A good father always has time
to find tadpoles,
and build sandcastles.
Thank you for making our family your life.
We love you!
Jack, Max, and Rebecca
I recently got my CPR certification at One Beat CPR.
It was something I wanted to have done, rather than something I wanted to do. It’s hard to sacrifice precious weekend hours, especially hours with childcare, so I was a little reluctant as I drove to class on a bright, beautiful Saturday morning in the middle of the rainy season. The beach beckoned, but this had been on my To Do List for years, and it was time to check that box.
I walked into class determined to sit in the front row, ask a lot of questions, volunteer, and insist on lots of hands-on practice. You see, about ten years earlier I had been been taught CPR by the Red Cross, but even as I was handed my freshly-inked certification card, I felt shaky about my skills. After half a day of instruction in a windowless room, I walked out tired and confused, rather than actually prepared for an emergency.
Imagine my surprise when the first thing I learned at One Beat CPR was that my experience was common. Many people leave Red Cross trainings ready to call 911, and that’s about it. Although their instructors receive training, apparently they aren’t necessarily working CPR in the field. This causes some instructors to place too much emphasis on not making mistakes, and relating an overwhelming amount of technical details, which can leave students befuddled.
One Beat CPR was founded by Lon Rosen, a paramedic on a mission to educate the public about CPR. He is motivated by his work in the trenches everyday, and his personal experience with his own blue-lipped newborn baby (whom he saved). All the CPR instructors at One Beat CPR work in emergency situations on a daily basis. They include paramedics, police officers, firefighters, and doctors. This gives them unparalleled knowledge and a wealth of anecdotal information to imbue to the masses. Our entire class was a lesson in simplicity which left me feeling extremely confident in my own abilities.
The number one lesson they emphasize is that it is better to do something that might not be perfect, rather than simply waiting for help. In ideal circumstances it takes 4-6 minutes for first responders to arrive after a 911 call. Every minute that a person is unconscious during cardiac arrest takes away 10% of their chance of survival.
I’m going to share a few facts I learned with you, but please don’t consider yourself adequetly trained just by reading my article. Get yourself certified. If you live in South Florida, I highly recommend One Beat CPR. If you live elsewhere and the certification programs are by the Red Cross, go to those classes. Just ask questions, focus on the basics, and make sure you feel confident when you walk out the door, ready to be a hero.
How to Save a Life
1. Call 911.
When someone is unconscious, it is critical to call 911 first. Do not assume that someone in a crowd is doing this, because everyone might make the same assumption while no one actually makes the call. Ask someone specifically to make the call: Lady in the green shirt, can you call 911?
If you are alone with your child, perform one minute of CPR first and then make the call.
2. Use a defibrillator if it’s available.
That is the best option. These machines are amazing and will guide a clueless, uncertified person through the entire process. There are different inserts for adults, children, and babies. Use the correct one and a voice will guide you through the process. These machines will sense whether or not the patient needs defibrillation; 70% will. It will not shock someone who doesn’t need it. Afterwards, the machine will guide you through CPR, including keeping the beat.
These are real heroes and prices have come down a lot over the last few years. One Beat CPR encourages widespread use of them, so consider being an advocate in your business, school, or home. They highly recommend Philips HeartStart Home Defibrillator.
3. Perform CAB (Compressions, Airway, Breath)
Whether you are working on an infant, a child, or an adult, the method is the same. Perform compressions using locked arms, pressing in the middle of the patient’s chest all the way down (you’ll feel it). Thirty compressions are followed by an airway check and 2 breaths (ONLY IF YOU HAVE A PROTECTIVE MASK!)
Here are the CPR variations.
Use two hands for an adult.
Use one hand for a child (ages 1-6). It’s a good idea to keep the other hand behind your back, so you don’t unwittingly press down on their head.
Use two fingers (TEXTING THUMBS) for a baby.
Why the Protective Mask is Critical
One Beat CPR gave me a little key chain pouch with a mask inside. When our instructor told us not to perform breath without it, I asked for clarification.
Do you mean we don’t have to do breath without a mask, or that we shouldn’t?
