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Not so “lucky number seven”…

1 Nov

AJ’s first birthday and 12 month well-child check is just a few short weeks away.  Well-child checks almost always equal immunizations and this checkup could mean my baby’s thigh will be stuck with 7 needles…for 7 immunizations and protection from greater than 7 viruses.  Included in that series will be his flu shot booster since he received his initial flu shot last month.  He was too young {under 6 months} to have any flu vaccines last year, so at least he will be protected this fall/winter.

One shot that will not be puncturing AJ’s chunky thighs is the MMR.  It is probably the most talked about of all childhood vaccines and the one that scares most parents because so many {including the author of one of my favorite pregnancy books, Jenny McCarthy} have accused it of causing autism.

I am a complete supporter of vaccinations.  In the world prior to vaccinations {and antibiotics} many children did not survive to see their first birthday and the crippling effects of polio were seen almost world-wide.  But, I am frightened by the astonishing amount of mothers who feel that the MMR vaccine changed their previously healthy-developing children.  I don’t believe that the MMR vaccine can turn a non-autistic child into an autistic child, but maybe I feel that some children are more genetically susceptible to autism and the vaccine may just be the irritant that unleashes those genetic characteristics.

I waited until my daughter was 18 months old to have her MMR vaccine administered.  We did not live in an area where a measles, mumps or rubella epidemic was occurring, or I may have re-thought my plan.   Males are about 4 times more likely to develop autism than females, so I plan to delay the MMR vaccine with my son as well…I don’t know that it would change the course of my son’s life if he were destined to be autistic, I just know that is the decision that I am most comfortable with.

Clearly, immunizations are something that should be discussed with a pediatrician on an individual child’s basis.  I am NOT making a recommendation…just sharing MY personal thoughts about vaccinations and what I feel is best for MY family…not yours.

Click here for the U.S. childhood immunization schedule and here for more information about autism.

A Blessing and a Curse…

13 Oct

We are sick AGAIN.  We had a three-day hiatus from misery, but a new and more serious version has invaded…this time just me and the baby boy.

There are only a few things worse than having sick children.  One of the few other unfavorable scenarios is being the sick mom with a sick child or children.  The mothering workload is at an all-time high and yet, you feel your absolute worst.  It would be so nice to have the luxury of calling in sick for the day.  I occasionally used a sick day at work prior to staying home with  my children.  I would spend the entire day laying in bed with daytime tv shows like, The View, as my white noise while I dozed in and out.  There is nothing white about the noise in my home today or any day… and there is nothing relaxing about trying to sneak a nap as my three-year old bounces all over me {obviously the tummy bug hasn’t caught her…yet}.

Through all the misery there is something I am thankful for.  I’m happy to share the illness.  I’m happy to know what my little guy is going through.  I’m happy that I can better understand just how he feels.  I’m happy that I got to watch him devour his first popsicle {way ahead of schedule}…after I was revived by one popsicle {okay, maybe three}, I knew it was just the thing he needed to feel just a little bit better.  Had I planned ahead, I may have had some pedialyte pops on hand or even thrown together some home-poured apple juice pops for my sweetie.

So, today I’ll say I’m blessed with illness.  I just hope I won’t be so blessed with this bug by tomorrow.  I’m not just two weeks behind on some of my household duties, but now almost two weeks behind on my kiddos’ extracurricular activities.  I’m a little stressed about the number of dance classes, soccer practices and gymboree classes we will have to attempt to make-up next week…hopefully next week!!

boobs {for a good cause}

6 Oct

Almost everyone knows that October is breast cancer awareness month.  There are events like, Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure and even opportunities to help raise money to find a cure through Yoplait’s Save Lids to Save Lives.  I’m sure there are many other wonderful and meaningful fundraising opportunities, those are just the first two to come to mind.

