Friday, April 30, 2010

Product Placement Opportunity

I'm considering if we should feature product placement at our office. What do you think? I'm thinking local, handmade, good for us in someway-for our body, mind or spirit. I have to work at balancing out the unintentional Disney and other advertising that we have happening at work. Even as a professional office, we have a role to play in exposing our kids to the world of media and consumerism. Let me know if you have some good ideas on this.

On a recent inspection looking for trademarked items at the office I found: stickers (Winnie the Pooh, Sesame Street, Bob the Builder) that we give out to kids, a Winnie the Pooh toy, a Toyota coloring book (I didn't even know that such a thing existed), Etch-a-Sketch, Crayola crayons, and I'm hoping that is it. If I recall, several of our books have Sesame Street characters, and probably some Disney princesses. It's not too bad, although we also have some plastic and soft toy culprits too. Oops. I'd like to say that the toys are all gone already, but they are still there. It is on my to-do list to slowly replace them with safer and no label toys (although that Winnie the Pooh toy is a classic and will probably stay). I may need a reminder on that commitment.

I have renewed guilt since I received my newsletter from Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood []. Included in their newsletter were these little tidbits:
  • For nearly 50 years no one has been better at hooking kids on unhealthy food than a ubiquitous red-haired clown. Isn't it time to Retire Ronald?
  • This week's corporate social responsibility hero? CCFC's Josh Golin.
  • Iron Man 2 Sparks $100 Marketing Bonaza. Partners include Dr. Pepper, Hershey's and Burger King, which will be offering Iron Man kids meals - despite the fact that the film is rated PG-13 for "intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence."

Did you read the last one? For a movie that is rated for kids over 13, they are marketing to children much below that age.

Also from their newsletter, and of news to me is that Santa Clara County Passes Landmark Happy Meal Toy Ban-so exciting but should we ever expect to see that here?! This prohibits restaurants from using toys as an incentive to purchase kids meals that are high in fat, sugar and calories. A little less pressure on parents wanting to feed their children healthy meals.

For more information on this group, visit

In my goal to have a child friendly office, I am realizing that some of the items that I take for granted, may be negatively affecting impressionable little minds. Do you have items in your life that may be doing the same?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

It's Raining Snow

What to do with ourselves on this rainy, snowy, about to be a winter-snow-fall-warning day? By the time I finished work this morning, Scott brought our darling to the office and she was asleep in the car. There's a recipe for disaster-nap time is disrupted and this Mom is ready for a break.

After two failed naps and much complaining, I decided to try wearing her out instead. First we painted puzzle cards for Mother's Day, for Scarlett's two Grandmas (and for her Grandpas for Father's Day while we were at it). We usually only paint at her toddler class because what a mess! Paint on Scarlett, on her clothes, on the floor, on the table, on me, but luckily not on the fridge, cupboards or pets. Then we had clothing change #1.
Yesterday we had walked to our local garden centre and bought vegetable seeds for our garden. Might as well make use of them as entertainment for Scarlett. (The look on her face probably reflects the lack of a nap and the paintbrush being ripped out of her hands minutes earlier).
Then we made some "prunsicles" for Scarlett. We usually seem to open the jar of juice and then never finish the jar. We mixed it with coconut milk-half juice and half milk. We got the idea from the tropical creamy popsicles at:, and I can't say yet how they taste but will hopefully know in a few hours. I wish I had the stainless steel molds for the popsicles that they featured on the above site but I will use what I have .
And then to the mud puddles and the back yard! Scarlett has the cutest rain jacket (thanks Aunt Chris!) and pink rain boots which she loves. Scarlett wasn't discouraged by the rain and had fun moving around empty plant pots and picking dead grass. And at the end, the sweats came on to replace the muddy jeans. Clothing change #2. Not too bad for a rainy day.

And that was our afternoon. We can usually get away with a little less activity and more free time, but today with the rain and lack of sleep it seemed we needed to keep busy.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Reporting on Happiness

I'm reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I'm loving it-possibly because I am an addict when it comes to Self-Help, change my life memoirs. Yes, I loved Eat, Pray, Love too. And I'm also not done the book yet, but have dozens of ideas that I want to apply to my life. I started by quitting the Book Club book that I hate (What is the What by Eggers). I will probably soon undertake my own happiness project and copy the idea that I can use it for all aspects of my life-work, parenthood, friends, health, etc. Because there's no reason that I (or we) have to escape my (our) life to make changes-which is one criticism of needing or wanting to travel to exotic lands to find the happiness that is in your lap. I still want to travel more-and the idea of a year in Italy, India and Indonesia is so appealing (or I'll take a year travelling anywhere), but I'll look for my little corner of happiness in Bowness. And at Elan. And in Calgary.

