Off the Record Blog

I miss my old life and that makes me feel guilty

I miss my old life. There. I said it. So many years wishing to be a mom, I finally am, and almost daily I think about how my days were before I got the visit from the stork. Those days are now far away memories that I recall, with some difficulty, between sleepless nights and my daughter's cries. 

What do I miss the most?

  • Sleeping. Catching some Zzzzzzs is no longer something you get to do easily, and if I happen to land on my pillow, sleep tends to be interrupted by my baby's cry of hunger, sleepiness, "poopiness", whatever applies.
  • Eating in peace. Choking down food, sometimes at room temperature, is the law of mom-life.
  • Getting some rest when I'm sick. Moms don't have sick days. Stuffy-nosed, coughing, with a migraine, with back spasms, the show must go on.
  • Throwing myself on the bed after a long day at work. Yeah, right.
  • Not having to cook. I was able to get out of cooking while my kid's diet consisted only of breastmilk and/or formula. Now she eats solids...so, I already burned my arm while making food, the first of many burns, I anticipate.
  • Watching whatever I want on tv. Helloooo, Mickey Mouse...
  • Not carrying a purse. I hate carrying purses or bags. No, I carry a purse, a diaper bag, a separate bag with baby's food and snacks, the blanket I thought I needed but didn't fit in the diaper bag, some of her favorite toys, and so on.
  • Going to the movies and actually watching the film. I get to the theater, but watching the movie depends on my kid's mood.
  • Dates with my husband. The absence of babysitters means we're a triangle or a date with Netflix.
  • Not being hit on the face. It's not on purpose, of course. It happens when my baby gets excited and swings at me with her stuffed toy, or if my face is too close to her when she's playing and she didn't see me, or if she was sleeping and suddenly turned over. It's so fun when mommy has a migraine and suddenly, boom!

The list is long and I can't help feeling guilty, ungrateful and as a bad mom when I get overwhelmed with this brief desire to go back to what was once my reality. However, it's precisely just that: a brief desire.

My little girl is the light of my life, my heart, and she fills my days with joy and purpose. It's been hard to understand that I'm a mom but I'm human. We get tired, frustrated, angry, and that doesn't make us bad moms. There's no such thing as Super Mom, no matter how many try to claim that title. We would give our lives for our children, but sometimes we'll make mistakes, we'll lose our energy and we will also shed some tears. Normal! Remember that! And don't let anyone make you feel less!


###

Why you shouldn't ask a woman when she'll be having kids

When you reach your "majority of age", the question "so, when will you be having kids?" becomes mandatory for those who see you're 30+ years old, and/or you're in a committed relationship. For me, the question had the same effect as a knife to the heart, with the difference that my false response of "oh, we're still not looking to get pregnant, there's no rush" came hand-in-hand with a forced smile, and an air of rehearsed indifference.

It wasn't a case of not wanting to start a family, it was a case of not being able to conceive. As you may have read in this blog, I have polycystic ovaries, condition that brings with it, among other symptoms, infertility. Many visits to Gynecologists, my pelvic sonogram in hand, seemed to confirm the fear of those who dream of becoming a mom; having a baby will be from difficult, to impossible. For this reason, the question asked innocently, increased the pain I felt because of the diagnosis I dealt with in secret.

Seeing friends or family starting to have babies made me cry in silence and constantly ask God "why them and not me too?". My internal battle was so painful that, whenever I got invited to kid's birthdays or Baby Showers, I made up an excuse for not going. My husband, who has kids from a previous marriage, always supported and comforted me, repeating over and over again "don't listen to what the doctor's say, it will happen when GOD wants it to happen". Still, I couldn't help thinking I failed him. He dreamed of us having a child, and my body had a defect that wouldn't allow it. "His ex-wife gave him kids, and I can't even give him ONE", circled around in my head, feeding my sadness and frustration.

Finally, my husband turned out to be right: it happened in God's time. We got pregnant. But I haven't forgotten all the tears spilled, and those I held in whenever I was faced with the question.

My advice?

Don't ask. You never know the real reason behind a family of two.


*Photo credit: nenetus - Stock Photo*

###


5 mistakes I made as a first time Mom

It's normal, as soon as you find out you're pregnant, research starts: books about pregnancy, maternity, what to expect, among others, start to accumulate in your home. However, no matter how much you study, nothing prepares you to be a Mom. This "issue" is trial and error.

Here's five error I've made as a first time Mom:

  • Not taking birth classes. I kept postponing them and postponing them until, in the blink of an eye, I was in the Delivery Room. Luckily, the nurses that accompanied me during the process taught me how to breathe and even how to push correctly! Thank God! Because at one time I felt I was going to pass out!
  • Concentrate on the getting-out-of-the-hospital outfit for the baby. I focused so much on this, I forgot to pack a warm blanket and onesie for my kid!
  • Leave her unattended for ONE minute. Baby Valentina,at about 10 months old, was fast asleep on our bed, surrounded by a "pillow fortress" in case she moved. I had to get something from the kitchen, and I thought "if I run, literally, to the kitchen and back, nothing bad will happen, I won't take long". When I got back to the room, my baby had woken up and was about to tumble off the edge of the bed! With my heart beating out of my chest, I ran towards her and was able to catch her before she hit the floor. I don't have to tell you I hugged her tight and started crying, while telling her over and over that I was sorry. Don't take your eyes off them!
  • Carrying her all the time. The thrill of having a baby made us carry and hold her almost all day. Even though babies don't develop at the same rate, the fact that she was constantly in someone's arms could've contributed to her small delay in learning to crawl. Once we decided the baby needed to be on the floor, we had to watch her because she was constantly "cruising"! Floor, floor, floor, so baby strengthens her arms and legs!
  • Promoting the habit of falling asleep with the boob. I'm not talking about co-sleeping, I'm referring to literally needing to suck on it in order to sleep. During those first weeks, I noticed this trick worked, and I was so exhausted, more so when I went back to work, that I allowed it in order to, well, sleep. Now she needs the boob, it doesn't matter how many lullabies, stories or rockers I employ. Ouch...And it's a whole process to put her in her crib without her waking up just because she noticed she no longer had her "pacifier". Even baby already ate and is sleepy, carefully detach her from the boob. Cuddle her, sing to her softly until she falls asleep; but don't let your boob become the only way into dream land.
Bonus tip:

Don't keep an outfit to dress baby "for a special occasion". You face the risk that, when that moment arrives, the outfit will no longer fit! They grow up fast, let everyday be a special occasion!

These are just some of the "whoops" I've made, not counting the ones to come, but as I mentioned at the beginning: everything is trial and error. Bit by bit we learn, it's part of the job!





*Photo credit: David Castillo Dominici / iStock Photos*


###

She's a year old and already I need to buy school supplies?!

Because of necessity, being a stay-at-home-mom is not an option for me right now, my Valentina was enrolled in Day Care when she was just five months old. I know, I'm the worst, but those who live over here understand that the financial situation is not the best, and I'm the one who "brings home the bacon" in my family. Anyway, this Day Care is actually more of a school, which is neat, but I didn't count on having to buy school effects when she's just one year old.

"Here's the list of materials for the new semester".

That was the subject of an e-mail I received a couple of weeks ago. Say what? On the list, the Day Care / School asked for the usual cleaning items: paper towel, baby wipes, Lysol (not a paid announcement), gloves, among other things. Then it got even better, they asked for a musical instrument according to her age. Huh??? And a hardcover book. On this one, even the lady at the bookshop had a hard time recommending one. Also, a toy that she could manipulate, according to her age. Could it be the TV's remote? She manipulates that pretty well...

We ended up with a book about a panda bear, a toy to learn to identify shapes and a drum, 'cause my kid is cool. Ok, ok, a drum 'cause Valentina loves to hit stuff, let her be free!! Hey, they ASKED for an instrument!

I still need to buy more materials, but I think first I'll take a nap. Maybe a relaxer, too, 'cause my fellow friends who are mommies warn me this is just the beginning...




###

I algo got pissed off 'cause the baby wouldn't let me watch the movie



Hubby and I are huge movie buffs. Whenever we have some extra cash, because the price of movie tickets goes up but our salary stays the same, we run towards the movie theater. Before, we got seriously annoyed when, after picking what we thought were good seats, a couple with a baby or a family with kids would seat beside us.

"Crap! We won't be able to listen to the movie"!

And then Valentina came into our lives and we found ourselves on the other side of the mirror. Her first movie was Terminator: Genisys, and she behaved like an angel. Of course, she was stuck to the boob almost the whole time, but that's another topic. One of her last movies was Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, she was almost one year old, and it was a disaster. Big enough that
now we think twice about going to the movies.

She was cranky, she cried, she screamed, she "commented" about what she saw on screen. Daddy and I took turns walking her around the theater, among annoyed stares, while praying she would calm down so we wouldn't be asked to leave. Also because, come on! We had been waiting to see the encounter between the superheroes! I wanted to see Henry Cavill! We anticipated this movie! We, like the rest, also PAID for the tickets!

Come ON, people!
Feeling frustrated, embarrassed and pissed off, I wound up standing near the theater's exit, baby in my arms and pulling on my earrings, my necklace, whatever she could get her little hands on. A while later, another mommy holding her own cranky baby, came and stood beside me, and I felt a silent understanding and solidarity between us; something you only get when you become parents. Here's waiting others come to understand that kids are unpredictable, that not all of us can count on babysitters, but that we also, like you, want to see that movie in the theater.


¡Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!



*Henry Cavill photo credit: Gage Skidmore / Wikicommon Images*


###

I fell in the Pokémon Go trap...and I liked it!


Yep. I admit it. I criticized it. I shared memes that made fun of the app and it's users. I told anyone who'd ask that it was stupid and a waste of time. Then I read a status on Facebook from someone who barely got out of the house and Pokemon motivated him to get up off the couch. In that moment, curiosity struck and, while driving around with hubby, I decided to download the Pokemon Go app: mistake! 

It was amusing to see I could create my very own avatar. Once I
had an "identity", one of those things appeared on the dashboard of my car and I went crazy trying to trap it. My first Pokemon was Bulbasaur, and with him you lost me in the virtual world.

I made hubby stop in front of a Church so I could cross the street and go inside because it happened to be a PokeStop, and I needed some stuff. You see, there was a Pokemon on the street behind that Church. I felt like the stupidest person on earth and I silently prayed that no one would come out of the place and ask me if I needed help. How could I answer that I was searching for the PokeStop 'cause there was a Pokemon nearby?! People, I'm 34 years old, this is unacceptable!

Then, while accompanying my guy to a doctor's appointment, I decided to open the app...there was another "thing" inside the office! With my adrenaline on high, I threw about five Pokeballs until I got the sucker. This is addictive! And, I accept, fun and a way to break the day-by-day monotony.




What are the Pros and Cons of Pokemon Go?

Pros:
  • You get introduced to virtual reality. Welcome to the "future"!
  • It makes you move your butt. While trying to trap a Pokemon, you become a power walker or runner: exercise!
  • You meet new people
  • You see new places and/or points of interest you probably didn't know existed

Cons:

  • It's adictive. You'll want to open the app frequently, just in case there's a Pokemon nearby
  • Say bye to battery life and your phone's data, if you don't have unlimited or access to WiFi
  • What does it mean for your privacy? To use the app, you need to turn on your GPS and use your phone's camera...
  • You could get hit by a car. I'm not lying, I've already read many comments from people that have seem Pokemon Trainers, as they're called, crossing the street absentmindedly, following a Pokemon.
  • You get so into the game, you could forget to look out for your own safety. On this train of thought, entertainer Joey Salads filmed a social experiment where you can see for yourself how young users follow others without question, risking being abducted. Sounds exaggerated, but think about it, about the younger kids...not too far-fetched, right?




