Archive for March 5, 2014

Symptoms of Diarrhea and Constipation in Toddlers

Toddlers are such a joy to be around with, especially my grand-kids. Always full of life, forever skittering around and bouncing off the walls, constantly curious and teeming with boundless energy, there is never a dull moment. That is why whenever they become quiet or listless; we know something is wrong with them. Diarrhea in toddlers and toddler constipation are the two most common illnesses that are almost always present during growing up. They may not be capable of saying what is wrong with them, they just start to cry whenever these maladies hit. That is why it is of utmost importance that we know how to identify them.

diarrheaThe process of digestion among us human beings starts when we swallow our food through our mouths. Enzymes are then mixed with the food as we chew them. A process called peristalsis, which contracts and relaxes our gastrointestinal muscles in a downward motion, directs the food down to our stomachs and then to our intestines. It is there in the large and small intestines that our body absorbs the nutrients of the food, leaving the waste products to be later expelled as stools. It is in the absorption of nutrients that the two disorders have their differences.

Constipation is an illness wherein our body passes stool in longer intervals, about only 2 to 3 times a week, and the stool that is produced by the body is often hard and compact. Toddlers with constipation are pained and often struggle releasing their stool. In constipation, peristalsis is somehow slowed down; the food is kept at the large intestines much longer than normal, making the body absorb much more liquid from the food we eat. The body’s lack of fiber from food is the common cause of constipation. In toddlers, the usual symptoms of constipation are:

  • The child has a constant stomach ache
  • Bloating of the body and often times the child is nauseous
  • Irritability and the unwillingness to eat
  • Crying during stool passing, presence of blood in stool
  • Hard stools. Sometimes pellet like in form, sometimes hard and chunky

Diarrhea on the other hand is an illness wherein we pass stool multiple times in a day. Usually the stool that is passed is watery in nature and is sometimes accompanied by mucous. In diarrhea, peristalsis goes into overdrive so that the intestines hardly have time to absorb the nutrients in the food. Diarrhea occurs when our intestines are irritated and is usually caused by either infection, food poisoning or the taking of medication; another cause of diarrhea is irritable bowel syndrome. Diarrhea in toddlers is very dangerous and must be treated quickly as the child’s condition gets downhill really fast when he is dehydrated.  Common signs of a toddler with diarrhea are:

  • Watery consistency of stool and the frequent passing of it
  • Dark color and small amount of urine due to the depletion of water in the body
  • Low grade fever, nausea and dizziness
  • Malaise and lacking of energy
  • Drying of skin and the absence of tears when crying
  • Cramping of the stomach

 

Diarrhea and constipation in toddlers are serious afflictions and must not be taken lightly. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of each one, enables us to know the necessary steps we must take in dealing with them. We must always be aware of the state of health that our children are in, because it is up to us if they will be safe. Their lives depend on it.

Breastfeeding your Child

It is said that the bond between a mother and her child further strengthens during breastfeeding. Even the Bible has several passages relating to a mother’s nursing of her young and about how important it is towards the child’s development in the world. Breastfeeding therefore, is the holy grail of new born care. A mother’s unending love towards her child, life giving sustenance, and a very unique human experience, breastfeeding is all of these things and more.

Practically speaking, breastfeeding is the process of feeding a baby or an infant with breast milk directly from a mother’s breast. There are many benefits of breastfeeding for both the mother and her baby. Primarily for the baby, it is the transfer of the mother’s antibodies which helps the infant’s capacity to fight disease and can also protect him from suffering from allergies. Breastfeeding is also linked to higher emotional quotient of the child and, among other things, serves as an intelligence booster later in life.

On the other hand, the mother also obtains several important benefits though breastfeeding, among them are:

  • A lesser possibility of suffering from stress and post-partum depression after childbirth.
  • Eliminates the chance of developing certain kind of cancers like the ones that develop in the breast and ovaries.
  • Lowering the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes and cardiovascular problems.
  • Acts as a natural contraceptive, as a mother’s ovulation and period while breastfeeding is discontinued.

Although breastfeeding is simple in nature, you still have to watch what you consume and put into your body, as it may have a big possibility of being passed to your baby through your milk. Among the foods to avoid while breastfeeding are coffee, chocolate, tea or any other drinks that contains caffeine as it may cause the child to be fussy and irritable, alcoholic drinks are also frowned upon as  the baby tends to get drowsy all the time and is also shown to cause weakness in the child. Citrusy and spicy foods are also to be used in moderation as it affects your baby’s digestion and may also leave a taste in your nipples that will make your baby avoid them. It is also common sense to stop smoking and to also consult your doctor if you are taking any prescription medicines while you are breastfeeding as it will definitely have adverse effects on your baby.