So far, I've bookmarked a few pages and some lines that I will share.

To be happy, I need to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of change.

I know that I need to focus on happiness to be happy, and remove the unhappy things too. But Change! That hit home for me. That's why I love going out to my garden right now and seeing how much the rhubarb has grown (really!). I know we should be at peace with who we are, and what we have, but I have always had an undercurrent of needing and wanting change. And to keep making my goals for the next step in life. We get to see the changes as the seasons come and go, I can watch my garden grow, see my patients change and improve and get better, watch our daughter learn about the world and gain inches and pounds overnight, plan holidays and vacations and new things to do around home and work. I like that sentence.

The challenge, therefore, is to take pleasure in the "atmosphere of growth", in the gradual progress made toward a goal, in the present.

Isn't that the same as, "If you can't find happiness along the way, don't expect to find it at the end of the road"? So, enjoy the journey. Look forward today to what's ahead because the anticipation is probably as much fun as the event itself. That would be like waiting for Santa Clause, or the Easter Bunny...

Happiness has four stages. To eke out the most happiness from an experience, we must anticipate it, savor it as it unfolds, express happiness, and recall a happy memory.

Of course she says more about it, but I can now justify my photos, scrapbooks and endlessly talking about events that have happened and will happen. And I may plan birthday parties with a little more enthusiasm too.

I think her book has made me happy already and I like to read so I think her book accomplishes what it should. I'm looking forward to starting my own happiness project soon.

Does anybody want to join me? Who's read the book? What are your thoughts this?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Public Persona

I am going to sit quietly at this little table and color. I will hold the purple crayon in my hand and color the picture of the tiger on a circus ball. I will keep the crayon on the paper, somehow. I may get another book to look at or peer into the room where Daddy is working to take a peak at the person on the table. The person on the table wants me to say hi, but I run away. Daddy knows my secret but I don't want the others to suspect.

Before we came to work, I was giving Daddy a hard time. Before the car started and we drove here, I wouldn't stop crying until Daddy gave me his sunglasses to play with. I didn't break them but they sure are bendy! I don't know how he got me in my car seat because I was kicking and screaming once I was in the car. I think our neighbor distracted me-all the waving that I must do in a day! I tried to climb over the seat into the front seat, but Daddy was too fast.

He wouldn't let me leave the house with the things I was going to bring. I wanted to bring my dog and the drum set and Mommy's hair gel. I fought hard to keep hold of them. We can leave the hair gel in the fridge for later.

And my clothes? They insist on dressing me everyday but I won't help. I'll keep threatening to roll off the change table until they won't use it anymore. I'll let them put clothes on me, but hopefully they let me pick them out more often. Daddy doesn't dress me as cute as Mommy does.

Daddy tried to brush my teeth, but I grabbed the toothbrush away and hit him in the face with it. I'll brush my own teeth. And comb my own hair, thank you. Don't worry about washing my face either.

I sat and screamed on the couch. He thought it was for no reason, but my teeth hurt and he wouldn't let me watch my DVD on TV. I did the same thing to Mommy yesterday but it was because she picked me up instead of putting me back to sleep during my nap, and she didn't pat my back the right way. I eventually showed her how to pat my back.

Sometimes I cry to be picked "up up up", sometimes I just cry, whether they pick me up or not. When I want to, I'll play by myself.

I stayed clean for work by not eating breakfast. I used the spoon to play with my oatmeal and threw it on the floor for the dog. I didn't mean to get oatmeal in Daddy's hair with the spoon but he tried to take it away from me. I took the piece of pear that he gave me and I mashed it into the couch.

And I did wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. Daddy was there and not Mommy. I fell asleep on her earlier and she should have been there when I woke up. And don't tell anybody, but I didn't really sleep until 4 am this morning. I tossed and turned and cried "mamamama" all night long until then. It was my teeth then too, and my tummy as well because Mommy massaged some oil on my tummy before bedtime to try to make me poop more.

But maybe if I sit quietly enough and color with my purple crayon, no one will suspect a thing. Perhaps when I leave, I will give a little wave goodbye (so much waving and greeting to do) and babble through the hall when I walk away with Mommy. Maybe no body will know.

(Wouldn't we love to know what they think about all day? I am amazed because my daughter has the best public persona-I wonder where she gets it from?)

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Shoemaker's Daughter

Hopefully we all know the story, the shoemaker who made shoes for all of the children and people of the village, but wasn't able to provide shoes for his own children.

Before you worry, let me assure you that my child has an abundance of shoes (or enough, I'm trying to keep it to a manageable number of pairs). And clothes. And toys. There is no lack or need in our house. And we do tend to her health in many ways, which will soon be my subject.

