Shrinking Clothes Fairy. Just Stop!

Dear Shrinking Clothes Fairy

I know today’s economy is bad and I commend you for keeping a job in what is otherwise a tough job market. But I really need you to stop visiting my closet and shrinking my clothes. You just need to cut that crap out.

While I see your role being quite vital to the economy,  by making women (and men) whose clothes no longer fit to go and spend dollars buying new clothes. I can see how it is a win for the economy, retailers, and employees. But for me not so much.

It is a depressing thing going into my wardrobe to pick out my “fat” clothes and find they are to tight. These were the comfort clothes I used to wear only during “that time of month” when I was bloated and swollen and feeling yuck. The world starts to look a bit screwy when your comfort clothes are now no longer comfortable.

I can only conclude it is your fault and I am really very over it. The reason  I think it is your fault is because I am eating healthy, doing plenty of exercise (even exercise that makes me sweat a lot and turns me into a quivering puddle of jelly muscles). Heck I am eating just a salad for lunch. Yes I am one of those ladies who only order a salad at lunch time and people make fun of.

To add further insult to injury I do not seem to be able to shop in the “trendy” section any more. Suddenly the section in the Department stores that has clothes with elastic waists is sadly what I can now fit my ass into. I am still in denial about this despite the growing collection of half elastane waisted clothes I have.

So I am sore, feeling fat, discovering that elastic is ok, and sugar deprived. Which I am sure you could understand is not making me the happiest little camper in the world. As a result if I see you near my wardrobe in the near future all I can say is I cant be responsible for my actions. Let’s just say google has some interesting websites on how to stop fairies.

So if you could kindly stop shrinking my clothes it would be greatly appreciated.

Kind Regards

Caspette

The evolution of the immune system

Before I had my baby I had a kick ass immune system. For at least 15 odd years I barely got a sniffle let alone sick. I can count on my hand the amount of sick days I took from work; in case you were wondering (as I am totally convinced you were) it was a grand total of 4 days and one of those was for twisting my ankle falling off a dodgy ladder. I was proud of my healthy immune system that kept me more healthy than an astronaut about to go into space, while other people at work would drop like flies.

So imagine my shock when over the last year (since returning to work full-time) I have taken about 10 days off work sick, and I mean really sick, like cant-get-out-of-bed-I-am -going-to-die sick. I have had three sinus infections and just recently severe gastro. I have to confess it really pisses me off actually. Which is irrational I know but there it is.

So why? why is this so? well I don’t have any scientific or concrete answer, just theories and anecdotal evidence. Bear with me.

Now the first cab of the rank reason I am given is “but your child is in day care, they bring home all kinds of nasties no wonder your sick“. Ok I accept and agree with this up to a point. Anywhere children exist, disease seems to thrive and run rampant. That is a fact no one is disputing it.  Children and disease go together like strawberries and cream.

But how does that effect me? I have been through school, I did my time picking up germs and disease. I suffered through chicken pox and all those things there are now vaccinations for so surely now as an adult my immune system wouldn’t even flinch at anything other than the ever mutating cold? That’s fair right?

Wrong. Now this isn’t scientific but I have begun to believe that the longer away from bugs and nasties we spend, the less immunity you have. So in essence like your child’s, your immunity is starting from scratch. It’s relearning how to cope with all those nasties your kids bring home.

Well that’s my theory and until someone else can tell me otherwise I am going with it.

I guess its one of those things about motherhood you never quite get told about before hand, and I am just going to have to adjust my thinking to the fact that, gone are the days of having an iron clad immune system are long gone. At least till my son moves out of home and stops bringing them home!

When the parent is sick

When the kids get sick, you look after them. You take them to the doctors. You wipe noses, tuck little ones into bed. You administer medications, pain relief, warm baths. You give clear fluids, you encourage food to keep their strength up, and insist they rest.

When you get sick – who looks after the kids?

This past week has been the first time since my son was born in November last year that we’ve encountered the dreaded ‘Mum is sick – we now have two children -what now” scenario.

At first, I just tried to battle it out. After all, how hard could it be? The older child went to pre-school as always, and my husband went off to work leaving me at home with the baby.

