Your Health is your Wealth

Tissue Box

My dad always said “Your health is your wealth,” but I never remember how true that is until I catch a cold. When my sore throat first starts and I wonder if it’s the dry desert air or a cold, there’s a bit of excitement — will it be a cold? Will I get to sleep and watch movies? Will my wife make me cinnamon toast? My colds always come when I’m tired and run down, so the sleep and movies sounds like the best plan ever.

But it never is. After one day of a cold, I’m over it and wish I were still healthy.

This cold was more traumatic because the whole family got sick. As miserable as I was, it broke my heart to see my son sick because he didn’t understand what was happening to him? He just knew he didn’t have the energy to play even though his mind wanted to.

I’m writing this post to remind myself (and you) how important health is. I certainly appreciate feeling better.

The best gift for kids is…

time with kid

There is a lot of junk in the world — and we’re told by marketers that we’re better parents if we buy it all for our kids. The more expensive the toy, the more we must love our kids.

However, I think the best gift for kids is time.

This weekend we bought a new toy for our son, but it wasn’t the toy that impressed him — it was us playing with him. The toy was just a vehicle for attention.

One of the best things to give your kids is a date with you. Take them on a walk, play at the park, crack open a board game, use your imagination or go to a children’s museum. (And make sure to leave your cell phone off — a walk together doesn’t count if you’re checking your email!) I do this with my nieces and nephews and it’s always the best part of my visit.

The problems with a television birth

television birth

TV is a form of entertainment, so it makes sense that television births usually feature crazy scenarios. But it’s sad that many people go into labor believing their birth will be like TV. For example, TV births always start with their water breaking, but most water doesn’t break until a woman is in serious labor. My water broke six hours into labor (all over the midwife’s shoe!) when I was just about done.

I don’t understand why TV women yell at their husband during birth. Yes, birth was painful — but my husband was my support network. I needed his love to keep me going. Why would I yell at the man who was rubbing my back, calming me down with his soothing voice and helping me remember how to breath. TV does a major disservice to woman by telling them to yell at their partner instead of sharing the moment of love. It’s like yelling at your mum for hugging you after you fell off your bike.

I could list more and more examples, but I think they can all be summed up by this idea: birth is not a medical emergency — it’s natural process that your body was designed to accomplish. There’s no need to include all that craziness in your idea of birth.

I did nothing and everything

sea toy
I normally write for an hour before bed. It’s not my most productive time of day, but beggars can’t be choosers. I’m just happy to have a consistent time for books each day.

But last night my son wasn’t interested in sleeping. He thought bedtime was a fabulous opportunity to jump, finish up a few rounds of peek-a-boo and play with toy fish. You know what? He was right. Some things are more important than sleep or writing.

Why I love to read out loud

Open Book

My wife and I read out loud to our son every day…. which made me realize we all start reading by having books read TO us. It’s an important step in learning language, culture and fables — and stories told aloud have been around much longer than writing.

I enjoy how interactive reading out-loud is. I get to see my son’s reaction to each picture and sentence. I can speed up, slow down or emphasize different words depending on what he’s interested in.

The best thing about being married to an author-wife is that I get to be a child again! My wife is always reading her new manuscripts out-loud and I get to sit back and immerse myself in the story. Not only is it easier to catch mistakes (because your brain doesn’t make the same assumptions it makes when you’re skimming), but it forces you to concentrate on the flow of the words. Words that looked fine next to each other, sometimes don’t sound right when spoken together.

We wish we could read our books out-loud to all of you, but that isn’t possible (even as much as we love travel)… so that’s why my brother-in-law built a free Butterflies Don’t Chew Bubblegum android app. If you have an Android phone, you can now have books read to you whenever you want. Now that’s what I call progress!

Why don’t we eat dinner in bed?

eating in bed

Almost every time my wife breastfeeds our son, he falls asleep eating. Sometimes she keeps waking him so he can finish eating. I’m sure a belly full of warm milk to someone already prone to naps is the reason why… but it makes me laugh.

When was the last time you ate a giant Thanksgiving banquet in bed? Why do we let kids eat and fall asleep, but not parents? I’d love to have a giant sandwich or cheesecake on my nightstand and then slowly eat as I drift off to sleep. Aside from waking up when I rolled over into a bowl of cereal, I don’t see any problems with this plan.

Did you fall asleep eating as a kid? Any funny photos asleep at the dinner table?

How to tell when labor is starting: You know!

when will i have my baby?

My midwife warned me that first time mums tend to go into labor a week or so after their due date… but that didn’t stop me from obsessing about my due date a week before I was due.

Every day I worried that today was going to be the day and we weren’t ready. Did we have enough food? Why hadn’t we installed the car seat yet? Was the nursery complete? I knew it was crazy: all babies really need is breast milk and diapers, but all I could think about was the upcoming birth.

I started pre-labor contractions pretty early, but they never lasted very long and never formed that regular pattern. I don’t know how many times I googled “when are you most likely to have your baby.” Each page said there was no way to predict your due date, but I kept searching for a prediction.

The day I gave birth, I was completely sick of being pregnant. I remember crying and asking my husband if I would actually give birth. I was so excited to meet my kid and it seemed so cruel to wait any longer.

At midnight I went into labor and I had to laugh at myself because there was no doubt I was in labor. The old quote “if you question whether you are in labor, you probably aren’t” rang true. The warm-up contractions I had been feeling for two weeks didn’t even compare. If you are googling this blog post to see if you are in labor, I can say you most certainly aren’t!

Boy or Girl: Old Wives’ Tales

boy or girl

Starting on week two of our pregnancy, both my husband and I were sure we were going to have a boy… we both wanted a surprise, so it was a long 9 months of waiting to see if we were right.

My mum uses a crystal on the end of a string to check the sex of chicken eggs, so she tried that on me.  She couldn’t remember if “boy” was round and round in circles or back and forth in a straight line, so she did it once over my belly and once over mind head.  The chicken sexing string said I would have a boy!

The old wives’ tale says that light morning sickness is a sign of a boy, so that was another vote for boy.

Baby girls are supposed to make husbands beef up, but my husband was staying the same weight… so we had three votes for a boy and my husband also had a dream about talking to our son.

Low and behold, we now have a little baby boy who is laying here happily on my lap while I type.  Now I’m really curious to see if these old wives tales hold true for our next baby… whenever that may be.

Did you wait to find out the gender of your child?  How well did all of the old wives tales work for you?