Monday, September 28, 2009

My Life as I Know It

It’s been awhile since I posted, I know, but sometimes life just gets in the way of the things you love. So, where to begin? Well, let’s start with the most significant incident in my life in the past couple of weeks: I’m unemployed again. The job I took recently suddenly fell apart last week (after less than two months), so I’m on the hunt again. Long story short: The company wasn’t bringing in enough money, so they had to lay off a bunch of people. Enough said.

So I’m looking for jobs again (if anyone knows of anything, you know where I can be reached), and I’m trying my hardest to get myself back into shape. Which leads me to significant incident No. 2: I pulled a tendon in my right foot. To most people, this might not be such a big deal. But for me, it’s a huge deal! I just started a fitness program three weeks ago (shameless plug here: Extreme Fit Training), and it’s an extremely tough program, but even tougher when you can’t use your feet. I’ve gotten used to burning 800 or so calories a class, and I can’t figure out how I’m gonna be able to do that without the running, jumping, hopping, and lunging required to get my heart rate up. But I’m trying to stay positive while also staying off my injured foot for the next two weeks (I’ll still go to class and do abs, arms, squats—whatever I can to burn, burn, burn!). Luckily, after this final week of Boot Camp, our next class doesn’t start for another week.

On to Incident No. 3: My car flooded last week. As long as I’ve lived in the South, I can’t remember a time that we’ve had so much rain! It lasted for more than a month, and it rained every day! And I don’t mean a few sprinkles in the afternoon; I mean full-on, heavy, coming-in-from-all-angles, drops-as-big-as-walnuts rain! It’s only now gotten to the point where the sun peeks through now and again. So last week, Kensie and I were going to a friend’s house to hang out and have lunch, your typical Mom/Daughter play date. So I open the door to my car (not raining at this point, amazingly), and it smacks me in the face. A smell so awful, so rank, so gnarly that I wanted to turn around and run the other way! I literally thought something had died in there. I pulled everything out and began my search. Did I leave a dirty diaper in the car that had rolled under the seat? I’ve never changed a dirty diaper in the car. Was there a bag of groceries filled with fruit and meat I’d forgotten about in the trunk? Not that I could find. Had an animal crawled up into my engine and died? Well, I’ve heard of that happening, but I could find nothing. So, against my better judgment (but with few other options), I rolled down all the windows and threw K in the car to go meet my dad so he could check it out. Almost immediately, he noticed the soaked mats and floors. What I smelled in that car was mold. MOLD!!

So, you know I watch HGTV. And one of my favorite shows is Rental Property. Inevitably on that show, the basement of the subjects is completely swamped with mold. They wear masks whenever they enter the dwelling, especially when they’re working on pulling out the moldy carpets or sheet rock. They make it very clear that mold is not something you mess with; it can make a person very sick. All I could think was that I’d been putting my kid in that car, and that mold could have been in there a month! I mean, how long does it take mold to get to the point of smelling like a dead sea lion that’s washed up on the beach and decomposed for a month? I sure don’t know!

So K and I get to my girlfriend’s house (we were already close, so why turn around now), and I was nearly in tears. But thanks to the level-headedness of my friend who’d just been through a bunch of craziness herself and had learned to deal with it, I called the insurance company who instructed me on what to do. File a claim. Take the car in. Rent a car (thank goodness for reliable car insurance). Move on.

So today, I’m driving a cherry-red Jeep Liberty rental while waiting on my car to be fully cleaned and de-molded. Though the insurance company won’t fix the problem (they say there’s no way to identify it; huh?), at least by day’s end I will be driving a mold-free blue Tucson with my butt imprint in the driver’s seat and the light above Kensie’s head that I can turn off and on at her will (it didn’t go over well that there was no light in the Liberty for her to control). Maybe after a week of me exercising like a maniac hopped up on speed while my car was in the shop, that butt imprint will be just a little bit bigger than the actual thing. A girl can dream!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New Digs

This weekend I decided to go ahead and convert Makensie’s crib into a toddler bed. I’d asked some of my mommy friends about it, and most of them said to wait until she showed interest in a big-girl bed or started crawling out of her crib. Well, she’s definitely shown interest in big-girl beds (she loves crawling in and out of my bed and her buddies’ beds), and I don’t think she will ever try to crawl out of the crib being she’s quite careful by nature and knows I’ll come running if she calls. So, with little possibility of her crawling out and her desire for a bed she can climb into on her own (and my desire to not have to lift her in and out all the time when she’s “playing” in her bed), the decision was made.

