Tag Archives: Children’s Health

Things in little kids’ noses

I enjoy reading The Naughty Corner and the discussion I read today is on things that kids stuff up their noses.

Seriously weird, people. And I can say that as a confirmed nose stuffer as a kid. I put peas up my nose on a regular basis. Thank goodness Poppa knew how to get them out. Also things in my ears. Now the only things that will go in my ears are earrings through my earlobes. That’s it! I’m traumatized enough!

DD put a purple fluffy craft ball up her nose in kindergarten. I have no idea why. She claimed that it had fallen out when she was playing in the playground but I couldn’t see it on the softfall and I was rather suspicious. Increased snot flow (yuck!), funny snores, and since I had to take her to the GP the next day, I asked him to look up her nostrils. Sure enough, there was a small purple ball which he was able to retrieve with tweezers. He’s a dad, too, so he kindly provided us with a small specimen jar to keep the offending craft ball. I’d include a photo just to prove it, but DD chucks a wobbly every time I pull it out of the cupboard, citing shame and embarrassment. Obviously I’ll have to keep that for her 18th birthday party!


Posted by on November 1, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Dirt’s not so bad

Sure, I’ve thought about the three second rule, and found that nowadays it’s more like, um, the 5 or 10 second rule depending upon how recently the floor has been cleaned. You see, I’m one of those strange women who prefers that people take off their shoes in the house (but I don’t carry on about it and if people don’t do it, well, I just suck it up and deal with it). DD and I take off our shoes as soon as we get home. DD would rather have bare feet and I wear slippers or jiffies. Just one of my quirks, not wanting dirt tracked through the house.

I’m still thinking about the ‘immunising your kid through dirt’ hypothesis. There’s an op-ed piece that I read today here by Tory Shepherd. Have to say, her piece gave me a bit of a giggle (way to go, Tory! I appreciate that!).

There’s a vindictive delight in knowing that it [excessive hygiene paranoia] might just all be a crock. And more, that all this sterility is really not very good for children at all.

I think this very specific and bitter pleasure comes from having evidence that “helicopter parenting” is bad. […]

This is not a noble feeling, but it’s one plenty of us have. At a guess it’s spawned by defensive thinking that we were not that protected.

Our parents never worried about us that much and we’re just fine thank-you-very-much.

Parenting now is a competition sport. Marketers know that, and use it to increase the guilt motherlode and sell more and more products.

I don’t use the sterile wipes on DD because she has eczema which flares up horribly when the alcohol in those wipes touches her skin. (Same thing with me – still getting over dermatitis from using one of those wipes 2.5 weeks ago.) So it’s back to basics like my mum did: damp facewasher kept in a plastic bag. Heck, let’s splash out – let’s have a few of them! At last count, DD had about 20 facewashers in the linen closet and it’s really not too hard to get organised to do that. If you don’t want to use a plastic bag, get a small reusable plastic container for the damp facewasher. That’s it. Soap and water in the bathroom are fine. Just wash all over the hands, between the fingers and all the way down the wrist, and make sure the hands are completely dry. Of course, that means a bit more laundry because hand towels will get wetter quicker, but that’s do-able.

DD has eaten her share of dirt and sand to the point where she had vile nappies. As far as I can tell, she wasn’t missing anything in her diet but she grew out of it. Even now, she has a pretty laissez-faire attitude towards dirt.

I suspect part of this is due to me deliberately not going down the OMG teh dirt and cooties! route. I remember getting totally obsessed about germs as a little kid and it was horrible. Even now, I’m quite aware that I could go back to that behaviour under stress because I’ve done it again and again as an adult. I can see that with a child who has a compromised immune system, you must be particularly vigilant – your child’s health will improve with your actions. But for the average kid, this can be pretty much over the top.

In the meantime, I have a kid who has what appears to be a fairly healthy immune system. She eats her fruit and vegies. Any cuts or scrapes heal quickly after being cleaned and having some magic ointment on them (Bepanthen or Dettol). She doesn’t catch many colds. And best of all, she’s full of beans, wants to play all day and loves life. Even if she nearly gives her mum a panic attack now and then. 🙂

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Posted by on December 13, 2010 in Children's Health


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Vegies Redux

For a while it looked like we were winning the vegie war. In early 2008 I had some success in getting DD to eat vegies after praying the Vegie Prayer. Then there was considerable backsliding for months.

A few months ago, DD would eat some things out of a meat and vegie stir fry, e.g. some “trees” (small pieces of broccoli), some “branches” (green beans) and maybe some carrot or corn, plus some fluffy rice and perhaps a few small pieces of meat.

