Tag Archive | Nicole Perkins

BPA and Perchlorate – Rolling the Dice with the EPA and FDA – By Nicole Perkins

By Nicole Perkins

I have recently read some alarming articles that I feel the need to share with all mothers. I will apologize in advance for any anger or sarcasm that may seep through.

Without making this blog too political, I will just say this once – I feel that the state of our government and its agencies is in shambles. One simple example – water. As a pregnant mother of two, I am at a complete loss of how to provide my children with the most basic of life’s necessities, or how, as a pregnant woman, I am supposed to drink it.

Now I know I am hyper-sensitive about everything I put into my body right now. Llast time I was pregnant it was (and still is!), pthalates. http://www.cdc.gov/exposurereport/pdf/factsheet_phthalates.pdf

And now, in one week, I have read two articles that truly scare me about the EPA and the FDA and their attempt to do their jobs. One about BPA’s (chemical commonly found in hardened plastic) and the other about a rocket-fuel additive, perchlorate.

Scientists who aren’t on plastic companies’ payroll, have been questioning the safety of BPA, or bisphenol A, for some time, but we were always reassured by the FDA and their industry-funded studies that it was safe. Here’s what a quick article search uncovered.

Just over a month ago we were told by the FDA that BPA was safe:

http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2008/08/18/fda-bpa-in-plastic-bottles-isnt-a-health-hazard/

“FDA has concluded that an adequate margin of safety exists for BPA at current levels of exposure from food contact uses.”

And here’s what scientists who aren’t on the plastics companies’ payroll said:

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2008/04/27/20080427plastic0427.html

A decade ago, Frederick vom Saal, a reproductive scientist at University of Missouri at Columbia, came up with a different research strategy. He theorized that because BPA can mimic estrogen, a female sex hormone, minuscule amounts introduced to fetuses or infants could change cell structure and cause significant health problems later in life. He found that doses 25,000 times below what the government has labeled as safe harmed developing cells in mice.

The compound, bisphenol A, or BPA, has been linked to breast and prostate cancer, behavioral disorders and reproductive-health problems in lab animals.

Cut to last week, and here’s what was being said after the relese of a new study examining the effects on humans:

http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/09/16/bpa.safety.ap/index.html

“Right now, our tentative conclusion is that it’s safe, so we’re not recommending any change in habits,” said Laura Tarantino, head of the FDA’s office of food additive safety. But she acknowledged, “there are a number of things people can do to lower their exposure.”

Government toxicology experts have also studied BPA and recently completed their own report based on earlier animal studies. They found no strong evidence of health hazards from BPA, but said there was “some concern” about possible effects on the brain in fetuses, infants and children.

That’s enough for me – so I went out and spent $12.99 a piece on water bottles for each of us – not cheap AT ALL – but what else am I supposed to do? I guess we’ll just go without something else this week.

And then, literally, in the same place where I had just bought the BPA-free bottles – in my gym cafe where my son and I were having a snack – I read this article about the EPA and a jet fuel additive, perchlorate, found in drinking water:

http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/09/22/rocket.fuel.epa.ap/index.html

The Defense Department used perchlorate for decades in testing missiles and rockets, and most perchlorate contamination is the result of defense and aerospace activities, congressional investigators said last year.

The Pentagon could face liability if EPA set a national drinking water standard that forced water agencies around the country to undertake costly clean-up efforts. Defense officials have spent years questioning EPA’s conclusions about the risks posed by perchlorate.

The Pentagon objected strongly Monday to the suggestion that it sought to influence EPA’s decision.

The ingredient, perchlorate, has been found in at least 395 sites in 35 states at levels high enough to interfere with thyroid function and pose developmental health risks, particularly for babies and fetuses, according to some scientists.

So, between the two, this can’t be great for my kids or my fetus, so what am I supposed to do? Does my water filter at home on my fridge get rid of perchlorate or do I have to now go spend more money on something else? Do I pour perchlorate free, yet BPA-laden water from a  bottle into my BPA-free water bottle?

As a mother, I feel really angry and helpless. I don’t feel that our government is looking out for our best interest, this just being the latest example. We have to be so pro-active just to be safe, who knows what else we may not know about! I am also angry at how expensive healthy alternatives are becoming, on top of food and gas. I truly hope this election cycle does bring “change” because I feel like the average American is being completely hung out to dry.

Aside from any political beliefs or perceived conspiracies, I hope this information helps other mothers make educated decisions about what goes into their children’s bodies. We must all take an active role in our health and pass it on to each other.

Cleaning Out the Clutter – By Nicole Perkins

By Nicole Perkins

Someday my daughter may read this blog and be furious with me, but for now I’m safe and I must share my joy. She recently started school and the other day I did the most refreshing thing while she was away – I went through her room and cleaned it out!

