The Cure for Cradle Cap

***Note: I just figured out how to upload pictures in my posts… Which I have been wanting to do before posting about this. So Sorry if it’s picture-heavy. And they’re not pretty photos either, so reader beware.***

My first 3 babies were (are) carbon copies of each other (aside from the obvious difference of the first being a boy and the second and third being girls). They nursed well, packed on the pounds in an exponential fashion, and they met milestones as expected, with zero hitches. My first baby was easy, my girls are slightly higher maintenance, but nothing too bad (yet), but my fourth, fifth, and sixth babies have thrown a few curveballs my way… Nothing major, I’d still say they were “easy,” but we have had a few hiccups that I simply did not have to deal with during my first three go-arounds.

Ezekiel (baby #6) is currently six months old, and finally recovering from cradle cap that has plagued him for the past 3 months.

It was terrible. A thick scale-like ‘cap’ covered his scalp. It started out patchy, but it quickly spread to cover the entire top of his head (oddly not the sides).

At first, I tried the “cure” that worked with my previous 5 babies… Baby oil rubbed in after a bath. One time of this procedure had always worked before, but not so with Zeke. 

I am slightly interested in using essential oils, so I asked a more experienced friend what she suggested. Lavender oil, practically a cure-all in the world of oils, is a tried-and-true cradle cap cure for others, so I mixed some in coconut oil and slathered that mixture on Zeke’s head with a soft-bristled toothbrush.

For 3 weeks, I applied it at least once (sometimes twice) and what you may expect to happen happened: his poor little head would bleed where the soft bristled brush had brushed away the scaley skin. (Very very slight bleeding, but still nothing a mother likes to see her baby go through, much less be the one to cause such a thing to happen.) Not only was the lavender oil NOT working, but he started to lose what little hair he had; the skin on his head was getting too thick for the hair to come through.

At his 5 month check-up, with no discernable difference in the apperance of his cradle cap, his doctor prescribed a steroid cream. In general, I am not a fan of medicine, my disdain stems from how people turn to it unnecessarily before trying simpler, natural, cures… but since my “natural” cures weren’t working, now was the time to go for stronger stuff. I started applying that every morning, and the lavender oil every evening.




Olivia, who is 4 (child #3) would constantly be grossed out by Zeke having “skin on his head” (if I may interpret for you, she disliked the skin that seemed to be flaking off his head… I think she realizes everyone has skin covering their skull). It didn’t seem to bother him any, although there occasionally were scratches on his scalp, so maybe it did itch a bit…? He didn’t complain, at any rate; he’s the strong silent type. 😉

After about a week of that, with still no relief from the cradle cap, I ditched the steroid (because why continue a medicine that clearly isn’t working?) and was ready to give up trying to cure it and hope he’d just grow out of it… But smart phones + boredom lead to random Google searches.

Finally! Trusty Google revealed the common cause of cradle cap: there is a build up of oil secreted in the hair follicles that were preventing the old skin cells from falling off. The cure was not what I expected: daily washing of the “hair” (which makes sense to me) followed by application of more oil (that seemed to me counter-intuitive, but who am I to question Google?). The washing would clear away the oil buildup, and the reapplication of oil would help prevent it from building up again… Or something. For fear of drying out his sensitive skin, I am not in the habit of daily bathing babies… One or two times a week is my standard, unless a diaper explosion or something else necessitates immediate bathing. But armed with baby lotion for his body and coconut oil/lavender oil for his head, I was willing to give it a try.

After two weeks of these daily baths, there is a discernable difference in what his head looks like. His hair is regrowing, and his scalp looks much healthier. I can’t imagine applying oil over longer hair (if he were older, as I read some cases with older toddlers), but at his age, this was just the treatment he needed! 

None of us are grossed out by his head anymore, the young kiddos can kiss his head without fear they’d catch whatever disease was on his head (because…kid-logic), his hair is regrowing soft and fuzzy, and he is still my happiest baby. 

