Just let them be kids! 

You have probably heard the term helicopter parent at some point in recent memory. The big example I can think of that made quite a news story was regarding some parent that called her child’s university to complain about the salad bar offerings. Sure, that’s an extreme case, but after my last few trips to the museum with my girls, I’m losing all hope for humanity.

I grew up in a neighborhood full of kids. My two siblings and I were allowed to roam as far as we wanted as long as we could still hear my mother’s ear piercing whistle – which was pretty far. We had roller blading races and tree climbing competitions, we played street-wide manhunt while our parents sat around the campfire on summer nights. I also grew up with twenty-six cousins. And my aunts and uncles had no qualms about disciplining nieces and nephews. 

It is a fact that people today are having fewer children, and also that many are starting families later in life. Of course both of these things affect how a person parents. I was 31 when my first was born. And 32 when my twins were born. I’m sure I would be a much different parent if I had my girls in my 20s. My parents married at 21 and had three kids by 24. I remember my mother being question by a movie theatre employee who didn’t believe that we were her kids. 

The last few trips to the Children’s Museum have really hurt my heart. There is a spectrum of engagement that people have with their children – and maybe the best way is a sliding scale. Not the mom at the mall play center that was so engaged with her phone she didn’t see her son run out of the play area and down the corridor and then her barely walking daughter climb over the back of the chair and almost fall off. But I also think it’s important not to stay at the other end of the spectrum. I’ve seen so many parents overly involved in their child’s play. To the point where the child isn’t even playing but following his parent’s directions. Let’s go over here. What does this do? Does it light up? What happens if you touch this? See this ball? It goes right here. 

It. Never. Stops. 

The child who has a parent like this has no chance to satisfy his or her own curiosity, to figure out how something works, or to try and fail. 

At the Ecotarium a couple weeks ago I passed a mom and dad with their daughter. She looked to be about the age of my oldest. They pushed her in her stroller to each exhibit and then sat on the floor with her told her how to play. They didn’t give her any chance to interact with other kids or to explore what she wanted to. My kids were running amuck in the play area, laughing and shrieking, doing what they wanted. And I felt awful seeing this poor kid stuck doing what her parents wanted her to do.

Right now, as I’m writing this blog, my oldest is playing with bristle blocks and the twins are sleeping. There are times every day that I will sit on the floor with my kids and play. But when I do, I don’t direct them in what they’re doing. I don’t build for them, I don’t instruct them on how to play, and I don’t spend the entire time engaging in baby talk with them. I will point things out at museums that they may like, or show them how to do something when they are frustrated, but mostly, I just hang back and watch. 

They are kids. They need some independence. A child who never has the chance to try and fail is the child that will have a meltdown when they can’t get something to work. This is the child that becomes the middle schooler whose parents make study flash cards for, or whose parent writes their admission essay to private high school (yup, I’ve taught kids like that). Okay, so maybe it won’t all turn out badly, but why the over involvement? Why do parents do this? 

And yes, every instance that I’ve noticed in the past few weeks involved a single child (not siblings). But I have friends and relatives that have only one child and they are down to earth, realistic, don’t take crap from my child, kind of people. So what makes one parent a helicopter parent and another not? I have no idea. But a parent that does not give their child freedom to play on his or her own, to try and fail, is truly doing their child a disservice. 

This notice hangs in multiple places in the Children’s Museum. And I think it’s trying to say the same thing that I am – just let your kids play! 
Also, ignore the piece of hair stuck to it… this placard is at child level in the water room. Some poor kid probably got stuck to it. 


Brave Momma, or Crazy?

The other day, I strapped on my big Momma balls and took my three girls to the Children’s Museum. This was the first time that I have taken the girls by myself AND with no stroller. My main motivation for doing this asinine thing was for the twins. Ever since we began going to this particular museum (around the time they turned one) they have been stroller bound. I, or we, if my husband wasn’t working, would unstrap them in different sections so that they could play, but then we would strap them back in to move them somewhere else. They didn’t get to explore the way that their older sister could. And now, at eighteen months old, they’re running, shrieking and loving all their new freedom. And I wanted them to be able to experience the museum fully.

What I came to realize was that I had another obstacle besides a serious lack of control over three toddlers. My oldest was just toilet trained. She is still at the phase where she sometimes needs to be reminded when it’s time to go to the bathroom. She’s also still too small to do it by herself. So what do you do with a 2 1/2 year old who has to pee, two 18-month olds and only one adult? Bring them all in to the bathroom and pray the little ones don’t touch anything. This wasn’t a very successful operation…

Anyone with a toddler knows how you can turn your back for a second and your kid can just take off. Add two extra toddlers and it’s chaos all the time. Evelyn was never a runner. She learned to walk when her sisters were a couple months old and always held my hand or the stroller. She never darted across the parking lot or ran away from me in the store. Got distracted by toys and stopped, yes, but never took off. The twins are a different story. I need them to learn to not run away from me and to stop when they hear me call their name. The museum is a relatively small space with a lot of families. No one would be dumb enough to let an unaccompanied toddler run outside. And it’s a place where I feel comfortable taking a couple steps out of the eyesight of two to grab the third. So for me, it was a perfect place to try.

