Here’s the entry for day 215 in Jason Good’s blog: 3 minutes inside the head of my 2 year old. Read it here.
Let me know if you think you have to have a 2 year old to relate. Hilarious!
Here’s the entry for day 215 in Jason Good’s blog: 3 minutes inside the head of my 2 year old. Read it here.
Let me know if you think you have to have a 2 year old to relate. Hilarious!
‘C’mon lady move it!!’
A great article from the Huffington Post:
I went to a dinner party at a friend’s home last weekend, and met her five-year-old daughter for the first time.
Little Maya was all curly brown hair, doe-like dark eyes, and adorable in her shiny pink nightgown. I wanted to squeal, “Maya, you’re so cute! Look at you! Turn around and model that pretty ruffled gown, you gorgeous thing!”
But I didn’t. I squelched myself. As I always bite my tongue when I meet little girls, restraining myself from my first impulse, which is to tell them how darn cute/ pretty/ beautiful/ well-dressed/ well-manicured/ well-coiffed they are.
What’s wrong with that? It’s our culture’s standard talking-to-little-girls icebreaker, isn’t it? And why not give them a sincere compliment to boost their self-esteem? Because they are so darling I just want to burst when I meet them, honestly.
Hold that thought for just a moment.
This week ABC news reported that nearly half of all three- to six-year-old girls worry about being fat. In my book, Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World, I reveal that fifteen to eighteen percent of girls under twelve now wear mascara, eyeliner and lipstick regularly; eating disorders are up and self-esteem is down; and twenty-five percent of young American women would rather win America’s Next Top Model than the Nobel Peace Prize. Even bright, successful college women say they’d rather be hot than smart. A Miami mom just died from cosmetic surgery, leaving behind two teenagers. This keeps happening, and it breaks my heart.
Teaching girls that their appearance is the first thing you notice tells them that looks are more important than anything. It sets them up for dieting at age 5 and foundation at age 11 and boob jobs at 17 and Botox at 23. As our cultural imperative for girls to be hot 24/7 has become the new normal, American women have become increasingly unhappy. What’s missing? A life of meaning, a life of ideas and reading books and being valued for our thoughts and accomplishments.
That’s why I force myself to talk to little girls as follows.
“Maya,” I said, crouching down at her level, looking into her eyes, “very nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you too,” she said, in that trained, polite, talking-to-adults good girl voice.
“Hey, what are you reading?” I asked, a twinkle in my eyes. I love books. I’m nuts for them. I let that show.
Her eyes got bigger, and the practiced, polite facial expression gave way to genuine excitement over this topic. She paused, though, a little shy of me, a stranger.
“I LOVE books,” I said. “Do you?”
Most kids do.
“YES,” she said. “And I can read them all by myself now!”
“Wow, amazing!” I said. And it is, for a five-year-old. You go on with your bad self, Maya.
“What’s your favorite book?” I asked.
“I’ll go get it! Can I read it to you?”
Purplicious was Maya’s pick and a new one to me, as Maya snuggled next to me on the sofa and proudly read aloud every word, about our heroine who loves pink but is tormented by a group of girls at school who only wear black. Alas, it was about girls and what they wore, and how their wardrobe choices defined their identities. But after Maya closed the final page, I steered the conversation to the deeper issues in the book: mean girls and peer pressure and not going along with the group. I told her my favorite color in the world is green, because I love nature, and she was down with that.
Not once did we discuss clothes or hair or bodies or who was pretty. It’s surprising how hard it is to stay away from those topics with little girls, but I’m stubborn.
I told her that I’d just written a book, and that I hoped she’d write one too one day. She was fairly psyched about that idea. We were both sad when Maya had to go to bed, but I told her next time to choose another book and we’d read it and talk about it. Oops. That got her too amped up to sleep, and she came down from her bedroom a few times, all jazzed up.
So, one tiny bit of opposition to a culture that sends all the wrong messages to our girls. One tiny nudge towards valuing female brains. One brief moment of intentional role modeling. Will my few minutes with Maya change our multibillion dollar beauty industry, reality shows that demean women, our celebrity-manic culture? No. But I did change Maya’s perspective for at least that evening.