*Deep Breaths*

“It’s ok. I can do this. It’s just one day, I’m not that sick…”

*snort*

By lunch time I was questioning my lucidity. I felt truly awful. Oliver was being great, but I just could not function. By Tuesday it was clear that my husband was going to have to do some juggling with work and take some time off. Luckily, in his position he is afforded the flexibility to work from home when the occasion arrises. This was such an occasion. So was Wednesday. Thursday, he had to go back to work and I was mostly over the worst of whatever evil had sunk its claws into my immune system.

I shouldn’t have been shocked when Thursday afternoon the baby got sick. After all – Parents don’t have the option of ‘staying away’ from the baby when they are unwell. He has battled through his illness and has finally woken up yesterday feeling back to his usual cheerful self.  I was very excited to see him on the mend.

I’m very lucky that my husband was able to hang around home for a couple of days with me while I got over the worst of it. But what if your husband works away? What if your partner can’t take time off for fear of losing his job, or repercussions at work? What if you’re a single parent? What if there is no local family support?

What do you do when you’re sick?

Child First Aid

first-aid-signAbout a month ago I finally got my act together and did a first aid course.  I’d always been a bit intimidated by the thought of doing one, but knew it was an important thing to do.  Having a baby was just the added incentive that I needed.  Having done it, I am extremely glad I did it, and highly recommend it for those who have never done one before or would like a refresher.  I feel like I will have at least some clue should an emergency arise, and if nothing else, it makes me a little less nervous when my daughter gags and splutters while learning to eat solids.

Some of the ladies from my mothers’ group and I did it through a company called Child Revive First Aid.  They run courses in Melbourne, both for private groups at a location of your choice, and for the public at Mothercare Highpoint or Knox.  The basic first aid class goes for 2.5hrs (with a break) and is $45.  It covered CPR (with practical component), how to identify an emergency and what to do, choking, drowning and febrile seizures.  The course is focussed on baby and child first aid, but most of the concepts can be applied to adults too.  The instructors are practising paramedics so they are up to date and know what they are talking about.  Amanda at Child Revive First Aid was very accommodating when trying to organise our group.

Sorry for being a bit late with this, but I think if you subscribe to their newsletter by the end of tomorrow (1st June), you can go into a draw to win a double pass to a course.  Good luck!

Amber Teething Necklaces

At risk of sounding like a hippie, I am totally in love with my Son’s amber teething necklace!

If you havent heard of them, Amber teething necklaces are made for wearing (not chewing) when a baby is teething. The warmth from the skin releases the active ingredient in the Amber, called succinic acid. Recent research suggests that this can improve immunity, help reduce drooling and soothe red cheeks. Amber’s anti-inflammatory properties are said to help relieve teething pain and calm a baby without the use of drugs

I had friends who have used these teething necklaces on their babies since they were really young, and i was always a little bit sceptical.  I thought they looked really cute on baby girls, but i was not about to whack a necklace on my cloth wearing, co-sleeping, attachment parented baby boy, for fear of really becoming a hippie.

And then we had – what is now referred to in our house as – the week of horror.  We had just successfully completed baby boot camp and got our little man out of our bed and into his cot, where he was sleeping through the night, without kicking Mummy in the face. All was going well, i even felt human!! Then the dreaded teeth started. My son woke every 40 minutes, had neurofen, panadol, and a homoeopathic remedy that smelt and tasted like cola and to this day i have no real belief that it works. We paced and we fed and we bathed him in the middle of the night, i sung twinkle twinkle until my voice was hoarse, and two days later we had a front tooth poke through the gum, we held a breath and went to bed that night hoping we would get at least three hours sleep, and we did! He slept through and so did Mummy and Daddy. We thought we had done it, but the following night it happened all over again. So in desperation i bought an amber teething necklace. By the time it arrived we had a second tooth through the gum and we were back to sleeping through, but i put it on anyway and we ghave all happily co-existed ever since.

Until this week. My son’s childcare has developed a no jewelry policy and so i took his little necklace off as i dropped him off, and when Daddy picked him up, he called to say that my son had a teething / dribble rash all down his chin. From four hours with out it!! We have cut three teeth in the teething necklace without so much as a grizzle, no panadol, no demeted midnight singing, or twilight bathing. It really is a little miracle!!

Due to the no jewellery policy and my mature outlook on life, i hide it on him on childcare days, i tuck it right into his singlet, and so far no dribble rashes, and Mummy and Daddy and my gorgeous teething toddler, live happily ever after.

Health Direct Australia

Health Direct Australia

1800 022 222

Health Direct Australia is a free 24 hour service that puts you in contact with a qualified registered nurse to ask medical/health questions.