But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. Matthew 10:30-31

Toast

So… I have 6 kids under the age of 7. Granted, the youngest is just starting to explore the wonderful world of pureed food, but that still leaves me with 5 little mouths to feed, plus myself (and my husband, if he’s home).

I’ll be honest, Tim does way more dinner-time cooking than I do. And what a blessing that is, although there may be some selfish reasons in there. (Like, his food tastes yummy, mine isn’t guaranteed to taste as good. Ask me about tuna and beans sometime if you want to hear the worst.)

He lived on his own for about 8 years and learned to prepare tasty food on a budget. I lived with my parents until we got married, and can follow a recipe to the last letter… But he has an intuition about what foods and spices go well together that I can only assume comes from experience. He never follows a recipe. He may look at one for a starting point, but almost never references it after that initial scanning.

That’s dinner; lunchtime, however, is all me. And since we’ve eliminated (or at least limited) processed foods, the go-to meals of my childhood (blue box Mac-N-Cheese, or a can of Chef Boy-R-Dee) are out of the question. Not to mention how many boxes or cans I’d need to feed my children, who become like ravenous wolves at mealtimes.

I recently was lamenting over the fact that my square griddle pan over round burners left something to be desired in my grilled cheese sandwiches, the corners toward the center were dark, the middle parts of the sandwiches were golden, but the outer corners were often barely cooked at all… Hardened (but not yet toasted) bread with the butter just melted.


Facebook is not the place for many things (complaining, venting, and things of this nature are better left unsaid in general, even more so in such a public arena as the internet), but Facebook actually came back with some pretty stellar advice on this one: use the oven!

This has been a lunchtime game-changer, people! Not only does the oven cook evenly, I can fit 6-8 sandwiches on a cookie sheet (depending on which cookie sheet I use) instead of only making 4 at a time on my griddle pan.

(Before I give you the super simple “recipe,” let me give one caveat to grilled cheese making: add meat! Carbs are not so great as a stand-alone; while adding the fat of the cheese probably helps a little, adding protein makes this meal go way farther!)

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Foil line your baking sheet, for easy clean-up.

Butter a piece of bread, lay it butter-side down on the foil. Add cheese, 3-4 slices of lunch meat, maybe another piece of cheese, then another piece of buttered bread, butter-side up. Repeat for as many sandwiches as you would like to make. (Tip: I do mine assembly-line style: 6 pieces of bread, butter-side down, 6 pieces of cheese, all the meat, 6 more pieces of cheese, 6 more pieces of bread, butter-side up, rather than 1 sandwich at a time).


Place in oven for about 7 minutes. The tops may not look toasted after 7 minutes, but don’t worry. Flip the sandwich over. (Another tip: the meat-and-cheese combo may make the sandwich slippery. I use a fork to hold the top of the bread down while using a spatula to get under the sandwich and flip it over.) The bottom side is probably more toasted than the top. This was not what I was expecting when I first did this. I don’t know why the bottom toasts first, but I can not know the answer and still enjoy the crispy, toasty, yummy sandwich.

Put back in oven for 7 more minutes to toast the other side of the sandwich.


Take out, cool, maybe cut in half (triangles or rectangles… Or in fourths, squares… homeschoolers make use of every opportunity to teach math!) And serve with a pickle spear. (Because, all restaurant sandwiches come with pickles, and we keep it fancy in my house.)

That’s it. Once the pan has cooled, just crumple that foil, and you’re done with clean-up! (We use paper plates, and even the one-and-a-half year old can throw hers away when she’s done so I don’t even have to clean plates off the table! Crumbs are another matter, though…)

So, if you’re like me and distraught over your round burners and square pans, I hope I have given you some relief. I am forever grateful to have this “recipe” in my book.

Not your typical worship song

Christian rap. What do you think of when you hear those words, written next to each other?