Try this the next time you meet a little girl. She may be surprised and unsure at first, because few ask her about her mind, but be patient and stick with it. Ask her what she’s reading. What does she like and dislike, and why? There are no wrong answers. You’re just generating an intelligent conversation that respects her brain. For older girls, ask her about current events issues: pollution, wars, school budgets slashed. What bothers her out there in the world? How would she fix it if she had a magic wand? You may get some intriguing answers. Tell her about your ideas and accomplishments and your favorite books. Model for her what a thinking woman says and does.
And let me know the response you get at www.Twitter.com/lisabloom.
Here’s to changing the world, one little girl at a time.
For many more tips on how keep yourself and your daughter smart, check out my new book, Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World, www.Think.tv.
I just came across this great episode of the Marylin Denis show on how to green your child’s toy box. Adria Vasil our local ecoholic and leader in all things green was the special guest to help us with this task.
Adria identifies four toxins found in toys (Lead, Phthalates, Bisphenol A, Formaldehyde). She spends the short program giving us things to watch out for in the marketplace, see the summary below:
FOUND IN: Paint on children’s toys. It’s used as a paint stabilizer.
HEALTH CONCERNS: learning and reading problems, delayed growth and hearing loss. At high levels, can cause permanent brain damage and even death.
Lead is a paint stabilizer, found mainly in old painted toys, like you’d find at a second hand store. A parent’s best bet to avoid lead in toys is:
Don’t buy second hand toys.
Don’t buy painted toys.
If the toy IS painted or coloured, check the packaging and make sure it says the manufacturer uses SAFE DYES.
A great toy company to look at for lead free alternatives to painted toys is SPRIG TOYS which uses SAFE DYES in the production process. Eliminates the need for paint. Slightly more expensive production process, slightly more expensive toy… but worth it.
FOUND IN: Rubbery (and/or scented) vinyl toys.
HEALTH CONCERNS: urinary and prostate malformations
Phalates are a chemical used to add scents and make plastic squishy. A parent’s best bet to avoid phalates in toys is:
Avoid buying rubbery toys until June 2011 when the new Canadian legislation takes hold.
Avoid all #3 plastic.
Try to Look for alternatives to PLASTIC.
Two great toy companies to look at for plastic durability but phalate free alternatives are Green Toys. whose products are made from recycled milk jugs. Also Dandelion, which manufactures toys from corn. If you have any toys at home you’re unsure of… use my rule of thumb. When in doubt, throw it OUT.
3) Bisphenol A
FOUND IN: Hard, rigid & transparent plastic-like windshields on little cars, and in clear plastic baby bottles.
HEALTH CONCERNS: breast and prostate cancer and various organ diseases
Bisphenol A was used in toys to make it shatterproof. So kids could throw their bottles across the room & not have it break into a billion pieces.
A parent’s best bet for avoiding BPA is:
Look for 1, 2, 4 & 5 plastics which are very unlikely to contain BPA
Choose BPA free bottles like these ones from Kleen Kanteen.
Adria shows toxic stain resistant toys sourced from thrift, old pressed wood toybox.
FOUND IN: Pressed board. Used in miniature kitchens and cribs; stain-resistant clothing and toys
HEALTH CONCERNS: Known carcinogen; it has been known to cause nervous system damage; it can also irritate children with asthma and/or cause coughing and wheezing.
Formaldehyde is found in the glue that holds pressed wood together. The off-gasses can cause coughing/wheezing & asthma.
A parent’s best bet to avoid formaldehyde in kids toys is:
Avoid stain proofed toys or clothing.
Avoid pressed wood toys.
Three companies to look at when sourcing formaldehyde free wood for your little ones are Imagiplay, Canadian furniture company YUP and reclaimed wool toys from Cate & Levi.
For more information check out Adria’s site: www.ecoholic.ca or the toxic nation study put together by Environmental Defence. (http://environmentaldefence.ca/campaigns/toxic-nation)
Formaldehyde and styrene are among eight agents added to a list of known and suspected carcinogens by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
A friend just sent me some very interesting research on gender. These points are from “Why Gender Matters: What parents and teachers need to know about the emerging science of sex differences”, by Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D., 2005.
This explains a few things I’ve observed, and the book sounds like a good read. I hope you find it interesting too. I’d love to hear what you think.
Many parents have discovered how easily television can keep children occupied. TV can be especially handy when you need to get something done and don’t have a magic babysitter to take care of the kids. But it begs the question: what effect does television have on kids?
Individual parents have widely varying opinions on this. Just yesterday a friend told me that he thought his child’s behaviour was noticeably less cooperative after watching television. Another friend, however, reported no change in attitude at all. So what does science tell us?
