Every day I feel so grateful that they are thriving and healthy.
But…that doesn’t mean we don’t have the daily struggles that can be both comical and trying.
Our biggest remaining hurdle = solid foods.
Yes, my 18-month-old’s are still on bottles and even though they gained tons of weight during their first year their growth rates have slowed down in the past six months.
We’re obviously working through this with the best doctors and caregivers around and one of our sons is having an outpatient procedure in the next couple of weeks to correct a contributing factor. We know they’ll get there, just like they always do, and that this is a temporary blip on the radar screen but sometimes we really wonder…
Will our boys be so used to eating bottles that when they are in kindergarten and the teacher asks, “What’s your favorite dinner that mommy makes?” Ben will respond, “Bot-tle” which he quite confidently declares as his favorite food today?
Will Ben and Nick have their first apartment away from home together and be making chicken for dinner one night when Ben says to Nick, “What should we have as a side dish?” and Nick will respond, “I’m not sure. Do you prefer cauliflower, apple and leek blend or green bean, spinach and pear blend?”
Will one of the boys be in charge of bringing food for a breakfast meeting at his first “real” job and be over zealous about the presentation, arriving early to thoughtfully arrange a coffee bar with regular, decaf, mugs, stirs, milk and creamer only to be accompanied by a basket of assorted pouches?
All kidding aside, we also serve cereal, extremely small bites of the grilled cheese and other delicacies along with the tiniest round slices of fresh greens, but it’s a constant struggle for them to consume the quantity needed to fill those little bellies. Since they are still growing and learning, we have been trained to watch them like a hawk and are adept at the Heimlich. And once they reach their limit…let’s just say the dog is ready and waiting for her share of the goodies.
It’s a balance to encourage more eating without causing food aversion so we’re getting there slowly but surely. But really, if they don’t eat half of a sandwich it’s unlikely they will get enough calories from tiny pieces of green beans or puff’s, so for us, bottles it is.
And then there are the high calorie foods. We pack in extra butter and cream cheese with mashed potatoes and if the pouch combinations aren’t strange enough, try mixing peanut butter with yogurt to thin it out. And after the boys eat a measly portion, who ends up polishing off those extra buttery, extra cheese and extra delicious high calorie mashed potatoes? You guessed it, me!
Yet as I write this, sitting here with two underweight toddlers and one overweight dog, I have a smile on my face.
They don’t know that most of their 18-month-old future friends are eating whole chicken nuggets and sandwiches that are only cut into fourths instead of 100ths. They are happy. Happy with where they are and enjoying their assortment of liquid, mashed, pureed and micro-diced food.
So like most things with preemie development or kids in general, we just need to be patient and let them learn to eat in their own time.
Easier said than done of course!
- I can’t wait until we can go out to eat as a family when they can actually fill up (not just nibble) on a kid’s meal.
- I can’t wait until our countertops and cabinets are clear of bottle parts.
- I can’t wait until everyone in the family can eat the same food for dinner.
But they can wait. There is no rushing for them. No such thing as being in a hurry for them…unless of course Grammie forgets and leaves her mobile phone within reach…then there’s a mad dash!
It’s like Alabama sings, “I’m in a hurry to get things done, Oh I rush and rush until life’s no fun…”
I certainly don’t want my kids to grow up like that, so every day we are just trying to be patient so that we can enjoy each stage. Somedays we do better than others. So for now it’s a practice in patience, however long it may seem, so that life IS fun.