A brown belt for Big Guy – not that it’s important
Mon, 12/03/12 – 12:49 | Comments Off

It was testing week in karate and, as usual, Big Guy was under the gun. Not as much as he used to be, when he didn’t have a clue and had to frantically cram, but …

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Food

Picky eaters and allergy-safe cooking — the two aren’t necessarily unrelated.

Girl Gone Wonk

From policy to politics, this rant’s for you.

News

The day’s events in a family way — unless something else amuses me.

School days

From preschool to kindergarten — so far

Simple Gifts

Inexpensive homemade gifts, creative parties and low-cost projects, for Christmas and beyond. Many are easy enough for children to help.

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Articles in Health

Looking for unhealthy teens? Follow the fast-food chain
Friday, 26 Dec, 2008 – 0:54 | Comments Off
Looking for unhealthy teens? Follow the fast-food chain

Other than what people who are so Pepsi-addicted they feed it to babies in bottles sneak to them behind my back and a shared diet Sierra Mist once a week with popcorn, the guys don’t …

Accidents DO happen, despite the new CDC spin
Tuesday, 23 Dec, 2008 – 0:59 | Comments Off
Accidents DO happen, despite the new CDC spin

A police agency in a town where I once worked went through a spate of refusing to call anything an accident. Officers would dance and parse and spin and do anything to avoid the a-word.
The …

Pour some sugar on me — and make it fast, I’m addicted
Thursday, 11 Dec, 2008 – 1:21 | Comments Off
Pour some sugar on me — and make it fast, I’m addicted

You, the one with your hand in your co-worker’s candy jar for the 10th time today. We know it’s not your fault, but please step away. We’re warning you because we care.
And you over there, …

Value menus not such a good deal when it comes to nutrition
Wednesday, 10 Dec, 2008 – 11:16 | Comments Off
Value menus not such a good deal when it comes to nutrition

Here’s some unexpected fallout from the recession — I can call it that now, right?
AIG executives might not be shopping at Big Lots just yet, but the higher income bracket is gobbling cheap junk food.
That’s …

Don’t put all the blame for fitness problem on schools
Tuesday, 9 Dec, 2008 – 0:22 | Comments Off
Don’t put all the blame for fitness problem on schools

You can cram for a quiz. You can cram for finals. You can cram for the SAT.
But I’m skeptical that it’s possible to cram for a physical education test.
Yet, that’s exactly what Big Guy’s school …

Doctors shouldn’t have to go in the hole
Monday, 1 Dec, 2008 – 12:23 | Comments Off
Doctors shouldn’t have to go in the hole

Yet another health-care situation where there’s plenty of blame to go around, but blame doesn’t matter as much as getting the situation fixed:
About 10 percent of U.S. doctors are thinking about no longer vaccinating privately …

When faced with competition, suddenly drug makers can produce generics
Wednesday, 19 Nov, 2008 – 14:02 | 2 Comments
When faced with competition, suddenly drug makers can produce generics

Once in a while, I’ll run across something so confusing I’m not sure who the good guys are.
Like this morning when I saw that the Food and Drug Administration has approved a generic version of …

$218B costs doesn’t include human toll of diabetes
Tuesday, 18 Nov, 2008 – 13:44 | Comments Off
$218B costs doesn’t include human toll of diabetes

Insulin and pills, amputations and hospitalizations, lost productivity, disability and early retirement: It all adds up to a $218 billion annual cost of diabetes in the United States, according to a study …

There has to be a way to continue insuring children
Monday, 17 Nov, 2008 – 13:54 | Comments Off
There has to be a way to continue insuring children

A flier in Big Guy’s backpack when he came home from school this afternoon asks, “Does your child have health insurance?”
It includes basic information about California’s Health Families program, which insures children whose parents …

Health care crisis not anywhere near the bottom
Friday, 7 Nov, 2008 – 13:22 | Comments Off
Health care crisis not anywhere near the bottom

“I used to complain about having no shoes until I met a man with no feet” was my parents’ favorite “quit your whining” cliche when I was a kid.
I learned the truth of it last …