A recent study done at the University de Montreal found that every additional hour of TV exposure among toddlers corresponded to a future decrease in classroom engagement and success at math, increased victimization by classmates and ultimately a higher body mass index. That’s enough for any parent to have a minor freak-out over TV consumption. Could it be that what seems to be making your life easier today is in fact making it harder in the future? Read the article here and decide for yourself.
Here’s what the American Academy of Pediatricians has to say about TV for toddlers:[http://www.aap.org/sections/media/toddlerstv.htm]
It may be tempting to put your infant or toddler in front of the television, especially to watch shows created just for children under age two. But the American Academy of Pediatrics says: Don’t do it! … Pediatricians strongly oppose targeted programming, especially when it’s used to market toys, games, dolls, unhealthy food and other products to toddlers. Any positive effect of television on infants and toddlers is still open to question, but the benefits of parent-child interactions are proven. Under age two, talking, singing, reading, listening to music or playing are far more important to a child’s development than any TV show.
Personally I try to err on the side of caution. My toddler gets no TV at all. In the future we plan to let her watch age-appropriate TV that focuses on learning and doesn’t pump marketing at her. I also like the idea of defining a time budget for kids’ TV watching, computer time, etc., and permitting TV access as a reward, not an entitlement. Everything in moderation.
Resources and more ideas here:
The unfolding tragedy caused by the massive earthquake in Japan raises a difficult debate for parents: how best to explain disastrous events like this to children and, more generally, how much media exposure is healthy for little tykes.
Older kids will be exposed to news of this natural disaster whether we like it or not. You can help by moderating some of the information they receive to ensure they don’t experience unnecessary anxiety. Times like these also present an opportunity to teach the importance of helping others when we can.
Younger kids, of course, also experience anxiety, and they have less ability than older children and adults do to put everything into perspective. A strange character in a story book can quickly become a monster in a nightmare, for instance. The good news is that you, the parent, control what media and how much of it your young children see, and you also have the opportunity (and responsibility) to tell stories that put it in context for them. The best advice I’ve found for avoiding nightmares and worry is to continually reinforce your child’s sense of security and safety. “Mommy is here, Daddy is here, we’re taking care of you, you’re safe.”
Here’s an article in the Globe and Mail with regard to this topic. What do you think?
There was so much response and interest to the post-partum piece that I’ve decided to include a second set of resources. Thank you again to the staff at St. Joseph’s hospital for compiling the list of resources.
Women’s Health Centre at St. Joseph’s Health Centre
30 The Queensway, Toronto, ON M6R 1B5 416-530-6850
http://www.oursistersplace.ca Support groups; online information and support
Ontario Early Years Centre Brampton Centre
Brampton Neighbourhood Resource Centre
Postpartum Mood Disorders Support Group
8C-180 Sandalwood Parkway East, Brampton, ON L6Z 4N2 905-495-3430
Ontario Early Years Centre – Dixie-Bloor Neighbourhood Centre
Tomken Public School, South Building
3160 Tomken Road, Mississauga, ON L4Y 2Y6 905-276-6392
Ontario Early Years Centre – Mississauga Parent-Child Resource Centres
Meadowvale Town Centre Mall, Winston Churchill, north of Britannia, also serves Brampton and Milton
6677 Meadowvale Town Centre Circle, Mississauga, ON L5N 2R5 905-567-4156
Health Department Call Centre, Peel Region
Postpartum Support Group – Oakville Parent-Child Centre & Early Years Centre
461 North Service Road West, Unit 17
Oakville, ON L6M 2V5 905-849-6366
12-week education and support group to help families with the transition during pregnancy or after the birth of the baby. No cost, childcare provided.
This program for women with mood and anxiety disorders related to menstrual cycle, infertility, pregnancy, postpartum and menopause.
The clinic offers consultation and short-term therapy for women with postpartum depression and anxiety (support group).
Hospital for Sick Children 416-813-6780
Postpartum Support International
“Open Forum”: weekly telephone support via 800 bridgeline. “Chat with an expert”
Call schedule and access codes are available at http://www.postpartum.net/Get-Help/Chat-with-the-Experts.aspx
or call 1-800-944-4773 for more information
A Web site providing easy-to-understand, downloadable tools for women, their families and health care professionals.
