* this will be short. Sabine does not give me much time to blog at the moment but I want to get this out there for input. I have another post in my draft folder about meeting with the amazing Mo, but alas, have yet to finish it. Maybe it will be a two post day… (or maybe not)
** Post now has to be put on hold because SOMEONE smells of poop… and it is not me… nor a cat…. ahem.
Ok, let’s try again. So it turns out size does matter. I took Sabine to meet with a well-known and well-respected pediatrician in NYC. Dr. O went over her records from the previous doctor, took her measurements and did an exam. Then she brought me into her office to talk. Never a good sign. She printed out Sabine’s growth charts and they were anything from “ok” like our last doctor had said.
** pause for warm milk **
**pause for three hours to take Sabine to the park, take her on a walk, stop for cookies, and to feed her cheese **
Her previous doctor had told me Sabine is “just fine” and is “following her own curve.” I never questioned or asked to look at the curves. It seems Sabine has fallen off the curve entirely and fell off around 9 months. She is now 14 months. She is so tiny she is often mistaken for a 6 month old. There are some days that I just want to lie. People stare in disbelief at this little tiny “6 month old” crawling and cruising and laughing and being awesome and then come up and ask, baffled, how old she is.
“She is 14 months,” I say proudly and then their faces fall. 14 months? Really? Sometimes I get judgmental looks (don’t you feed your kid?). Sometimes I get an encouraging statement that “she could still grow.” (I don’t think it matters one bit if she is short thankyouverymuch) Sometimes I get very rude questions – “What is wrong with her? Was she born premature?”
** Pause to make dinner **
** Long pause to sleep **
(back to post Tuesday at 10:20 a.m.)
Dr. O said this could just be Sabine living up to “her genetic potential” but since she has fallen so far off the curve (she was born at about 30% and at her “largest” was 45%) she wants to make sure. She recommended we see a pediatric endocrinologist to evaluate her for dietary problems and a possible growth hormone deficiency. I asked that Dr. O please also print the WHO growth chart in addition to the CDC chart since Sabine is a breast fed baby. She politely humored me and then pointed out that according to the WHO her height is actually even further off the charts.
The appointment left me sad and stressed. I don’t want something to be wrong with Sabine. I started researching heavily and learned that it is more likely that this is not a growth hormone issue, but a dietary issue. Sabine still nurses, a lot. She prefers warm milk over food any day. She has become a maddeningly picky eater and her list of “likes” is quickly dwindling. Some days all she eats are the muffins I make and warm milk.
I have gotten looks and comments from people that imply her problems are “because we are still breast feeding” and then helpful advice that formula will make it all better. I have to try hard not to laugh in their faces. Do you think I have not tried formula at this point? Of course I have. She rejects it. She rejects cows milk. She rejects everything. I made really yummy turkey, quinoa and apple meatballs last night for us. They were delicious, mild and perfect for baby. She took one nibble and threw it on the floor. She rejected her yummy boiled potato. She rejected her maple yogurt. Instead she ate a handful of black beans, half a muffin and half a veggie/prune pouch.
** Pause to deal with howling cat who is threatening to wake sleeping Sabine **
I try to do everything the books say to do: meals are at the same place every time (the family table) and Sabine eats when we eat. We include her in the meal when she allows, and offer her Baby Einstein when she needs something to help her sit still for the 30 minutes it takes to finish her tiny dinner. When she throws everything on the floor I try my hardest not to show my frustration. I have a “three offers” rule where I offer an item three times before moving on. We always start the meal with offering the most nutrient dense option and then go down from there. It always ends with her only eating beans or tofu and muffin and fruit/veggie pouch, though.
I DREAD having a medical professional tell me that I am doing this to my kid. I fear a doctor telling me to just load her up on highly processed “baby foods.” No judgement, but I just am not comfortable feeding my daughter this stuff. We are not out to “fatten” Sabine up. The problem is not that she is skinny. The problem is that she is barely growing. But she has chub and is meeting her milestones (albeit slower than her friends). She is sweet and so studious, inspecting everything she sees with the meticulousness of a scientist.
