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Cross-posted at MotherTalkers.

Hello fellow moms, dads and caregivers!

As I mentioned in our premiere diary last week, I am the mother of two and moderator of an online parenting community called MotherTalkers. We are also a DKos community and occasionally try to cross-post diaries here.

But as you can imagine, a random parenting topic here or there can easily get lost in all the discussion of electoral politics. Don't get me wrong, we love and discuss politics, too! But we are hoping to dedicate a diary at least one morning a week here to all things parenting whether it be education, "life balance," childhood development, caregiving and other resources we can share with one another.

Here are some topics we recently discussed at MotherTalkers:

In case you missed it, our fearless Kos is contributing stories from a father's perspective. This week he wrote about the now debunked connection between the MMR vaccine and autism. Of course, there are still parents out there nervous about vaccinating their children for a variety of reasons. Check out this yahoo group, in which parents are intentionally seeking to expose their children to chicken pox for natural immunization.

Kos also wrote about a baby's sixth sense. The ghost stories shared by the community were beautiful -- and spooky.

Also, we talked about the commercialization of the Scholastic Book Fair. A third of the items for sale are either not books or books packaged with toys, according to Katy Farber over at the Non-Toxic Kids blog. Exurban Mom, another one of our moms, had a hard-hitting diary on it. I, too, have been astounded at the number of "junk books" at my son's school's Scholastic Book Fair. Last year, I walked away with my fair share of Spider Man and Star Wars cartoon books. But I also made sure to mix them up with more educationally sound books like those by Eric Carle.

For some celebrity gossip -- yes, this is what it has become -- we discussed the train wreck that is Nadya Suleman, the Angelina Jolie-look-alike mom of six who conceived octuplets via IVF, giving her a total of 14 children. The consensus, at least on our site, seems to be that this woman is not well and is now WAY over her head trying to provide for these children. Like everyone else, I vow to stop reading any more Suleman/octuplet stories, yet, when she is on TV or there is yet another online story, I can't. help. myself. Ugh! Why can't we stay away from this story?

What else is on your mind?

Originally posted to Elisa on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 07:56 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I share your concern about the number of non- (10+ / 0-)

    books at the Scholastic Book fairs. When I was a kid (back in the Middle Bronze Age), Scholastic offered books. Now a lot of the offerings are toys or come packaged with toys. The book fairs are big fund-raisers for the PTOs. If seems that, if we want to encourage our kids to read more, we should be selling books. If we want toys, we can always go to Toys R Us.

    •  this burns me too! My kids go through the fair (3+ / 0-)

      and make a list of items they want and about all they put down is this junk. I could almost live with that if there was any value to the items, but there's no educational value at all! Hannah Montana crap, gross games, and lots and lots of computer games. Whenever I go to the fair, I see all the kids standing in clumps around the fuzzy pencils and junk jewelry while the rows of books are never even glanced at.

      "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics" FDR

      by theKgirls on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 08:14:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  When the kids make their lists (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blue jersey mom

        our book fair hides the non-book items under a tablecloth, so they don't write any of those down.

        Scholastic does send some fun science toys, but I too hate the junk.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 08:32:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I don't even bother with them (3+ / 0-)

      it's so sad.  And my daughter LOVES books, we're lucky, she just adores being read to.  

      The best thing we did was get her a library card, she has access to so many books and loves it and it saves us money.

      •  The library (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ellinorianne

        is a fantastic place for parents, not just because of all the books, but because of the other activities and resources they provide.

        So many children's books are cute, but read-it-one-time cute. The library allows us to keep a child's reading interest voracious without drowning ourselves in paperbacks.

        Our library has an online catalog; I assume most do by now. I can look up and request books any time of the day or night and pick it up within a week. Between the various participating counties, they have about 80% of the books I look for. It's as fun as shopping.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 10:09:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  This is a big concern of mine too. It isn't just (3+ / 0-)

      the marketing issue, it is a question of getting high quality writing-- language, ideas, and narratives-- into our children's heads.  Children who read lots of well-written books when they are young have an easier time becoming good writers as they grow older.  They internalize beautiful, clear language, rich vocabulary, and imaginative narrative structures so that these become natural parts of their mental toolbox in their own writing.  If schools promoted well- written books in their book fairs and didn't offer the equivalent of literary junk food, the job of teaching kids to write and think clearly might become just a little easier.