Before I met my husband, I would have told you that I have a very eclectic music list on iTunes. Pop music, acoustic, jazz, classical, country, hip hop, R&B, ska, and a few random genres that friends had recommended songs from. Rap was not on that list. Now, while I don’t use iTunes regularly anymore, for various reasons, I have a few Pandora stations I have fine tuned to my preferences, but rap still does not make that cut. I have always acknowledged the talent that rappers have; while I like to sing songs (my life is very much like a musical and I can burst into song at a moment’s notice), and I can tap beats out (which is probably where my son gets it from), but I have never beat-boxed, or pumped up the bass, or whatever it is that happens in rap songs.

Before he became a Christian, he listened to rap music. He was pleased to destroy his collection of CDs that glorified sin, but he found an alternative… I do not know how he first discovered Christian rap, but I couldn’t help but roll my eyes when he told me. How could such a Godless genre be redeemed? Not to mention the fact that bass at the level he enjoyed it practically made my ears bleed. (I kid, I kid, but I do get a headache from listening to it for prolonged intervals.)

Being the good girlfriend that I was, I listened. And I found it wasn’t terrible. Now, I cannot claim to be a rap-convert. I would not even say that I enjoy the genre as a whole, not even Christian rap, but there are a few artists whom I have come to expect good things from when I hear them. And, as we generally live by the rule that whoever drives picks the music, he often selects songs I wouldn’t and it expands my horizons. Live and learn. Listen and have your horizons stretched.

“Penelope Judd” by Shai Linne is my favorite, but Flame and Lecrae also have songs on the top of my very short list. Kirk Franklin, who reminds me of Toby Mac, is also up there. If you are looking to expand your own musical horizons, I definitely recommend those artists as a great place to start.

While my current ringtone is not a rap song, it is in my head when it plays, and I have my husband to thank for that. (As an aside, I don’t pay to download songs for ringtones, and I don’t know how to set a song I have downloaded as a ringtone, so I use the app Zedge for free ringtones and notification sounds. The app doesn’t have a huge list of songs available, so I had to take what I can get.)

The song, or at least the chorus, is a familiar one to many. “Awesome God,” I think is the title, but the chorus goes something like this:
Our God is an awesome God,
He Reigns from heaven above
With wisdom, power, and love
Our God is an awesome God

Unless you’re special enough to me (or call me often enough) to have your own ringtone, this chorus will play when my phone rings, sung by what sounds like a choir. I sing it all the time, probably because my phone rings with junk calls at least 5 times a day (I say junk calls, because if I don’t recognize the number, I don’t answer… and if I don’t get a message I consider it a junk call.) Kirk Franklin (who I very seriously doubt will ever see this blog), thank you for this earworm.

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16

Pandora, Chipmunks, and Bob Marley

When I’m driving around town with my kiddos, I have a lovely Pandora radio station that is alnost always playing: Silly Songs for Kids. It has Sandra Boyton, Veggie Tales, The Fox Song, The Gummy Bear Song, among many many more favorites.

I am generally a stickler for not blending my stations. I have a “Kids Educational” station with School House Rock songs, and a “Kids Movie Songs” station with… You guessed it, songs from kid movies.

But one Chipmunk song is a family favorite. Three Little Birds. I’ve started singing it to my baby when he seems distressed, and he seems to like it too.

The other day, I was looking for the song on YouTube (which I have a playlist of the kid favorites, too) and discovered this was originally a Bob Marley song. I feel kinda silly for not figuring that out sooner, and anyone hearing me singing it (at the doctor office, for example) probably didn’t realize my inspiration was Alvin, Simon, and Theodore… but I still love the song.

Don’t worry about a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright
Singing’ don’t worry about a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright

Rise up this mornin’
Smiled with the risin’ sun
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin’ sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true
Saying’, (this is my message to you)

Singing’ don’t worry ’bout a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright
Singing’ don’t worry (don’t worry) ’bout a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright

Homeschooling year over… Or is it?

