No gluten, white sugar, food colouring or additives; more protein, naturopathic treatments and behaviour therapy.
Partners Shannon and Carol Fitzsimmons instituted this laundry list of changes when they suspected their preschooler, Jonah, had ADHD (he was officially diagnosed at age six). The Toronto moms were determined to keep his condition under control naturally.
Our family’s foray into the world of paediatric alternative medicine was driven by two factors: desperation, and our neighbour Tracy. She left a fateful green sticky note on our kitchen counter after a pivotal conversation we had when my daughter, Isla, was about eight weeks old. On it she’d scribbled a phone number and the words “Cranial Therapy Centre.”
Our beloved nanny arrived in much the same way as a fairy godmother: out of the blue, on our front lawn, smack in my moment of need. Watching my nine-month-old daughter playing on her blanket, I was worrying about my fast-evaporating mat leave, and looming child-care bind: A decision to leave my full-time job to start a small business in my east Toronto neighbourhood meant all the downtown daycares I had registered for were out. None of the centres near me took kids under 18 months. And while I had no idea how predictable my new job would be, I knew it wouldn’t be nine to five. I needed a nanny – and that put me in foreign territory.
Conducting kitchen experiments to hide vegetables in your kids’ food is practically a rite of passage for parents these days. Have you shoved yet another forkful of steamed broccoli into your own mouth, with a fake smile plastered on your face for the whole family to see, to set a good example? Or whirred leafy kale and spinach into breakfast smoothies? Check and check. (Still want to pull out your hair, like me? Check.)
Well, there might be a tool in your house more suited than your blender at getting the job done, and his name is Dad.
By the time I sat down with my doctor after learning I was pregnant for the first time, my excitement had been replaced with a monster-sized worry that I had already harmed the baby growing inside me.
I took a deep breath and confessed I had been on a wine tour in Napa Valley for the beginning of the pregnancy. Unaware I had conceived, I drank in my first trip to the region – literally and with gusto.
“That’s not a big deal,” my doctor said, waving her hand. She dropped the lighthearted tone for the next question, though. “You are taking folic acid, right?”
In preparation for her first pregnancy, Susan Clinton decided to get in shape. The Ottawa accountant had always led a fairly active lifestyle, but before conceiving, she staged a last healthful hurrah, training for and completing her first half-marathon. When she crossed the finish line, she was in the best shape of her life. Finally she deemed herself ready – and healthy enough – to grow a baby.
“I expected to be the poster child for an easy pregnancy. I somehow had this visual that I’d just glow. But that was not the case.”