Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Some Things, No Matter How Stressful, Are Worth the Effort


I am about to share with you, one of my many short comings of being a parent.  Let's just say I was definitely a much better mom in theory, than reality.  I spent so many years around teenagers, I began to believe the little ones would be a piece of cake.

My kids love to brush their teeth.  They would brush their teeth 3, 4, 5 times a day if I let them. But most days, I allow them to brush them once, maybe twice on a really good day, and on a bad one…well, let’s just say, there have been times when I send them to bed with all that sugar on their teeth and regret it later.  I know what most of you are thinking,  Many parents have to fight their kids to brush their teeth. I should consider myself fortunate. I know. I know.  But let me explain.

When my 3- and 4 -year old decide they want to brush their teeth,  they first of all, must do it together. They both go into the bathroom, and my son, the 4 year old who is tall for his age, will reach over the sink and grab his Spiderman toothbrush and then hand his sister her Hello Kitty toothbrush. My son then turns the water on and reaches for his toothpaste. I will reach over to grab my daughter’s My Little Pony toothpaste, the one for “training” so she doesn’t swallow a ton of fluoride, and the argument begins.

"No. I want the Cars toothpaste.""No, this is your toothpaste.""No. '(whining commences)"Don’t you want Pony toothpaste? Aw look, pony is sad. Don't make pony sad.""No. I want Cars." (she's got a cold heart, like her dad. )"But you aren’t ready for Cars toothpaste and mommy bought the Pony one for you.""I want Cars."

This goes on for several minutes until I finally give in and ask her brother to hand me the Cars toothpaste. He is just finishing putting the paste on his brush, and I realize the water has been running all this time, thus negating all of my efforts to pay back the environment for my use of Aqua Net Hairspray in the 80s.

My son then begins to brush his teeth like a good little guy, as my daughter insists on putting the toothpaste on the brush herself,  which she cannot do. She tries for what in reality is about 15 seconds but feels like 15 minutes, then turns to me and asks me to do it. I do and she puts the entire glob of paste in her mouth, just behind her lip and in front of her teeth, and then asks for more on her brush.  Knowing that if I don’t do this, another 10 minute argument will ensue, only this time there will be toothpaste spit all over the bathroom floor, I go ahead and put a little bit more saying, “Ok. But that’s it.”  Then she turns the brush the wrong way and the paste glob falls on the floor. Now she starts to cry, but I quickly put some more paste on the brush. That’s just about the time when my 4 year old, who you all, by now, are probably thinking is the poster child for dental health, grabs his cup and fills it with water to rinse his mouth.  He swishes it around while looking at his cute little reflection in the mirror and SPLAT! With all his might, he spits the water across the sink onto the mirror and all over the back of my sink. He does this every single time. 


So I yell at him, because by this time all patience has left my body. My daughter reaches for her cup as my son decides he now needs to wash his hands. (Note: My son washes his hands like he is preparing for surgery. Soap all the way up to his elbows.) I am trying to stop him from his extreme washing when my daughter, who is tired of waiting for me to fill her cup with water, climbs on the toilet to reach the sink.  I reach over to grab her down, while my son dries his hands by shaking the remaining water onto the mirror and surrounding walls, just in case everything wasn’t covered the first time.  We do have towels.  I swear we do!  He runs out before I can yell again, and I stay in to lift my daughter up and down to rinse her mouth and then yell at her to not swallow the water and paste.

So now you see why I really don't like for my kids to brush their teeth. But of course, I know it is important to their oral health and the health of their entire bodies. We know this because since elementary school we heard about it. We saw the cute little tooth brushes and teeth cartoon characters and were told it is what we need to do.  And if that wasn't convincing enough, we saw examples of why we should do it.  One of my favorite movies as a little girl was  Pete’s Dragon.  Even then, I knew something wasn’t right about the Gogans’ dental hygiene.

So, I  man up and go in the bathroom with those two angels from God who were sent here to make me pay for everything I ever did to my mom and dad, and go through the routine. Because one day, it won’t be so hard. And every day, it will be worth it.   

That’s what I remind myself of every time I think about what a pain the rear it is to not only put on my own sunscreen, but to put it on my kids as well. The experience is much like the tooth brushing one. My son doing what is expected until he gets bored and catching me occupied elsewhere, pours the sunscreen all over the place, including the clean outfit I just put on. My daughter, still wanting to be independent, wants it on her hands and even though I beg her to just rub her arms, not her face, she goes straight to the face, so she can then yell, “Mommy, you got it in my eyes!”

Yep. It can be a pain to put on sunscreen. It can be thick. It can be sticky. It can be messy. Had I not had my experience with melanoma, and the fear of it coming back, or even worse, the idea that may children can get it, I would probably walk out of the house 9 out of 10 times saying,

 “We won’t be out for long.”
“We’ll be in the car most of the time.”
“I’ll put it on later.”

