Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tales of the Tiny Tyrant

How can a child of mine not LOVE eating? It's just unnatural.

In case you can't tell, I've been a bit of a headcase about Crew's food for the last several days. Monitoring your infant or toddler's intake feels so wrong. It goes against all of my mothering instincts: if the child is hungry, feed him. If he's not hungry, leave him alone. Apparently that only works if they actually continue to grow on what they are willing and able to eat. Ah... the fine print of the parenting license.


And oh, baby, yes, he senses the stress oozing out of my every spoon-wielding pore. I try to put on my "chill" face; I laugh lightheartedly and offer him tasty bites in my nonchalant voice, pretending I couldn't care less whether he eats his breakfast or slimes me with it. Unfortunately, I'm not fooling him. At all.

Perhaps tomorrow will be a better eating day. He did so very well on Saturday and Sunday. Fingers crossed.

Why the crisis attitude? Because we have deadlines. Deadlines, I said. If he doesn't eat better and/or start gaining weight immediately, our life is about to get turned even more upside down. We'll be diagnosed with "failure to thrive" and we'll be referred to Primary's for further intrusion, opinions, procedures, etc. Say what you want (but not on my blog and not to me); I'm desperate to avoid that scenario.

At this point, no one really thinks he has anything genetically or metabolically wrong with him. We honestly think he is simply still unable/unwilling to eat enough calories to grow. (The math says he needs about 900-1000 per day and he takes in about 700-800--P.S., counting calories for babies is stupid and I hate it.) But why he doesn't eat enough is a mystery. He doesn't have reflux. He seemingly enjoys eating (most of the time). He can self-feed on occasion. Aside from some texture issues and taste preferences, there is nothing obvious inhibiting him from eating "enough". He's a tiny guy with a tiny belly, and he gets full. And eating is hard work for him. We're actually extraordinarily lucky that he does as well as he does. And he has improved greatly over the months.

If the genetic and metabolic tests come back ugly, it's a different ballgame. If we can successfully bump up his calories and he still doesn't grow, I'll be looking anywhere for help (even Primary's). If his electrolytes and kidneys are off, we're over our heads. But if our suspicions are correct, he's so borderline with his issues and so close to his ideal caloric needs that it seems really extreme to start involving GI's and Primary's and a comprehensive team of "failure to thrive" specialists. I don't want to be put in any kind of intrusive treatment pipeline if I can help it.

PT Julie came today. I was in tears when she arrived because Crew called a food strike this morning. She's bringing out an OT that specializes in eating issues to observe him. I welcome her. Gladly. We're also due for our neonatology follow-up clinic appointment and we have a nutritionist and an OT there. Why is that different and more palatable than Primary's? It just is.

I need him to grow. STAT.

Am I overreacting? Absolutely. It's part of my charm. Ask me if I care.

Comments disabled. So I guess you can't ask me if I care after all.


Meganmk said...

You are NOT overreacting...hang in there. Been there, done that...though not to the same extent. Blech.

I used to download your scrapbooking files, and I still follow your story...and Crew and Dex's. It is a beautiful and heartbreaking story at the same time.

Take care...and good luck. Feeding issues are so.hard. I'm a pediatric SLP...I get it...but going through it as a parent was a very different story.

All the best to you!

Lisa said...

I'm so sorry hon!
My nephew, who was a preemie at 2.3 and was the absolutely teeniest thing ever (our oldest was born just 2 months after him, so it was always a comparison thing for my SIL when they were together, I felt so bad for her!), is now 24 and 6 foot 4, and as string beany as ever....He too had food issues, and it was just awful for my SIL as well. My heart always broke watching her feed him, you could feel the worry.
I'm just so sorry you're having to go through this with him. You're a great mommy!