(Scarlett is voluntarily on this table. Lately she's been coming into the office, grabbing a face cloth, and then standing at the table with her arms outstretched and says "up, up, up".)

Being a chiropractor, and one that sees families in the office, I am frequently asked if I adjust Scarlett, why, and how often. The answers are, of course I do! for many reasons, and it varies. I first adjusted her on Day 1 or 2 of her life & trust me that I had guilt that I hadn't adjusted her within minutes of being born. When I first adjusted her, she had been sleeping/dozing, and her eyes popped open and she threw up. I worried briefly that I had wrecked her, before I reassured myself that it was a good release for her. And she was fine. We have had periods of time when I realize that a month has passed since her last adjustment (the horror), but some times I adjust her daily, or multiple times a day. For instance, at the moment, I am adjusting her multiple times a day in an attempt to make her poop. (sorry, don't all blogs with babies eventually come to the subject?). Which brings me to the shoemaker.

If the shoemaker can makes shoes, shouldn't all his children have shoes? If a chiropractor can adjust, shouldn't all her children be healthy and well adjusted?

To address why I adjust kids. Many, many reasons. The easy answer is, to keep their spine and nervous system balanced, which can help with a number of different things in the body. Through case studies, adjustments may be able to help with ear infections, colic, constipation, asthma, back pain, headaches, etc. The other easy answer is to visit the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association's website,, for lots of information. I adjust Scarlett because I believe that when her nervous system is balanced and clear of stress, then she is at her optimum and her body works as it should. I would like to stress the word should, as there must always be exceptions. And while our daughter is very healthy, strong, coordinated, funny, completely on track for all things her age, and has never been seriously ill, of course I worry about the little health problems. While most other little babies and kids in the office seem to spontaneously poop after an adjustment (true, very common side effect), it doesn't happen the same way with Scarlett. But still I am perplexed because I know chiropractic works!

To reassure my troubled mind... My latest "WOW" story for kids and chiropractic is a toddler who slept very poorly. At his second adjustment, I asked his mom, "how was his sleep?" "Well, he slept 9 hours after his first adjustment." I immediately have, of all emotions, ENVY! Because our little darling is also not a great sleeper, although she still is a breast feeding, co-sleeper, which may explain our poor sleep. So Scarlett is lacking in sleep and poop.

Not that I think chiropractic is the only option, please don't assume that. We've looked at diet, visited our Naturopath, and tried homeopathics. Our medical doctor is not concerned. I could also just blame it on toddler behavior, or to breastfeeding (breastfed infants can eliminate frequently or not so frequently, does this still apply to her?), changes in diet, or teething. That's the fortunate thing about parenting, there are always many factors that you can use as an excuse.

I have been told that our children are here to challenge our beliefs and question everything we do, and I get that. I appreciate that my daughter is her own little person with her own responses and her own way to learn about her body and her life. I am constantly amazed at the personality that is growing and expressing and I believe that is the greatest chiropractic gift that I can give her. By helping her nervous system to be adaptable to her stresses I feel I am helping her manage some of the filters that many of us become burdened with over time, and hopefully keep her true to who she is. Which brings me back to the shoemaker once again. Possibly, the shoemaker was willing and able to provide his child with shoes, and had them available, but when the shoes were presented, the child chose not to wear them. I'm pretty sure that if I was a shoemaker, my child would be running around barefoot. Feeling the grass and mud squish between her toes, and laughing in delight at her perplexed parent.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Earth's Day is almost Here!

We have been enjoying many day of sunshine here in Calgary, as it is un-seasonably hot. Or maybe it is seasonal for here, since there is no weather pattern aside from being unpredictable. And tomorrow is Earth Day and it will be another beautiful day to celebrate.
I've been trying to think of what we should do tomorrow to mark the occasion. Specifically, what should we do at the office? Our thoughts included the following-and soon I should commit to some/all:
  • Turn out the lights and work by candlelight. (which we have done recently during a crazy electrical/snow storm) (Probably not!)
  • Print no receipts (except we usually need them). I guess we could offer to compile them and print statements, which we already offer.
  • Reuse paper, Recycle what we can (which we do already).
  • Haul out our mugs for use instead of the dixie cups?
  • Turn our idle chit-chat into talking about our Earth and who's doing what today. (this I can definitely do while people are on the table!)
  • For those with creative little ones, I've seen suggestions of drawing pictures of the earth, picking up litter, and teaching about 'blue boxes'. Although our blue box is just a cardboard box.
  • Plants and trees galore, can be found at our office, which I know contributes positively to our air quality.
  • This one will take awhile for me to work on, but align our business with other businesses that are earth-friendly. For instance, here in Calgary we have Babes in Arms that sells slings, cloth diapers, wooden toys, etc, and we try to send our new families there.