I finally made the decision to uninstall the app, my addiction to Netflix is enough, but I understood why Pokemon Go has "taken the world by storm": it's fun. Plain and simple. 

So, Trainers, don't listen to the Debby Downers and keep enjoying Pokemon Go, taking the security measures necessary for your privacy (and health...).

To the rest, if they're not hurting anyone, why judge them? To each his own, people.

Follow me on Facebook!


###


When will you get your period after giving birth?


I've never been regular. I have polycystic ovaries, and the condition doesn't let me have an exact schedule of when I will get my period. But, sooner or later, Aunt Flow visits me. The most she's been away is two months, returning with the terrible pain characteristic of my condition. 

As is normal, when I got pregnant, the Aunt went on vacation until further notice. But, recently, after more than a year, she came knocking on my door...awwww, man!

Downer! I mean, on one hand, I felt relief. I was wondering why I hadn't gotten my period, if all was well with my "system". But, on the other hand, when you've spent more than a year without pain, without carrying the arsenal of feminine products needed to "survive" those days, without having to avoid light-colored pants or skirts "just in case", you get used to it!

Oh well, it's part of the package, so, we restock our bathroom cabinet (and our office drawers) with the necessary tools and we keep on walking.

So, fellow mommy, now you're wondering, when will I get my period after giving birth?


According to the National Health Service (NHS), "if you bottle feed your baby, or combine bottle feeding with breastfeeding, your first period could start as soon as five to six weeks after you give birth. If you fully breastfeed and do not combine bottle feeding with breastfeeding, it is possible that your periods may not start again until you stop breastfeeding. This is your body's way of preventing additional pregnancies while you have a small baby". (Learn about the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) by clicking on the link).

The NHS adds that even if you start menstruating while still breastfeeding your baby, your period could be irregular, that's normal. On occasions, mommy could notice some months have gone by between periods.

What can you expect from that first menstruation?
  • Spotting. When you start to breastfeed less, your periods could come back, although lighter than before pregnancy and irregular. 
  • Blood clots. This is common and shouldn't scare you, it's your body's way of healing on the inside after labor. But, if a week goes by and you still notice blood clots, or that your menstrual flow is heavier compared to how it was before pregnancy, you should talk to your doctor,
What about my fertility?

Pay attention, you CAN get pregnant soon after giving birth to baby #1! Why?
Ovary just before releasing an egg

"After pregnancy, it is important to remember that you can still be fertile even though your periods have not yet returned. This is because a woman releases an egg (ovulates) about two weeks before she has her period.



This means you may become fertile again before you realize it. If you do not want to become pregnant again, it is essential that you use contraception when you have sex, whether your periods have returned or not". 



As you can see, your period can also go through changes after you become a mommy. But, if it's become too irregular or, even if you're not breastfeeding your baby "full-time", it hasn't returned after a few months, talk to your doctor.



When in doubt...


*This blog DOES NOT substitute, and doesn't pretend to substitute, consultation with a healthcare professional*


**Principal Image recovered from Wikicommon Images / Stilfehler**

###


Learn how to survive Day Care

Like it happens to many parents that work out of the house, we had to sign up Baby Vale for Day Care. The place we selected is not JUST a Day Care, it's a school where they encourage motor, social and moral development in children.

But, even though it had great reviews, as a first time mom, or anytime mom for that matter, it's inevitable for one to turn into a ball of nerves and worry, specially when we're talking about such a small child (my baby was four months old when she started "school"...).

With this in mind, I'd like to share with you some tips on how I'm surviving this experience.

  • Check the Diaper Bag for essentials, nothing more and nothing less.
    • Count the number of diapers you're packing for your little one, this will help you have an idea of how many times they're changing his diaper.
    • Make sure you pack the "butt cream"!
    • Don't forget the baby wipes. If you use one particular kind, let the teachers/caretakers know.
  • Prepare for your baby to get sick.
    • Law of Life: You sign up your baby for Day Care, he'll get the flu. The good news? This will help him/her develop antibodies. The bad news? Constant visits to his pediatrician to make sure baby is ok.
      • Include in the Diaper Bag:
        • Any prescribed meds with clear instructions.
        • Baby Tylenol (or medicine of your choosing) for fever, etc.
        • Thermometer
        • "Boogie pump". The "apparatus" to remove any bogger, baby can't blow his own nose.
        • Antibacterial cream/gel for cuts. A good Day Care should have this, but it's not a bad idea to pack it, it won't take that much space.
      • IMPORTANT:
        • When you pick up your baby, CHECK HIM. His privae parts, his body. God forbid something terrible happens to your little one, but it's better to be safe than sorry!
  • Forget the Fashion Show.
    • All of us moms like our baby to look their best and spend A LOT of time picking out their outfit, but for Day Care it's not worth the stress. Why? Because maybe they'll forget to use a bib when giving baby their food, or maybe baby will respond to the "call of nature" in a spectacular way, and the outfit will be ruined. So, pretty but functional.
      • In this line, make use of ZipLock baggies or something similar. 
        • In one bag, pack at least two changes of clothes. Day Cares are usually cold, so pack warm clothes. I also like to include a short-sleeved onesie, just in case.
        • In the other bag, pack bibs, burp cloths and socks.
          • I also pack a bib in my baby's "lunch" bag, to try and make sure they don't forget to use a bib. Inside this bag, I have another ZipLock with clean feeding bottle rings and pacifiers.
        • Pack at least another empty ZipLock baggie in the Diaper Bag, so they can put inside any dirty clothes.
  • Pack a warm blanket in the Diaper Bag, so they can cover baby when he falls asleep.
  • Don't go crazy packing all his favorite toys. 
    • Many times those toys are forgotten in Day Care or accidentally given to another kid. Pack two or three of his favorites and ones you wouldn't mind losing, in the worst of cases.
  • Include a notebook in the Diaper Bag.
    • My baby's Day Care asks that you include a notebook, where they write down when the baby ate and quantity, when they changed her diaper, when she took a nap, observations about the baby's progress, etc. You can also write down any instructions, reminders, among other things. If your Day Care doesn't ask for this, it shouldn't be a problem that you include one and ask them to write down this info.
    • Remember to write your baby's name and contact numbers on the front page, in case of an emergency.
  • Write your baby's name on EVERYTHING. 
    • On his toys.
    • On his blanket's tag.
    • On his diapers.
    • Anyplace you can! This will help minimize the possibility of his belongings getting lost or confused for another kid's.
  • Baby will cry, be strong.
    • The first day I left my little girl at her Day Care, I felt like the worst mom in the world and cried...a LOT. It was even worse when my baby started crying and looked at me like "Are you leaving??". I gave her a kiss, assured her that mommy was just going to work and would pick her up soon, gave her to her teacher and left.
      • It's harder for BOTH if you stick around for too long.
      • Talk to your baby, explain why he has to stay there, reassure him that you WILL come back and that he will have fun with his teachers and friends.
  • Check the Diaper Bag when you pick baby up.
    • Before leaving the place, take a few minutes to make sure everything's in the bag. This way you'll prevent a "surprise" when you get home and find a toy is missing, or a blanket, etc.



There are many measures you can take, and I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but the MOST important thing as that you do your homework and study different places for your baby. 

Don't leave him in the first one you visit. Look at the environment, notice how other children react to their teachers, count how many teachers are assigned to each classroom (infants, toddlers, etc.), look for cleanliness. Talk to other parents. No one is going to take care of our little ones like mom or dad, but if you do your job, you'll find those who will take care of them with love and dedication.

Good luck!!


Did I forget something? Share it in the comments section at the bottom of the page or write to us at fueraderecord@gmail.com! You can find us on Facebook!!!

*You can also find me as a contributor for the parenting website, Mommy Effect!*


###

The Boob is Taboo!!!

The boob. How controversial's that part of a woman's anatomy! Interesting how there doesn't seem to be any objection to the boob out for a stroll on the red carpet, or on the cover of a magazine, on television, among other places. But let the boob appear in public to feed a baby and all hell breaks loose.

I breastfeed my little girl and I admit, if my baby starts crying in public, I get a little stressed thinking that I'll have to take the boob out in public because she's hungry. I always have a little bit of fear of how people around me will react and that my baby will expose the boob. But, I swallow that anxiety and feed my little one, I'm not going to let her cry!!

I'm one of those moms that tries to breastfeed as discreetly as possible but, are those "security measures" we take in order to not make those around us uncomfortable or, God forbid, to keep our boob from popping out of our shirt really necessary?

In these so called modern times, breastfeeding in public is still taboo, but to see the boob in their role as "fun bags" is acceptable. Just like actress Alyssa Milano, breastfeeding activist, found out during her interview on "The Wendy Williams Show".


Alyssa Milano reveals her post-baby weight loss secret and defends her breastfeeding photos on Instagram. What's your take? Should breastfeeding be private or public? http://www.wendyshow.com/clip-of-the-day/
Posted by The Wendy Williams Show on Wednesday, January 6, 2016



On this topic, entertainer Joey Salads did a social experiment that's been making the rounds on the Internet, where a young woman decides to breastfeed her baby in public, in order to test people's reaction to the "scene". 


BreastFeeding in Public (Social Experiment)
BreastFeeding in Public (Social Experiment)What is your opinion on Public Breast Feeding?
Posted by Joey Salads on Monday, January 11, 2016


In truth, breastfeeding is something natural. Our breasts were made to feed our babies, they're not merely "toys". Breastfeeding in public shouldn't make us feel ashamed, uncomfortable or be censored. Taking out of the equation those who use the opportunity to show off their attributes, because some really do this, let's be honest, breastfeeding in public should be seen as normal. Whoever feels uncomfortable seeing this has the right to look away, but never make us mommies who just want to feed our babies feel less or like we're doing something wrong. Let's get rid of the fear! Go away anxiety! Let's normalize breastfeeding!

Hooray for the boob!

What's YOUR take on this? Leave your comment at the bottom of the page or go to www.facebook.com/fueraderecordpr!!!

###


Our First Christmas!


Excited! More than excited! This Christmas was our first with our baby and I can't seem to keep calm. It's reliving mi best Christmas memories through my little girl's eyes. So exciting!

We weren't able to have our own Christmas Tree, but Baby Vale has visited a LOT of places that have the Christmas theme going on and we have MANY pictures to prove it.

At Church for her presentation...

At the "Lomita de los Vientos" in our capital, San Juan...

At "Plaza las Américas" mall...

At the movies...

At Denny's...

At the Christmas Garden in Caguas' Botanical Garden...

Well, you get the idea. She's almost the Elf on the Shelf! She's been found everywhere!


What did I learn with my baby's first Christmas?

  • I learned how my parents must have felt during the season when my brother and I were little.
  • I learned that Christmas with kids means reliving the illusion of our youth.
  • I learned that you need to balance your responsibilities at work during this time (and always) and family.
  • I learned you need to be wise and make the most of your money, because the excitement can destroy your wallet, hahahaha.
  • I learned that it's NOT how many presents you buy or receive what's important, it's spending time with your loved ones what's most valuable.
  • I learned that you need to cherish this time, because it flies.
  • I learned that we shouldn't forget the real meaning of Christmas: the birth of Jesus Christ. With so much going on, it can be easy to forget this.
My Baby Vale won't have another "First Christmas", so we're enjoying every single minute, thanking God for His love and mercy and having given us such a beautiful and priceless present.

