October 16, 2014
by Kylie Gardner

How to prepare for your child’s hydrogen breath test

How to prepare for your child's hydrogen breath test

Ok, so I realise that preparing for your child’s hydrogen breath test (HBT) is a REALLY specific topic. BUT. Rocky had this test the other day and I was chatting with the other parents at the hospital.  We agreed that we’d have loved a little more information to help us know what to expect. So!, Let me serve the people! First, some background on Rocky’s lactose free life.

We have been treating Rocky as lactose intolerant for about a year now. His terrible sleeping habits combined with lots of mucus and snoring led us to believe that he might have some kind of dairy intolerance. I sought advice from my child and youth heath nurse and she said to try skipping lactose before eliminating dairy altogether – thank goodness for that! It’s quite easy to avoid lactose these days, there are lots of products on the market that are lactose free and Rocky still gets to enjoy milk, yoghurt and cheese.

The lactose free diet has appeared to have helped Rocky sleep better. He went from waking eight to twelve times a night (yes, really!) to only waking two to three times a night. His mucus and snoring also reduced and we were all a lot happier.

While it’s not too difficult to get lactose free food, it can be tricky when eating out at other people’s houses or at cafes. So, after a year on this modified diet, we thought it was about time that we got this lactose intolerance thing confirmed one way or the other. We got a referral from our GP and booked in for the next available appointment, a couple of months away.

Here’s the tricky part. The lactose breath test requires children aged 6 months and over to fast for 10 hours before starting the test (infants fast for 6 hours). Yikes! We also had to avoid yoghurt, bananas and apples the day before his test, among other foods (but these are his favourites). Rocky coped surprisingly well with the fasting, I was amazed! I expected huge tantrums, but they didn’t come until much later…

When we arrived for the test Rocky had to drink about 100 – 150 mls of a sugar drink. Which he really did NOT want to drink. We were offered a cup, a cup and straw, a bottle, a sippy cup, a syringe, orange flavouring … none of it worked. Rocky refused to drink. It took two other adults help and me wrapping him in a towel to keep his arms down to get any in him at all. And even then Rocky spat most of it right back out. His hair, face, neck, t-shirt and jacket were drenched in this sticky stuff. But we did our best!

Once he had the sugar drink Rocky had a breath sample taken every half hour for two and a half hours. He was still not allowed to eat anything. He was such a trooper! The Women’s and Children’s Hospital, where we had the test, were well prepared to distract kids. They had lots of toys to play with and kids shows on TV. They also have an awesome playground that wasn’t too far from our waiting rooms. I also took some of his favourite toys and books along for distraction.

At the 2 1/2 hour mark Rocky got a little bit Hulk on me and started to throw toys and push over furniture. Thankfully we were only a few minutes away from a banana and a bowl of hot chips! The final sample was taken and we were out of there. Here are my tips for preparing for a hyrodgen breath test.

* If you suspect that your child may an intolerance please seek professional medical advice. I am not a medical professional and share these tips from my own experience only.

How to prepare for your child’s hydrogen breath test

Arranging the test

  • arrange your test by getting a referral from your GP and finding out where you can have your test. We had to go into the city for our test but you may find that you can go local.
  • submit your referral to the test provider – ask about a cancellation list as the waiting time can be quite long. We were lucky and got called to come in a couple of weeks earlier than expected.

The week before the test

  • if your child is old enough start preparing them for the test by practicing blowing – blowing out candles, blowing bubbles, blowing on flags or pinwheels. During the test they will be asked to blow through a straw, which can be tricky, especially when they haven’t done it before. Younger children will have their breath samples taken by a syringe like object (sorry, I don’t know the medical name!). The nurse places a small tube next to the infants nose and suctions breath from the nostril. It is not invasive or painful at all.
  • find out about the test venue and whether there is some open play space or a playground that you can visit in the half hour gaps between breath samples. Play is fab distraction for kids!

The day before the test

  • double check the list of restricted and banned foods for the day so that you increase your chances of a successful test.

On the day of the test

  • pack a secret stash of snacks and hide them somewhere that your child won’t look for them. This will help you be prepared for the moment when they’re finally allowed to eat again without having to find a cafeteria and make them wait even longer.
  • pack extra spare clothes. All the toddlers I saw ended up having the sugar drink spilled on them. I only packed one jacket for Rocky as I wasn’t expecting him to get so drenched!
  • pack a small towel and a face washer – this will help protect your child’s clothes from getting drenched and help you to clean them up afterwards.
  • take along some favourite toys and books to help distract your child.
  • take two drink bottles. We used one for Rocky’s water, and the other for the sugar drink. We thought that a familiar drink bottle might help him drink it. It didn’t! But it might work for you.
  • make friends with the other families in the waiting room, they are your allies!