A week or so ago, my brother called and told me that they had moved my nephew into his big-boy bed, and that’s what got me thinking. My nephew is three weeks younger than Kensie, and although they’re quite different (Bryce was crawling out of his crib) in many ways, I figured if B was ready, so was K. (Turns out B is just on a mattress on the floor right now, which is a bit different than the journey on which we were about to embark.)

So early Saturday morning, I sat down with the conversion instructions and got to work. I assumed that since it was a “toddler” bed, there would be a bit of a rail on the open side so Kensie wouldn’t roll out but could still get in and out on her own, but the further I got into the conversion, the more it looked as if one side was going to be completely open. And sure enough, it was! At first I wasn’t too worried. This is a big-girl bed, after all, so I guess it’s time for K to be a “big girl.” But when my baby looked up at me and said, “Mommy, what happens if I fall out?”, my heart sank. What happens if she falls out!?!

So I went on the hunt (knowing full well I was not about to convert the toddler bed back into a crib, because what I had just done was hard work, and K would never let me change it back now!) for something that would deter her from rolling right off the mattress and onto the floor next to her bed (which now was covered with a doubled-over rug for extra cushioning). I dug through closets and the garage and just about every cubby in the house until I finally came upon my Total Body Pregnancy Pillow, which I slept with in the latter months of my pregnancy. You know, the full-body pillow that looks like a snuggly snake with a hook at one end? Anyway, I pulled that out and stuck it into the slats and along the open side of K’s bed, and voila: instant guard rail (as long as she doesn’t thrash about too much, because it is, after all, just a pillow)!

So at naptime, K was really excited to get into her new bed, but was not too happy when she saw my guard rail invention. “Whazzat, Mommy?” “Nooooo, I don’t want dat piddow!! Move it, Mommy!!” She wouldn’t go down with the snake pillow up, so I had to let her sleep with no protection. I went to my room, listened to the monitor, and waited. Nothing. First attempt in the big-girl bed sans a guard rail: success!

Saturday night, after I put K down (with the pillow rail installed after much back-and-forth between us), I sat down to watch some HGTV and to listen. I was still stressed that she’d fall out because I know what a restless sleeper she is. I went in her room and checked on her at least five times throughout the night, but she made it again! Sunday nap and Sunday night, same. She did great, no falling or rolling or jumping, she didn’t even get up and come into my room (another of my initial concerns—waking with an extra human being in my bed every morning).

So, needless to say, we’ve made it through the weekend and beginning of the week in the big-girl bed, and it’s amazing how “big” Makensie seems to me now. She’s not a baby anymore! She tells me exactly what she wants or needs clearly and concisely (“No Mommy, wait right they-a!” she says with her pointer finger right up next to her chin). She runs and gets things on her own without me having to do it. She’s using the potty (when she wants to, but she’s still doing it). And now, she’s sleeping in a regular bed. When did my baby transform into this little human being?

I’m excited Makensie is growing into such a fun and beautiful little girl, but I’m sad that it’s going by so fast. I guess what Mom always says is right on: “Enjoy your child every single day, because one day you’ll wake up and she’ll be sitting across from you with a glass of wine explaining why she’s chosen to move across the country with her boyfriend of six months who waits tables for a living and can’t wait to teach you how to surf.”

Friday, September 11, 2009

Another Day, Another Ache

I was assured by our instructor that Day 3 of boot camp would be more “laid back” than the previous two workouts, and I guess you could say it was. Maybe it’s because I’m so sore; maybe it’s because it’s just the first week and I’m not into a routine yet; maybe it’s because I hate exercise, will never like exercise, and am not destined to get fit again in this lifetime. I hope it’s not the latter, but I’d have to say that Day 3 was still pretty tough.

