Monday, May 26, 2008

Reason #56 Why TV Isn't That Bad After All

Scene: Me and Little Guy on the floor with his toy train.

Little Guy: Mommy, can you put my train together for me?

Me: Sure!

Five minutes later I'm still fidgeting with the goddamn thing.

Little Guy: Gee, this is exasperating!

Me: What did you say?

Little Guy: This is exasperating!

Me (to hubby in the other room): Did you hear what he just said??! He used the word exasperating in a sentence.


Me: I said, did you hear what he just said? Don't you think it's really advanced that he just used the word exasperating correctly in a sentence?

Husband: That's from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Donald says it all the time.

Hell. And all this time I thought TV wasn't good for him. What was I thinking?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Diet from Hell

I don't think I've blogged about this before, but my baby has eczema. He's had it since he was 4 months old. He's now 9 months old and it hasn't gotten any better. It's all over his back, but no where else. It looks like a chemical burn or something. It's bright red, and alternately either really flaky or really raised and rough. Oh, and it's REALLY itchy. I feel so bad. We have taken him to the doctor many times and they really don't have much to offer that has helped. The advice we've been given is to remove fragranced detergents, synthetic clothing, moisturize often, bathe less often and with mild non-soap "soaps" like Dove. And then when it gets really bad, they prescribe steroid creams and put him on antibiotics when it gets infected.

They console me by saying that most kids will grow out of it by the time they are three or four. But three or four is years away and my baby is suffering now.

So I decided to see the advice of a naturopathic doctor. Because medical insurance typically doesn't cover NDs, we are paying out of pocket and let me tell you, it is frickin expensive.

I've had two visits with her so far. She says that eczema is linked to food allergies and that once the food allergy is identified, eliminating that food will clear up the eczema. She says that we will be tackling the root cause of the eczema and that Western medical treatments just treat the symptoms.

Because the baby was exclusively breastfed when he developed eczema for the first time, she thinks that it is my own food allergies that are causing his eczema. I found that surprising for two reasons: 1) I never had reason to think I have food allergies and 2) I didn't know that my own allergies could cause the baby's eczema.

But I am putting my trust in her and I'm willing to try anything. So, on Friday she gave me an allergy test using an electro acupuncture machine. Unfortunately for me, she found out that I am allergic to like EVERYTHING. OK, not everything, but might as well be everything - tomatoes, wheat, dairy (not eggs), and potatoes. I was shocked because I've never noticed allergies to these foods but she explained that many people have allergic symptoms but they just don't realize that's what they are (e.g., constipation, headaches, mood swings, etc.)

So now, I have to eliminate this stuff from my diet to see if his eczema clears up. I am only two days in and it is so hard! There is wheat and dairy in SO much. I'm pretty much stuck eating rice, beans, fruits and vegetables. And I can eat meat, fish and soy - though I really don't like to eat meat and with all the contaminated fish out there, there really aren't that many options for eating fish anymore.

However, I'm going for it. My task is to eliminate all of my allergenic foods from my diet and see if there is any change in 2 weeks.

Today we went to a b-day barbecue today and there was SO much great food. There were hamburgers, potato salad, couscous salad, pasta salad, watermelon, cake, chips and dip, etc. Of all the food there was to eat, the only things I could eat on my diet were a plain hamburger patti and a slice of watermelon (oh and some raw carrots, mushrooms and celery sticks they had out). When I saw the couscous salad, I was jumping for joy because I thought it was something I could eat, but then I found out there was some yogurt in it. Crap.

I think this diet is going to kill me! But I am willing to do it for the baby to see if it works.

Cross your fingers for me.

p.s. I need a "screen name" for the baby. On this blog, my toddler is known as "Little Guy". Littler guy just doesn't sound right. I will keep thinking.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I am SO behind the times

I finally had a few minutes to get onto Twitter and find out what it's all about.

And holy shit, people. It's like crack for bloggers. Crack.

It should be illegal, I tell you.

I already have 5 email accounts and 4 blogs. I don't have time for this!

And yet...I feel it calling...

Are you following me yet? :)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Johnson & Johnson Marketing Toxic Baby Perfume?

The other day my friend told me that she has a friend that puts perfume on her baby.

My immediate thought was: WTF?

I questioned her about it and found out that this woman does indeed put perfume on her infant. Cuz, you know, she wants to make her baby smell good.

Why anyone would want to mask the wonderful natural baby smell by putting synthetic fragrances on a baby is beyond me.

But my next thought was: Companies actually sell baby perfume? People actually buy it? Nooooo. I really didn't believe it. I figured she must just be using a lotion or something.

So today I decided to research it further. I knew that if baby perfume existed, Google would tell me.

And guess what I found during my 30 second Google Search?

Perfume makers are looking to infants as a "new market."

Yep, baby perfumes exist alright. There is more than one brand out there, but for the sake of brevity, let's talk about Johnson & Johnson's Baby Cologne.

Here's how Johnson and Johnson describes their product:

JOHNSON'S® Baby Cologne has a gentle, fresh fragrance with a pleasant combination of floral and citrus hints. It leaves your baby smelling clean and fresh. This clinically proven mild formula is alcohol free, making it just right for your baby's delicate skin.