That sweet period is over. NONONONONONONONO is the response when presented with anything that could be related to vegies. True, this started when she had a sore throat after having her tonsils removed. A lot of poor eating behaviour dates to that time. Sure, she’s cut back on the biscuits, no more juice except maybe one or two small cups on the weekend, ice cream once a week, custard a couple of times a week. The fresh fruit situation is cool – varied, delicious, eagerly eaten on most occasions.

It’s just that the vegies stump me, even when processed, hidden, dressed up and disguised. OK, she’s not going to starve. She has adequate vitamins and minerals and protein and carbs and all that. She drinks water. She eats a variety of foods. But oh boy, I wish she’d eat vegies sometimes.


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Mind your own business

Well, that’s what I feel like saying to people when they decide to “help” me by criticising my choices that I make for my daughter regarding food, entertainment, activities, bedtimes, sleeping patterns, clothing, and more. Sometimes it’s so-called experts (all that OMG your television will ROT your child’s BRAIN), sometimes it’s pretend-friendly acquaintances who want to guide me into the path of approved righteousness. Now comes the irritating news that childcare staff will check children’s lunchboxes for unhealthy nasties. No, I don’t mean cheese that’s going off, but rather, targetting poor choices of those awful adults who think that the occasional sweet treat is acceptable in a lunchbox.

And y’know? All this does is make me dig in my heels. Yes, I can see many sides to situations, one of those useful skills I learned at school and university. Equally, I learned how to analyse and test data and put forth my own propositions and findings.

Excuse me for taking my daughter to swimming lessons. I am not intentionally trying to ‘hothouse’ her into physical and mental excellence by providing additional activities. To be frank, I am not a brilliant instructor for swimming and though we have a fine time splashing about in the pool together, DD gets a better idea of how to move her arms and legs and how to float by some instruction from one of the lovely teachers at the swim school.

Excuse me if I don’t feel obliged to put my child in a woolly singlet because generations have done it in the past. Obviously my dereliction of duty in that area means that my child will freeze into a popsicle and I will win the prize of Fail!Mom.

Excuse me for letting my darling daughter watch Dora the Explorer on TV. Even if we spend time in the garden when we come home, exploring the plants, looking for birds and bugs, working on the compost heap, and pulling out weeds, that activity counts for naught because … DD watches TV for a while afterwards. Every minute she watches it, apparently she will get grams of fat wriggling from the screen onto her beautiful legs and arms. My care in creating meals from scratch doesn’t mean a thing – that evil LCD TV will grab hold of DD and take her over to the Obese Side.

Goodness, I could go on and on about this. I guess it’s my ornery nature. 🙂

If you want to read someone else’s rant on this subject, go to Susie O’Brien’s opinion piece in the Herald Sun. She reminded me of some points that I had forgotten.

Looking through the guidelines for kinders and childcare centres, which are being considered by the Federal Government, there’s a long list of nasties.

Besides TV, high on the black list are parents who drive their kids to kinder or child care, use food as rewards or punishments, give their kids “sometimes” foods sometimes, and give them treats in their lunchboxes.

Susie, you’re welcome to come over to me and join the ranks of Fail!Mom. 🙂


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Demographics and the birth rate

Betsy Shaw at BabyCenter blogged about changes in fertility rates in North America and Europe.

In Australia we have the baby bonus, originally a sum of $3000 given to parents when a child was born back when the scheme started on 1 July 2004. On 1 July 2006 the baby bonus was increased again. Now, if you had a baby due on 30 June, would you be tempted to hold off as much as possible, if it were medically safe? Would you delay an induction?

Professor Joshua Gans and Dr Andrew Leigh wrote a paper called “Born on the First of July: An (Un)Natural Experiment in Birth Timing”. Gans and Leigh estimate that over 1000 births were moved to ensure their parents were eligible for the baby bonus, with 1 July 2004 showing the highest number of births on one day in the past 30 years. Obviously there were births which occurred in the week from 1 July 2004 which were expected to have been in the previous week.

Analyzing a subsample of birth records, we find that babies born in early-July were significantly heavier than those born in late-June, which would be consistent with parents delaying births to obtain the payment. All of this provides an indication that shifting was, in fact, real and not a result of reporting issues or fraud.

Given that the policy was announced only 7 weeks before it came into effect, planned conception for the baby bonus can be discounted.

Section 5 of the paper looks at parental and child characteristics.

If the introduction effect caused parents to delay birth, then it should be the case that babies born after the Baby Bonus was introduced will weigh more than those born just before the introduction. […]

The increased share of high birth weight babies that accompanied the introduction of the Baby Bonus might potentially have led to adverse health consequences. While babies born pre-term and/or underweight are less likely to be healthy, the same is also true of babies born too late and/or overweight. […]

Nonetheless, while the evidence on birth weight suggests that the introduction of the Baby Bonus might have put some children at risk, we do not find strong evidence that this had more dire consequences.

Food for thought.

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Posted by on August 26, 2008 in Child Development, Children's Health


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