Posts made in March, 2012

Failure to Thrive

Posted by on Mar 30, 2012 in Blog | 2 comments

Lex at 15 months. Weight: around 17 pounds.

“Failure to thrive” is what they call it when your child is not gaining enough weight. It’s what they call Lex’s condition at the Children’s Hospital when they talk about the reason for our visit. The word “failure” has such a negative connotation and when you pair it with the word “thrive” in reference to your child, it’s a bit upsetting. No one wants to feel like their child is failing at anything, especially not at thriving. It’s an old, blanket diagnosis that doesn’t really tell you anything that you don’t already know, which is that your kid, for whatever reason, is not gaining enough weight.

When Lex was born, he weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces– a good, healthy weight. When we went in for his first check-up, though, he hadn’t gained back up to his birth weight, and the doctor already started to show some concern. I was breastfeeding exclusively so she gave me medicine to help my milk production. The next week when we came in, he was back up to his birth weight so all was well. After that, he continued to grow, but not at the pace that most babies do. Then he kept getting ear infections and colds once he started daycare, so everyone attributed his slow weight gain to that. This past Winter was not near as bad, and when he went in for another check up, the doctor showed me the growth chart and how Lex has fallen below the chart and how his weight has plateaued.

When I talked to family and friends about his weight, no body (except maybe my mom) seemed too concerned. They all tried to make me feel better, pointing out the benefits of having a small baby or telling me anecdotes about their own children being small. I wasn’t all that concerned, thinking that the doctors were probably overreacting, but seeing that growth chart had planted a seed of doubt in my mind.

We went to see the specialists at Children’s Hospital in Little Rock. I couldn’t go to the first visit, so Vinnie had to go instead. He told me that they wanted me to wean Lex. Most of my friends thought that was absurd. Why would weaning him help him gain weight? I thought the same thing, and since I wasn’t quite ready for that transition yet, I decided I would just try harder to get him to eat more.

It’s not that the kid doesn’t like particular kinds of food like a lot of picky eaters. He actually seems to like foods with a lot of flavor, especially if he sees me or his dad eating them. The thing is, he’ll only take a few bites and then refuses to eat anymore. Or, even if you can get him to take another bite, he’ll spit the food out which is especially frustrating. Anyway, we tried adding Carnation Instant Breakfast to his milk to help him get extra calories, but when that didn’t go over well, I started mixing it with Greek yogurt. He ate that pretty well when he was at school. When he was at home, it was a completely different story. He still wanted to nurse all day instead of just in the morning and at night like on the weekdays. I’d half-heartedly try to get him to eat a decent meal of solid food, but he wouldn’t have any of it.

After two months, we want back in to see the specialists at Children’s Hospital. They didn’t tell me how much he weighed, but since they weren’t celebrating, I knew it wasn’t good. The doctors were nice and asked about how he eats and what he eats, etc. Then they asked what I thought and if I was very concerned about his weight. I told him that I wasn’t that concerned but since all the doctors were, I guessed I should be. The doctor said, “Well, you should be because he’s starving.” That definitely took me aback. “Oh. Wow. Really?” I replied. She confirmed. She went on to talk about weight to height ratio and growth charts, etc. but I was pretty stuck on the whole “he’s starving” thing. She told me that he would be considered malnourished. My kid is malnourished!? I thought that only happened in Third World countries or to really poor children. I felt like I had been somehow neglecting my child, like a really crappy mom. The doctors were really nice as could be and not judgy or anything, but how can you not feel like a bad parent when a medical professional tells you that your child is starving?

If the doctor’s goal was to really make me understand how serious this is, she definitely succeeded. Next, we talked to the nutrionist who gave us a game plan. She gave me an example/goal menu for a toddler (finally!) and recommended adding powdered milk to his whole milk for extra calories as well as adding high fat dairy products to all of his food. She said to give him lots and lots of butter on everything. Of course, they also told me to wean him, too. They were understanding about my reluctance, but assured me that he could handle it.

