PAIN THRESHOLD  

At what point after your child has had an injury do you go from telling them that they will be fine to actually committing to getting an x-ray? I’ve struggled with this over the years. Children’s pain thresholds vary from one to another and it’s sometimes hard to gauge the severity of an injury. I’ve had a child screaming like they snapped their arm in two to find after an x-ray that there was no fracture, just a sprain and two kids seeming to be in mild discomfort to find out a few days later that they in fact had fractures. 

Last year one of my daughters fell whilst snowboarding and complained of sore wrists. She could wriggle her fingers so we didn’t think the injury was all that bad. After a day of rest, we then took her on the snow again. After her first run she complained the pain was too much. A ski-patrol assistant pressed down on the bone up near her elbow on each arm and asked if it hurt (which it did on both sides down at her wrist) then suggested we take her to the medical centre as he felt she may have fractured both wrists. After a few hours wait and a hideously expensive on-snow x-ray it was confirmed she had indeed broken both wrists. As parents we felt dreadful that we hadn’t sought medical attention earlier. On a positive note the swelling had subsided enough for them to put her immediately into plaster on both wrists. I expected I would have to do everything for her, but she was extremely resilient and still did everything as normal (including her chores). The only long lasting effect of this accident is her complete refusal to ever go on snow again!

Just recently our son hurt his chest whilst at an indoor trampoline centre. Trying to land a backflip he managed to hit his chin into his chest. He complained that it hurt off and on for a few days. The complaining was the loudest when he had to do a chore, but then he would say that it didn’t hurt too much if I suggested we get an x-ray and if there was damage that he wouldn’t be able to go snowboarding the following weekend. I truly thought it was just bruised and that his whining was just an excuse to get out of doing things he didn’t want to do. He went to the snow and was in mild discomfort until someone crashed into him. At that point he said he no longer wanted to be on the snow (which is like a chocoholic refusing chocolate!). I suggested to my husband that it may be worthwhile visiting the hideously expensive on snow medical centre for an x-ray and lo and behold, our son actually has a fractured sternum.

We can’t wrap our kids up in cotton wool, but I’m thinking that maybe we should look into getting shares in the on-snow medical centre!

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Have your kids ever injured themselves and you thought they were fine; only to find out it was more serious than first expected?

 

(Photo courtesy of stockimages, freedigitalphotos.net)

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WEEKEND SPORTS  

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There is a light at the end of the tunnel! Our kids’ weekend sports season is about to end and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

We only allow our kids to play weekend sport during winter, as we like to reserve summer weekends for family fun in the sun. So each year with trepidation we allow our kids to enroll in sports, knowing the challenge ahead.

This year, one daughter played netball, one played soccer and the other played hockey. Thankfully our son played his sport on weekdays. Each of our daughter’s games were held in different locations at roughly the same time. With bated breath every week, I would get the draw for each child and jump mental hurdles trying to work out how I could get each girl to their game. Sometimes their games would be located 200 kilometres apart, which was a real logistical nightmare.

Thankfully we would car pool some weeks, so our child could take advantage of getting a lift the weeks we couldn’t physically be at each of our daughters’ games. 

On top of the actual game was the time dedicated to training sessions. Two of my daughters had two training sessions each week – one at 6.30am (on different days) and the other after school.

I sometimes wonder how I managed to keep track of all the places the girls had to be and when! 

Two of my daughters had their grand finals last week. Our eldest daughter’s netball team won 38-17 and our second daughter’s soccer team won 4-0. I guess it goes to show that their dedication to the sport paid off! So now we only have one game left of hockey and then we are freeeeee (I squeal, heels clicking in the air!)

That’s eight commitments each week I can strike off our roster! You can imagine the relief that comes with that load being lifted. Of course, they will do additional sport over summer, but it will be local weekday sport to allow our weekends to remain available for rest and relaxation!

Come Saturday afternoon, I will feel that I have regained some of my life back – that is until the kids sign up for winter sport again next year!

 

Is it just me or do you also feel relieved when your kid’s sports season ends?

 

 

(Picture courtesy of AKARAKINGDOMS, freedigitialphotos.net)

EXCUSE THE MESS

I recently visited a friend with a toddler and upon my arrival, the first words out of her mouth were, ‘Please excuse the mess. You can barely see the floor through the toys!’ Luckily I wasn’t there to see her floor – I was actually there to catch up with my friend! To be honest, when I walk into a home that has toys on the floor, a washing basket of clothes to be folded or dirty plates in the sink, I don’t frown upon the housekeeping skills of that person, I actually think, here is a home. A place where people live, where mess is made and where people are juggling responsibilities. I feel like it is a glimpse into their real life, not the shiny sanitized version we would all like to portray to the world.

