Higgledy Piggledy

Higgledy piggledy
Wiggledy wump,
I met a man
Who caught a mump:
With his left cheek lumpy
And his right cheek bumpy –
Higgledy piggledy
Wiggledy wump.

Higgledy piggledy
Sniggledy sneezle,
I met a man
Who caught a measle:
With his chest all dots
And his face all spots –
Higgledgy piggledy
Sniggledy sneezle.
– Alligator Pie, Dennis Lee, 1939

I read this book to the kids the other night.  My daughter loves the illustrations and this one in particular.  She asked me what a mump and measle was.  I explained that they were illnesses caused by germs (viruses) but that most of us don’t get them anymore because of vaccines. She kind of understands what vaccines are, I explained how it’s a needle that she gets that protects her from illnesses like the one described in the story.  She seemed satisfied with that, so we continued reading the book.

But my mind stayed on Higgledy Piggledy, primarily because of the news recently.  There have been outbreaks of measles in a few Canadian cities, mostly in communities where the vaccination rates are frighteningly low.  In the nation’s capital, Ottawa, a young boy contracted measles after returning from the Philippines, a trip he took with his parents.  The child wasn’t vaccinated.  Upon returning home, he became ill and went to not one, not two, but three different walk-in clinics (including an emergency room) before getting diagnosed. Meanwhile, the child was infecting his classmates at school, not to mention a potentially vulnerable population in the ER.  Within a few weeks, another four cases were confirmed.  Another outbreak is also happening in British Columbia.

I’ve written a lot about vaccines.  I’m not going to belabor the point, I believe vaccines work and I believe they are safe.  I don’t believe they cause autism and I believe that, in the end, after all is said and done, vaccines save lives.

Back in 1939, Dennis Lee was born. Decades later he wrote a poem about mumps and measles.  He likely had the illnesses as a child.  He probably recovered.  Not everyone he knew would have been that lucky.

Please vaccinate your children.

The (Almost) Daily Purge.

Day 25. National Blog Posting Month.

Anyone who knows us knows that we have a lot of stuff.  Be it books, DVDs, jackets, shoes, you name it, my house is full of it.  We have a home that looks lived in.  (That’s a nice way of saying messy.)  Anytime we go to our friend’s homes, we realize just how messy we live and we vow to change.

A few weeks ago, husband and I went through our countless bookshelves and selected about 20-30 books that we know we will not read again.  Then we went through the children’s toys and chose several stuffed animals and other toys that haven’t been played with, put them all into garbage bags and together with the books, hauled them off to the local Goodwill. It may not appear to have made much of difference to the outsider’s eye but we have already seen a difference.

And then the Princess had her birthday.  And got all those dolls, and stickers, and tea set.

So, husband took another look at the toy box in the kids’ bedroom and came downstairs with this:


The Princess wasn’t too pleased to be parting with her beloved stuffies (which, by the way she hasn’t been seen playing with in months), but was happy to hear that other boys and girls would get to play with them.  With Christmas coming up, I’m sure there will be plenty more toys for her to play with.  Yay! [insert eyeroll here]

My closet and dresser drawers are the next project, but realistically, it seems prudent to wait until all the baby weight is gone.  So, sometime in 2015 is my guess, but that’s another post.

Putting the mobile device down …

I used to be an avid reader.  I say “used to”, because, frankly, I think its been over a year since I actually finished a book.

Growing up, there were quite possibly hundreds of books in my parent’s house.  Books were everywhere.  I was always encouraged to read from a very young age. My father learned English by reading Louis L’Amour novels with a dictionary.  I seem to recall learning to read with a light-operated pen, much like the modern-day LeapFrog reading systems.   In grade school, we had to keep track of all the books we read each school year.  I still have reading logs from those days showing that I would read up to 100+ books in a school-year.

One of my favorite series was The Girls of Canby Hall. I think at one point I had all of the books.  I loved reading about the girls who lived in a boarding school.  I would often imagine what it’d be like to go to boarding school.  Now that I think about it, my dreams of having a group of girlfriends originated from reading this series.

