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Two Months

Dear Persephone,

People kept telling me we should “enjoy this time” with you. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this advice.

A couple weeks ago I said to Olivia: “She’s only six weeks old. All she does is sleep and eat and poop. Oh, and occasionally she cries. What moments are we suppose to treasure, exactly?”

Olivia’s reply: “Well, you know, her cuteness and when she smiles.”

But I hadn’t seen you smile, not really. You’d only smiled when you were asleep, and that didn’t seem to count.

Then, just one week later, you smiled at your mother for the first time, and a little later you smiled at me, and I finally understood what Olivia was talking about.


Today at your doctor visit you weighed in at 9 lbs 15 oz, so I won our little family pool. During the exam you had another first. The doctor put you on your stomach, and you rolled yourself over for the first time. That was cool.

Then came the matter of getting your shots. Some friends really put the fear into us about vaccinations. We took that seriously. But we also take the threat of infectious disease seriously. Ultimately we decided to trust medical science and get the shots. I held your tiny hands while the nurse injected you. You wailed like a baby, the first real pain you’ve experienced, I believe.

Later, I read a couple articles to reassure myself. But we don’t know what’s right, not with certainty. We had to make a judgment call on what’s best for you, since you can’t possibly judge for yourself. It was the first of many, and I can only hope we make the right choices for you.

Love, Your Father

Published inFamilyLetters to PersephonePix


  1. Look at that smile. It can just break your heart.

    I feel you on the vaccinations struggle. I went back and forth for a long time with it. Making such seemingly big decision for such a tiny, helpless person is really daunting.

  2. PJ PJ

    One of the things my dad told me is that you’ll develop a real instinct for her temperature, like you won’t need a thermometer to know when she is feeling bad, you’ll know because she’s a step warmer than usual.

    I remember Abe’s PKU test. One of the things that seems really dumb to me is that they test a baby for PKU at the hospital, then test again because the first test happens too soon. Or something, I don’t know. The nurse that administered the second test just could not get enough blood and he was pretty serious about screaming about it.

    Then two weeks later we had to call for the results, because of course in New Orleans nobody would ever call us with them, and they said there wasn’t enough blood to do the test and we would have to come back.

    Don’t think so. His first test was negative, I was fine with that. No circumcision either, and we were fine with that, since the possibility of pain didn’t seem to be worth it.

  3. David David

    Extremely cute picture.

    I agree with PJ. If I had a son, I wouldn’t get him circumsized either. He can do that later if he wants.

  4. Avocado Avocado


    Simply Awesome.

    If you get a chance, consider checking out some of the stuff over at fatherdadman.blogspot… It can be pretty stream-of-consciousness, but posts like Savoring the Nanoseconds are just cool…

  5. spab spab

    While I’m against not vaccinating kids, I do think that the number of shots are a bit alarming, plus how the child’s system deals with aluminum when they’re given 4-6 shots in one visit. Other factors are mercury in flu shots and the live virus measles given at the age of 1.

  6. Lee Lee

    Such a warm, loving note to your daughter b. Hopefully the net will be around when she’s of age to fully understand her parents and love them for who they truely are – 2 artistic people.

  7. This is very sweet, complemented by an adorable picture — what a sweet baby smile!

    As for the pain of injections, nursing while administering the injection can help (there are natural pain relievers in breast milk) if that is something up for negotiation. It worked for us during those first few months.

  8. Nut job Nut job

    I am an anti vaccine nut job.

    It isn’t an easy decision my husband and I made the one we did and have not regretted it.

    And I am sure you won’t regret your decision either.

    She is a sweet pile o smile.

  9. Elizabeth Elizabeth

    I found your blog because I wanted to see who was giving away the tile on Freecycle. Yes, I’m picky about the folks from whom I ask for things.

    Your baby is adorable. And so . . . for me not to say this, with my background & knowledge of vaccines & meds . . . .