(For the record, we do offer some traditional baby snacks. Baby Mum Mum’s are crucial to keeping her happy in the store or car, Trader Joe’s fortified O’s, Ella’s Kitchen fruit and veggie pouches, Baby Bell Cheeses, and these wheat buttery crackers that she goes bonkers for.)
Adding to my worry is the fact that Sabine is still anemic, which floors me because of the few things she eats, they are all pretty good sources of iron – black beans, spouted wheat bread, tofu and I bulk her muffins with fortified baby cereal and molasses. We started an iron supplement three days ago and will go for a retest in a month. Hopefully we will see some improvement then. I’m also going to order a pound of grass-fed organic beef and see if she will accept this. I’m not getting my hopes up, though.
No one wants to have their parenting choices questioned or implications made that you are “starving” your kid. No one wants to be that first time parent in the doctors office going “What? You are supposed to be doing that? Why didn’t anyone tell me?” No one wants to be the mama of the baby who is the ONLY ONE not walking in her age group. No one wants to hear every. single. day. that her child is really tiny.
So mama’s of tiny babes – any advice? Anyone have a super picky eater and some tips for introducing new foods? Anyone give iron supplements? I feel like I might be doing everything wrong right now and could use some input! In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the above video of Sabine’s first time walking with a walker. Good lord she was into it. We have since gotten a little wooden wagon at home and she spends her days running laps in the house with it!
I’ve been waking up at 4:30 or 5 a.m. the past 10 days. Partially because my back aches (we got a new mattress topper and it is not jiving with my lanky form) and partially to get a few precious minutes of solitude before Sabine gets up and we start the madness that is Toddlerdom all over again.
I relish this time alone, but it is also wearing me down. I remind myself that just like the sleepless nights of infancy, this too shall pass.
The Professor came home at four yesterday and found a haggard wife, walking back and forth in the living room with a finally sleeping baby strapped to her back. (Possibly another reason my back is hurting lately.) I continued to pace for another 30 minutes until she woke up at 4:30, guns a-blazing. She wailed. She fussed. I handed her to Daddy and crawled into my too squishy bed and passed out until 6 p.m. He reports that she slept on his chest while he rocked her for another hour after I went away. Go figure.
Yes, this is the third day in a row I’m writing about this. But hang with me for a few more sentences. There is method to my madness.
It’s taken 14 months but I’m finally learning how important it is to carve time for yourself in your days and weeks as a SAHM. My worst days are when I don’t get an escape, and no, a nice long nap while I clean the house does not count as an escape. An escape is when I leave my house without a diaper bag. Without a sippy cup. Without a lovey. Without a baby. An escape is when I go to the gym and put all my energy into my glutes, or my quads, or my chest (please, tiny boobs, don’t sag like deflated balloons when we are finally done nursing). An escape is when I carry my yoga mat to class and breathe. An escape is when I take a slow, steady, asthma-laden jog.
A wise friend of mine once said, “What do you mean you ask your husband permission to leave? Just go!”
“What? You mean just walk out? What about Sabine?”
“They will figure it out.”
And they do. I’ve stopped asking permission. I inform.
“I’m going to yoga tonight. I need you home no later than 6:45. I’ll have dinner ready for you and Sabine and you will be in charge of bed time.”
“I’m going to the gym in 15 minutes. You need to get up and watch Sabine. Breakfast is in the microwave.”
I don’t ask. I inform. And it is working for the most part. This week I had to miss yoga because Sabine had a fever and this morning I’ll miss the gym because we have to clean for the mother-in-law, but this afternoon I’ll pick back up. I informed him yesterday that I’ll be going to the gym after we run errands and before he picks his mother up. Just like that. I’m going. And he agrees. And I feel so, so powerful. Until Sabine wakes up and we begin again. :)