Has your child ever had a hydrogen breath test? 

October 13, 2014
by Kylie Gardner

Guess My Picture

Guess My Picture - A drawing and language game for preschoolers

Over the weekend my immediate family gathered to remember my brother, Ryan, who died this time last year. We released some balloons, drank a beer and remembered our happiest and fondest moments with him. We cried, laughed, hugged and cried again. Ryan’s three boys were there, along with their cousins, nine kids in all. Ryan’s ashes are in a beautiful garden with winding pathways, leafy gum trees, a big open lawn and a fountain. It’s just perfect for kids, they love it there. They’re all very young, and don’t really understand the finality of death.  It makes it very hard to stay sad for long when you’re surrounding by laughing, playing children. I hope that Ryan would have loved the way that we paid tribute to him.

After the memorial I went to my mum’s house along with some of the family. It’s such a strange thing, grief and loss. It’s so intense, emotions are so heightened. But the everyday, mundane moments continue. “Do you want a sandwich?”, “Mum, let’s play hide and seek”, “Tell me about your holiday”. It feels surreal to carry on with life, as normal, when someone so important is missing, forever. But you do. Carry on.

Kids are the BEST for distraction from grief, for me anyway. They just want to play. Pebble was tired and cranky that day, we’d let her stay up too late the night before, I guess we were too weighed down our own sadness to worry about bed time. I needed something to distract her, so I suggested we play this game. Her cousins and Uncle soon joined in too, then Nana too. I think I’ll always think of this game as “The Game I Played When I Didn’t Want To Think About My Dead Brother”, but that’s kinda wordy so I’ll call it, “Guess My Picture”.

Guess My Picture

For children age 3 and up.

Minimum 2 players.

You will need

  • paper
  • something to draw with – pens/pencils/crayons/markers

How to play

  • Player 1 draws a picture on the paper. The first person to guess the picture wins that round. Player 1 writes the initial of the winner next to their picture. This is good letter recognition and writing practice, but it’s not essential to the game, so skip that bit if you prefer.
  • Player 2 takes a turn to draw a picture while the other players guess what they’re drawing.
  • Continue on until everyone has had a turn, then start all over again.

It’s very simple, and very addictive. At one point we had three generations and eight people playing! We kept it very casual, with players coming in and out of the game and toddlers scribbling on the page alongside our game. Sometimes, when pictures were very tricky to guess, we asked for clues. I hope you enjoy this game too.

Guess My Picture - A drawing and language game for preschoolers Guess My Picture - A drawing and language game for preschoolers Guess My Picture - A drawing and language game for preschoolers Guess My Picture - A drawing and language game for preschoolers

How to you cope with grief and loss?

October 9, 2014
by Kylie Gardner

The Poo Finger

Having trouble during nappy change time with a wriggly baby? Try  BabyLove Nappy Pants ­ with no tabs to contend with, the 360­degree stretchy waist  allows you to pull them up quickly and easily, so your active toddler can get back to action  in no time! Request a sample

The Poo Finger

There are many memorable moments in parenting. The first cuddle. Their first car ride home. Their first smile. Your first poo finger.Yep, you read that right. You really know you’re a parent when you experience this little gem.

Come on, don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about. As if this doesn’t happen to all parents at least once! This is how it goes. First you smell it. Your little darling has filled their nappy. You grab the back of the nappy with the tip of your index finger, intending to take a look at the situation and … BAM! You got yourself a poo finger.

It usually happens in the early days, to the uninitiated. But it can catch the experienced off guard too. You think you know your kid and their poo schedule, you’re pretty sure there’s gonna be nothing there but you check anyway and… BAM! Poo finger.

I’m pretty grateful (I guess?!) that this has only ever happened to me a couple of times and each time I was at home. Close to soap and water. *shudder* Can you imagine?

Note: that’s totally peanut butter on my finger. I am not that dedicated to my blog that I would voluntarily stick my finger in poo. Sorry.

Do you have a poo finger story?

This post is part of a Nuffnang native advertising series.
Having trouble during nappy change time with a wriggly baby? Try  BabyLove Nappy Pants ­ with no tabs to contend with, the 360­degree stretchy waist  allows you to pull them up quickly and easily, so your active toddler can get back to action  in no time! Request a sample
Tips for Paint Play with Toddlers and Preschoolers

October 6, 2014
by Kylie Gardner

Paint Play with Toddlers and Preschoolers

Paint Play with Toddlers and Preschoolers

I’m pretty open about the fact that these days, I rarely set up paint play for the kids. It was much more common occurrence before Rocky came along. These days it’s watercolours all the way! They’re so easy to set up and clean up, I just can’t resist. But Pebble misses her REAL paint, her sloppy, slide-across-the-page paint. Last week she asked if we could get the paints out I said ‘yes’. She almost did a double take!