We still have Three Kings Day!! 

Happy Holidays!

How was your first Christmas with your little one? How did you spend Christmas with your kids? Leave your comment at the bottom of the page!


*Image of the Elf on the Shelf used with permission from fellow mommy blogger, Sophie. Check out her blog, "A contented little mummy"!!

###


Spread the power of reading!

This post is part of an alliance with Duffy Books In Homes USA.
I'm receiving no compensation for this post, I just loved the initiative and decided to get involved.

 

You’ve heard it before: “knowledge is power”.  That’s why it’s so important to instill in our children the love of reading from an early age. 

I remember when I was a child, my parents would buy me those books that came with a cassette, where I could follow the story being narrated and a *ping* sound would alert me that it was time to turn the page. I loved them! As I grew up, they would encourage me to buy any book I liked, going to a bookstore became as fun as going to the candy store!!!

Today, I have my own little one and, even though she’s only five months old, I’ve made it my mission to pass on to her that love of reading. I already have a pretty good arsenal of baby books, some bought, others given as gifts from friends and family.

This is why when I heard of Duffy Books in Homes USA’s initiative, I wanted to be involved.

What’s Duffy Books in Homes USA?


For children in need who aspire to be successful, Duffy Books in Homes USA is the community literacy ambassador and educational partner that helps inspire a love of reading. 

A nonprofit based in Philadelphia, it provides elementary school students in need, with books of their choice to keep in their homes, encouraging life-long literacy and success. DBIH USA knows that limited access to books can affect a child later in life, so their mission is to make sure kids have the reading materials they need to keep them on track throughout their education!

Addressing the issue of “booklessness”

Because of their ultimate goal, DBIH USA has joined #GivingTuesday, the National Movement bringing charities, families, businesses, and individuals together to better their communities during this holiday season.

Following Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday uses the powers of Social Media to encourage people to shop a little less and give a little more.  By participating in #GivingTuesday, DBIH USA joins a movement of individuals and organizations working to create a better world for our kids.

What is their goal?

The DBIH USA #GivingTuesday goal is to raise $5,000, that’s 1,500 brand new books!

How can you help?

If you want to help spread the power of reading, you can do it by donating at DBIHUSA.org or by entering the #DuffysGivingTuesday #Giveaway.

How do I enter the Giveaway?

Enter to win a bundle of books for your little reader by posting a photo of you reading with your child and tagging DBIH USA using #DuffysGivingTuesday. Don’t forget to use this hashtag! 

The winner will be announced on #GivingTuesday, December 1st.

Spread the love!!!

A little can go a loooong way!!! Help our children keep on track for a brighter future! Donate whatever you can and/or participate in #DuffysGivingTuesday. You know you want to! Spread the love! Spread the power of reading!






(Like Duffy Books in Homes USA on Facebook!)

###


Say goodbye to those "accidents"! Huggies Active Sec are here!

                       
                          This post is part of a partnership with Huggies Puerto Rico

One, two, three onesies “destroyed” in 24 hours. My little girl has a very healthy digestive system, so to speak, and diapers I’ve tried in the past haven’t been able to take a punch. As a first time mom, the first time my baby made a mess, I just stood there, staring at her, and wondering two things:

“How can so much come out of something so little?”
“Where do I start?!”

The diapers I’ve tried rarely have given us more than four hours of protection, let alone 12 hours. If the baby peed, her bottom felt wet, along with her clothes. And if she pooped, too many times it came out the sides of her diaper, staining her clothes and/or mine or her Daddy’s.

Until Huggies Active Sec, the famous brand’s new line!

Huggies Active Sec boasts advanced technologies, which give more protection for longer, minimizing those “accidents” and the number of times you need to change her diaper.

What advanced technologies am I talking about?

Dual Velcro. Yep. Now there’s TWO grips on the diaper, guaranteeing it will stay put, no matter how much your lol wiggles and moves. Also, the diaper’s fastener is oval shaped, contributing to that better fit.

And the design?

When you first grab one out of the bag, you notice the material is very light, but, don’t let that fool you! The material is soft and resistant, with more absorption. My baby’s tushy didn’t feel wet when I picked her up in the morning after a good night’s sleep!

Mickey, Minnie and friends are part of the design!

Mayor bonus points when I saw that Huggies Active Sec come with a fun Mickey and Minnie Mouse design, my girl loves these classic characters!

...


All these characteristics result in more savings for our pocket since, with twelve hour protection, you don’t need to change that diaper so often. And, if you’re already a fan of Huggies diapers like I am, know that Active Sec are just as inexpensive as other brands in the market, like Luvs.

Don’t knock it, ‘till you try it!

From now on, when I go to my nearest Walmart, I’ll make sure to throw some bags of Huggies Active Sec in my cart, more so because they’re sold exclusively there!


So, now you know! Minimize those “accidents” and make your baby more comfortable, while saving money. Maybe soon you’ll be able to save enough for a much needed vacation, us mommies and daddies need to recharge our batteries once in a while!

###

Talking to Dad: "Everybody's a Doctor"

We already had a glimpse of the challenges Dad faces when he's out with his little one. "You can't get a break!" when you're taking care of a baby.

We continue Fuera de Record's series (FDR), "Talking to Dad", where we left off last time...

FDR: Has something happened to you with the baby that you can’t help but think “this is NOT happening right now”?

"Well...*laughs*...I was at a store, strolling through the aisles, looking at what they had and picking out things we needed for the baby. She was fussy but suddenly she just calmed down, so, I kept walking around. A while layer, I went towards the check out counter and stood in line. When I look down at my shirt, she'd pooped on me!! I'd been walking around for more than half an hour with poop on my shirt! And nobody had said anything!! I got a bit frustrated but, what can you do? I had to ask an employee to let me use the bathroom so I could, first, clean the baby, and then take off my shirt and wash it right there. Luckily, I also carry a backpack and I had a clean shirt in there. Wrinkled!!! But clean!!"




FDR: Once you commented that whenever the baby's crying or screaming, people think they know exactly what's wrong with her...



"Yeah, everybody thinks they're a doctor. Doctor, psychologist, babysitter... First, right off the bat, if they hear her crying, they ask 'where's her Mom?' I'm her Dad, what's the problem? Then they look at me with this face...because the baby's crying, but she already ate. And they tell me, 'that's because she's hungry, you need to feed her'. So, you have to explain to them that you already fed her. But when you're done explaining, 'oh, well, she doesn't like the way you're holding her' or 'she's colicky, get some medicine from that aisle over there'.



Everyone thinks they're doctors and it's not like that. You don't buy just anything and give it to the baby. A lot of times maybe she just has a bit of gas or she's uncomfortable or she doesn't like the noise, but people are always putting their two cents in. Specially when they see a guy with a small child, people worry more 'cause they think he can't handle it, they think 'why do they leave him alone with a baby?'...



FDR: That you can't handle it because you're not Mom?



"Because I'm not the Mom. Some people would come up to me and say 'I'll hold her'. No. I can hold her, I'm the Dad. Maybe she's hungry, well, then, I'll feed her. But I can't just stick a bottle in her mouth. I have to warm her Mom's breast-milk, which is frozen *laughs*"



FDR: You can't just take out the boob...



"*laughs* I can't take out the boob. I can't go into a little room, 'hey! Can I have some space to breastfeed my baby?!' No, it's not easy, but it comes with the territory".



FDR: Does it make you feel that you just won't go anywhere alone with her?



"No. If I need to go somewhere, I'll go, but it's more complicated. I have to make sure she just ate, that she's burped, that I have enough diapers. I have to calculate how much time it will take for me to go from the house to the place so the baby doesn't get fussy, but kids are unpredictable".



FDR: Does that process tire you out?



"Of course! After I do all that, get to the place, find a parking space, take out the stroller, take out the baby, I'm all sweaty!"



FDR: It's not easy being a Mom, huh?



"Nope! It's not easy!"



FDR: Are you considering Day Care?



Check out his answer on the final installment of “Talking to Dad”!

Can you relate? What do you think? Leave your comments at the bottom of the page in the Comments Section or email us at fueraderecord@gmail.com!


###

Talking to Dad: "It’s not easy taking care of a baby"

When we found out I was pregnant, one of our questions was “who’s going to take care of the baby while we work?” 

With the economic crisis plaguing the Island, it’s not an option, no matter how much I wish it was, for me to stay at home with our little one. So, after a lot of discussion, we reached the decision that Dad would stay at home with our baby girl, while I went to work, since his job offered more flexible hours. 

Even in these so called “modern times”, it’s still seen as unusual that the woman is the one to go out into the world to bring home the bacon, while the man stays at home with the kids. Whenever I share this detail of my life, I almost always get a “WOW!” in response and my hubby seems to turn into some kind of Superhero or, in this case, Super Dad. So, it occurred to me to give you a glimpse at the other side of the coin, a look at another perspective: Mr. Mom's.

I present to you guys Fuera de Record’s (FDR) series, “Talking to Dad”. A compilation of short interviews to my Valentina’s daddy that will give you an idea of what the daddies that stay at home taking care of the kids go through, while us mommies head out to work. Here we go!

FDR: A little over a month ago I went back to work after my Maternity Leave ended, and since then you’ve been taking care of our baby, how’s that going for you?

“It’s been a very difficult experience for many reasons. She’s used to her mom breastfeeding her, you breastfeeding her. Every two or three hours you have to run to warm her milk and during that time, she doesn’t stop crying and I have to hurry. Then, not even half an hour later, you have to change her diaper, you have to keep an eye on that, her diaper needs to be changed MANY times! If she falls asleep, where I live there’s a lot of noise, four-tracks, etc., so any sound wakes her. It’s hard ‘cause she doesn’t sleep much and you get tired”.

FDR: Physically and emotionally?

"Yes".

FDR: Describe a typical day with your baby.

“I drop you off at work in the morning. If I need to go to the Pharmacy, or someplace else to buy something for the baby, I need to find a wide parking space so I can leave the doors of the car open while I take out the stroller. I need to leave the air conditioning in the car on because it’s too hot in Puerto Rico. Take out the stroller, the baby and shield her from the sun. I go in. If she starts crying, which happens a LOT, I check if she pooped, if she has a dirty diaper. If she has, I have to ask a female employee to open the woman’s restroom, because there’s no place in the men’s restroom to change her, there’s no Family Room like in the United States. I have to wait for the restroom to be empty to deal with the baby”.

FDR: ¿Family Room?

"It’s a restroom for the whole family. Mom, dad, kids, everyone can go in. There’s a big chair, a changing table so you can change your baby’s diaper. There’s enough space, big spaces, for two strollers if you have two kids. Everyone fits in comfortably. You see them more in movie theaters and airports…but here in Puerto Rico I haven’t seen a Family Room. And the restrooms are so small…first in the men’s restroom there are no changing tables. Dad can never change the baby, his son or daughter. If there’s one with it, it’s been put in recently because I haven’t seen it anywhere. 

Then, when you go into a Pharmacy, some of them, for example, you have to use the women’s restroom or the floor. And in the women’s restroom you have to wait for it to be empty and the stroller doesn’t even fit because it’s so small. Also, there’s no paper to put on the changing table, the recipient where it’s supposed to be is empty. I have to use baby wipes to clean the changing table, to disinfect it, so I can put the baby’s things on it and then the baby. *Laughing* And that table is so small that my little girl, who’s only three months old, barely fits on it!

