Thursday, November 7, 2013

Motherhood FAIL of the Week: Starvation Diet

Yesterday, at the Muffin Man's ten month checkup, he received a "failure to thrive" diagnosis, so I now have far more serious worries to keep me awake at night than what preschool Noah will be attending.  My ten month old, who should weight about 20-24 pounds, weighs in at the astonishingly low weight of 16 pounds, 8 ounces.  I promise that I'm not starving him; while I'm certainly not a perfect parent, I do offer Noah three meals a day full of protein and fat and delicious things like sweet potato and butter.  Here's the problem: the only thing Noah wants to eat is crackers or the Plum Organics baby food pouches.  Last night I made him mashed potatoes and he wanted prunes instead.  Seriously?  Who chooses prunes over a bowl of butter, yogurt and chicken stock-filled whipped tubers?  I was so distraught by his refusal to eat this bowl of deliciousness that I ended up sitting on the couch eating the potatoes with a baby spoon while sobbing uncontrollably.  In other words, yesterday was not one of my better days.

My friends, I'm at a loss.  I just don't know how I'm expected to force my child to eat when he flat out refuses to do so.  Am I supposed to hold him down, pry his mouth open, and shove the food down his throat?  Because that I'm just not capable of doing.  I offer him lots of choices at every meal - this morning it was egg yolk and oatmeal and yogurt and toast - and he simply nibbles a little bit before throwing everything on the ground and refusing to take one more bite.  Once and a while we'll find something that he loves, and he'll eat with gusto.  Sunday night it was black beans, and after successfully feeding him a large portion, I danced around the dining room in victory.  I was more than happy to give Noah black beans at every meal if that turned out to be the key to fattening the kid up, (gas be damned - I can certainly handle a stinky child who weighs in at 20 pounds) but low and behold, on Monday he once again refused to take even a single bite of frijoles negros, so we were back at square one.  So now it's come to the point where I actually dread mealtimes.  I don't like how frustrated I get when Noah locks his jaw, shakes his head, and throws spoonfuls of food at me.  I can't stand the battle it is to get him to take one single bite of whatever it is that's on the menu that day.  But I man up, put on a plastic apron to protect myself from flying food, and I do my best to get my child to eat something, anything, that has more nutritional value than a cracker, because sometimes (a lot of times) being a parent means playing the bad guy.

The positive side is that Noah is perfectly healthy in all other ways.  He's hitting his developmental milestones, he shows no signs of being on the Autism spectrum, and he's extremely intelligent, so it looks like my gene pool hasn't done too much damage.  We're taking him for blood tests next week to make sure that he's not anemic and that he doesn't have any food allergies, but I suspect the poor kid just inherited his Momma's body type.  I guess I can look forward to 18 years of strangers accusing me of starving him and well-intentioned people suggesting I feed him a stick of butter between two Oreos.  It's too bad, as I was really hoping the Hubby's genes wold be dominant and that my child would be spared an adolescence of toothpick-inspired name calling, but it looks like he drew the short straw on that one.  Oh well, at least he'll have yet another thing to blame me for in his therapy sessions.  

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