Don’t wait until Melanoma strikes you to get the urge to fight off a little bit of extra time in your prep to leave the house. I can definitely understand the struggle to do anything with children, but remember, most things in life that are good for us, aren’t easy. Just think about how many of you like to exercise or eat broccoli. 

 Maybe one day we will read something like this, but with the words I've added. 

"But research is unearthing evidence that says that skipping mouth (skin) care is a dangerous strategy because what begins quietly at the gum line (outer layer of skin) can later set off a chain of events that can lead to heart attack, memory loss, stroke and miscarriage (skin damage, scarring, surgery, cancer, and death). And of all the measures we know of that can avert a potentially life-threatening disease, oral care(using sunscreen) is probably one the most effortless activities one can do."

Thanks for reading. Until next time, practice safe sun.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Happy "No Fry Day"

Hello all. :)

Long time no write.  It appears that I am a GREAT seasonal blogger, though I am not sure those truly exist. :) Fall and Winter are great for me. Spring and Summer I can't seem to get a minute to myself that doesn't involve the bathroom or falling asleep. Unfortunately,  I have this irresistible urge to take care of my children and make sure I contribute to the financial situation in my home. Just wait until I win that Power Ball. You guys will hear from me all the time. 

Today, the Friday before Memorial Day is known as Don't Fry Day.  (One of the things you can go through life NOT knowing until you are diagnosed with skin cancer.) It's a day to remind everyone to protect their skin while outdoors and to not go out and fry yourself  while enjoying your Memorial Day weekend. Therefore, I figured this would be the perfect time to finally share something with you that I've been withholding for a while. 

Surprised? Your thinking Miss TMI actually has some stuff she hasn't shared with me? 

Oh I got lots of "stuff." I am just not sure you can handle it all, so I share it wisely. 

What I've been keeping to myself is the picture of me below. Well the double picture of me. It was taken in my early 20's to show me the underlying skin damage that had already occurred, but was not yet visible. It was also done for free during a promotion for a skin care line at a former dermatologist's office.  The picture on the left is what I looked like to the naked eye. The picture on the right showed all of the lovely damage done to my skin from the wonderful Florida sun. 

It's not so much the sun damage that I am embarrassed of, it's more of my expression. I mean, you stick your head in this dark box and cover the back with a black curtain. It's not exactly the situation I would smile for. It's like having your driver's license picture taken. You want to smile, but you know if you do, you will just look like a doofus. (If you don't believe me, watch this smiling girl go inside the UV box.)  So you give the camera that mug shot look instead. There really should be some facial expression protocol for things like this. 

But back to the purpose of the photo, to reveal sun damage that was not visible to the naked eye. Remember, this was taken in my early 20's. Also remember, from my Tanning Come Full Circle post, that I would usually cover my face when laying out or wear hats while out on the boat because I didn't want more freckles.  So most of this damage occurred during my normal, everyday activities. 

At the time this picture was taken, my biggest concern was getting rid of my childhood acne which was making it's way into my new found adulthood and resulting in kids drawing pictures of their math teacher with spots all over her face. (Naturally, this happened when they were upset with me.) I had no idea that ten years later, after the birth of my children, some of those "hidden" dark spots would be visible. Today, my bare face is somewhere in the middle of those two pics. And let me tell you, ladies (and men), no matter what you pay for products that promise to erase your dark marks, those mofos aren't going anywhere. Sure, they'll fade a tad and as soon as a single ray of sunshine ricochets off the gear shift in your car, onto your face, the color will come right back.  

So today, I am taking a break from telling you how awful it is to get melanoma, how you don't ever want it, and how it is something that you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. Ok, I am sort of taking a break.  Today, I am appealing to your vanity.

 Let's be honest.  Until something happens to us, it is VERY hard to think seriously that it will happen to us. But we all want to look good, and if we are lucky, none of us will escape the aging process.  What most of us think as "natural aging" is actually a result of sun damage from our daily lives. Protecting your skin when outdoors and refraining from burning or tanning can make all the difference between looking old for your age and looking good for your age. 

So this Memorial Day weekend (and the rest of your life) while you are enjoying the official kick-off of summer, have fun in the sun, but please follow the following tips on sun safety from WebMD.

How Can I Protect Skin From the Sun?

Nothing can completely undo sun damage, although the skin can sometimes repair itself. So, it's never too late to begin protecting yourself from the sun. Follow these tips to help prevent sun-related skin problems: 
  • Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater at least 30 minutes before sun exposure and then every few hours thereafter
  • Select cosmetic products and contact lenses that offer UV protection
  • Wear sunglasses with total UV protection
  • Wear wide-brimmed hats, long sleeved shirts, and pants
  • Avoid direct sun exposure as much as possible during peak UV radiation hours between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
  • Perform skin self-exams regularly to become familiar with existing growths and to notice any changes or new growths
  • Eighty percent of a person's lifetime sun exposure is acquired before age 18. As a parent, be a good role model and foster skin cancer prevention habits in your child
  • Avoid tanning beds

As always, thank you for reading and practice safe sun!!!