As a teenager, I started reading a lot of my father’s books.  At the tender age of 14, I was introduced to the world of Sidney   Sheldon.  To this day, “If Tomorrow Comes” remains on of my all-time favorite novels and made-for-TV movies.  The movie is incredibly cheesy but what a fun ride!  I remember Sheldon’s novels always had strong female characters which resonated with me from a very young age.

In my later teens I started reading Tom Clancy.  I remember being fascinated with the world of espionage and if I’m not mistaken, the first novel my father suggested I read was “The Hunt for Red October”.  I must have read it at least two or three times before I really understood the book.  Of course, once the movie came out, the book made complete sense!

The last meaningful book I read was W. Somerset Maugham’s “Of Human Bondage“. I think what drew me to the novel was that the main character attended medical school, but it is so much more than just a man becoming a doctor.  It was a fascinating read and while I rarely read the classics, it reminded me of just how incredible these works of literature really are.  A couple of friends of mine are involved in a book club that plans on reading 100 of the best classic novels over the next 9 years.  It is quite a feat!  I was invited to join but declined for now.  Maybe once I get back into the swing of reading regularly, I will reconsider joining.

One might ask why, if I was such an avid reader, I stopped reading.  The answer is simple. Damn iPhone.

Seriously.  Since I got the iPhone, my nighttime reading has declined dramatically.  Instead, my nightly routine is to:

  • 1) check email
  • 2) check Twitter
  • 3) review Facebook
  • 4) browse Pinterest
  • 5) play Sudoku
  • 6) turn off light and fall asleep

The other night, husband told me he put down his iPhone at bedtime and opened up a book. Within two pages of reading, he’d fallen asleep.  I think it’s time to put the mobile device away at bedtime and open up a book.  So, yesterday, husband and I took the baby to the local bookstore while the older two kids were at school.  I found two books – the first, a fun read, Michael Crichton’s posthumously published “Micro“, and the second, an intelligent read, “Far from the Tree“, by Andrew Solomon.

Now it’s time to put the computer away and open up a book.

Looking ahead to 2013.

On this last day of 2012, I ran 7.19 km.  It was the farthest I’ve ever run.  I did it in 54 minutes and 14 seconds.  I surprised myself.  The thought of running 10 kilometers 6 months ago?  Yeah… riiiight.   Yet, I find myself approaching that goal and I’m not even sure how it happened.  Which leads me to the title and subject of this post.

My goals/wishes/bucketlist for 2013.

  • good health for my husband and children, and the rest of my family
  • keep running … to 10 km (and beyond?)
  • enjoy more wine
  • keep my patient population as healthy as possible
  • read more novels
  • watch more good movies
  • laugh more, cry less
  • travel more
  • see my friends more
  • celebrate my husband’s 40th in style!
  • read all my medical journals the week they arrive
  • celebrate the 10 years since med school graduation (hopefully with the rest of my class!)
  • write more posts than last year
  • spend more time with my children and husband

Doable, yes?

Happy New Year, everyone!!!  What’s on your list?

The Parenting Post.

Yup, I’m going to go there.

Lately I’ve seen a lot of debates popping up on my FB wall feed about styles of parenting.  Let me rephrase that – heated debates.  Recently there was an article written by the mom on the bench to the helicopter mom at the park.  It was obviously meant to be tongue-in-cheek and humorous.  It clearly struck a nerve with some people, just read the comments section.  Personally, I thought it was brilliant.

Never in human history, I think, has more been written about parenting and styles of parenting than in the last decade or so.  I have no basis for this theory, it’s just a gut instinct.  An initial Google search for “parenting styles” came up with several links describing these four styles:

And lets not forget the best of all – “helicopter”.

I’m not going to review them, you can do that yourself.  I think it’s a load of horse shit, to be perfectly honest with you.  Raising children, being a “parent”, isn’t something you can define, nor should you label it.  Its common sense, no?  Did our parents have books on how to parent?  Actually, now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure my mom had a book by Dr. Spock.  But that’s it.  One book.  Nowadays? THOUSANDS of books, not only on parenting styles (“Know Your Parenting Style”, “Parenting with Love and Logic”, ) but oh my god, books about the different kinds of children (“The Out-of-Sync” child”, “The Explosive Child”, “Living with the Active Alert Child”, “Nurture by Nature”).   Unless the child has a genetic (ie chromosomal) disorder, is developmentally delayed or has had birth trauma causing the behaviour issue, I say leave the kid alone and allow them to develop.   (Obviously, I’m not lumping in the small percentage of children with severe behavioural problems here.)

