Why Children of the 70’s Were Tougher

My mother dropped off a box of books a few weeks ago for the girls.  I assumed all of them were child appropriate as that they belonged to my brother and myself when we were little.  Imagine my surprise and excitement when my daughter brought me this gem:

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First of all, you can tell from the cover that this is going to be awesome!   Look at all the firearms.  Those look appropriate for a children’s book.  I would also like to point out that all the folks chasing the little Aryan nation kid on the cover are all brown. That’s a good message for Z to learn as early as possible. I am thinking right away, “This is the perfect book for a two-year old.”  So, we read this with little Z and Baby Bird, and I would like to share my review with you.

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So apparently, the malevolent Chinese Dr. Chiang is going to poison the earth’s water supply with a vile salination machine.  I can almost hear Dr. Evil laughing and demanding “One Million Dollars”.    But fortunately, according to this piece of literature, the United Nations are going to send a pre-teen boy to fix Dr. Chiang’s wagon.  Enter our hero:  Johnny Quest.

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See that kid in the turban to the left of the table?  That is Johnny’s friend, Haji.  I AM NOT KIDDING.  His actual name in the book is Haji.  Haji is going to help save the world too.

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Above is the nefarious Dr. Chiang gently stroking his Fu Manchu.  Y’all, I don’t know what to say about this one.  There is so much implied, unintentional racism I am speechless.

 

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Here on this “television” are Dr. Chiang’s slaves that Johnny and Haji are going to be liberating.  Y’all, this book has everything.  It is environmentally conscious, multicultural (although overtly racist at the same time) and anti- human trafficking with a strong stand on gun control.

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You can see here in this picture that every bad guy in the book has a gun.  Contrast this with the fact that Johnny and Haji take down an evil mastermind’s regime with an apple.  Y’all, we’ve been going about this the wrong way.  Someone should alert Israel that their “Iron Dome” isn’t necessary.  Apparently all they need is love and apples to defeat Hamas (who are all named Haji by the way).

As you can see, with all the great messages meted out by this masterpiece, it is easy to understand why children of my generation were tougher than those of today.  All of Z’s books feature animated, big-eyed animals and sight words.  I have to say, I do question some of the parenting decision’s of Dora The Explorer’s Parents. They let that nina get away with a LOT.

 

 

 

 

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My Toddler’s Eating Disorder

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In a responsible way I have made great efforts not to pass my body issues on to my daughters. I do not subscribe to ANY fashion magazines. Our television is not connected to cable, so this limits her viewing options to Dora or Wonder Pets. We do have a scale in the house, but I don’t weigh myself in front of her.

The scale is located in our bathroom and anyone who ever has had children will tell you that once you have a baby, you never get to go to the bathroom alone again. Sometimes if I have to go, I hold it until I can get to work and go by myself. By the way, this is the exact opposite of the practice I used to follow

I digress. In the course of my use of the facilities, Z has taken to standing on the scale and “checking her number”.   She doesn’t know what the number means, but she likes to make numbers appear on the digital scale.   Charming right?   We have even used this as a learning opportunity to teach her about numbers.

I spend a great deal of my day at work arguing with patients about their weight. Everyone insists that our scales are off and want to be weighed on a second or even third scale. Some patients have a favorite scale in the office and only want to be weighed on the favorite scale. Some want me to record the value they get on their home scale, and not the office scale. I have had patients remove everything from their shoes to jewelry in attempt to get that number a little lower.

Z has had a solid “number” of twenty-eight for the last couple of months. She proudly will stand on the scale and proclaim, “my number is twenty-eight”. Imagine my surprise last week when she announces, “I’m going to check my number,” and hopped up on the scale. The number said, “28.6”. I could see Z look at me with some degree of confusion and consternation.

I said, “Oh, look, your number has changed. It is twenty-eight point six. “ I mustered a great degree of excitement for this to ensure that she wouldn’t develop any life-long psychiatric scars because of mommy’s reaction to her weight at two years old.

She shrugged, “Its cuz I hab my shoes on.”

Great, I thought, Glad you are working on your eating disorder already. Its never too early to get started on that kiddo. I followed that up with a giant sigh and eye roll. I have a feeling I have years of sighs and eye rolls ahead of me.

