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No lack of choices for new parents

Welcome to motherhood

POSTED: April 16, 2013 1:30 p.m.

My daughter continues down her road of “firsts.” With Reese’s first birthday less than two weeks away, she is becoming more mobile and more communicative. She says “mama” now, and my husband I suspect she may being trying to say cat, although it comes out as “tat.”
Last week, we even made it through a “first” we could have done without —Reese’s first cold. Although she wasn’t exactly pleasant when she was under the weather, she endured an endlessly runny nose and a cough fairly well. I noticed Reese’s appetite decreased just a little, but I think that was because her little nose was stopped up and eating made it impossible for her to breathe through her mouth.
When she was sick, I made a conscious effort not to obsess over her condition and recovery. I only Googled a few symptoms, took her temperature twice and refrained from calling our pediatrician —really.
My husband and I tried to increase Reese’s vitamin C and fluid consumption and make sure she got plenty of rest. Our course of action must have worked because she recovered nicely within a couple days. Now that she’s starting daycare, though, I doubt that will be our last encounter with illness. Here’s hoping the severity of such encounters continues to be relatively mild. I can deal with a runny nose and a cough every now again, but anything worse than that, well, there may be some pediatrician-calling going on.
And speaking of the pediatrician, we’re about to take Reese in for her 1-year checkup, at which time she’ll be due for another round of vaccines. I know childhood vaccination is a hot-button issue, so I won’t go too far into it now. However, I — like many other parents, I’m sure — have given this topic a lot of thought.
Reese has received all of the suggested vaccines so far, with the exception of a flu shot. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little wary of them.
Don’t get me wrong — I believe the American Academy of Pediatrics knows what it’s talking about. That’s why, despite my mild concerns, I’ve gone along with the traditional infant-immunization schedule.
It’s just hard to ignore all the hype and controversy surrounding vaccinations. Any mother who tries to do her “homework” on the subject will more than likely stumble across a litany of anti-vaccine pseudoscience and talking points on the Internet. On the flip side, though, it’s tough to ignore the facts — rising rates of measles, mumps and pertussis, which public-health officials attribute, in part, to children not being vaccinated.
In the end, I suppose it’s a personal choice each parent has to make based on their beliefs, convictions and research. While I feel that immunizing Reese is the safest thing to do, I realize that not every mother out there would agree with me, and that’s OK. I’m open to hearing arguments from both sides of the equation, and I’ve tried to make sure I’m as informed as I possibly can be.
I’m just thankful for the choices that are much easier to make — those that require a little bit of research, but not much second-guessing or fretting. I’m confident when it comes to selecting the food Reese eats, the toys she plays with, the car seat she rides in, the clothes she wears and the products I use on her, such as diapers, wipes, soap and lotions.
And then there are the choices that I wish I had more say in, but that seem to be made for me. For example, Reese starts daycare next week because my husband and I both need to work to support our family. We can’t really get around that. And when the time comes, Reese likely will attend public school, even though my husband and I would prefer to enroll her in a private institution. Our household budget pretty much made that decision for us.
Parenthood seems to be one endless series of choices. I’ll be glad when Reese gets old enough to make a few for herself. Not that I’m rushing her to grow up!

 

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