October 20, 2009
Hog's Back Swine Flu

This afternoon, Yukiko and I bundled all three car seats into the back of our Ford Focus and went to Hog's Back Falls to play in the leaves.  We had a fabulous, but not really blog-worthy time.


So I thought I'd talk about swine flu vaccinations instead (tee hee). 


I've been following the hand-wringing about the flu vaccines with interest since the H1N1 vaccine was just approved here in Canada and a decision will soon be needed on whether to get the seasonal flu shots.  In fact, Elizabeth and I both qualify for H1N1 shots as of Monday.


I'm a long time advocate of flu shots, despite a huge dislike of needles.  In my opinion, the evidence on the effectiveness of the flu shots is quite compelling.  There's also pretty fantastic summary of flu vaccine efficacy if you are looking for a quick science-based overview of the research without the side of hysteria that seems to go along with the topic.


I find it terribly ridiculous that so many people believe it is okay to skip the shot based on information they haven't confirmed given to them by word of mouth, and yet don't think twice about going out in public when sick.  Public service announcement:  If you are sick, stay home!  Or at least away from me!

Of course, it doesn't help that Health Canada has done a terrible PR job this year, nor that a lot of the "information" out there is just short of bizarre.  Some folks believe that the flu shot campaign is actually a deep seated government plot to tag and track the population or even kill us all off (as conspiracy theories go, this one gets double points because we're being injected with mysterious DNA markers as part of the elimination campaign).


One acquaintance of mine told me they weren't going to get the shot "because it's just the same as last year's".  Even assuming that was true, it turned out that they hadn't personally received the shot last year, because "lots of health professionals don't get the shot themselves".  Never mind that many health professionals don't practice what they preach in other areas such as smoking. 


Deciding whether to get the H1N1 flu shot or not was fairly straightforward for me and Brendan.  We found this article on H1N1 facts from the Globe and Mail particularly helpful.


Deciding whether to get the H1N1 flu shot for Elizabeth was a little bit more complicated.  The full strength adjuvant shot wasn't recommended for children. Would the non-adjuvant version of the vaccine be available for kids?  Then I found out that the adjuvant contains thimersol, but only 1/5 the amount in your standard tuna sandwich.  The non-adjuvant version that's coming has ten times the amount.  Hmm.

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October 18, 2009
Sippy Cup

Elizabeth loves drinking from a cup.  She loves to imitate Mom and Dad drinking water by tilting it towards her mouth.  She prefers not to have assistance, but even her best attempts to drink from an open cup involve dumping a lot of water everywhere but her mouth. 


So lately we've been experimenting with a sippy cup. The only problem is that she has no idea that she is supposed to suck on the spout.  She gnaws away at it, trying in vain to extract liquid through sheer chomping effort.  We tried a number of different spouts, but eventually had to remove the control valve for now as suggested in this list of sippy cup introduction do's and don'ts.  This only works since she usually doesn't hold the cup at a high enough angle to release the liquid.  Periodically she gets it high enough to get a mouthful of water.  Once she tastes water, she'll stop gnawing and start lapping at the water (a bit like a dog).  Then the only problem is that she's so proud of herself that she gets a huge smile and water starts leaking out the corners of her mouth.


We're assuming that she'll get the hang of this eventually!

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October 17, 2009
Danger versus something SHINY!

I recently read a report on a study about when babies learn to detect danger (and its correlation with the development of locomotion).  According to the study, when threatened with looming objects, babies develop the same kind of neural activity as adults around the time that they learn to crawl.


When I first read the report, I imagined the conversations the researchers must have had when designing their study.  First, they had to choose a looming object, and then they had to figure out how to threaten babies with it.  I was also fascinated by the idea that we don't develop the ability to notice we're about to be flattened until we can do something about it.


Elizabeth does seem to acknowledge dangerous situations - pausing to register things hovering over her head, cliffs, etc.  However, we can't help but notice that while her ability to detect danger seems to be developing just fine, her desire to reach the shiny usually overrides any sense of caution.  Good thing she's not that fast yet!


Oh - and in case you are wondering, Uncle Dave and Brendan were building a bedframe.  No comment on the balcony bonfire...

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October 16, 2009
Summer's Over

You know it's getting cold when the winter clothing appears.  Elizabeth isn't a huge fan of snow suits or bunting bags because they restrict her movement quite a lot, but she puts up with it as long as there are enough interesting things to look at!  Like Mr Pumpkin Head, who lives down the street!  Elizabeth fits her winter clothes much better than last winter.  Wasn't she tiny?  (She's wearing the same snowsuit if you follow the link.  Or rather, drowning in it...)


During our walk today we stopped at Fifth Avenue Court to stretch our legs. It was the first time I've been, but I suspect not the last!  Elizabeth loved watching the fans, fountain and playing with the foliage.  While we were there, we met another baby aged six months.  Her grandmother brought little Sophie over to meet Elizabeth.  "Sophie has never seen another baby before", she said.  I was pretty surprised!  Sophie was quite fascinated to meet another baby, so I recommended babytime - we'll see if she appears at Sunnyside on Tuesday.



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October 15, 2009
We don't eat our feet

Mealtimes are slowly but surely improving as Elizabeth gets used to the idea of solids.


We fed her chili for the first time yesterday (well, okay, rice and kidney bean paste) and she seemed to enjoy it.  In fact, she's stopped crying at mealtimes and while we go to fairly extreme lengths to entertain her during the meal, she's actually starting to swallow food on purpose.  As opposed to swallowing when we've tricked her into actually putting food into her mouth.  It's nice to see some progress but we're still thankful that it's not the quantity of food that she eats that counts, but introducing her to the idea of flavours and textures, since she only eats a couple of teaspoons worth of food at a time.  Patience is definitely in order.


Her favourite food is still popsicle (strawberry-blueberry or strawberry-orange), especially if she can share mom or dad's.  She seems to like mashed bananas, but not avocado.  Cream of rice is okay, squash is better but leek-potato soup was definitely NOT a hit.  Beef gravy was tolerated better than the banana - it would be interesting to see what she makes of it now that she's starting to get the hang of this.  She's getting neater about the actual eating part too!


Oh and she seems to have a taste for toes as well...

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