The Marching of the Army Worms

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We moved into a beautiful new home last September. Although this is a great time of year to move (non-adjacent to major holidays, generally good weather, none of your friends can claim they are “away on vacation” to get out of helping you), but it is not a good time of year for sod. The end of September is generally right before our first freeze in Tennessee.

This has resulted in my husband (who previously gave not a crap about our yard) becoming nearly obsessive about his yard. He has over-seeded the lawn with various concoctions recommended by sundry sources. We have now bought a John Deere Tractor, a seed spreader, a pricey zero-turn mower and various other lawn care implements.

I have had to listen to a barrage of “Do you think my grass is growing?” and “What do you think of my grass?” and “Does the grass look good?” and “Have you looked at my grass?” endlessly, till I want to throttle him.

So, imagine my surprise surrounding events of this week. Wednesday morning I let the dog outside and step out into my lush yard only to notice brown spots everywhere and upon closer examination I see them: ARMY WORMS.

It was like a whisper, a hushed idea in my brain. First, people on the news were talking about these things, but that was an abstract concept. This happened to other people’s yards, not my yard. Then, an overheard conversation about a coworker’s ruined yard, but that was them not me. So, I knew when I saw the dreaded ARMY WORMS that my husband was going to FREAK OUT.

I ran back inside to wake him with the news of our latest crisis. I felt like Laura Ingalls Wilder on that episode of Little House where her and Almanzo were trying to save their first crop from the locusts and they were both exhausted in the fields with torches in their hands, but their corn died anyways. Considering my husband’s reaction to imagined threats to his yard, I braced myself for his reaction to a real threat. What I was met with was the statement, “Can I sleep twenty more minutes?”

Color me irritated. First of all, I am a good country girl, and as all good country girls know, you need some malathion around. For the uninitiated malathion is poison. It pretty much kills any bug, or creepy crawly anytime, anywhere. But, when we were moving, my husband insisted that we get rid of my malathion. He will tell you that it is because I spilt it in the garage…. twice… ,but that isn’t the reason. It is because I married a socially conscious, granola loving, Yankee who doesn’t appreciate the importance of real poison. He said things like, “I don’t want that poison around you while you’re nursing.” Personally, I believe that poison will make the baby tougher and more resistant to insects.

So who ended up driving to three different stores in the next town over to get a less deadly insect poison? This girl. I will say that my Hubby donned the backpack sprayer like Almanzo did in that one episode of Little House with the boll weevils and saved our sod. My hero.

Nutrition 101

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I went to my first ladies event at church today. I usually do not frequent such things. I am not really good in social situations. I know, I know, I am a doctor, and I see something like thirty patients a day, so how can I be bad in social situations? Well first off all, have you met most doctors? Most doctors don’t really have a great personality. That is why most people don’t like going to the doctor. Usually doctors are pretty self-absorbed and have horrible listening skills.

That being said, I am pretty great in a one on one setting. I even do well in small groups of people, but when thrown into a large group setting it is like I am back in middle school.

Suddenly, I am VERY awkward. My clothes aren’t right, I stand their nervously, and my mouth stops working. I mean to say witty and charming things and instead I start blurting out things like, “I saw a squirrel on the way here,” and, “my legs are itchy.” Also, I tend to be somewhat snarky, and when I do say something appropriate to the conversation it tends to come off sounding a little tactless and rude. Most other women just kind of look at me with a sad little head shake of pity and go back to their conversations about smocked outfits and Ferberizing their babies while I stand their clumsily trying to think of something to say.

I was doing okay during the brunch portion of the program. Apparently I am good at eating (it gives me something to do with my hands and gives the illusion that I know what I am talking about). I realized that for about the last two years I have had a baby with me to focus other women’s attention so I don’t have to carry on a real conversation. This was the first time I had been to a social event in a long time without a twenty-four inch buffer of cuteness in my arms to direct the conversation. I highly recommend that every socially awkward person carry a baby with them at all times to deflect social attention. It is magic in its effectiveness.

