The boys had their "well child" doctor visits this week. Owen's three year went great. He's well ahead on many developmental milestones - "Does your child jump with two feet?" As Scott says, "How about, 'Does your child do 360 degree jump spins with two feet?'" I also laughed at the question: "Does your child ask 'Why?'" Does he ever!
Josh's 9 month visit was a combo illness follow-up. We spent last Saturday in Urgent Care to discover that Josh had infections and compacted wax in both ears. That would help explain the prior two weeks of minimal eating, refusing the bottle, and micro naps. (I guess he wasn't teething after all!)
Good news: Josh's ears look fine and he's doing pretty well on the development milestones.
Bad news: Josh is LAGGING, to say the least, when it comes to growth.
9 month stats: 15 lb, 4 oz and 25.75 inches
He's not even very close to the 3rd percentile line in either aspect. The doctor said the weight is partly attributed to his illness, but the height is "concerning" (I don't think she said "alarming," but I don't quite remember.) because it indicates a longer term calorie deficit. It's a little odd to hear your doctor say, with great sincerity, "We really want to see him up on that 3rd percentile line."
For perspective, I looked back at Owen's stats, and it's not pretty. At 6 months, Josh was trending ahead - he had 8 oz (1/2 a pound) on Owen at that point. At this appointment, Josh was a full 1 1/2 pounds LESS than Owen was at nine months. Owen was never a "big" eating baby, but he managed to put on 2 more pounds between 6 and 9 months than Josh did (and Owen was still spitting up dozens of times a day during that time). Since Owen's height/weight put him in the 5th percentile, it tells us that Josh needs to quickly gain 10% of his body weight and nearly a full inch to get back on the growth charts. Yikes!
What to do? Our doctor advised us to focus on high fat/protein foods (dairy!) and shoot for 6 meals a day. The prospect is daunting, to say the least. Does 5 puffs count as a meal? Because that's what I was able to sneak into Josh's mouth at the pool on Friday.
I am trying not to be stressed about it, and I keep telling myself that we just need to do our best for the next month and see if Josh can rebound. But, it's only been two days and I already feel a bit overwhelmed trying to scheme up how to get more calories in this kid. He just doesn't EAT anything. I felt like our whole day was a battle of constantly trying different foods in different settings - with only shaking heads and angry screams to show for our efforts. We've done all the standard pureed fruits and veggies and then finger foods: Cheerios, puffs, bananas, avocado, cooked carrots, zucchini, potatoes, blueberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, peaches, pears, pirate booty, rice, toast, pancakes, waffles, sweet potato fries, hummus, graham crackers and saltines, beans. So far, the only foods he seems willing to eat are pureed squash (we can usually get 5-6 bites of that one!), crackers, and corn... one kernel at a time.
One bite of Ricotta cheese resulted in horrid screams yesterday. I'm hopeful that some full fat yogurt will be a winner, but Scott couldn't even get Josh interested in chocolate frosting last night. Of course, give Josh a piece of newspaper or an envelope and he will chow down. What gives?
So, after I wrote all that, Scott and I had a chat about Josh and what we can do to get some more weight on. Scott was able to talk me off the ledge and suggest that rather than stressing about 6 meals a day, we first try just getting Josh to eat SOMETHING 3 times a day. Once we figure out some foods that work, we can up the frequency. So what if he only eats pureed squash and corn kernels? If he ate those two items 3 times a day, we would be making progress. We're basically going to take a step backwards, stop pushing the table foods, and revive the purees. 4 or 5 bites of pureed carrots is better than no bites of table food.
So, this afternoon, I'm back in the kitchen with my "Blender Baby Food" book and renewed energy. If Josh likes corn, then I'll make creamed corn. We'll restock the freezer with squash and carrot combos mixed with extra butter, cheeses, cream, and yogurt.
Five bites of cherry-banana oatmeal this morning? Awesome. One tablespoon of blueberry-banana with rice cereal and 1/2 a saltine for lunch? Fantastic. One sweet potato fry and a bite of carrot-broccoli puree at dinner... not so great, but all together, that's more food than Josh ate in the last two days combined.
Baby steps baby!