Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Summer solstice is here and I couldn’t be happier. Those baby ducklings are getting bigger, clover is in full bloom, and days to spend in the park seem endless. While I will surely miss the lovely spring we had here in Seattle, I am looking forward to many sunny days at Greenlake and refreshing ICED beverages like the rhubarb soda my friend M brought over a few weeks ago. The summer will also give me numerous opportunities to play with my new Nikon D2oo. Hope you enjoy the pictures.  


And aren’t those purple bottlebrush flowers just beautiful? Liam thinks so!

Purple Flowers

Although they are getting bigger, those ducklings are still clinging to their mama! Ducklings

Taking a break under the redwoods as we look for some goodies for L’s nature box.


And boy does he love playing outstide with him mama.DSC_1146

 And after a long afternoon in the park, this is the face that sends us home and in the tub. Ahhh, a solstice well spent 🙂 DSC_1186


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One Year Old

Liam's Birthday RingYesterday was Liam’s first birthday. For many people, turning one is a big deal. A month or two before the day, I found myself  apathetic to this 365th day of Liam’s life. At first, I thought there must be something wrong with me. I thought, “Why am I not going crazy over his brithday?” I even started searching around on Etsy to see if the thought of buying him a gift would strengthen my birthday indifference. I eventually found some things that I thought he would like and sent a little note to the family, but still…nothing. No desire to throw him a birthday bash, bake him a cake, decorate the house….nothing.

Then, while reading  Beyond the Rainbow Bridge by Barbara Patterson, I came across a beautiful idea that I would be also to share with Liam for years to come; a birthday ring. In a Waldorf-inspired classroom or home, a birthday ring  is a symbolic way to celebrate the anniversary of your child’s birth and show reverence for each year of their life.  There are many variations of how you can incorporate this into your child’s life, but traditionally the first step is to fill the ring with decorations in each of the holes. Those decorations can be choosen randomly, based on asthetic value, or they can be symbolic of your child’s journey throughout the year. Of course, I choose them to be symbolic. While thinking this over, I came up with another idea. I felt that it was important to incorporate my whole family in this endeavor. Since we live over 2,000 miles away from most of our family it was important to me that they were able to share this day with him.  I asked each of them to pick out a decoration that could be either a representaion of themselves as a part of Liam’s first year OR something that reminded them of Liam. This way, even though indirectly, they were here.

The next part of the ring ceremony is the birthday story. It is the story of their life for the past year. Each year, of course, the story gets longer as they grow bigger and stronger. As you get to the end of each year’s story, you take out a decoration, replace it with a candle, and light it. While it was totally optional whether or not my family would write a little something about their piece, although I hoped they would, I knew I wanted to. So last night I sat down and wrote the story of his first year. Since we are delaying the birthday ceremony until my mom gets here, it will be read to him on his pretend birthday later this month.

When I recieved all of the pieces from my family, it felt like Christmas. I immediately put it all together and took the picture you see above. When I looked at the ring, I felt as if they were all here with us. Almost instantly, I became overwhelmed with emotions. It made me realize how thankful I am that I have such a wonderful and thoughtful family. I know when Liam gets older, he will feel the same way. That is what I want Liam to know that birthdays are about….not just toys, parties and gifts, but something meaningful celebrating that year of your life with those you love.

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To Prick or Not to Prick?

Recently, it’s been a question that crosses the mind of nearly all new parents. Should I get my child vaccinated? The answer, unfortunately, is not so straightforward or easy. I knew well before I was even pregnant that this would be a difficult topic for my husband and I, so as soon as I found out I was pregnant, I read almost everything I could find on the topic. I couldn’t imagine being unprepared when it came time to vaccinate. I started out by reading Aviva Jill Romm’s Vaccination book. Her book on natural childbirth and pregnancy had been very helpful to me throughout my pregnancy, so I figured her book on vaccines would be as well. While I thouroughly enjoyed the book and her attempt to show both risks and benefits of vaccination, she did not delve into much of the arguments that lie behind the proponents of vaccination. While I knew that I definitely saw things through her eyes more than and vaccine propontent, I wanted to hear both sides so I knew what I was up against. A friend of mine mentioned hearing about Dr. Robert Sears’ The Vaccine Book on a morning show, so I figured I would give it a shot.

The book ended up being wonderful. With over 13 years of research, he offered a well-balanced approach to the vaccine question. For each vaccine, he explained what you were vaccinating yourself from (tetanus, hepatitus, etc..), if the disease was common, if it was serious, treatable, how the vaccine was made, the ingredients, side effects, why people choose to get it, why people choose to skip it, and various alternatives. He ends each chapter with his opinion about the administration of the shot. While he ultimately decides in favor of administering all vaccinations, he deviates greatly from the AAP’s recommended vaccine schedule by delaying many shots, only administering two at a time, and suggests titters before administering boosters. He even offers a selective vaccine schedule for those parents that wish to only vaccinate against a few. 

Based on the information I read in these two books, my pro-vaccination husband, and some serious compromising, we have come out somewhere in between the two. Here’s what we’ve decided:                        

  1. Hepatitus B, which is typically administered at birth, would be delayed until much later in life. Since the only ways of transmittting the disease are from an infected mother, intravenous drug use, or sexual activity, we hope we have a LONG time before we have to worry about any of that.
  2. I would only give the baby one shot at a time. If this meant going to the doctor’s once a month, that was fine. I choose the vaccines that protected him against the most serious of the diseases within his first year of life. By the end of his first year, he will be fully vaccinated for 4 of the 11 vaccines. (Many vaccines have 3 or 4 doses).
  3. As far as aluminum goes, I alternate months with the vaccines that contain aluminum. If in March he recieved a vaccine with aluminum, in April he will get one without. I have also made sure that if there is a company that makes a vaccine without it, he gets that brand.
  4. When its time for the MMR, it will be broken up into 3 shots, seperated by a year in between each shot. 
  5. A week before and after each shot, we load up on probiotics, Vitamin C, and Vitamin A.
  6. We will not administer the flu, chicken pox, or meningococcal (I am still working on polio!)

So far, everything has gone smoothly. When I visited Wallingford Pediatrics for a meet-and-greet and I mentioned that I wanted to do an alternative schedule, they welcomed the idea. When I take Liam in for his check-up, they kindly ask (without pressure or guilt) “We’re you thinking about giving him a vaccine today?”

I know that many parents ultimately decide not to vaccinate, and I respect their decision. Some of the anti-vaccine arguments though, I don’t. I was amazed to read one argument that implied that vaccines had nothing to do with the decrease in disease. It claimed “the diseases were declining before the vaccine was administered.” While I understand that through natural selection, many people will grow immunity to diseases, I think if you ask someone in sub-Saharan Africa how natural selection has played out for them, you would get a much different story. Thousands, if not millions, would be thankful for a vaccine against meningitus. There are even several countries, like India, where polio is still a risk. I think that we are very lucky to live in a country where we as parents have a choice. We must keep in mind though that one of the reasons that we have a choice is because so many of us in the US are, in fact ,vaccinated.

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