Toddler snacks and ER visits

This week I took Baby Evan into the pediatrician for what should have been an easy visit that ended up being incredibly stressful and annoying and bad-mother-guilt-inducing.

Then I had a visit to the emergency room that was the most relaxing part of my weekend.

Doctors are weird.

Because of the weight-loss between his 12 and 15 month check-ups, our pediatrician scheduled a quick weigh-in on Friday for Baby Evan. I knew he’d been eating more and had definitely gained, so I expected a nice “You’re doing great and clearly not neglecting your kid” visit. That’s not quite what I got.

After the nurse weighed him – up almost a pound in 1 month –  the lady pediatrician, one I don’t think I’ve met before, came in to talk to us about what we feed our kid. Want to feel bad about your parenting skills? Try honestly answering that question. Peanut butter, bread, Goldfish, pita chips, cookies, french fries, fruit leather, cheese…yeah, I win mother of the year for sure. I didn’t even bother explaining it’s whole wheat bread! And organic fruit leather! And homemade cookies! And I offer him TONS of fruits and vegetables, I just haven’t figured out how to make him eat them!

Surprisingly, the ped didn’t seem to care much about the totally lack of color in my kid’s diet. She was more concerned that I get him to drink at least five cups of milk a day, offer him even MORE food and having us come back again EVERY MONTH for another weight check. When I went through my list of what caused the original weight loss and why it wouldn’t happen again, she made the same face my mom used to make when I came home late for curfew. The “I don’t care about your excuses” face. The “I doubt your ability to do the right thing” face. It was AWFUL. I’ve been thinking about that face constantly since Friday – every time my kid tosses his cup on the floor, every time he feeds his sandwich to the dog, every time he sleeps through a snack time. Today at the grocery store he ate a whole piece of cheese the deli lady gave him and I almost cried with joy, knowing the doctor would have approved.

You know that feeling you had when you left the hospital with your tiny newborn, the one where you couldn’t believe the staff was just letting you TAKE A BABY without any sort of instruction manual or rules or scheduled home checks to make sure you were doing it right?

This is the opposite of that. This is the feeling that just when you thought you were finally doing everything right and really getting the hang of motherhood someone comes along and tells you you suck. It sucks.


On Saturday morning I noticed I had had some bleeding the night before and called my OB to see if he wanted me to come in for a rhogam shot. It was an exact repeat – almost to the same DAY of pregnancy & the same OB doc on call – of what happened when I was pregnant the first time (hint: certain grown up activities are apparently a little too much for my cervix to handle after the 22 week mark) only this time around I wasn’t a freaked out mess. I knew what it was, I knew what caused it, I knew the baby was fine. If I had an OB checkup scheduled this week I wouldn’t have even bothered to call on a weekend, but my next appointment isn’t until September and I could just imagine the doctor’s face if I brought up bleeding a MONTH after it happened, especially because he had JUST reminded me to have any bleeding checked out because of the rh-negative thing. O- might be the good blood type for donating but it SUCKS for pregnancy.

The doctor wasn’t super concerned, but said I could go into the ER for a shot “if I wanted”. I told him no, I didn’t really WANT a painful shot in the ass, so I’d just skip it. Of course, then he decided what he really meant was “You should definitely go in for a shot” although why didn’t he just say that in the first place? So I left E and Baby Evan at home and popped over to our very nice local ER for my rhogam.

It’s a funny place, the emergency room. There was an old lady with a broken hip who kept yelling “I’m peeing! I’m peeing! I have to go!” even though the nurse kept coming in to explain it was ok, she had a catheter and was supposed to pee. There was the kid laughing his head off at the doctor’s jokes even though he was still strapped into a car seat – they had been in some sort of fender bender and the paramedics brought the whole thing in on a gurney. There was the tearful family in the room next to me who cried as the doctor explained the definition of a DNR. There was the male nurse who kept saying “This is why people need a primary care physician” and “I wish more people would call their doctors before using the ER as a walk-in clinic” and “Well, the doctor doesn’t KNOW you so he might not just give you whatever medicine you want” despite the fact that I said my OB was right upstairs and said I needed a shot and he could verify my non-drug-seeking status if anyone wanted. Like rhogam is some sort of narcotic that gets you high instead of just making your thigh hurt for a couple days. DUDE, YOU’RE TOTALLY ON TO ME. I’M A JUNKIE FOR SURE.

Like I said, weird place. Happiness and sadness and noise and quiet and fast and slow at all once.

