Tag Archive | active children

Kiddle.co  – The New Search Engine For Kids

As parents, we always strive to protect our children as best as possible; including, but not limited to their protection from the craziness of the internet. Nowadays our technology is part of our everyday lives and the majority of us have access to at least one medium of technology that allows for our connection to the internet.  Our children are now growing up in our more technologically advanced world and can easily maneuver a cell phone, a tablet, a laptop or computer from a very early age, whether it is to use a kid friendly app or to watch or read something on the internet.

With my now almost 4 year old, I often find myself constantly checking in on her while she is using her tablet to watch kid-friendly YouTube channels, because it is very easy to end up on a different channel that is absolutely not kid-friendly.  I recently came across this post which talked about a new kid-friendly search engine called Kiddle which filters searches to only show kid-friendly results.  Even though my daughter is still not reading or searching for anything on the internet, when I heard about this new kid-friendly search engine I thought, “wow, a fabulous idea” for when she does start using the internet for her own searching

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Although, I think this is a great idea for kids between the ages of 7-14 who are constantly on the computer, who read and write and can maneuver their way around the internet,  this might only work if parents can really restrict access to other search engines and still monitor their kid’s searching habits. I don’t really believe there is any true way to restrict our kids from searching the internet, however, this idea is fantastic, as I strongly believe kids need to be kids first and foremost and our internet certainly exposes kids to all sorts of negative things at an earlier age than necessary. I figured that once she starts using the internet to search I can take away access to the other search engines and download Kiddle for her to use.  And even though there’s only so much I can control and keep away from her, I think any little bit helps to keep her mind as innocent as possible for as long as possible.  After a certain age I don’t think there is much you can do as far as restriction on their searching, but I think that if this search engine can really develop this idea and do more than what it claims it can do now, it can give some parents some peace of mind, at least for a little while. However, at the end of the day, our parenting skills is what is most important and what takes precedence over any negative exposures to our children.  If we are always doing our best as parents and teaching them as best as possible, right and wrong, good and bad and just being a good human being overall, they will be able to make good decisions in their lives regardless of what they see.

But if you would like to know more about this new search engine you can check it out here or check out this other article which goes into more details about the pros and cons of it. It definitely gives you a better breakdown of what to expect.  If you  are a parent of a child who is beginning to use the internet on their own, maybe you can check out this new search engine and see how it works for you and your kid(s).  I would love to hear about your experience.

XOXO
Kari

Tiny Prints - Birth Announcements and More

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We Love Sesame Place!

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What a fun-filled weekend this past weekend was!  Lots of celebrations…I love celebrations…I am happy to say that there’s always so much love surrounding them and good vibrations emanating from all over the place.  We are truly blessed. Among all of the celebrations I attended to this weekend, one in particular was Sesame Place’s Autism Awareness Day!

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Sesame Place is a kid-friendly amusement-water park geared toward children ages 2-13.  It has a variety of rides which kids can ride by themselves or accompanied by an adult if the child is too little.  They are located in PA about an hour and 20 minutes from Northern NJ and officially opens for the season this coming weekend.

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A friend of mine gave us tickets to attend this special event and we couldn’t have been more thrilled to go. Since we know how much our little one L O V E S Sesame Street, we knew this would be a major event for her.  She was certainly over the moon with excitement once we arrived. I wish you guys could have seen the expressions on her face. She was in heaven! This certainly was the perfect amusement park, for the best little girl. Later in the day, one of my sisters and two little brothers came to the park to join in on the fun which made the day even more special.

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It was a sun-filled Sunday, just the perfect day to be outdoors. As I looked around, I noticed every child was truly enjoying this magical day.  It was great to see all of those little smiling faces, running around, going on the rides, eating candy, meeting all of the characters and more.  Everything was so perfect! My little one finally got to go on rides for her size… and she was having a blast.