It seems like they don’t think about the public that has a family and has to wait for two or three hours for a prescription to be filled. They should have the restrooms more available because in order to use them, you need to find an employee, who’s usually busy and can’t help you. And, like I said before, if I have to change the baby, a female employee needs to come and go into the women’s restroom, ask if there’s someone in there, if there is, you have to wait for them to come out. Then you can go in and use the restroom but the employee stays outside to warn anyone who wants to go in that there’s a man in there changing a baby. It’s very uncomfortable. Many times you can change her quickly but other times you just can’t and some people don’t understand that. You have to do things halfway and throw everything into the stroller to hurry up so they can come in. It’s very difficult”.




FDR: Have you been looked at strangely when you ask to use the women’s bathroom to change the baby’s diaper?

“Yes, they look at me kinda weird, sometimes they’ve asked me where’s the Mom, but I always ask “can I change the baby?” and they look at her and let me. For the most part they don’t ask, but they HAVE asked for the Mom to come so SHE can change her, or if an employee can change her! I’m sorry but, NO. I’M gonna change MY baby’s diaper, I don’t want any employee or stranger to change her. The first time I went somewhere, they told me “wait for an employee to come so she can do it”. NO. I’M going to change my baby, she’s MY baby and I’m not going to let another person do it and have her drop her or something worse. That was at first, but usually I go to the same places so they know who I am and hurry up”.

FDR: Have you ever been denied the use of the women’s restroom?

“No, no, not yet. Yes I have to wait and the baby doesn’t understand that. She keeps crying and screaming and I have to try and calm her. A lot of the times employees hurry up because the baby’s been screaming or crying for half an hour and they get desperate or irritated. When it comes to feeding her, many times I haven’t been able to heat her milk because I’m not allowed into some areas, employees only”.

FDR: And how does the rest of your day go?

"I go back to the car and do the whole process but in reverse this time. If I then need to go to the bank, it’s WORSE, because they don’t let you use the restroom, they don’t let you change the baby. I’ve had to change her diaper in the car, which is a bit hard but, you can’t do anything in the bank. You just get in line and wait. People get a little mad but, well, what can you do? At the doctor’s office, which I visit a lot, is the same thing, the same great feat, and they’re not going to rush me in just because I have a baby. When I finally get home, it’s already 4:00 p.m. If the baby’s asleep, I take a shower, get dressed and when I look at the clock, it’s already time to go pick you up from work. *Laughing* You can’t get a break!”

FDR: Has something happened to you with the baby that you can’t help but think “this is NOT happening right now”?

Check out his answer on the next installment of “Talking with Dad”!

Can you relate? What do you think? Leave your comments at the bottom of the page in the Comments Section or email us at fueraderecord@gmail.com!

###


Baby pooped!! Learn to identify the signs of a possible medical condition


Last night I was part of another initiation into the world of a first time mom. There I was, breast-feeding my baby, admiring her cute little face so happy to see me as soon as I got home from work and suddenly...pffffftttt!!!

When I lift up the little joker, my clothes was covered in poop. I turn her around, her onesie was covered in poop. Her diaper seemed to be leaking poop. It was a poop-fest!!! It was easier to bathe the girl instead of using wipey after wipey, I almost went through the whole box of wipes!

But, while I was hand-deep in poop, I also was carefully looking at it, examining color, consistency and even odor. Why? Well, as you may already know, fecal matter, both in adults and in children, can help identify any health condition.

What should you keep an eye out for?

If you breast-feed your little one, it's normal for her excrement to
be yellowish and soft, almost watery. Even so, if it's TOO watery, it could be a sign of diarrhea. And if it looks like it has pebbles in it, it could be a sign of constipation. If your baby drinks formula, her bowel movements could be a light brown color and pasty.

The MayoClinic offers this color-guide:


  • Black. After birth, a baby's first bowel movements are black and tarry. This type of baby poop is known as meconium.
  • Green-brown. As the baby begins digesting breast milk, meconium is replaced with green-brown and then yellow-brown bowel movements.
  • Yellow. By about five days after birth, breast-fed babies usually have seedy, loose bowel movements that are yellow to yellow-green or tan in color.
  • Brown. If you feed your baby formula, his or her bowel movements might become light brown and pasty.
  • Other colors. When your baby begins eating solid food, his or her bowel movements might become dark brown — although seemingly odd colors are possible as well. For example, baby poop might look red after your baby eats beets or might contain streaks of dark blue from blueberries. Green and orange baby poop is possible, too. You might also find chunks of undigested food in your baby's bowel movements.
It's very important that you contact your baby's pediatrician if you're concerned about changes in her bowel movements. More so if her poop is:
  • Still black several days after birth
  • Red or bloody
  • White or gray
  • Consistently watery
  • Consistently large, hard or difficult to pass

So, pay attention to your little one's poop! And, secure that diaper!!! Hello hubby...


*Clip Art: Wikicommons Images / Attribution: Phantom Open Emoji maintainers and contributors*


###

Going back to work after Maternity Leave? 

Know what you can do to prepare yourself


Maternity Leave is a beautiful work benefit...but a VERY cruel one. Beautiful because you get to spend many weeks getting to know your little one, hugging him, kissing him. Cruel because when that horrible day of having to return to work comes, our heart shatters.

I wasn't the exception. When I had only two weeks left at home, I frequently just started bawling. I felt anxious and, honestly, I didn't want to go back.

"I don't want to go back to work!! I don't want to leave her!!" became my mantra.

Not because I don't like my job, quite the opposite, but thinking that I had to separate from my baby was terrible. I would spend more than eight hours without being able to hold her, hug her, see her tiny smile...cruel, cruel, cruel. Sound familiar?

And then, that day came...

And I cried my eyes out. Of course, it helps that my husband is the one taking care of baby while mommy works, but even so, there was a looooong list of instructions I repeated over and over again:

  • There's a small supply of breastmilk in the freezer. I left you instructions on how to warm it.
  • I sterilized some baby bottles, they're in the bottle drying rack on the kitchen counter.
  • Remember to burp her, her gas medicine is in our bedroom.
  • Remember that her thermometer is in her diaper bag.
  • She'll get fussy around noon, that means she's sleepy and it's time for her nap.
  • Put her in the Baby Gym for a while so she can "exercise".
  • Read to her. Please, read her a story. I left some books in her room.
  • Don't confuse her when singing the "A, B, C" song, you tend to mess up on the "L, M, N, O, P" part.
  • Etcetera.
And with all this nagging, sometimes coherent, sometimes not, my hubby drove me to work with our baby safely strapped in her car seat beside. I made it to work without crying...until a fellow coworker asked me how I was doing.


But, I survived. Missing my little girl, but happy about being back at work without those horrible pregnancy symptoms that made it so hard to do my job 100 percent.

Do you have to go through this situation?

The Mayo Clinic offers some helpful tips to ease this transition:
  • Find dependable child care. Consider local child care providers and facilities or make other arrangements. Look for a safe, stimulating environment and qualified caregivers. Ask your baby's doctor, friends, neighbors and co-workers for recommendations. Check caregivers' references and trust your instincts.
  • Talk to your employer. Clarify your job duties and schedule so you'll know what's expected of you after your maternity leave. You might ask about flexible hours, telecommuting or working part time.
  • Prepare to continue breast-feeding. If you plan to breast-feed after returning to work, talk to your employer. Ask about a clean, private room with an outlet for breast pumping. Consider buying or renting an electric pump that allows you to pump both breasts at once. About two weeks before returning to work, adjust your nursing schedule at home so you're pumping at least once each day and nursing before and after your upcoming work hours. Have someone else feed your baby a bottle of breast milk to help your baby adapt. If you have on-site or nearby child care, consider the logistics of breast-feeding your baby during the workday.
  • Set a return-to-work date. If you can, go back to work late in the week. That'll make your first week back to work a shorter one.


How was your first dat at work after your Maternity Leave? Share with us! Leave your comment at the bottom of the page.


###

Life is beautiful until the baby starts screaming


Almost two months and counting as a first time mom and sometimes I ask myself: "what did I get myself into?"

When you think about having kids, pictures of your pregnant belly, the "glow", baby in our arms looking at you with a heavenly smile, her crib, her nursery, dance in our heads, right out of the movies or magazines we've seen.

Well, let me tell you, it's not all peaches and cream.

During pregnancy...
  • Mi belly didn't let me sleep during those last few months.
  • The "glow" was actually the heartburn and vomit provoked by the pregnancy.
  • The crib...is in Lay Away.
  • The nursery...is still waiting to be decorated.

And once the kid is born...
  • If you get to sleep for two consecutive hours is a major WIN.
  • If your hair sees a hairbrush too.
  • What's makeup? There's no time.
  • You have five minutes to take a shower before he wakes up.
  • Eating your food cold becomes normal.
  • Baby is in your arms with his heavenly smile and in 3, 2, 1 the hungry cry. A cry that grows in intensity because you still haven't been able to get him to latch on properly to your breast, if you chose to breastfeed.
  • We become paranoid: we hear the baby crying even when he's not.
  • It takes you a whole day to watch a movie because of all the interrumptions, if you're lucky.
  • You have at least two formula or milk stains on your clothes...or spit-up.
  • It takes you between one or two hours lo leave the house with the baby...and you'll probably need to change the special outfit you dressed him in and his diaper because he pooped big time.
  • Time at the supermarket or store of choice is limited because he could start screaming at any moment.
  • He starts screaming in public and people look at you as if you're a bad mother. Then they look at the baby with pity as if he's being abused.
  • He gets hungry at the wrong time and place, making you take the boob out and making people uncomfortable (baby has to eat, deal with it).

And in between...

  • You're feeding the baby and his eyes look at you as if you're his most favorite person in the whole world.
  • You're talking to him and he gives you his best toothless smile.
  • He falls asleep in your arms and sighs peacefully with the knowledge that he's safe.
  • He grabs your finger and doesn't let go.
  • You're breastfeeding him and suddenly feel his hand caressing your back.
  • He puts his little hand over your heart. 

Life is beautiful. Even with the radical change in your life. Even with those sleepless nights. Even with the frustrations of a first time mom who sometimes feels she doesn't know what she's doing. Life is beautiful. This is LOVE. And I don't regret being a mom. My little girl and I will learn together. Life is BEAUTIFUL!

###

My baby hasn't pooped in 4 days: What do I do? 


Like most babies, my little girl made spectacular messes in her diaper. So much so that it was better to give her a bath instead of trying to clean her little butt with wipes. 

But, a little short of her turning two months old, she stopped being so regular and all of a sudden she hadn't pooped in FOUR days. 

She now was constipated. Painful for her and for us, watching her be so uncomfortable. Not to mention, worrisome. 

We tried massaging her tummy but that didn't work. Finally, on that fourth day, we called her pediatrician's office. 

"What you are seeing is normal at this stage. It's called Temporary Constipation. Babies go through different stages as they start growing and developing. First they poop regularly and then a week can go by and nothing", explained one of her pediatrician's assistant. 

"Also, if you're breastfeeding, you have to watch your diet, you have to eat well. Things like regular milk, for example, can be hard on a baby's stomach. Or maybe you need to change formulas, if you're complementing breast milk with one", she added. 

With instructions to take the baby to the pediatrician's office the next day, hubby and I felt a bit more relaxed...a BIT. 

