40 Plus MOMS

Raising children at 40

First Doctor’s Visit

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4 yr-old Blood Pressure ; Photo: Liliana Polcari

Well, last week’s doctor’s appointment was definitely not my kids’ first, but I can’t help writing about the peculiar measurement taken by the clinic’s nurse this time around. Typically before my children’s visit with the family doctor, basic measurements are taken: weight, height, and head circumference. This time the nurse successfully made my four year-old sit still, and with a child-sized cuff, took his blood pressure. It was so effective in keeping this normally rambunctious child from running, it made me think of getting a home blood pressure monitor…

 So of course it begged the question, what purpose does this information serve?   What will they do with the results? Turns out there’s quite a bit of research is this area; with obesity being a more common occurrence among our youth, it’s not impossible for children and teens to be impacted by diseases that are normally thought of only affecting adults. So yes, children as early as three years-old should have their blood pressure routinely measured as part of their annual check-up. In younger children, high blood pressure results are generally indicators for more serious underlying issues such as kidney or heart disease that would have otherwise gone undetected: all the more reason to have your child’s blood pressure taken.

So what if your child is diagnosed with blood pressure that’s not related to other health conditions such as heart defects, kidney disease, genetic conditions or hormonal disorders? The first option is no different than what’s suggested for adults, lifestyle changes such as a healthier diet, lower salt intakes and exercise. As a parent or caregiver, you can ensure that your home is stocked with only healthful food choices. A power you will soon lose as your child becomes a teenager and young adult. If your child is diagnosed with severe blood pressure, they may be prescribed blood pressure medications. Yes, there are blood pressure medications approved for infants as young as six months.

But before your mind goes into a frenzy about medicating a child, high blood pressure is rare among children and can be prevented by making the same lifestyle changes that can help treat it, controlling your child’s weight, providing a healthy diet and encouraging your child to exercise. It helps you with keeping fit too, children learn best by example after all.

In the meantime, enjoy the five minutes of peace while your child is sitting quietly to have their blood pressure taken.


First Santa Clause Parade

Well it turned out to be my daughter’s fourth Santa Claus parade and not yet my son’s…It’s the third year in a row where he’s fallen asleep on our way to the parade.  He was adorable when he finally woke up from his deep slumber, “where’s Santa,” he repeatedly asked.  Ironically we took him out to a restaurant and coincidently an older gentleman with white long hair and beard sat a table over from us.  So he was satisfied that he saw Santa that day. True story.


There’s a whole ceremony pre the Santa Clause parade.  First is the mantra of good behaviour which is best spelled out by the “Santa Clause is Coming to Town” carol:

You better watch out
You better not cry
Better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town

He’s making a list
And checking it twice
Gonna find out Who’s naughty and nice
Santa Claus is coming to town

He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake!

O! You better watch out!
You better not cry
Better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town
Santa Claus is coming to town

Second is the list, it may sound like a material thing to get kids to write down their wish list for Santa, but I use it as a way to get my kids excited about writing, drawing and story telling.  I also get them thinking about gifts that they can share and give to other children who are less fortunate.  Lastly, I know we’ll all enjoy going through the letters in future years to come too.   By the way, if you want to receive a reply letter from Santa, you can send the letter to the “North Pole” by December 16th through Canada Post’s elves.

Liliana Polcari

Here’s the 2014 list ; Photo: Liliana Polcari


Parting thought on the topic:

Each year that we have gone, what I enjoy the most is reliving these childhood experiences like the Santa Claus parade.  I’ve lost interest by the time I was ten, but going now rekindles fond memories of the holiday season.  The floats and bands were amazing; I’ve pasted some pictures below.  True to form, although I was cold after about 15 minutes, my six year-old daughter wasn’t fazed at all by the weather.  Her big smile after seeing Santa was priceless.

Liliana Polcari

Santa has arrived; Photo: Liliana Polcari

  Liliana Polcari 

And I’m excited to say that next year, I’m sure I’ll get to experience my son’s first Santa Claus parade.


What’s your favourite Santa Clause moment with kids?

First Day at the Dentist

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At the Dentist – Photo: Liliana Polcari


Today’s dentist appointment visit reminded me how far we’ve come along.   My daughter’s first dental visit went relatively smoothly, with a little support from me, the dental hygienist was able to clean and polish her teeth at that very first visit.  My son, on the other hand, the dentist couldn’t even take a peek in his mouth to simply count his teeth.  They were both three years-old at their very first dentist appointment. 