      Having said all this, I do understand the dilemma of parents with reading- reluctant kids who are happy to have their kids practice reading anything, no matter how many tie ins it has with TV and movies.  This is a good strategy under difficult conditions.  But the world is full of book and toy stores that make junky texts available.  There is no shortage of access to these.  I would like to see schools (via Scholastic) limit their literary sales pitches to books that they feel feed the creative imagination, rather than caving in to the profits from Hollywood product placements.

      Nothing amuses me more than the easy manner with which everybody settles the abundance of those who have a great deal less than themselves. --Jane Austen

      by feeny on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 08:28:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes and no (0+ / 0-)

        One of the hardest things in getting a child to read who is not naturally devouring books is to find just the right material to stroke their interest. I think one problem we have today is that all kids have a need to hear storytelling, and once upon a time, the only way to get that need met was to read. Today, the fiction need can be totally met by TV.

        One of the things I love about the way the Scholastic book fair works at our school is that the kids have a lot of time to browse and peruse the books, quite a bit more than they would if they were out shopping with parents, and certainly more than they can with the order forms. It's much easier to demonstrate/explain my objection to the marketing tie in books when the whole book is right there, and it is easy to point out that the publisher is relying on the tie-in to sell the book, and not bothering with an interesting, well written story.

        (That said, I've been surprised to pick up some of the tie-in books and find that they're decently written. Maybe about 50%. Not ideal, still not my choice, but far better than I had assumed.)

        I would like to see Scholastic take a higher road, but it's not all terrible. Scholastic still publishes some really excellent titles. Harry Potter is theirs, for example, and I had a lot of fun looking over books at the book fair last year. We bought an atlas that was top-notch, perfect for kids.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 10:00:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Scholastic book fairs are just one part (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tobendaro, mamamedusa

      of a larger, life-long reading project that parents need to engage. As a kid, Scholastic books were not very interesting to me, because my mom had already injected literature of all kinds into my life and the Scholastic books just seemed too limited for me. It was long enough ago that my 5th and 6th grade teachers chose (and were allowed to choose) to take 15-30 mins after lunch to read to the class, and we got such treats as The Hobbit, James Thurber, Saki short stories, Macbeth, Sherlock Holmes.

      If all the crappy Hannah Montana and other horizontally marketed kid-pulp gets 10% more kids interested in BOOKS, that's a reasonable justification. The kids whose families have pushed them further don't need (or even want) that stuff. The kids who don't might just benefit.

      •  Scholastic has a range of material (0+ / 0-)

        Hannah Montana etc is only a small portion of what they sell. Quite a bit is literature, and they don't limit themselves to only Scholastic-published books at the book fairs.

        I still have, and enjoy, several books that I bought from them as a child.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 10:05:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'm with you (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue jersey mom, Super Grover

      I've volunteering at those things for years (twice a year, actually) and the crap to book ratio keeps growing. And as each class comes in the door, more and more gravitate towards the crap.

    •  You should go to whoever is running (0+ / 0-)

      the bookfair and demand that they not carry this stuff.  Scholastic has the option to leave off at least some of the commercialized stuff, especially the glitzy crap that goes at the register.

      Whether it's the PTA, or the librarian, however your school fair is structured, they can negotiate that with Scholastic.

      The problem is, they (PTA, librarian) get more "take" off of that stuff.

      Mr. Bush, we'll be forever in your debt.

      by k8dd8d on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 09:35:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There's no need to negotiate, even (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mamamedusa

        Scholastic sends a truck and drops the stuff off. They come back a week later to pick it up. How and what you display is totally up to you.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 09:44:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  you're right! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mamamedusa

          I hadn't thought of it from that angle.  I just remember a time when the PTA person running it asked ahead of time if we wanted all that stuff or not, and it resulted, of course, into a 2 hour fight over whether to have it or not.