I navigated my way to a place to sit during the lecture portion of the program, and my panic settled into the calm of anonymity as I relaxed into my chair sipping my tea. That was until, the lecturer started discussing toddler nutrition and suddenly I am having an anxiety attack (See my post entitled “She Wont Eat That…”). They are all discussing organic smoothies and clever little bento boxes with healthy vegetarian options for toddlers. During this very discussion there was a bag of non-organic baby food and a bag of Cheetos in my bag that I was planning on feeding Z for lunch. Everyone around me was furiously taking notes and nodding in agreement while I am just freaking out about how my daughter is going to die from rickets and wet beri beri from her lack of vitamin D and protein rich nutrition sources.

Then, we broke into our small group sessions, and yikes, I am assigned to be in the one with our head Pastor’s wife. This is super scary for an agoraphobe. While we were doing introductions, one of the childcare workers interrupts in a flutter letting the Pastor’s wife know that there is something going on with her child. She steps outside the room to handle the crisis and when she returns she informs us, “My daughter is crying because they tried to give her marshmallows, and she told them she wasn’t allowed to have marshmallows”

By this point I am ready to just check out on this experience. I clearly cannot measure up to the Whole Foods, gluten-free, non-GMO crowd I have found myself in. I am done with this. Then, she says, “I don’t know why she said that. We eat marshmallows all the time at our house.”

Maybe I have misjudged these awesome, marshmallow-eating people. I went to pick Z up from the nursery and she has a plate with four pretzels, four giant marshmallows, and a small packet of raisins. She threw the pretzels out on the way out the door declaring them to be, “gross”, informed me that the raisins were “vitamins” and told me she was going to eat the marshmallows for lunch. I realized that maybe I should give this a fair shot.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers…. or “How I Got Fat”

I know it is hard to believe if you saw me now, but I used to be a size six on a good day and a size eight on a bad day.  I held on to this proudly pretty much all the way through college.  I mean, sure, I put on the dreaded Freshmen Fifteen, and by the time I graduated, I was much closer to an eight on a good day and a ten on a bad day, but still, hotness.

Then there was medical school.  I spent endless hours during my first two years pouring over books.  I made neat little packets of note cards, and would walk around my apartment complex for hours and hours while studying so that I could stay trim.  I was feeling pretty good about myself until third and fourth year of medical school when I worked thirty-six hour shifts at hospital after hospital every third or fourth night.  Guess what?  There was no built in time to exercise, unless you were running to a code, or leveraging all your muscle to pop someone’s arm back into socket.

Also, hospital food is not all it is made out to be.  You would think at a place where you go to make people healthy, that they would have healthy food, but you would be very, very wrong.  For instance, at The Med in Memphis, they actually had Hog Jaw Thursday.  I. am. dead. Serious.  Also, at Ehrlanger in Chattanooga they have perhaps the best apple dumplings you have ever put in your mouth.   I challenge you to resist them when you have been up for thirty-six hours straight.  I challenge you to make healthy food decisions when your body is so tired that you can barely stand up.  Fighting against fate, I was up to a size twelve.

So then came residency.  It is like the extended dance remix of the last two years of medical school.  On-call at the hospital once or twice a week, at least twenty-four hour shifts.  Pizza is an easier choice at this time than a salad.  Time for exercise is pretty much non-existent.

I guess I should insert a diatribe here about how little the medical machine promotes physical and emotional health in the very people that are responsible for public health policies, but I digress.

So then, I started my practice rocking the size fourteen scrubs.  I was doing really well with all this new-found time as a big, grown-up doctor.  I had time to exercise.  I even hired a personal trainer, and started eating healthy and was on the right track, down to size twelve again!  Hurray!

This was until I was helping a friend move, and I got stung multiple times by a wasp.  The wasp got trapped between my face and my glasses and it stung me multiple times.  I became intensely sick at my stomach and swollen all over.  I had never had a reaction like this to a wasp sting before.  It was awful.  Two weeks into it, I was like, “This is ridiculous!” and then I did some basic math, and took a pregnancy test and realized my problem was not a wasp sting.

The first thing that happened in pregnancy was a welcome change.  I realized that my usual B-cup bras were getting a little snug, so I stomped right into the nearest Vic Secret to get some new measurements.

