It comes down to this: Even after researching for over a year, I am not educated enough either way to make an informed decision. I feel like the voices I am hearing could be from anywhere, from mis-informed but well-meaning parent all the way to government conspiracy looking to cover-up the trail of a corrupt pharmaceutical company. The guilt I'd experience would be overwhelming either way - to vaccinate and then deal with autistic symptoms - or to not vaccinate and then deal with deadly diseases (like is happening in the UK).
I recognize that I'm too young to really understand or remember how awful these diseases are, and why vaccinations happened to begin with. But I also have a healthy kiddo who has never reacted poorly to any of his shots up until now.
SO... we compromised. After making sure they only administer mercury/thimerosal-free shots, we divided the scheduled dose into two. Today he received two shots (DtaP and the chicken pox since he's more likely to be exposed to that soon) and next year when he's five, he'll get the MMR and IPV (polio) shots.
The appointment went well - the doctor was pleased with his development (42 pounds, 3 feet 6 inches... 80% and 87% percentiles, respectively). She said he looked great and that his teeth were in amazing condition. She also asked him some extremely basic academic questions (that seemed more appropriate for a 2 year old check-up, but that's another story).
Doctor: Can you please count from 1-10 please?
Daniel: (Confused, thinking about Spanish I think?)
Me: Daniel, baby, just count to ten in English.
Daniel: English? What about Chinese?
The doctor about fell out of her chair, and Daniel counted to 3 in Chinese (thank you Kai-Lan).
He cried harder when she shined a light down his throat (?!) than for the actual shots. His post-shot crying was a little pathetic though... quiet and not so quiet little sobs... until he noticed his bandaids. He said (between sobs), "Why (sob) are there (sob) superheroes (sob) on my bandages?"
We headed straight to Cold Stone for a little shot therapy and from the time the first bite was taken, the shots were forgotten. (Violet tagged along for the whole occasion so we could get her weighed officially before the next home study, and was perfectly happy to partake in the ice-cream celebration without having to have any shots herself.)
I'm so grateful for healthy kids. I can get overwhelmed with all the information out there - nutritionally, especially. But the bottom line is that both kids ARE smart, growing, happy and just thriving in general.
It's a blessing that I refuse to take for granted. Like Cold Stone ice cream.