Failure to Thrive

Are you familiar with those useless, boring, obligatory doctor visits? I always hated them and felt that they were a complete waste of time. For the most part with the previous two children the visit was basically about getting vaccinations. Since I’m not especially thrilled with the vaccination process, but go along with it anyway, doctor visits take on somewhat of a negative view. I know that the idea is that if you see a doctor when you’re well, he might actually catch something BEFORE it becomes a big deal. I know that they aren’t there to evaluate my parenting style and choices and judge me. I know that it can be valuable, but in my experience, it’s been nothing but a waste of several hours waiting in a waiting room, then stripping your child bare to measure them, more waiting in a cold office (with your now undressed baby), and then a visit with a nurse, and a quick minute or two with the doctor, and the shots.

I have to say though, Andrew’s doctor has been completely pleasant. It’s still largely about waiting around, but I can easily blame that on our modern medical system rather than the doctor himself. Dr. Davidson is a soft-spoken man and, unlike other doctors I’ve seen, not prone to overly alarmist speeches. He makes a funny face when I’ve said something I think he disagrees with, but he calmly states his counterpoint or ignores it. I like that. He has reassured me a number of times that Andrew seems to be progressing fine developmentally, but starting around the six month mark, he began to express some concern about the lack of growth for both height and weight in Andrew. Still, he reassured me that he looked completely healthy. He brought us back in for a 7 month weight check and ran some standard lead tests seeing as we lived in an older home that had verifiable amounts of lead. Andrew made some progress for his weight check and the lead test came back normal.

Which is why I understood that he was really concerned when we discussed failure-to-thrive at Andrew’s 12 month check-up. Andrew still hasn’t gained weight. What used to be a healthy 50-75% baby has now dropped to 1%. He’s energetic and healthy, not prone to diarrhea or vomiting, has a good appetite, sleeps fine, walks, and screams to communicate a point. But he’s small and that is a concern. Really, seeing his growth chart really does it. So here it is:

Of course, like any parent, they begin to do research the minute they’re out of the doctor’s office. What I found is that failure to thrive (FTT) is really a symptom, not a disease. The causes are usually obvious: you’ve got a sick baby. In Andrew’s case that doesn’t apply which means that the odds are that his FTT is caused by… me. At least, that’s what the research seems to indicate to me. Sure, there are rare issues of growth hormone disorders and other endocrinological issues. There are many things that can still be causing it, but the research says that the odds are high that some “inorganic” reasons are to blame. As in, the parents are putting their child on a diet or some other form of abuse. Now I know that I’m not abusing my child nor withholding food from him. But that doesn’t stop me from thinking that the doctor might be thinking it.

The good news is this has helped me view my parenting and habits from the outside in. You know how when you are having company come over, you suddenly see all the things that aren’t clean in your house that you’ve been living with anyway? (Please tell me that it’s not just me!) I decided to begin to track Andrew’s habits- everything from sleeping and eating, pooping and playing. Though I was almost done weaning him, I (thankfully) was able to get my milk supply going again and have been feeding him (more or less) on demand. He nurses three to five times a day and again once or twice at night. I began to weigh and measure his food intake and how he behaves after a meal. Just like using a food journal for yourself helps you to identify food patterns and weaknesses, tracking Andrew’s diet has helped me see where I’ve become lazy (from having older children) and respond accordingly.

The other good that has come of this is that I’ve had to look very carefully at what I’ve been eating. For one thing, Andrew almost always refuses food if we aren’t eating the same thing with him. The other big deal for me is that I feel judged because of my weight. I’m embarrassed by it and this leads me to feel like other people are judging me using my own yardstick. I feel like, in this case, the doctor must assume that Andrew eats nothing but junk, since clearly his mother has over-indulged regularly. Out of my deep desire to lose this weight (AGAIN!), I’m going back to my couch-to-5K workouts and then from there into a half-marathon training program (with an adjustment period to build my weekly mileage in between) Ideally, I’ll get pregnant in there somewhere (yes, we’re praying for more children), but developing good work-out habits is good for every pregnant woman. In addition, I’m planning on juicing/juice fasting to include some nutrients that I know I’m not eating enough of. I would really like to have some crazy-fast weight loss just so that I can look better and feel better right away but I know that I only have enough discipline for the minutest of changes.

I’m still praying that the doctor’s up at Children’s Hospital in Denver will find out that there’s nothing wrong with my little one, but I’m still determined to be thankful in all things. After all, Andrew was created in the image of the Father and is perfect just as he is.

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Dear Andrew

I wanted to write tonight about your personality and charm. Despite having a horrible day (you refused to be put down without a massive fit) you still managed to charm EVERY SINGLE PERSON who came in contact with you during the day.