We got a bit of a late start, and we also got a new "boot camper" who was recruited by his boss at work (boy does she feel terrible right about now). This was his “trial” workout, and I do hope he will be back (though I believe it’s iffy at this point). More on that later. So we started a bit late, and we began by doing some “simple” lunges to warm up. Oh, I warmed up alright. My legs were on fire! For every 20 lunges my instructor did, I think I did eight. The warm-up made me feel completely inadequate, and we hadn’t even starting “working out” yet!

Next our instructor set out a series of "stations" and placed each of us at one. Each station was assigned a specific workout, and we were to do two minutes at each station and then move. I’d say the weight and cardio stations were split up pretty evenly. I began at a weight station, which I was happy with because working out my arms really isn’t too hard for me. Must be because I’m a mom and haul around about 30 pounds of gear and a 30-pound kid everywhere I go (“Hode me, Mommy, hode me!!). So while I was on weights, I watched everyone else perform.

Some of these workouts, though fabulous for getting into shape, really don’t make the person performing them look very “fabulous” while doing them. (Nor do they leave much to the imagination, if you get my drift.) Case in point: the mountain climber. You get into the push-up position and then pull your knees up to your elbows back and forth as fast as you can, kind of like trying to run in the push-up position. At least most people faced their backsides toward the fence, but those with lower-cut shirts were out of luck! And the bounce-bounce-bounce-jump, where you spread your feet about shoulder-width apart, do three bouncing squats as low as you can go, then bounce your legs together and jump with your hands pointing straight above your head: I think it was the three dipping squats that made this one interesting. Then there’s the old favorite from Day 2: the praying-position-bounce-to-squat-with-your-arms-out-like-you’re-about-to-attack move. This one’s great if you’re looking for interesting interpretations of a move. Everyone did something different here.

So for the first few stations, I was on weights, breathing normally, and enjoying my surroundings (i.e. making fun of everyone in my head). But then I hit the first cardio station, the praying-position-bounce-to-squat-with-your-arms-out-like-you’re-about-to-attack move. Now, as I’ve said before, I danced for much of my life, so when I do “moves,” I usually figure I can at least look somewhat graceful compared with those who do not have that background. However, it became obvious in this first week of boot camp that grace is nonexistent. But the next move, the sideways-step-hop-over-the-ball-then-squat move, I was sure I would nail being it was much like a step aerobics move (I was a step aerobics queen in the 90s). The apparatus was step-like, but it was topped with a bouncy ball, not just a rubber step. So basically, you sideways stepped, bounced on top of the ball, then landed in a low squat. Not only did I lose my balance and fall off a couple of times, it was so exhausting that I had to actually cease movement completely a time or two! Next was the jump station (are you noticing a pattern here, that all cardio seems to be clumped together, therefore destined to cause as much pain as is humanly possible?), where you basically just jump as high as you can with your arms pointing straight above your head. Seems easy enough, right? After about three jumps, I had to take a break. You just can’t realize how hard this stuff is unless you’re actually doing it (and performing while completely out of shape, as I am right now). The next few stations were also cardio, and by the time I got back around to my original station, sweat was pouring off my brow and I was having to wipe it about every 10 seconds just to see, and my workout clothes were completely soaked and stuck to my skin. But it was over (I thought).

Nope, not done just yet! We still had abs, which was a welcomed relief and much easier than cardio. (I’m starting to see a pattern in myself at this point. Strength training, not so rough; cardio, an ass-kicker.)

So, toward the end of our station exercises, I looked over near the entrance gate and noticed the new “boot camper” sitting slumped over and holding his head. Our instructor had gone over to check on him and proceeded to run about looking for water, a towel, and a mat. It was getting dark at this point and hard to see, but I’m pretty sure he thought he was going to pass out or throw up (and so did everyone watching). Finally, he laid out on a yoga mat with his legs propped up on the bench for the rest of the session. One of the boot-camp members is a physical therapist, and she took over from there.