Ever since that visit (about 2 weeks ago), I’ve been trying my darndest to get that kid to eat, eat, eat! I even started weaning this week. The weaning has been a bit difficult, of course, but he has actually been doing better than I thought he would.  The key for Lex seems to be distraction. As long as we’re not in the nursing position or I’m not sitting in our usual chair, he is ok. If he starts trying to nurse, I have to find something else for him to do instead. I still nurse him before bed and in the middle of the night, but that’s the only time. I think after a week or two of that, I’ll give the last bit a try, too. I think that since we have a good bedtime routine, he’ll be ok with giving that part up. The middle of the night will be harder.

As far as eating goes, it’s really just a matter of trial and error. I give him food I know he likes and try to add cream cheese or butter to it. I’ve also introduced new foods that are high in fat and calories and hope that he’ll eat them. Usually he’ll take a few bites and then want to play with the food. And by play I mean fling across the room. I can’t tell if he doesn’t understand that I don’t want him to throw the food or he does understand and is just ignoring me. Since starting weaning, he has started drinking more whole milk with powdered milk added, which is really good. He’s also supposed to take a complete vitamin, but getting him to eat the whole thing is also difficult most of the time. Since it’s chewable and he only has front teeth, he will suck on it for a while and then take it out of his mouth and throw it somewhere. I can’t wait until this throwing phase is over!

I suppose all we can do is try as best we can to get him to eat a little more every day and then wait to see if it works. If you have any advice or experience with getting a toddler to put on weight, please leave a comment below.

Update (9-13-12):

Lex has been doing much better since I wrote this post. We completely weaned within a couple of weeks. It was definitely difficult, but I’m glad we decided to do it. Any other moms in the same situation who are debating whether or not to stop nursing, I’d recommend stopping. We still have the same intimacy at night and before bed; the only difference is he’s drinking from a cup rather than the breast. He now drinks milk with the Carnation instant breakfast mixed in. Usually he has 2-3 a day mixed with whole milk, and it’s still how he gets most of his calories. I still have trouble getting him to eat a substantial amount of food in one sitting, but at daycare they say he eats well. The doctor told me that was typical because he’s got a good routine there and he sees all of the other little kids eating. At our last check-up at Children’s Hospital, the doctor said that while Lex is still on the small side for height, he is gaining enough weight relative to his height that he no longer has to go back to that clinic. I was so glad to hear that! They also did a blood test and found that he was anemic. We’ve been giving him a prescribed iron supplement once a day now. I can tell that he’s finally getting bigger now. He’s actually starting to outgrow some clothes. I hope this is the last we see of failure to thrive.

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Weekly Inspiration

Posted by on Mar 28, 2012 in Weekly Inspiration | 0 comments

Every year I’m astonished at how quickly and fully the earth springs back to life after Winter. First you see a few buds here and there. Then the daffodils start to bloom. By the time they’ve wilted, the rest of the plants come bursting out of the ground, and before you know it, your front yard is two feet high with tons of wildflowers. On the drive to work this morning I was admiring the bright green of the leaves on the trees. Are they always that bright or is that just a new leaf kind of bright?

Spring has always been one of my favorite seasons, which is why even though I’m not religious, I still enjoy celebrating Easter. I like to think of it as celebrating Spring and the new life that comes along with it. The symbols of Easter, eggs and rabbits, were chosen for that reason. Since Easter is fast approaching, here are some cute ideas from my Pinterest board.

 

 

I still haven’t decided on an Easter basket for Lex, but this one is definitely at the top of my list. I love the rustic look of the torn fabric strips.

 

 

There are so many ways to dye Easter eggs! This one uses natural dyes, and I prefer the resulting earthy tones to the typical pastels of Easter.

 

 

I love this fun little garland made by using a paper mache technique with embroidery floss rather than paper. I think the kids would love doing it, too.

 

 

For a fun spin on the Easter egg hunt, why not try a glow-in-the-dark version? I think the older kids would especially enjoy this.