He was very clear: Do not do breath without the mask.
He then related a story of a thirty-eight year old police officer killed in the line of duty. Six years earlier that officer had performed breath on a 3 month old baby without a mask. The baby vomited into his mouth. He spit it out right away, but a little had gotten into his lungs which caused a respiratory infection. He never recovered from it and died six years later.
That story blew my mind. There were many more like it, which is what made this training so rich. Before hearing that, I wouldn’t have thought twice about using breath on a child or even most normal-looking people. I wouldn’t have truly understood the risk. I hooked a mask to my and my husband’s key chains that afternoon.
There was other information about choking (The Heimlich maneuver works wonders.) and legal implications (You have zero liability for trying.). The class took two hours, and I left feeling prepared and grateful.
If you need one more tidbit of motivation to attend class, you might be interested to know that Lon was featured in the Hot Firefighter’s of Miami Calendar.
But you just really want to save lives, don’t you?
Lemon and capers have the perfect marriage on top of fish, so why not try them on your salad greens?
This heavenly dressing is a creamy Mediterranean delight. It’s novel on salad, and yet the flavors are a classic combination. I normally shy away from creamy salad toppers, preferring a light vinaigrette, but this is a welcome change of pace. Although it emulsifies beautifully, it is still light and bright. This is the perfect salad dressing for summer entertaining. Enjoy!
Lemon Caper Salad Dressing
2 1/2 T capers, with their liquid
1. Combine all ingredients (just 1/3 c olive oil) in a small food processor or blender. Puree until emulsified. Taste and add more olive oil if you want, or adjust the pepper. The capers are so salty that you don’t need to add sea salt.
2. When dressing greens, use only a tablespoon of dressing per serving and toss well. Dressing can be refrigerated for up 2-3 weeks, but it’s so good, you’ll probably run out this week.
Last night the boys and I got a sneak peak at the new dinosaur exhibit at the Miami Children’s Museum. It opens today and will run until the beginning of January.
Apparently, this is a second run exhibit. We missed the first a few years ago; I’m not even sure my kiddos were born at that time. I was disappointed when I heard about it, so I’m very glad they brought it back. Every child should have the chance to see a dinosaur exhibit of some kind when they are in the 4-8 age bracket. After last year’s dinosaur party, my kids have definitely grown more and more fascinated by these prehistoric creatures.
Here are some snapshots of our night.
Shhh… Don’t tell anyone, but we partied like paleontologists a full hour past bedtime!
Since the weather right now is awful in Miami, I expect every child in South Florida will go and see this exhibit. If your kids can’t get enough dinosaurs or you don’t live near an exhibit, check out these fun dinosaur activities you can do at home.
Pain has returned.
After being absent for… how long this time?
Forever, I thought, I hoped. Was is half a year of movable joints before the stiffness settled back in between my bones?
In the world of autoimmune dysfunction, it’s called a flare. I find that funny because a flare usually means a burst of energy, whereas this kind of flare is an energy sap. Everything just becomes a little bit harder: my morning miles, sleep, holding a toothbrush.
More than anything, I miss lightness.
The contrast is sharp. I remember when Max was an infant and this disease first entered my body. I didn’t understand it. Lugging him around was so hard. He was a small baby, but he always felt so heavy. I remember silently cursing the people we visited who would make us stand at their doorway bestowing kisses and oohs and ahs, before inviting us in. How my arms ached!
One day, I picked him up and it felt like nothing. He was air itself. Excitedly, I swung him on my hip, threw him in the car, and we went off on an adventure together. We were utterly weightless.
What I later learned was that the lightness, which seemed extraordinary at the time, was really just a normal state of being. The fatigue and heaviness were not normal.
It’s easy to forget that, isn’t it?
That lightness and ease is our normal state of being.
Robert Is Here is the name of a 53 year old fruit stand that has become an institution in the Florida Redlands, just a short drive south of Miami. Andres spotted it on a charity bike ride in April, and drove us all there last weekend.
