First Born: Providing the Tools for Parents to Joyfully Raise a Healthy, Well-developed Child
Alison Ticknor, a telecommunications engineer who works from home in Los Alamos, and her husband, Dr. Chris Ticknor, a theoretical physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, have multiple scientific degrees, but no training on becoming a mom and dad.
When they moved to Los Alamos, Alison was pregnant and learned about First Born, which supported the couple through the first two and a half years of daughter Nora’s life—and the two months before she was born.
The giggling toddler “graduated” at age three.
The Ticknors are among Los Alamos’ career-oriented, first-time parents without family nearby who benefit from First Born home visits. Each county’s program reflects the community it serves. The Los Alamos program serves families from China and India and other countries, where cultural norms may vary—but each family has the same goal: to rear a healthy, well-developed child.
What touches me about First Born is seeing how deeply all parents love their children and want to be good parents. They just need to learn how.
–Anna Marie Garcia, LANL Foundation Early Childhood Initiative Director
Like all first-time parents, the Ticknors had questions: about nursing, nutrition, safety-proofing their two-story home, setting limits, and how Nora ranks developmentally. Home visitor Kelley Baer, who reared her own children in Los Alamos, came armed “like the welcome wagon” with lists of local family services and weekly parenting guidance.
Baer and Alison talked about strong daughters: a child who is level headed, has a core sense of self, and lives in hope, not fear. Even though at an early age, it was clear Nora would be that girl.
With the early support of First Born, the Ticknors have the parenting tools and confidence to joyfully raise their daughter.
Photo: First Born Los Alamos home visitor Kelley Baer (left) listens as Alison Ticknor reads to her daughter, Nora, during a homevisit.