I think a true sign of a good friend is someone who looks past the mess knowing that although there may be crumbs on your kitchen table, you have managed to get your kids off to school and hang out three loads of washing! A good friend doesn’t walk around with a white glove checking for dust on your windowsills, instead they know their way around your kitchen to make themselves a cup of tea while you put your baby to sleep.

Anyone who is a parent knows how much work is involved in caring for kids and apart from the few with OCD, we all know that having kids in the house means mess. It reminds me of the quote “Excuse the mess, my children are making memories!” but I truly don’t think you should have to ask people to excuse the mess. Maybe a better mantra would be “Embrace the mess, my children are making memories!”

Of course in a perfect world our house would stay clean and tidy, but realistically kids create mess and a whole lot of work for us. Once our children are grown and have finally flown the nest, we will have all the time in the world to have sparkly clean houses. For now, let’s focus on being there to support each other and give our attention to our nearest and dearest. After all if people come to visit, they are there to see you, not the floor or the kitchen bench!

(Photo courtesy of Withaya Phonsawat, freedigitalphotos.net)IMG_6633.JPG

PUBLIC TOILETS  

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Is there an age when it is no longer appropriate to take a child of the opposite sex to a public toilet? I was lucky my first three children were girls so it wasn’t an issue for many years but over the past year or two my son (age 8) has refused to go to the ladies toilets and quite frankly, I think he is at an age where he should use the men’s toilets. Having said that, it doesn’t ease my fear that he will be molested or abducted the moment he steps foot inside the door of the gents bathroom.

I stand guard outside the men’s room watching every man enter and exit, imagining the worst of each and every one of them until my son nonchalantly returns, usually with his hands dripping and shirt half tucked into his pants. 

I am particularly suspicious of public toilets after I once escorted my daughters to the bathroom where there were two stalls. I noticed a shadow on the floor of the second stall of a man pleasuring himself whilst my daughter was going to the toilet. Ever since then I am on high alert for any sickos that might be loitering.

I know some people use the disabled toilet (which creates issues for people who actually are disabled) and others use the parent’s room if they are fitted with a toilet. Most places don’t have parent’s rooms and I think my son would be embarrassed to use one in any case, so maybe the problem lies with my acceptance that he will have to enter situations where I can’t monitor that he is safe. 

Obviously Dad’s have the same issues with their daughters. I once escorted a little girl of about 3 years of age into the toilet as her father (a man I had never met before) hovered outside. As she went to the toilet she told me that I was a stranger and that she is not allowed to talk to strangers but then asked me to wipe her ‘foofy’ for her. I felt extremely awkward at this point and gave her directions on how she could do it herself so that there was no chance I was accused of touching the girl inappropriately.

I guess to answer my first question of whether there is there an age when kids can go unescorted into the toilets – the answer in a nutshell is no! It comes down to recognising when your child can independently go to the toilet; when your child has the confidence to go into the bathroom by themselves; it relies on your discretion to work out when it may make other patrons feel awkward and finally it relies on the facilities available.

As parents we have to allow our kids to grow and get some independence, but at the same time we need to ensure we are vigilant about their safety.

 

I’d love to hear from other parents. What age did your kids start using public toilets by themselves?

 

(Picture courtesy of David Castillo Dominici, freedigitalphotos.net)

SPEECH THERAPY

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As a parent, it is so easy to stick your head in the sand when it comes to getting speech therapy for your child. I was guilty of this when my daughter was young and she had a lisp and a raspy voice. I didn’t notice this at the time – I was busy focusing on what she was saying, not on how she was saying things. It wasn’t until a teacher at school suggested she may benefit from speech therapy that I took her for an assessment.

I guess I had put the lisping down to the fact that she lost her baby teeth very early and I assumed the problem would correct itself when her teeth came in, but the fact was it wasn’t her teeth that were the issue, it was the placement of her tongue.

I was discussing this topic with a speech therapist recently who told me that speech issues left beyond the age of 7-8 years of age are often there into adulthood. Furthermore if children aren’t corrected on the proper pronunciation of words such as ‘free’ for ‘three’ it will affect their literacy and writing.

My daughter’s lisp was corrected and now when I look back at home videos of her when she was young I’m shocked that I didn’t do something sooner.