When the girl looked at me and said, “well, that’s a double D,” I was like, “Score!  Most people have to pay for these babies.”

Then, the rest of pregnancy kicked in and I started gaining weight other places, less pleasant places, such as my face, and ankles.  My once graceful, svelte calves melted into an amalgamation of cankle glory.  But, it was okay, because one of the rules is, that when you are pregnant, no matter how big you get, everyone says you look “cute”.

(I must list one noticeable exception to this policy.  My father, during my thirty-fifth week of pregnancy with my second daughter suggested that I get ahead of the baby weight by starting Jenny Craig.  He’s a sweetheart folks.  I get my tact from my father, it is a gift.)

Then there is the great lie of breastfeeding that says you will lose weight by making milk for baby, but what they don’t tell you is that you are going to be as hungry as a line-backer.  I was nearly back down to a trim size fourteen after nursing my first daughter when SHABAAM… pregnant again.

Now, I have weaned Baby Bird, and find myself face to face with the reality that these kids have really screwed with my body.  I don’t even recognize my body anymore.  The double D’s have shrunk back down to baby B’s and my stomach sticks out, and I am a horrifying size sixteen after all this trauma.

I was in discussion with my friend, The Jillionare about when your body goes back to “normal”.  Her comforting advice was, “It never goes back to normal.  It is going to be weird dressing yourself for the rest of your life.”

Okay…. Great.

So something has to be done about this.  I gotta get serious folks.  If you see me around town with a Twinkie in my hand, be a friend and walk up to me and smack that sucker out of there.  I am going to try and get healthier, and I can say it is for an example for my daughters and patients and for good health, but that would be lying.  Really it is so I don’t have to buy new clothes.

No one told me that having babies would change my body forever.  This wasn’t part of the deal.  No one also told me that they would change my heart forever.  No one told me they would change my soul forever.  No one told me that they would change the way I interact with God and with the world around me forever.  I may never see my early twenties body again, but if that is the price I have to pay for this much joy, then so be it and a million times over.  But for now, I guess I am going shopping.  See you at Lane Bryant.

I See Your Yard Biscuit…

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Hubby and I had fellow blogger, Underdaddy and his wife, Supermom over for dinner the other night.  We look to them for guidance as that they are in this parenting thing two kids deeper than we are.  We were having a lovely evening.  The kids were playing well enough for us to indulge in some adult conversation.

I recently had read Underdaddy’s post on “Yard Biscuits”.  His number three was learning to potty train which can be a trying time I am told.  While they were swimming with his four small children, he quite expediently told them to “use the yard” so that the constant stream of small wet feet would not be continually tracked in and out of the house.  It is this kind of wise, no-nonsense parenting advice that I have come to appreciate from Underdaddy and Supermom. *

Underdaddy of course meant for his four kiddos to pee in the yard, but the Underdaddy children are extremely good at following very literal instructions.  Imagine his surprise and horror to see number three hunched over in the yard assuming a position very different than the number one pose.

As I said, I am told that potty training can be challenging.  As Underdaddy and Supermom were about to leave, we look up, and Z has pulled off her diaper, and announces, “I peed on the floor.”

I look down, and my two-year old has indeed urinated all over our hand scraped hardwood.

Fortunately,  the Underdaddy family is on their way out the door and this calamity can be overlooked.   Until…. We get to the sidewalk.  We have been experiencing our rainy season and had a rather torrential downpour earlier that day.  I may have mentioned Neurotic Beagle in the past.  One of Neurotic Beagles idiosyncrasies is that she refuses to get her paws wet for any reason.  So, if it has been raining and the grass is wet, she will back her bottom up off the pavement (ideally) to do her business.  But, this time, her business didn’t make it off the pavement and it is laying smack dab in the middle of the walk way in a giant, steaming pile.

So, Underdaddy, I see your “Yard Biscuits” and raise you one “Floor Pee” and one “Sidewalk Poop”.

*Other great parenting advice from Underdaddy and Supermom :

– Why buy a baby monitor?  Everything you worry about happening to your kid is silent.  If you can hear them screaming through two closed doors, they probably really need you.