Sometimes our office is just not the most earth friendly place, but it does make me admire businesses that have started from day one with earth friendly building materials, reclaimed objects and a big picture of how they could keep their footprint small. I know that we have some work cut out for us.

Happy Earth Day! While we all try to play our part, the truth is, it looks like Mother Earth is taking care of herself anyways. Generally, I try not to watch the news, but aren't the earthquakes a record high? Did the Iceland volcano manage to lower the earth's temperature? She knows what she's doing.

Friday, April 16, 2010


I just had my first sinful, decadent macaron from Yann Haute Patisserie in Mission (Calgary). I'm not too sure what I just ate but it was yummy and sweet and melted in my mouth. I ate it with a little bit of guilt, but I've been meaning to go down and try these for weeks now, and the wait was worth it. Plus I soaked up some Vit D on the way, as today it is beautiful and sunny out. I'll eat something healthy later to balance it out.

Their patisserie is gorgeous-she had it decorated with butterflies for spring and Scarlett stared at her and the butterflies and the pasteries. We even managed to get our stroller in the front door.
What I thought was interesting is that the owners have converted their house into a live-work unit, and they have completed a very professional, beautiful job. And she said the project took... 3 YEARS altogether for the City of Calgary to approve and then for them to have the space ready. You may see where my head goes...hmm, a live work unit? you live upstairs? you have kids? but 3 years to make something like this happen? Back in the good ole days, "everybody" had a business in their house-fix shoes, cut your hair, I could adjust your spine... when did this get so complicated? People didn't need to commute to work as work was in their house. Much more friendly if you have a family that's tagging along as you work! And better for the environment and your community.
Does our North American society think that it was wrong all those years to live where you work? Don't millions (?) of Europeans work near or out of their home space? I appear to have a new project on my hands-researching home work units in Calgary, or how one becomes a home work unit! I currently lease office space, but is that the best situation for blending a family and work? If I work at home, do I ever leave work? Or ever fully arrive ready to work? And I don't think that I have 3 years to find the answer or alternative to those questions.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wear Your Baby to Work

I'm a little late on commenting on the sling recall, but better late than never I hope. I had mixed feelings about the baby carriers/pocket slings that were recently recalled, and the little blip in the media that followed. I loved (and still love them, of course!) the slings and carriers that we used for Scarlett. In fact, I don't think we could have managed taking her to work with us for the first year, without them. We tried to learn how to carry her properly-and are still learning-and I think that is the most important message we can take out of this recall. It is important to wear baby properly & learn as much as you can about it. Unfortunately, we (moms and society at large) have not been raised with babies in slings, so many of us are learning as we go. It is sad that its more common to see babies in car seat carriers than slings.
I try to encourage new moms in our office to wear their babies, as there are so many benefits: to make life easier for parent & baby, to give the parent his/her hands back, to help attachment, less colic and crying, to enhance learning/cognitive development & really to just continue on with life! (Dr Sear covers this so well in The Baby Book). Not to mention that wearing baby is better for mom's spine than lugging around an awkward car seat, and has anyone seen all these babes with flat heads from car seats? (I'm sure the plagiocephaly is the least of the baby's concerns).
Not to be side tracked, here are some of the important rules about baby wearing:
  • It should feel like you're holding baby in your arms, but without your arms there!
  • Keep baby close enough to kiss (that means pretty high on your chest)
  • Be able to see your baby's face-no fabric covering his airway.
  • Knees higher than bum (or at least keep knees bent and like a frog leg position)
  • No chin on chest
  • No c-curves allowed in baby's back-put a small receiving blanket behind his mid back.
  • covers many more. I'd like to think that no one drives while wearing a babe, or jogs... but who knows.

I always packed our sling or had it available for Scarlett. My goal was that I wouldn't need to use it when I saw clients, but I could put her in the sling for all my paper work & phone time. Usually if she was in it and we were moving around, all was good. On our lucky days, she would sleep in the sling when my husband wore her and I worked. I've even used my sling to hold a client's baby, as she was trying to receive a massage and baby was crying non-stop in the car seat carrier.

We've made it so far with carriers from Baby Buddha, Ellaroo, and Hotslings, and of course there is a long list of carriers that I wish I had tried or purchased. Here in Calgary, we try to send everyone who is looking for a carrier to Babes in Arms, or Bo Bebe, because they are both so helpful in sizing for carriers and offering classes or pointers. I'm a little sad that we rarely put Scarlett in her sling anymore-occasionally she'll cooperate with a back carry, but its fun that she likes to run around instead and will usually/sometimes follow in the same direction we are heading.