The baby was still very uncomfortable, with terrible crying fits, he small body getting stiff sometimes. It was too much seeing her like that so we turned to one of those home remedies that are passed generation to generation: a Q-Tip and some Vaseline as a stimulant. 

A couple of minutes of this and we saw results: she pooped! A lot! Afterwards, baby was visibly calmer and relaxed. 

Even so, as instructed, we took the baby to
Photo: Wikicommons /  Ragesoss
her pediatrician the next day. He assured us we didn't need to worry,  that it's a stage babies go through. He also gave us some suggestions to help her:

-the Q-Tip (or the tip of the Baby Thermometer). He warned to be very careful and only insert the tip to prevent puncturing her intestines. 
-1 Oz. of pear juice diluted with some water. Careful with the quantity, too much could lead to diarrhea. 
-massaging her tummy right to left. 
-etc. 

He made clear, though, that "you don't need to do all this, only if it makes YOU feel better. She's going to poop, it's a stage. The excrement will keep accumulating, creating pressure on the sphincter until it just let's go and it will seem she's popping what she hasn't all this time". 

So, don't panic if you find yourself in this situation but call and/or visit your baby's pediatrician. Even though, in this case, it wasn't anything serious, we do need to be watching for any intestinal problem. 

Consult with your baby's doctor ANY changes and don't try any remedies without extreme caution or consulting the pediatrician. Key word: PRECAUTION. 

*This blog doesn't substitute or pretend to substitute the consultation with a Healthcare professional.*


###


I'm gonna give birth on the Highway!!




In the movies, a lot of times a series of events occur, when the pregnant protagonist's water breaks and she's going to give birth, that makes the audience burst out laughing. I never thought that day for me would seem taken right out of a movie...



It had been a week since I lost the mucus plug, sorry but that's what it's called, I could go into labor at any moment. And, like a swiss clock, exactly a week after that, on Father's Day, contractions started. Ouch! Even so, I took my time: took a shower, shaved my legs, fixed my hair and I even put on some makeup. When I was ready, I calmly told my hubby "I think we should go to the hospital".



On the Highway, on our way, hubby was breaking every speed limit and my contractions started coming with a vengeance. Then, what had NEVER happened, happened: the car overheated and it started "dying". Future Dad, a ball of nerves, searched for water to put in the radiator, while I bit my lip and assured him that "don't worry, honey, I'm fiiiine". Truthfully, I kept thinking "Oh God! I'm gonna have this baby on the Highway!".



He was able to get the car started and drive to a nearby store in search of a galon of water...but it was a holiday, everything was closed.



The security guard on duty was about to have a nervous breakdown, thinking she was going to have to help deliver this baby, and called 9-1-1:



"They just got here! She's in a LOT of pain! Hurry up! I'm gonna have to deliver it!"



Meanwhile, hubby ran to a nearby McDonald's in search of water. When the ambulance arrived, I was strapped into the stretcher and they almost left without future Dad, who returned in the nick of time, running and all sweaty.



Then, the race to the hospital began. I could see through the ambulance's small windows my hubby's car following us at top speed, and I begged "God, don't let the car die again!". All the time, hanging on to the stretcher as if my life depended on it because they had strapped the seatbelt too low and with every bump on the road I felt I was going to end up on the floor.



Finally we got to the hospital and hubby started HIS race: filling out papers and searching for my room. My water broke while I was laid out on my hospital bed, just like in the movies. I'd read rarely women "expelled" a lot of water...I even got my feet wet!



Before I knew it, and thinking I would pass out because of the pain,
My first photo!
I gave birth to my baby, with hubby in shock during the whole thing, my mother crying and my father hidden behind a curtain because he just couldn't handle the whole deal. My parents were able to be present for the birth...I think they were scarred by what they saw...



And that was my hubby's Father's Day gift: our daughter. Born after a comedy of errors that only seemed funny afterwards. An adventure to start off this new chapter of our lives...here we go! Stay tuned!




###


Cats and pregnancy

I’m the happy “mom” of a small community of cats, composed of Madison, Melody, Monty, Sylvester, Max, Miguel, Gizmo and Monchichi. Yep, I’m an animal lover and, even though I tried to find homes for most of them, after being unsuccessful, I didn’t have the heart to take them to a shelter. Especially since, after calling one, the person on the other line admitted that if they weren’t adopted in two weeks…R.I.P. kitty. ¿Small detail? I’m pregnant.

Madison posing for the camera

A lot is said about the dangers that represent to a pregnant woman being near a cat, even if the cat in question is her own pet. Fortunately, my “kids” live on the patio, but the situation isn’t less uncomfortable. 

After learning I was preggers, my contact with my cats was reduced to a minimum. Precautions before everything. But, let’s talk about facts. Cats can transmit toxoplasmosis. 

What’s toxoplasmosis?

According to MedlinePlus, “toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. More than 60 million people in the U.S. have the parasite. Most of them don't get sick. But the parasite causes serious problems for some people. These include people with weak immune systems and babies whose mothers become infected for the first time during pregnancy. Problems can include damage to the brain, eyes, and other organs”.

Infection in a pregnant woman can cause congenital toxoplasmosis, infection of the baby, which can provoke symptoms like:

  • Enlarged liver and spleen
  • Vomiting
  • Eye damage from inflammation of the retina or other parts of the eye
  • Feeding problems
  • Hearing loss
  • Jaundice (yellow skin)
  • Low birth weight (intrauterine growth restriction)
  • Skin rash (tiny red spots or bruising) at birth
  • Vision problems

Brain and nervous system damage can range from very mild to severe, and may include:

  • Seizures
  • Intellectual disability

MedlinePlus adds that “often, there are signs of infection at birth. However, babies with mild infections may not have symptoms for months or years after birth. If not treated, most children with this infection develop problems in their teens”.

So, what can we do to prevent getting infected with toxoplasmosis?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains that “the best way to protect an unborn child is by protecting the mother against toxoplasmosis”.

  • Have someone who is healthy and not pregnant change the cat's litter box daily. If this is not possible, wear gloves and clean the litter box every day, because the parasite found in cat feces needs one or more days after beingpassed to become infectious. Wash hands well with soap and water afterwards.
  • Wash hands with soap and water after any exposure to soil, sand, raw meat, or unwashed vegetables.
  • Cook all meat thoroughly; that is, to an internal temperature of 160° F and until it is no longer pink in the center or until the juices become colorless. Do not taste meat before it is fully cooked.
  • Freeze meat for several days before cooking to greatly reduce the chance of infection.
  • Wash all cutting boards and knives thoroughly with hot soapy water after each use.
  • Wash and/or peel all fruits and vegetables before eating them.
  • Wear gloves when gardening or handling sand from a sandbox. Wash hands well afterward.
  • Avoid drinking untreated water, particularly when traveling in less developed countries.

Here's Monty!

In my case, I stay away from the litter box, I pet them but immediately wash my hands with antibacterial soap, and I stay as far away from them as possible. It’s NOT about ignoring or, caution, mistreating them, but baby is my priority: prevention.

If you adopt the necessary measures, you shouldn’t have any problems. But, don’t forget to consult your doctor.

For more information about toxoplasmosis, click on the links provided.


###

Don't get overwhelmed by comments and/or advice during your pregnancy


Like the typical first time mom, after learning I had company in my belly, I've spent a lot of time looking at myself from all angles in front of a mirror to see how my belly grows. Of course, while I celebrated every change in size, no matter how small it was, I often bumped into people who blurted out, all surprised and with furrowed brow, "how can you be (insert month of gestation here)? Impossible! Your tummy is too small!". This, followed by stories of "when I was (again, insert month of gestation here)...".


After a while these comments, which I KNOW weren't said with any ill will, just slipped by me, I didn't give them much importance, but during those first months of pregnancy they were so constant that they started to worry me: 


-"Am I eating enough?"
-"Is there something wrong?"
-"Is my baby all right?"


Questions and more questions, comments and more comments, had me in a constant state of stress, specially, since you all know, getting pregnant is something many doctors said would be an uphill battle, if not impossible without some kind of help.


So, with all that anxiety, I went to one of my doctor's appointments
Flashback: 5 months along! Old San Juan, PR!
and asked my Gino:

Smiling, no doubt amused by the questions of a first-timer, he asked:

-"How tall are you?"
-Almost 6 feet tall, doctor..."

He then explained that, because I'm a tall woman and naturally slim, my belly wouldn't be huge, or it wouldn't be that evident during those first few months. Also, every pregnancy is different, and that doesn't mean there's something wrong.

His last piece of advice? "Don't pay attention to all those doctors without license to practice you bump into".

If there's something I've discovered it's that as soon as people know you're pregnant, you get bombarded with stories, comparisons, among other stuff.


-"Your feet will grow in size"
-"Your nose will get huge!"
-"You'll get so bloated!"
-"You need to sleep in your bra so your 'girls' don't sag"
-"Eat ____ for your nausea"


My favorites: "You have to try harder, be stronger" or "That's strange, I didn't experience any of that during my pregnancy...", repeated many times, after having my head stuck inside a trash can for days, vomiting EVERYTHING, vomiting acid (sorry for being so sincere, but it happens when you suffer from severe gastritis), and with migraine attacks, that have even provoked visits to the Emergency Room. Meanwhile, managing to get some work done, even if I feel like, as my Dad says, "a piece of crap with two legs".

Also, nuggets of advice that are really demands:

-"You're having a natural birth, RIGHT?"
-"You're gonna breastfeed, RIGHT?"

I listen to everything, you can always learn something from other moms, and I enjoy learning about the experiences of those who went before me, but I prefer to adopt those things that suit ME, my pregnancy and my baby. Also, I only listen to my doctor, always making sure I leave his office without any doubts.

The worst question is the one that's not asked.

Enjoy your pregnancy! It's YOURS, not anyone else's! Remember your priority: YOUR BABY.

###


What's that dark line on my belly?

Honestly, I don't remember exactly when it appeared, but the truth is that my pregnant belly is marked by a dark, brownish, line that goes past my belly button. What IS that? Should I be worried?


Get to know your Pregnancy Line

Relax, mommies! That line, also known as Linea Nigra, is normal. Nothing to be alarmed about!

According to the American Pregnancy Association, "the dark line that develops across your belly during pregnancy. It is possible that the line may have previously been there, however because it was so light in color in went unnoticed. Prior to line prior to pregnancy is light or pale line is called the linea alba (white line).  It runs from your navel to the pubic bone.  It darkens during pregnancy acquiring the name linea nigra (black line)".

This line is not really black, it tends to be brown in color or a bit darker. Also, it isn't too wide and it usually makes it "debut" around the fifth month of pregnancy, getting darker as your pregnancy progresses. 

What causes it?

The American Pregnancy Association explains that a specific reason for the appearance of the linea nigra  is unknown, but it's thought that it may be due to hormonal changes as a result of the baby that's growing in your belly.

"One theory is that melanocyte-stimulating hormone created by the placenta is the main contributing factor.  This hormone is also believe to cause the darkening around the nipples".

Can it be prevented?

No, it's part of pregnancy, although not all women experience the linea nigra, and in others it extends from above the belly button towards the pubic bone. It is not recommended that you use products to lighten your skin. But, once you give birth, it is expected that the pregnancy line will fade.

So, if you have the linea nigra, now you know, it's part of the process. Another beauty mark to remind you of the miracle you have in your tummy.


Hugs mommies!