The 24-hour telephone health advice line is currently available to residents of the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, the Northern Territory, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia
*Calls from landlines are free.
*Mobile charges may apply

This service has been invaluable to us over the last year. We have rung them over minor and more serious stuff. We have barely had to wait which is great and we have called at all times of the night and day. The nurses are helpful and kind. They ask a series of questions to try to help establish what is wrong. For me one of the biggest values of this service is being able to talk to a professional without feeling stupid, or spending $80 plus to see a GP and be told “it’s just a cold”, or it’s after hours and there is no GP to humbug but you’re not sure if you should go to the Emergency Department.

My advice; mention EVERYTHING. Even if it seems minor mention it. It will help the nurse give you the right advice. Sometimes something as simple as diarrhea could make the difference between something serious or minor. If the problem makes a sound (for instance coughing) try and get the nurse to her it as well.

If you’re in Australia, I would highly recommend this service especially if it is after hours or you cannot get into your GP. For our over seas readers I would strongly urge asking your child health nurse or local Government Health Department and see if a similar service exists.

Have You Heard About Croup?

I hadn’t, not really. I knew it existed,  but that was all. Then on Sunday we became very intimately aware of it.

It all started Sunday morning. Our son woke with a small cough that happened periodically through the day. We didn’t think much of it as it wasn’t causing distress and he had a runny nose so we assumed it was just phlegm in the throat. He was a little “off “through the day, but again nothing drastic so we thought it was just an off day. We got him to sleep at 10.30pm and everything was fine.

At 11.30pm he woke screaming, crying and coughing. Straight away we knew something was wrong because we had never heard that cough before (it really is distinctive). At first we thought it was just phlegm and we needed to clear it. But it quickly became apparent this was not the case. Here in Australia we have a Health hot line you can call to get advice from a qualified nurse. We were stuck on hold with them for what felt like hours but in reality was probably no longer than five minutes.

After a brief conversation with the nurse he then heard the cough and said “that sounds like crouping cough”. At first I thought he said Whooping Cough and I was filled with dread. Whooping is bad, really bad, I listen to the news I know about the recent deaths. But then I hear the nurse say croup and I felt relief. Croup is alright I thought, you don’t hear about babies dying from croup on the news.

The nurse told us to go to emergency department and get our son checked out. I was curiously fine with all this, while hubby was panicking I was doing pretty damn good. Luckily the hospital is a five-minute drive away so over we rushed. We got there and was processed pretty quickly and sent through to the emergency pediatrics section.

We then had a Doctor and nurse see us straight away. It was about now I started to worry as the Doctor said things like “virus” and “constricts throat”. Um what? constricts throat? that is about an 8 out of 10 (10 being uber bad) on the worst things to come out of a doctors mouth in my books. Suddenly I was not feeling so calm about the situation and could feel a little bit of panic creep in.

Then they said he would need steroids. Again I was pretty sure steroids was a bad thing. But apparently it is very safe for babies/children and according to the pediatric nurse they administer it ALL the time. Not terribly reassuring but everything I google researched from my iphone (ok what did we do before the invention of internet on mobiles and google? seriously?) said this was the standard treatment. Basically the steroids would relax his throat.

It worked almost instantaneously, our son stopped his horrible coughing, he stopped crying, and he actually gave us a weak smile. The nurse gave him this weird, lopsided knitted teddy the local Red Cross ladies do. It was a lovely gesture but our son was not impressed and much preferred the bubbles hubby was blowing out.

Slowly and surely he came good. Eventually he fell asleep. By this stage it was 2.30am and we were released to go home. We all went home and fell asleep.

What was the most terrifying part, for me, was just how quickly our son deteriorated. He went to bed fine and woke up completely different. Then before our eyes he got progressively worse. The Doctor said this is common, especially at night for croup, but it was truly frightening. Our Doctor also said seeing as our son has had it, chances are good he will get it again, and if that happens the chances increase again and so forth.

Friends have since told me their stories. One friend said her daughter got it four times and each time resulted in an ambulance ride and hospital stay. Another said her daughter had it on and off for 11 years. Another again said her son just had mild cases but had it about four times. Hubby’s friend said her daughter was rushed to hospital several times as well. I was amazed at how common it was, and also how bad it could get.

For more information about Croup please read this fact sheet produced by The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne.

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