I am very fortunate to be able to say that there are no women {or men…yep, they can get it too} in my family that have been diagnosed with breast cancer {other cancers…we are not always as lucky}.  That is really amazing and truly a blessing considering the Susan G. Komen website notes that every 69 seconds a woman loses her life to breast cancer.  It only takes the diagnosis of one person for an unaffected family to be considered one with a “family history” then requiring more meticulous and earlier screenings to hopefully prevent the onset or spread of cancer.

I believe in almost all things prevention oriented.  I love that simple lifestyle practices like eating healthy, exercising, being a non-smoker, limiting alcohol consumption and getting some vitamin D {I♥sun} may decrease my chances of developing certain cancers.  And, breastfeeding  may decrease my risk of developing breast cancer…one more bonus of breastfeeding!  You can read more seriously fun facts about pregnancy and breast cancer here {I was pumped about my decreased risks until I got to “you may have an increased risk if you delivered a high birth-weight baby.”  Ummm….x2 for me…boo!}.

Breast self-exams are not a big push these days, but being familiar with your breasts and the underlying {sometimes normally lumpy} tissue is still of great importance.  Probably the easiest way to stay in the know is to pay attention while you are bathing…take a moment for a quick self-assessment while you shower!  Routine mammograms usually starting at the age of 40 or 50 depending on your personal and family history are still in favor as well. Genetic testing for breast cancer genes are also available and have started a wave of women seeking preventive surgery.

Last week I couldn’t wait to welcome October and the color orange, but October is obviously all about the pink!  There won’t be any problem finding color-appropriate clothing to show our support in this home {my lil’ girl may have her mama’s love for all things pink}!

Ballerina Girl

23 Sep

In early June I discussed my little girl’s first ballet class…her first any-class without mommy or daddy by her side.  There were tears and a little separation anxiety, but that was then and this is now…

Sometimes Olive is so excited to go “dance with Miss P” that she runs off without even looking back to say bye to mom, much less even give me a hug!  That’s okay…I get a few squishy-nosed smiles through the viewing window, so I’m reassured that she is having fun and hasn’t forgotten about me!

I couldn’t be any more pleased with my daughter’s ballet experience.  It is SO much more than just standing at the barre doing countless pliés and passés.  I thought ballet would be great way for Olive to have fun and burn some energy while secretly working on her gross motor skills, coordination, balance, and rhythm development.  It didn’t even cross my mind that it would be all that AND more!  Her little class does songs and activities that exercise her memory, reinforce taking turns and following  instructions,  increase flexibility, enhance core strength and most importantly…build CONFIDENCE…all while having fun, moving to music, and making friends!

By no means do I hope that my Olive becomes a professional ballerina, but I do hope that she carries some of her ballerina grace with her throughout life.  A girl’s life can be hard enough without adding clumsy to the list!

 

 

Illusions

14 Sep

My son is 10 months old!!  How in the world did that happen?  Sometimes I am certain I have just counted the months incorrectly, so I count them again…and to my disappointment my baby boy is just getting older, and very quickly.  His first birthday is just around the corner which puts a lot more pressure on me to be back in pre-baby shape {apparently not enough pressure though, because I’m still not getting serious about exercising or dieting}.  Although I was able to get back to pre-pregnancy weight without a lot of work {and plenty of servings of cake and ice cream} I still haven’t reclaimed my pre-baby figure.  It’s interesting how reaching pre-baby weight does not equal pre-baby body.  Anyone else familiar with this?

The season is about to change and I would love to get out and shop for some more up-to-date, less mommy-like clothes…which means I need to be fit so jean shopping won’t be so frustrating!  I don’t want to be forced into wearing all of my “optical illusion” outfits that got me through the dreadful postpartum period last winter.  My staple outfits consisted of…

1.  A-line or empire waist everything….from shirts to dresses.  Preferably made from a quality, non-clingy fabric.  These were snug up top and loose and flowy over the problem areas.

2.  Scarves…worn long to disguise a little post-baby belly.  They were even fashionable…lucky me.

3. Tailored jackets.  Once I could squeeze into a decent pair of pants and a fitted top I threw a tailored jacket over it all.  One with a v-neck to draw attention  up and away from my mid-section.  And, the greatest benefit of jackets??  They hide muffin top/spare-tire {whatever you prefer to call it}.