When it comes to germs, women win the battle of the ick
Thursday, 6 Nov, 2008 – 12:20 | Comments Off
When it comes to germs, women win the battle of the ick

Turns out the boys were right in grade school: Girls do have cooties. University of Colorado at Boulder scientists made it official this week.
Isn’t that just swell? We earn less than men, we put in …

Kids and Allergies: Throwing out the allergic kid not good business
Tuesday, 4 Nov, 2008 – 0:31 | Comments Off
Kids and Allergies: Throwing out the allergic kid not good business

Talk about dogmatic adherence to rules that backfired big time for a Washington State skating rink.
The rink has a policy that any food not purchased on site must be eaten in the lobby. That requirement …

FDA still asleep on BPA issue
Monday, 3 Nov, 2008 – 12:17 | Comments Off
FDA still asleep on BPA issue

Sometimes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reminds me of Big Guy looking for his shoes in the morning.
“Where are they?” he’ll say.
“They’re right beside you.”
“But I don’t see them.”
Dude, just look.
Which is not …

Kiddy kidney stones could be a new trend
Tuesday, 28 Oct, 2008 – 11:42 | Comments Off
Kiddy kidney stones could be a new trend

I’m aghast. Not that it takes much to make me aghast. I usually find enough material by noon to sail past the government’s recommended daily allowance.
And news about health trends will put me over edge …

CDC study finds 3 million other Big Guys out there
Wednesday, 22 Oct, 2008 – 11:38 | Comments Off
CDC study finds 3 million other Big Guys out there

This is Big Guy’s life:

He’s had cake at a birthday party only once other than at a celebration for him or his brother. And that was because a friend took extra pains to include him.
For …

Kids and Allergies: Not so fast on tossing the baby wipes
Wednesday, 22 Oct, 2008 – 1:30 | Comments Off
Kids and Allergies: Not so fast on tossing the baby wipes

I’m near the end of five years of diapers — Little Guy’s still on precautionary Pull-Ups at night but he won’t be for much longer — and thought that would mean I could wipe wipes …

Parents can have big impact on little people with asthma
Tuesday, 14 Oct, 2008 – 11:13 | Comments Off
Parents can have big impact on little people with asthma

Once, and only once, did I consider backing off Big Guy’s asthma treatment.
He’d just turned 2 and was having a comfortable, wheeze-free summer. He’d been undergoing twice-daily treatments of Albuterol and Pulmicort through the nebulizer …

How marketing creeps into the kitchen cabinet
Monday, 13 Oct, 2008 – 11:20 | Comments Off
How marketing creeps into the kitchen cabinet

Some things simply sneak into your life when you’re not looking. Kind of like that stealth move-in a boyfriend pulled once. It started with a razor, morphed into “I’ll just throw my laundry in with …

Feds fitness guidelines are actually do-able
Tuesday, 7 Oct, 2008 – 10:35 | One Comment
Feds fitness guidelines are actually do-able

OK, I hear you. And I’m getting off my butt.
I’ve been doing better anyway. Just this morning, I was able to meet Little Guy’s demands to “go way fast” on the way back from dropping …

9to5to9: Warning adds new meaning to nuke and puke
Monday, 6 Oct, 2008 – 23:38 | Comments Off
9to5to9: Warning adds new meaning to nuke and puke

Be sure to cook poultry thoroughly, the government tells us.
This urgent warning came Friday from the U.S. Department of Agriculture after 32 people in 12 states got sick from salmonella after eating frozen chicken.
The kicker: …

9to5to9: Sorry, guys. No iguanas for you
Monday, 6 Oct, 2008 – 0:08 | Comments Off
9to5to9: Sorry, guys. No iguanas for you

Figuring it would be unfair to bring another living creature into this house when on bad days I can barely handle the two-legged occupants, I’ve managed to beat back requests for pets ranging from dogs …

Another autumn, another FDA attack on cold meds
Thursday, 2 Oct, 2008 – 11:21 | Comments Off
Another autumn, another FDA attack on cold meds

Let me first say I’m not in favor of kids walking around hopped up on antihistamines like junior meth addicts.

