The thing about having a wee child is - we are constantly worrying about what Holden is, or rather, is NOT eating. In a society were the emphasis seems to be on worrying about the youth of our country who are overweight and/or obese, we worry about our very much underweight child. At 17 months, barely 20 pounds, and still in 12 months pants, I suppose we have something to worry about. I mean, there are 4 month olds who weigh that much! I try and take into consideration that he was a breastfed child for his first 14 months of life (and honestly, I'm pretty darn proud of this fact). I try and take into consideration that neither of his parents are on the "above average" size of things. I try and take into consideration that at least I'm not worrying about heart disease in a toddler...
But at the end of the day, the fact of the matter is -- our son just does not eat. Or rather, he eats very very very little. His day will often start with approximately 11 Cheerios and a cup of milk. Snack at Kid's Club (my gym) usually consists of something he adores so that he will not cry while I try and Zen out in yoga -- Veggie Booty. (Hey, its made with Kale, it has to be healthy - right??!!) And a cup of milk. Lunch is 1/4 a slice of whole wheat bread, 1/5 of a pear or apple or 8 blueberries, 4 goldfish crackers, and a cup of milk. Snack is 1 cracker. Dinner is 1 cracker, 5 raisins and maybe a bowl of oatmeal made with 1/2-&-1/2 if I can force it on him. He finishes his day with a nice, fatty Pediasure for calories and nutrients. Sounds satisfying doesn't it?!
Now keep in mind that this maybe what he eats during the day, but I prepare for him a great deal more food which usually ends up in the garbage. Wasted food stresses me out, too. I was in the 5th grade when "We Are The World" came out and I've never forgotten about the starving children in Ethiopia. I have read plenty of books that say do not offer your child a buffet -they will eat when they are hungry. But if you had a pea as wee as ours you would be scrounging through your pantry for anything, and I mean anything he would eat, just to pack on some pounds -- or even just ounces! We have also tried slathering on butter, cream, cheese, etc. He will have nothing to do with that. He does not care for the fatty foods. He likes his sweets but we obviously want to keep those in moderation. So it is a struggle. Daily. I know it may seem silly to some. There are definitely kids out there with more "real" issues. But for us this is real issue enough. He is below the weight charts and that stands for concern. And every day it is something we trudge through with him. By day's end it almost feels like a comedy act with Shawn and I offering a variety of choices for our tiny babe:
"How 'bout some pears? Crackers? Peas? Wouldn't you love some cheese or ham? I know you would like raisins! berries? potatoes? jelly? pizza? beans? tortilla? croutons? yogurt? applesauce? oatmeal? celery? pork rinds??!!?"
And to each option he furiously shakes his head no, clamping down his mouth. Until we reach utter desperation and yell out:
"Booty! Here, have some Veggie Booty! Please, eat for the love of Pete!"
And he squeals with delight and gobbles up the green puffed Cheetos-like-food. And our guilt both swells and subsides momentarily. Yes, it is not the healthiest of food options. But he eats it dammit, every last bite. And that has to count for something.