Friday, August 27, 2010

A McScreamy Update

As you know, I have not been a big fan of my youngest child's infant behavior. So I thought I would let you all know that things are marginally better. It is mostly due to this:

That's right. I was starting to wonder if Iyov would ever have an interest in walking and he finally does. In fact, he started doing it in just the last week. He actually now spends more time walking than crawling and I think it has been huge for him emotionally. Every time he walks around, he just giggles at himself because he thinks he's so funny and he's also really proud of himself. It helps that Brad and I make a big deal every time he would take a few steps. I also think walking has made him feel like part of the group and hasn't had the constant need for me to carry him around. Thank goodness. He also has rudimentary ways of communicating his needs like nodding and shaking his head... and grunting of course. And also, now that Novan is in school, Beya plays with him more and so life with my third child is actually getting easier. *Phew!* I couldn't be happier. And for those of you wondering... we ARE planning on having one more although it has been an unsure thing for some time. That story to come at a later date though, maybe when I actually get pregnant... yuck. In the meantime I am going to enjoy my non-pregnant, non-breastfeeding, non-attached to a baby time for as long as it goes on.

Monday, August 23, 2010

First Day of School

I had been on the fence a long time about preschool and its necessity. I never went to preschool, neither did my sisters yet we all excelled academically. Perhaps my only failing as a student was being inept at making friends. But preschool is the norm now and probably just as well considering all the kids with developmental problems, reading comprehension problems, and so forth. While I don't think preschool is strictly necessary, I had been open to the possibility of Novan going simply as a means of transitioning into kindergarten next year. Novan has a bit of a hard time changing routines, and participating in a structured classroom type setting. He is only just now starting to enjoy primary at church after having been in it for a year and a half. He also has some delays in his communication and in his fine motor skills. I had looked for preschools but they all were just too far out of my do-able price range. I looked online and found one school, ABC of NC development center for $135/month, but it catered to Autistic children. Then the very next day, I was outside with the kids and this girl with a toddler comes walking down the street and I say hi and we have a chat. I came to find out that her name is Cindy and she works at a school for autistic children. I said "Oh? What's the name of the school?" and she said "ABC of NC." I was like "No kidding, I was just checking that out online while I was looking for preschool." Anyway, to make this dialogue shorter, Cindy ended up explaining that ABC has an inclusion program that integrates autistic spectrum kids with typical kids and it was only $135 for typical kids. It's actually in the thousands on a monthly basis for Autistic kids. Wow. I finally understood that the price I was seeing online was for these typical kids. They are actually the only Autistic school in NC and it just happens to be 4 miles from my house. Huh, how 'bout that?

So anyway, things just fell into place. Novan got the fifth spot of five available slots for typical kids in the "advanced readiness class." I couldn't be more excited about it because for Novan, it seems like the perfect fit. He needs a little extra help in areas, the same areas that many autistic kids struggle with and now I only pay $165/month for specially trained teachers and a super fantastic facility. (It's 165 because it is the class for older preschool kids which is fine. Seriously, you won't find that price anywhere). Seriously, the place looks like more fun than Chuck-ee cheese.

The only drawback is how sad Beya has been at the prospect of A. She doesn't get to go and B. She's misses Novan. Since my kids understand the "saving up quarters" concept, I explain to her that mom and dad don't have enough quarters to send both her and Novan to school but she will get to go next year. On many occasions, when we mention school, Beya will say "Momma? Can we get some quarters for me so I can go to school with Novan?" Yeah, it rips my heart out too. This appears to be as much an adjustment for her as it is for Novan.

So today was Novan's first day. I packed up his backpack with a change of clothes and sunblock and gave him a lunchbox with PB&J, apples, and popcorn and dropped him off for 4 hours. He was super excited to go.

I can't say the excitement lasted. As soon as I picked him up, he demanded in his best whiney voice, "Where's Beya?" (at home napping while dad worked) then he asked "Where's my Transformer?" (I don't have a clue which transformer you are talking about Novan) and when I tried to ask him about his day he just gave me a grunt whine. You might be able to imagine that. His teacher informed me he was really tired and admittedly, he has recently been weaned off of naps because he was staying up too late. I think last night he stayed up too late. So I'm going to have to be stricter about getting him in bed and asleep. Well, we'll see. It was only the first day and at least when I asked him if he wanted to go back to school tomorrow he answered in the affirmative. Small victories, right? Well, that's all for now. Apparently Novan's bad temper has worn off on Beya. Or maybe she's still rebelling because she didn't get to go to school. It's kind of hilarious. She's having a three-year old screaming fit in her room at the moment.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Immune System is More Capable than You Realize

I know I've been absent for a while, but in my defense, I did explain. And it's not for lack of wanting to post. Plenty has happened that I would love to blog about. But I tell you, I spend every spare moment I possess in front of this computer writing, writing, writing. I don't stop at night until weariness claims my eyelids and I wake every morning full of ideas and anxious to get back in front of my computer. It's a sick obsession. Hi, my name is Rachel Kelly and I'm a write-aholic.

