Thursday, April 29, 2010

Fighting the Thumb

I'm not a huge fan of thumb sucking. Not in myself of course, but in Levi and/or babies in general. Not in a judgemental way, I'm just going to do my best to avoid Levi being a thumb-sucker. My theory is if he's just attatched to a nuk, not his thumb, I can easily take away the nuk. Yes, I know this is delusional thinking, but please, don't spoil my dream.

All this to say, Levi finally found his fists a few weeks back. No big deal, just sucking on his fists. Well this week it's turned to his thumb. His thumb is finally big enough and he's finally skilled enough to suck on it. So this is the daily struggle. When I notice him sucking his thumb I go to pull it out and put the nuk in. As soon as one thumb's out, the other goes in faster than I can plug it here I am restraining both my son's arms to try to put a nuk in his mouth. I think it's a losing battle. And I'm not sure it's worth fighting, but for now, I will fight it! Especially since his thumbs and fingers now are super dry from sucking on them. He went to bed last night with super lotioned hands under mittens. Hopefully it'll help.

I'm not sure why I fight the thumb so badly, maybe because I saw too many kids teased for sucking on their thumbs. And maybe, there are theological concepts as well. I understand as a baby that sucking is a comforting thing, that's why I don't mind the nuk, but as Levi grows (I'm talking years) I want him to find his comfort in Christ, not his thumb. I know he won't understand right away, but when he's upset/distressed/sad, etc. I want him to turn to Christ to comfort him, not his thumb/bear/blanket. I do know there is nothing inherrently wrong with comfort objects, but I do want to teach him from an early age that our only true source of comfort is Christ. Now, I will always hug and hold and comfort Levi, I'm not totally stupid or naive. It's more the principle of the issue.

So I'm not sure how this one will play out, I only know I'm thankful it's teaching me to think about what I turn to for comfort...
Facebook? Food? Friends? Husband? Baby? Prideful thoughts?
When really, I should be turning to my Savior and True Comforter.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Vaccines...umm Immunizations...

I grew up on a farm, where we vaccinated the animals. So whenever I refer to babies being given shots, I say vaccines. They are supposed to be called immunizations. So basically I refer to my son as though he's a cow/horse/dog. Oh well, he doesn't mind.

That to say if I say vaccinate in this post, give me some grace, I still think in cow terms. Although the actual shots babies receive are called vaccines, yet your are immunizing them. I'm confused already.

Before we begin this great discussion let me say this about parenting. I love the Lord. I love being a parent. I love that by God giving us children we are being given the amazing task of caring for them, teaching them, and generally trying to keep them alive long enough to learn about and love the Lord. The biggest thing I've realized since Levi's birth is that every baby, birth, life is different. Each child has their own story. Every parent is given the task of raising their child to glorify God to the best of their ability. What's right for Levi isn't right for your child. What's best for Levi may not be what's best for our next child. It's a learning and growing process and each child is different. So no yelling at me for what I'm about to type. I'm Levi's Momma and he's my responsibility and I'm accountable to the Lord, not to you. Well this is already a book, but I'll continue.

I've read countless things about vaccines and heard countless people's opinions. I know the big scare with vaccines is Autism, and trust me, it worries me too. I don't doubt that there may be some link to Autism and vaccines, I also believe all the dyes and preservatives we ingest aren't helping either.
I have a friend who has two boys, the older one has autism, the younger one does not. She has vaccinated both of them. I questioned her about this when I was pregnant with Levi. Her explanation to me was she would rather deal with something like Autism than lose a child or have a child disabled by things such as polio and measles that we vaccinate for. This makes sense to me. Yes, you could have the child who develops autism if you vaccinate. You could also be the one who's child dies of meningitis or is crippled by polio if you don't vaccinate. It's all a guessing game really.
My chiropractor, whom I love by the way, she's amazing, is not all against vaccines as many are. Her theory with her own children is wait until they are a little older, and then do them one at a time, not 5 shots in one visit, and not the combined vaccines. I liked this practice and logic, and so did Andy, so that was our decision.