Because everyone has to check with everyone and everyone’s mother and then do a bunch of paperwork about what was said before they could treat me for my non-condition, I spent a good 2 hours just waiting around. I had my knitting with me and managed to finish a whole scarf plus catch up on everything in my Google reader on my iPhone. There were no babies climbing on me, no food being thrown, no dogs running in circles, no loud noises. The doctor was totally cooperative and happy to get out his fancy ultrasound machine to print me some pictures. The paperwork admin lady came in to chat a few times and we talked about kids and babies and pregnancy. After he realized I wasn’t a drug addict or a crazy person, my nurse was very nice and didn’t make me stay for the required 30 minutes post-injection so I could get home and enjoy the beautiful day.

I left feeling like I had taken a mini-vacation. Although next time I’d like one that didn’t involve quite so many needles. Or blood. And maybe included a massage.

But hey, I can’t really complain when I got enough quite time to finish knitting a whole project.

So to sum up: I’m much better at caring for babies that haven’t been born yet. Maybe I’ll just stay pregnant forever.

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27 Responses to “Toddler snacks and ER visits”

  1. afteriris says:

    Baby Evan looks like the picture of health to me, Suzanne. I’m not exactly sure what the pediatrician is playing at here. Stressing out pregnant mamas with lively toddlers doesn’t seem very Hippocratic to me.

    You are a lovely mum and you’re doing a great job. Maybe book a massage, seeing as you found the ER so relaxing! x

  2. this sounds stressful.. and a little extreme. all we can really do is keep offering the good stuff, but ultimately we can’t force feed!
    i am guilty of not offering veggies nearly enough though because i hate wasting food! little stinker won’t try anything green.

    • bebehblog says:

      I think the most frustrating part is the doctor DOESN’T seem to be concerned with nutrition or healthy choices – all she wants is the dot on the growth chart to go up. I could go in next month and tell her I’ve been feeding him sticks of butter and she’d probably be totally happy.

  3. ryan says:

    Doctors are weird. And you know what? You have every right to tell this one to STFU! Seriously, make an appointment with the other doc that you know or just don’t listen to this wackadoo. You’re doing a great job!

  4. MKP says:

    I second the second opinion suggestion, for serious. My baby brother ate nothing but chicken fingers and bread and mustard from like, ages 2-6 and is now 6 feet tall.

  5. Katrina says:

    I just want to agree with the other comments–trust your mothering skills, you know best. I don’t agree with most mainstream pediatricians and their “rules” for raising children or assessing their health. (I love our Naturopath/Pediatrician if you ever consider switching.)

    And for what it’s worth, Ayla didn’t have cow’s milk–not a drop–up until very recently and only because she likes it on cereal. She has never drank fruit juices and has often subsisted on string cheese and fish crackers and cashews. I offer her a variety and she eats what she wants. And you know how big and healthy she is!

    Sorry for the unsolicited advice. I just get opinionated when I hear about so-called “professionals” questioning a woman’s mothering skills. Do what feels right and works for your family–despite what anyone else says!

    Okay–I’m done now. :-)

    • bebehblog says:

      It just made me so frustrated – it wasn’t like he stopped GROWING. He grew up in height 2 full inches in 3 months. But because of the weight loss I’m suddenly the worst parent in the world.

      It’s not even like it was based on a choice – we were well past the “recommended” 12 months for breastfeeding, solids have been introduced, we’re not on any sort of vegetarian/gluten-free/no-dairy diet that MIGHT be preventing him from getting enough food. He’s just A TODDLER. He gets tons and tons of exercise. He’s too busy to eat. Add in the super-sudden weaning because of my pregnancy and I’m not at all shocked he’s not gaining weight as quickly as he was before.

      • Katrina says:

        Couldn’t the fact that he had a growth spurt in height have something to do with his gaining weight (or lack thereof)? Kids go through spurts and they gain weight in some areas, lose weight in others, get taller, get leaner, etc.

        I have no idea what my children weigh at any given time. I don’t really care. I have no use for any sort of “growth charts.”

        But to be fair, my children are very healthy so I haven’t had a lot of experience with doctors or er’s or health concerns. I guess I might think differently if I had a different experience.

        I can understand your frustration. And you’re right–he’s a toddler–things change on a daily basis. You are doing great!

        And thank goodness you have such a great outlet in which to vent (and commiserate with other moms)! And receive (possibly unwanted) advice! Hee hee!

  6. merin says:

    I have heard this “5 cups of milk” thing from other toddler mothers. Are you kidding me? Seriously? I couldn’t get Cora to drink 5 cups of ANYTHING-juice, water, milk. Maybe a peanut butter milkshake, but I think her mouth would get tired from sucking the thick stuff through a straw before she hit 5 cups. I mean, yes, I am still BF, but does anyone’s 12-24 month old really drink that much in a day?

  7. merin says:

    PS-glad you and baby sandy are OK!

