Dear readers, I’m pregnant again. I wish I were saying this to elicit congratulations and by way of launching a new column about pregnancy -- and I am, at least, doing the latter, but the...
Summer is absolutely upon us again. I know this because I don’t get any blogs written, we’ve used up most of our frequent flyer miles, our swimsuits smell vaguely of mildew and my baby’s got a farmer’s tan (if you think Daddy’s happy about this, think again - and check out our blog on sunburns and suntans). I don’t know when the official solstice is, but we might as well name the beginning of the seasons based on the school calendar anyway, right?
It’s time for us all to refresh our memories on how to keep our kids healthy and hydrated amidst all the travel, high temperatures, and variations in routine. Summer can be a super-healthy time, full of outdoor play and refreshed minds -- given the appropriate precautions...Here are some of my favorites:
1. Summer Nutrition:
When I was a new mama to my first son, Aidan, I found another mother in my mama’s group with whom I connected. We were both vaguely ‘attachment’ parents, both nurse-on-demand, used-to-be career mamas who were devoting ourselves full time to this new and incredible project -- and both liked shoe-shopping at Nordstroms. Back in those days, that’s pretty much all we needed to become fast friends. When our children were about four months old and she had to go in for a colonoscopy, it seemed natural that I would babysit for her. This was a memorable moment in that it was the first time I had ever undertaken to babysit someone else’s baby besides my own. I was terrified.
I’m a bit superstitious. I wish I weren’t. It has improved over time, but when it comes to my kids I haven’t shaken it completely. I’ve noticed superstition rear its head as i’ve written the first aid series. I noticed, for example, that after the blog on healing salve for cuts and abrasions, my older son, Aidan, seemed to have one wipe-out after another that required the use of my newest potion. Same with the Tummy Trouble Tea and our incidence of the stomach flu.
My babysitter called in sick last week. She never calls in sick, and that makes two babysitters in one week’s time, both with the solid work ethics of...well, better than mine, anyway. When she shows up again this Monday, she sounds like Kathleen Turner. Not a bad thing, if you’re Kathleen, but a little deep and hoarse for a ninety-pound pixie. Her replacement sitter meantime spent two hours the week before getting my little teething love to take a nap - only to wake him with a coughing fit. “Don’t worry,” she sputters, “it’s just allergies.”
There is nothing worse than teething, nothing. Except maybe when your baby topples over onto his head while trying to crawl, while teething and grumpy anyway, and ends up with a big red welt on his head. Then there’s something worse. Oh boy.
Today is a glorious day. We’ve been sitting out under our oak tree, both sons and I, in the afternoons -- until my older son sees his favorite playmate across the street, and my little one decides he needs a change of pace (at least that’s how I interpret his nonverbal objections). Today is no different, except that I am noticing how timely our latest batch of homemade bug repellent is turning out to be - just made on Friday at the first sign of trouble, I now am watching the bugs hover. The repellent is working, but leave one spot uncovered (the back of Aidan’s knees were left perilously unsprayed) and they are there.
Well, it’s official. Sitting in the pre-tornado humidity of our Spring evening in Austin, it happened...my first mosquito bite of the season. Fighting back the urge to cry, “I’m not ready!”, I am reminding myself that this Friday for Recipe Weekend we’ll be posting a recipe -- and mixing up a batch! of natural homemade bug repellent that will hopefully make this first bite my last.
But I know that this first bite heralds the start to an entire post-Winter season - of camping trips, picnics, pool parties, trips to the park, summer vacations -- and general outdoor merriment that comes with the lurking dangers of everything from yellow-jacket-riddled trashcans to noseeums and sand fleas.
In the tradition of eastern medicine, the seasons play a role in understanding not only our environment, but as a template for understanding our own internal environments, our constitutions.Similar to the ‘archetypes’ described by Carl Jung, or the signs of the horoscope, each child (and adult) can be said to have a predominant ‘season’ or constitution, beginning at birth. Your child’s ‘season’ has relatively little to do with the month of their birth – although there may be a correspondence. Instead, it has more to do with what constitutional strengths, weaknesses and general attributes help to make your child who they are; Your child’s ‘Season’ is like his or her physical and psychological blueprint.
A mama knows her kids. Or so we like to think, anyway. I, for example, knew my newest little addition in utero -- I mean, we spent a lot of time together... time at the gym and prenatal yoga, time doing crosswords at 3am when i couldn’t sleep, time sharing in the trials and tribulations of everyday life -- all of this before he ever saw the light of day. We were connected. And I decided, from this place of deep connection, that I could feel his personality (I still, by the way, believe this to be true.) When pregnant with my first son, I had accurately predicted him to be gentle and sweet-tempered, but shy perhaps, and stubborn as a mule.
There is a lot of swordplay in our house. I mean a lot. And wrestling, and karate. And similar to the old adage, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” (I love that one!), where there’s physical play and roughhousing, there are scraped knees and elbows. Couple being eight years old with the weather of Spring -- it’s gorgeous out! -- and you’ve doubled the chances for bruises and abrasions by, say, a factor of skateboarding, biking, soccer, ferocious tag games and tree-climbing.
Summer is nearly upon us – and with it, a lot of changes, excitement, and challenges for our little (and too rapidly, I fear, not-so-little) ones. Some of the changes in temperature,...
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