When Levi was born they wanted to give him the Hepititis B vaccine. We declined. We were bugged a bit by the neonatologists about this decision. I finally asked the nurse for a consent to decline form so they'd stop bothering us. I don't have Hep B and I had a c-section, both decreasing Levi's chances of getting it. We're not leaving the country anytime soon so again, doesn't need it. So far Levi had had no vaccines.

Today was Levi's 4-month checkup. He weighs 13 pounds 8 ounces and is 23 inches long. His height is in the 5-10 percentile for his actual age (when he was born) whereas his weight is finally close the the 50 percentile. So we have a short chubby baby. :)
We decided now was an okay time to start Levi's vaccines. Our pediatrician has been very gracious in working with whatever we decided. I do believe that the binding agents in vaccines (when you give an MMR vaccine, you're vaccinating for 3 things, thus there is a binding agent to keep them together in one vaccine) is probably the biggest risk, so we wanted them given individually, not as a big vaccine.

They have a huge combined vaccine that combines like 5 different vaccines at once. I understand the draw of this as it seems easier to just poke the baby once or twice and be done. But really? How would you like to take some antibiotics, tylenol, cold medicine, flu shot, etc... all at once? Really, can that be a good idea? But that's my soapbox.

So our great pediatrician told us which ones he thought were most important for Levi to have now, and we chose to do two, one in each leg of the single vaccines. So he had a PCV (Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine) and a Hib (Haemophilus Influenzae Type b Vaccine). Basically PCV is for a strep bacteria vaccine that can cause pneumonia, meningitis, blood infections, etc. Hmm seems like a good idea considering Levi's already had Pneumonia, I certainly don't want to add meningitis to the list.
Hib is for a bacteria disease that causes meningitis and pneumonia as well, just a different strain. So really, things that could kill Levi.

Levi's a trooper, they did both at the same time in different legs and he screamed and didn't breath for 3 seconds and then cried hard for about 20 seconds. He calmed down fast and then went to sleep. He had a dose of baby tylenol (don't worry, I know, bad for babies) and he's been a trooper ever since. He's slept, ate, and smiled. He did so well with his circumcision that this doesn't surprise me. I know, circumcising is under discussion as well.

So that's our story. Levi will get 2 more shots in a month, don't ask, I don't remember which ones, whatever else is supposed to be in the huge 5 doseage one.
And really, I feel at peace with our decision. I greatly respect all of you who choose not to immunize (ha! right word!) and those of you who choose do follow the set schedule exactly. And I hope you can respect our choices and beliefs. Because really, I don't care if you don't, because we've prayed and thought and researched and our choosing to do what we believe is best, and frankly, we're accountable to God, and we're doing our best to please Him.

I think we'll take the little brave trooper for a bike ride. He'll enjoy the sleep in the trailer!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Kindred Spirits

I'd like to tell you a story, into which I will insert a few "Anne of Green Gables" quotes, because they are so fitting.

When I was a sophmore/junior at a small Christian College that is actually closed now, second sememster I was roomates with a gal I'll call Sue (Not her real name because we don't keep in touch). Sue had 2 cousins at school as well, Holly and Will (real names because they're good sports). Holly had a roomate named Valerie, who Holly tried to convince was perfect for Will. This part gets a little fuzzy but basically by the end of the year Will and Val were an item. I really enjoyed Holly and tolerated Sue. Sue wasn't thrilled about Will and Val's relationship whatever it might be so that made me wary of Val. Sue and I didn't make the greatest of roomates so that was an issue as well.

All of this to tell you this, the next fall I had changed a lot. I was now engaged to my amazing man and had a little bit better view of the world as a whole, not just my box of college. I was asked in Sept/Oct. by the admissions department if I wanted to go to Illinois to a "Farm Fest" Teen Event to promote the school along with a few other students/admissions folks. I said yes but just about retracted that when I found out Val was going. It wasn't that I didn't like her, we just didn't seem to get along too great and with the whole Sue history it was just messy. But it was only one night and I really enjoyed the other gal and 2 guys going.
To make a long story short it was an absolutely hilarious weekend and I had more fun than I could have imagined. Our friendship was born and cemented all at once. To quote Marilla Cuthbert "I think you may be a kindred spirit after all". I had no idea what I had been missing with Val.