When I first wrote this blog, I had mentioned that the first dental visit usually happens at the age of three as this is the time frame that had been recommended to me by our family physician.  After reading into this one a little more, I quickly uncovered that the Canadian Dental Association (CDA), among others, recommend a much earlier visit, closer to the age of one or when the first tooth erupts.  The CDA’s logo related to children’s first dentist’s visit is “First tooth, First Visit.” Another article from Today’s Parent highlights a story of a parent’s experience with their 3-year old child’s first dental visit.  The appointment went well, the child cooperated, but the outcome wasn’t very good: seven cavities! Yikes, maybe I shouldn’t have waited until the age of three!  Lucky for my kids, they didn’t have any cavities.  Also I’m not so sure how much more succesful I would have been with my son if I brought him at a younger age than three.  That being said, I wouldn’t want to dispute what every dental association is suggesting parents should do to keep their children’s teeth healthy.

What’s made a significant difference for both my children was the child friendly setting at our dentist’s office.   They have a treasure chest offering kids little toys once they are done with their appointment, and a jar with sugar-free all natural lollipops.  The staff is also well accustomed to children wandering their office with plenty of books for them to look through in the waiting room. 

In my daughter’s case, she felt more comfortable lying on top of me on the dental chair while her teeth were being cleaned and checked.  The same didn’t work for my son the first time around, but by the second time, he lasted a whole ten minutes.  Today’s appointment, (third one for my son sixth one for my daughter), was stellar for both of them:  teeth cleaned, counted, and polished. 

It made the treasures and the Crayola type toothbrushes all the more rewarding for them!


Treasure Chest at the Dentist – Photo: Liliana Polcari


Toothbrush selection – Photo: Liliana Polcari


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First Day of School

Picture 126

First day of School ; Photo: Liliana Polcari


What makes the first day of school different from the first day of daycare?  There were many emotions circulating when I dropped off my daughter and now my son for their first day of school.  The feeling was not necessarily the same as it was for my daycare drop-off.  What distinguished the two sentiments was the feeling that it’s the start of independence for my children.   I heard time and time again from parents on how quickly their children have grown.  There were moments during my children’s infant days when each day seemed like an eternity (maybe it was the fact that I was up almost 24/7 and severely sleep deprived.). 

Now at these ages, the days whisk by.  Having said that I’m loving these early years in school, my children still think we, as parents, are the centre of the universe. We still have several years before they don’t want us to drop them off or pick them up right at the school door. 


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First Day at Daycare


On the topic of firsts, I have not and will not forget that very first day I dropped off my one year-old daughter at daycare.  She was a late walker so was not yet walking on her day at daycare.  All the daycare workers warned me that there would be lots of tears but shortly after I’d leave, she’d stop crying.  Well stop crying she did not, what seemed like an eternity while I was signing paperwork, I just heard my daughter wailing.  Naturally I was concerned, but the caregivers at the daycare just took it in stride that our experience was no different that any other family dropping off their child for the first time.  And I was kindly asked to leave.

It so it went on for several weeks that my daughter cried everyday at drop off.  Then all the positive stuff that comes out of daycare started to come alive.   She became more independent, before she was two years old, she knew how to put on her own winter coat and boots.  To put in perspective, my 4-year-old, who never went to daycare still struggles.

As a first time mom, anything new seemed to shock our system, but then my daughter and me quickly became used to the new routine and benefits associated with it.  One thing that helped me feel like I was highly engaged with the daycare was to have a very open communication and contact with the daycare staff.  During the first few weeks, the manager at the daycare encouraged to call once a day to check up on my daughter and I’d be happy to report that she did stop crying shortly after I left the building.




First Day Home

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Welcome home baby!

Simona's 3rd BDay-034

There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.

Jill Churchill

As I’m striving towards pulling together a sensible story and purpose to my blog, I’m getting to reminisce about my experience as a mom from the day my child was born. I’m thinking for a person who was 37 when my daughter was born, I should have been more confident, definitely more mature, than someone who’s a first time mom at 25.

Yet I remember many moments of self-doubt as I feverishly flipped through “What to Expect in the First Year” and spoke at length to close family and friends for advice.  I recall being at the mall with my infant daughter one weekday afternoon, incidentally bumping into quite a few moms, with one mom in particular, standing out from the pack.  I’m sure my hair wasn’t combed that day and I noticed this one young mom who couldn’t have been older than 21 with twins. She looked calm, at ease, and well rested with her infant twins. She was with a friend and each was carrying one twin with a front baby carrier.  She didn’t have a stroller, making her travels with public transit in the winter more comfortable..  

Is it a function of age, circumstance, support network, or of course, simply attitude?  I certainly did become more at ease with my second child, better navigating my options for a better support network.  My family lives out-of-town and my in-laws are elderly so we needed to accept having to seek support outside of our family.

As I continue to ponder the age variances in motherhood, I did find this interesting link that offers an unexpected perspective on having children after 40…

Photos: Liliana Polcari