Big Hug

That’s one of DS’s favorite expressions these days. Yesterday morning, he was playing with his little Duplo men and made them give each other a big hug. I reacted the same way I do when he gives a big hug to his Teddy Bear or when his stuffed dolphin gives a big hug to his stuffed beluga:

“Oh, the men are giving each other a big hug? That’s really nice!”

Personally, I think it’s the cutest thing in the world. But it struck me that if I was homophobic (or if I was raising DS 50 years ago), that’s probably when I would have said something along the lines of “What are you doing? Men don’t give each other hugs! That’s silly/ridiculous/wrong/sinful!”

Luckily, I’m not, and it’s 2009. And I’m really happy about it!

A new trick

DS has had a low fever coming and going for the last few days. He is cranky, clingy and frankly unbearable, even though the doctor hasn’t found anything wrong with him and he has no other (physical) symptom. But even when we haven’t seen him smile for a week, he manages to make us laugh.

I told you he says “I’ll carry you!” when he wants us to pick him up. These days, he would liketo be held all the time, but it doesn’t work that well for him when we’re home, because really, who needs a 25 pound baby in their arms 24/7? So sometimes we have to put our foot down and say “No, you can walk to the kitchen by yourself.”

Then he looks up to us and says: “Big hug!”

Hard to keep a straight face…

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate

If you are old enough to read this blog (and your name is not Darren), you probably received a full complement of shots when you were a child. In these days and ages, however, more and more people are questioning the relevance of the current vaccination schedule. Some of our neighbors don’t vaccinate their children at all. Unlike our parents, who didn’t have much choice but to follow the doctor’s advice, we have access to a ton of information over the Internet and we are in a better position to ask ourselves if we want to vaccinate our children.

The funny thing is, Zak and I didn’t research this topic when our son was born, but when we had a dog. The dog people are having the same debate: are we damaging these youngsters by giving them so many shots in so little time? Are we unduly taxing their immune system before it has time to mature? Are we therefore creating autoimmune diseases? In humans, there is an added concern, the link between vaccination and autism, which the medical community denies (all research points to a coincidence) but many parents are adamant about.

Vaccines mean big business for the drug companies that manufacture them, and many people feel that the reason we give so many to our children has more to do with the lobbying of those big companies than with actual medical evidence. I could definitely believe this. But all these arguments got me frustrated and made my head turn. Nobody wants to knowingly give their children drugs that could harm them. But it’s really hard to figure out for oneself what is true and what is not, what is necessary and what is or could be damaging. Doctors are pretty much all pro-vaccination, but then, doctors have been wrong in the past.

One thing is for sure, though: if some people can “afford” not to vaccinate their children, it is because the huge majority of us do. And I find it a bit hypocritical (the term freeloader comes to mind). If I didn’t have my son vaccinated, chances are very low that he would catch polio, because there is so little incidence of this disease in the population. But if suddenly half of the population stopped vaccinating their children, chances are much better that polio would come back and people would regret their decision. So because I am glad to benefit from the vaccination of the majority of the population, ideologically I wouldn’t want to not vaccinate my child

Some people follow a limited vaccine protocol and give vaccines one by one instead of as a combination. It sounds logical: you don’t bombard them with as many intruders at a time so it’s easier for them to deal with. However, regular doctor’s offices usually won’t offer that possibility. People who opt for that have to look for a special clinic that will do it for them and charge a lot for the service. Of course, the few hundred dollars would be totally justified if we were guaranteed that it is actually better for our children. But it’s hard to spend that kind of money when you’re not convinced that there is actually any advantage. Besides, there are so many vaccines that if you were to give them all separately, wouldn’t you end up giving your child shots all the time?

I don’t know what the solution is. But on this one we went with the flow: we are following the usual schedule, and now that DS has received his 18-month vaccines, he is good to go until kindergarten. And I’m really glad about that. I’m also thankful that so far, he is showing no sign of autism. As for autoimmune diseases, only time will tell. We’re keeping our fingers crossed. And enjoying the fact that he doesn’t either have rubella, polio, mumps, etc.

Singing…

I was fascinated when DS started trying to sing songs. It seems to me that you need to have a pretty good memory for a totally abstract concept in order to remember a song and sing it back. The first one he sang was Baby Beluga. These days, it’s “Puff… Dragon… Sea”. You recognize, of course, Puff the magic dragon. Last night, I was rocking him before bed time and he “sang” those words, so I sang the chorus to him. Then I stopped. He started talking again, and it took me two or three times to understand, but he kept repeating “Paper”. Yeah. “Little Jacky Paper loved that rascal Puff” is the following verse. That kinda blew me away.