*For more information about the linea nigra, visit "What to Expect", but, remember, it is always best to talk to your doctor.*


**Photo melanocito: Wikicommons Images / Blausen.com staff. "Blausen gallery 2014". Wikiversity Journal of Medicine, DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 20018762**

###

Hyperemesis gravidarum during pregnancy: what is it?


Nobody said it would be like taking candy from a baby...

Seven months pregnant and I'm STILL dealing with the "famous" morning sickness, everyday sickness, actually, that hasn't gotten even a little better. It's still very common for me to throw up everything I eat, to suffer from severe nausea and heartburn, not to mention dizziness and migraines. I even feel guilty everytime I start crying because I can't take the pain, and from frustration, because my baby is my miracle, what I asked God for so many times and I couldn't be more grateful.

Emergency Room, being treated for vomiting, dehydration and migraine.
My doctor has prescribed medications to help me deal with these complications and to help me "function", so to speak, but they haven't prevented me from not being able to even get out of bed many times because of the pain. And, when you work full-time, in a new job, and you also have other responsibilities, these health complications don't do much for promoting the "zero stress and zero anxiety" environment my Ginecologist, and the high risk pregnancy specialist I had to visit, ordered.


The pain has been so terrible sometimes that I can't help thinking about all those mommies that have been diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum.

What is hyperemesis gravidarum?

According to Medline Plus, it's "extreme, persistent nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. It can lead to dehydration, weight loss, and electrolyte imbalances".

The first time I heard about this was when Duchess Kate Middleton was pregnant with her first baby, Prince George. I remember hearing comments like "oh, please! What woman doesn't experience nausea and vomiting when she's expecting?!". When I looked up this condition, and the risks it implied for mom and baby, I realized these aren't the usual pregnancy symptoms.

What are the symptoms?

  • Intense and persistent nausea during pregnancy, that frequently leads to weight loss
  • Dizziness, weakness, headaches or fainting
  • Constipation

Complications?

Medline Plus explains that "too much vomiting is harmful because it leads to dehydration and poor weight gain during pregnancy. Social or psychological problems may be associated with this disorder of pregnancy".

So, how is it treated?

"If your nausea and vomiting is so severe that you and your baby might be in danger, your doctor will prescribe anti-nausea medicine. If your case is very severe, you will likely be admitted to the hospital. There, you will get fluids through an IV". Your doctor will determine the best treatment for you after evaluation.

When you feel you can't deal with the pain, remember the reward: having in your arms a little piece of heaven, God's miracle, your baby!

If I could go back in time and choose whether I wanted to be pregnant, knowing I'd go through all of this, my choice would be easy: I can't wait to hug my baby! What beats that?!

Hats off to all you mommies who are having a hard time with your pregnancy, it's not easy, but it can be done!

Learn more about hyperemesis gravidarum by clicking on the link provided.


*Remember to talk to your doctor, nothing published on this blog is meant to substitute a visit to a PROFESSIONAL health care provider*

###

Oh, baby! Things only a pregnant woman can understand!



There’s no doubt about it, the adventure of being a Mom starts as soon as you find out you’re pregnant!

I remember the first time I saw my tummy move. I admit it, I told
my partner: did you see that?! It’s like having an alien inside!”
Truly beautiful…and weird!

Then, the kicks, the somersaults on top of your bladder (how else can you explain having to go to the bathroom, almost as soon as you came OUT of the bathroom) and other gymnastics our baby decides to do inside our tummy, started happening more frequently and intensely. 

But, since a picture’s worth a thousand words, I invite you to enjoy the “29 things only a pregnant woman can understand”, courtesy of the Facebook page, Orgullosa Mamá Joven Ü!




Can you relate? Share your comments at the bottom of this page!


*Images used with permission from Orgullosa Mamá Joven Ü. Visit their page HERE!*


###

"I thought I'd lost the baby"


My pregnancy has been characterized as being difficult even before I knew I was pregnant. Literally a few days before receiving my tests results at the Hospital, I was working outside of the office when I started feeling a bit of pain around my abdomen. I thought it was Aunt Flo announcing her visit and, since I was “well equipped” for that, I didn’t give it too much thought, everything was under control. At lunch, I was looking at some photographs of the event I was working at with my co-worker, I got up to get some food and…CHAOS.



My chair, which thankfully was a plastic one, was stained with blood, the same for the jeans I was wearing. Once in the bathroom, the amount of blood coming out of my body was impressive, alarming. I tried to clean up as best I could but it was useless, I excused myself, got in my car and sped home. The blood stopped, my worries didn’t.



Still, I naively thought “maybe, because I was late, my period is heavier this time”



Sure…



When days later I was told at that Hospital that I was pregnant, I thought: “Oh God, if I was, I surely lost the baby at that work function”. To those who knew about my pregnancy, I told them to not say a word. I couldn’t stand being told things like “And how is the new mommy?”, because I truly believed my belly was empty. There’s a history of spontaneous abortion in my family, is it now my turn? I wept in silence, so much praying, so much waiting, to, in the end, lose the baby, those words kept circling around in my mind.



It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that I started sobbing when at that first visit to my Gynecologist, after explaining what had happened, 

he did the sonogram, and there was my baby! Her heart was so strong! I still remember that moment and can’t help getting teary-eyed.



Because of what happened, I had to be put on a Progesterone treatment for a couple of months or risk having a spontaneous abortion.



What is a spontaneous abortion?



According to Medline Plus, “a miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of a fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy. (Pregnancy losses after the 20th week are called stillbirths.) A miscarriage may also be called a "spontaneous abortion." This refers to naturally occurring events, not to medical abortions or surgical abortions. The symptoms of this condition, abdominal cramps with or without vaginal bleeding, are a sign that a miscarriage may occur. The risk of miscarriage is higher in women: Who are older, with increases beginning by age 30, becoming greater between 35 and 40, and highest after 40. Who have had previous miscarriages.”



What role does the hormone progesterone play during pregnancy?



“The luteal phase is one stage of the menstrual cycle. It occurs after ovulation (when the ovaries release an egg) and before your period starts. During this phase, the lining of your uterus normally becomes thicker to prepare for a possible pregnancy. If you have a luteal phase defect, the lining of your uterus does not grow properly each month. This can make it difficult to become or remain pregnant, although there is a debate about whether this is a direct cause of infertility. 



The luteal phase is usually about 12 to14 days long. During this time, your ovaries produce a hormone called progesterone. This hormone tells the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium, to grow. If you become pregnant, the developing baby attaches to this thickened lining. If you do not become pregnant, the lining eventually sheds, and you have a period. A luteal phase defect can occur if: Your ovaries do not release enough progesterone. The lining of the uterus does not properly respond to the progesterone.” (Source: WebMD)



In addition to the treatment, my doctor ordered zero stress and zero anxiety, everything that affects mom, affects baby. 



Only close family and friends knew about my pregnancy when I reached and passed the three month mark, the time where you usually announce it, just in case something where to happen before this period. At work, I informed it as soon as I got the news at the Hospital, in case of any incident.



The rest of my loved ones learned about my pregnancy when my doctor told me that I could stop the treatment because the immediate risk had been overcome, the baby was safe.



I still cry at every appointment at the doctor’s, waiting for my sonogram, nerves on end. If at first my doctor can’t find my baby’s heartbeat, my own heart stops. Even though I know everything is in God’s hands, I still can’t help feeling worried every time I’m at that office.



Because of my experience, I can’t stress enough the importance of explaining to your own doctor every “strange feeling” you get, every pain, and telling him if you are or have been bleeding, even if it’s spotting. Be transparent. Don’t leave that office with doubts or worries. And if you are not pregnant yet, be consistent with your visits to your Gynecologist. 



Hugs to all you mommies and mommies to be! You are champions!





IMPORTANT:

This blog, Fuera de Récord (Off the Record), doesn’t pretend to substitute, and will never be able to substitute, a consultation with a medical practitioner. Visit your doctor.


###

Pregnant but you don't know it? Learn some of the symptoms! 


Looking back at those weeks before I received the big news that I was expecting company, I was already experiencing some symptoms. Of course, I didn't register that possibility for reasons you already know, but now I see it was fairly obvious. 

What were those signs? 

-Pain in my breasts and other symptoms Aunt Flo was about to visit. I remember telling my boyfriend: "Man, I hope I get my period soon 'cause I'm tired of this pain!" Since I have irregular periods, I didn't give much thought to the fact that I was late, or to the fact that the pain was stronger than before. 

-To put it simply, everything pissed me off! And I mean everything! Sometimes stupid things set me off, and I knew I was being a tad irrational, but I couldn't help it. If I wasn't extremely annoyed... 

-I was too sensitive! A television comercial could make me teary-eyed. It's rare for me to cry in public but now at the smallest provocation, I started crying. 

-Nausea, vomiting and severe heartburn. These are pretty common pregnancy signs, but because I suffer from severe gastritis, I just thought my stomach was acting up. 

-The return of migraine attacks. I've always suffered from migraines, but usually the episodes weren't too frequent and they got better relatively fast after taking my prescription medicines. Nevertheless, they started happening more constantly, as a matter of fact, I'm still dealing with them...FUN...

-Sensitivity to odors/smells. Too much sensitivity. Around that time I received the cell phone case I'd ordered and after putting it on, I wanted to take it off. The smell of rubber was terrible! I used the phone on speaker because it made me nauseous. My boyfriend kept smelling it, but he didn't notice a weird odor. I wanted to throw it in the trash (the cover, not the boyfriend...). This, without mentioning the time he put on a body lotion I, personally, bought and I told him to take a shower, again, because I couldn't stand the smell (thank you, honey, for your tolerance...).

These were just a few of the symptoms that I was pregnant, but every mommy is different. So, if you suspect that you may be pregnant, buy a home pregnancy test and/or go visit your doctor NOW. The sooner you start taking care of yourself, the better it will be for your health and your baby's.

Signs you may be expecting company: Learn 'em


Learn some of the common symptoms you'll experience during pregnancy here!

*First Doctor's visit / November 2014 / 8 weeks approximately*

Did you experience or are experiencing unusual pregnancy symptoms? Let us know!

*Sources:  WebMD and Medline Plus*

###

If you didn't go through a natural birth...you didn't REALLY give birth


This is the message a group on Facebook called "Disciples of the New Dawn" is trying to spread and that's caused some controversy, with many media outlets reviewing the story. Apparently, according to this group, a woman that goes through the natural birth process is "superior" to one that, for any reason, delivers her baby through cesarean section.


The group, founded in 1956 and led by a Father Patrick Embry, according to their page, also condemns the use of Baby Formula...




among other things.

I learned about this campaign after reading an article published by a known news source and immediately shared it on my Facebook page after taking a look at that controversial page. Having not given birth myself, YET, I didn't think about writing about it, but it stuck with me. How can you judge a mom for not being able to give birth naturally? What if the baby's life was in danger and/or her own? What about many number of complications that could/can happen? 

I support breastfeeding 100%, it's actually my Plan A for my baby, but what if for some reason I'm not able to breastfeed or breastfeed for a long period of time, should my baby starve?

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but I think this campaign is a little extreme. I sincerely hope this page is not real and is a sort of satire because it's message is just plain WRONG. But, according to this YouTube video, it IS a spoof. 



*Insert sigh of relief* 

What do YOU think? Is it really a spoof or have you come across people who think like this?

###

Surprise! You’re pregnant! 


So much planning how I would give my boyfriend the news that we were having a baby and he found out while being sedated in the nearest Emergency Room…with me on the stretcher beside him, with serum running through my veins. Greaaaat.