Specializing in local, tropical fruits, it’s a great find. But there is so much more to do than pick up a few pounds of guava and mangos. The first thing we did was line up for their famous Key Lime milkshake. You can also order an array of tropical fruit smoothies. They are $5 and quite large.
We took our treats out back to a shaded porch swing near the petting zoo. The petting zoo had lots of animals, but no petting while we were there.
Is it just me, or are these guys the Three Billy Goats Gruff?
Afterwards we washed our sticky fingers with an old-fashioned water pump. The kids played in the splash pad (a bit rundown).
Inside we sampled a tray of honey (tangerine is tops). We couldn’t resist a snapshot of Jack by Jackfruit.
On our way out to our car we heard a musician playing, Bye-bye Miss American Pie… surrounded by sunflowers.
A perfect country escape from Miami.
I love the long, lazy days of summer like anyone else, but long days with nothing to do tend to be days when children argue and mama goes crazy. I certainly don’t advocate a scheduled-up summer, but this master list of activities provides the answer to the age old question:
What are we going to do today?
Some of these activities serve as a framework for a parent to plan and gather supplies. Some can be spur of the moment ideas to beat summer doldrums. Many activities are educational, but they are also really fun and in the spirit of play. Learning isn’t just about paper, pencils, and books. Summer is an ideal opportunity to expand children’s horizons and explore their imaginations.
Take this list and run with it. Add your own ideas and encourage older children to contribute.
Just thinking about it gets me so excited! Without further adieu, I give you:
The Great Summer To Do List
1. Make a big batch of homemade play dough and not be careful about keeping the colors right.
2. Make and play with moon sand.
3. Create a toy car wash.
4. Go to the zoo!
5. Have a Soda Float Party.
6. Build boats with recyclables.
7. Create a summer memory book, adding to it every week.
8. On a rainy day, dump all of the blocks and building toys in the dining room and have a Construction Boom.
9. Paint al fresco.
10. Create an art exhibit of your children’s work. Invite friends over for a reception.
11. Have a cheese tasting.
12. Create a make-your-own juice bar.
13. Have a Dinosaur Dig in the sandbox.
14. Use beans to build a huge construction site for toy trucks.
16. Find rainbows on the floor and use white paper and colored pencils to capture them.
17. Study sea stars. Make crafts and giant sea star pretzels.
18. Make a papier mache hot air balloon together.
19. Swim in the pool.
20. Host a luau.
21. Go to the Home Depot and Lowes building workshops.
22. Practice hammering on a tree stump.
23. Learn about frogs.
24. Plant something and watch it grow.
26. Sidewalk chalk.
27. Play puppet theatre.
28. During the rainy season, or if the hurricane shutters up, have a glow-in-the-dark day. Play with glow sticks, glow paint, Lite Bright and Glow Book.