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We got to sit and watch Elmo Rocks Concert which was fantastic.  She was totally enjoying and rocking to the beats of Elmo, Cookie Monster and friends. She also got to say hi to Elmo and take pictures with Cookie Monster and Abby…her favorite characters!  And to top it off, she got to see ALL of the characters during their wonderful 20 minutes closing parade.   She truly had the time of her life.  We can’t wait to bring her again once the water rides open…that will be another amazing experience.

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This day was just so wonderful overall.  Seeing her beautiful face lit up throughout the entire day we knew we made the right choice when we accepted those tickets.   If you are close to PA or willing to take an hour plus ride, I would suggest you take the kids. While we were there we ate at the Cookie Monster Cafe where each kid got to take home a super cute Cookie Monster Plate and Drink Cup as a souvenir.   My only suggestions would be to try to eat a good meal before arriving at the park. The food there is expensive and not the healthiest.  Other than that I can assure you, your children will have a great time!

There is a Groupon deal going on right now. Go HERE to view.

Hope you enjoy looking at the pictures of our Sesame Place Adventure!

Xoxo

Kari

Our Healing Journey-Hooray for a solution to the problem!

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This is super exciting news as we finally got an answer to what the problem is and can now really get Jaxson on the right track! We went to the neurotologist (not to be confused with neurologist) this past Monday for the glycerin dehydration test I mentioned in my previous post, in order to determine if Jaxson’s balance issue is due to an imbalance of fluid in the inner ear. Indeed, this is the issue with his balance and seems to have been all along. The testing was 3 hours long and consisted of a few preliminary balance/coordination examinations, however, the main assessment of his balance that was used throughout the 3 hours at different times, entailed having Jaxson place his feet together while standing and closing his eyes. Jaxson immediately wobbles and falls to one side or the other while doing this normally.

After the preliminary assessment, Jaxson was then given the glycerin solution which is essentially just sugar, a really sweet drink. Jaxson was disgusted by it and I almost had to force him to take it. The glycerin kicks in and his balance is retested in the same manner. Wow! Significant improvement in balance this time around (about an hour post ingestion). However we wait another 45 minutes before his balance is retested for a third time while the glycerin is still active, and voila! I’m going to have to call the results a miracle! Jaxson, in the midst of crying hysterically because he was so thirsty (you can tell by the picture how miserable he was during the testing) was able to stay fully balanced with his eyes closed for almost a minute I would say. We would have kept him in that position longer but his pleading for water got so annoying; all I remember was the doctor and nurse looked at each other with a smile. They smiled because they had figured out and could now confirm that the issue is an imbalance of the inner ear fluid. In medical terms this condition is called endolymphatic hydrops. Basically we don’t know the cause as it seems 50% of the cases are caused by trauma to the inner ear and the other 50% (which involves Ménière’s disease if I’m not mistaken) is sporadic (pretty much meaning, there is no known cause). Nevertheless, I’ll take a wild guess and point to my friend Gentamicin as the main culprit once again.

Again, all blood work we have done has come back negative/normal which is great but if my memory serves me correctly I remember the nurse from one of the many specialists’ offices we took him to mention that the electrolytes were a little low but most likely because he had not had any water or food before the blood work which makes sense, however, reading about endolymphatic hydrops just last night, I’m thinking I’m going to have to look into this a little further.

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Perhaps the hydrops have nothing to do with the Gentamicin damage although we know the hearing loss was definitely a secondary effect of same specially considering the fact that Jaxson passed his newborn hearing screen before he left the hospital as a newborn, needless to say the neurotologist concurred and even wrote in his notes that the Gentamicin most probably caused the hearing loss.

Now, as for the hydrops, and back to the point I was trying to make above regarding the possible slight imbalance in the electrolytes (I will call the doctor’s office to find out the exact results regarding the electrolytes. I know it was something very slight as she only briefly mentioned it in passing and automatically attributed it to him having fasted for the blood work, but now I’m curious and need all the facts so I will call them today to get all the details and will inform them of the results from the neurotologist’s testing).