I sound grossly unsympathetic.  I truly don’t mean to.  I am just frustrated with how I see my generation turning out.  Suddenly, I’m surrounded by parents (mostly in my practice) who are obsessed with micromanaging everything from the pregnancy, to the kind of birth they want, to debating if cloth or disposable diapers is better,  to following their kid around on the playground.  [And don’t even get me started on the insanity around breast-feeding and making new mothers feel guilty 2 minutes after their child is born if they are scared or don’t want to nurse.  Seriously?]

When did we suddenly need a book to tell us a) what kind of parent we are and b) what kind of child we’re raising?  It makes us seem completely stupid.  Tribes in Africa don’t have these kinds of issues – these, first world problems.  Our species has survived two millenia without a “how-to” manual, and I think we’ve done pretty well, thank you very much.  To survive another two millenia, well, I’m not sure we’ll make it.  There’s nothing natural about how kids are being raised these days.  It’s all about fitting your kid or your parenting style into a pre-fashioned mold.  Frankly, I think it’s creating a crop of depressed and stressed out parents who are struggling to cope with their stressed out, anxiety ridden children.  It’s fucking sad.

I’m so gonna get flamed now.  But I feel better having gotten this off my chest.  If you made it this far, and don’t hate me, then maybe I am doing something right.

Of lice and spiders …

I feel like a broken record.  It’s been busy.  Usually the end of the summer is slow and the first week of school is busy.  I’m not sure if it was the allergies, or the threat of West Nile virus, but the end of August was totally insane, as were  the past few weeks.  There’s been some pathology coming into the office, it always comes in waves, but I’m not ready to talk about it yet.

Daughter started JK and as expected had no issues with the transition. Getting her to talk about it is seriously like pulling teeth.  She’s tired at the end of the day, granted, and gives monosyllabic answers. I expect this from a teenager, not an almost-4 year old who otherwise doesn’t have an off switch.

I haven’t needed an alarm clock since having the kids, but I set one on my phone so we wouldn’t be late.  Inevitably, daughter is still snoring when my alarm goes off and grumbles and complains that she’s not ready to get out of bed for school yet.  And so it begins, right? I would have expected her to be sleeping in on the weekends, but she’s up even earlier!  WTF?  Can I not catch a break?!

The school had a “lice check” yesterday.  Just before she fell asleep, I asked her about it.  Suddenly she’s full of words! She said a nice nurse checked her hair for bugs.  “Bugs? Really, the nurse said the word ‘bugs’?” “Yes, I didn’t have any,” she replied proudly.  I vividly remember the time my mother scrubbed and pulled and scrubbed my hair when I got the dreaded lice.

I think it’s a rite of passage in childhood, much like chicken pox used to be.  Every kid gets lice.  I remember my mother threatening to shave my hair off when I came home with them.  My mother was a hairdresser, so I knew she could go through with the shaving of the head if she didn’t get on top of the lice.

I told her about the school checking  daughter for lice. She said  we could use a little gasoline-drenched lice comb to kill them if (or when) she gets them.

Come again?


Seriously? Gasoline for head lice? What on earth is she talking about?!  So,  I looked it up.  Yup, not a good idea.  Great info here.  I’m just gonna forget my mother suggested that, and make sure she never treats daughter.

Is anyone else’s scalp suddenly itchy??  Yeah, I thought so.  Let me change the subject.

Does anyone remember the Scholastic Book Club?  I totally forgot about it until this past week.  Husband called me at work and told me that in daughter’s “weekly take-home folder” was a brochure for Scholastic.  Yippee!!!  Suddenly, a whole host of memories came flooding back to me.  Sitting at the dinner table with my parents, picking out one or two books a month.  Anxiously awaiting the day a few weeks later when my package could arrive at school.

Ah, books.  I loved them growing up.  I still do.  I was so thrilled to see daughter circling the books she wanted.  She circled almost all of them, and mostly because the covers had pretty colours, or a princess.  But I was mostly proud of her circling this particular book:







I think I’m going to like this school thing.