Let me also say that the guys rarely take over-the-counter cold medicines. We’re big fans of saline nose drops, and humidifiers are such a constant in their lives that they remind me to refill them. We never use cough syrup — Big Guy can’t take it because he’s asthmatic, and I’d just as soon let Little Guy hack it up on his own.

However — and this is a huge however — there are times when Little Guy in particular is so obviously suffering that the only humane thing to do is hit him with Dimetapp and let him breathe freely for a while. And he has to be really sick before I do that, because I’d just as soon not have him walking around buzzed up for hours.

Which is why the Food and Drug Administration’s latest move on medicines for the under 6 set really ticks me off.

Kids and Allergies: How Kellogg could have killed a kid
Thursday, 2 Oct, 2008 – 1:20 | 2 Comments
Kids and Allergies: How Kellogg could have killed a kid

There’s a certain irony in the fact that when I clicked on the Kellog’s SpecialK Web site tonight to see what I might have missed in its ingredient label, a popup appeared asking me to complete a customer satisfaction survey.

Oh, I’d love to!

Turns out they wanted to know how well the Web page worked for me, not how satisfied I was with the product.

Since they weren’t interested in my input then, I’ll put it out here now.

Simply put, a Special K Chocolately Drizzle bar made Big Guy very sick Monday. It might have killed him if his teacher hadn’t rushed him to the school nurse after she noticed tell-tale hives march across his face roughly 10 minutes after he ate one.

Election issues: At least McCain and Obama have plans on health care
Wednesday, 1 Oct, 2008 – 0:33 | Comments Off
Election issues: At least McCain and Obama have plans on health care

I just joined the ranks of the uninsured, so health care has been on my mind a lot lately.
I didn’t mean to become a statistic. I’d planned to enroll in continuing coverage known as COBRA. …

If you want the BPA problem solved, you’ll have to do it yourself
Friday, 26 Sep, 2008 – 19:13 | Comments Off
If you want the BPA problem solved, you’ll have to do it yourself

The state of California couldn’t do it, and the feds won’t. Looks like it’s up to consumers to get rid of toxic plastic.

Kids and Allergies: Canada looks at stepped-up labeling laws
Friday, 26 Sep, 2008 – 19:13 | Comments Off

While we debate the meaning of “may contain” versus “manufactured in a facility” in this country, our neighbors to the north are considering far stricter food labeling laws.
A key to the Canadian plan, according to …

A special week to take kids outside — how sad
Monday, 15 Sep, 2008 – 6:56 | Comments Off

Once upon a time a little prince sat cloistered in his castle.

He cooed in a playpen as his royal court watched movies. As he grew, he was surrounded by the finer things — a television and VCR in his bedroom, a toddler computer at his fingertips. He had no reason to notice a world beyond his four walls.

Until one day, when the prince was 5 and went to a party with his family. The prince splashed happily in the pool, but when other children left to play, he peered over the pool’s edge, alone and confused. Children beckoned him to join in, but he didn’t know their games and running tired him.

Though I’m fudging details, the root of the story is true. It’s a tragic demonstration of why the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences created

Kids and Allergies: Generic Zyrtec — at last
Thursday, 28 Aug, 2008 – 6:28 | 2 Comments

Coming to a discount retailer near you — or, at least, me: Generic Zyrtec for children!

I saw the syrup with my own eyes at Target today. Unfortunately, Big Guy views “swallow pills” as a mark of maturity and disdains syrup as baby stuff. But where there’s syrup, tablets couldn’t be too far behind.

We’ve loved Zyrtec from afar for the past year. I had to give it up last summer and switch Big Guy back to Claritin after our insurer dropped Zyrtec from its formulary. I hated to do it — Zyrtec worked far better for him — but at $50 a month, I simply couldn’t afford it.

I considered going back to Zyrtec when it went over the counter at the beginning of the year, but it still was pricey.

Now, though, there’s hope