Do you smoke but in an effort to help your children avoid the risks of second-hand smoke perhaps you open a window, close a door or turn on a fan to clear the air?
A new study published in this month’s issue of the journal Pediatrics reports clearing the air isn’t enough to keep children safe. Experts have now identified another smoking-related threat to children’s health that isn’t as easy to get rid of: third-hand smoke. continue reading…
We are an extremely gullible society, believing any health report and following any trend if an expert assures us it is valid.
Unfortunately, our standards of “expertness” aren’t really up to par. We tend to believe any news anchor, medical reporter, or lifestyle columnist that comes along. No good can possibly come of this. That lack of attention to detail is how the fitness movement, the theory of global warming, and the scourge that is decaffeinated coffee all got a foothold on us.
Global warming. In the case of global warming I suspect that the entire “theory” was actually invented by a couple of bored scientists who wanted to pull a fast one on their lab partners. Chuckling maniacally, they circulated a memo claiming that hair-spray or some such nonsense was going to bring about the end of the world through a bizarre chain reaction involving icebergs, the rain forest, and Aqua Net – and then sat back for some belly laughs when the other scientists stumbled onto their practical joke. continue reading…
There is a certain comfort to be taken in the knowledge that some things are probably never going to change.
The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence; the earth will continue to rotate around the sun, and I will not get even one iota smarter this summer over last.
Learned lesson. After three plus decades on this earth you would think that by now I would have learned just a little bit about sunscreen. You would be wrong. I have, however, recently learned quite a bit about aloe.
I sum it up thusly, on the first day God made the sun so the devil had no choice but to counter with sunburn.
For the record, I am much better at parenting then I am self-preservation.
Stupid mistake. Despite remembering to coat both children with a thick layer of sunblock, I still managed to believe it a fine idea to stand IN THE WATER under a blazing hot sun for more than four hours with nothing between me and the sun but my own stupidity. I know, just typing it I’m embarrassed all over again.
I honestly don’t know which hurt worse — the peeling or my pride.
What I really suffer from is a case of rampant optimism.
A little sun. Despite years of cause and effect training which would have trained even a gerbil to recognize “sun minus sunscreen = burn,” I continue to operate under the delusion that I, the whitest white girl in America — can get “just a little sun.” This is akin to believing you can get “just a little pregnant” or “just a little nuclear radiation exposure.”
I persist in this belief because in my teens I could — and did — tan.
Tanning goal. That was really my whole life goal back then. Study? Maybe. College? Yeah, whatever.
A nice golden copper toned glow — I’ll work on it day after day until I achieved my goal with only a backyard lawn chair, a couple hundred gallons of baby oil, and my ability to lie completely prostrate for hours at a time to guide me.
Brown baby. They also tell me I used to get “brown as a berry” as a baby. Apparently, I am supposed to take great solace in the fact that I was a real babe when I was FOUR.
Meanwhile back at the pool, well meaning friends tried to warn me. By late afternoon my back was starting to feel a wee bit warm and I thought about sunscreen for a nano-second, but my children blissfully sliding time and again down a waterslide and my need to be waiting at the bottom because, after all, how could I trust the no less than THREE lifeguards on duty, seemed the more pressing matter.
By the time we left the pool, my upper body was the approximate color of a ruby red grape. I radiated enough heat to toast a marshmallow and people just passing by clucked in sympathy and then, I don’t doubt, laughed uproariously when out of my earshot at how stupid some people can be.
Phase two. Now, a few days later, I am currently in phase two of the sunburn process, phase one being the getting burnt part.
Phase two is the back-slapping phase. In this phase people who have never shown even the slightest iota of interest in you previously, people who don’t even KNOW you, will suddenly be seized by the need to slap you on the back.
It’s as if there is a primordial siren call of seared skin. Seemingly unbidden they are moved to “slap!” you on the back with a hearty hail fellow well met even if they know not why.
As you cringe and slither to the floor in a heap of blinding red hot pain, they are left to state the obvious to soothe you, “little burnt huh?” “Little burnt huh?” is obviously code for “I hate you enormously and I wish to see you dead!,” that is the only possible explanation for this.
The only possible defense to back slapping is to make the universally recognized sunburn warning noise whereby you grit your teeth, pull back your lips, inhale briskly and spasm your body inward in the standing equivalent of the fetal position.
Sure, they’ll STILL slap you on the back, but with these motions you are slightly less likely to want to punch them. As if you could really lift your arms to take a swing anyway.
As the days have passed I have regained near normal movement in my upper limbs.
Shedding skin. I have also started to shed skin like a snake, lending whole new meaning to the phrase “You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours!” My husband, lucky man that he is, gets to witness it all.
All I can say is that when it comes to reliving the sheer stupidity of the moment when I chose to eschew the necessity of sunscreen for the certainty of a not-so-slow burn, all I can say, is boy, was my face red.