29. Go to the movies or check one out from the library and eat popcorn in the living room.
30. Have kids use their camera to snap pictures. Print them and include some in the art exhibit and the summer book.
31. Host an old fashioned ice-cream social.
32. Learn a dance routine.
33. Learn to play a song on an instrument.
34. Go to a petting zoo.
35. Have a Jackson Pollack Day and let the kids go wild with paint.
36. Write and send postcards to cousins.
37. Go on a nature hunt.
38. Make a footprint stone.
39. Use body paint in the backyard.
40. Make a mud pit and wallow like pigs. Tie this into elephants and other animals who use mud to cool down.
41. Watch a horse race.
43. Wash dishes. (Hey, it is fun if you’re 5 and 3!)
44. Give kids $2 in coins and take them garage-saling.
45. Make blueberry muffins together.
46. Have kids make a salad without help.
47. Build a fort.
48. Make a paper airplane flying contest.
49. Make yogurt-fruit pops.
50. Play putt-putt golf.
51. Ride a train. (commuter or a park train)
52. Ride a trolley.
53. Ride a bus and let the kids pay their fare.
54. Ride an airplane. (Hello, vacation! Hello, Nana!)
55. Learn to draw in steps (Mickey Mouse, a house, a cat…)
56. Practice reading everyday.
57. Go to storytime at the library and at bookstores.
58. Practice numbers, skip counting, adding, and subtracting everyday.
59. Build a robot out of recyclables.
60. Have a Rain Gutter Regatta with toy boats.
61. Have a Backwards Day! (dinner for breakfast, backwards clothes, hello means good-bye…)
62. Make clay sculptures.
63. Build sandcastles.
64. Go on a family bike ride.
65. Have picnic breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.
67. Build an outdoor shower with Dad.
68. Make and maintain a rock garden.
70. Make two dirt cakes (one chocolate and one dirt) and see if we can fool someone.
71. Make a sundial.
72. Practice yoga.
73. Make a weaving using a scrap of cardboard as a loom.
74. Use a flashlight to make shadow puppets during the rainy season or a hurricane.
75. Go puddle jumping.
76. Make tin can star lanterns.
77. Build a campfire.
79. Make raisins outside in July.
80. Visit a pet store to see the animals.
81. Make a Hurricane-in-a-Bottle.
82. Have fun at the 4th of July Parade!
83. Fireworks! Sparklers! Cherry Pie!
84. Make homemade doggie treats and throw a dog party.
85. Learn about the science of balloons and make cool vehicles with them.
86. Water balloon fight.
87. Make homemade bubble makers.
89. Go on a bug safari.
90. Learn about and create dioramas for the different geographical areas of earth (desert, rain forest, arctic….)
91. Lean about the continents with Montessori Continent Boxes.
92. Press flowers and make art with them.
93. Put butter cups under our chins.
94. Make clover necklaces.
95. Make sun prints.
96. Make forever sandcastles.
97. Play board games on a rainy day.
98. Use story cards to make up stories.
99. Make yarn mandalas.
100. Have a Backyard Olympics and make an obstacle course.
101. Swimming lessons.
102. Make letters out of play dough.
103. Have a Crab Day. (Crab walking, learning, crafts and dinner)
104. Have a Make-Your-Own Pizza Party.
105. Do crayon melts before getting a new box of crayons.
106. Make sun catchers in the oven.
107. Slip and Slide!
108. Let kids wash clothes by hand.
109. Have each child write a story (dictation, writing and illustrating to their level).
110. Make alphabet soup.
111. Make a video together.
112. Do a project at a Color by Me place.
113. Go to an ice-cream parlor.
114. Visit an orchard or farm.
115. Feed a giraffe at the zoo and make a giraffe craft. Tell kids about the first giraffe to visit Paris.
116. Go on rides at an amusement park.
117. Learn to jump-rope.
118. Make coffee can stilts.
119. Play Simon Says
120. Design our own puzzles.
121. Make playdates with school friends.
122. Visit a donut shop for a treat.
123. Find shapes in clouds and recreate them with blue paper, cotton balls and glue.
Here are some Miami- specific activities on our list. I am sure other cities have parallel activities that are uniquely local.
124. Go to Hollywood Beach and splash pad.
125. Visit Matheson Hammock atoll.
126. Go to Key Biscayne.
127. Ride on a platoon through the mangroves.
128. Take Betsy to Dog Beach.
129. Go to Nature Tots at the Secret Woods Nature Center.
130. Go to Nature Puppets at the Secret Woods Nature Center.
131. Use library pass to visit these attractions for free: Fruit and Spice Park
133. …Deering Estate.
134. …Miami History Museum.
135. Go to the Venetian Pool.
136. Short getaway to Naples, Florida.
137. Go to Alice Wainwright Park.
138. Go to the free first Saturday at the Gold Coast Railroad Museum.
139. Visit the Everglades.
140. Visit the Butterfly Exhibit at Fairchild Tropical Gardens. (They always have some free days in the summer.
141. Go to the Family Fun Days at the Bass Art Museum.
142. Visit the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens.
143. Lunch on Lincoln Road.
144. Visit the Keys.
145. Go on a boat ride to Elliot Key.
146. Go to the Bakerhouse Art Complex.
147. Gallery hop in Wynwood.
148. Visit the Freedom Tower.
149. Play at the Miami Children’s Museum.
150. Fly kites on Haulover Beach.
Phew! That ought to keep us occupied for a few months.