Rocky hasn’t had much chance to explore these paints before, so we set up tray of paints, some paint brushes, some paper and I left them to it stood nearby to make sure Rocky didn’t eat it or tip it on his head. The paper was very quickly abandoned in favour of smearing the paint across the old coffee table that we use for outdoor art and play. Finger painting, hand painting, belly, elbow and feet painting!

Tips for Paint Play with Toddlers and PreschoolersTips for Paint Play with Toddlers and PreschoolersTips for Paint Play with Toddlers and PreschoolersTips for Paint Play with Toddlers and Preschoolers

At times it got a little crazy. Rocky decided halfway through that he’d like to play with the space hopper… while still covered in wet paint. Then he stumbled around the backyard and landed hands first on the BBQ, leaving his sticky wet paint mark on it’s cover. But apart from that we did ok – we got messy without getting MESSY!

After some fun with smearing, Pebble turned back to her paper and starting printing. She also made some paint resist art work on the coffee table by splodging, smearing and slopping paint on top of a piece of paper on the table, then pulling the paper back to reveal a perfectly rectangle space beneath.

Tips for Paint Play with Toddlers and Preschoolers Tips for Paint Play with Toddlers and Preschoolers Tips for Paint Play with Toddlers and Preschoolers Tips for Paint Play with Toddlers and Preschoolers

Once the kids were getting tired of the painting we added a big squirt (and then another and then another) of dish washing liquid and turned the hose onto the table. Their excitement was renewed as the paint frothed and soaped and bubbled. They played together until the table was all clean, then played in the suds as they gurgled in the grass. Then I threw both kids in the bath and scrubbed them clean! Here are my tips for happy paint play with toddlers and preschoolers:

Tips for Paint Play with Toddlers and Preschoolers Tips for Paint Play with Toddlers and Preschoolers Tips for Paint Play with Toddlers and Preschoolers Tips for Paint Play with Toddlers and Preschoolers

Tips for Paint Play for Toddlers and Preschoolers

  1. dress in old clothes (that includes you too!)
  2. distract the kids with something else and set up all the equipment before you invite them to play
  3. have a bucket of water and an old towel ready for clean up (or play near a hose)
  4. remove anything from the area that you don’t want to get covered in paint (including space hoppers!)
  5. breathe! Relax! Let it go! Mess is good!
  6. make cleaning up part of the play and get the kids to help
  7. go straight in to the bath after play and get scrubbed up
  8. distract the kids some more while you clean up yourself and the rest of the mess if needed (a snack and a pile of books or a favourite TV show work for me).

Do you embrace messy play? Or do you avoid it like the plague?

October 2, 2014
by Kylie Gardner

Halloween Activities for Kids

15 Halloween Activities for Kids

Here in Australia, Halloween has only recently started to be embraced. When I was a kid I only went trick or treating once and that was because my teachers that year happened to be really into Halloween. We had a Halloween class party and of course I needed to show that costume off to the neighbourhood.

Where I live now our property is a bit secluded from the street. I guess the kids are too freaked out to come to our door because every year I buy treats to give out and every year I end up having to eat them myself. Oh well (mwahahaha).

I know some Aussie’s are dead set against Halloween but I don’t mind it at all. It’s a bit of fun. Here’s some fab Halloween activities for kids thanks to the Kids Co-Op.

15 Halloween Activities for Kids

  1. Countdown to Halloween Ghost Chart (Edventures with Kids)
  2. DIY Paper Mache Trick or Treat Bucket (You Are the Roots)
  3. Monster Play Ideas (Octavia and Vicky)
  4. Cute and Creepy Mummy Garland (Edventures with Kids)
  5. An Invitation to Make Monsters (Multicrafting Mummy)
  6. Online Halloween Games for Kids (Octavia and Vicky)
  7. Halloween Cupcakes (B-Inspired Mama)
  8. Halloween Lacing Cards (Tot Schooling)
  9. Glow in the Dark Lanterns (Nuturestore)
  10. Printable Googley Eyes Monsters (Tot Schooling)
  11. Toilet Paper Roll Ghosts (Dabbling Mama)
  12. Spider Snacks (Octavia and Vicky)
  13. Halloween Clothespin Pattern Sticks (Lalymom)
  14. Fuzzy Wuzzy Pom Pom Monsters (Our Little House in the Country)
  15. Cardboard Box Monsters (Our Little House in the Country)

Do you do Halloween in your country? Where are you from?

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