More importantly, what I’m going to do is compile all the different tests and information I’ve gathered since we have an appointment with a well-known integrative, holistic medicine doctor in the area in February. I’m thinking with the indicated solution the neurotologist recommended which is to give Jaxson a diuretic called Lasix to restore his balance, and with the proper diet to restore electrolytes, etc that may be low in his body, through the help of the holistic Doctor and her in-house nutritionist, we got this! Jaxson may become superman out of all of this.

I’m just so grateful there is a solution to the imbalance. Thank you so much GOD/UNIVERSE!

I will update you all on how he does as soon as he begins his Lasix treatment and anything additional. Jaxson is also currently receiving physical therapy outside of school and will begin occupational therapy as well to fully catch him up and strengthen his balance and coordination which I suspect will significantly improve with the lasix alone which may in turn shorten the terms of the therapies in general.

Thank you for reading!

Much Love,

Belmax Saki

Our Healing Journey-He is genetically perfect!

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So, Jaxson’s neurologist literally just called me about 30 minutes ago to inform me that the spine MRI came back normal, for the exception of the cervical part of the spine which revealed the same enhancements as the brain MRI done in November; because the spinal cord and brain stem are all connected, specifically to this part of the spine (cervical/neck) as per my understanding, this makes absolute sense. I may not be remembering all the details correctly but the bottom line is that the spine MRI was normal.

The neurologist would like to see Jaxson in one month and may request another brain MRI to see if there are any changes, including the resolution of these cranial nerve enhancements. He mentioned that the new MRI may show no more enhancements as these enhancements could have possibly been the result of his body fighting something at the time and not indicative of any disease or anything alarming.

Jaxson has gone to an innumerous amount of specialists the past 1.5 months and has had a remarkable amount of blood work done, including all the genetic testing I previously mentioned, which in the back of my head I was so afraid about. I’m not sure why I was so afraid as I am a huge proponent of epigenetics (have read a couple of Dr. Bruce Lipton’s books on this). Nevertheless, all genetic/blood work came back normal Thank God! Jaxson is genetically perfect!!!

All this new information however, brings me back to my battle with Gentamicin. To be honest, I have not researched Gentamicin extensively and I’ve only come to know about the evils of this antibiotic. I will be fair though and will look up the “pros” of this crazy antibiotic that hospitals love to administer, and which is known to cause sensorineural hearing loss and imbalance, etc., by affecting the 8th cranial nerve/vestibulocochlear system. Mind you, the main enhancements that Jaxson’ s MRI revealed, were to the 7th and 8th cranial nerves which not surprisingly are side by side and which share information to the best of my knowledge; hence if one nerve is affected I’m pretty sure it could impact the other one as well.

Finally, in the span of the past 1.5 months, one of the specialists Jaxson saw was the neurotologist which I mentioned we would be seeing in my previous post, and who seemed surprised and was not happy about the fact that Jaxson had been given Gentamicin as a newborn. The neurotologist did some preliminary testing, including spinning Jaxson in a chair, which did reveal that his vestibular system is compromised which we already know is the main contributor to his lack of sustained balance. Anyway, the neurotologist suspects the issue may be an imbalance of the inner-ear fluid which he will determine through a three hour long test where Jaxson will be given some glycerin. I need to find out the exact details of what this testing entails and what our next options are if this is in fact the issue.

Thank you so much for caring about Jaxson and sending your positive thoughts our way. We will get to the bottom of it and Jaxson is doing great. Getting smarter, stronger, and bigger by the day.

Wishing you all an Amazing New Year!!!

Much Love, Belmax

My favorite time of the year…The Holidays! Gift Guide For The Family 2014

My favorite time of the year is almost here! The Holidays! Thanksgiving, Chanukah/Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, etc., all revolve around happiness, love and peace for one another.  A time when we focus on all of the blessings we have received throughout the year and take the time to be grateful; a time that is filled with Love, Laughter and Magic! It is a time when we forget the everyday hustle and we focus on celebrating, giving, family and friends.  This time of the year really fills my heart with JOY and it should be like this all year round!

