Friday, February 28, 2014

Goodbye to my life in the circus

my wild little lion

Relief. Awash with relief.
Like a pressure valve has been located and released.

We had a much anticipated appointment with the paediatrician today to try to work out why my little boy won't eat and why he won't grow.

The week leading up to this appointment was like a long graveyard shift stretch in life. Each mealtime more anxious than the next. Every day became increments of three mealtimes. One always more arduous than the next. Tired stones felt like they were weighing on my body, pulling my heart, my limbs, my soul heavier and heavier with each breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I knew that rationally I had to remain calm and zen as food kept whizzing past me, onto me, onto the floor and everywhere except into his mouth. It took every ounce of zip I have to be the circus clown feeder I somehow ended up being. I did spoon aeroplanes so majestic that my performance could have been in an aerial show. I sang nursery rhymes. I never scolded. I sang praises so high every time he touched food you'd think he'd worked out string theory on his high chair.

I never intended to be the distraction feeder. The bring the iPad out feeder. The bribing with iced milk and chocolate custard feeder. I broke every rule I ever set for myself BEFORE I had a baby.

Listen up future parents and listen good: Parenting is a lot easier to be high and mighty about IF YOU'RE NOT ACTUALLY A PARENT.

By the end of the week, it felt like I was the disgraced circus ring master who had lost control of her little boy who had become the lion that went wild. With each meal, he grew more advanced evolving to each and everyone of my tricks to make him eat. He adapted like a rapidly evolving bacteria and each day it seemed like he ate less and less, got angrier and fussier more and more.

I knew I was NOT doing it right. I knew this was NOT sustainable. Something had to give. And it was not going to be my stubborn little boy.

By the time I walked into the paediatrician's office, I was close to losing it. I sat down on the patient's chair and looked into doctor's soft gingery hair framing his face like a halo of tranquility. He examined my boy, played with him, measured him and sat back on his doctor's chair looking at my 8.5kg wriggly little conundrum crawling havoc on his floor. And to my relief he said "I look at this child and if I didn't look at his weight trajectory, I would not think anything except that he is a healthy child".

So the verdict is...there is nothing wrong with my boy. He just needs to learn how to eat. He is just so strong-willed and independent that something has made him decide he does not like others putting things in his mouth. At least that's a lesson I won't have to teach him for later on in life.

We should never underestimate the power of reassurance of another human being, doctor or not. Just the acknowledgment that the shit you are in must be hard and that there is a way forward unloaded all my heavy stones onto his clinic floor. An hour later, I walked out and left them there.

And what do you know...the little boy gobbled up some fish fingers for dinner tonight all on his own!

Maybe sometimes in life when faced with a seemingly insurmountable problem, all we need is to sit back a little and take a load off.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Eat Pray My Love

This is not an ordinary muffin. It is a muffin baked by a desperate woman. 
One week later it lays furry, mouldy and uneaten in an unglamorous plastic box lid container.

This muffin's disappointingly dire fate mirrors the trajectory of my hopes and dreams for this kid to eat this zucchini-filled cheesy muffin, that bowl of noodles or anything at all that is remotely edible. 

Incredibly, this kid shows zealous initiative for eating anything that is most definitely not food. Furniture, plastic, cosmetics, books or especially anything from the medicine cabinet. He even has the aptitude to eat the banana peel AROUND the actual banana.

Okay, you win baby. I will say it. I am at my wit's end. I do not know what to do.

Three times a day I tell myself that this meal is not my battleground. I am calm, I am zen and my gentle good mother spirit will simply Pied Piper of Hamlin the food down his guzzle through nursery song and dance. An hour later, with my clothes soaked in toddler abstract food art, I sigh and say a little prayer that enough food made it in to sustain his wriggly little body.

I feel like I have tried EVERYTHING. Family and friends' helpful advice. Medical literature on how to handle fussy eaters. Baby advice blogs. I have given him reign. Taken the reigns. Thrown away the reigns.. I don't know how else to approach this. He thinks food is an absolute joke.

All I want is for this boy to eat. I feel like an absolute failure. And a few day's ago, this was finally confirmed so by doctors. Sadly, this little boy's growth chart just stops, literally stops at four months ago. Not a gram or centimetre grown since October 2013 (except for his head circumference.. haha ironically the one thing he doesn't need to enlarge is the only thing that has grown). The medical term for his condition: Failure to Thrive. FAILURE.

Needless to say, I felt fear... then anger...then disappointment... then shame that I have done it wrong or hadn't done enough and through it all just utter desperation.

It's hard to believe that there's anything wrong with him. He smiles, laughs, plays and makes mental leaps each day. Yet his body is so little for his age.

Please eat my boy. I just want you to grow.

Be careful what you wish for they say... I wish I could unwish that he would be my little baby forever.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Harry Does Valentines

Happy love to one and all.. couples, singles, families, hermits, vagabonds, party people and absolutely everyone!

I normally never care about Valentine's Day putting it in the same bag as other made up holidays invented by sugar companies but I just couldn't resist an excuse to dress up my little boy!

Yes! He is now a little boy! He talks (first word Dad.. still refuses to say Mum), crawls, grins, laughs, spits, has four teeth going on six, (and accordingly) throws tantrums, squirms, explores and learns every single day. It's been months since I posted and the little baby is a baby no more. Just look at him! Here he is and best of all, he's sugar-free but sickly sweet in my humble and completely unbiased opinion haha.

And some cheeky ones for the road...

On a more sombre note, it's also the day commemorating the day we lost Harry's dear great-grandfather a few years ago. Wherever you are Lolo (grandad in filipino), we miss you and wish Harry got to play with you before you had to go. Much love indeed xoxoxo