Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Keratosis Pilaris

I consider my older daughter's geographic tongue as more of a cosmetic problem than a health threatening condition. Well, it's not enough that she has a geographic tongue. She also has keratosis pilaris, another non-life threatening condition affecting the skin. It's another cosmetic problem to either deal with or to simply ignore.

Keratosis pilaris is a benign skin disorder characterized by rough bumps on the skin. Just like in geographic tongue, keratosis pilaris occurs in otherwise healthy persons and has no known cure. It commonly appears on the upper arms and thighs and sometimes on the face, which is true in my daughter's case. Keratosis pilaris results from a buildup of protein called keratin in the openings of hair follicles in the skin. This produces small, rough patches, usually on the arms and thighs.

I first noticed the rough bumps on my daughter's arms and thighs when she was around 4 years old. I first thought it was part of the allergic reaction she had with one of the medicine prescribed for her. But then the bumps persisted long after her other skin rashes (allergic reaction to antibiotic) subsided. Truth is I am more bothered by the goose flesh appearance than my daughter is. I'm thinking that maybe she'll be more concerned about it when she's older but at this time she's not giving much thought about it.

Keratosis pilaris, sometimes also called as chicken skin, is more common in women, can affect people of all ages and tends to improve with age. It's difficult to treat so it can be frustrating at times. The symptoms usually improve during warmer months and worsen during colder season.

In keratosis pilaris the keratin, a protein in our body, builds up within the hair follicles on the skin causing small acne-like bumps. Although it is very tempting to do so, scratching or picking on the bumps is not advisable as it could lead to scarring. Our dermatologist prescribed cleansing milk wash, AHA cream and anti-wrinkle cream for my daughter's keratosis pilaris. Her doctor jokingly said that she was his youngest patient who needs anti-wrinkle cream. She was also encouraged to eat food rich in Vitamin A which is not an easy task considering her dislike for veggies.

My daughter call her keratosis pilaris bumps as her "spots" and she usually directs my attention to them when they are very prominent. "We need to put medicine lotion on my spots," she would say referring to the creams that our doctor prescribed for her. The aim in keratosis pilaris is to prevent excessive skin dryness.

Did I say it improves with age? I did? Well, I just need to remind myself about that lest I continue to let myself be bothered by it. There's a possibility it could worsen though but I will not focus on that.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Geographic Tongue

When my older daughter was still a baby I noticed some reddish patches with white borders on her tongue. Being a first time mom then, I thought it was just a sort of residue from milk. Still, I directed our Pedia's attention to it on one of her regular check-ups. The doctor simply said that my daughter has mapping on her tongue. She did not elaborate and did not put much emphasis on it so I presumed it was nothing to be bothered about.

When my daughter was older, there were instances while we were eating when she would cry and say, "I have ouch on my tongue." Upon inspection, I would notice the smooth like patches on her tongue again. It really puzzled me because there were times when the patches are not there at all. After some time, I had observed that my daughter would complain about hurting her tongue especially when we were eating food with spices or with sour taste. This prompted me to do a bit of research which led me to sites about geographic tongue. Finally, my daughter's condition has a name.

Geographic tongue or benign migratory glossitis, a condition affecting the tongue has no known cause but tends to run in families. I don't have it and no one in our family has it. My husband doesn't have it so does his parents and siblings. So, I really don't know where my daughter got it from.

Geographic tongue is a benign condition. It is not dangerous to health, it is self-limiting and it does not require treatment. There are foods though that could aggravate the condition as I had observed with my daughter. Avoidance of foods that could exacerbate or cause pain to the tongue is therefore recommended.

Geographic tongue is common to people with psoriasis and also to those who have allergies, eczema as well as asthma. It occurs in around 2% of people in all ages, sexes and races and affects females three times more than males and more often appears in adults than in children.

If you observe closely someone who has a geographic tongue, you will notice that the pattern changes every time. It does look like an ever-changing map. In my daughter's case, sometimes there are bright red patches, sometimes they simply look like bald spots and there are also times when I don't see anything at all.

I'm no longer worried about my daughter's geographic tongue after learning more about it and I'm instilling in her the idea that it's not something she should be ashamed about. I do hope however that it will completely go away so that she could explore more her taste in food.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Not So Good

My daughters and I are not feeling well these past days. It seems they both inherited my tendency to develop allergic rhinitis. We all have cough and colds. I don't have much drive to move around or even think, hence my inability to do some blogging. Yesterday my husband is complaining that he's not feeling well too. Sigh... it's all in the family. I hope we'll get better during the weekend so that we could go out and have fun as a family.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Surrogate Mother (Part 2)

My sister is back and is happily reunited with her daughter. Our normal routine has resumed and my toddler enjoys the fact that she's the only baby in the house once again and I can devote more time with her. So, how did my experience as a surrogate mother go?

I've heard a breastfeeding advocate say it's not a problem breastfeeding another baby who is 6 months or below. Usually babies 6 months and younger will allow anybody to hold them, even virtual strangers. But how do you breastfeed a one year old child who is very attached to her own mother? A child who cries when I hold her even for just a short time while her mother is still around?

After my sister left her daughter in my care, my niece attached herself to me and I did not have much difficulty breasfeeding her. I think she was presented with no other choice so she readily accepted what I offered her. The only problem was she was more possessive than my own daughter. She cried whenever she saw me breastfeeding or even just holding my toddler. There were even instances when she pushed my daughter away while I was breastfeeding them both.

Yes, you read it right. There were times when I breastfed them together at the same time. I would have preferred to breastfeed them one at at time but there were occasions when it was better to give in. My niece has the tendency to hold her breath while crying, making her lips turn blue and I didn't like her to do that while she was under my care. At the same time I don't want to make my daughter feel like I'm abandoning her. So when they wanted to be fed at the same then I allowed them to do so. It felt strange but I survived it.

