Showing posts with label kids. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kids. Show all posts

Kids and Concussions: Our Story

Monday, November 5, 2012

Here's my wish for you, that you never have to see your child go through something like this:

About a month ago, we had to take Tyler to the emergency room for a CT scan after three days of concussion symptoms. Here's how everything unfolded:

He played a game on a Sunday morning. He and another child collided head to head (accidentally), they both fell and then the back of Tyler's  head hit the ice. He has taken harder hits than that one before. He's gone into the boards so hard I had to stop myself from running onto the ice. He has slipped, fallen and hit his head worse than that before. So when he got right back and up and continued to play, all of us, Tyler included, thought he was fine.

Later that afternoon, he was supposed to visit a friend. I told him to clean his room and then we'd go. After about half and hour, I wondered why it was taking him so long and went to see if he was playing rather than cleaning. He was asleep in bed. Our son hasn't taken a nap since he was four. That was clue number one something wasn't right.

Even later that afternoon, he complained of a headache. When we told him he should stay home rather than go to his friend's house, he started crying because his toothbrush was still at their house from a previous sleepover and now he wouldn't be able to get it back. Falling asleep, headaches and mood swings are all symptoms of a concussion.

We called the pediatrician's office for advice. For the rest of the evening, we kept a close eye on him and we woke him up twice during the night to ask him three questions each time (which he answered). The next day, Monday, his teacher sent him home from school because she could tell he wasn't feeling well. He said he'd had double vision while trying to take a test.

Tyler's headaches came on and off all that day. He would be fine one minute and in a lot of pain the next so we went to the doctor that afternoon. He was officially diagnosed with a mild concussion. Tuesday, his headaches were still coming and going, sometimes without warning.

Wednesday morning Tyler woke me before the alarm went off for school. He was crying and holding his head. "It hurts, it hurts so bad." That's when I decided to take him to the ER. The doctor looked him over and was confident his symptoms were still mild. She told us she, as a parent herself, would not do the CT scan on her own kids if they were presenting as well as Tyler, but Phil and I decided we needed to know for sure that he was OK.

Both us hadn't slept well since Sunday night, worrying there might be more wrong than we knew. Fortunately, the CT scan was normal. It was worth the possible risks from the X-Ray for our peace of mind. This doctor mirrored our pediatrician and said no physical activity (practice, games, PE class, recess) for two weeks. When she said that, Tyler started to cry.

I was very happy this doctor was able to talk to Tyler about what a concussion is and convey how serious they can be without scaring him. We sent him to school the next day (Thursday) with a doctor's note and instructions for him to go to the nurse immediately if he started getting blurry vision again.

We spent the rest of the week watching him for symptoms and noticed several odd things. He dropped the carton of milk twice in one morning. He tripped and stumbled walking back from the pool. We were talking about weekend plans and then a few moments later he asked, "So, what are we going to do tomorrow?" Each time something like that happened, it re-affirmed that keeping him out of his activities was the right choice, no matter that he told us he felt just fine.

Concussions affect each person differently. After the headaches went away, Tyler begged us to let him start playing again and we had to say no repeatedly. We yelled at him when we caught him riding his scooter, which he was not supposed to be doing anyway, but certainly not WITHOUT A HELMET! Tyler told us he felt like he was being punished. We told him his health and safety were considerably more important than his feelings.

During dinner the following Tuesday night (nine days after he got the concussion), Tyler was telling us about his day at school. "We were playing dodgeball at PE and I got hit in the head with the ball."

Say what?!

Tyler looked like a deer in headlights. He realized too late that he should have kept that story to himself.


This post is getting really long so I'll stop here and break it into two parts. I'll tell you about the conversation I had with the vice principal and the reaction Tyler got from some of his classmates.

My Parenting Fail: Alternately Titled Cottage Cheese Teeth

Saturday, November 3, 2012

This is second in a series of sponsored posts for The Motherhood's SweetSmart campaign.

So, let me tell you about one of my more recent parenting failures. It involves my son and his dental habits. I thought we had resolved our issues back when we bought him the Sonicare for Kids, but I was wrong. Very, very wrong.