I’d visited many excellent doctors through the years and their diagnosis was never very encouraging. “You have multiple cysts on your ovaries. You won’t be able to get pregnant without undergoing some kind of treatment”. “Polycystic Ovaries”, was the result of one of my sonograms.



My guy, who dreamed of us having a baby, would keep saying: “it will happen when GOD decides it’s the right time. Forget what the doctors say”.



But the years kept passing…



And then, it was November 2014. I started getting VERY ill. Also, I was late, well, late according to my standards, since Aunt Flo visited me when she felt like it, and brought along TERRIBLE pain. One particularly miserable day I thought “Could I be pregnant?” But I ignored that thought, it wasn’t possible…



I’d spent days throwing up and the pain in my stomach was unbearable, without mentioning experiencing constant migraines, so much so that on a Sunday of that month, I couldn’t even walk straight and kept clutching my stomach, while my head pounded. That day, my boyfriend was also ill, so we called an ambulance.



And there we were, with matching serums, on our stretchers, waiting for our blood work and our medicines. Hours later, our attending doctor came up to me with my results and some news:



“You’re pregnant”.



“Beg your pardon? Pregnant?? But, they said it wasn’t posible! Not without treatment! They said!”, I answered, with my heart about to jump out of my chest and looking at him with huge eyes already filling up with tears.


Baby's first picture! About 8 weeks along!

“Well, you are. You are about 8 weeks along”, he confirmed.



Patients who overheard the news started congratulating me while I carefully got off my stretcher and approached my guy, who was still a bit out of it and hadn’t heard our exchange.



“Babe, my gastritis is out of control, but the doctor says it will get better…in NINE months”.



And that’s how, between the smell of disinfectant sprays, the comings and goings of patients, doctors and nurses, and the hustle and bustle of an Emergency Room that, both in pain, we found out we were expecting company in a few months.



I didn’t want this post to be too long, but I wanted to share my experience with all those friends, acquaintances and even strangers who have received similar diagnosis and dream about becoming mommies. Don’t lose faith. GOD has the last word.



“What’s impossible for man…”


Hugs!!! I’ll keep you posted!!


###



Willing to pay the price of the "Fountain of Youth"?

Hello, Reneé Zellweger? Pleasure to meet you.

This seems to be the reaction that provoked between fans of the famous "Bridget Jones" her most recent transformation. And, SOME transformation!! Zellweger is literally another person and, my apologies to the die hard fans of the actress, I think that now she loos as if she has blown more than 45 birthday candles.


Foto: cortesía de www.buzzflare.com

Foto: cortesía de www.express.co.uk

Not that I oppose some "natural retouching" (hello, also, to the great Jennifer Aniston who, at 45, looks sssspectacular) but, come on, let's not try to look 15 when we are 50, and let's not pretend to change our appearance so drastically since, at the end of the day, those "little wrinkles" are to be worn proudly as badges of honor of a life filled with experiences, emotions and memories.

The reasons behind her 180 degrees turn, only she and her plastic surgeon know. But I sincerely hope she doesn't experience Jennifer Grey's fate, a.k.a. "Baby" from the popular movie "Dirty Dancing", who decided her nose wasn't the best and with her operation, out the window went her job offers.

Foto: cortesía www.be.com


¡Good luck, Bridget Jones!

###

Blabblebook: 
Social Networks and their influence over employers




When it comes to looking for a job, be it because of necessity or because we are looking for a change, we all strive to present a great résumé:

  • Objective: 
    • “…contribute to your company’s goals…"
  • Abilities: 
    • “Computer knowledge…ability to work under pressure…”
  • Education: 
    • “Graduated from _____with a GPA of ____” 


Yep, we work hard to present our best “face” so the company for which we are applying doesn’t think twice about giving us the job. But, what if I were to tell you that your Facebook profile, or MySpace, or any other social network to which you belong, could be part of your evaluation process?

Do not freak out just yet, it still doesn’t apply to ALL companies out there, but there are SOME employers that don’t rule out giving your profile a glimpse, or two, just so they know what kind of person they are hiring. 

According to an article published last year on the website “The Telegraph” (http://tgr.ph/6PKPMV), employers use social networks as tools to determine whether the applicant will end up using his sick days because he was hung-over from the night before. Also, to identify if said applicant lied about his education or qualifications. 

The article also informs that one out of every ten applicants was ejected for a position because he or she bragged about how much they drank during the weekend, among OTHER things…

Also, thirteen percent was passed over for a job for racist comments that he or she published on their page and nine percent because of racy photos they uploaded.

According to “Career Builder’s” president, Farhan Yasin, cited in this article, 450 employers were polled and more than four out of every ten said they’d discarded an applicant’s résumé after checking their Facebook page.

Conclusion?

Even though social networks are great for keeping in contact with friends, family, etc., be very careful with what you post or upload because you NEVER know who’s looking…


###


What a GIFT for criticism!

Recently I was hanging out with some friends when we girls started commenting about a well known actress. Being women, the countdown of our “victim’s” aesthetic defects automatically started:

-“That’s not her real nose”

-“Look how far down her belly button is! One more tummy tuck and it will reach her toes!”

-“Obviously, if I had her money I’D look like that!”

And we were off. It was criticism without malice, just small “observations”…but this resulted in the ever popular response from the opposite sex when they witness such a debate:

-“Women just LOVE to criticize other women! Especially when the other one is HOT!”

Of course, being one that doesn’t like to keep her opinions to herself, I couldn’t help answering:

-“The thing is that you guys do EXACTLY the same thing when we girls notice another guy, but you sum up your criticism in one simple phrase: ‘Oh please, that dude is GAY’”

I don’t have to tell you that this provoked uncontrollable laughter in our group because of how TRUE my response was. Girls, hasn’t this happened to you? Or, guys haven’t you been guilty of saying this to girl at least ONCE? Especially when that girl is someone you have your eye on?

In general, and with a few exceptions, guys don’t give a detailed account of the imperfections of a member of their own gender when they feel intimidated, or something like that, by him. They prefer to summarize his “defects” with “he’s homosexual” to let us know that CLEARLY we don’t have a chance with that guy because we aren’t exactly his type…

But, why do we do this?

Many would say that it’s because we secretly envy that person’s appearance or a particular feature. Others would say that it’s because we feel threatened by him/her and it’s our way of taking away merits and feeling better about ourselves. Or, we just need to put someone down to boost our self-confidence (shame on you…)

My answer is much simpler: because we are HUMANS.

As humans, we each have our faults. And many times criticizing others is one of them…and not only when it comes to the APPEARANCE of “x” or “y”. It’s VERY common to criticize in others characteristics we, ourselves, posess.

-“He/She is SUCH a gossip! Always talking about other people!”
(And, aren’t you “gossiping” too by telling this to someone else?)

-“He’s/She’s so lazy! Never does anything!”
(Said while using Facebook or Twitter at work…worse yet, you write it as your status…)

-“He’s/She’s so stingy! You’d think we die and take our money with us!”
(Said while folding a dollar bill in half, so it looks like more bills, while getting up from the table in your favorite restaurant…)

We’ve ALL been guilty of criticizing others…whoever says otherwise is lying.

So, what can we do?

Like I said before, criticism is one of our faults. The problem is that on many occasions people do it out of MALICE. Those who do, we ignore. And if WE are one of those, we learn that first we must analyze our OWN defects before searching for them in others. Why?
Because possibly we are only “self projecting” and what we are seeing is only a reflection of who we are.

In reference to criticizing looks or appearance, if it’s because of a secret envy…let’s head for the gym! There’s nothing better for boosting our self-esteem than taking care of ourselves…and not only to look good (gravity takes care of outer beauty through out the years…), but for our HEALTH. After all, what counts is who we are INSIDE.

The rest?

Just NOISE.


###


Couch Potato Syndrome:
Constructive criticism of inactivity in new generations


Foto: courtesy of  www.buzzfeed.com
A few days ago I read a note about the “Easy Bake Oven”. Do you remember it? That orange artifact (at least in MY days) that cooked cakes and cookies by the strength of a 100 watts light bulb. It turns out that the Hasbro Company decided to eliminate in its new redesign that characteristic that made the toy so special. 

The news transported me to my childhood years when we kids used to have fun playing kitchen or playing hide and seek or board games. We used to pitch a tent INSIDE our houses, sometimes mom’s sheets being the victims. We even used the living room or bedroom furniture! 

We were in the streets, running from place to place, and if it rained, it was part of the fun. Do you remember having wars with our friends with practically anything we could throw without killing each other? MANY times I got in trouble for making a mess on the street after throwing those seeds that grows in bunches on palm trees, had to get a broom and clean the stuff up…what’s happened to all of that?


What IS a couch potato?

Ah, the famous couch potato. The term used to describe that individual that only does one thing: sit on his/her sofa all day watching TV or playing video games. Usually we tend to imagine this person still wearing pajamas at noon and possibly with a bowl of cereal in his/her hands…he’s a potato, doesn’t do anything productive. There are MANY young adults (and fully grown adults, sad to say…) that suffer from this “syndrome”, but I’m worried about the next generation.


With the “birth” of the Wii, Playstation, among others, we hardly see kids enjoying that liberty that we loved so much. Not because they’re “imprisoned”, but because technology is at a level that it strives to SIMULATE reality so it’s no longer necessary to LIVE it. Ironic, isn’t it? Now you can be out of your house without being out of your house. However, in many instances these advances cause the Couch Potato Syndrome.

Don’t get me wrong, I love all these technological advances, but we can’t ignore the benefits that playing OUTSIDE, and letting go of the remote control…video game controller…iPad… or iPhone, have for children. According to the website, http://charlinastewart.suite101.com, outdoor games:

  • Help with the battle against obesity in children and teenagers
  • Strengthens their bones, muscles and lungs
  • Building sand castles, playing with their friends and/or exploring nature promote the ability to reason and logical thinking
  • It motivates them to take risks, exercises their imagination, it helps them explore their interests and determine what they like to do
  • It helps them develop social skills necessary for maintaining healthy relationships throughout their lives
  • It turns them into happy kids that will in turn become stable adults

So, let’s turn off the TV, the Wii, the Playstation, whatever, once in a while and let’s get OUT of the house. Let’s play hopscotch, hide and seek, let’s jump rope. Let’s go to the beach, let’s ride a bicycle…because human contact under a warm sun is more rewarding and hopeful, than the coldness of the images on an electronic device between four walls.


###

How can parents identify a sexual predator and protect their kids when they're online?

Today, technology is part of our daily lives. The Internet is not only a useful tool in the workplace but also a way of keeping ourselves informed about what’s going on around us. It’s also a tool for socializing, and not exclusively for adults. 

Social websites like Facebook, Twitter and the almost defunct MySpace, let minors keep in contact with their friends or meet kids their own age that share their same interests…the problem is that many times that “kid” they happen upon online is a fully grown individual with the WORST of intentions.

In 2009, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo revealed that Facebook’s data bank identified little more than two thousand individuals with active profiles that had criminal records for sexual offense.

Also, aproximately two thousand individuals with profiles on MySpace were registered inn New York’s sexual delinquent’s list (UnivisionNoticias.com)

According to Cuomo, large part of these people had profiles on BOTH social websites. And we’re talking about a study that, like I said before, was published two years ago and based only on New York…what can we expect now in 2011 and taking into consideration the rest of the World? 