The rest of that school year was amazing. I had a friend whom I could share anything with, plan a wedding with, share ANYTHING with, and frankly just enjoy being around.

Anne at one point says “Kindred Spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. Its splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”

I have found many kindred spirits throughout my life but frankly, Val's one of the best. There's never any distance no matter how far apart we live or how long it's been since we talk. She can always crack me up and I love saying outrageous things to her. Val and Will got married 11 months after Andrew and I. It was a beautiful wedding and I was so glad to be there. The last time I had seen Val was a year ago when we met up for dinner. We had a great time renewing our friendship.

Val was one of the first people I called to tell I was pregnant.
She called me about 2 months later to tell me she was due 6 weeks after I was. My joy in our friendship was huge!! My friend was having a baby too! Through all the ups and downs of pregnancy and our very different deliveries, we shared and griped and laughed and tried not to make each other run for the bathroom.

Val and Will have a beautiful daughter named Kiernan. And I knew I couldn't stay away. So this last weekend I packed Levi up along with way too much stuff and we headed South to see the new little family. And it was all I hoped for and more. We laughed, cried a little (mostly me tearing up), laughed hard at a hilarious movie (well I couldn't laugh too loud, Levi had just fallen asleep!), ate, laughed some more, nursed our babies, laughed at their noises, made a maiden voyage for Val to the mall with the babies, talked about old times and good friends, and frankly, I had a lovely time. It was a dream weekend. As much as it can be with crabby sleepy babies in tow.

There are some rare blessings God has given us. I count Val amoung mine. And the fact that our lives are mirrored in our childrens' births makes it that much better.

Miss Stacy said to Anne once, "True friends are always together in spirit". And that's how I feel about Val, like we're never far apart no matter the distance.

I don't know where life will take us, and I can't promise we'll always be this close. But for now I'll be thankful for this time in our lives. When our Kindred Spirits are close enough to glow when together.

Wow I'm getting poetic.

On a funny note, We looked absolutely ridiculous pushing two strollers around the mall. And another thing, why the heck would children's clothing stores not put their racks far enough apart to get a stroller through?! You'd think that would be catering to the customer for your merchandise but whatever, I'm sure they prefer picking up all the hangers that we dropped on the floor trying to weasel our way through.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Finding My Courage

I've become a Saleswoman. Well, technically at the 'Bou that's what I do too, but now I'm a "traveling saleswoman". I'm selling books, wonderful, amazing, colorful children's books. I signed up right before Levi got RSV and our whole hospital stay, so that wasn't exactly the best foot to start on. The basis of my business is home shows. Which means calling people and asking them to have a home show.

I hate talking on the phone. If you're a really good friend and I have something funny to tell you, or if you're my husband or Mom, I'm good, otherwise, I get nervous and feel stupid. So this is a huge stretch for me. Especially when I now feel like I've made a million phone calls and haven't booked a show. I don't think I'm that terrific at selling myself. The books can sell themselves if you have a show. It's the getting a show thing that I'm stuck on. I've had a few, and I have a vendor fair and a home show in the cities booked for this month. But I'd sure like to get something in this town, or the near vicinity...

I'm simply trying to help supplement the income that we lost when Levi was born and I've been staying home with him for the most part.
I love the ordering and organizational part of this business, but I just hate the phone.

What I've realized is that I need to believe in my product so much that it doesn't matter if people say no. I believe that at the 'Bou, I'm okay if they say no to the muffin or oatmeal or pound of beans. But I need to implement that in my personal life. I still care a litte too much sometimes what people think. I've gotten tons better and I can really say I don't care what people think. But then that little monster of fear and doubt creeps in and I do care.

So I'm summoning up my courage and picking up my phone for the million and one time. Maybe this will be my yes...