Operation Beefcake

7 01 2009

I’ve got a rather ironic situation on my freakishly cold little hands these days. And not the Alanis Morissette song kind of quasi-cosmic-ironic situations that are not so much ironic as they are inconvenient piss-offs. I mean, a black fly in your Chardonnay? Pfffft. That’s not ironic. That’s just what you get for drinking Chardonnay in the woods. Me, I’ve got actual irony. Serious irony.

You may recall a few months ago that I was a tad perturbed by Baby Squiggles’ size (if you don’t recall, you can read all about it here.) Yes, Squiggy has always been a bit of a beefcake baby, just as her sisters were. As of August, at her 9 month well-baby visit, she tipped the scales at 20 pounds, and was around the 90th percentile in weight and height for her age. And I was worried that she’d outgrow the sleepers I got her for Christmas before fall even rolled around.

Enter irony.

A few weeks ago, at her one year check-up, we faced another perturbing reality: suddenly, it seems,  Squiggles is no longer a beefcake baby. In fact, she has only gained 1 pound since August, and has dropped to the 30th percentile for weight, and around the 50th for height. Which might be perfectly normal for her, as babies do tend to level off in their growth somewhere around age one. That’s what all my trusty books and websites tell me when I go hunting for some information and insight on the subject. Don’t worry, they all say. It’s probably just her growth  leveling out. As long as the rest of her development is otherwise normal, don’t worry. But what if it’s not? What if she’s not following a typical developmental trajectory? What if, at 13 months, she’s still trying to master rolling over? If she’s not crawling? Or interested in bearing much weight on her legs to stand? Or, on the odd occasions I do manage to get her to stand, she stands on her toes? And when she sits, she’s still prone to spontaneously losing her balance and falling backwards? What then? Well, the short answer is worry. And get that baby’s skinny, developmentally delayed butt to a doctor. Which is exactly what’s happening. Our family doctor referred us to a pediatrician, whom we will see at the end of January. She’ll probably order a battery of pokes and prods and diagnostic imaging studies that will test, among other things, my child’s patience, and my maternal fortitude. Again.

In the meantime, I can’t just sit around worrying and wondering about the possibilities. I already know what most of them are, and they range from no-big-deal to the stuff of parental nightmares. Stuff that makes autism and CP (which are my two if-there’s-gotta-be-a-diagnosis-please-let-it-be-one-of-these picks) look like sunshine and lollipops. I also can’t just sit around helplessly waiting for…well…help. Luckily, the OT and PT tricks I learned when Roo was a baby facing very similar development issues have come flooding back to me. I’m working on strengthening Squiggle’s muscle tone in her trunk, which is key to sitting up without falling backwards, not to mention crawling, standing and walking. I’m doing daily exercises with her to help develop  overall gross motor co-ordination. And I’m trying my damnedest to fatten that baby up.

Enter Operation Beefcake.

I will be the first to admit that Squiggle’s new skinny baby status could be all our fault. Actually, I hope it is because that is by far the least unsettling reason for the sudden change in weight-gaining pattern, and by far the easiest thing to fix. Squiggles is an incredibly picky eater when it comes to the taste, texture, temperature and timing of her food, and she rarely if ever yells at us to tell us when she is hungry. So, maybe we just haven’t been agressive enough in stuffing her little face since she started solid foods. Maybe we gave up too quickly when she started refusing her food a third of the way through the bowl. Maybe we let her get away with not finishing her bottles too many times. Maybe I should have been letting her eat cheese for breakfast, lunch and dinner. All my former parenting philosophies and ideals have been tossed out the window. Again. And they’ve been replaced with a new mantra: Do what you’ve gotta do. If that means it takes one hour, four varieties of mouth-opening tricks, and several re-heatings to feed Squiggles one jar of  ultra-pureed baby food, instead of the anticipated fifteen minutes to shovel in a bowl of homemade chicken and sweet potatoes, then so be it. If that means sitting with her and cuddling her while she drinks a bottle, instead of plunking her on the floor and leaving her to her own devices in order to get a jump on the dishes, then so be it. If that means feeding her cheese and toast with jam until they come out her ears on days when that is all she will eat, then so be it. If Operation Beefcake is a success, Squiggles should grow into that sleeper I bought her for Christmas in no time. Who knows, maybe after a month of cheese feasts and therapy exercises, by the time that ped appointment rolls around, we’ll show up with a chubby, toddling Baby Squiggles, and the doctor will laugh us out of the office. And I’ll laugh a little when she tells me I have nothing to worry about. A little too ironic? Yeah, I really do think.

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4 responses

8 01 2009
trish

Irony, here is irony, we aren;t in Sick Kids Catchment for anxiety, what the f—, catchment, kids come from antartica for sick kids, oh and the wait for anxiety assessment, 3 months, imagine what three months does to an anxious parent, yet alone an anxious 12 year old, anyway, I know and you know that I know that you know what to do, better than anyone, so do it, enjoy it, she will never be 13 mos again, and enjoy the fact she isn’t splitting her head open constantly cause she is running…. remember, she is genetically related to all of you and that will make her unique unto herself, in a good way.
t

9 01 2009
mammasaidtome

I have always had difficulty with the definition of “normal”. Normal is the average, which is OK but beyond normal is way more interesting. Yes ,there are problems and yes it is a lot more work but . But if you aren’t too busy , ab is wonderful! Both of my children were abnormal and I wouldn’t change a hair on their heads because they are sooo unique! It’ll all come out in the wash!

18 01 2009
lastcrazyhorn

I never crawled. I scooted on my bottom, pulling myself forwards with my legs and ankles.

I just did it my own way, much like everything else in my life.

21 02 2009
Loose Ends « Domestic Blister

[…] Squiggles’ pediatrician appointment, tossing and turning in your beds at night, wondering if Operation Beefcake was a success. And what about Ol’ Chomper and Lumpy? Are they still peacefully co-habitating […]

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