Most babies grab attention. I think it is in our nature to be attracted to a baby’s innocence. But I have never seen people as drawn to a baby as people seem drawn to you. Even children and roudy boys look at you AND COMMENT about how cute you are or how happy you are. It {literally} took me five minutes to get into the grocery store yesterday because of the two separate women who stopped me to tell me how cute and charming you were. It was as though I was walking around with a clown costume on, it seemed that everyone’s eyes automatically turned to the adorable baby I had sitting in my cart.

I just want to thank God for you tonight. A mother always loves when her baby is praised, but there is just something so wonderful and consistent about this praise. For one thing, it isn’t about me, but I am definitely benefitting from all the attention. It encourages me and uplifts me. So thank you. {Both of you.}

Insta-Friday: My First Edition

So over at one of my favorite blogs, Forever Folding Laundry, (don’t ask me how I found her blog, cause I have no idea- but she’s cool, and her husband works at Pixar!) on Fridays, she links up with the folks at Life. Rearranged and the Instagram App for the iPhone/iPod and posts an Insta-Friday post. Whew, what a set-up! I rarely take photos and even less frequently, post them on my blog, but that’s what I want to do more of; so here’s my first attempt. Hopefully, this will become a simple weekly tradition. See, I (almost) always have my iPod on me, and if I can remember to take a few pictures during the week, then perhaps I will be able to have something (just something!) to post every week. Now wouldn’t that be cool?

So, here it is, from our mid-week, end of summer (free) trip to the rinky-dink Pueblo Zoo.

Jordyn and Noah. Isn’t it nice when both children stop and look at the camera and sort of smile?

Andrew smiles. And watches the kids. And animals. And he drools, but we love him anyway.

The sun was hot that day…why does that sound like the opening line to something, somewhere? But, seriously, it was hot. And we picked the hottest hours of the day to be at this zoo. And we forgot to bring water so we had to pay through the nose to get some. Oh, yeah.

Jordyn and Noah watched the penguins eat their meal. They were jumping around and playing and not listening whatsoever to the woman talking about feeding the penguins, perhaps because she was standing behind everyone, but then, they decided to be cute.

Jordyn jumped. She jumped as far as a bullfrog.

Noah jumped. He jumped as far as a spider (that wiggled and jiggled and tickled inside her).

Andrew did not jump. He slept. And he refused to sleep laying down, so smushed into the cupholder he became.

And that was our trip to the zoo and my first experience playing with Instagram. Whatdya think? I kinda like it!

Check it out yourself!
life rearranged

Independence Day

Happy Independence Day!!!

Today, I am thankful to be living in the greatest country on earth. And, though I know it didn’t come about until the War of 1812, and wasn’t even officially our national anthem until 1931, I would like to post our national anthem. All of it.

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

 

And now for some history (what is left of history- it seems these days that everything has been revised, taking out all reference to God, honor, nobility of character, so on and so forth). The history of the Star Spangled Banner (both the song and the flag).

What I’ve Missed

The saying always goes that you don’t know what good you have until it’s gone. That’s all too true.

Jordyn starts school tomorrow. Yes, she is starting kindergarten well behind the time that most kids start. The thing is, I’ve been homeschooling her for the past year and a half, but doing a poor job of it. The time has come to put her into “the system” and let her begin to make her way in the world. I have plans to go back to school and I am comfortable with this decision, though it is a huge reversal for me. Now all I have to get through is the fear and regret.

Yes, regret. I have had my daughter for six very precious years. She has been mine to hold and comfort and she has been mine, alone. I was anticipating having her home for a long time to come, teaching her to be a Godly woman, training her to run a household, and guiding her education. That has suddenly changed. What I realized tonight (as I watched George C. Scott’s version of A Christmas Carol) is that I’ve not been taking advantage of the time I had. Suddenly, I think of baking Christmas cookies during the day with regret. My time management with a hole in it where I was scheduled to school my daughter. With making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (herself) as an opportunity that will be missed from now on.

Why didn’t I realize how valuable my time with her was going to be? Perhaps this is the lesson that the Lord is teaching me. That my children are truly an inheritance, not just to watch grow up, but to nurture and to train. To invest time in. I’m not saying that you can’t do that if your children are in school, I intend to do just that. But think of all the hours I’ve wasted in my own selfish pursuits, watching a TV program with my dinner while my children sit at the table, requiring them to play in their rooms instead of reading a book together on the couch, having endless hours of “play quietly in your room” time because Mommy’s too busy for you. What waste!!!

For the longest time I’ve looked to elite gymnasts for their ability to schedule so much time in their day and here I’ve had all day, every day, and I’ve done nothing with it! Perhaps this change is a good one for me, for it will force me to realize what I’ve been missing and it will force me to make better use of the time I’ve squandered. Maybe I can redeem the time yet.