  8. Swistle says:

    I think sometimes doctors get frustrated because they’re dealing with such a small segment of the bell curve, so they DEMONIZE situations that are TOTALLY FINE. This is why I opted to NOT make the appointment my pediatrician said I should make to follow up on my son’s weight. I nodded and said I’d make it, but I didn’t. (Six years later: son is fine.) Our children are not starving. We’re not failing to feed them. They look good, and healthy. They play, and are happy. Everything is fine.

  9. what exactly are they afraid of with Baby Evan’s weight that it’s such a big deal?!?! CLEARLY he is developing!

  10. Just so you know, Reid just went back a clothing size. He was in 18-almost-24 months and now he is wearing alot of his 12 month clothes again because he is thinning out so much not that he is off the bottle and running around all the time. My ped. had no issue with his weight. Are you sure it’s not just your pediatrician that’s the problem???

  11. ****now that he is off the bottle

  12. Krista T says:

    I’d like to chime in in agreement, too. I’ll spare you my whole “horror story” (it’s really not THAT bad), but my advice is eff the docs and their growth charts. YOU know if YOUR kid is healthy. I’d take Swistle’s advice (and I might have done it the first time docs told me Carolyn wasnt’ gaining enough, too!) *hug* :)

  13. Rebecca says:

    We’re going through the exact same thing right now. It SUCKS!

    Only our (childless) GP thinks that we should be force feeding her. Seriously.

    We have an appointment with a real pediatrician (in Canada you only get to see them if there is a problem your regular doctor can’t sort out) so I’m hoping that that might put an end to this crap and we will be left alone about it.

    You’d think we’d be getting medals for fighting the good fight in the war on childhood obesity.

  14. Robyn says:

    Doctors need to look at the whole kid before making parents feel like they aren’t doing their jobs. Obviously Baby Evan is getting enough to eat, just look at him. Rory went down on the growth charts this check up too, and she eats all day long…she’s just too active to actually gain any weight.

  15. Other Erin says:

    I will never understand why people value the opinions of doctors so much. Sure they went to school for a long time and know a bunch of stuff but they are still just people who have the same biases, the same number of off days and the same capability for mistakes as everyone else. It’s great to have a doctor’s advice, especially in new, really complicated or rare circumstances, but it’s not the word of God. If Snooki decided to go to medical school and passed with flying colors, would you let HER give you advice on how to raise your child?
    Evan is clearly healthy. You identified the cause of the weight problem and know it won’t happen again. Don’t let people who know less than you do about your son get you down.

    • bellegourmande says:

      I am married to a doctor and cannot emphasize this enough!! Having been surrounded by medical students and now doctors for the last 6 years, one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that they don’t necessarily know all that much, and they don’t always know what’s best for you. You know that Evan is healthy and happy, you know why he lost weight in the first place, etc. You’re doing a fabulous job so I would just forget about what this ped said. Growth charts and other such tools are not written in stone. They’re just guidelines, and everyone is different, so how can we use them so strictly without considering the circumstances? The same applies for your OB commenting about your pregnancy weight gain. Again, every woman’s body is different and every pregnancy is different, so giving recommendations for weight gain during pregnancy is pretty arbitrary. You are having a very healthy pregnancy, so the amount of weight you’re gaining is right for you and for this particular baby. Docs don’t always look at the big picture, and it’s a real shame.

  16. Amy says:

    Just like everyone commented above, you have nothing to worry about. Baby Evan is clearly healthy and a whole POUND of weight gained in one month is A LOT. WOW! Way to go! I’d take the same route as Swistle and skip the monthly weight checks and not worry about it. He is clearly healthy and very active.

  17. Amy says:

    P.S. Glad you and Sandy are well also.

  18. TMae says:

    I wonder what the doctor would have said if he hadn’t gained any weight? Would her advice have been any different? I’d bet she would have said the same thing, in the same tone. Which would probably mean I would specifically *not* see her again in the future. Because, dude, Baby Evan is the picture of awesomeness. He’s growing, he’s gaining, he’s learning, he’s thriving. They wanted you to come back to see if he had gained weight, and he did, so HUZZAH.

    And the ER sounds lovely. In a twisted sort of way. Glad you’re ok.

  19. Emmie Bee says:

    Eff that dr. Seriously. Can you see someone else?

  20. brigidkeely says:

    5 cups of milk? Seriously? That seems like an awful lot.

    I’m glad your medical vacation was so awesome.

  21. Alena says:

    I wouldn’t worry about his weight!! You feed him, you don’t starve him!! One thing our pedi suggested (that I’m shocked yours didn’t) is setting out a tray during the day of fruits, veggies & cheese. because toddlers are more interested in playing than eating they can walk by the tray and grab something and walk off. They can eat with out slowing down.

    You’re doing great, screw the dr!!

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