Thanks for pointing me to the Hallmarks of Felinity, . I found the strips a hoot, too (my daughter is developing into one all too quickly for my taste).
We went to the pediatrician and G had her checkup. Now, I knew that we really have to keep reminding her to eat, and I knew she hasn’t been growing a lot. She’s the youngest and smallest and just isn’t growing straight up like a weed as Katie and R are. But now I learn that she’s lost a significant amount of weight since March. She only weighs 57 pounds and she’s 4’6″ tall. The nurse said she’s gone from the 50th percentile to the 5th percentile in weight and is around the 50th percentile in height. She’s way underweight.
The doctor suggested giving her milkshakes—the old-fashioned whole milk and ice cream stuff with lots of fat—every night before bed. That should put on some weight quickly, but I also checked out several books about child/adolescent nutrition at the library. I’m a little worried about that much dairy intake leading to congestion and maybe a recurrence of the ear infections she used to live with constantly.
My brother is a fitness nazi. Becoming a doctor (he’s in the third year of his residency) has only made him more strident. For years he’s been telling me that my daughter (and now my and Sam’s kids) will definitely get fat because I’m fat. And Sam’s not a little person by any measure. And obviously (as far as brother is concerned), fat only happens because we’re gluttons, so we must be teaching our children terrible eating habits.
The fact that Sam regularly has to remind me to eat ANYTHING AT ALL isn’t one that brother wants to hear. R is a long, lanky boy, though I’m not sure of his exact height and weight so I can’t figure out percentiles (and we don’t keep a scale in the house). Katie is in the 96th percentile for height and 50th for weight—another string bean. Geni is underweight. Oh—G and R’s biomother is bigger than I am. Katie’s father spent most of his life battling a tendency to chubbiness. They all get the nature/nurture whammy from both sides, too. If fat parents=fat kids, why don’t we have even one fat kid?
I admit that I’m probably particularly annoyed about that attitude right now because 1) I’ve recently had a MAJOR falling out with my brother, and I am not talking to him or allowing him to communicate with my daughter in any way, and 2) I got an email this morning that is almost certainly from stalker creep quoting a Bible verse that says gluttons should cut their throats.
And I’m at a particularly low point in my own self-esteem level, so I’m not taking any of that crap as well as I usually would.
But this was supposed to be about G. And yes, I’m worried about her. She’s on two different drugs (Adderall and Welbutrin) that depress appetite. She’s never been a big eater anyway, and now it’s particularly difficult to get her interested in anything. But by the end of the school year, she was also being deceptive about whether or not she had eaten at times, especially about breakfast. That gives me cause to wonder about incipient eating disorders because people who just don’t feel like eating seldom bother to try to hide the fact that they aren’t eating.
I had really worried more about Katie and eating disorders, because 1) her father and stepmother were constantly harping about everybody’s weight, and 2) she’s a dancer. Eating disorders are just about de rigeur in that whole subculture. She was underweight for a while, but she’s doing better now and has a reasonable appetite.
The doctor tried to find something that would interest G—some kind of sport or physical activity, because she was a little worried about her lack of energy, too. Nothing. None. Not a sport in the world that the child wants to try. She doesn’t want to play soccer again. She doesn’t like riding a bike or skating. Dance lessons? Not interested. Gymnastics? Nope. Swimming? It’s fun (said in a monotone voice). Guess we need to get a Y membership again and go to the pool daily or something. Out of all the many varied activities offered at Girl Scout camp, she’s only interested in sewing (which she does at home) and pottery. That’s it. None of the others, nope, no way, no how. She’ll have to take swimming lessons there because it’s standard for all first-time GS camp attendees, but she wouldn’t take them if she had a choice not to do so.
I brought home several videos from the library, too. Two are Pilates-based workouts for dancers, one is called the “Women’s Warrior Workout.” Since G showed zero interest in any of them, but she has a follower personality, I deliberately chose things that Katie would be interested in trying. Because if Katie does them, G will want to do them with her. Yes, finding something G wanted to do would be better, but she wouldn’t even look at the selection.
I take anything that’s “wrong” with the kids personally. Even though two of them aren’t “mine” legally or biologically, and indeed I didn’t even know them a little over four years ago. I just feel like a failure if they aren’t doing well. I have to work on not communicating that to them, though, because it’s my crap, not theirs.