 

 

I like to think of these as homemade Kinder eggs. This recipe comes from my new favorite blogger, Kristan at Confessions of a Cookbook Queen. She’s a fellow Arkansan, she’s hilarious and she makes the most amazing desserts. If I were to make these, I’d probably fill them with peanut butter because I’ve been craving chocolate and peanut butter like crazy lately.

 

 

How cute is this little guy? I think he’s going to be Lex’s Easter bunny next year.

I hope these few things have inspired you to get in the Easter mood if you haven’t already. I can’t wait to do some decorating with the kids this weekend!

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Spring Cleaning {Part 3}

Posted by on Mar 26, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Happy Monday! This weekend was both busy and not for me. Kind of weird. Lex and I got to go to our baby cousin Harper’s first birthday party on Saturday, which was very fun. Then we spent yesterday trying to get some chores done but mostly napping or playing or snuggling. Can’t really complain too much. :)

Here’s the third part of my spring cleaning series. My closet is a lot like anyone else’s closet, I’m sure. If you’re like us, then you throw everything in there that you don’t want guests to see or that you don’t fee like hanging up or putting in its proper place. You say to yourself  that you’ll get to it later, but then 3 months go by and it’s still a huge mess. Yeah. So here’s my closet before.

There’s all kinds of things in there, including shoes that I’ve had since high school and early college. So, I did a purge (actually my second purge in a couple months) and got rid of all the shoes except the ones I actually wear or love along with some clothes I’ve never seen my husband wear and clothes I’ve gotten too small for (yay). I also got rid of all the purses that I’m never going to use again (I’m more of a purse lady than a shoe lady), which left a lot of room in my closet. Check out the after.

I used some cardboard boxes that I got from work for free to store extra bags and seasonal clothing. I plan on covering them up to make them prettier at some point.

Here’s a better view of the top shelf. There’s lots of room up there that I wasn’t utilizing, and there’s still room to grow. If there’s one thing this house does not have an issue with, it’s storage space. Unfortunately it encourages my pack rat tendencies. :)

I love this hanging shelf I got at Wal-Mart years ago. It can hold folded clothes as well, but I use it for accessories like scarves, handbags and belts.

I also added some removable wall hooks to hang frequently used bags in sight. Before, we had to dig down in the depths of the closet to find these.

Below my hanging shelf is the perfect place to store my suitcases and my giant bag full of reusable shopping bags. I may or may not have a reusable shopping bag addiction.

Phew! It feels good to have the closet all neat and tidy. I just hope it stays that way for more than a week. Still lots of other things left to organize, and I’m slowly but surely making my way through. Onward!

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Spring Cleaning {Part 2}

Posted by on Mar 23, 2012 in Blog | 1 comment

This past week, the hubs has been away at Drupalcon in Denver. I wanted to feel like I’d accomplished something while he was away so I decided to tackle a couple of spring cleaning projects. And now I remember why I usually don’t participate in the spring cleaning ritual– it’s so much work! I figured I could clean the closet out in one night; nope, it took three. But I still managed to organize a couple of other problem areas as well.

First off, let me say that if I could afford it, I would buy all the little containers for everything that they have over at The Container Store. Have you ever been there? That place is glorious! They even have inserts for your drawers so that each pair of socks and underwear has its own little space. Ok, I probably wouldn’t take it that far, but still, I love me some organizers! But when you’re on a tight budget, there is another glorious place that is very cheap– The Dollar Tree. I went by my local Dollar Tree and got four dishwashing tubs, which are basically just short white boxes. And here’s what I did with them:

You can see how wonderfully these little dish tubs work to separate the different cleaning products and whatnot. For $1 a piece, you can’t beat it. Here’s a pic of the whole cabinet:

Please ignore the apparent *ahem* grubbiness of my kitchen cabinets. It’s an old house and everything looks kind of like that. Let’s call it shabby chic, shall we?

Anyway, you may have also noticed the suspension rod above the buckets. That’s an idea I got from Pinterest. I’m not sure how long it’s really going to last because it’s not all that sturdy. It probably doesn’t help that my cabinet is so stinking wide either. However, I love that I can use that awkward upper space in the cabinet without having to stack anything.

