Growing Pains

 

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My ten year old son recently began limping and telling me he had a sore foot. He is extremely active so I put it down to a stone bruise or something innocuous. I finally decided to take it seriously when he was hobbling around like an old man when he first got up in the mornings. It was the end of the summer sports season and he was nearing the finals for all his sports. It also coincided with the start of training for his winter sports. Every day of the week he was exercising and it was at that point that he was diagnosed with ‘Severs Disease’.

The name conjures images of a contagious infection where the foot is severed from the body, but thankfully it’s not as disturbing as that! Put simply, it is when the growth plate in the heel grows faster than the achilles tendon can stretch and is very common in active kids after they have had a growth spurt. The only course of action was to rest and to do stretches to help the achilles lengthen. As he already wears orthotics in his shoes, these were raised slightly in the heel to relieve the tension in his tendon.

To my son’s horror, the diagnosis of severs required him to limit his activities. He had to give up rugby training, competing in his school cross country and sat out a game or two of basketball. After reducing his sport, which let’s be honest is like a cruel form of torture for an active ten year old, the pain subsided.

Severs is a condition that will flare up off and on as he grows and he just has to manage it with ice packs to reduce swelling and stretching exercises.

As a side note, the podiatrist mentioned to me that kids that get ‘Severs’ often then get another growth related disease called ‘Osgood-Schlatter Disease’ a few years later in life when the growth plates in their knees start to give them pain. He advised that my son should try to build up his quads to help support his knees before the pain sets in.

So if you have an active kid complaining of sore heels or knees there is a good chance that they are suffering from good old growing pains!

 

(Image courtesy of photo stock, freedigitalphotos.net)

Back to the future

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In honour of last week being the date that Marty McFly went into the future, we watched the triology of the Back to the Future movies with our kids.

The predictions made with what technology we would have embraced by now were a mixed bag. We don’t have hover boards or flying cars, we do have drone cameras but we certainly don’t have faxes in every room of our house – this technology that was deemed cutting edge in the 1980s is now redundant.

Back in the 1980s, little did they know that we would all walk around with smart phones so that all the information in the world would be available at our fingertips or that we could be in contact with all our cyber friends around the clock.

Our kids are growing up overloaded with information. They will never experience the effort required to complete an assignment by going to the library, finding an encyclopedia and researching information from a book.

I have noticed a correlation between the amount of time our kids spend on technology and a sense of lethargy as well as a decline in their behaviour. A few weeks ago my husband ‘forced’ our son to go for a bike ride with him. Our son whined about wanting to just relax and watch tv and was adamant that he didn’t want to go riding. The more he lay around doing nothing, the more his behaviour deteriorated. Eventually my husband told him that he didn’t have a choice and within a few minutes of them riding together, our son had broken free of his foul mood and was enjoying doing exercise outside in the fresh air.

As much as technology is enriching our lives, it is also trapping us by keeping us glued to screens when we could be doing things that are more productive.

I wonder what technology will be adopted in the next thirty years and whether future generations will adapt to have stooped necks and calloused fingers from continual use of their phones?

What’s your prediction?

(Photo courtesy of kdshutterman, freedigitalphotos.net)

End of an era

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Today my eldest daughter has started her last week of school. I feel a bit like I blinked and suddenly she is all grown up.

I still remember the little blonde haired girl who cried and clung to me as I dropped her off to preschool, the same little girl who a few years later bravely started school in her little uniform and wide brimmed hat that seemed so large that she resembled a little mushroom. Fast forward a few years and she moved schools. I think back to the bribe of a new outfit and dinner in a fancy restaurant as a reward for her bravery to start afresh at a new school where she didn’t know anyone.

I think of the countless sporting carnivals, music recitals and awards ceremonies we have attended, proud of the effort she was putting in to her education.

I recall the ups and downs of her being a tween who lived through the dramas of friendship changes and issues that at the time that seemed insurmountable, which today she would be hard pressed to remember in any detail.

I think back to the day she was inconsolable over missing out on a place on the exchange program at school, although she had gone above and beyond to do all she could do to qualify. The flip side was the amazing trip she went on to China and the friendship she formed with a Spanish girl that she met over there that led to them doing a small private exchange. In hindsight, I think she actually was better off the way things worked out.

And now she is going through the routine of school for just one last week. It is going to be a huge week with muck up day, leaver’s ceremony and then the formal dance to finish off the week. Within a few months all her exams will be done and then she can focus on the path she chooses to start her life.

Although I’ve looked forward to this time, I also can’t believe it is already here. My little shy girl has grown into a confident lady and I’m so proud of the woman she is becoming.

I’m not sure where the years have gone, but as they say, time flies when you’re having fun!

Photo courtesy of stockimages, freedigitalphotos.net

Lost and Found

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I always seem to have a pile of items that belong to kids that visit us and leave their belongings strewn around the house. As soon as I’ve located their owners and returned their things to them, a new pile grows afresh.

When friends leave I always check that they have everything, but without fail I always seem to find items in the oddest places. I even find that when I’m folding clean washing there always seem to be items of clothing that my family doesn’t own.

Mind you, my kids are the worst culprits of leaving their belongings at their friend’s houses so I guess you could call it karma!

My son rarely comes home from school with the belongings he took with him. Our school’s lost property has a policy that they charge kids 50c for each of their items that are found in lost property. This is a great revenue raiser from our family, as my kids’ possessions tend to migrate to lost property on a very regular basis.

I sometimes wish it could be possible to just staple my kids’ hats on their heads and superglue their jumpers on their bodies! I keep thinking with maturity will come a sense of responsibility to keep track of their things, but even with one child about to become an adult, I’m still waiting to see this transition.

At least I guess the forever present pile of forgotten items at my house is a reminder that it’s not only my kids that lose tracks of their things!