Recently, Representative José Enrique Meléndez presented a legislative piece that would require that social websites limit the information that minors publish on their profile, if not; these sites could be exposed to a ten thousand dollar fine. However, on a meeting held with Corey Owens, spokesman of Facebook’s  Office of Public Policy, Owens showed some reserves on the project, which  could touch on controversial issues such as liberty of expression and possible violations to interstate commerce, although he assured the legislator that he shared the same concerns about the vulnerability of minors in their data bank. He also confessed that in this day and age there’s no technology that could guarantee the ability to identify the origin of their users 100 percent of the time (CyberNews).

So, while an agreement is reached, how can parents identify a possible sexual predator and protect their kids? www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/parent-guide, here are a few signs your child is at risk "on-line":

According to the FBI’s oficial website:
  • He spends too much time online, especially in chat rooms
  • He’s a minor whose parents are out of the house most of the time
  • He goes online to chat with his friends, make new ones and sometimes look for sexually explicit information
  • He goes online at night: many predators work during the day and spend their nights looking for victims
  • You find porn on your child’s computer
  • Your child receives phone calls from people you don’t know or is dialing numbers you don’t know, sometimes long distance numbers
  • He receives mail, gifts or packages from someone you don’t know
  • He suddenly turns off the computer’s monitor or changes the page when you go in his room
  • He distances himself from his family
  • He uses someone else’s Internet account
 
What should you do if you suspect your child is communicating with a sexual predator?

  • Consider speaking openly with your child about your suspicions. Talk to him about the dangers
  • Check what’s in his computer
  • Use ID Caller to determine who’s calling your child
  • Monitor his access to all types of electronic communication: chats, IM, e-mail, etc.

If any of the following situations arises, you should immediately contact the authorities:

  • Your child, or any member of your household, has received child pornography
  • Your child has received sexual advances from someone who knows he is under 18 years of age
  • Your child has received sexually explicit images from someone who knows he’s underage

How can you minimize your child’s risk factor?

  • Talk to him about sexual victimization and the potential online danger
  • Spend time with your child online. Let him show you his favorite sites
  • Keep the computer in your house’s common room, NOT in his bedroom
  • Use parental controls provided by your Internet service
  • Always maintain acces to your child’s account and check his e-mail once in a while
  • Teach them:
    • to NEVER meet with someone they met online
    • to NEVER post his pictures on the Internet or send them to strangers
    • to NEVER provide personal information like his name, address, the name of his school or phone number
    • to NEVER download pictures from an unknown source (they could be sexually explicit images)
    • to NEVER respond to suggestive, obscene or threatening messages
    • that what they are told online could or couldn’t be true

Sadly, sexual predators are ALWAYS going to be present. The more tools you give your children to protect themselves, the better.

Remember:

Better SAFE than SORRY

###


Love 101: Cupid is a myth




It’s no secret that Cupid sometimes doesn’t seem to know what the heck he’s doing. During my early adult years he made me slam myself against the ground…MANY times. Inexperience, too often than not, leads you to make mistakes like giving your heart too easily. However, it’s my understanding that there’s a point in each individual’s life where we apply all that we’ve learned after all those painful “meetings’ with the ground and we make different decisions or adopt different attitudes.


I have a case that’s near to me of this girl who suffers from bipolarity of the heart: a constant change of emotions that not even SHE understands. Today she loves someone but tomorrow she loves someone else because bachelor number one did something wrong and bachelor number two SEEMS to be different. 

The result: a constant breaking of the heart into little, bitty, pieces because she didn’t get to know these people BEFORE letting herself be blinded by the illusion. On top of it, she didn’t notice the big, fat, neon sign warning her that those “bachelors” didn’t really have the intention of giving her the value she deserved, and since “we” don’t like being ALONE…

Reader, don’t let those bitter moments be in vain. LEARN from the mistakes of the past and don’t let yourself be fooled by appearances. A partner should be a COMPLEMENT, not the piece that’s missing to gain absolute happiness. Patience is a virtue: WAIT. Don’t fall in love at the drop of a hat just so you can feel the euphoria that the emotion provokes and to keep loneliness away. “Better alone than with bad company.”

Love shouldn’t be complicated. A real relationship is that which doesn’t make you feel insecure or that should constantly be fighting to keep it alive. Even though our partners sometimes can give us small headaches…they shouldn’t give us the eternal MIGRAINE!

I leave you with one of my favorite passages from the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7. I hope they are to you the words of light they’ve been to me:


“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”


One last warning: in my humble opinion, this passage applies to someone who’s REALLY worth it. Just in case someone out there wants to use it to justify tolerating someone who treats them like a rug.


And Cupid: Mind your own business…


###


"To be your woman, I'd do what?! Hell no!"


Serious problems. I have SERIOUS problems with the ex member of "La Quinta Estación", Natalia Jiménez', new song "Por Ser Tu Mujer" ("To Be Your Woman"). Not diminishing the enormous talent of the artist, but, the lyrics to her most recent hit, from her album "Natalia Jiménez", in my opinion leaves much to be desired.

Have you paid attention to what Natalia's singing? Just so there's no room for doubt, I'll provide you with the lyrics and it's literal translation:


Yo, daría mis ojos por tenerte
(I'd give my eyes to have you),

estar lejos de ti
(being away from you...),

me hace más fuerte
(makes me stronger),

no tengas miedo a esconderme
(don't be afraid to hide me),

yo, cargaría tu cruz a mi espalda
(I'd carry your cross on my back),

guardaría tu voz en mis entrañas
(I'd keep your voice in my entrails),

tus secretos bajo mi falda
(your secrets under my skirt),

pero yo para ti, siempre sere la otra
(but for you I'll always be the other one),

solo seré una sombra
(I'll only be the shadow),

de una vida junto a ti
(of a life beside you)
 

-CORO (CHORUS)-

Por ser tu mujer, yo le entrego a dios mi alma
(To be your woman, I'd give god my soul),

Por ser tu mujer, yo me olvido de ser una dama
(To be your woman, I'll forget about being a lady),

Por ser tu mujer, sería capaz de morir en tu cama
(To be your woman, I'd be capable of dying in your bed),

Por ser tu mujer, por ser tu mujer
(To be your woman, To be your woman)

 
Yo, entrego las llaves de mi cuerpo
(I'll give away the keys to my body),

Mi vergüenza es todo lo que pierdo
(My sense of shame is all I'm losing),

En este frío invierno
(In this cold winter),

Pero yo para ti, siempre seré la otra
(But for you I'll always be the other one),

Solo sere una sombra
(I'll only be a shadow),

De una vida junto a ti
(Of a life beside you)


-CORO(CHORUS)2X-
 
Por ser tu mujer
(To be your woman)
 
And the video:


 

What do you think? For me it begs the question: what happened to a woman's dignity? 

According to an interview published by http://www.toplatino.net/, Natalia explained that she was watching a soap opera ("novela") when she was moved by the suffering of one of the characters who had fallen in love with a married man (unusual plot for a soap...right?):


“This girl cried rivers and she genuinely suffered for that man that didn't belong to her...the song was born, which doesn't have anything autobiographical, but since the lyrics are so strong, I know I have to explain where they came from.”

Natalia made clear that she wasn't picking sides, and she wasn't looking to judge whether it's right or not to have a relationship with a married man, just that "no one writes a song for 'the other one' ". She added that "this theme also applies to women who fight for a love for which they are willing to leave everything" and that "the truth is that, as with the rest of the songs on the album, it's made so people can enjoy them and make them theirs. If the lyrics fit them or not, that's something else. In that case, if the shoe fits, wear it".

Hmmm, "off the record", this is my opinion:
If a man doesn't love ME like I love HIM, he can take a flying leap...

It's worth fighting for someone only when that person is willing to get in the ring with you. 
And this is leaving aside if he's married or single, just talking in general (although for me, married men are not an option, but that's just me...).
So, if you like the song, sing your lungs out, it's pretty catchy, but please:

Don't let LIFE imitate ART.

###


Pretty in Pink: Breast Cancer Awareness Month


So there I was at a well known pharmacy near my home, with a half-gallon of milk in my hand (I'm thirty and I still love kid's cereals, sue me...), when I decided to browse the magazine section. Almost immediately this month's "Glamour" magazine caught my eye. Jennifer Aniston happens to be one of my favorite actresses and the headline on the cover "Jen, Demi and Alicia...The Health Wake-Up Call That Brought Them Together" was the perfect attention grabber..so, I bought it. I'm ashamed to say that it wasn't until I read that article that I remembered that this month, October, is "Breast Cancer Awareness Month". Why had I forgotten? Because MANY of us sometimes think that some things can't or won't touch us. We see them as happening to someone else...far away. Such a mistake. 

The probability of this disease showing up in our lives in some form is much higher than we can imagine and these admirable ladies are doing their part...as should we.

I'm not going to tell you exactly what the article said (buy the magazine people). What I AM going to share with you is how important it is to realize that this monster, this disease, can touch every one of us. Be it through a friend, relative, spouse...or because you, reader, are a SURVIVOR (hats off to you!!). It's a silent killer which is why all of us should know how to fight it.

Approximately 39,840 women in the US were expected to die of breast cancer in 2010. High number. Want to know how many SURVIVED it in 2010? 2.5 million. The mortality rate has been decreasing with each treatment advance. And increased AWARENESS and early detection gives us a better chance of beating it.

How?

First off, do a self examination every month. Be thorough. Evaluate their shape, size, even their color. Be on the lookout for ANY changes in appareance (remember breasts get slightly swollen when we have our periods...THAT'S normal). Feel them. If you feel a lump, don't panic, just schedule an appointment with your doctor. Remember: genes can play a major role, among other risks factors, so KNOW your family history. Don't limit yourself to your mother's side, ask about dad's side too.

Second, keep in mind that your life doesn't stop if your doctor gives you a positive diagnosis. Today, new and different treatments have been developed to aid in the fight against breast cancer. And, as you read above, MANY women have been able to SURVIVE. BE POSITIVE. Be honest with your medical examiner, talk to him/her about your options, about life during and after treatments. Speak Out!! You are a strong person. You may have the disease, but it sure as hell doesn't have you!

Many celebrities themselves have fought and WON the battle!:

Singer Sheryl Crow
-Diagnosed in 2006-

Singer Kylie Minogue
-Diagnosed in 2005-

Actress Christina Applegate
-Went public in 2008-

Actress Cynthia Nixon
-Diagnosed 2006-

Actress Adamari López
-Diagnosed 2005-

And many more...



And boys, this is not a women-only disease. In 2010, approximately 1,970 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in men, less than one percent. But, although the rate for getting breast cancer for you is lower, as you can see it DOES happen. Don't believe me?

Men who've fought breast cancer:

Peter Criss of "KISS"
-Diagnosed in 2008-

Richard Roundtree of "Shaft"
-Diagnosed in 1993-

Ernest "Ernie" Green, former NFL player
-Diagnosed in 2005-

ETC...


So, guys, if you see any changes in appearance, contact your doctor.

I'm confident one day we will find a cure for breast cancer, but in the mean time, let's use all the tools we have in our battle against it.




*For more information, visit http://www.breastcancer.org/, http://www.komenoc.org/ (The Susan G Komen Foundation) or the American Cancer Society*


***This column was written on my own free will.
I did not and will not receive any monetary compensation from "Glamour" magazine or any other entity.
It's only purpose is to share with readers the importance of learning about this disease and doing our part.***


Comentarios

Entradas populares de este blog

Cosas que cambian con el segundo hijo

Por qué no quería visitas luego de dar a luz

Nuestra vida en un cómic: Porque a veces las palabras no bastan