My niece had the tendency to wake up very early in the morning and she wanted to be rocked back to sleep while listening to music, preferably bossa nova. Her early morning habits made me feel like I had a month old infant in my care once again. What's so painful, is her tendency to pull my hair when she wanted me to get up. Arrrgggggg. I have very long hair so you can just imagine the amount of hair she was able to grasp.

All in all, the experience was bittersweet. Taking care of my niece limited my free time for personal endeavors but seeing her smile, hearing her giggles and enjoying herself with my family made up for the difficulties.

I am mighty proud of my daughters. They have been very understanding when I was still taking care of my niece. I am especially proud of my toddler who did not mind at all that I was breastfeeding another baby. She even enjoyed playing with her younger cousin. I have to admit that it was also tough on her since I am unable to respond to her needs right away when I'm taking care of the other baby. I am also proud of my husband who was always there to help lighten the load.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Surrogate Mother

Oh how I miss blogging. I have been so busy lately I barely have enough time to do something for myself. These past few days, I have been taking care of 3 kids. Yeah, you heard me right-- 3 kids. You might be asking how come I now have 3 children when I only have 2 kids? Well, my sister entrusted her one-year old daughter to me for a week while she attended a conference abroad. Given the chance, my sister would have taken her baby with her but it's just not possible. Her two other children, aged 6 and 10 are with her husband. Hmm... she could have left her baby with the daddy too, right? Well, I have something that her daddy doesn't have. Have you figured it out yet? You're probably right, I have breastmilk.

My niece has not experienced being fed from a bottle so expressing milk for feeding is not really an option. Having refused to stay at their home for a week (my family also needs me at home), my sister travelled by plane last weekend to deliver her baby to me. For more than a year of her life, my niece has seen me for a total of about one month during 4 separate occasions, half of it during her infancy. In essence, she doesn't really know me that well.

I have talked about how clingy my toddler in my post here but my niece is the runaway winner in my opinion. Having chosen me as the next best thing in the absence of her mommy, she doesn't ever want me out of her sight. Sometimes I need to heed the call of Mother Nature and if she's awake, she'll insist in being with me in the toilet when I do my thing. Privacy is certainly not in her vocabulary, not that she's got one yet.

Cooking food is not something I can easily do anymore. Yesterday, I was holding my niece the whole time while cooking for lunch. Oh, I assure you it's not something I relish doing. It's dangerous and physically taxing. Add to that my niece's desire to help me out by grabbing the pan. So from now on, we'll probably just have takeaway.

More about my experience as a surrogate mom on my next post.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Cat's in the Cradle

Have you ever heard of Harry Chapin? If you haven't, then you're not alone. I've never heard of him until I searched for the song "Cat's in the Cradle." The lyrics really moved me but I've never really listened to the song until I took the time to know more about it. The first time I learned about it, I thought it was a poem. My husband knew about it from a rock group called "Ugly Kid Joe."

Cat's in the Cradle's lyrics was written by Sandy, Harry Chapin's wife after their son was born. I don't know if it has any connection with their family life but I feel that the song is a good reminder for us parents and would-be parents to really know about our priorities in life.

My child arrived just the other day,
He came to the world in the usual way.
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay.
He learned to walk while I was away.
And he was talking 'fore I knew it, and as he grew,
He'd say, "I'm gonna be like you, dad.
You know I'm gonna be like you."

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
"When you coming home, dad?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then.
You know we'll have a good time then."

My son turned ten just the other day.
He said, "Thanks for the ball, dad, come on let's play.
Can you teach me to throw?" I said, "Not today,
I got a lot to do." He said, "That's ok."
And he walked away, but his smile never dimmmed,
Said, "I'm gonna be like him, yeah.
You know I'm gonna be like him."

How many parents missed their kids many firsts? First smile, first word, first step? Promises that were broken because there were far more important things to do?

Well, he came from college just the other day,
So much like a man I just had to say,
"Son, I'm proud of you. Can you sit for a while?"
He shook his head, and he said with a smile,
"What I'd really like, dad, is to borrow the car keys.
See you later. Can I have them please?"

How would you feel then when you have all the time to spend with your child but he no longer has time to spend with you?

I've long since retired and my son's moved away.
I called him up just the other day.
I said, "I'd like to see you if you don't mind."
He said, "I'd love to, dad, if I could find the time.
You see, my new job's a hassle, and the kid's got the flu,
But it's sure nice talking to you, dad.
It's been sure nice talking to you."
And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me,
He'd grown up just like me.
My boy was just like me.

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
"When you coming home, son?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then, dad.
You know we'll have a good time then."

There are some things in life that you can never go back to again. Our kids will never be kids forever. Before you know it, you are no longer the hero in your child's eyes and he'll consider other things and activities more important than spending time with you. Don't wait before it's too late. Don't let the busyness of your work put your family to the sidelines. Expensive toys can never replace your presence and guidance in your child's life.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Real Age?

I was web surfing today and came across this site. I don't know how accurate their real age calculator is but the result I got was that physically I'm just 19 years old while my husband is 22. Of course, I'm glad with the results. It just goes to show I'm doing something right.

However, if I'm only 19 then I should feel like one, but sad to say I really feel old right now. I've been swamped with so many things to do lately but just before posting here I was reminded that I should strive to be happy and not dwell on the negative things. Life is too short to worry about the future. We really don't know what tomorrow will bring so I'll seize the moment and make the most of what I have now.

I have a personal relationship with my Creator and I have my family and loved ones to enjoy. I eat three times a day and I'm sheltered from the storm. What more can I ask for?