That is not what this post is about though. At the moment, I am taking a short break from my other writing by writing. Ha! Somebody save me! Anyhow, the subject of this post is something I caught on the news. I have to say, I ABHOR the news. I think watching it is a huge waste of time. That's not to say that there aren't, on rare occasions, snippets of news that are worth watching. But I would venture to say that 99% of it is pure crap that nobody needs to watch. Sorry mom and dad Kelly. I know you are big fans.

So, that being said, I was NOT watching the news, but the power went out and my DirectTV receiver reset and I had turned on the TV for Novan. I guess the default channel is channel 2 which is like CBS or something.  While I was fiddling for the remote, I heard the words "A recent study shows that acetaminophen can inhibit the immune system." These various studies that news is always airing like "Tomatoes can reduce your chances of prostate cancer" and "studies show dogs can reduce your chances of getting dementia" and "Studies show wearing flip-flops can be hazardous to your health" are one of the many reasons I hate the news. They're just so useless. They never give you any information that is actually useful. But this study, in regards to acetaminophen, caught my attention because the reporter actually made it sound like this was incredibly ground breaking news. Ok, let's face it, they always act like everything is groundbreaking news, but in this case, I laughed out loud at the sheer ridiculousness  of it, and then lamented the horrifying ignorance of the human population at large.

I realized then, that I give the human population a hard time on a regular basis about being ignorant, when everyone is really just doing the best they think they can. The problem I see is that what people "think" is the best is usually not. We can always do better. We can be doing good, but there's always doing better. That aside, I'll get back on topic. So I realized, while listening to this study, that people generally have no idea how sickness works, and they also have no idea what Tylenol does. So, me being the astute person that I am, have decided to expand your horizons if you are one of those people.

In the case of a viral infection, a foreign body is introduced into the interior of the body. Our immune system, the amazing intelligence that it is, begins it's counter-assault always in the same way. First, the respiratory system reacts by producing mucus to coat the insides of your airways and lungs in order to "trap" the foreign body. I know, having a cough or snotty nose is really annoying but it's your amazing body at work! Sometimes this simple process is sufficient to rid the body of the infection. If not, the body then raises the interior temperature to a point in order to "burn out" the foreign body. We call this a fever. Sometimes the foreign body makes it's way via mouth, into the digestive tract. What happens then is throwing up and/or diarrhea in order to "flush out" the foreign body. Gross uncomfortable stuff that is not a result of a virus but a result of your body fighting a virus. So our primary immune system does three things: trap, burn out, and flush out. And 99% of the time, this is enough.

So back to the study. Acetaminophen's primary purpose is listed as "fever reducer." So you tell me, knowing what we know of the immune system, does acetaminophen supress the immune system? Heck yeah! You don't need a study to confirm that. So would you say that if your kid has a fever, should you give them tylenol to reduce their fever? Heck no! Unless said fever gets far too high, which I have only ever had happen once in the hundred of times someone in my family has been sick. And even then, it was borderline. I always laugh when the nurses tell me after one of my kids gets a vaccine, "ok now if he gets a fever just give him a little tylenol." I always want to ask, "Uh, isn't that kind of the point of a vaccine? To stimulate the immune system?"

So what can I say? Back. Away. From. The. Tylenol. Bottle. And pretty much all of the other drugs we like to take while sick to make life a little more convenient. If you continually suppress the immune system with all that junk like fever-reducers, cough suppressants, and mucus reducers, then the immune system never gets a chance to build up. It is just like a muscle. It needs to be flexed often if it is going to build up strength. It never gets as strong as it could be if you are always doing things to counter it's effects. And then one day, when you are fifty and you get cancer, you wonder why your immune system is so weak. Immune systems fight the bigger nastier stuff like cancer too. And considering how many people die from the flu, don't you think a strong immune system could help? Knowing how fearful people are of such things, don't you think it makes sense to boost our immune system with the little stuff like colds? Getting sick like that is good for you. Annoying, but good.

So give your fever a hug and vow to not suppress your immune system anymore. It knows what it's doing... 99.99% of the time. And stop watching the news. It's hazardous to your health. =)