Parenting

All Articles in the Category ‘Parenting’

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 »

This Crockpot Is Gonna Save Me

Crockery PotGame changer in our house. Splurged on a fancy crockpot last week. Big news, I know. Should have sent out a flyer.
My beloved crockpot. Regal, able, and ready like any good army, boy scout, or Labrador Retriever.

This.crockpot.is.gonna.save.me.
Last week broke me a bit. We’ve not been sleeping again. Previous memo to the boys was received and then promptly forgotten. And I’ve been sick. After busy days seeing patients, I didn’t leave my office for more than 2 hours after I was done with appointments. Twice. Didn’t even make it home in time to kiss O before he was off to bed on my “early” day. Heartbreak city.

This.crockpot.is.gonna.save.me.

Buying it was one of those, “Ah-ha, this is how I am going to balance my life” moments. Do you buy those things? They can be anything from an orange pair of socks to a closet organizer to a jumbo bottle of Advil to a new can opener. They feel like triumphs in life when you find them. In my attempt to eat right, lower my cholesterol, and live a long time, I rationalized the purchase of the large pot now inhabiting my kitchen. Healthy food made easy. I remain hopeful this crockpot is worthy of its post. Read full post »

When Not To Work

Homemade Fun In The SunIt’s cloudy with a chance of clouds right now. Then a chance of rain. Then rain again this weekend. O is napping. F is at school. It’s still and cloudy here. Why not work?

I’m about to shoot my first ever, Seattle Mama Doc self-produced-self-filmed-self-created-video. Sounds a little like navel staring but will hopefully be more helpful than that. I’m turning a comment (about sleep) from this week into a video blog post. Stay tuned for the video. Production starts now. You can time me. (It may take me awhile…)

This photo from our trip to Deception Pass last weekend. A nice reminder of why we all live here in the Pacific Northwest. Homemade teeter totters. And a good reminder of when not to work.

Verbatim: 3 Mutterings From My World

1 “Daddy!” This from O when I say (and coach him), “Say, Mommy, O. Say, Mommeeeee.” Every time I walk in the door, same thing, “Daddddddeeeeeee!” He likes getting a rise out of me. Lovely little rug rat. Then F starts the day today clearing up what we call each other, “O calls you Daddy, I call you Mommy.”  True.

2 “Toddler Doula, where do I find one?” The husband said this to me after his cup of coffee on Sunday morning after another night of frequent awakenings in our house.

3 “Which brain did you put in this morning?” The husband to me, 7:43am today. I forgot where the oatmeal was after saying I forgot that I bought it while instantly forgetting what I was saying mid-sentence. I claimed I was distracted by all the sleep I got last night (8 straight hours, Sista). And a study this month said pregnancy or motherhood does not make us forgetful. What to blame then?