          I have to say, not dealing with PTA is probably one of the things that makes my life easy now that we are homeschooling.  Don't miss that a bit.

          Mr. Bush, we'll be forever in your debt.

          by k8dd8d on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 09:51:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Bleh (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            k8dd8d

            I was on the PTA board for my daughter's school for a time. What a nightmare. Endless meetings with the most ridiculous arguments over nothing. The worst? When we were planning a fundraiser with various games that would be run by parent volunteers. Now, to me, we had the list of volunteers and the time they could be there, so we just needed to run down the list and assign a game. But nooooo, there was actually a discussion on which parents would fit best with which game. That meeting took hours.

            •  We don't have enough volunteers (2+ / 0-)

              for us to argue. I don't know if that's good or bad.

              Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

              by elfling on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 10:29:43 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  I just wish that all that time and energy (0+ / 0-)

              could be harnessed to REALLY help kids.  So many people pat themselves on the back for being involved and they are spending time on useless crap like what color balloons should we have at bingo night? they really believe that is helping kids, when it's really just re-living high school with who is the most popular (cheerleader) PTA mom?

              Our whole PTA nearly imploded and several people actually resigned over an argument over whether to change from scooped ice cream to ice cream cups at the annual social.  Because one person took initiative and made a change without consulting someone else, there was a round of blistering emails, hurt feelings and resignations.  Just think if all those minds were doing something constructive for education!

              Mr. Bush, we'll be forever in your debt.

              by k8dd8d on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 03:47:33 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  I was at the ped's ofc this week (7+ / 0-)

    and took note of MMR vaccine/autism-disproving articles on the walls, many with hand-written commentary from Dr. S. One concludes (I paraphrase): "I've never heard a solid argument for anti-vaccination. If you want to argue it, come loaded for bear." At least I know where he stands.

    As I told the nurse, "Live vaccines make me nervous. But my fear is not bigger than public health."

    IGTNT: Our war dead. Their stories. Read "I Got the News Today."

    by monkeybiz on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 08:03:41 AM PST

  •  my daughter read a "junk book" at the doctor's (5+ / 0-)

    office... Parents leave the books when their kids don't need them anymore and occasionally the staff is a little surprised by the content. But I think this one had to take the prize. There were cute drawings of various animals were heading off to camp on a bus. But the doctor was a little surprised as my daughter read out "oh, 100 bottles of beer on the wall, 100 bottles of beer, take one down, pass it around, 99 bottles of beer on the wall!" This went on for several pages... On our next visit when my daughter asked for the book, the doctor said it made its way to the dumpster.

    Who in the publishing world thought this was a good book for first graders!?!?

    "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics" FDR

    by theKgirls on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 08:06:14 AM PST

  •  Nadya Suleman should (6+ / 0-)

    not be the focus but the welfare of her fourteen children, that's the most important part of the story.  As much as people want to berate her choices, we have to literally think of the children.

    ON a personal note, I have a "spirited child" which is a new term to me although I've suspected it for a long time.  She's having issues in Kindergarten but we're finding getting her to bed by 7pm is helping,  Yes, 7pm.  She is so affected by lack of sleep it's alarming.

    Her teachers think she's capable but having a hard time focusing.  There, so far, have been no cries of some sort of attention issue but more about her willingness.  We know she's capable of focusing, it just has to be interesting enough.

    So this week was a challenge attempting to get enough homework in without overwhelming her and really sticking to a routine with bedtime.

    •  I am also concerned about the doctor (7+ / 0-)

      who chose to use 6 embryos on a woman who was under 35 and already had 6 kids. I hope they run him out of town on a rail.

      •  Exactly! (5+ / 0-)

        Clearly there needs to be some standards in place when it comes to that procedure. Having octuplets is not only dangerous for the babies in utero but mom, too. Having twins or triplets is already considered a "high risk" pregnancy. Now imagine eight. Shudder.

        •  There is a standard (4+ / 0-)

          the average for most doctors is around 2.  He violated standards of practice and no one really knows why.  He has a poor success rate except for this one patient.

          He's going to be investigated though and I wouldn't be shocked if he lost his license.

