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Sleeping on the Road

We are trying out traveling with him internationally. Yes we are brave. So much for routines. One good thing is he recognizes his bedtime cues. We brought a favorite blanket (even though it’s 90 degrees and humid!), a favorite bedtime book-The Very Busy Spider, and the portable playpen from grandma’s house. So after the days adventures, he is getting to sleep ok, albeit initially in our bed. I’m sure we could get him down in his own playpen after a bit of protest, but the hotel neighbors aren’t enjoying the protest.
We are hoping everything will be back to normal when we get back to home. If he can get off schedule that quickly, he should be able to get on schedule quickly too. (I will comment below when we get back to follow up.) As a rule of thumb, for medical problems, I tell parents, anything that makes them sick quickly tends to heal just as quickly. Unfortunately, things with a slow onset tend to take awhile to cure as well. I think that will pan out for behavioral issues as well.
Anyway, it’s time to get back to preparing my lecture (We are traveling so I can do some volunteer medical teaching in Nicaragua. If you want to learn more about our “teach a man to fish” efforts, check out Health Volunteers at www.HVOusa.org )

How to Clean your House, and Kill Pests without Killing Your Child

Want to know how to keep pests out of your house without exposing your child to toxins?  Here are some handy hints http://www.environmentalhealth.org/EHC_Misc_Archive/fs-homeclean.html from the Environmental Health Coalition of San Diego. 

It’s nice because they are not trying to sell you their latest greatest version of a natural product. It also has lots of great ideas, that are mostly common sense, on preventing insects in the first place.

I liked the hint to avoid ants around dog bowls by making a soapy moat, even though my wife says she invented that for her 5th grade science project (any Intellectual Property lawyers reading my blog?).

A good rule of thumb:If you don’t like the fumes, it’s probably not good for your child.

Attitude of Gratitude Happy Thanksgiving

Gratitude Attitude

This week, my bosses ex died suddenly at home with his kids there.  My mother, who has been scared to drive her Prius, switched to driving her husband’s larger car to be safer.  She was the front of a 3car pile up on the freeway.  Fortunately, my mother and sister who was also in the car, are overall okay.

It may be cliche, but Thanksgiving is a time to remember, you never know what life may bring, so make the most of it.  Most of all appreciate what you do have.  I avoid wasting energy worrying about the bad and I focus on the good.  It’s my Attitude of Gratitude.  

Every country has holidays celebrating various victories, and independence.  This day, the  United States of America commemorates finding common ground with Native Americans, where we learned to share a land we all appreciated.  We commemorate it, and title it, as a day of giving thanks for all we have.  I am grateful for those moments when our opposing political parties find common ground and we progress as a nation.

On Thanksgiving, my amazing partner and I were also married.  Our lives together, have built on this attitude of Gratitude that we will instill in our son.
Every night before going to sleep, we say something we are grateful for.  We go to bed grateful and happy.  
When I was a kid, on Thanksgiving my family did “Thankfuls”.  I thought they were weird.  Now every day it is easy for me to seek what is wonderful about my day, my friends, my family, the world, and acknowledge it.  I can’t wait to instill this attitude of gratitude every day in my children.

Happy Thanksgiving.  I am grateful you are interested in what I have to say.  What are you grateful for?

Funny Hospital Story

Some of you may not know about my other blog, and are always asking me about funny hospital stories.
I thought this story about undesirables in the hospital belonged there, since no child was involved.

My only thought as Daddy Dr. is, I will have to remember what parents just went through in the waiting room, just to get to see me in the ER. The Hospital Chapel in the little story is just around the corner from the ER in that hospital.

Happy Father’s Day

I thought I would get to sleep in as a special father’s day gift. Nope. I have now discovered the new joy of waking up to your child in your bed, and he’s not even a year old. He’s not doing the “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!” yet. He does stick his little hand out and pat me on the back to get my attention while he’s laying between us nursing. And then he smiles so big when I open my eyes from a deep sleep and look at him finally.
That is a joy that anyone who’s had a child can understand, but once you are a father…wow.
When I look at my son, I think about the joy my dad must have had looking at me. I still catch him looking at me that way.
So Happy Father’s Day to all the daddies out there.

What fond memories do you have of your father?

Good News!

I just finished a rant on the benefit of immunizations. So I thought it was time for something more upbeat.

My life is better by surrounding myself with positivity and avoiding the negativity. My family does not watch the sensationalized, negativity saturated news. Don’t let your children watch the news! The world is not the evil, dangerous place they make it out to be.

Instead check this out: http://www.happynews.com/

Boy’s Will Be Boys

So Daddy is back from a week long work trip on the pediatric ward up North in Central California.  It has been a nice 5 long weeks since I’ve had to travel.  We figured out, that besides when he was born and I was home 7 weeks, that’s a record since we’ve been together!

After starting Pediatric training over 15 years ago, I learned one thing about naked baby boys.  They will aim and fire at will.  (I’m not sure if that ends at babyhood!).   I’ve been exceptional in my Pediatric career at not getting hit by baby pee.  Although parents always amusingly (and proudly?)  share with me that their sons “Peed all over the scale” as my wife did after my son’s first pediatric visit.  They smile even wider when their son “Peed all over the nurse”.