So what's so bad about putting perfume on a baby - aside from the fact that I think we can all agree that that is WEIRD.

Well, I took a quick look at the ingredients because I was sure they'd be 100% safe - especially since this stuff is meant to be used for "your baby's delicate skin."

So here are the ingredients:

Water, Polysorbate 20, Trideceth-9, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Fragrance, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol, Citric Acid, Propylene Glycol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Simethicone, Ext. Violet 2, Blue 1

Yikes. Not so safe after all. For a quick snapshot of how hazardous most of these ingredients are, click here for the analysis.

The fact that Johnson and Johnson and other companies are marketing totally unnecessary and clearly hazardous products like baby perfume to parents who may not realize the toxicity of the products they are buying is unethical and shameful.

Johnson & Johnson has some explaining to do. I'd like to know what they have to say for themselves. Perhaps if they'd just put a "poison" warning on the baby cologne, we'd call it fair. But their product description reads with phrases like "Clinically proven mild and gentle" and they encourage parents to "use JOHNSON'S® Baby Cologne anytime you want to give your baby a clean, fresh scent."

Do they think we're stupid? Do they think we're going to sit back and let them sell us products that we don't even need and that contain carcinogens and hormone-disrupting chemicals and then PAY them for their toxic crap?

Really, J&J, you just had a big old conference bringing together mommy bloggers right? Did you talk about the fact that your company is selling toxic baby products? Perhaps we can do a breakout session on that at your next event. I think I can find a few mommies that would like to attend to hear what you have to say. In the meantime, I'd like to propose a boycott on all of your products. Readers, if you'd like to show your support for this idea, please leave a comment and tell Johnson & Johnson what you think.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Not Just a Pretty Face: Please Read This Book

If you read anything this year, this is the book you should read. A friend recommended that I read this so I bought it and I have to tell you that it is one of the most important books I have ever read. Please go read it, share it, blog about it. Tell everyone you can.

The name of the book is Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry. It can be purchased for just $11 on, but it is worth a pile of gold.

This book is written by Stacy Malkan, who is Communications Director of Health Care Without Harm and media strategist for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a national coalition working to eliminate hazardous chemicals from personal care products.

So what is this book about? In a nutshell, it's about how our body products are killing us. It's about how our cosmetics and our lotions and our shampoos are full of carcinogens, phthlates, parabens, chemicals and other toxic ingredients. It's about how research shows that these ingredients are harmful, deadly even, and yet cosmetic companies don't care. It's about how the U.S. Government and namely the FDA isn't doing a damn thing to protect our health or our children's health. It's about how the Cosmetics Industry is actively trying to keep advocacy groups from disseminating information to the public about the dangers of using products with these ingredients.

You will get mad when you read this book. Really mad. And that is good, because getting angry is a step towards demanding change. And change is what we MUST demand. We must demand that companies stop selling us toxic crap and marketing it as something that is going to make us younger and more beautiful. We must demand that companies stop selling us baby products that contain carcinogens and hormone-disrupting chemicals. We must demand it by being vocal and by not buying this stuff. And we must educate ourselves about what isn't safe, which isn't so easy to do. But we have to do it because no one is looking our for us but us.

The Cosmetic Industry is the Big Tobacco of our times. We've got to speak up and tell them that we won't let them get away with this. There are safer options. There are companies who do care about the health of their customers. We've reviewed some of these companies at GMF. But there are far too many companies - most mainstream companies - that are thinking only of making money and not at all about the health of the public.

They care more about making money than they do about our children. It's maddening. And we must do something. We CAN do something. WE hold the pursestrings. WE are the mothers. WE can make changes by not supporting these companies anymore.

The time to act is now. Our health and our children's health are too important.

Before you tell me I'm off my rocker, read the book. And hey, let's make it a book club discussion. Get the book and then we can discuss it chapter by chapter. Who's in? If I have a few people interested, I'll set up a schedule.

Let's get the word out. Who's with me?

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Runnin' to the Border

(Warning: do not eat while reading today's post.)

I'm just going to cut right to the chase and say it: Little Guy has been having some trouble pooping lately. Actually, he's been having a LOT of trouble for the last three months. Without going into the gory details, it has been really troublesome and we have been trying EVERYTHING - prunes, prune juice, liquids, cutting out the sugar and refined flour products, more fruits, probiotics...nothing seemed to be helping. Then yesterday, I happened to get Little Guy a taco at Taco Bell. It was the first time I've ever given him fast food and I felt TOTALLY guilty about it, but....guess what? 30 minutes after he ate the taco...POOP! A big one! I couldn't believe it. It had been TWO WEEKS since he had a real poop (not counting the little itty bitty ones he had been having). I was like jumping up and down. After all this time of trying to adjust his diet, add fiber, fruits, water, veggies, after almost having to give my kid an ENEMA (*shudder*), it was the damn Taco Bell taco that did it.

Why the hell didn't I think of it sooner? I can see their new slogan now: Taco Bell - the cure to any kid's chronic constipation - only 89 cents and no waiting hours to see a doctor! Who could ask for more.
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