She is a little collector. Whether it’s stacks of coupons she pulls at the market or gift bags she thinks are cute, her room was one giant cluster bomb of junk. There wasn’t a drawer or nook in her room that didn’t contain stuff.

We’ve tried to clean it together, with me helping her at least keep it all organized – a box for Barbie accessories, a bag for baby food, and some folders for all her papers, but what she wouldn’t do was get rid of anything, whether she played with it or not.

I didn’t plan on doing it, but I found her little brother in her room the other day and he had literally dumped every bag and box of her things onto the floor. It’s amazing the destruction a child can do in the 5 minutes it takes to use the restroom! I had no choice but to put it all back together before she got home, and along the way, I just happened to throw out the things she wouldn’t miss. Three garbage bags later, her room is much more manageable and she hasn’t missed a thing.

While I was at it, I made stations, which is something she loves at Kindergarten. She now has a Barbie station (shoe boxes for clothes and accessories), a library area with some throw pillows next to her book shelf, I made a drawer in her armoire just for baby stuff like clothes, food and diapers, a My Little Pony/Little People station using those inexpensive cube storage containers, and I used all her little bags to hold groups of toys like balls and action figures and put them inside the other sections of the cubes. She loves it and her room has actually stayed really clean.

Now, if only I could use that discretion in regards to my own clutter!!

Three Kids – Who Does That? Apparently Me – By Nicole Perkins

By Nicole Perkins

Wow, I had no idea it has been so long since I’ve blogged, but things have been a little crazy in my life. Just when I get rid of one kid during the day, cruising down easy street with my baby boy, I find out that my little yoga incident from last month was just my body’s way of telling me to slow down – there’s a little baby growing in there that I didn’t know about.

 Talk about a shocker. Well, obviously not a complete shocker. Clearly we weren’t as careful as we could’ve been – we were going to see how we felt after our daughter started school before we did anything permanent. So, now that our decision was made for us, I have been trying to wrap my head around being a mother of three.

At first I was just exhausted by the thought. I was finally a solid size 6 again (2.75 years and countless hours at the gym later!), my son is really close to being potty trained, I was actually starting to really work again, I was organized and on top of the house cleaning. Things were running at a nice hum.

Plus, I know a lot of people do it, but no one that I have ever been close to has been a three-sibling family, so understanding the dynamic is a little daunting to me. I know brother and sister – I am one and have known lots. I don’t know brother, sister, and baby xoxo. I don’t want anyone to feel left out, too much responsibility, or too sheltered.

But it will all work out. I’m truly excited now. We make cute kids and really, what a blessing. My husband put it best – he said we just have so much love to give, we were destined to have another child with whom to share it.

Adjusting to Kindergarten – By Nicole Perkins

By Nicole Perkins

Last week was my daughter’s first week of kindergarten – yes, she passed her test to start early – and she loves it! I am truly astounded at the work she has brought home, there haven’t been any incidents at school, she already has told me she can walk from the truck herself, and her enthusiasm is boundless. Her only complaint is that recess is too hot and I couldn’t sympathize more! She’s just so cute and independant – naturally I fought back tears all week.

 

There’s just one little hiccup. At some point within the first hour after school, she has a completely irrational meltdown, over nothing. She started school last Wednesday and had one instantly because I tried to help her into the truck, (for which she apologized later, completely unprompted which was so sweet). Thursday, same thing, although directed at her brother this time because he got to put more groceries on the conveyor belt at the market. And Friday, I tried to head it off at the pass and take them for ice cream to celebrate her first week, and she lost it in the middle of Dairy Queen.

So this weekend, my husband and I had quite a few talks about it, brainstorming all weekend about the cause(s) and possible solution(s). Is she just tired, getting used to the new schedule, using all of her good behavior at school, only to collapse the minute she gets home, resentment over the new rapport her brother and I are developing, feeling a little left out, or is it things she’s picking up from other kids at school? My first instinct is to try and nip it in the bud immediately before it becomes a routine.

But after talking with some other moms in my neighborhood whose children also just started, it appears to be epidemic. So I’ve decided not to panic or do anything drastic to our routine. I’m sure it’s a combination of a lot of things and with such a big change in her life (and ours!), it’s even more important for me to be patient and supportive. The last thing she needs right now is more change.

For now we’ll just come straight home every day to decompress until she gets into the swing of things. The word on the street is that it takes about a month for all the wrinkles to iron out which seems perfectly resonable. So, since I’m clearly not the only one who has, or is, experiencing this, any suggestions or personal stories would be of great service to all of us first-timers who are sending a child out into the world. We look forward to your comments!

Letting Go of the Little Things – By Nicole Perkins

By Nicole Perkins

This weekend was a nightmare – I had a freak yoga accident that I won’t go into details about, but nonetheless, left me virtually immobilized for the entire weekend. Thank goodness my husband was home so he could take care of the kids!