The funny thing about a list like this is that once you start, more and more ideas pop into mind. I’m sure we’ll complete 80-90% of it and add stuff as we go. As we complete tasks, I’ll add tutorials and links to those pages.
Oh, no! I forgot the most important thing:
151. Have loads of fun!!!!
This is one entry I didn’t want to put in the baby book. Yesterday, five minutes after I dropped Max off at school, another mom called me to tell me that he had fallen, hit his head, and the school had called 911.
I had just enough time to turn to avoid the freeway entrance and redouble my route back to him. The most agonizing part was sitting at an ill-timed red light for six minutes, watching the fire engine flash its lights in front of his school. There was no cross traffic, making it even more pointless to sit there waiting. I considered running the light, but in my heart I knew he was being taken care of, so I practiced patience.
When I got to the school, Max’s face was covered in smeared blood. He had a gash on his forehead from hitting the pavement. Three paramedics assured me that his injury wasn’t serious: no concussion, maybe one stitch or a butterfly bandage, pediatrican could probably handle it, sign here, no charge for the call.
The school seemed very concerned with dismissing the incident as not serious. I didn’t perceive any concern for how Max was feeling. His teacher was filling out paperwork. No adult was sitting near him in the pint-sized chair.
I was not a crazy mom who needed to calm down. Although I was very upset and concerned, I handle crises very well. Always have.
Let’s just call them out. The Montessori School of North Miami handled this awfully. They seemed overly concerned with blaming Max for running and treating this like it was just a rite of passage, rather than negligence or at least something horrible that happened to him. They didn’t mention the fact that he tripped over the bumpy, broken pavement on their property. Max told me about that at the hospital.
I took him to Miami Children’s Hospital, where the staff was friendly and excellent. Although we were processed quickly, the wait for stitches took hours. Although they weren’t terribly busy, the hospital gets complicated cases, so like any ER, there is a wait.
The Child Life specialist gave us a very cool dinosaur pop-up book, toys, boardgames and a portable DVD player with Toy Story. She also explained all the steps for the stitches to Max using a Mickey Mouse toy. She gave Jack an Ipad with a kid app which kept him happily occupied while we focused on Max. She distracted Max during the procedure which enabled me to look away when he suddenly started bleeding a lot. It was creepy to see the amount of effort needed to poke through layers of skin, and I couldn’t help my eyes from welling with a few mama tears. Both boys received surprisingly nice toys at the end of our visit.
Max got 4 stitches: one internal and three external.
He is just fine.
It was a long day for me. All three of my boys had colluded to not let me sleep the night before by snoring, crawling into bed, and playing noisily. I was also hungry because I always eat my lunch after Max goes to school. Yesterday I ate at 7 am and 6:45 pm.
I took the boys to a diner near our home for dinner. A rare treat. They got silver dollar pancakes and smiles from a kind waitress.
It was an exciting day for them. Jack was thrilled to go to a hopisal for the first time, and found everything facsinating. Max was excited to know that four paramedics dropped what they were doing, ran to the fire truck, and turned on the lights to race to him when he got hurt. It is no exaggeration to say that both boys behaved like little angels the whole day. There was not even a moment of a tantrum, an argument, a whine, or a problem. I am happy that they handle crises as well as me.
It will serve them well.
After dinner we went home, washed faces and fingers, brushed teeth, and changed into jammies. No bath or stories. It was too late. We missed storytime at the library, a huge disappointment for Jack.
I kissed their tired little cheeks as I snuggled them into bed. They both smelled faintly of maple syrup. I guess we didn’t do a good job washing.
Oh well, I thought, I think we can all use sweet dreams tonight.
Once the comics came out and everybody learned that Clark Kent was really Superman, there was no need for his awkward disguise. These days you can find Superman wearing his uniform as he goes about his daily life in Metropolis. As the paparazzi recently found out, it’s not as exciting as you might have imagined.
Here’s our photo essay of a Day in the Life of Superman.