So did it work? Eh. 

One of the twins is a definite momma’ girl. She tends to stay close by, especially when other people are around. But the other? She’s a runner, and a devious one. She stops when I call her name, and grins at me, but then usually just keeps going. She is fiercely independent. If she doesn’t want to be held or picked up, well, hell will rain down on you if you try. And someone will probably call Child Protective Services because of the noise coming out of her face hole. Oh it’s bad. But you know what? She LOVED it. She loved the freedom. She loved that I let her walk away from me (but where I could still see her). And if she went to far, well I just scooped her up and ran her back. She wasn’t thrilled, but she got over it.

It was hard. I can’t lie about that. It was also exhausting. Pushing a stroller you can zone out a bit. With three toddlers going in three different directions you’ve got no time to even have a complete thought. It’s going to be an uphill battle. The twins are still young. They’re still learning. And they’re going to test boundaries. I’m really glad that I did it, and that I did it as soon as the museum opened at 9am when the crowds were thinner. 

I’m still debating on a backpack leash for my runner. I’m hoping that I can garner the courage to try a few more places sans stroller just to see how she does. Maybe I just need a little pouch of cookies for every time she listens and comes back to me. 

It’s been a couple weeks since we took this trip and my momma balls are still hiding in the back of the closet. I think it’s about time to dust them off and try again. 


Is your family prepared for an Emergency? 

A year or two ago I remember reading an article about emergency preparedness. It was sort of like a how-to article mixed with well-placed shame for those of us that had never thought to prepare for emergency situations

I will admit that I am one of those people that never have a second thought to a natural disaster happening in my backyard. I live in New England – not on the coast, not in a flood zone, not somewhere that has had tornadoes or earthquakes of note. I get excited for power outages because that means I can light all my Yankee Candles at once, even if it is three in the afternoon. When Hurricane Sandy hit a few years back we lost power for a couple of days. I spent that time at the dining room table in the apartment I shared with my sister and read Charles Dicken’s David Copperfield in its entirety by daylight/candlelight. We threw out a fair number of old condiment bottles from the fridge and cooked up a lot of what had started defrosting, but we suffered no damage or losses from the storm.

This article was a wake up call for me. I was pregnant with my first at the time and immediately started scouring Pinterest and saving everything I could find about emergency kits, survival necessities, etc. In my head I planned out the section of my basement that would hold my storage rack. There would be water jugs, med kits, fully-stocked backpacks with clothing and shoes rotated out each season for every member of the family, a month-long stash of canned and other non-perishable items, and of course, a lot of water. Because we all need three gallons a day to function. My interest in this project fizzled out almost as quickly as it had begun. Because life got in the way.

Enter Hurricane Harvey. I’ve got a much different perspective now that I’m a mom of three kids, two cats and a husband. I remember hearing about and seeing the devastation from Hurricane Katrina. But it didn’t affect me the way this most recent storm did. Because before, it was just me. Harvey was sort of a mini wake up call. It took a few days to really wrap my head around what I wanted and needed for my family, and it wasn’t a shelf in the basement with 17 6-gallon jugs of water or some such nonsense.

Two nights ago I sat down with my husband and we had a good back and forth discussion about our family and what we would do should an emergency situation arise. We aren’t new to preparing ahead – our toddlers have life insurance, savings accounts and college funds with (currently) enough money for one year of in-state tuition. But we had never thought to plan for a disaster.

The first things came to mind was an evacuation order. I’ve seen photos and videos and heard stories of so many people that ignored an evacuation order (and it could be for a number of reasons including some valid ones) that then needed, for lack of a better term, saving. I wanted to make it clear that should we receive some type of evacuation order, we would leave immediately. We would pack up the car and leave. All I could think about, as I made this request to my husband, was the story about the toddler found clinging to her mother’s dead body in the flood waters of Texas. 

My husband agreed to this emotional outburst from me, but then we really got down to the details and pulled out our notebook. We were not planning for an apocalypse. We didn’t need shelving units and backpacks in the basement, nor could we afford all those extra resources just wasting away. I can honestly admit that I wouldn’t think to rotate out canned food so that it didn’t expire, or change out clothing as the girls grew. That just wasn’t going to work for us. But her is what will.

Emergencies for us would constitute one of two things: (1) an evacuation or (2) a shelter in place. 