Do your kids also regularly misplace their things?

(Picture courtesy of Stuart Miles, freedigitalphotos.net)

It’s as easy as riding a bike  

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There are certain times throughout parenthood where you are faced with a scenario where you need to teach your child a skill, but may want to put it off as it is a tedious or painful task for you.

A prime example of this is when you teach your kids to ride a bike. They generally start riding bikes with the assistance of training wheels. These allow them to have a sense of freedom as they wobble side to side from one training wheel to another, never having to really master balancing the bike.

Your child knows the basics of riding a bike and they can ride for fun. You have that internal conversation with yourself whether you bite the bullet and teach them how to balance and ride, or is it easier (for both you and the child) to let them use training wheels until they are an adult? It’s one of those jobs that you know is going to back-breaking but eventually you have to dedicate the time to teach them a life long skill. This means you have to try to hold the bike seat whilst running alongside the child, all the while barking orders and trying to not let the bike fall over sending the kid (and/or you) over the handlebars. It’s not an exercise for those with weak backs as it is unnatural to twist your back, pulling and pushing on the bike frame, whilst running.

My son loved riding his bike as a toddler and insisted we remove his training wheels at two years of age. As you can imagine, his bike barely reached my knees, so running, twisting, bending and manipulating the bike was a nightmare. Thankfully he was so motivated that he picked it up quite quickly, whereas my daughter was seven before we could convince her she needed her training wheels removed.

Apart from having to manipulate your body into what resembles a yoga pose while running, it also takes a bit of deception to make the child think you are holding them, while intermittently letting go in the hope that they will start to balance the bike by themselves. Eventually they will get the knack and before you know it, your hard work has paid off. They will eventually have a skill that they can recall and use anytime in life – hence the saying, ‘it’s like riding a bike’.

There is immense relief once you have taught your child to ride a bike (assuming that is without injury to you, the child or the bike) and the effort seems worthwhile. So if there is a task you have been putting off with your child, embrace the challenge and give it a go – there’s no time like the present.

(Picture courtesy of digitalart, freedigitalphotos.net)

My community is grieving

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My heart goes out to my local community who is grief stricken after a horrendous accident this week.

Every parent’s worst fear became a reality this week when a young 10 year old boy was skateboarding on the road when a car driven by a P plater hit him.

After two days battling his injuries and multiple surgeries, the boy lost his struggle for life yesterday afternoon. His family has made the generous decision to donate his organs to help kids who are critically ill and as such his legacy will live on, although his life has ended too soon.

This boy is the same age as my son and I know at this age boys are fearless and don’t have very good road sense – twice yesterday my son walked behind a reversing car! I’m forever telling my kids to get off screens and be active outside, which is exactly what this boy was doing but in a horrific set of circumstances the inexperienced driver was unable to avoid hitting him – that’s not to say any driver may have been able to avoid the collision.

I can’t imagine the inexplicable grief this little boy’s family must be feeling. His young life cut short from an activity that boys everywhere do!

I also have a daughter a similar age to the driver, so I also have great empathy for this poor teenager who has to live with the guilt of being responsible for the 10 year old’s death. It’s scary when your child starts to drive independently as you no longer have any control over their safety.

We can’t wrap our kids in cotton wool, although after instances like this, we all wish we could. The purpose of this post is not to point the finger at anyone as being guilty, rather it is to reflect on how precious our kids are and how we have to live life to the fullest as none of us knows when our time will be up.

My sympathy goes out to everyone in my community who is grieving the loss of this little boy and I hope that the families of both this little boy and the driver are given support to help them cope with the unbearable stress they must be feeling.

(Image courtesy of stuart miles, freedigitalphotos.net)

Kids birthday parties aren’t what they used to be!

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When I was a kid, birthday parties used to consist of a few friends coming to our house or a local park. We would play pass the parcel (the variety where there was only one winner) and maybe run a 3 legged race. We would eat fairy bread and have a homemade cake – and we loved it!

Fast forward to my kid’s generation and every party seems to be bigger than Ben Hur! Every party seems to have a theme and you almost need an event planner to pull it off! A few years ago our family went to a kid’s carnival themed party that had full size rides, bouncy castles and a disco at their house. My daughter went to a party last year that had approximately 100 kids as guests and had a DJ and a photo booth.

My daughter is turning thirteen this week and she is having an ‘international’ party where the guests are to come dressed in national dress of their choice of country. My daughter scanned a passport and made individual invitations for each guest with their photo and a description of the ‘itinerary of their trip (aka party)’. I’ve been receiving RSVPs addressing me as the ‘travel agent’.

We have purchased six foot tall cardboard decorations to reflect a number of countries and they will be spotted around our house with food from those nations available to eat at each country (eg. pastries in France, pizza in Italy, chocolate in Switzerland etc).

Thirteen is a funny age, as they want to be independent teenagers yet I still have to make lolly bags for the kids when they leave.

I have a rule in my house that the kids can’t have a birthday party at home between the ages of fourteen and eighteen as these are the years where you run the risk of underage drinking occurring. Over the past few years, my eldest daughters have celebrated their birthday by just going out to dinner with a few friends. Needless to say, my eldest is very excited at the prospect of having a birthday party at our place to celebrate her eighteenth in a few months. I have mixed emotions about it, as I enjoy a party as much as the next person, but I’m concerned over gate-crashers and young adults drinking too much when we are responsible for them. Anyway – I’ve still got a few months to come to terms with that. Right now I need to focus my attention on the international celebrations this weekend – if the kid’s can’t find me, I might be in ‘France’ drinking champagne 🙂

What is the most extravagant kid’s party you have attended?

(Image courtesy of digitalart, freedigitalphotos.net)