Sunday, March 27, 2011

Skinny Kids

I have a lot of experience trying to keep weight on kids. Almost 19 years of experience now. Kaytee was my original weight challenged child. She was always in the 95% for height and about 15% for weight. She was always growing taller, just never any bigger around. Today she is just a hair under 5'10" and weighs 114 pounds. It's funny, though, she doesn't look scrawny, more long and lean. it's just how she is built. And boy can that child eat! It makes my mama's heart happy to see her gobble down a home-cooked meal when she visits. 

Then along came Ashley who was very sick for the first two years of her life. She couldn't tolerate breast milk, formula or soy based products. She had intestinal bleeding, projectile vomiting, infections, hospital stays, you name it. Keeping food in her was a challenge! She had many food allergies that caused her to vomit and have other intestinal 'issues'. She was also very tall and although she grew well, keeping the nutrition going was an issue!

And then, Levi joined the clan and once again we had a tall, skinny child whose height to weight ratio was poor. At the age of 3 years old he got a bad intestinal bug and ended up in the hospital for a week. They almost sent him home with an NG tube (a tube down his nose to his stomach to provide liquid nutrition) but at the last minute we got him drinking. I still had to take him in to the doctor every day for almost 2 weeks to make sure he didn't lose any more weight. That was a scary time and really taught me that a child who has no extra body fat reserves is at risk. 

Ahren has his own food challenges. He is not skinny, more stocky and round than my other kids, but because of his poor chewing skills and constant constipation issues, we have adjusted his diet in many ways. The speech therapist/swallow expert has further modified what he eats. I am happy to report that we have been able to maintain h is healthy weight through all of his challenges. 

When Seth came along he had some serious eating issues. He fought tooth and nail at every meal to control everything. He would work himself up so much that he would end up vomiting his food. He is never going to be a very big person, but at the age of 4 he weighed 28 pounds and wore a 2T. He was a master at manipulation through food. I feel so sorry for his other mother. She tried so hard to feed him good food, but it wasn't about that. He craved control and that was an area he could take it. No matter how hard she tried, he won, even though it was at his own expense. 

When he came here we completely threw the eating rule book out the window. He could graze all day long, choose what he wanted (from many healthy choices) eat a little, get up and walk around and then return to the food and eat some more. No, this didn't teach any good eating habits, but what it did was give him all the control and get him to start feeding his body. Then, slowly, slowly, slowly, we added some rules. Now we are back at the point that he has to eat at the table, not get up and leave the food, choose from limited choices (peanut butter or ham sandwich for lunch) and not leave his food just because he wants to go play. In one year he has grown 4 inches and gained 10 pounds. The average growth at his age would be 1 inch and 2 pounds. Also, with some reflux meds and a lot of patience, he does not throw up any more. In fact, he loves to try anything and everything new to eat. He loves spicy food and is fearless about new foods. He is still way too skinny for my liking, but he is growing very, very well. I will just continue to try and fatten him up!

I can practically see his spine! And yet, his legs have gotten very muscular. He is on his way!!


Reba said...

Wow! Seth has really made great strides in the eating department. I am so happy to hear he is thriving and growing...hopefully he will continue to let go of the control, though I could use a bit more control when it comes to food. :) Maybe he could share. :)

crystal said...

Wendy!!!--Can I call you?--I think the world of you and I could really use your help

my e-mail is