“Something’s gotta give,” my exasperated husband sighs as we both gaze desparingly upon our monthly bank statement. “What? What can we give?” We look over every detailed transaction. Gasoline…300 dollars per month. Groceries…1800 dollars per month. Doctor visits and prescriptions…125 dollars per month. The list of costs associated with raising our large family, in this modern day, is seemingly endless and far too overpriced. My new struggle with trying to balance frugality, while shopping for our health, has proven to be an enormously frustrating task. The conundrum of trying to fill my children’s tummies with organic goodness and simultaneuosly avoiding a negative checking account balance is a foe that I am acquainted with, against my will. I keep hoping that my foe will grow tired of the resistance to his efforts to ruin my shaky but stubborn balance and leave me alone, but he is more persistant than I had estimated him to be.
My maternal mission to live on one income has required me to completely forget about designer jeans and MAC counter make up. I’m forced into concerning myself with only the basics, now. I don’t even dare pick up a copy of Vogue, for fear that the reminiscent yearning for the latest fashions might birth feelings of inadequacy. Who the hell needs the stress of feeling fashionably inadequate when trying to put adequate food on the table? Not me. I’m learning to be content with my Target brand jeans and generic make up. There is no room for fashion snobbery in my life anymore. I french kissed it goodbye (hey…we had a torrid love affair for a long time) and will never look back. I simply cannot allow myself the luxury of that kind of fornication with seven kids to put through college, and apparently, even struggle to feed for the next umpteen years.
We have also recently come face to face with the financial demands of raising imperfect children. As imperfect as I know we are, as parents, there are more than just two imperfect humans who live under our crimson tiled roof. One son has an ADHD disorder that we strive to try and naturally cure. This translates into forking out a lot of money on extra vitamins, health supplements, organic foods, holistic health practictioners and literature on behavioral modification approaches. Trust me, medication is the cheaper “solution,” eventhough (for us) it is not the best route to take. We have kids who need medical procedures to put tubes in ears, remove adenoids and correct a serious tongue tie problem. We have hyperactive kids who need weekly athletic involvement in order to stave off wall climbing, which costs money. We have kids who grow at incredible rates. Rates that necessitate a larger sized shoe, only six weeks after purchasing the last new pair. I’m sorry to say, that God actively ignored my prayers for perfect children. This is not what I signed up for. Somehow, I ended up in the group of people that got assigned to be a parent of imperfect humans. Did anyone else, reading this, get put into the same group? Just curious!
So there we were, sitting at the organic apple sauce encrusted kitchen table, pondering ways to increase our cash flow or decrease our expenditures. We sat, two exhausted lumps of flesh and a piece of paper that seemed to scream from the top of its lungs, “What the hell were you two thinking, having all these kids?!” We did the only thing we knew to do… shake our heads and laugh. “Hey,” my husband tried to make light of our stressful moment,” if my parents did it, we can do it.” And he’s absolutely right. If his parents raised thirteen kids up to be happy, healthy adults, then surely we can raise half that amount. We will just cinch up our Target brand belts, make a few adjustments to our habits and keep on truckin’. I got up from the table and poured each of us a glass of wine, as part of our nightly pre bedtime ritual, when my husband had an idea. ”Maybe we should stop having our nightly glass of wine. It will save a few bucks each week.” I looked over at the man who had just suggested cutting out the one thing that we get to share every night, besides a bed and cooties, as if to say, “Are you effing serious?” He chuckled at my expression of pure disgust and retracted the ridiculous statement by picking up his glass and toasting, “Here’s to our financial struggles, our child induced stress and the wine we get to share together for the rest of our lives. May the first two never interfere with the last!” As long as we can afford our weekly bottle of wine, I consider our lack of wealth a very minor side effect of being blessed with so many imperfect, yet wonderful, children. I’ll let you know if my sentiments change should we ever have to suppress our affinity for wine, due to lack of finances.
I used to drink. A lot. Too much, really, for someone with my family history and proclivity for creating chaos and drama. So I stopped. About 8 months ago. And life has gotten much better…. but that’s a story for another time.
Like many imperfect parents, I’m more or less a very good parent on most days… but this requires a certain amount of concentrated effort and a whole lot of help. I used to get help in a bottle, and now I get help from a variety of sources.
But I still need and want a vice.. something that serves no other purpose than pleasure and rebellion. A way to cut loose and be onesself without getting mistaken for a “ma’am” or a “sir”… or someone who is, say, turning 40.
I like to joke about starting a respite center for mothers staffed with hot Italian boys (or girls, depending on your preferences).. and I’m only sort of joking. Seriously, it’s so very easy to take parenting too farging seriously these days.
But the thing is, I miss having a vice. I don’t want anything life or health or marriage threatening, just something to spice things up and remind me of the wild girl I used to be long long ago.
So when my friend told me of her new “thing” for nicotine-free cigarettes (doesn’t that sound like “no strings attached” sex?? nice idea but highly unlikely?), I thought I’d give them a try.
I’ll report back soon.. but until then.. any vices you’d recommend?
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