So we did our abs (not too bad, though the body lifts added in for good measure about took me down), and we were done. Our instructor informed us that we’d have one more week of being sore (to use the word lightly), and then we’d “love it!” So I’ve decided to take her word for it and keep on keepin’ on. It’s tough, I dread it every day, and I’m thrilled today to have a day off. But after each session, I feel so much better about myself and so much closer to my goal: to be as fit and healthy as I can possibly be, and to have completely changed my bad habits into good ones. If this boot camp can get me to that point, then all the pain and suffering (OK, suffering might be a bit harsh, but pain is not) will be totally worth it. Good job Helena Boot Campers (and I hope we see you next week new guy)!

Single Mommylogues Note: I will begin posting blog entries (including photos, so that should be fun) specifically about Extreme Fit Training Boot Camp next week in the blog section of their site, Check it out!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Boot Camp

So a friend of mine is teaching a monthlong “boot camp” exercise class this month right down the street from my work. It’s her first time to do it, and she recruited people to join on facebook. So I thought, “Why not?” It’s close-by, I know the teacher so she can’t kill me, and I’ve been looking for that perfect jump-start to my weight loss (I’ve been using the “baby weight” excuse for far too long, as you know). A real no-brainer, right?

My friend, a former coworker, is someone who I would consider a “true” athlete. She doesn’t just hit the gym three days a week or walk in the neighborhood with the girls every now and then, she really gets down and dirty: triathlons, marathons, long-distance bike rides, you name it. She’s that adorable lady every woman wants to be: She eats perfectly, drinks her water, has zero body fat, is bubbly and always smiling, and actually loves working out. She is the woman all women want to be but very few have the drive to become. Give up sodas and cheese and bread and red meat and wine and actually have to eat our broccoli and squash? No way! For the past two years, I have been the “No Way!” woman: unwilling to give up the things I loved and seemed to depend upon to get through they day. Despite that, I figured I was ready to go. Who needs to build up to it? I was ready! So I signed up.

Did I know what I was getting into? I thought so. Did I realistically think I could do it? Why not, I’m an athlete (or used to be). Would I stick to it this time and not bug out? Of course. Am I ready to give up many of the things I love so that I can become that “perfect woman” who eats right, loves exercise, and is the picture of health? Yes? OK, yes.

My first class was this past Monday, and a group of us met on a tennis court in a local park. I scanned the group and immediately realized that I was not the only one who needed to get into shape. (Initially, I was worried everyone in the class would be world-class athletes just trying to fit in some extra workouts during training for whatever major race they had coming up.) We all have our own issues, and we’re all there to get healthy no matter what our shape. So I felt pretty good about it.

First, we began to warm up. To me, warming up means sitting on the ground stretching, maybe taking a short walk around the park chatting with the group and getting to know one another. In this class, warming up was more like the calisthenics you see in football training. Ten, then 20, then 30, then 40, then 50 jumping jacks was our warm-up. Then on to the workout: bicep lifting (two eight-pounders, not the normal 2.5- to five-pounders) followed by football feet as fast as you can followed by triceps lifting (again, eight-pounders) followed by left-right lunge plies followed by up-down, up-down, right knee, left knee, followed by . . . well, you get the drift. It was nonstop! (Only one person threw up.) The premise of this training (what my friend kept reminding us as she also reminded us how much we were “loving it!”) is that you can do anything for two minutes. Yeah, but two minutes followed by two minutes followed by two minutes followed by two minutes and on and on and on for more than an hour! Needless to say, I survived the first class.

The next day, I wasn’t too sore when I got up, and I was pumped! But as the day wore on, the pain crept up on me, and in places I didn’t realize I even had muscles! Walking stairs was next to impossible. Getting up and down out of my office chair required a grunt and then a sigh. Lifting my one-liter water bottle in an attempt to get in the half-body-weight amount of water required before class drew a sharp pain in my shoulder. But I made it through the day and headed to Class No. 2 pretty positive.

Ahhhh, Class No. 2. What can I say about Class No. 2? I have never, and I mean never, worked that hard in my entire life! Growing up I danced and played softball, and I played ball in leagues during college and later in life, as well. I once trained for a marathon but got pneumonia and wasn't able to do it. And, for the most part, I have always been an active person. So I really thought I might have a leg up in this “boot camp.” Oh how deluded one can be. Did I mention that this was only Class No. 2? We sprinted and did frog leaps and lunged and ran backward and ran with a bungee cord around our waists with a partner providing resistance and did push-ups and diamond push-ups and triceps dips and Pilate’s abs and rope-pulling abs and, well, some other “challenges.” I have never been so tired and sore in my life!

So, did I really know what I was getting into? Absolutely not. Am I glad I made this decision? Absolutely (I think). I just hope at 6 o’clock I’m able to get up from my desk (period, just get up from my desk), change my clothes without my coworkers hearing me scream in pain, walk down to my car without my legs collapsing, steer my car a mile down the road without my biceps twitching in pain, and get out of the car without bursting into tears at the thought of what lies ahead in Class No. 3.

It’s going to be a long month.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Potty of Gold

This past holiday weekend, I decided that Kensie and I were gonna hunker down and get this potty-training thing licked. I had an extra day off of work, and as advanced as she seems in so many other areas of her preschooler-dom, I was sure three days was plenty of time for Kensie to be up and running (or, should I say, down and peeing). Who needs outdoor barbecues with friends and football or fabulous days frolicking at the beach when you’ve got a naked toddler running through the house with a potty full of urine shouting, “Mommy, I tinkled! MOMMY, LOOK AT MY TINKLE!”

Kensie had shown interest in potty-training last December when visiting my brother’s family in Denver (my niece enjoyed showing K her “old” potty and how she now used the “big” potty as a grown-up three-year-old). So about six months or so ago, when the interest resurfaced, I bought two potties—one for upstairs, and one for downstairs (secretly thinking my kid was a genius not yet being two and already wanting to use the big-girl potty). And for the past three or four months, K’s been using them when it’s convenient and fun for her. When I introduced pull-ups a couple of months ago in preparation for potty training, she was at first excited but soon enough just treated them as diapers with a little bit of pink splashed on them for good measure. Pull-ups proved no help in our house.

So this past Friday, I prepared myself for a tough weekend of gentle coaxing, massive amounts of juice and popsicles, puddles of pee on the carpet and hardwoods, frustration, excitement, and finally, the brass ring—my sweet girl wearing cute little panties, running to the potty at her convenience, and, most importantly, NO MORE DIAPERS! All the money I would be saving; all the guilt about contributing to the degradation of our environment of which I would be letting go. Diaper rashes, poopy bottoms, dried-out wipes all over the house, saggy britches—all GONE! It sure sounded great at the time.

Friday evening went well enough. We hadn’t gotten the big-girl panties yet (the trip to Target was planned for early Saturday morning), so I just let Kensie run around naked for a few hours. She loved it! She went and used the potty when she needed to (and when I urged her to if it had been awhile), and not one accident. Saturday morning, I got Kensie all pumped up about the panties, she got to pick them out herself, she got a bunch of new PJs, to boot—she was a happy camper with a lot of new stuff (and you know how kids love new stuff). When we got home, K pulled all the panties out of their wrappers and paraded around with them (she preferred to show them off instead of actually putting them on, which might have been a sign) as if they were $100 bills she’d found lying in the street (and she actually knew how much they were worth). I finally got her to pick a pair, we put them on her, and not an hour later, I heard Kensie in the other room burst into tears. She came running into the kitchen, urine running down her legs, screaming, “Mommy, I tinkled on the flo-ah! MOMMY, I TINKLED ON THE FLO-AH!!” After much discussion: “Baby, accidents happen.” “But I peed on the flo-ah, Mommy!” “Honey, it happens to all little kids during potty training. See how Mommy cleaned it up? It’s OK if you have an accident.” “BUT MOMMY, I PEED ON THE FLO-AH!!!” Needless to say, I decided that pushing Kensie at this point was not the best idea.

One thing I’ve learned from both my niece (who’s extremely intelligent and quite tall, but who always seems at least two years older than she is) and Kensie (who is also quite advanced and tall for her age) is that I have to remember how old they really are, not how old they seem to be. Kensie just turned two in July. TWO!! Why in the world would I put that kind of pressure on a baby (yes, she is still a baby)? After much consideration (and a framed “words of wisdom” my mother pulled out of some random box in her office waxing poetic about not pressuring people into doing things that are uncomfortable for them), I decided now just wasn’t the right time to potty-train. Though my girl is pretty advanced in many areas of life (all two of her years), she is just not ready to get rid of the diaper. So I’ll keep changing, and wiping, and putting on diaper cream, and tossing dirty diapers, and waiting until the day my baby lets me know when the time is right for her. And when that day comes, I’ll mourn the loss of my adorable baby . . . then I’ll head out and buy that new Jeep I’ve been wanting or maybe even pay off my student loans with all the extra cash I’ll suddenly have at my disposal!

Friday, September 4, 2009

The State of Our States

Right now, there is an uproar in U.S. school systems about Barack
Obama’s (our president) plan to speak to children about education on
Tuesday. Apparently, instead of urging children to work hard and stay
in school, and explaining to them how important getting an education
is, some people believe he will use this opportunity to promote his
political agenda or, get this, to “brainwash” our children. Back up,

"As far as I am concerned, this is not civics education—it gives the
appearance of creating a cult of personality," said Oklahoma
Republican state Sen. Steve Russell. "This is something you'd expect to see in North Korea or in Saddam Hussein's Iraq." Cult of
Personality? Iraq? Are we talking 2009 United States or early-1900s
Russia? And this is only one quote I pulled out of the numerous news
stories generated from this “situation.”

Conservative media has been comparing Obama to Hitler. Hitler? Really? Come on!

Never mind that Bush, Sr., did the same thing in the early 90s and
Reagan during his tenure. Never mind that Obama stands for feeding the hungry, helping the sick, and promoting the general welfare of all
residents of this country. Never mind that he was elected by the
majority of United States citizens to lead this country during such a
dire time. Never mind that we live in a country of free speech where
our children are provided the education and have the right to make
educated decisions for themselves, whether shown this speech or not (though, if not shown, they are less educated and sheltered by parents who simply don’t like Obama in my opinion).

Many school systems across the country have already decided not to show this speech in their classrooms, and others are debating the
subject now. The decision those schools have made truly disappoints
me. I remember a time not so long ago when people respected their
elected leaders, Democrat or Republican. I remember a time when
schools let us watch things like, say, the space shuttle taking off
despite the possibility that it might, I don’t know, blow up right
before our young eyes. I remember a time when parents just let their
kids go to school and trusted teachers to make the right decisions. I
remember a country where politics was politics, and at the end of the
day, politicians could part as friends with a common goal—the
betterment of our country. What has happened to our country?

Yes, parents have the right to expose their children to what they feel
is appropriate and shelter them from what they feel is not. I’m a
parent, and I know how important that right is. But not allowing a
child to view the president of his country talk about the importance
of education and encourage him to stay in school just because you
didn’t vote for him and have different political views is going way
too far. That is what I think is going on in this situation, and,
frankly, it’s childish. Grow up America!

This is just my opinion.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

To Flu or Not To Flu

In the parenting world, vaccinations are a huge issue. Whether to vaccinate your child is a very important—and very personal—issue. So last week, when one of our local schools (to which, I might add, one of my coworker's kids attends and has been out sick for days) had 25 percent of its children out with flu-like symptoms, I decided it was time to make the decision: Do I or do I not give Kensie the flu vaccination?

Let me back up a bit. Before Kensie was born, I did a lot of research on vaccinating and came to the conclusion that, for the time being, breast-feeding was the best way to go. When K was born, I did not allow the doctors to administer the Hepatitis B vaccine that they pushed on me right after her birth because it is a blood- and bodily fluid–borne virus, I did not have Hepatitis B myself and could therefore not have transferred it to her, and she was not likely to be sexually active anytime in the near future. I believe strongly that introducing foreign particles into a newborn child’s undeveloped immune system has the possibility of doing great harm, and I wasn’t about to subject my child to that danger.