While I lay in bed, I could hear all the laughter, games, swimming – all the cute things they were doing and it started to make me jealous. It made me jealous because the kids were being really wonderful for him. I’m sure having his undivided attention and doing all sorts of fun things was the best weekend ever for them!

When I’m home with the kids, there’s usually work to do, housekeeping, errands – none of which interrupted their time with dad this weekend. And unfortunately I let the jealousy almost get the better of me. At one point I got up and immediately just started taking note of all the things he didn’t do – hang up the wet towels after swimming, wipe down the counters after lunch, give them a bath – you get the idea.

So I made a comment about how, sure he did great with the kids, because he didn’t have to worry about any of the little things. And I regretted it the minute it left my mouth. It sounded so bitchy of me! He had fed and entertained the kids for two days straight, completely tended to any needs I had – all without a single complaint. I was the one who needed to stop worrying about the little things!

I guess I had hoped he’d see how hard it is for me sometimes – taking care of the kids and the house, but he didn’t and I wanted to point out all the things that didn’t get done while he was busy having fun. But I stopped myself – I let go of the little things and realized how lucky I am to have a husband who’s wonderful enough to handle two toddlers for two straight days without incident. He’s amazing. They had a great time and I’m thrilled.

Starting Kindergarten Early – Nicole Perkins

By Nicole Perkins

My daughter turns five in the middle of December – obviously past the cut off for kindergarten. So on July 30, I’m having her tested to see if she’s ready to start early.

I wasn’t going to do it initially because it would separate her and her brother by another year in school and I wanted them to be close, but at the prompting of numerous people, I have decided to let her give it a shot. She knows all her letters, can write them, their sounds, words that use those letters, and is always talking about how much she wishes she could read. She know her numbers, can count up to 100 without too many slip ups, and now walks around announcing additions and subtractions she’s done in her head. After giving it some time to marinate, I feel that it would be a disservice to her if she had to sit through another year of preschool .

And I know she wants to do it. We live right up the street from the school and every time we drive by she laments about how bad she wants to start “real” school. Plus, she’s so tall – daddy’s 6’7″, and she is always mistaken for much older than she is. Perhaps this way she might not look so tall for her age if she’s with kids who are a little older.

I started early, October, and I was always the youngest person in my grade. Sure it was a little weird starting college at 17, having to get my parents to co-sign on an apartment because I wasn’t an adult yet. I was always the last to drive, vote, and drink amongst my friends. But it kind of worked out – I like to think I learned from their mistakes before it was my turn.

Now all I’m worried about is her disappointment if it doesn’t work out. I have gone out of my way to prepare her that, no matter what, she’s going to school this year. The same elementary school offers a pre-K, half-day program that she’s already enrolled in, but I dread the thought of her having to face her first major let down. I don’t want her to feel pressured to pass, but I want her to be prepared. I think I’m going to be more nervous about her feelings than she will be about taking the test!

Yin and Yang of the Working Mother – By Nicole Perkins

By Nicole Perkins

Lately I’ve been obsessed with Anthony Bourdain – No Reservations program on the Travel Channel.

 

Not only does he eat the most amazing food, but he gets to travel all over the world and really experience the cultures – his trips always include a night of drinking with the locals. Anyhow, during one episode, he was in China talking about the philosophical history of Daoism at the Puxian Temple – Yin and Yang – balance – and I got to thinking.

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Balance for the working mother is a constant struggle. I am not the beautiful picture above – I am more like a collage of little bits of paper held together with some Elmer’s. As I sit here typing right now, my kids are playing with their chalkboard pretty good – only the occasional bought of screaming at each other. My work is never uninterrupted.

And I realize that I really need to work on my balance. I’m either all in work mode or all in mom mode. I hate sitting down to the computer and leaving my children to their own devices – no matter what activity I try to occupy them with, because I invariably feel like I’m being a bad mom and a bad employee. I’m not engaging with them, nor am I completely focused on my work.

So I find myself putting work off until late at night. Which is great – quiet time I can use to focus on what writing needs to get done. But then I suffer. I’m overtired and not good with my kids the next day anyway. Or the house – rarely ever all clean at once. And then there’s my poor husband. He gets the exhausted leftovers.

I need to remember that not everything will always be perfect.  I may not have time to analyze every word I write, or be constantly tweaking my parenting patience, or be thinking of the next way to show my appreciation for my husband’s hard work, and the house – well, it’s sanitary at least.

If every day, I can give my best and do a little bit for every aspect of my life, so that everything is connected and at least attended to in some way or another, that’s got to be better than the all or nothing approach my life tends to drift towards when I feel overwhelmed.

Yin and Yang of the working mother, everything working together – maybe not perfectly – but at least together!