          •  What is the one silver lining is that (3+ / 0-)

            fertility doctors will be terrified of this kind of thing in the future, and the risk of another Nadya is low.

            •  People keep saying that. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              tobendaro

              After each highly-publicized high-order multiple birth, I've heard a round of violates-standards-of-practice, won't-see-that-again.

              It does bug me that this particular mom is catching a lot of flack, when some other higher-order multiple families are reality-tv stars.  Implanting that many embryos has never been a responsible decision.  And I have some ethical qualms about anyone consenting to that number of embryos without being willing to consider selective reduction.

              I'm unwilling to demonize any individual's childbearing choices.  On the other hand, social responses to childbearing choices are fair game.  The narrative around this perplexes me.  As a society, we realize that carrying six to eight fetuses is an irresponsible practice only when someone who is poor and ethnically ambiguous does it?

              •  I agree with you (4+ / 0-)

                ...almost.  ;-)

                I think this individual is crazy. Not because she's poor (and I've never seen her, so I don't know her ethnicity), but because she has 14 kids under the age of 8. The fact that she made that choice is what bothers me (don't get me started on the doctor).

                •  I wonder about informed consent. (1+ / 0-)

                  I suppose it's entirely possible that she had a realistic idea of the likely outcomes for this kind of high-risk pregnancy and chose to do this anyway.  I have to suspect, though, that the informed consent process may not have been quite as complete as it ought to be.  I wonder if she had a tour of a neonatal intensive care unit to see what's involved in keeping micropreemies alive.  As tiny and fragile as her babies are, it's actually near-miraculous that the pregnancy lasted as long as it did.

                  I hesitate to speculate about her sanity.  She certainly has made some choices that I wouldn't have made for myself.  I could say that about most people most of the time, though.

              •  What other multiple birth example comes close (0+ / 0-)

                to this one, where a single parent of limited financial means has an extra 8 kids on top of 6 others, some with handicaps? Serious question, if what you are saying has merit, please tell us what other example(s) are as bad as this situation, because I haven't heard of any. This case is so crazy out of the park that I see public anger coming from all quadrants - rich, poor, black, white, it's actually bringing us together. I think it's a bit of a reach to bring racism into it.

                •  There's a lot of scholarly literature about (0+ / 0-)

                  "legitimate" motherhood.  There are social narratives that value some kinds of mothers more than others.  

                  The most "legitimate" mothers are the ones whose existence and mothering practices reinforce existing power relationships: College-educated, married heterosexual White women who have two planned pregnancies between the ages of 27 and 32 would be the ideal type.  Soccer moms.  They're very visible and they're often held up as the standard for "good" moms.  Somehow they are simultaneously well-paid professionals and stay-at-home moms whose schedules revolve around their children's activities.

                  The "welfare queen" is an exaggerated example of the opposite, "illegitimate" mother.  She's uneducated, single, and non-White; she has too many children; she is visible only as a social problem.

                  Intentionally implanting more embryos than a human uterus can gestate to term is a bad idea, no matter how reasonable the parents may otherwise seem to be.  For every heart-warming story we encounter in the media about these families, there are a lot more heart-breaking stories no one wants to know about that involve numbers of dead and profoundly disabled babies.

                  I'm not saying that this octuplets mother and her physician are all right.  What I'm saying is that those reality-TV parents are also a little off in the head, but it's not as immediately obvious because they fit cultural expectations about "good" parents.

                  •  Yeah, the welfare mother myth is based (0+ / 0-)

                    on stereotypes of single mothers and has a racial tint. Unfortunately, this woman is going to do wonders in perpetuation those stereotypes. One step forward, two steps back.

              •  I'm sorry, but I have for a long time (3+ / 0-)

                been angry at (and critical of) both the fertility industry and individuals who are willing to endanger the lives and health of children by carrying large numbers of fetuses and/or refusing to practice selective reduction.  My anger with the fertility industry began when a cousin of mine, back in the early 1970's, was treated with irresponsibly large hormone injections to facilitate ovulation and ended up giving birth to septuplets, all of whom died within a few days.  There were not effective methods of selective reduction at that time, so my anger was with the fertility doctors for practicing medicine when they knew so little about the effects of their treatments.  I was equally angry when a few years ago a single friend admitted that she had lied to her fertility doctor about her willingness to practice selective reduction if she ended up with multiple fetuses.  Sadly, she miscarried.  In both cases the fertility industry fed upon these women's desperation and encouraged treatments that went beyond what was in the best interest of the health of the mother and her possible children.