These days, Zak keeps singing a Stan Rogers song, “Barret’s Privateer”. In fact, he’s stuck on the first two lines, “Oh! The year was 1778, How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now”. Well now, when he says “Oh! The year was 1778″ and stops, DS says “I wish, I wish”. He’s not quite in tune, but he’s working on it!

I think we have a singer in the house!

Sexism

Ever since I got pregnant we noticed how men are treated differently than women when it comes to anything regarding children. True, women still statistically take on more duties related to their children. Still, when a man wants to be involved in his child’s life, it can be frustrating to see how hard it is to be taken seriously. Already at my first ultrasound Zak was asked to remain in the waiting room while the technician took the measurements, then they would come and get him for the “here is the head and here are the feet” part. But that means I got to see the baby before he did. That means he was left behind. We knew it wouldn’t be the last time.

The situation has become even more frustrating now that Zak is DS’s main caregiver. He signed up for some research about language development done at UBC. When they called to make an appointment, I had to repeat twice that it would be my husband going with our son, not me, before they realized that they were talking to the wrong person. When DS cried during his first swimming “lesson” and kept asking for Mommy, everyone gave him the “poor Dad who doesn’t know how to handle his baby” look. Nope. It was just that seeing me by the side of the pool without being able to go see me was too much for him after a whole week apart.

The other day, Zak was at playtime with DS. A little girl the same age was following them around, which happens all the time, probably partly because he’s one of the only parent who actually plays with the kids instead of being there to socialize with other parents, and partly because a lot of these kids seem to miss their Daddy. The mother of the little girl came by, commented on how her daughter seemed to like Zak and introduced her to him. The little girl blew him a kiss. Zak blew a kiss back at her. The mom looked at him – pissed – and left, saying under her breath that this “was a bit much”. For a blown kiss. He didn’t touch her. He wasn’t even withing arm’s reach. He just responded to her lead. You think there’s any chance in hell the reaction would have been the same if it had been me blowing a kiss to a little boy? Yeah, right!

Already, Zak had noticed some mothers getting antsy when their kids would come sit on his lap or hold on to him. What is he supposed to do? Stay ten feet away from any other human being? Just because he’s a man? I understand where they’re coming from, I know that we live in a big bad scary world (or at least that’s what you think if you watch too much TV), but still. Get a grip! Don’t teach your kids to stay away from every single male. Don’t raise your kids in fear.

But I digress. This was supposed to be about sexism. Sorry!

Of blogs and comments

I read a few blogs, among them those written by my brother and by two of my cousins. I enjoy them tremendously, they make me laugh (or cringe) and I never miss a post, but I rarely leave comments. I’m not sure why: is it pure laziness? Is it that half the time, someone else has already said essentially what I would have said? Is it because I would rather remain an anonymous voyeur than reveal my presence in their life? It is probably a bit of all that. And sometimes, I hesitate to talk about personal experiences that are similar to that expressed on a post because it seems too self-centered, it’s like bringing back to me something that was and (I feel) should have remained about the blogger.

Recently, I had a bad experience that certainly won’t do much to convince me to comment more. On one of my cousin’s blog, I expressed my fear that a diet she is following may not be the best health-wise. Another reader posted a rather unpleasant comment about how did I dare say something negative about this diet if I wasn’t even a doctor. My cousin (who is smarter than that commentator) did reply that she had no problem with people expressing – respectfully – an opinion contrary to hers. But it still left me with a bitter taste in my mouth.

The irony, though, is that I love when people comment on my blog. Yet in the past few weeks, nobody has. Of course, I can’t blame you since I haven’t been very good about posting regularly and I’m not always very good either at replying to comments. But even though I know that some people are reading my posts (at least they tell me they are), a total silence makes it hard to believe.

I swear this post is not a way to beg for comments! I just thought it was interesting how I seem to need something that I am not always willing to give to others. Isn’t it always the case in life?

The uninvited guest

Last night we had an unexpected visitor on our balcony…

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I am talking about the mouse,  of course. The cat WAS invited in, and he seemed to think I was very cruel for noy allowing him OUT onto the balcony. Now our balcony is on the third floor, so we were wondering how the mouse made it here, until it started walking up the brick wall like this was a regular Sunday morning walk.

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Not too much later, though, it fell to what we worried was its death. I mean, it’s three floors! But no, according to our neighbours, it was still alive when it landed in the courtyard. Although it was stunned, and as Zak so nicely observed, it may have been slowly dying from internal bleeding, for all we know. But we hope not. As much as I don’t really want a mouse on my balcony (or in my apartment, for all matter), we really enjoyed its visit. DS has been saying “mouse!” and the cat keeps pawing at the window. They are all hoping it comes back… Except for me. I’d rather watch it in the courtyard. Or at the pet store.