Ever since my husband  and I began to think about having children, we agreed we would homeschool. He was adament, I was more reserved (after all, I would be the teacher, not him), but I was excited to try my hand at it, though both of us had excelled at public scool. (Tim has always believed in me and my abilities far more steadfastly that I have believed in myself. I hope I can be as much of an encouragement to him as he is to me.) The Bible says parents are to “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6) but to my way of thinking, that isn’t so much a command as a statement of how things will naturally flow. Parents talking to their babies, responding to their coos as well as their cries, help pre-verbal babies learn how conversations go back-and-forth. Toddlers learn how to walk, usually with the encouragement from mom and dad, and most parents will teach their children shapes and colors along with the alphabet and numbers, before they’re officially school-age. 

From this perspective, my homeschooling journey started almost 7 years ago. (Ethan will be 7 this Wednesday!) For the past 3 years, we have been a part of CLassi call Conversations. My first 2 years, I was a tutor, and this past year I was a director, and today was the last Community Day of our third year. It was bittersweet in many ways, especially as I have been praying for and with these families all this year, some even longer than that, and we will not be continuing with CC next year (that is a long story maybe for another time…) Each year we’ve been a part of CC, I have been on a different campus, and I’m looking forward to some consistency in our future. 

While we have been part of a homeschooling community for the past three years, this year is our first official year homeschooling. In Ohio, public school attendance is manditory starting at age 6 (I forget the birthday cutoff, but Ethan’s April birthday was unquestionable.) Public preschool and kindergarten are optional, although Ethan did CC when he was 4, Ethan and Naomi did CC last year when they were 5 and 4 as well as a math curriculum, and this year, when Ethan and Naomi were 6 and 5, we added math, language arts, and Bible curriculua, none of that had to be reported. We sent a notification to the TPS Board of Education, received our letter of excusal from compulsory attendance from the superintendent, and continued on with what we had been doing.

All this to say, Week 24 of the 24-week Classical Conversations is in the books. Done. Complete. Successfully, even. But that doesn’t mean learning stops. First of all, we need to finish off the math and language arts curriculums. Those are set to be finished by early June, according to my lovely homeschool planner. But even then, I don’t know that I want to wait until next “school year” to start the next level. I love seeing the wonder of the world through their eyes, and I want to encourage them to always be seeking the Truth and figuring things out.

The Bible says (speaking of God’s Law) “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7, emphasis mine) Education and learning should not be, dare I say cannot be, confined to a limited few months of the schoolyear.

We won’t be attending our formal “school” any more this year. But school is far from being over. I have graduated from high school and from college; while I will likely not receive any more pieces of paper stating that I’ve accomplished a significant amount of schoolwork, my education is still continuing. By teaching my children, I am discovering there are things I was never taught; I look forward to learning alongside them, teaching them and being inspired by them, through the spring, summer, and seasons beyond!

Introduction

Greetings world!

It is an almost paralyzing thought to think how I am writing a blog to be posted for the rest of forever on the internet. There’s no going back now (although I can be an excellent editor after I press the “publish” button… So I fully intent to make use of that feature!) But once a post is on the internet, a digital copy will always be out there; even if a post is deleted, the ghost will be somewhere.

I went to college for journalism; I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication. But I graduated from college 10 years ago (2007 was 10 years ago!), and I haven’t done much with my degree in that time. I’ve been too busy getting married (August 22, 2009) and raising children, you see. 6 of them, as of March 2017, born between 2010 and 2016. My primary conversation partners are under 4 feet tall, and may like to talk about interesting things (my almost-7-year-old can rattle off some random animal facts he learned from watching PBS Kids, or my 4-year-old can share some memories about what she did in Sunday School earlier in the week). Even when I get together with fellow mothers, the conversation doesn’t often stray too far away from the short people in our care.

But my mind is full of ideas. Ideas that don’t always interest my husband. He’ll listen to me, sometimes, about things I want to do or try, but other times it’s obvious that my topic of conversation has not sparked his interest.

So this blog is intended to be a place for me to talk about things that interest me… And if it doesn’t interest you, you can move on without offending me. That is more difficult for my husband to do.