                Happy ending:  Both ended up adopting babies and having wonderful lives.  Cousin ended up having two more children on her own, without assistance, after adopting.  All the children are adored.

                My point is that my criticism of these practices did not begin with the case of someone who "was poor and ethnically ambiguous."  Both cases I have described were financially prosperous, white women.  The practice was irresponsible then; it is irresponsible now.

                Nothing amuses me more than the easy manner with which everybody settles the abundance of those who have a great deal less than themselves. --Jane Austen

                by feeny on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 09:25:40 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Your criticism != social narrative (0+ / 0-)

                  I agree with you 100%.

                  My point was that those of us who have had this issue with the fertility industry were not part of the mainstream social narrative (news stories, TV appearances, magazine spreads, donations) around the most highly publicized high-order multiple births in the past.  Every time it happens, there are discussions and articles about how it's not supposed to be done this way, it's not recommended, it's incredibly high risk, etc.

                  But the families themselves didn't catch a lot of public criticism for their decisions.  They became cultural icons of extreme family (like "extreme" sports).  Regular families have two kids and a tight carpool schedule; extreme families raise septuplets on national television.

                  The reporting and commentary on this one are different.  A lot more people seem comfortable publicly debating whether this woman has any right to have made the childbearing decisions she's made.

              •  I think what really gets people (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ellinorianne

                is that she already had the six kids. I don't think that's the case for any other family with a lot of multiples.

                I think it is easier for people to accept that a couple on a first or second pregnancy might do fertility treatments and that sometimes things get out of hand.

                Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                by elfling on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 10:16:00 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  you talking about Jon & Kate? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ellinorianne

                FYI, they did NOT do IVF. Their sextuplets were a result of fertility drugs, so they didn't do anything as rash as implant 6 embryos. That said, I don't see why they're reality TV stars either.

          •  Actually... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ellinorianne

            this doctor did the same kind of IVF treatment on another mom currently carrying quadruplets!

      •  Apparently (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blue jersey mom, mamamedusa

        ...the doctor had another patient in her 40's who wanted one child and he implanted six (or seven) embryos in her and now she's pregnant with quads. That doctor should lose his license.

    •  ITA... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      side pocket, Ellinorianne

      about Suleman's kids. At this point, they are here and they need to be fed and cared for.

      It sounds like an earlier bedtime would do good for your daughter. When my son acts up or doesn't want to go to school it is almost always because he's gone to bed too late. He hates napping -- even though it would probably do him good -- so I get him down by 8. If not, watch out!

      Of course, beditme is rough at my house. Neither of my kids like to sleep.

    •  but if yours is one of the few? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mamamedusa

      I've vaccinated mine, but that's always the argument.

      Mr. Bush, we'll be forever in your debt.

      by k8dd8d on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 09:36:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The counterargument is the other parents. (0+ / 0-)

        One of my cousins had a baby who died of whooping cough in the early 1970s.  Whooping cough is pertussis, the P in DPT.  My own kids had to have a round of expensive medication a few years ago as a preventive measure when our babysitter's unimmunized daughter contracted whooping cough.

        What if my kid is the one who contracts the disease after the "herd immunity" falls below effective levels?

        Appeals to sentiment make for bad policy.  You can't weigh children affected by vaccine injuries against babies dead of whooping cough and decide anything based on which parents suffer more.  You can compare numbers of children affected by vaccine injuries (very very few) against numbers of people who would be affected by non-immunization (potentially thousands) and make a pretty easy decision.

      •  You don't know in advance (0+ / 0-)

        so you can't use that.

  •  On the octuplet mom ... (7+ / 0-)

    I suspect we're so fascinated by it because it's taking an instinct we identify with so strongly -- parenting -- and distorting it completely out of whack. So we see her (perhaps) as an exaggerated version of ourselves and we shudder.