Friends and family find the time out of their busy schedules to see each other and spend some quality time.  Holiday parties all around.  And who can forget the exchanging of gifts to show appreciation for one another.  It’s just a joyful time!  I have always loved giving to my loved ones and this time of the year makes it even more fun!  But I know that it can also take a toll on our pockets which is why I have compiled a few gift ideas that are for every pocket size and can help you in choosing gifts your friends and family will surely love.

Gift ideas for the kids:These handmade crochet items are unique, stylish and one of a kind.  Can be made in the color(s) and size of your choice.  There are hair-ties (crochet balls), hair-clips made with crochet flowers and embellishments, headbands, hats for boys and girls (can be made in any size), blankets for babies or toddlers, and more. Price ranges from $6-$70.  Items such as the hair-clips, hair-ties, headbands make perfect stocking stuffers! You can shop directly through JBlueCreations

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Gift ideas for the women in your life:  When gifting something to your mom, grandma, sister, friend, child’s teacher or any special woman in your life, you can never go wrong with accessories! These crochet essentials (scarves, hats, ear-warmers) will never go out of style and can be made in their favorite color(s).  And jewelry?! You know you’ll make that lady very happy!  With the variety of items Stella & Dot has to offer from beautiful and simple studs, rings, and bracelets to statement pieces, wallets, purses and more… You can also give it a special touch by getting them an engravable necklace and personalizing it with a sweet word or special date. Prices vary from $12-40 for the crochet items and $19 and up for Stella & Dot – There a gift idea for every pocket size.

 

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Gift ideas for the men in your life: Men love accessories too and we have the perfect items! A beautiful and delicate crochet hat, scarf or scarf and hat set in a neutral or bold color, whatever his preference or a beautiful set of personalized cuff-links from Stella and Dot will give him the perfect accessory touch.   Crochet hats, scarves and scarf and hat set range form $15- $40 and cuff-links are $95 (engraved) .

 

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In celebration of the Holidays I would also like to give back to a family I hold dear and have been following for over a year now.  The Halstead family’s then two year old son Tripp was involved in an accident, where a tree limb fell on his head and crushed his skull.  The doctors did not think he would make it, but the strong and brave little boy pulled through. And now two years later he is making progress with the help, love and dedication from his parents.  I have created a Stella & Dot online Trunk Show for which as an independent stylist, I will donate 95% of my commission of the sales to the family, which will contribute to the continuous recovery of Tripp.  So when doing your Holiday shopping please consider shopping through the trunk show as your purchase will make a difference in Tripp’s life this Holiday Season!

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*You can follow Tripp’s journey via his facebook page www.Facebook.com/TrippHalsteadUpdates

Hope this post makes your Holiday Shopping a breeze this year!

 

XOXO

Kari De Jesus

Our Healing Journey: Appointments

Today (11.17.14) we had 3 different appointments. The pediatric orthopedic that we saw last week recommended we see a physiatrist and go for a physical therapy evaluation to see what Jaxson’s needs may be from a physical therapist standpoint. So, our first appointment today was with a physical therapist named Alexandra at Mountainside Children’s Hospital. We are also trying to schedule an appointment with a physiatrist as soon as possible but that takes a little longer as they are booked from what I was told; however, physiatrists  work closely with physical therapists and from meeting Ali today I feel that we are in pretty good hands in that regard.

Ali asked me a bunch of questions and ran several tests on Jaxson, particularly, she tested his vestibular system functioning which I greatly appreciated as I’ve been trying to tell all these specialists (the gazillion ones I feel we’ve already been to) that the problem is coming from his vestibular, inner-ear systems as having been damaged by the gentimicin. They mainly ignore me. What do I know? I’m just a worried mom who has lived with my child from birth and saw the massive unnecessary medical intervention he underwent because I developed a slight maternal fever during labor. Crazy newborn intervention needs to stop.