–  Where do we find time to clean our house?  We gave that up a long time ago.  We suggest you just stop cleaning.

– Calm down.  Seriously.  You only have as many kids as you have hands.

The Patients NO Doctor Likes

I love most of my patients. Most. Some of my patients are such a pleasure that I see them on my schedule and look forward to the visit regarding not just their health, but their lives and their families and their stories. (Stalker Nurse, you are my favorite, and you know who you are.) There are those other patients that annoy me to my bones.  When I see these people on my schedule, the anxiety starts to build in advance of what I know is going to be a highly unpleasant interaction. I start to hyperventilate and plan for the multiple contingencies of ways that I can minimize conflict (maybe I can fake a page, or have my nurse claim there is an emergency, or yell fire and run out of the room). In fact, after lengthy discussion with my colleagues, there are several archetypes of patients that almost all doctors cringe with repugnance and loathing to find on their schedules. So with no further adieu, I present to you the patients that ALL doctors despise.

The Hypochondriac– At best, this person is on your schedule every week for a “sinus infection”. This sinus infection is never really a sinus infection. It is usually an allergy or a virus which you can really do nothing about, because viruses don’t respond to antibiotics, even though they never believe you on this one, and the allergy is to the thirty-seven cats they insist on living with even though they are highly allergic. At worst, this patient is convinced there is something really wrong with them because they have done extensive research through the internet and Doctor Oz on the subject. Their fatigue cannot possibly be a result of their morbid obesity and two pack a day smoking habit. It must be some sort of mysterious “syndrome”, probably one that is going to make them eligible for disability.

The Rock Star- This patient knows they deserve special treatment. Let me be clear. I always try to do the best job I can with each and every patient. That will never be good enough for this patient. They will always find something wrong with something you or your staff does. It brings to mind one special patient of mine that was seen at the end of a clinic session and because I had no other patients scheduled for the morning, I spent forty-five minutes with her. She later spoke with my nurse on the phone and asked if I was leaving for the day, because it sure didn’t seem like I had any time for her. No matter how much you give, this patient will never be satisfied. They will tie your nurse up for hours on the phone with myriad special requests. They will write letters of complaint against you and your staff for the most minor of infractions.

**Even worse is that frequently there is the perfect storm of evil found in The Rock Star who is also The Hypochondriac. Because when that happens, you are going to be seeing this person a LOT.**

-The Abe Simpson– For those of you who are unversed in The Simpsons, grandfather Abe is a character who tells pointless stories, and these patients do the same thing. You will get sucked into a ten minute diatribe about something that you assume is relevant only to find out that they have lured you down a rabbit hole into a vortex of nothingness. THEY don’t even remember the point to their story. I once listened to a fifteen minute account of a women’s relationship with her Welsch Corgi. I incorrectly assumed this was going somewhere with her medical condition, maybe flea infestation, or worms or something, but NO, it went nowhere.   Later I found out that the Corgi had been dead for six years, and we still hadn’t discussed anything about her medical condition.

The Crier – The crier starts crying the moment you walk in the room. At. Every. Visit. I understand that people disclose many things to their physicians that are deeply personal, and frequently people shed a few tears at the doctor’s office when recounting some particularly traumatic, frustrating event, and that is normal. But, breaking down into snot-driveling, ugly crying to the point that I cannot even understand the words you are saying and it takes you ten minutes to collect yourself at every office visit is not normal.

I think there is the capacity in each of us to be a hypochondriac, a rock star, an Abe Simpson, or a crier from time to time (I don’t know when this turned into the essay from TheBreakfast Club). I think furthermore it is probably normal that people assume these different personas throughout different periods in your life, but if you find yourself consistently being one of these people with your healthcare provider, you are probably not realizing a satisfying therapeutic relationship. Your doctor and their staff will be much better able to care for your medical needs if their energies are not spent on how to avoid your phone calls and office visits.  Thankfully, these are not frequent encounters.  Please help your physician to exercise their practice in the greatest compassion possible by realizing we and our staff are also human beings with feelings and respecting the time and needs of other patients as well in a time of dwindling healthcare resources.

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