Summing it all up, breastfeeding is a wonderful thing. After comprehending all of its known and presumed benefits to both the mother and the child, it is unthinkable for any mother to not breastfeed her child.  Nurturing naturally that’s what it is. I still remember how my children immediately stopped crying once my wife lovingly embraces them to her bosom. Now that they have grown, I can still see their closeness to us, their parents, and especially to their mother. Maybe we were just lucky or maybe we did succeed in bringing them up nicely. Credit goes fully to my wonderful wife for all of that and more.

No Dieting for Me

scaleDieting is defined as the procedure of eating food in a controlled fashion to maintain, decrease and also to increase weight in an individual. Although dieting per se is synonymous to trimming down, it is not always about losing weight. It can also be a tool that is used in gaining it, like when you want to build up muscle mass or building a larger frame, and finally, also of maintaining weight, which is usually done for health or aesthetic reasons. In short, and for whatever purpose, dieting is a word used to describe how we eat food.

Dieting for weight loss is scientifically classified, according to various dissertations made about the topic, as temporary in nature. Long-term studies about dieting reveal that almost all of the individuals who have dieted regain whatever weight they lost in about two years, and with about two thirds of the study group even getting heavier than their starting weight. The same study indicated that dieting coupled with strenuous exercise makes the weight loss of an individual more lasting and easier to maintain. However, it is also noted that the mortality rate of people who practice fad or unhealthy dieting increased two fold.

Are you still with me? Well, what I really wanted to say is that dieting, for all its worth, is just that, a fad, a temporary solution. If you really wanted to lose weight, you got to sacrifice your way of life, you got to change the way you live, because that’s what made you fat in the first place. No 1000 calorie diet, South Beach Diet or Atkins Diet can help you, if you still do what you were used to doing prior to dieting. You can eat all the low carb vegetables you can get your hands into but still be fat. You see, it’s like this when you are dieting; You look at yourself and think that you are fat even though you are not, then you decide to do something about it and you go into a diet, you scale down on the foods that you eat or even completely skip a meal or two and you keep depriving your body for days on end. Your body responds by going into starvation mode and saves all of the energy it gets by shutting itself down. You get sleepy all the time and have no energy to do basic things; your mind starts to wander off as you easily lose concentration and suffer psychologically. You then go bat crazy and still continue on this path, you then suffer extreme consequences like depression, muscle atrophy, continuous physical fatigue, organ damage and ultimately, if you’re unlucky enough, you can die from it.

Why diet then? If it’s a very hard process and if you’re going to gain it again later, why must you endure the pain? I’ve been thinking about that too. Is it society that is to be blamed for this kind of thinking? Does anybody have an answer to my question?

A Dog and a Child’s Friendship

Ever had a dog as your pet? I did once, when I was young. Have you ever heard of the saying that a dog is a man’s best friend?  Well, I must say, based on my experience, it’s true and more. A dog stays loyal to his master for a long time, unending, unconditional love. Doesn’t matter if you are fat, ugly, mean or whatever, he will love you.

I got him when he was still a little puppy, whimpering every time I touched him. I made a little cot for him to sleep him in, but always, as if it was his destiny, he trudged, with his little paws, back to me. Wherever I was, he will come to me. I don’t know if he was just cold or hungry, but he always comes for me. I never did like pets inside the house but his actions made me consider, melting my heart to the point of surrender every time he is near.

Growing up, we shared lots of time together. I always loved walking, and he was with me everywhere I go. Be it walks around the block or in the park, he was my constant companion. A quirk of his, is that ever wagging tail and hanging tongue, he was always thirsty, I don’t know, maybe the park’s humidity or his jumpy attitude makes him thirsty always. Yes, there was the occasional missing shoe and holes dug in the yard, but one sight of those soulful eyes makes everything forgiven. I used to share secrets with him, talking to him about everything under the sun which was always met with severe licking. He chases squirrels around a lot not managing to catch any one of them; maybe he was just playing around with the critters. For me, he was part of the family, a little brother, my best friend.

A dog’s life is short compared to us humans and they also get sick. Vets aren’t common and hard to come by back then, and he got terribly sick. Eventually his time did come, I was inconsolable. They said I cried for a whole week. I don’t want to remember those times. For me, he is still here, following me around. You can’t find words to describe a child losing a beloved pet, which he is very close to, you just can’t. And that must be the reason of my attitude towards pets today, especially dogs.

cute bichon poodleI like to just watch them nowadays, fascinated by the progress of breeding and training. The dogs of today are very far from the dogs of yesteryears. Wanted traits and characteristics are bred and cultivated among many a variety of breeds producing a dog which is intelligent, family oriented, easily trained or other combinations that the owner desires. I am partial to the poodle mixes particularly the bichon poodle variety. It’s a small dog that looks like the dog I had and is both caring and likes to please people around them, traits that my dog had.

Even though he is long gone, He is still my pet, even if it is only in my heart. I still love and miss him to this day.