Crazy interventions during labor in general need to stop as well. The Business of Being Born documentary portrays all that can go wrong when an uninformed mother to be like me at that point in my life, goes into labor. I experienced this first hand. I was strapped to a bed as soon as I got to the hospital and given only ice to eat for almost 20 hours. WTH? I felt great, what was the problem, why was I strapped to a hospital bed from the moment I got there and immediately given pitocin without my knowledge. “Hospital policy” I was told. You can’t walk around because the baby could just fall out. hahahahah!!! Seriously, wouldn’t I have to push?  Anyway, what a nightmare that was. I rather just focus on positive things and not re-live that experience in my mind. Mind you, I was a super healthy 26 year old with a beautiful, perfect pregnancy throughout and just made my way to the hospital because my water broke and excitement told me, “rush to the hospital”. Bad idea, I should have probably stayed home and waited until contractions began at the very least.

They took Jaxson’s temperature rectally about 3 days after he was born as their “routine nurse check up” while doing their rounds (we were scheduled to be in the hospital for 4 days since I ended up with a c-section not surprisingly, although I did request the c-section). Anyway, I specially remember our room being extremely hot on this particular day and I had Jaxson perhaps a little too bundled. The temperature was 100.3 rectally, which is technically not considered a fever by most medical standards, that’s actually right at the cusp, and they should have retested his temperature before hooking him up to an IV again with Gentimicin. The first 3 days he was automatically given gentimicin because of my “slight maternal fever”.  They began running a bunch of test to see if there was an infection. These tests included a spinal tap which his father and I vehemently objected to no avail. Again, all tests results came back within 2-3 days negative but they continued to give my newborn gentimicin for a total of 8 days and wanted to keep him an extra two days on the drug. We refused and had to sign a waiver to release him from the hospital. I often wonder if those extra two days would have made him completely deaf. However, since he passed his newborn hearing screening (as gentimicin can take months to show any side effects) and he met all his milestones on time, Jaxson’s severe hearing loss was not confirmed until he was about 3.5 years old (I began inquiring about his verbal development not being up to par when he was about 2.5 years old, and it took me a year to finally have an audiologist confirm that I was indeed correct, he has hearing loss) and given the fact that he received his hearing aids by the time he was almost 4 years old which is super late, he is verbally almost at age level and continues to improve. I believe my child was born perfectly fine and I hope that all the genetic testing we have to do soon come back clear.

Alright so back to the appointments now that I’ve shared a little newborn medical history. Ali, the physical therapist informed me that his vestibular system was definitely not working to its full potential and that based on the fact that he has sensorineural hearing loss, she already suspected that regarding his balance issues. She explained that he clearly has balance issues but that on top of that, his hamstrings are very tight and so are his heels. He is pronating his feet as he is flat footed, one leg is slightly longer than the other, and he is a little low muscle-toned. Geez! She will have her report ready as soon as possible which will include a recommendation for physical therapy twice a week targeted at strengthening his other senses in order to compensate for the vestibular/inner ear dysfunction which directly affects balance and he needs inserts/orthotics for his feet.

Immediately after this appointment, we headed back down to Princeton and made our way to the chiropractor’s office. He quickly assessed Jaxson, stated that one leg was slightly longer than the other and hence he was not in alignment. He adjusted Jaxson and put his legs back into place. The legs are now symmetrical and I actually did see the difference which made me feel a lot better.

After the chiropractor, we drove down to Jaxson’s school where I had a meeting with his teachers, the school director, case manager from our school district (Jaxson attends a private auditory/oral pre-school for the deaf and hard of hearing- he will transition into the regular school system next Fall), physical therapist and occupational therapists. He has physical and occupational therapy in school once a week for 30 minutes.

