Friday, April 23, 2010

The Shoemaker's Daughter

Hopefully we all know the story, the shoemaker who made shoes for all of the children and people of the village, but wasn't able to provide shoes for his own children.

Before you worry, let me assure you that my child has an abundance of shoes (or enough, I'm trying to keep it to a manageable number of pairs). And clothes. And toys. There is no lack or need in our house. And we do tend to her health in many ways, which will soon be my subject.

(Scarlett is voluntarily on this table. Lately she's been coming into the office, grabbing a face cloth, and then standing at the table with her arms outstretched and says "up, up, up".)

Being a chiropractor, and one that sees families in the office, I am frequently asked if I adjust Scarlett, why, and how often. The answers are, of course I do! for many reasons, and it varies. I first adjusted her on Day 1 or 2 of her life & trust me that I had guilt that I hadn't adjusted her within minutes of being born. When I first adjusted her, she had been sleeping/dozing, and her eyes popped open and she threw up. I worried briefly that I had wrecked her, before I reassured myself that it was a good release for her. And she was fine. We have had periods of time when I realize that a month has passed since her last adjustment (the horror), but some times I adjust her daily, or multiple times a day. For instance, at the moment, I am adjusting her multiple times a day in an attempt to make her poop. (sorry, don't all blogs with babies eventually come to the subject?). Which brings me to the shoemaker.

If the shoemaker can makes shoes, shouldn't all his children have shoes? If a chiropractor can adjust, shouldn't all her children be healthy and well adjusted?

To address why I adjust kids. Many, many reasons. The easy answer is, to keep their spine and nervous system balanced, which can help with a number of different things in the body. Through case studies, adjustments may be able to help with ear infections, colic, constipation, asthma, back pain, headaches, etc. The other easy answer is to visit the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association's website,, for lots of information. I adjust Scarlett because I believe that when her nervous system is balanced and clear of stress, then she is at her optimum and her body works as it should. I would like to stress the word should, as there must always be exceptions. And while our daughter is very healthy, strong, coordinated, funny, completely on track for all things her age, and has never been seriously ill, of course I worry about the little health problems. While most other little babies and kids in the office seem to spontaneously poop after an adjustment (true, very common side effect), it doesn't happen the same way with Scarlett. But still I am perplexed because I know chiropractic works!

To reassure my troubled mind... My latest "WOW" story for kids and chiropractic is a toddler who slept very poorly. At his second adjustment, I asked his mom, "how was his sleep?" "Well, he slept 9 hours after his first adjustment." I immediately have, of all emotions, ENVY! Because our little darling is also not a great sleeper, although she still is a breast feeding, co-sleeper, which may explain our poor sleep. So Scarlett is lacking in sleep and poop.

Not that I think chiropractic is the only option, please don't assume that. We've looked at diet, visited our Naturopath, and tried homeopathics. Our medical doctor is not concerned. I could also just blame it on toddler behavior, or to breastfeeding (breastfed infants can eliminate frequently or not so frequently, does this still apply to her?), changes in diet, or teething. That's the fortunate thing about parenting, there are always many factors that you can use as an excuse.

I have been told that our children are here to challenge our beliefs and question everything we do, and I get that. I appreciate that my daughter is her own little person with her own responses and her own way to learn about her body and her life. I am constantly amazed at the personality that is growing and expressing and I believe that is the greatest chiropractic gift that I can give her. By helping her nervous system to be adaptable to her stresses I feel I am helping her manage some of the filters that many of us become burdened with over time, and hopefully keep her true to who she is. Which brings me back to the shoemaker once again. Possibly, the shoemaker was willing and able to provide his child with shoes, and had them available, but when the shoes were presented, the child chose not to wear them. I'm pretty sure that if I was a shoemaker, my child would be running around barefoot. Feeling the grass and mud squish between her toes, and laughing in delight at her perplexed parent.

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