Hedgy the Hedgehog

hedgyHaving Hedgy the hedgehog as our pet was a very profound learning experience for us. We bought him when he was still young because the children wanted a pet. I was a bit hesitant at first when I found out that it was neither a dog nor a cat that they wanted, but of all things, a hedgehog? They eventually went on and on with their explanation of why they want a hedgehog, about how sonic the hedgehog was their favorite video game character and how, if permitted,  would take turns of caring for it and other silly reasons that I now forgot. Hedgehogs, unlike today, are hard to come by in Oregon during those days but, yep they got it; I eventually gave in to their constant badgering and got them their own hedgehog. They named it Hedgy, and I was so puzzled and asked them that I thought that sonic was their favorite hedgehog? Well dad, he looks like a hedgy, and that was the end of it.

Hedgehogs are small animals, a little bit larger than most hamsters but not bigger than your average cat. They have quills on their back and soft fur on their bellies. Their quills are not that hard as the porcupine quills are, but still, they are firm enough to warrant careful handling. They make huffing and squealing noises depending on their mood and sometimes curl up into a ball if they feel threatened. We read that he is an omnivore by nature, eats both plant and animal as food, but we usually give him cat food and sometimes fresh produce whenever it is available. Hedgy was not the sociable type and just always keeps to himself in his cave that we built for him, sometimes when he feels like it, he ventures out towards his exercise wheel but those episodes are few and far in between. Sometimes the only thing that reminded us that he is there are the constant grunts he makes when he is hungry. The kids, who were so enthusiastic at first, after two months, eventually got tired of his novelty. They stopped minding Hedgy and eventually left me with his care. We finally returned him to the dealer one day, fearing that continuous neglect will eventually do harm to him, and just told the dealer that we are not worthy of Hedgy and that maybe, there were other people who will love him more than us.

The kids are grown up now and I think they do not remember Hedgy anymore, but it was a lesson learned the hard way. Hedgehogs are a bit exotic in nature and having hedgehogs as pets is unique in a different way. They are the kind of pets who are just there, they don’t interact much and they don’t give love and attention back the way most people are accustomed to, they are just there minding their own business, so tendency is that they will eventually lose favor with you, and with you ending up neglecting him.

Making the long story short, before getting any pet, one must think many times and make sure that he is ready for anything that may arise and also to accept all the responsibility that comes with it. It is only fair that we do.

Facts about Tattoos

Tattooing is defined as a kind of body alteration wherein sharp tools, particularly fine needles, that contains ink or other kind of marking agents, are repeatedly driven into the upper layer of skin to form an image. Tattoos have been enjoying a kind of renaissance lately. People from all walks of life, previously inhibited, are now enjoying the art without any of the typical stigma to worry about. Tattoo’s present name was derived from the Polynesian word tatau, meaning “to tap” and later from the Tahitian word tatu, which means “to mark”, where the present pronunciation was borrowed into the English language.

Tattoos have been used in one form or another, throughout the world, since the beginning of recorded history. The oldest found tattoo was of an Egyptian female mummy, dated 2000 BC, which is currently on display in a museum in Cairo. Many other cultures in the ancient world also bore evidence of tattooing amongst their people.  In China, during the Qing dynasty, prisoners and slaves where accorded tattoos as a form of punishment and is also used to indicate ownership. Indigenous tribes in Asia, like the Igorot from the Philippines and the Dayak from Indonesia, used tattoos to signify their rank and power in society. While the Ainu people from japan believed facial tattoos contain magic which makes them more favorable to their chosen gods.

Modern day tattooing in the west was brought about by the sea expeditions of Captain James Cook of England during the 1700’s. He brought back to England a Raiatean man, covered in tattoo, from Tahiti, and presented him to King George in exchange for a handsome sum. The event rekindled Europe’s fascination with body art, swiftly spreading across the continent and eventually across every ship port in the world. It is also the reason why sailors are always synonymous with tattoos.

We now know who to thank for all the chest tattoos for men and side tattoos for girls that some of us are wearing nowadays. Now for some fun tattoo facts:

  • During the not so distant past, urine was used in mixing the color pigments of tattoos.
  • Royalty hates tattoos nowadays, not so during the 18th and 19th century, particularly the English and Russian loyalty where the use of tattoos where considered fashionable.
  • Early sailors used tattoos as their own personal resumes. A Ship with sails meant they have gone to Cape Horn, a dragon means they have already visited China, an anchor signifies the Atlantic Ocean and a turtle means they have already traversed the equator.
  • Removing a tattoo nowadays costs almost four times the amount you paid for getting the tattoo in the first place.
  • The distinction of the human being with the most tattoos belong to Tom Leppard of Scotland who was 99.9% of his body covered in, guess what, leopard prints.
  • 40% percent of total amount of tattoo artists today are female.
  • 70% of NBA players today have tattoo.

Whatever your persuasion in life, there is no better way to express your inner rebel than having a tattoo. Just remember to specifically think of what you want before you have put anything on your body. Do it right the first time.