Let’s hope I can get my act together.  In the past 24 hours I have eaten an entire bag {not a personal sized bag…a family sized one!} of peanut-butter M&Ms.  Off to the elliptical trainer I go…

My little Swiper

16 Aug

The first year of a baby’s life is packed full of dos and don’ts and many of those come in the feeding department.  Do start solids at 6 months, do only introduce one new food at a time, do start your baby on vegetables before sweet and delicious fruits….it goes on and on.  The don’t list is probably longer.  Don’t start solids early, don’t add cereal to your baby’s bottle, don’t add any seasonings to your baby’s food, and….DON’T give your baby egg whites, citrus juice, strawberries, honey, nuts, and ESPECIALLY not PEANUTS for the first year of life.  If you haven’t heard, there is a little something called a peanut allergy.  It affects tons of children and even adults.  Guidelines for introducing peanuts and peanut butter seem to vary by physician, but some of the more recent guidelines are suggesting well past the 1st year of life…maybe not even until kindergarten-age.  Seriously?!?!

This was the pb&j culprit. These may not be a dietitian's dream, but they make packing a picnic-lunch simple. And, they are even available with whole-wheat bread!

I know the rules, and even though they aren’t fun, I abide.  But, my little guy…he’s a rule breaker!  A few weeks ago he got into my daughter’s lunch box {while mommy was busy cleaning the kitchen} and smashed a half-eaten peanut butter and jelly sandwich all over his face and in his mouth.  He was in heaven and quite proud of his accomplishment!  For the record, that’s peanut butter AND strawberry jelly…two things on the no-no list  for year one.

Last week something similar happened.  It all started with AJ finding the dog-water bowl {gross, I know} and splashing that all over the place.  I cleaned up the mess and got him in dry clothes.  I was happy to see him playing in the pantry a few minutes later, {I keep the bottom two shelves “kid friendly”…no glass or heavy cans that could hurt them…all fun and “safe” stuff.  I think exploring is healthy and great for development} until he bit a hole in a bag of instant oatmeal and dumped it all over the floor.  While a member of the clean-up crew {my term of endearment for my dogs…they are awesome} and I cleaned the pantry AJ moved on to bigger and messier things…like playing splash-park in my daughter’s orange juice on the living room floor.  OJ {yes, a third food from the “avoid first year” list} was in his hair, on his face…everywhere.  In about 15 minutes I had cleaned up 3 disasters, given 1 sponge bath, and 2 outfit changes.   I waved my white flag.  Is this life with boys or just life with two kids??  I never remember life being this chaotic with my girl or with just one child.

So now what do I do about introducing all the “off -limit” foods that have been introduced??  Our pediatrician said to go ahead and serve them since AJ has already been exposed.  Hmmm…hasn’t she heard that most allergic reactions occur with subsequent exposures, not the initial one??  I think I’ll just pretend none of this ever happened and re-introduce all these “swiped” foods when they were originally intended to be…sometime after my little guy’s first birthday.

I’ll take two.

30 Jun

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the use of cool-mist humidifiers {This one is a favorite at my house}

I knew that when I had two little ones that I was going to have two of a lot of things.  Car seats.   Sippy cups.  The dreaded double stroller {actually, just one of those…two seats though.}  Somehow, it NEVER crossed my mind that I would need two humidifiers.  Why two?  Because every time one of my little monkeys gets sick, so does the other…EVERY TIME.  No matter how hard I try to keep them separate and diligently wash their little hands, they both end up sick.  And, when you have two sick kids in separate rooms…you end up needing two humidifiers.  So, consider yourself warned.  Be prepared… or you may just find yourself sending someone out on a late night humidifier run {thanks, Mom!}.

This may seem like a topic more suited for cold/flu season, but lucky us…my little ones are both getting over a summer cold.  No fun!