Yet I’ve once again learned, years of knowledge, do not replace experience.  Right after a shower, when I stopped to send a nice pic to Mommy…he shot the cannon.  Twice.  The second to last pic is the look of shock on his face after he’s peed on it.  The last one is his amusement at my amusement.  Who wouldn’t be amused to see pee all over their (freshly showered) son’s face?!

The life of the patient

I write this blog, because I am now the patient’s family.  I write it to help physician’s remember medical advice, is just that, advice.  When it comes to actually executing all that wonderful advice, I’m finding, it’s much easier said than is done.

My other aim is to now give that advice, as a parent, in a different way then I gave it, when I didn’t get to actually try these things out.

As a friend said, empathy has given way to sympathy now.

I am writing today’s entry after watching a friend’s video about a day in her life.  She is about to turn 50.  What makes her life relevant here is that she is surviving a “childhood” illness, cystic fibrosis.  When I started my residency, the average lifespan of people with CF was just getting into the early 20′s.  Now with modern advancements in caring for this disease, the average age is 35!   She is an inspiration that fights hard to beat the odds.  Every day.  Every minute.

Here is her video she made in celebration of her birthday.  It shows some of the reality of living with this disease.  When I prescribe this treatment and that treatment, this med and that med, I will remember watching this and what it’s like to execute medical regimens. 

Heck, I even have a hard time putting sun screen on my baby!  If I put it on his hands, he’ll eat it.   I never thought about that!

“For your own good” Feeling guilty about giving shots

I’m sure every parent feels some guilt when they give their child shots. Today, after my son got his 2nd series of shots at 4 months, I felt this weird sort of guilt for every one of the 1000′s of kids I’ve ordered shots for.

At the time of the shots, I didn’t even mind that he cried for a moment. I took it in stride, knowing the immunizations are good for him. I’d rather see him cry, than see one of his limbs shrivel up from polio. Or even more saliently, rather than see him with Pertussis (Whooping Cough) snotty, unable to eat, and crying from a constant minute-long stacatto cough, then turning blue, then sucking in a breath (the Whoop) and crying some more, when the serial cough finally ends. And then see that cycle all over again a few minutes later…for a month. Yes, I’d much rather see him cry for a minute, or even a day, than have even a few days of any of the diseases the vaccines protect him against.

But later that day, I babysat for him for only the second mommyless (or more specifically boobiless) time. As he became increasingly fussy, I felt a weird, different sort of guilt. I felt like my child’s fussiness from the shots was some sort of karmic payback for those 1000′s of kids.

Don’t get me wrong. I have no doubt they are still worth it, and no regrets. I still had that tinge of guilt, bigger than just the guilt of doing something for my child’s own good. I felt like my child was paying for all the other children. Weird.

Actually in the end, it turned out he just missed the boob and needed a bottle. It was only my second time without Mommy and I didn’t think he could possibly need to eat again already! Welcome to the world of parenting, Daddy Dr.

The Danger of Car Seats! The new recommendations

According to a new recommendation put out by the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, children under 2 years of age should be put in rear facing seats. There is a 75% higher chance of dieing in an accident under the age of 2 if facing forward. The old recommendation was up to 20 lbs, or around one year of age. The new recommendation actually says, up until they are 2 years old, or until they outgrow their rear facing seat.
Another interesting article put out last year, shows the dangers of a car seat when used around the house. There are lots of injuries.
Here is a summary of the recommendations from the U.S. News and World Report Health article:
* Don’t put a car seat on a table, chair, or sofa while at home.
* Don’t follow the advice of the “baby whisperer” types who recommend placing the car seat on top of a running washing machine to help put the kid to sleep.
* Shopping carts can be perilous, too; the American Academy of Pediatrics cautions against putting the car seat on top of a shopping cart, despite those nifty slots on the bottom of the baby bucket that invite that.
* Avoid the temptation to put the car seat on the tailgate or roof of the car in parking lots.
* Put babies in a playpen or crib if you need to keep them safe from pets or siblings. Use a car seat only as a travel device.

Like the author of that article, I’m guilty of using the car seat in the house. I’m sure we all are. For one, they snap out of the base when your child has finally fallen asleep in the car. At 6 wks, my little guy after a long 3 day road trip (we didn’t want to subject him to airplanes and the germs in them) started to fall asleep real easily in the car seat. So we use it to lay him down in for naps sometimes during the day in the house. After working in the ER for so long, I’ve seen many of these injuries. I am aware of their ability to miraculously flip over in car seats, and have avoided placing him in the seat on chairs, table tops, and counters. I still bring him inside, I just am extra careful he’s not in a spot where the seat can flip or he can flip out.

Some grocery carts fit my seat really well. It clicks in and locks in place. I guess I will avoid leaving him on top of the grocery cart, if it doesn’t click in.

One rule of thumb I’ve always used (even before having had babies) is to NEVER put anything on the roof of the car or on the tailgate.
I don’t even want to forget my coffee up there! So if I have to put my drink down (or maybe the baby) I’m putting it on the hood, where I’ll see it when I get in!

I think the guiltiest moment of my wife’s career as a mother was when my little Houdini managed to slide out of one of his chairs and clunk onto our wood floor at 2 months of age. I was so used to hearing about that happening, I knew he would be fine. Kids have been falling out things since the dawn of time. I’m sure that will be the first of many falls. Still, I’ll be even more careful now, I can’t heal scars.

Have you had bad mishaps with car seats? Bad baby slips? Comment here: