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Family Fertilizer

Family traditions are (technically) those repetitive memories from our childhood that are associated with a happy time. They could be repeated for holidays, birthdays, summer vacation, or any sort of annual occurrence. Some traditions are attributed to religions or culture, or for no reason other than they were fun to do.

Traditions create security and predictability during our childhood. We find comfort in predictability. As we get older and have children of our own, we like to recreate that secure, happy feeling for our own kids.

Some of us were not fortunate enough to have a family life as children that lent to the creation of traditions. Creating them for our children can be challenging. How do you create something when you never had it as a child, when you were never shown how?

The most important piece is....

Have a Safe Holiday Season

So, here we are again. Right in the middle of the holiday season. This beautiful time of year when we have extra lights and candles and glass ornaments decorating the house. Regardless of which, if any, holidays you and your family celebrate, chances are your child will be exposed to pretty, new, shiny things to discover.
When you’re decorating, and you have crawlers or toddlers in the house (whether they’re yours or they’re visiting), you’ll want to take certain precautions to protect both the babes and the pretty decor.

Once you decorate, crawl around on your knees and investigate the world from that angle.

  • Look for low hanging glass or breakable ornaments and move them higher. Put unbreakable ornaments on the lower branches and make sure they are not hung with metal hooks. A loop of ribbon can work instead.
  • Look for dangling extension cords and lights that the child could reach. Sometimes just sliding a piece of furniture over a couple of inches in front of the cords is all you need.
  • Look for tablecloths that could be pulled down, causing plates and centerpieces to fall.
  • Look for easy access to holiday plants. Poinsettias are not as poisonous as people think. It takes....

Whooping cough and the TdaP vaccine

There has been a recent outbreak of pertussis, a disease also commonly known as whooping cough, around the country. In the state of WA there have been 58 infants less than 1 year of age diagnosed with whooping cough; among these cases, 22 were hospitalized and 2 have died.

What is pertussis?

Pertussis is a highly contagious disease that is particularly severe in infants. . It is an infection of the airways caused by bacteria. More than half of infants younger than 1 year of age who get the disease must be hospitalized

In infants and children, the disease usually begins with runny nose, low grade fever, and mild cough that last for about 7-10 days. The cough usually worsens and infants may develop bursts of numerous rapid coughs. These bursts of cough are accompanied by sweating, facial flushing, and sometimes vomiting. With this disease, about 1 in 5 infants may develop pneumonia, about 1 in 100 will have seizures, and in rare cases whooping cough can lead to death.

Adults and adolescents also acquire this infection but do not have as a prolonged course as infants.
They usually have a prolonged, persistent cough that is often confused with acute bronchitis.

Whooping cough is most contagious before the coughing starts. Vaccinations are the best way to prevent the disease. 2 vaccines are available – the childhood vaccine is called DTaP vaccine and the booster vaccine for adolescent and adults is called the TdaP vaccine. Although both these vaccines protect against Pertussis, tetanus and diphtheria, the immune response can fade with time.

It is important as parents and caregivers that we are all immunized in order to prevent the spread of the disease to infants and children, who are most vulnerable. The vaccine recommendations are as follows:

It's Snow Laughing Matter

Winter’s here and just a little more than a week away will be winter break for most of our kids. If we’re lucky enough we’ll get a chance to get out and play in the snow.

Skiing, snowboarding, sledding, or a good old-fashioned snowball fight sound like a family memory waiting to happen. Let’s make sure it’s happy memories we’re creating not a regretful ones.

Most parents these days grew up in the time where we didn’t wear helmets when riding bikes much less on the slopes, but what we know now about Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) will make you think twice about sliding off the ski lift without one on.

Safe Passage

Traveling with children can be loads of fun but it also poses challenges that can test even the calmest of parents.

The safest way for your child to travel is in their car seat, even if they’re on a plane.

If there is a sudden change in trajectory, that 5-point harness will be able to hold onto the child better. We have a much better probability of surviving a crash (and less injury) if we stay where we’re seated. If we’re flinging around the inside of a car or plane, our chances of injury or death are increased.

Children are at a disadvantage because they’re lighter weight and have much more flexible cartilige than they do rigid bone because of all the growing that they have to do. That means that the 5-point harness that the car seats use hold in that little flexible body way better than just a 3-point seatbelt would. (A 3-point seatbelt is a standard lap-shoulder seatbelt), or a 2-point (lap belt) on a plane.

Let’s go back to the How do You Catch a Raw Egg demonstration.

Consumer's Choice

In our country, we get to choose what to purchase. It’s a wonderful thing. Ford or Chevy? Levi’s or Wranglers? Wii or XBox? Whatever the choice may be, we have to make decisions. Advertising often influences which product we choose, as well as, reviews from friends, family, magazines, and the consumer reviews online.

When I look at a review, I tend to skip past all the ‘happy, 5-star” reviews. I want to know what sorts of problems people are experiencing, not how quickly the package arrived. I want to look at what the product does and how it functions. Especially, if it’s for a child then is it safe and age-appropriate? (I don’t want to give a choking hazard to a child who likes to put things in their mouth).

The holiday season and shopping process can be difficult for parents. We have a special set of challenges put to us:

Grand-Parentelligence

Every family is unique, but those families who have grandparents who live nearby or are involved in their children’s lives are lucky. It somehow seems just a bit brighter for kids who get to be regaled in stories of long ago, those stories about when mom or dad was a child.

However, some of you with grandparents nearby might wish there was a bit more distance between your house and theirs.

When a baby is born, we have a new baby, new parents, and new grandparents. Our roles have all instantly changed. The new grandparents can be a wealth of information. They have amassed 20, 30, or 40 years of parenting experience. Everything from infants to teens to parenting adults. It’s only natural that they now want to share with you everything that they’ve learned. (They also might want to try to correct what they believe are mistakes that they made as parents.)

The most important thing that new parents need is:

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