Parenting

All Articles in the Category ‘Parenting’

Making a 3-Day Disaster Kit

Verbatim: You’ll Ghost Write My Guest Blog?

On the way to work this morning I turned the stereo up. Way up past the kid level and into decibel stratosphere. I was stressed; I’d been up past midnight working, up early with the boys this morning, and digesting some bad news in my extended family while worrying about the results of my friend’s CT. I worked a few hours at home before I got out the door to clinic. When I left home, F and O were waving in the window, O’s 17-month-old mouth gumming the glass. They were wearing matching soccer jerseys, one in red, one in blue. It chewed a little hole in my heart to leave.

My decision to flood the car with noise was probably bad for my inner ears. It was really good for the rest of my body, though. I used the music as an adjunct to my coffee. Needed to dull the senses and prepare for the 26 patients and their families that were to outline the rest of my day. Needed to draw a line.

Sometimes music is like water. Irresistible and absolutely irreplaceable. Read full post »

I Hope He Never Reads It

Letter written to my sonWhen F started preschool in February, they asked for items to add to their disaster kit. They wanted a gallon of water, an extra blanket and a note to soothe F in case of a disaster. The thought of writing the note was simply too much for me. I hadn’t given them the letter (as I was supposed to) until now. Here it is. Writing it today feels as if I’m trying to lift up part of the sky.

I’ve never written something I didn’t want someone to read. I hope he never reads this:
Read full post »

Anything for a Nap

My son climbing up a slideSo you know that thing you do when you’re desperate for your kid to sleep? That thing where you take your child to the park, run them into the ground, and force them to stay up a bit later than usual? Then when nearing complete destruction or implosion, you keep the windows down in the car and the music blaring so they won’t fall asleep on the way home? All this in the hopes that when you are home, they CRASH. CRASH HARD and sleep like a zombie. Instinct tells you that the physical fatigue they acquire will allow them to pound out an outrageous nap.

We do this. Most of us, at least. We think that the way we sleep is the same as the way our kids sleep. And after learning by experience that a hard day of weeding, running, or traveling increases our ability to crash asleep, we trust that tiring out our kids will get them to nap extra-hard, extra-soundly and extra-long.

Brutal reality: it may not. Read full post »

The Verdict Is In

Smiling babyWhen I was in high school and dreamed about my future children, I think I thought I wanted them to be popular and athletic, strong-willed and friendly. Maybe live in a big house. When in college, I wanted them just to be smart and go to a great school. In medical school, simply healthy.

Now that I’m a parent, I maintain only one consistent and overriding dream (besides the healthy part, that remains): I want my boys to grow up and be happy. No care in the world about the Ivy League, the house, or the soccer team. Trite but true.

First ever Swanson-parent-teacher conference for F was this week. First time in my life that the husband and I have sat down together, across the table from an impartial observer, and discussed our child. I think we were both a little nervous; I wore a dress. Read full post »

Reading & Talking, Sitting & Listening

little readersI was never a very good reader when I was little. I really didn’t enjoy it like everyone else.

As a child, I simply preferred to talk. My brother would sit for hours quietly reading while I’d work on making a lot of noise. Apparently, I have always felt I had a lot to say. Many people have noticed this; my 7th grade pre-algebra teacher nicknamed me, “Mouth.” And in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Northern Minnesota circa 1979, my parents recall (and retell the story of) a camping trip where everyone was so tired of talking with me they shooed me away. When I gave up vying for their attention, I stomped off alone and within minutes, I struck up a conversation with a group of ants. Read full post »

Nothing I Learned In Med School: On Parenting…

Parenting, pure joyStumbled upon an article summary last week, “Bad Behavior Linked to Poor Parenting.” I am going to call this BBLtPP. I clicked on the link with butterflies, hoping not to find something like: We’re following a pediatrician with 2 sons, one doctor husband, and one overweight Labrador who live in Seattle. She writes a blog. It’s her parenting we’re worried about…
But I clicked on the link and it didn’t exist; I got an error message. Then again, nothing. Clicked a few minutes later. Nothing. The page on MSNBC for some reason had vanished.

Thank goodness.

I hate seeing reports like this in the media. They propel this myth that there is one way to do this, this raising of child. When American Idol advertised for “Mom Idol” last night, I wondered was Mom Idol going to sing or just win for being the best all-around-rock-n-roll-Mom? I’m certain not to win in both categories. I’m sure I’m doing something wrong. Parent teacher preschool conference next week, so I’ll let you know. But really, what defines ideal motherhood and who is the one doing the defining? Read full post »

Which Is It?

Running to PottyI spent the weekend lying around feeling like death on a cracker. And most of my mental thought other than, “Please, please go away, bug” was consumed by the question, “Which is it?”

Food poisoning and a bad weekend for me
or
Gastroenteritis and a bad week for me, my O, my F, the husband, and my friend visiting from San Francisco

Let me explain. Food poisoning is not likely to be contagious, gastroenteritis (or stomach flu) is. This phenomenon of stressing on my exact diagnosis has occurred only since having kids. See, I had the “stomach flu” all weekend. I visited the porcelain bowl more than 30 times on Saturday. I felt like utter crum-dog. You’ll have to endure no more details than that, but lemme tell you, it was awful.

As a mom now, what worries me the most when this happens is ensuring the kids don’t get it. Because then it would be a total nut-house-disaster-ness-gross-vomitorium-diarrhea-pit. You know what I mean. Nausea and “not being able to control my secretions” is something okay for me, but nothing I want my kids to endure. Let alone have to clean up after. Read full post »

Seeker.

Chemo SeekerSeeking perspective and cure. If it’s true that life is all about your perspective, I know this Friday sunshine will help.

This past week has been a total mind melting experience. Cloudy and cold, too. With my mom’s chemotherapy and subsequent complications, my perspective of medicine has changed again. Forever. Being the patient, or in this case the patient’s daughter and advocate, reminds me how hard it is to sit on the other side of the white coat. Power differentials, hierarchy, miscommunication, communication, laboratories, computers, research, trainees, and simple distance sit between the provider and the patient. They take up all sorts of space.

Invisible yet room-filing.

Above is a photo of my mom directing her chemotherapy. She felt that if she gave the chemo direction (via her powerful words and a Sharpie), the chemo’s accuracy would improve. Got to give her credit. Speaking up (even to your chemotherapy) is always essential in medicine. Read full post »

Doctor, Daughter, Mother, and Wife: Four Corners

MamaDoc and MamaMy mom starts chemotherapy tomorrow. It feels like my two feet are reaching to stand in four separate corners. Doctor, Daughter, Mom and Wife. Four corners. Except nothing about the sky looks like Utah right now.

I’m caught in the middle of a generational sandwich. I’ve started to understand that taking care of those older than me and those younger than me (while, at the same time, attempting to tend to myself) may define adulthood. This week I awoke to the sobering reality that I’m a real grown-up. Good morning, Sunday, meet me, Grown-Up number 221005. It seems I’ve finally earned the title.

Titles tend to follow set milestones in life. You finish your twelfth year and you’re a teenager. Eighteen and you’re a voter. Finish college, you’re an adult. Finish Med school and they call you Doctor. Yet often, these titles are granted asynchronously from earnest accomplishment or achievement.

Take the example of being called, “Doctor.” Read full post »