About a month ago, he lost one of his last baby teeth. It was on the upper right side of his mouth. A few days later, we were talking and I noticed his breath was terrible.

"Holy cow, your mouth stinks! Did you brush your teeth today?"


"Well, go swish some mouthwash and brush extra tonight at bedtime."

The next day, it was the same thing. His breath was awful. Rather than swish I made him brush his teeth. Much protesting ensued and he insisted he had already brushed that morning. 

For a week, Tyler would talk to me, his breath would knock me over and I'd send him off to brush. Finally, I figured I needed to take charge and see if I could figure out what was happening in there.

We went into the bathroom at bedtime. I sat on the toilet lid so I could have a birdseye view.

"Alright, open up and tilt your head back. Let's see what's going on in there."

And then I almost threw up.

It looked like each tooth on the right side of his mouth was covered in yellow cottage cheese. The plaque was so thick I couldn't see enamel.

I got out my dental pick and started scraping. I wiped the plaque onto a piece of toilet paper so he could see it. I told him that growing pile was leftover food.

"Why didn't you brush that side?"

"After my tooth fell out, it hurt to brush over the hole so I just stopped."

Okay, then.

By the time I finished scraping and flossing, I swear there was enough plaque to make a small scale model of a tooth. We had another long talk about brushing, flossing and using mouthwash. 

I told him when he loses his last baby tooth, he can't not brush but to go back the the manual toothbrush on that side until his gums aren't tender. We talked about occasionally swishing with a mixture of warm water, mouthwash and hydrogen peroxide. 

Even though our son is 10, apparently he still needs supervision for basic things. I was hoping we have reached the point in his life where I can count on him to wash his own face, brush his own hair, clip his own nails and not arbitrarily decide to stop brushing half his teeth, but obviously, leaving him to own devices is not a good idea. I will never be able to clean the image of his furry teeth from my brain. 

Still, at least we have the tools to keep his mouth healthy. Many families so not and their children really suffer. Read on to learn a few fact about pediatric dental disease and then please leave me one of your recent parenting fails so I don't feel quite so bad!

Statistics from America's Tooth
*An estimated 17 million children in America go without dental care each year.

*Pediatric dental disease is 5 times more common than asthma and 7 times more common than hay fever.

* 44% of American children will suffer from pediatric dental disease before they reach kindergarten.

*4.5 million children develop pediatric dental disease every year.

*Pediatric dental disease is a primary reason for emergency room visits in children.

*Left untreated, pediatric dental disease can lead to malnourishment, bacterial infections, required emergency surgery, and even death.

*Dental disease has been linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, pneumonia, poor pregnancy outcomes, and dementia.

This post is sponsored by The Motherhood. I received products from Johnson and Johnson Healthcare Products Division of McNeil PPC as part of the Listerine Smart Rinse Sweet Smart Challenge.

Family Road Trip : Books, Tech and Gadgets for Kids

Monday, July 16, 2012

I have a confession to make: we've never taken a roadtrip. Sure, we've taken to the freeways to visit family, but we've never loaded up the car with the specific intent of driving up the California coast or heading to Yellowstone (both are items on our family bucket list). So, I've never really had to worry about keeping our son occupied for more than a few hours. That said, we do have several items we always bring with us for car trips.

Headphones: They are a must. Our son has to use them for the DVD player, the Nintendo DS, the iPod Touch, the iPad and anything else that will make enough noise to bother everyone else in the car. We have a pair of Skullcandy headphones and they're great. When he's wearing them we can't hear any of the blips and beeps from his games.

Tech toys: As I mentioned, we're a gadget loving family. Before we head out on the road, I make sure all our apps are up to date on the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch and we look for new games to download. I make sure all my magazine subscriptions have the current issue downloaded. Even though I charge everything before we leave, I make sure we have our car kit, too.

Camera: Our son is picking up my photography habit. He's really starting to enjoy taking pictures. Even though he can take them with his iPod, I like to give him our point and shoot as well. If your kids have iPods too, there are a ton of free and easy to use photography and video apps they can use for the vacation photos.

