiddo size) wet washcloth with a rubber band around it. (Popsicles help but they don’t allow the chewing and knowing sensation to be met.) Both will reduce gum inflammation. 3) If pain is severe and/or fever is over 100.5 we give him Tylenol or Motrin in combination with the remedies mentioned above. On very rare occasion, we have had to administer all/most of these remedies to get him through and allow us to “go.” Under our Doc’s authority, we have alternated between Tylenol and Motrin. Motrin, if he has food in his stomach, Tylenol when he doesn’t. Honestly, Motrin is much better: it lasts twice as long, (thus you give it less often) and it is an anti-inflammatory that reduces inflammation in the gum, sinuses and ears.
o Give them some teething gel or pellets before dinner time. Otherwise, you have a teething toddler who is also running on an empty tank.
o Warm bath with a few drops of Lavender (calming not spiking) in the bath.
o Always travel with a few of these pain and swelling remedies. Always. I keep them in my truck and in our travel bag.
o Regardless of whether you are using a homeopathic remedy or over the counter product you need to be sure you understand the drugs/herbal interactions.
o Educate your caregivers and Grandparents on these remedies so they can help your child, safely, in your absence. (If you ever want a date night again!)
o Take a deep breathe. The process usually only lasts a few days and then passes.
o My kiddo often gets an ear infection when teething his molars. So, if when he doesn’t come around in 5-7 days, we go to the Pediatrician to determine if the ears are infected. Sinuses are directly tied to the process, so this is not an uncommon occurrence, but it is unfortunate.
Monday, October 6, 2008
So as the sliding season is quickly approaching and with it ski shop openings and ski club swaps it's time to decide what your munchkin needs for the season. The info below is based on past shopping for our kids as well as our previous experience as ski instructors....my husband 7+ years and myself 5 years. I broke this down by age/ability. Enjoy!
AGE = Not or Barely Walking: Just add snow and fun. At this age it is all about getting them used to the snow and making sure they love it. Take them for a ride on a sled or in a pack while you snowshoe.
AGE = 2nd year+ Walkers: Continue the activities from the "Not or Barely Walking" but now put on those klunky snowboots and let them tromp and stomp around the house during the summer months. Then once they have gotten used to the heavy boots let them check out some plastic skis...first just by touching them then let them walk around the house with them (WATCH YOUR SHINS). This helps them get used to maneuvering the extra inches added to their feet and even though not snow will will start getting them used to turning all that extra length without crossing them. As soon as any child is placed on the snow...with plastic skis or the real deal they should have a helmet and eye protection
Boots: Should be something with traction. And preferably one with a drawstring/gator top. This will keep snow from coming in through the top with they're treading through the freshies. Good source: http://www.outdoorkids.com/
Plastic Skis: There is pretty much one pair on the market...KID-SKI Happy Ski Good source: http://www.kidski.com/
Helmet: Kids should helmet for protection from their own accidents as well as those caused by others. Added benefit 80 percent of heat-loss is through the head. Good source: http://www.lidsonkids.org/home.asp
Eye Protection: Kids should have sunglasses and goggles with them. Skiing and riding is a lot more fun when you can see
AGE = Ready to slide on the real deal When you are ready either rental-wise or purchase-wise get your kids on the real deal take them to get measured at a ski shop. And when you get them measured and more than likely trying out a pair of boots ensure to do so with a pair of ski socks. Now you are the only one who knows your ski practices and what would be the best deal financially, but here's some options:
Rent: If you are only going to go a few times a year this may be your best option. Most resorts offer packages for lessons and rentals that are worth looking in to. If you are going on a vacation for a few days you probably want to check into a ski shop in your destination town. Good source: http://www.breezeski.com/index.cfm
Swaps: These are huge flea market type atmospheres where people bring their old gear and put it up for sale and the organizers take a piece of the sale to cover expenses or donate to some charity. Watch your local papers they generally happen well before the snow flies in October or November. You can generally find some good deals, but you need to be very careful to check the gear for proper working condition. You need to be positive about fit or ensure bindings allow for some adjustment to ensure they fit the boot. In fact it is best to have the boot with you if already purchased.
Ski Shops: People generally see dollars melting like snowflakes when they think about buying children's skis from a shop. Not necessarily so. Many shops offer future trade-in deals on their new and used equipment. Meaning if you trade it in after 1 years use you recoup 50% of it's value towards your child's next purchase...2 years 25%. So if your child is going to be going going a lot this is definitely one you should look in to.
Do not get your beginning child poles! Kind of think about the old adage...don't run with a pencil. Enough said, but seriously they are not needed. In fact one could argue a lot of adults could use a back to basics course and have their poles taken away. Kids are flexible and can easily get up without them. Kids are already struggling with coordination as it is...poles will only create more issues.
Definitely feel free to leave a comment and tell others a local ski shop or a swap upcoming in your area where someone might find good deals on equipment for a child to go sliding on the cheap.