I was very grateful for the school meeting. I had sent them a copy of the MRI and expressed all my concerns at the moment although we still do not have a diagnosis. We do not know what the underlying issue may be and a meeting was put in place by the school immediately in order to discuss things with me.  Well, Jaxson’s private school had their radiologist look at the MRI and it is my understanding that the MRI looked normal to him Thank God. The enhancements to some of the cranial nerves may have been there since birth and not necessarily indicative of any disease, especially if there is no basis to compare the MRI to, there is no previous MRI. Then the school’s director asked if his EARS have been check for an inner ear, fluid infection. We already know Jaxson has had a history of fluid in his ears and repeated infections. Ear infections that cause no fever and therefore it’s hard for me to know. I was so worried that my first step was the ER instead of the ENT. Anyway, this gave me a sense of relief and I’m hoping this is the case and not something more serious. If I remember correctly, the Princeton school system also had their own specialist look at the MRI with a similar opinion.

The school director got on the phone immediately with the school audiologist to get her recommendations for my next step in this puzzle. In the meantime, I scheduled an ENT appointment immediately. The school audiologist called me and suggested that Jaxson be seen by a neurotologist to address everything that may be causing the imbalance. I must say though, Jaxson’s balance has stabilized for the most part with a few falls here and there, mainly when he is running fast. However, when the falls were worse, he did have a cold and was pretty congested which could really make sense regarding the fluid in the ears. Aside from making the neurotologist appointment, the audiologist suggested that it could be labyrinthitis and that I need to rule all these things out. I looked up labyrinthitis and that seems very possible as Jaxson has recently complained of nausea, specially while riding in the car. His teachers also expressed that his balance is usually a bit worse when he wakes up from nap and then stabilizes. Could it be because while he is sleeping the fluid builds up more to one side? I also think it has to do with his hamstrings being tight and having to warm up as he wakes up and walks around. Maybe a combination of both?

Thank you for your positive thoughts and support while we figure this all out for the best possible outcome.

Much Love,

Belmax

*You may click on highlighted words for more information.

 

I conquered hair washing

IMG_9459My daughter was born with a lot of hair so washing her hair has been part of bath-time since her first bath. I have gone a day or two here and there without washing her hair mainly because it is either too cold or too late and I don’t want her to go to bed with wet hair, but for the most part her hair has to be washed since there’s always some sort of food particle stuck in it.

Her hair never fell off like it sometimes happens in babies at around 4 months of age; it has just kept growing ever since she was born. With her hair now passed her mid-back at 2 years and 3 months, washing it was becoming a complete struggle. She totally freaks out when water falls on her face so tackling hair-washing on a two year old without getting water on her face while she’s freaking out and crying and keeping her head down is nearly impossible. I’m sure you get the idea, not fun.

IMG_9467Well I don’t have that problem anymore, I can honestly say I have conquered hair-washing my daughter’s hair…and all I did was talk to her. I showed her how mommy has to put her head back when washing her own hair and I asked her if she would try doing the same. I literally got down, grabbed her little face and said “you don’t have to cry mamita, all you need to do is put your head back for a little bit while mommy pours water on your head, can you try that – just for a little bit? I promise not to get water on your face” and almost crying she said in her little voice, “ok mommy.” So she put her head back and I poured the water; she only did it for like 5 seconds and said “all done mommy, all done”, but it worked! I was so happy! I congratulated her on doing a great job and gave her a high five.

The next time around I said, “now mamita we have to wash your hair, do you remember what mommy taught you about putting your head back?” she said yes and did it; this time a little longer. The same thing happened for the third time around.
I’m so happy and proud of my little girl and all it took was a little patience and talking to her.

As a parent it is easy to get frustrated when your little one isn’t listening or paying attention to your request. The funny thing is that they are listening; they just refuse to acknowledge you, especially if you are yelling or they feel forced. So next time you are having trouble getting your toddler to do or try something new, try talking to him/her and try listening to them as well, it might just work wonders.

Xoxo
Karintia