parenting

Imagine a town crier walking down the street outside shouting through his bullhorn: "All of the young people should go get the new meningitis A vaccine." And adding that it's free.

That's one of the ways that health practitioners are combating what they call "vaccine hesitancy" — refusing a vaccine when it is offered or available.

It's a topic that has made headlines this year, when an outbreak of measles focused attention on U.S. parents who'd not vaccinated their kids, fearing unproven side effects.

Soon after their wedding, Dr. Mimi Lee and Stephen Findley decided to create five embryos. Lee had just been diagnosed with breast cancer, and she worried that treatment would leave her infertile. Now that they're divorced, Lee wants to use them; Findley, however, does not.

Those embryos are at the heart of a court case that will soon decide a very modern problem: Which member of a divorced couple gets control of their frozen embryos?

The infant room at Learning Way School & Daycare in White Center, where director Jeri Finch says she does her best to make sure parents update their children's immunization records regularly.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

Under Washington state law, children are supposed to be fully immunized to attend daycare or preschool.

But no one knows how many kids in child care centers are actually vaccinated, because the state’s not keeping track.

Kids play on a closed street in the Central District. Water was the theme here.
KUOW Photo/Paul Kiefer

In old movies and photographs, you sometimes see kids playing in the street, even in big cities. Today, cars and bikes have taken over the streets.

But in Seattle, that old idea of street play is making a comeback.

They’re called Play Streets, a program through the Seattle Department of Transportation. The city started testing the idea last year. The premise: Shut down a neighborhood street for a few hours so kids can play. It’s free – all you have to do is fill out a sheet of paper and send it to the city.

Just a couple of blocks off the 210 Freeway in San Bernardino, Calif., about an hour east of LA, rest a whole row of cheap, rundown motels. Some people stay for a night or two, others just by the hour.

But some rooms house families with kids — and these families aren't just stopping in.

This is home for them, at least for now. They've run out of other options for a roof over their heads.

My Parenting Advice: Don't Kill Them

Aug 14, 2015
Ijeoma Oluo
Courtesy of Ijeoma Oluo

Editor's note: This essay contains strong language.

Having had kids before most of my friends, I’ve now reached the stage in life when many in my circle are coming to me for parenting advice.

“Your boys are so fun, so precocious, so well-mannered. What’s your secret?” they ask.

“Don’t kill them.” I answer.

The frontlines of child protection in Washington are about to get a boost. The new state budget funds more than 40 new caseworker positions.

Braden Swenson wanders into a semi-rickety wooden shed on his search for gold, treasure and riches.

"Is there any treasure in here?" he asks in the endearing dialect of a 4-year-old. "I've been looking everywhere for them. I can't find any." The proto-pirate toddler conducts a quick search, then wanders away to continue his quest elsewhere.

Not far away, Ethan Lipsie, age 9, clutches a framing hammer and a nine-penny nail. He's ready to hang his freshly painted sign on a wooden "fort" he's been hammering away on. It says, "Ethan, Hudson and William were here."

It's family vacation time, and I've taken the kids back to where I grew up — a small plot of land off a dirt road in Kansas.

For my city kids, this is supposed to be heaven. There are freshly laid chicken eggs to gather, new kittens to play with and miles of pasture to explore.

But we're not outside.

I'm sitting in my childhood bedroom watching my 7-year-old son and his 11-year-old-cousin stare at a screen. The older kid is teaching the younger the secrets of one of the most popular games on Earth: Minecraft.

It's controlled after-school anarchy at the Christian-Carter household. Seven-year-old Chloe has rolled herself up in an exercise mat in the living room of the family's Oakland, Calif., home.

"Look I'm a burrito," Chloe shouts.

Her 4-year-old sister, Jackie, swoops in for a bite — and a hard push.

"Ow!" Chloe shouts. "Mom! Jackie pushed me!"

After giving birth, some women save the placenta in order to consume it in the following weeks. In fact, Texas just passed a law giving women the right to take the placenta home from the hospital, the third state to do so.

Science doesn't support a lot of the claims of its purported benefits. But for Melissa Mathis, it's about her rights. Last year she had her baby, Betsy, in a Dallas hospital. When Mathis took Betsy home, she wanted to take the placenta home, too.

California is on the brink of passing a law that would require nearly all children to be vaccinated in order to attend school. The bill has cleared most major hurdles, but public health officials have grappled with a strong, vocal opposition along the way.

There's actually a long history to the anti-vaccination movement.

It could have been a routine out in foul territory. Instead, a pop-up at a Chicago Cubs game was caught by a dad who was also holding a baby — and the crowd went wild. It didn't hurt that the fan momentarily robbed the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers of an out.

The play was eventually ruled to be fan interference, as Cubs fan Keith Hartley was found to have reached over into the field to nab the ball before it could land in the glove of the Dodgers' first baseman, Adrian Gonzalez.

Playground and wading pool at Woodland Park, circa 1915.
Flickr Photo/Seattle Municipal Archives (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds speaks with Jesus Aguirre, the new superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation, about why his background in education matters and about his vision for how Seattleites of the future will play.

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