The Rockwood Files: Do you have this condition?

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

I have a condition many parents suffer from: Worst Case Scenario Syndrome or WCSS. It’s not in the official book of diseases because I just made it up but that doesn’t make it any less real. Make no mistake — it’s real, and I have the freshly sprouted gray hairs to prove it.

This sanity-threatening condition reared its paranoid head just last week. When I sat down in my home office to begin the day’s work, I smelled a faint but distinctive smell of something burning. It smelled hot with a hint of a chemical scent, the way an overworked engine might smell just before bursting into flames.

I walked around the room, sniffing the printer, computer, lamp, computer modem and television, but I couldn’t determine the source of that ominous smell. I unplugged everything, just to be safe.

An hour later, the smell had intensified. That’s when my internal light bulb went off and I realized the problem might be overhead — in the light bulb. I looked up and eyed the ceiling-mounted light fixture suspiciously. What if some faulty electrical wiring was causing sinister sparks to ignite within the walls and ceiling where I couldn’t see?

So I did what I imagine any concerned woman would do. I climbed up onto my desk and sniffed as close to the light fixture as possible, and then I climbed back down and called my husband.

“Honey, there’s a bad smell in my office and I think it might be an electrical fire.”

“What? Do you see smoke?”

“Well, no, there’s no smoke but there’s a terrible smell — like a mix of chemicals burning. The weird thing is that I can only smell it in my office.”

“Did you check all the electrical outlets?”

electrical fire“Yes, and I unplugged everything in this room, but the smell is getting worse. I think it might be in the light fixture on the ceiling. I got as close to it as I could so I could sniff it.”

“You sniffed a light fixture? Did you use a ladder?”

“Well, no, I climbed up on the desk, but you’re missing the point. I’m not sure that’s where the smell is coming from, but I turned the light switch off, just in case.”

“Okay, well let’s see if the smell gets better now that the light is off.”

“But I’ve got to go run errands. What if the house catches on fire while I’m gone?”

“I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

“You don’t think we should call an electrician to come out here and check it?”

“We will if we need to, but let’s try to pinpoint what it is first.”

“Okay, but I’m telling you something is catching on fire in the ceiling.”

I wanted to go on record with my hunch so that if the house suddenly turned into a scene from the movie Backdraft, I could issue a stern “I told you so” as we sifted through the charred remains of our family memories.

After running errands, I returned home and walked into the office hoping the smell had dissipated – but it was even stronger. Charlie, our intrepid Beagle, trotted along beside me and went immediately to the trash can by my desk where he stopped and sniffed.

Following his lead, I leaned over and sniffed the trash can, too, and that’s when I saw it — a discarded bag of microwave popcorn with blackened kernels inside. Suddenly the memory of 7-year-old Kate bringing the burnt bag of popcorn to me the day before reentered my mind. I’d tossed it into the trash without a second thought.

And just so you know, burnt popcorn on Day 2 smells like an electrical fire. But before you have the fire trucks come screeching up to your house, you should probably empty the trash and open a window. Worst Case Scenario Syndrome can get pretty embarrassing.

gwen rockwoodGwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of nwaMotherlode.com. To read previously published installments of The Rockwood Files, click here. To check out Gwen’s new book, “Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection,” click HERE.

Photo credit: Lisa Mac Photography

Baby Gear and Gadgets: Gift ideas for 1-year-olds

By Liz Emis, mama to Jack and another on the way

jack emis, big brother shirtJack just celebrated his first birthday! (And we announced baby #2!)

I can’t believe we made it through the first year. Moms you know: the first birthday is just as much a milestone and recognition of your accomplishments as it is a celebration of the toddler you’ve helped develop.

Our son got overloaded with love that day and also overloaded with presents. In light of holiday shopping coming up, here are a couple of gifts I highly recommend, especially if your child, like mine, enjoys figuring things out.

You can almost see the wheels turning in his head!

An Activity Cube:
We like vintage toys that teach in addition to entertain, and this gift has it all. It’s tall enough that your one-year-old can stand to play with it, its four sides have musical elements and abacus-like activities for learning colors, shapes and numbers, and it also has a matching game for animals. The top usually has a colorful winding wires that pass through a wooden town and allow your child to move cars and shapes through them. We bought ours at Once Upon A Child in Rogers for about $30, but you can find them brand new on Amazon between $40 and $100.

learning cube

Melissa & Doug:
farm puzzleThis is a toy brand you can easily find at Target, TJ Maxx, Tuesday Morning and Amazon. They promote classic toys from our childhood, and just like our family, believe more classic toys allow the child to use even greater imagination.

Jack received several puzzles by Melissa & Doug and they all teach new concepts. Each puzzle piece is either very thick or has a big knob on it, allowing your toddler to easily remove it. There is a picture of the puzzle piece underneath on the wooden board, so Jack could learn new concepts through matching the picture to the piece. They come in themes like colors, shapes, vehicles, animals and so on.

Jack’s favorite is the farm themed puzzle he received from a close friend of ours. These puzzles cost about $12 to $15 retail.

Melissa & Doug also offers “make your own sandwich” kits, clocks for learning to tell time and coloring books.

sandwich

I hope this helps in your holiday shopping plans. Enjoy the season!

ADHD Specialty Clinic in Northwest Arkansas

As moms, most of us either have direct experience with a child who struggles with ADHD or we know another parent who does. What you may not know, however, is that our community now has a specialty clinic devoted to the proper diagnosis and treatment of this disorder that impacts so many families.

Ozark Guidance opened an ADHD clinic in Bentonville earlier this year, and the clinic’s sole focus is on ADHD. The laser focus on this one area makes it the perfect resource for families trying to get the right diagnosis and care. Here’s what you need to know about the new clinic.

  • All diagnostic interviews are done by a licensed professional.
  • Ozark Guidance_Horizontal_Banner_Color_1970 (2)Evaluations and assessments are done using the Connor’s and Achenback Child Behavioral checklists.
  • When indicated, comprehensive psychological testing is offered.
  • Clinicians will coordinate with school officials on diagnosis and treatment recommendations.
  • They offer IEP participation when parent requests it.
  • Clinic offers individual therapy and skills training.
  • Full evaluation by medical doctor is provided.
  • Clinic staff helps to manage medication.
  • Clinic offers family services including psychoeducation, family therapy and more.
  • Clinic staff is headed by Dr. Randy Staley, MD and Psychiatrist and includes Behavioral Health Nurses, Licensed Clinical Social Workers and a Licensed Psychological Examiner.

For more info on this new clinic and ADHD resource, call the clinic at 479-273-9088. The office is located at 2508 SE 20th St. in Bentonville. Click HERE to visit the clinic’s website. 

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