The Ultimate Children’s Health Reference Book

Since the advent of Google, I have determined that I have a brain tumor, melanoma, viral pneumonia, seasonal affective disorder, and fifth’s disease.  Don’t even get me started on what ailments I have projected onto my kids.  Admit it, we are all guilty of self-diagnosing.  We think that we’re doctors never mind the years of schooling and practical experience under the tutelage of a mentor that we lack.  With the exception of the fifth’s disease I have been, shockingly, wrong with my doctoring (the jury is still out on the SAD).

Step away from the keyboard and pick up, The A to Z of Children’s Health: A parent’s guide from birth to 10 years.  It is without a doubt the best resource a parent can have at their fingertips. It’s a comprehensive guide written by Dr. Jeremy Friedman and Dr. Natasha Saunders of the world-renowned Hospital For Sick Children.

More than 235 childhood conditions and illnesses are arranged alphabetically and described clearly and concisely with full colour illustrations. The advice offered is practical and current, nothing superfluous or condescending.

In the past two months I have used The A to Z of Children’s Health more than any other parenting resource.  That’s either a rousing endorsement of its usefulness or a dismal reflection on the health and well-being of my family.

How to treat an ingrown toenail?  Is this a cough that I should be worried about?  What is the difference between primary enuresis (bed-wetting) and secondary enuresis?

All of these questions are answered.

Do you remember when you were new to this parenting thing, and you were more invested in your baby’s poo than you’d ever imagined was possible?  Well, they answer all of those questions too and pictures of the various types of diaper rashes accompany at-home treatments and explanations.

It’s rare that I come across a reference book I feel is worth spending money on but The A to Z of Children’s Health is the exception.  So much do I like it, I plan on adding it to my go-to list of gifts for first time parents.

A Gingerbread Misstep


One more on gingerbread, yes?

This year, for the first time, I made a gingerbread house with my kids.  In my dreams, I imagined making the gingerbread house from scratch.  But when I looked into the details of this, I quickly realized that this is a serious endeavour, and it never happened.

The only gingerbread house-making they’ve had was at their grandmother’s house.  She considerately asked first, knowing that I watch how much sugar is eaten around here, and seemed almost a bit surprised when I said yes.  But I thought it could be a fun tradition and wanted the boys to have time with their grandmother too.

The other day, my boys saw a gingerbread train kit in the store and asked to make it.  Again, I thought it would be fun, and knew I wasn’t going to make one from scratch, and I said yes.  I envisioned making it, looking at it for awhile, breaking it and eating a piece, and saying goodbye to the rest.

It kind of happened like that.  We made it, and the boys each were allowed a piece of candy or two while making it.  They asked to sprinkle sugar all over it to make snow, so we took a cup of sugar and did that.  I put it on the counter and we looked at it.

But then my husband complained that there was sugar on the floor, and that he thought the kids, including the baby (with the aid of a step-stool) were picking at the sugar of the train.

I moved it to the mantle.

But then my husband found our middle son up there, with the aid of the step-stool.  Our kids have had a run of illness in the past week or two, and my husband said he thought it was because of the sugar (known to depress immune systems).

I walked to the mantle and looked at our little train.  The sugar snow had been dipped into, and some pieces of candy had been taken off the train and eaten.  This surprised me, as the older boys know not to eat candy like that.  My guess is that my older one can look at it and wait to get a piece, but that for my four year old, it’s too much temptation.

I picked up that train, complete but for the missing candies, and threw it out.

Interestingly, my kids are unperturbed by the loss.  My oldest was upset for a moment, as he hadn’t eaten any.  But I explained the trouble, said that he can still have some if he ends up making something with his grandmother.  And that was it.

And then I came across this, a video message by a doctor about the misleading information and the food industry.  I didn’t think there was any nutritional value in that gingerbread house, but thought this message was worth sharing all the same.  What do you think?