We do a fairly good job of eating healthy at our house, particularly for dinner, but we have recently been in a rut with healthy options that my 6-year-old will actually eat for breakfast, lunch, and after school snacks. He’s also at the age where he likes to get involved in food choices and (occasionally) food preparation.
So, to mix things up a bit I crowd-sourced for new ideas this week (and boy did folks come through with some great ideas)! My plan for 2017 is to have this chart up on the fridge and involve my son in meal planning. Each Saturday before grocery shopping he can pick two items from each category and I’ll make sure we have the ingredients on hand for the following week. During my usual Sunday meal prep, I’m going to try to involve him in getting his own BF/lunch/snacks ready for the week.
This is a living document so if you have more ideas or helpful resources, please share in the comments. The first PDF includes our ideas, the second is left blank for your family’s imagination. I’ll let you know how it goes!
It happened again three times in clinic today. In the middle of a patient visit, a parent picked up their cell phone. To answer a call, to text a friend, to read their email. The trend of being always connected and available has reached the exam room. When this first started happening I was sort of incredulous. I mean, I’m there, talking to you about your child’s health, and you’re taking a call?
Then something interesting happened. I got a smart phone, and I started to get more connected myself. I downloaded a few apps. And, it was great. I could read my email or the newspaper anytime. I could use the phone during a clinic visit to check a drug dose or potential side effect. Eventually, and here’s the confession part, I found myself start to be sort of drawn to the phone. I pull it out while waiting in line at the post office. I take it out of my pocket at work to use the calculator and suddenly find that my email is open and I am reading it. This seems to happen as if all on its own. I have to close it, remember what I was doing, and move on. I even sometimes have to consciously stop myself from grabbing the phone while driving.
As the fall-out of the recession lingers on, I am seeing more and more families in my clinic who are facing food insecurity and hunger. Many of these are families who used to be solidly middle class, but have been out of work for a year. They’ve already sold their car, their home, some of their belongings. They are running short each month. They are not sure where to turn, and they are often ashamed to talk about it. Continue reading →
So, the time is approaching. The time I’ve been dreading a bit. The one developmental milestone, that, for some reason, I was kind of hoping my son would reach later rather than earlier. It is almost time for toilet training. How do I know? Well, the little guy routinely sits on his little potty for a few minutes before bathtime. We read some books, chat, and that is that. But, lately, these nightly sits on the potty have occasionally become, shall we say, productive.
Why am I afraid of potty training? Well, this is one area of parenting for which I think practical life experience is probably a lot more useful than reading about it. Perhaps the pediatrician in me is worried the mom won’t be able to do it “right”. I also have visions of mapping out the shortest distance to the nearest bathroom during every errand, trip, and walk. Diapers are just so easy right now. Messy, occasionally, but easy. But, as we say, toileting is one of the areas where the kids have much of the control, so if he’s getting ready, I better get on board.
The number of educational topics a pediatrician is trained to cover in a standard well child visit is a bit overwhelming. Each topic could (and does) fill books. A 2006 study published in Pediatrics found that there are 162 different verbal health advice directives that pediatricians are told to cover with each patient over time. These important topics range from injury prevention to nutrition to sexual health to literacy promotion. But, as the authors of the study point out, not only is there little time to cover these topics, there is scant evidence to suggest whether or not talking about these topics with families is actually effective. It is often difficult to know exactly what to prioritize for discussion in a short clinic visit. In order to ameliorate our own anxiety that we didn’t have time for everything, many pediatricians provide educational handouts. But, does anyone read them? What’s more, are they written in the language the parent speaks, at a level they can understand?
“How many words do you think he can say?”, I asked, as I do for all 2 year olds, at a recent well child visit. The mom’s eyes gleamed proudly, “at least 50 I think” and then her face dropped, “but they’re mostly in Spanish.”
In my diverse practice well over half of the families speak a language other than English at home. And, the above is a common scenario- apparent disappointment or shame that their young child prefers that language to English, or speaks a mixture of both. I have made it my mission to dispute the notion that speaking two or more languages at an early age is somehow a disadvantage, and I am really happy to see so many recent studies that back me up. Continue reading →
My son just turned 18 months. Since becoming a mother, many people have asked, has it changed you as a pediatrician? Have you changed the way you practice medicine? The answer? A resounding yes! And, the reverse is also true; being a pediatrician changes me as a mother. And, not always in the ways you might expect. I find myself searching for the balance between the textbooks I’ve read and the reality that families are living. And, I find myself more and more with the need to write about it. Thus, the idea for this blog was born. I am a mother to a beautiful baby boy. I am a pediatrician/child advocate. And, I will be both of these here. My vision for My Two Hats is to take hot topics in pediatrics, child health policy, and parenting and look at them from each side. It will be part advice with a personal slant, part confession (what the science tells us versus practical reality), and hopefully part entertaining.
There are already a number of pediatricians out there writing and blogging, and there is a veritable industry of mommy blogs (check out my blogroll to see some that I think are great). Why should you read My Two Hats? Well, I think have a unique perspective to add. Our family is bicultural and bilingual and I’ll definitely touch on those themes. I am a passionate child advocate, especially for underserved kids, and will use this forum to bring their issues to the fore.
Please let me know what you think of My Two Hats! I am always open to comments, suggestions, and ideas for post topics.