40 Plus MOMS

Raising children at 40


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In my children’s words

Lest I forget, I will use this space to capture those nuggets, babbling, words, descriptions my children used or misused along the way. This is purely for my family’s future pleasure, although maybe it can get you to jot down some of your children’s funny choice of words before they eventually get erased from memory.

Shoomoonbach – to this day we don’t know what my daughter was trying to say, but whenever we’d read a particular Elmo book to her and flip to the page where he was wearing rain boots and a raincoat, she would say shoomoombach (age eighteen months)

Okee Okee – my daughter’s way of saying milk (age eighteen months)

Bekfest – breakfast in my daughter’s words (age eighteen months)

Ummm the best! My son’s way of saying he’s the best, and we totally agreed (age two)

Water table – my son’s word for “pool” table (age three). He’d get upset if we’d call it a pool table. My son loves water tables, marble runs, basketball, soccer, absolutely anything to do with marbles and balls. He’s really good at it too. He was able to throw 10 straight hoops in a row starting at two years old.

Skeen – don’t know where my son got this one, but whenever he’d see a robin, he’d yell out there’s skeen! (age three)

Pinkle – my son’s way of saying Pickle (age four)

More to come


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Being an inspiration to your children

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Working Together

After a long hiatus from school, I’ve decided to take a course at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Education. My intent is to test my ability to obtain a Certificate in Public Relations as a precursor to applying into a full-on graduate degree program. My thinking is that if I can’t manage a continuing education course, there’s no way I can fit in a graduate degree, children and full-time work!

If I think about it for more than a second, I quickly realize how insane it all seems, i.e. trying to do it all with four and six-year olds at home?! What am I thinking? Does something have to give, will they miss out, and will I miss out by not spending as much time with them?

 As I rationalize my choices, I draw upon my own experiences growing up. My father was a bona fide workaholic. He’s a carpenter by trade, and although he retired with an office job managing building inspections at a Montreal university more than 20 years ago, he continues to seek out carpentry work at 84! A few years ago he insisted on putting up crown molding at our home. As he put it, he wanted us to have a memory of his work at our home. When I asked him why he wouldn’t want to just relax, his response was quite simple, “if you love what you do, it’s not work.”

So as my dad inspired me to seek and harness a lifelong journey to grow and learn, I thought why not give graduate school a go! As I witnessed and admired my dad’s interest in learning, I hope that my children may be equally inspired by my actions. Despite being up very early and often working many hours, there were set times of the day may dad was always there. Every morning, he made it a point to say goodbye to us, even if it meant waking us up. He always came back home for dinner to have a meal with the whole family. Consequently, my very busy dad always felt present even though he’d often come back home late at night after dinner. Several weekends and weeknights every month, he’d bring us along to be a part of his unique hobbies, such as mushroom picking.

Admittedly having a demanding career is at times not easy for me and piling on university courses doesn’t help. However, I have to believe, that the satisfaction I am feeling for breaking ground with this first course and learning something new has to have an osmosis effect on my kids as my dad did on me. My kids seem to get a kick out of it when I tell them every Wednesday night, “mom still goes to school,” kind of just like them. My support system, though, is what really makes it all work. Whatever your support system may be: spouse, nanny, siblings, or friends, work colleagues, it’s without a doubt, critical to your sanity and success.

By the way, in case you were wondering what my picture has to do with this post, here’s the background story. I had quite a bit of work to do one night, so to get my daughter to hang out with me while I did my work at the same time; I described what the office can be like to her. That is, folks often work side by side on assignments in the same room. I gave her a few assignments to do while I got to complete mine. Surprisingly it worked, so I had to snap a picture of it.

 Photo: Liliana Polcari

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.