Books: This is a no brainer. Since our son loves to read just as much as we do, a trip to the library is a must. Right now, our son is really into a few series. He's reading The Mysterious Benedict Society, The Secret Series and The Heroes of Olympus series.

It's no accident that I try to steer our son towards books with a high page count! He reads too fast to buy many short books. And yes, we know we're blessed.

Family games:  In addition to the things we played as kids like the license plate alphabet and license plate states game, I found a cute road sign bingo on Pinterest. You can download the bingo template from Oopsey Daisy.

Video camera: Right now my son is on vacation without us. I wish I'd had the foresight to order a waterproof video camera for him. He'll be riding a SeeDo, going fishing, kayaking and inner tubing for the first time. I'd love to have video of those moments captured from his perspective. This DB Power Waterproof Action camera is perfect for water activities.

Hopefully we'll be able to tackle some of the items on our family bucket list soon. There are so many cities, national parks and attractions we want to see. To quote Amy Foster from our trip to Disney this past spring, we only have 18 summers to spend with our kids. Make sure they are all memorable!

What ideas, tips or resources do you have to make road trips easy for everyone? What has been your 
favorite road trip destination?

This is post three in a series of sponsored posts and sweepstakes for the San Diego Honda Dealers Association. Visit and comment weekly for a chance to win Amazon gift cards! Affiliate links used. 

Leaving On A Jet Plane

Friday, July 6, 2012

I just left the airport and my heart is breaking a little. Tyler is on his first vacation without us. Yes, he went with family, but it's not the same!

This feels like that moment where our kids stop being just our kids and truly become part of the world at large. I have a feeling Tyler will return from his two parent-free weeks away feeling more mature and responsible. He will, quite possibly, feel he does not need me as much anymore.

Of course, I know that's what we want for our kids. Confidence, street smarts, independence and having a good head on their shoulders are things parents work hard to instill in their kids.

But watching Tyler walk away, knowing he may come back a different kid, tore me up a little. He's growing up so fast. I thought I was ready, but this morning I decided I don't like it. Not one bit.

Summer Reading Lists for Kids | 8 Links To Get You Started

Monday, June 4, 2012

We feel very blessed that Tyler has embraced reading the way he has. He was one of the top readers in his grade and last week he got to go on a special FroYo date with his school principal and the other top readers. This morning before school, we talked about whether he wants to participate in the summer reading programs from our local library and Barnes and Noble. 

Since so many of our friends have been mentioning how hard it has been for them to get their kids to read, I asked if he'd be willing to help motivate some of his friends, too. So, we're going to ask if anyone wants to do a summer reading challenge. I haven't decided on a prize, but I think it will be along the lines of an afternoon at our local water park or mini golf course.

I tell our friends that, at first, I had to let Tyler choose the books he wanted to read even if the titles were things I thought were ridiculous like the Captain Underpants series. Then, once he decided he enjoyed reading, we started to suggest books for him. He seems to have found his genre, sci fi/fantasy, but he does read general fiction, too. Tyler trusts my tastes now (for the most part), though he did raise an eyebrow when I brought home A Wrinkle in Time.

To help our friends participate in the challenge, I spent all morning on Google searching for good book lists. Most of the lists are really long. I haven't looked through all of them but the few I did read have books across genres and of different lengths.

If you have an e-reader, check out a site I love, Pixel of Ink. They find several free Kindle books per day and have separate site just for kids and young adults.

Happy reading! 

8 Lists for Summer Reading for Kids

*My Pinterest board of books my 10-year old son likes has 3 links to book lists, including a list of suggestions for boys.

*This user generated list from Goodreads has over 5,000 titles in it!

*This list on's section on children's books has 12 links to reading lists for kids, tweens and teens (most links open as PDF's).

*The Salt Lake City Library created a list of 36 titles for boys.

*'s young adult choices listed from 1998-2012 (open as PDF's).

* has titles broken down by age range.

*A multicultural book list from Reading is Fundamental for grades K-5.

*26 young adult titles from the LA Times 2012 Summer Reading List

ETA: After I put this post up I spent some time going through my RSS feeds. Fellow blogger Kelly of Mocha Momma posted this book list for teens and adults a few days ago.
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