mahogany: (Default)
If I ever get to travel back in time to meet the person that invented playdates, I'll have a few things to say to them.

It's like dating, but for me, the stakes are much higher. Anytime my kids are involved the stakes are really high. I've always been terrible at dating. Rules? Pffffttt... If I liked someone, I let them know. If I didn't like them, I let them know. I wanted to call someone, I called. If someone that I liked called me, I would pick up the damn phone and talk to them.

Thankfully, I met J, and he wasn't into head games either, so it was a good fit. The problem is that we're both woefully unprepared for the world of playdates. We're moving into the uncharted territory of our children wanting to pursue friendships with children whose parents are not friends of ours, and who will probably never be more than casual acquaintances. I'm pushing down my general discomfort with this, and trying to understand this bewildering world of playdates, and I don't want to do things wrong and mess things up for my kids. I'm learning that it's very measured. We have to take turns, apparently - our house, their house, our house, their house. The whole thing makes me feel really creeped out. How soon do I call after a visit. If there is a great connectionn with the kids, I want to help keep it rolling, but we don't want to be an overeager family? It's so weird.

I'm glad to have the opportunity to know a lot about my children's friends, but I don't want to be their social convenor forever.

There are kids in our neighbourhood, but we don't see them at the park in the summer. I know they're around, I've seen them getting out of their parents car, but I don't know where they play. They've never been over. We've never been over. We don't even know their names. They don't know ours. My kids don't have a best friend that lives down the street. When did life get like this?

mahogany: (Default)
Once again, I need to try and wade through all of the information and try to make a decision on whether or not, or to what extent to vaccinate this baby. With my first, I essentially succumbed to pressure from the doctor, and fully vaccinated him, although not quite on schedule. With the second, I waited six months before starting the first round of shots, and then quit. She has only ever had the one dose.

This is a such a tough decision for me given:

A) - I believe that vaccines are effective. To what degree is a matter for another discussion, but I do believe that they usually offer some protection

B) - I do not believe them to be entirely benign, or 100% safe.

I'm reading literature on both sides of the argument. The pro-vaccination book I just finished is incredibly condescending, and is written by two MDs. The anti-vaccination book is written by a herbalist, and uses virtually no credible sources, and occassionally veers off course.

There were some disturbing things that came up in the pro-vaccination book. For example, the authors list the number of children the vaccine was tested on before being approved for distribution. I'm just curious. Where in the hell are they finding kids to test these things on? Seriously, even if I were the most pro-vaccine parent around, there is no way I'd be letting a pharamaceutical company use my kid as a guinea pig. And what's even scarier is the pharmaceutical companies keep changing the formulations, so we never have ten or twenty years of data on a vaccine. We have maybe one or two.

Then there is the whole issue of these books talking about the effects of these diseases on otherwise healthy children. I'm just wondering, healthy by whose standards? Are these kids that I would consider healthy, whose immune systems I would consider robust?

I consider most of the children I meet to be in sub-par health. I figure if they're coming down with a cold or flu more than once or twice a year, they do not fit my picture of optimal health. Even my own kids had a bad flu season this year, and frankly, I know what caused it (too many late bedtimes, lack of vigilance on my part with well intentioned family members sneaking them junk food, I ran out of immune boosting herbs and forgot to replensih, too many animal products in their diet, not enough green veggies in their diet etc.), and sure enough, they've each been sick at least three times since October. In previous years, they've been able to fight that stuff off much better. I also consider the fact that like me, they have allergies - my eldest in particular, to be an indicator of sub-par health. Are they sick? No, but their health is not what I consider to be optimal.

Also, the information on modes of transmission is really thin. They're trying to make a big deal out of Hep B. Frankly, I consider the likelyhood of contracting Hep A to be much higher, since it's fecal oral transmission, and lets face it, lots of people are disgusting and don't wash their hands after using the toilet.

Some diseases are really scary, like diptheria. The anti-vaccine book quotes a 75% survival rate. Lovely. What that means is that 1 in 4 people that get the disease, die from it. Hmmm. Well, that certainly puts the disease in the important to vaccinate against category. Then again, what are the chances of one of my kids coming into contact with someone infected with Diptheria? Pretty slim. The incubation period is fairly short, and we don't come into close contact with people from countries where there are still diptheria outbreaks. But what about casual contact? How contagious is this disease, exactly?

Some of the fear mongering is really starting to bug me. Why are common childhood diseases suddenly being turned into things we need to vaccinate against? Since when is chickenpox a deadly disease? Since some kid, somewhere died of a complication, I guess. But my question is are we ever given clear information on that child's health prior to the illness? Never. Further, what are the consequences of trying to eradicate these mild illnesses? In trying to eliminate all illnesses, are we headed for some of the same problems that we're running into due to antibiotic overuse?

In any case, I've come up with the following concerns:

If I vaccinate:

- Should the disease present itself, the doctors may misdiagnose it since my kid is vaccinated, they may rule it out.

- I'm tampering with an immature immune system, and an immature brain. I could well be inducing things like allergies.

- In the case of vaccine injuries, causality is very difficult to prove, and I would be facing an uphill battle.

- If my child suffered brain damage or died because of a vaccine, I would never forgive myself.

If I don't vaccinate:

- If my child gets one of the diseases that could have been prevented, I worry that my kid will receive substandard medical care due to doctor attitudes.

- If my child suffers permanent damage or death as a result of such a disease, I would never forgive myself.

- Some people are pretty cavalier about unleashing their sick kids on the unsuspecting public (for example taking their child that vomitted twice that morning to soccer practice because s/he seems fine now...). Some of these diseases begin like a common cold or flu, and quickly progress into something worse.


mahogany: (Default)

July 2013

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