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Friday, 16 May 2014


By Richard Wiesenthal

When our daughter was about three years old, a new vaccine against rubella had been developed and we spent some time debating the question of whether or not to give her a live vaccine.

We were concerned parents of an only child and thought that the new inoculation might cause some problems later on in her development. There was no internet, no Google, no ask.com and the available research wasn’t easily obtained.

Our concern was that a live vaccine might affect her ability to bear children. Young girls already have all the ovum they will ever have and we were unsure if the new vaccine would, in fact, result in some changes to that finite source of fertility.

We had consulted with her pediatrician and were torn between the advantages of eliminating the threat of German measles and a possible physiological disaster which might occur in 20 years as a result of the protection.

It was clear to us that no long term studies had been done so no one could be sure that it was perfectly safe.

Parents often forget that children can easily multi-task. My wife and I spoke quietly in our living room about the issue while our daughter played on the floor with her doll house. She gave no indication that she was listening and we assumed that the discussion was way beyond her ability to understand.

“I don’t know if we should give her the rubella shot since it might hurt her eggs. After all she has all the eggs she will ever have and if we destroy or harm those eggs she will not be able to have children,” I said to my wife.

“If she doesn’t have the vaccine and then gets German measles when she is pregnant, how will she feel knowing that a birth defect could have been avoided by a simple shot?” she responded.

We went back and forth on the issue, moving into the kitchen to begin dinner preparation. Our daughter left the living room and took the doll house upstairs to her bedroom. We then went on to discuss the day’s events and share a glass of wine.

When dinner was just about ready, I went from the kitchen to the staircase landing and called up to our daughter who was in her room on the second floor engaged in some play.

“Honey, dinner is almost ready, please clean up what you’re doing and come down,” I yelled up the stairs.

“Okay,” she responded.

I went back to the kitchen and continued our conversation and began to set the table. A few minutes passed and she had not yet appeared. Dinner was ready, the table was set and I was beginning to be annoyed by her dawdling, her failure to appear for dinner.

Again, I went to the bottom of the stairs and called up to her. “Ann, please come down! We are ready to eat.”

My wife and I waited a few more minutes. This time, I raised my voice to a level I thought would cause her to put away her toys and come down for dinner.

As I left the kitchen yet another time, and got to the bottom of the stairs, I looked up and saw her diminutive form, in the semi-darkness of the late afternoon, very slowly moving from one step to the next, each time lowering her left foot to the next stair tread, and then carefully lowering the right foot to meet it.

In total exasperation I said, “What in heaven’s name is making you move so slowly?”

“Daddy,” she said, “I don’t want to break my eggs.”

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


A priceless reminder of a young child's ideas and conclusions from an overheard adult conversation. It's a constant reminder of what big ears little children have.

What a great story and a reminder that children hear much more than we think they do, putting their own "twist" on it. I can see one of our three daughters doing something like this!


My husband and I were also very concerned about our daughter and whether or not to get the Rubella shot.

We were saved from having to make that decision by our neighbor's child getting the German Measles.

When I heard that the little girl had the Measles, I called her Mother and asked if our daughter to come to their house and play with her child. She gave me permission and I took Carol over there and after an afternoon of playing together the germs were transferred.

About a week later Carol broke out and the doctor told me that it was definitely Rubella.

Fast forward twenty years and Carol is pregnant with her first child and the OB wants to know if she ever had Rubella.She told him the story and he was very amused
by how she got them, but also very happy that she had had the disease when it didn't matter so much.

Loved the story! Well-written and I think many can relate to what happens when we think little ones are not paying attention. They hear more than we think and understand or misunderstand what they hear.

Great story, funny surprise ending!

Very interesting.

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