Jeanne Sager

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I have strung words together for Kiwi Magazine, Babble.com, AOL, Parents Magazine and more. I live in upstate New York with my daughter, husband, dogs, and too many cats. I rock a cool 'do because I shave my head most years to fight children's cancer with the St. Baldrick's Foundation.

Though my daughter is officially an elementary schooler, I'm pleased to report I've yet to give in to the curse of the appliqued mom sweater. Small victories, people.


Sipping on:

Seltzer

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    When I found out I'd given birth to a little girl, my first thought was that my husband would be thrilled to get "his girl." My second was one of relief: someone whose "parts" I get! I can do this!

    Indeed, it made those first few diaper changes easier. It's bound to make conversations about tampons and bras easier too (all in good time). But there's one area where I've struggled. What is my daughter supposed to call the female body parts that we share?

    I know the technical terms. Vagina. Vulva. And despite early hesitance to do so, I've taught them to my now 9-year-old daughter over the years.

    But at 9, she doesn't refer to her vagina or her vulva. Sometimes she says "crotch." Sometimes "cha cha." 

    Go ahead. Laugh. But it's her body. Is it so wrong for her to use silly euphemisms to describe parts of it?

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    I suppose it's what most little girls dream about: one day finding themselves in the same boat as a princess. Only, for Kate Middleton's sake, I wish her current condition wasn't one she shared with a mere commoner. Word has it the Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant with baby number two, and she's been stuck in a hospital suffering from a severe morning sickness known in the medical community as hyperemesis gravidarum.

    Been there. Done that. Have the torn up esophagus and acid reflux medication prescription to show for it ... nine full years after my daughter's birth.

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    It's a classic movie scene. The woman finds herself running to the bathroom to throw up, and suddenly it dawns on her, "I'm pregnant." Indeed, morning sickness is one of the classic signs of pregnancy, and some 85 percent of pregnant women will feel nauseated and throw up in the first trimester. But that's not every mom's story. For 2 percent of expectant mothers, an extreme morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum sets in sometime before the ninth week of pregnancy.

    They're not just a little nauseous. They can't keep anything down. They're losing weight. They're dehydrated. Their OB/GYN is throwing around words like "ketones in the urine" and "liver abnormalities."

    Hyperemesis gravidarum, or HG as it's commonly called, is one of the most common causes of hospital admissions for pregnant women. And unlike a mom suffering from run-of-the-mill morning sickness, a woman with HG will have unrelenting nausea and vomiting with no other obvious cause.

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    Sensory play. It's a term that's becoming better known as more and more kids are diagnosed with various special needs in America, special needs that make them more prone to crave sensory input. They want to touch things, to feel things, to squish them between their fingers and actually get a tactile sense of the world around them.

    So how do you satisfy their cravings? How about some crafts designed for your little sensory seeker?

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    When my daughter was born, my circle of friends changed. There were the old friends but new ones too: moms I met on the playground or at story hour, moms who I ran into at pre-school drop-off. Having kids tends to bring you together. But as many of those friends have gone on to have more kids, just as many of those friendships have fallen by the wayside.

    There's a divide that seems to exist with many between me -- mother of one -- and them -- mothers of many. It's to a point where I simply don't talk about my parenting struggles much, even as other moms pour out tales of trying to wrestle three over-tired little ones into bed.

    I could talk about my exhaustion, about being over-extended and at my wits' end, but with all but my closest friends, I've found I sense a palpable air of disdain.

    "What does she know about hard? She's only got one kid!"

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