When it came time for the first round of shots at about three months old, I made sure that all of Kensie’s shots were administered unbundled and spread out (meaning separate shots, not one that contained all three vaccines [DTP], and each spread out over several weeks). I also made sure that none contained thimerosal, a preservative thought to be a factor in the onset of autism. From my research, this decision would prevent overwhelming her under-developed immune system while still giving her the security she needed from the vaccine, as well as helping protecting her from the possibility of contracting an autoimmune disorder down the road. With this decision, I had very little support from the medical community. My doctor nor any of her nurses offered support and, in fact, were pretty ugly to me when I told them to hold off on certain vaccines and asked that they stray from their regular “procedures” for my child; but I stuck to my guns. Again, I chose to hold off on Hepatitis B for the same reason as before, and I also chose against the Polio and Rotavirus vaccines (though a friend of mine’s little one got Rotavirus, and it was not pretty). So Kensie ended up initially getting the DTP and Hib vaccines.

At six months old, Kensie got the routine vaccines she had gotten before (DTP and Hib), but I still laid off on the rest, as I was still breast-feeding and felt she was getting the protection she needed from my breast milk.

At her one-year appointment, I decided it was time to go ahead with the Polio and Rotavirus vaccines, mainly because wild strains of Polio do exist and can spread through the community quickly, as it did in the early 1900s, and become an epidemic if many are left unvaccinated. But also, I was no longer breast-feeding and providing Kensie with the security of my vaccinations. (My girlfriend’s story about her child getting the Rotavirus was all I needed on that one.)

So now, at two years old, I have to make a decision about the flu vaccination. And with all that’s in the news about the flu, the swine flu, wild variations of flu being found everyday, it’s a tough decision to make. I see stories all the time (a recent Dateline episode convinced me I had made the right decision about unbundling and spreading out K’s vaccines early on) about vaccinating and autism—about how the numbers of cases of autoimmune diseases are rising at an enormous rate while no one really seems to know what’s causing these new “disorders” that are affecting so many of our children today. And it's hard to know what to believe!

The first thing I did was call the doctor and make an appointment for K to get the vaccine. All parents know how hard it can be to get a doctor’s appointment (especially nonemergency), and if I decided I want to get Makensie vaccinated, I wanted to be able to do it ASAP. Then I began to do research (as I had done in the beginning). I’m a huge fan of Heather Armstrong’s blog, so I decided to check there first. On her homepage was a “Momversation” about whether flu shots will make your child sick (lucky break!). I watched that, and most of those moms, including Heather, planned to vaccinate the entire family.

Next, I googled “Flu Mist” (Kensie’s doctor only offers the mist, which, to me, sounds a lot better than a shot, being my kid’s only two years old). On the CDC site, it explained that the FluMist® is better in that it’s not a shot (score for Kensie), and some studies show it may even be better at protecting from the flu than the actual shot (score for Kensie and Mommy). However, it does contain live virus, which the shot does not (that makes me nervous, as somehow, every time I get the flu shot, I get sick even though they swear it’s not the flu, and that has no live virus!), though it is weakened and supposedly cannot cause the flu. The side effects seem minimal (though nothing is minimal to a two-year-old who doesn’t get why she’s feeling so terrible): runny nose, headache, wheezing, vomiting, muscle aches, sore throat, cough, and fever. But children (up to 9) have to get two doses, one and then another a month or so later, and then protection doesn’t start for a couple of weeks after the second dose. Note from CDC: “If your child needs the two doses, begin the process early, so that children are protected before influenza starts circulating in your community.” Um, a little too late for that here!

So, I’ve decided that Kensie needs to get the flu shot, and right away! Her appointment is Thursday, so about November, when the flu season has been in full bloom for a few months and swine flu has reared its ugly head in just about every school in Alabama, Kensie will be protected.

No matter how hard you try or how early you get a jump on things as a parent, it seems as if you never try hard enough and never begin early enough. And just when you think you’ve got it all under control, the universe hits you with the swine flu!