Now for the next problem area: under the bathroom sink. I didn’t have to get rid of much under here, just arrange all the stuff that had been thrown in all higgeldy piggeldy.

Yep, I used a couple of the dish tubs under here, too. I love having all the cleaners in one bucket. It will make cleaning so much easier.

Although my bathroom has lots of cabinets, I still didn’t have anywhere to store clean towels. I’ve given this one a lot of thought because the layout of the bathroom is kind of odd. Then, when strolling the aisles of Wal-Mart, I found it! This lovely bathroom shelf from Better Homes and Gardens:

Isn’t it lovely? I was ecstatic that it actually fit in that little area and that it doesn’t cover the light switch and only outlet in the room. Note to self: get some matching towels.

Now for my pride and joy: my $3 jewelry pedestal. I’m so pleased with how it turned out.

I found this idea on Better Homes and Garden’s site and decided to give it a try. I’ll be making a tutorial this weekend so you can see how it’s done. It’s very simple!

Now my third problem area, the bedroom closet, I’ll save for another post since this one got so lengthy. Needless to say, it was a very productive and exhausting week. There’s still lots to do! Have you started spring cleaning, too?

 

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Weekly Inspiration

Posted by on Mar 20, 2012 in Blog, Crochet, Weekly Inspiration | 0 comments

I think I’ve mentioned before that I used to be a bit of a craft snob. To me some crafts (like decoupage and knitting) were cool, while others (like crochet and dollhouses) were something that weird older women liked to do. Yeah, in my head I can be kind of horrible.  Now that I have spent more time on the Internet and places like Craftster, I know that all crafts can be cool– you just have to make cool things with them. Instead of frilly flowery dolls in Rococo style houses, you can make a castle or a witch’s house. Instead of crocheting lacy doilies, you can crochet a miniature Boba Fett.

When I discovered that crochet can be just as cool as knitting (if not cooler), I taught myself to crochet. Now I often times prefer it to knitting. It’s so much faster and has a ton of versatility. Last week I got lost in Ravelry for a few hours looking at all the gloriously geeky crochet patterns on there. Here are some of my favorites.

If you’re a Whovian, then you know what this is– an adipose! Ever since I first laid eyes on those little critters I’ve thought that they were adorable. I was so excited when I saw this pattern that I almost squealed out loud at work.

To-to-ro! To-to-ro! Yes! Patterns for both the blue and the white totoros are available for free. I’m about 85% done with the blue one already. I can’t wait to show you guys!

This is another pattern by Lucy Ravenscar, the same lady who wrote the ones for the totoros. All of her stuff is really adorable. This guy is called a fierce dragon, and I think he’s going to be my next crochet project.

I love swirls and so I love this pattern. I started a block with dark purple and cream, and I’m really loving how it has turned out so far. As I’ve had more experience with knit and crochet, I get bored easily by simple projects like scarves and beanies. This one is a fun challenge because you have to keep close tabs on which stitch you’re on.

How fun is this little crown? It was designed as a prop for newborn photos, and I really wish I’d seen it when Lex was itty bitty. I still think it’s a great prop for dress-up, though, and it’s gender neutral.

Here’s another geeky pattern– cuddly Cthulhu! Cthulhu is a character from a short story by H. P. Lovecraft, and something about him has fascinated sci-fi and fantasy fans like me. I love this little cuddly version of him.

All of the patterns above are free! If you’re a crocheter or knitter and have not perused Ravelry yet, I highly recommend it. There are so many patterns on there, some for free and others for sale. And if you don’t know how to crochet but want to learn, there are all kinds of free resources online that will teach you how. It may seem intimidating at first, but it’s really very simple. Most of these patterns only use one or two types of stitches. The rest is increasing and decreasing which is really easy with crochet. I’d be more than happy to help you learn! Just leave a comment and we can figure something out. Happy hooking!

 

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