Wednesday chats for mums; Monday chats for dads
http://www.postpartumsupport.com/ Also offers resources and guidance for fathers.
Dr. Shaila Misri, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry & Obstetrics/Gynaecology University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC
5. Pacific Postpartum Support Society
6. The Ruth Rhoden Craven Foundation for Postpartum Depression Awareness
A commemorative Web site offering comprehensive information for the whole family.
7. Our Sisters’ Place
A program of the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario.
8. Online PPD Support Group
9. Life With a New Baby is Not Always What You Expect
Ontario’s maternal, newborn and early child development resource centre.
10. Telehealth Ontario
Telehealth Ontario is a free, confidential telephone service you can call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to get health advice or general health information from a Registered Nurse.
11. Solace for Mothers
Support for women who have experienced birth trauma.
12. PPMD Connection Newsletter
Peel Region Postpartum Mood Disorder Program
13. Mood Gym
A free self-help program to teach cognitive behaviour therapy skills to people vulnerable to depression and anxiety.
***Thank you to the staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital for compiling this list.
You pictured yourself baking cookies and knitting socks while your wee one was sleeping in a bassinet besides you. Baby bliss and total satisfaction from motherhood is what you had in mind. Instead, you’re tending to your cracked nipples; haven’t washed your hair in a week; feel socially isolated and angry with everyone who goes to work and gets a break to go to the bathroom.
Having a baby is supposed to be one of the happiest times in your life. Society tells us what emotions we should be demonstrating when we welcome a little one into our lives. Television, movies, and magazines give us the impression that the birth of a baby equals joy, happiness, satisfaction, pride and even serenity. Gossipy magazines display pages of proud celebrity moms in their bikinis on white sandy beaches just weeks after giving birth. Super women like Madonna and Angelina Jolie seem to travel the world with their brood of kids and don’t seem fazed by any of it. Moms to be are fooled into believing that these images are the reality of motherhood.
No one told you about the physical, emotional and relationship changes that accompany the birth of a baby. Your bottom still hurts from labour; your emotions are all over the place and your partner doesn’t understand how you can be so upset “because isn’t this what you always wanted?” Well meaning friends and family tell you to “relax and just enjoy your baby”. If it were only that easy you would probably be doing just that. But when you feel exhausted, overwhelmed and anxious life seems to be out of control. You may be feeling angry and depressed because it wasn’t supposed to be like this. You may even start to doubt yourself. Was this a big mistake..?
These feelings can take you by surprise, especially because this time should be so magical. You may feel devastated when your expectations of life as a new mom don’t match up with reality. However, your feelings make a lot of sense when you acknowledge that becoming a parent is a huge job.
Up to 80 percent of new mothers experience the baby blues following the birth of a new baby. You may cry easily, feel sad, overwhelmed and tired for a few days after birth. These feelings are brief and usually disappear on their own. Ten to twenty percent of women experience post partum depression, which is characterized by depression and often feelings of anxiety which don’t seem to go away. It can occur within days of delivery or adoption of a child, or can appear gradually, sometimes up to a year later. A very small percentage of new mothers are affected by post partum psychosis which is characterized by a loss of contact with reality.
Even though post partum depression looks different in every woman, these are things you may be experiencing:
• Trouble sleeping, or sleeping too much
• Changes in appetite – eating much more
or much less
• Feeling irritable, angry, or nervous
• Feeling exhausted
• Not enjoying life as much as in the past
• Lack of interest in the baby
• Lack of interest in friends and family
• Lack of interest in sex
• Feeling guilty or worthless
• Feeling hopeless
• Crying uncontrollably
• Feelings of being a bad mother
• Trouble concentrating
• Low energy
• Thoughts of harming the baby or yourself
Women of every race, culture and socio-economic status can develop post partum depression. Even though some women are more likely to develop post partum depression than others, it can happen to anyone. Some of the risk factors include changes in hormone levels; a difficult pregnancy; the loss or grieving of a loved one; previous post partum depression; lack of sleep; not having enough support; feeling alone; loss of freedom; change of routines; personal or family history of depression; history of trauma; and high anxiety levels.
You might be feeling like there is no end in sight to these feelings. However, all post partum adjustment disorders are temporary! It doesn’t matter how severe your symptoms are, they will get better over time. There are many treatment options available to women across the GTA which can help to get your recovery underway. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of wisdom.
Mental Health Clinician