Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Good News!

Well, I'm excited to say that my new book 100+ Activities for Houston Kids will officially launch on Dec. 1, although I'm doing some early promotions already. I'm really hoping parents & grandparents can use this book. I just get too frustrated when I'm trying to spend time with my daughter and end up spending way too much time researching the darn activity. The book will be available in local bookstores soon. See www.TellYourTale.com/Kids.

Here's a frustration: Amazon seems to really take advantage of its size in every way possible. Not only does Amazon require large discounts on books, the company is less than easy to work with and incredibly slow to post book info. Still, Amazon continues to be the source for online books so it gets away with swinging its weight around. Welcome to the big boys playground, right?

Parents magazine includes a one-page double-sided guide each month in its issue. The guide covers different emergencies from "Car Accident 911" to "Insect Bites & Stings". I liked the car accident guide so much that I thought "Hey, I'll tear this out and keep it in my car." Rrrrip! Uh, oh. Unfortunately, Parents magazine doesn't perforate the edges of those guides, although they are printed on a heavy card stock, so it's very difficult to pull those out of the bound issue without tearing the article to shreds. Sure wish Parents mag would make it easier to use that info by adding perforations. Do you agree? Check out this month's issue.

Until the next nap time...

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Treasure These Moments

This evening, I opened a letter from an old college friend. These days, I don't feel bad about saying "old." In our early 30s, I've learned to appreciate those old friends who have stuck by us for longer than a college class or two. This girlfriend shared with me a wonderful article about raising and enjoying children. The article is titled "Good-bye Dr. Spock" and is excerpted from the book Loud and Clear by Anna Quindlen. I highly recommend it.

In short, the article suggests really getting to know your kids and appreciating each moment for all it is. And I wholeheartedly agree. While the Ph.D.s have studied hard & have valuable advice to offer, we're the parents. It's like my daughter's pediatrician says when I ask him so many questions: "I don't know. You're her Mom," he says with a smile. Some would find this frustrating as I did initially but now I see he was encouraging me to embrace the inner voice that tells you how to work and how to play with your child. It was something none of the books instructed me about, but it was a voice I needed to hear and trust more.

After 13 hours of delivery, I looked forward to holding our 9 pound 1 ounce baby in early April '05. I held that child for less than five minutes -- enough time for two photos. Then the doctors and nurses that crowded the delivery room whisked my daughter away. My husband looked at me with strength, then ran after the doctors down the hall. With merconium in her lungs, my daughter Kylie was having difficulty breathing (imagine that!) and an unexplained fever. The other challenges now escape my memory. It all seems like a fog, except that feeling of longing for my only child. Somehow, I could see through the drugs to know she'd be fine. After a few days in the NICU, our family welcomed our daughter to our home in Houston -- dressed with floral bouquets and mountains of food. Somehow, things just were not right though.

As the next two weeks went by and I struggled through my own recovery, I got to know this little girl who clung to me for safety. Before I could walk a block on my own again, I knew I would fight for her. This overwhelming feeling grew in intensity. Family members reassured me that my hormones would balance out and things would be okay.
"I just don't want them to take her away from me again," I told my mother.
"Who?" she asked in turn.
"The doctors," I replied. Somehow, I knew our fight was not over.

During her two week check up, I pointed our some spots on my daughter that looked like small marbles trapped beneath her skin. They were small enough that the pediatrician had not even noticed them. After a second doctor reviewed the curious spots, we were immediately sent to Texas Childrens Hospital down the street.

We spent hours in the waiting room with a newborn that just two weeks ago seemed like such a big baby. I now worried about her safety but tried to remain calm. Just before midnight, one ER doctor after another pushed and squeezed my daughter. She screamed in pain and the medical team recommended we check her in for further tests.

"Your daughter has a staf infection. It's very serious," a doctor told me in the wee hours of the next morning.
From the deepest part of my guts, I found the courage to ask: "Am I going to lose my daughter?"
"I think we caught it in time but I can't promise," the doctor responded.
I looked at this innocent child who lay in an infant's bed in this sterile hospital and at that moment, I knew what my instincts had told me all along. I... no, we would have to fight to keep her alive.

Last week, my daughter Kylie turned eight months old. While she faces the constant runny nose and typical diaper rash, there is no sign of the staf infection that tried to rip her from my arms. And because of that single hospital visit, I take to heart the advice of author Anna Quindlen when she says: "The biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this (raising kids). I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs... I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night."

Like you, I have the chance to relish these moments of my daughter's childhood. While I stress out when I'm working on deadline & my client calls, I know that my most important job is growing up with my daughter and trusting my inner voice that says "treasure these moments. They will be gone too fast."

Until the next nap time...

Thursday, November 17, 2005

One Resource for Parents

Ever get to a local event that was promoted in the paper as the best thing in town for your kid -- only to find out it's missing the mark? If your child was 5 years older or really interested in culture vs. sports, maybe so. Ugh. It's too frustrating to load kids in the car and have that happen again and again. So maybe you spend hours researching the event on the Internet and then call the place to verify the details. Now you're spending more time with the promotions people than your own child.

No more. With a discriminating eye, I'm researching fun activities for kids in Houston under age 10. Then parents, grandparents & caregivers can spend more time with their kiddos and less time with the phone & computer. At last, let's have one resource that gives honest insight into kids' activities in 2006 and, hey, let's include some age recommendations. Yep, that's right. This is not your "50 things to do with your child" list that is outdated a year after you buy it. Let's make it easy on parents to have fun with their children. I think that's what we really want any ways. Good, clean fun with the family. Let me know your thoughts and suggestions.

If I don't know about a certain Houston activity, I'll do my best to make a visit & then share my thoughts with you. Plus, other parents can share their experiences as well. Until the next nap time...