    And I'm now pissed as a California taxpayer left footing the bill for this irresponsible woman's decisions. Ugh.

    On the chicken pox stuff ... my neighbor when my kids were growing up had a popcorn self-immunization party to get her kids to come down with it. I didn't have to do that -- one of my kids came home and infected all the others without purposely intending to do it.

    And on an odd note, when all my kids succumbed one after the other, I was pregnant with my youngest. And oddly enough, she's never gotten it even though she was exposed repeatedly through classmates and friends later in life. I've wondered if that's because she caught it in utero somehow during that period (I was about seven months pregnant.)

    Love this new parenting diary feature, Elisa! And I look forward to seeing it every week.

    •  Thank you Susan... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SusanG, blue jersey mom, Ellinorianne

      for the word of confidence!

      On the popcorn party: I was surprised at how many moms said they did something similar to the yahoo group -- but offline -- to immunize their kids to chicken pox. I was one of four kids and between that and school I just got everything everyone else had. So no popcorn parties necessary.

    •  Chicken pox (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SusanG, mamamedusa

      My older daughter had an appointment to get her vaccine when it hit her elementary school. She got it first and my younger daughter (who wasn't in school yet). Older was covered from head to toe ... we did the calamine count (put a dot of calamine on each spot so you don't double count) and she had 286 (yes, I remember). The younger one? 38.

      Needless to say, I cancelled the appointment.  ;-)

  •  ill child (6+ / 0-)

    My son is ill. Unfortunately, so is my ex - not sure exactly what it is but her paranoid delusions are now a matter of public record. He seems to have the same internal upset I have - can't tolerate gluten - and she has been ignoring me on this point for three years. I guess he is going in for a colonoscopy or something ...

     I've made a fitful start at what I'm calling Bench Clearing Brawl - there are a lot of judges out there who treat divorce as another means to inject their beliefs into the lives of others. That has to stop.

    I'm an Emersonian Transcendentalist. What's your excuse?

    by Stranded Wind on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 08:11:55 AM PST

  •  I have never felt (6+ / 0-)

    to-do over vaccines - autism was convincing.  When my girls were born, they got all the recommended vaccines, plus the brand new Chicken Pox Vaccine (important to me, since I have never had Chicken Pox).  Furthermore, last year, they received the Guardisil vaccine sequence.

    People need to understand that it is not just an individual parental decision.  Because children interact to the degree that they do, this is a public health issue.  Absent solid evidence, I would hope that all parents get all the recommended vaccines for their children.

    I am for the individual over government, government over big business and the environment over all -- William O. Douglas

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 08:16:48 AM PST

  •  Herd immunity (4+ / 0-)

    requires a vaccinnation rate of about 95%, if I recall correctly.  From a personal perspective, you vaccinate your kid for her sake. From a public health perspective, you vaccinate her for the sake of the whole second grade.

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 08:24:01 AM PST

  •  My son has had all vaccines (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue jersey mom, mamamedusa

    except chicken pox. Our pediatrician suggested we see if he gets it first because we have more experience with the disease than knowledge of the long term effect of the shot.We will be revisiting this at our next visit though as he is heading to Jr. high soon and he never contracted chicken pox.

    Secret Agent fairy Princess twirling about performing acts of graceful espionage

    by ballerina X on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 08:26:09 AM PST

    •  I had chickenpox in kindergarten. (2+ / 0-)

      I remember having itchy spots and missing school.  No big deal for me, but I also remember being painted with calamine lotion and put to bed with socks over my hands to keep me from scratching spots raw.  I suspect it was a lot of work for my mother.

      One of my sisters got chickenpox when she was in college.  She was beside herself with misery.  I don't know if kids are just tougher than adults, or if the disease really is that much more unpleasant when adults get it.

      I went ahead and had both my kids vaccinated against it for pragmatic reasons.  My mom was a stay-at-home mom when I was in kindergarten, but my husband and I would have a really tough time making both our schedules work around two sick kids for the duration of chickenpox.