    There are natural things you can take after the vaccine & meds to help counteract the side effects. I have used these things personally, given them to my family & use them with clients. Feel free to email me if you want to know more.
    I am very sensitive to drugs – and rarely ever take them, but when it is absolutely necessary, well . . . then I am prepared. I’d be happy to tell you all about them. Just an FYI, there are folks on Freecycle who can vouch for me and of course many more than that too!

  10. Robyn Robyn

    Dear Nut Job (I wouldn’t have used that term in particular, but since that’s how you signed on. . .)

    Make sure you thank everyone you know who accepts the risks and vaccinates their children. As I’m sure you’re aware, your child(ren) is/are pretty safe from several deadly childhood diseases because of the rest of us who take on the risk of vaccinations.

    You’re welcome.

  11. Robyn Robyn

    Oh man. The vaccination thing got me so riled up, I forgot to say what a cutie Persephone is. What a charming smile she has!

  12. julesb_town julesb_town

    what a treat that she is smiling!
    ahhhh, you mentioned vaccinations….one hot topic for those of us with little ones these days. yes there are risks…but, as far as our family is concerned, the risks of not vaccinating are far greater than the risks of. btw- i too am curious about nut jobs view on circumcision?

  13. Nut job Nut job

    I have a daughter so I never had to worry about circumsicion.

    When my daughter was born we lived in a small village in the 3rd world and I watched how the vaccinations where handled and began to worry about the viability and safety issue.

    This was not an easy decision and we didn’t make it intending to become rabid enthusiasts.

    I guess what turned the tide for us was when she was born she had a slight outward turn in her hip, when we went to the Doctors they proposed a vintage torture type machine with a metal rod holding her lower torso in position. At that point in time I knew that we could figure out something better and we did.

    This is the part of being a parent that is so hard, making decisions that you think are in the best interest of your own child and situation.


    My daughter is 18 if anyone cares to know

  14. PJ PJ

    Nut Job, you don’t sound like a nut job at all.

    I was pigeon toed when I was born and the drs had some contraption they wanted to put me in as well, but my mom wouldn’t do it.

    My wife made a pretty convincing case this morning about vaccine-no and circumcision-yes. Of course I don’t pretend to be well informed on the vaccine-no position and never seriously looked into it the way she did.

    Love the little Persephone too. I call her the new PJ.

  15. Jane Jane

    Re: Circumision. While it sounds logical to avoid causing the baby that pain, uncircumsized men often have recurrent yeast infections, which can also cause painful intercourse. There may also be a correlation to some types of cancer.

  16. David David

    I say vaccinate the foreskin.

    The medical benefits of circumcision are vastly over stated. Most men aren’t and are fine. Yes, if you cut off the foreskin, you won’t get cancer of the foreskin, which is what Jane refers to.

    There are risks to getting circumcised, too. I once shared an apartment with a torts attorney who told me every year there are malpractice suits over botched circumcisions which leave the infants mutilated for life. Also, circumcision is attributed to bending of the penis, which is why, when erect, some dicks look like this “?” and not this “!”. That can be a problem, or so I’m told.

    On top of that, these babies are getting a significant piece of flesh cut off, and they’re usually not given anaesthesia. It’s an absolutely barbaric practice, and it’s done simply because the child lacks the ability to yell, “Get the fuck away from me with that knife!” Because the child can’t articulate his pain, our society dismisses, though it’s obvious. Hey junior, you’re barely out of the womb, and one of your first experiences will be getting exposed to some serious, unnecessary pain. And we wonder why men are such assholes.

    When I wrote I wouldn’t circumcise a son of mine, it was also about respecting his personal boundaries. If the kid’s got a perfectly good penis (which is a funny phrase to type), why take a knife to it? Like I said, if the kid got older and decided he wanted circumcision, that would be fine. But it would be his decision, not mine.

  17. Sonya Sonya

    Wow. I can’t believe all these negative comments to such a sweet post. Seriously, if there is one thing that being a parent has taught me, it is to NEVER judge another parents decisions. When it comes to your baby – whether you are deciding on vaccines, sleeping arrangements, sleep schedules, etc – it is your business. Just do what works for you and what you are comfortable with.

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