She still has a bit of a husky voice as she likes to talk ….a lot! I can’t see that anything short of a personality change will alter that, but at least she has techniques to help her if her voice becomes particularly raspy.

An engrained speech issue can cause bullying and reduced self-confidence if left untreated. Most speech issues can be corrected if addressed early enough and through practicing exercises to change bad habits.

Take a moment to listen to your child’s speech, not just their words. If you have any doubt whether they need assistance to help pronounce words correctly it may be time to book an appointment with a speech therapist.

 

 

(Picture courtesy of Akarakingdoms, freedigitalphotos.net)

FORGOTTEN CHILD

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It would be hypocritical of me to call my blog ‘Truth About Parenting’ and not share with you the truth about my parenting journey.

One day this week I forgot my child! I took my son to his basketball game and my daughter decided to come along as her friend was going to be at the stadium at the same time. Usually my daughter would rather stick red hot pokers in her eyes than come to basketball as a spectator, so she rarely comes along.

When we arrived she went and sat with her friend while I watched my son’s game. Upon the conclusion of the game (which incidentally he won), my son was nagging me to give him money for the canteen. As I had dinner waiting at home, I refused his request and was trying to avoid a total meltdown as I herded him to the car. Without a second thought I drove away and was half way home when I received a phone call from an unfamiliar phone number. I answered to hear my daughter asking ‘Mum, where are you?’ I had completely forgotten that she had come with us, which is quite unbelievable as she is not a kid to sit quietly in the back of the car. My daughter talks incessantly and always makes herself known, which makes the fact I didn’t notice her absence even more profound.

I immediately turned the car around and went back to the stadium to collect her. She was standing with her friend’s mother who sarcastically awarded me ‘Mother of the year!’ Thankfully after my heart felt apology, my daughter saw humour in the situation and was not too perturbed by the incident.

My brain fade reminded me of my own childhood when my mother once forgot to collect me from a music lesson and at the age of 12 I walked 2 kilometres in the dark to get home. In an effort to appease my daughter I relayed my experience to her to let her know I had survived worse!

I was also forgotten by my school when I was about 8 years of age. I had gone to sick bay as I was unwell and the office staff had tried to contact my mother to collect me, but as it was in a time prior to mobile phones they couldn’t get a message to her. At the end of the day, the staff had forgotten I was lying quietly on a stretcher and they all left for the day. My mother was beside herself with worry when I didn’t return home after school. Eventually I came to the realisation that no one was coming to get me and so walked a few kilometres home by myself, crying all the way as I was feeling so sick. My parents were livid at the school’s negligence and made it known to the principal the next day.

Reflecting on my own experiences, I hope that it is not completely uncommon for a child to be forgotten.

In fact, with all the running around I do for all my four kids’ extra curricular activities, I’m surprised this is the first time I have forgotten one of my kids!

Let me know if you have forgotten a child or been forgotten! Hopefully I’m not alone!

 

 

(Picture courtesy of Stuart Miles, freedigitialphotos.net)

HOW TO HAVE A CHILD WHO IS A SPORTS STAR!

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I don’t profess to have the secret formula for how to give birth to sporty kids, but I did come across a very interesting hypothesis by author Malcolm Gladwell in his book ‘Outliers’ that looks at statistics of successful kids.

He shows that representative teams of athletes are heavily weighted with kids who are born in the first three months of the school year. So in Australia that is January, February and March; however in the Northern hemisphere it is July, August and September.

The reason behind this is that when kids are young and are introduced to their chosen sport, there is a big difference in size, strength, maturity and skills of a kid who is say 6 versus a kid that is almost 7. This difference means the older kids are chosen for representative teams. When they get into those teams they have more coaching and more game time so their skills increase exponentially in comparison to the kids who are just playing on a local team coached by a mum or dad. As they gain more experience the gap between the older kids and younger kids increase and then once they are teenagers and their size difference is no longer that obvious, the older kids already have the superior skills due to the advantages given to them when they were younger.

There are of course talented people whose birthdays fall outside these months, but the majority all have birthdays at the start of the year.

My kids have had their athletics carnivals over the past two weeks and I was interested to see the children who excelled at athletics did seem to be the eldest in their age group.

So the moral of this story is that if you want to have a child that has the potential to be a sporting super star who will earn mega bucks, then you need to have a baby at the start of the school year and be willing to invest a lot of time and energy (and lets face it – money) to nurture their talent.

Just as a footnote, none of my kids are born in these months, so I guess I missed the opportunity to have a child who is a sporting super star!

(Picture courtesy of digitalart, freedigitalphotos.net)