    •  There has to be a balance between the two (0+ / 0-)

      I don't have kids either, but I'm not expecting anyone to send me money.

      But the reason why we're focused on the Suleman story is not for Nadya herself, but for the kids -- a lot of us are worried about what's going to happen to the children, even those of us who chose not to become parents. And for those who do have healthy children and know what a handful just two or three can be, they know that 8 babies (and 14 under the age of 7) is a daunting task, and someone is bound to be overlooked at their time of need -- what sort of psychological hurdles are those kids going to face as they get older, in addition to any physical challenges for the octuplets?

  •  My eight year old has "rejected" Valentines Day (6+ / 0-)

    He says its stupid and as far as he is concerned, today is "Hockey Day" and therefore I need to take him to a hockey game.

    "Seeing our planet as a whole, enables one to see our planet as a whole" - Tad Daley

    by Bill White on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 08:36:40 AM PST

  •  Books, not toys. (2+ / 0-)

    My kids are all grown. Among all the things I did wrong in parenting...one good thing stands out. I read to my children. And, I don't mean a little. I read for hours to them.  As infants I started with the old Mother Goose rhymes. Read a few aloud and listen. It trains them to hear the language.  

    We spent hours at the library. We bought used children's books at book sales.  

    We had our favorites...we laughed and we talked. It was one on one. And, as we did this their attention spans grew.

     Today, all five have wonderful communication skills. My oldest has a degree in English and math(?).  

     We did not have much money...we had books.

    Republicans are sick snots.

    by redtex on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 09:14:41 AM PST

    •  Both of my kids (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mamamedusa

      (ages 18 and 14) love to read and I directly attribute that to reading to them and making books a big part of their life from the very start.

    •  Not all toys are evil (0+ / 0-)

      Even the dreaded Barbie doll (who came into the world the same year I did) can provide opportunity for creativity and imaginative play; my neighborhood friends and I put our Barbies and Midges and Skippers into far more perilous situations than the creators probably dreamed -- and none of us had a Ken doll so we had no "weak females" waiting to be rescued. (We also had toy horses and they were as adventurous as the Barbies -- although mine had a broken leg so ended up as the "wise sage" more often than not.)

      My brother and I also would play with Tinkertoys and similar building type toys, making these outlandish contraptions and vehicles that would never be considered street legal outside of the most bizarre of universes.

      I don't remember my parents reading to me -- most likely it was me reading to them, as I started reading when I was 2-1/2. My mother used to love to tell the story of one Christmas at my aunt's house when the adults wondered why all the kids were so quiet...and found them in a back room while 5 year old me was reading to them from a copy of "Winnie the Pooh" one of them had received as a gift.

  •  I am the mother of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mamamedusa

    three. 22 yrs, 13 going on 14yrs and 11 yrs.
    I have been really surprised at how much support and information there is for parents of small children, but as they get older, like pre-teen and teenaged, there is little help.

    I did find one site that has some good articles. If there are any other sites that people have found, could you post them?

    The meaning of life is to live it.

    by COwoman on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 09:22:10 AM PST

    •  Welcome COwoman! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      monkeybiz, COwoman

      Thank you for the link. I will put it in my blogroll.

      I hear about the lack of info for parents of teens all the time. At least in the blogs, it seems like parents are reluctant to talk about personal issues with teenagers to protect their privacy.

      But I would love info on other sites that focus on teenagers. It would help us cover this age group better.

  •  Parent for a day ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elfling, mamamedusa

    I am awaiting the arrival of my 4 great-nieces and nephews - ages 4 to 8. I volunteered to have a Valentine's Day slumber party so that my two nieces can celebrate with their husband and boyfriend alone.
    I have lots of activities planned, but the 4 cousins have not been together for quite awhile and sometimes their excitement in seeing each other gets out of hand and leads to chaos - Nanny 911 style. At least that is what happens when their moms or grandma are in charge.
    Wish me luck in keeping peace & having fun over the next 24 hours.

  •  Oh man (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SanDiegoDem

    I just went over to MT to read the ghost stories ... that's one that you need to do here one of these weeks. I'm a total believer after listening to a conversation my daughter had with my mother a few months after she died.

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