An evacuation would mean that we would have to pack up and leave, with no thought to the house or the possessions we would be leaving behind. I would think that the most likely reason for this would be a flooding issue from a severe storm. In which case, we decided on the following:

  1. We would pack as soon as word got out that an evac may be issued. Everyone has their own duffel bag for clothes and toiletries. My husband and I already keep travel toiletry bags packed in our bathroom closet so we’d just pack it up. Clothes, toiletries, neccesities (prescriptions, diapers, adult meds) and blankets. The girls also have a fully stocked med kit in a fishing tackle box that would come with us. We also would plan on purchasing some emergency phone chargers should we not have access to power outlets where we went.
  2. We would prep the house. Our major concern would be flooding at our side door (a single car garage was turned into two bedrooms before we bought the house). In heavy rain the water pools here. These rooms are on a concrete slab so the water would just congregate. Our first step would be to sandbag that side door. Our mudroom houses our washer and dryer and a closet of musical instruments. The instruments would be moved and the washer/dryer propped up. Our plan is to collect scrap would from my fathers workshop with the sole purpose of raising up furniture on our first floor. The back bedroom is full of books, games, photo albums and other random items. We decided that the photos and keepsakes would be moved to the second floor and we would just quickly empty the lowest shelves. Chances are time wouldn’t be on our side if it got to the point of moving items so we would run what we could carry upstairs and then try to prop up what we could.
  3. We have two outdoor cats that come in and out of the mudroom to eat multiple times a day. We could not take them with us (they would freak) and we would not lock them in the house for as my husband put it, should the house collapse, we’d literally be trapping them in. We decided to keep on hand extra food, litter boxes, beds and shelters. Should we need to evacuate, we would cut one of the screens on our screened in back porch and quickly set up a safe indoor space for the cats. They could come in if they needed too, and have shelter from the weather, but they wouldn’t be trapped. 
  4. We would also take with us a Red File. This was one Pinterest idea that I didn’t ignore. It’s a binder that I’ve been putting together that houses copies of all our necessary documents (birth certificates, marriage certificate, passports), records of all our investments, bank accounts and loans, copies of credit cards with phone numbers. Basically everything we would need to prove who we are and to have access to our finances. Our binder isn’t quite done but it’s on the list. 
  5. Lastly, since we wouldn’t exactly know where we were going, we would pack an extra bag of whatever food items made sense (granola bars, etc), water bottles and toilet paper.

This, we feel, is the maximum that we could accomplish in a short amount of time. I know where all of these items are and can organize it all within the hour. I do know that I need to finish our Red File and make sure our originals are all safely stowed in our fire-proof safe, and that we need to purchase and store enough sandbags for our side door, and a couple of chargers. Lastly, making sure that we don’t leave purchases to the point where we run out (diapers, medicine, prescriptions, gas for the car) would be very beneficial should an emergency situation arise. 

The second type of disaster we may encounter would be a shelter in place due to a hurricane or a blizzard. We don’t have the funds to create a three month stash of all we would need in the baement. But then again, we aren’t out in the middle of nowhere and have neighbors we can count on. So this is what we decided we should organize together and purchase in the event that we are stuck in our house for an extended period of time.

  1. Indoor propane cooktop with propane refills. We have an electric stove so if the power is out, we can’t cook or boil water.
  2. Propane lanterns. We have plenty of decorative candles hanging around but a propane camping lantern would give us a lot of light for an extended period of time. 
  3. Tarps, rope, bungees and duct tape. We have some large trees pretty close to the house that could do considerable damage. It may be that we would have to seal up some sort of cave in. 
  4. Medical supplies. We keep the basics like bandaids, small gauze pads and rubbing alcohol on hand. But medical supplies don’t go bad, really. So we would like to fill up some top of Rubbermaid container with a bit more should someone end up with a serious injury. I don’t know if I could find my head long enough to locate a sewing needle in one room, rubbing alcohol in an upstairs bathroom, clean towels, etc., in the event of a bad injury. And my husband trying to find these things? Forget it. One bin. Sterilized and sealed items. Done.  
  5. Water. If the water supply was cut off and we weren’t prepared, it would be disastrous. Our first thought will always be to fill up the tub and buckets we have lying around. But for bathing, cooking, cleaning and flushing, those won’t last us more than a week. The easiest thing to do here is to buy water cooler jugs and store them. So our plan is to purchase four of these as a backup and store them in the basement.
  6. Generator. A generator is not going to power our whole house, but it will keep the refrigerator running. And in terms of what we could lose should the fridge lose power, it’s going to be worth the investment. We’ve done the research and know that we need a 2200 watt generator to power up a fridge so that’s on our to buy list for our tax refund next year.

Two years ago I could’ve shown you a list of 300 items that I would need to purchase to set up an adequate emergency preparedness kit and storage center in my basement. But really, if the zombie apocalypse comes, we’re just going to embrace out destiny. But for us, on a limited budget and with three little kids, we need to be practical, and we need to be prepared for what specifically could befall us.

We have our small list of items to purchase right up on the refrigerator and will get it piecemeal during normal shopping trips. Each new purchase will help ease the consternation I have over ensuring my family is safe in an emergency. But the most important part of this whole project was the conversation that my husband and I had. Just talking through what would be best for our family, and making sure that we are on the same page, gives me more piece of mind than survival backpacks with matchsticks and Swiss Army knives ever could. 


Crafty Momma DIY: Snack Box

It was quite some time ago that I first came across the idea of using a small segmented container as a snack holder for kids. Im pretty sure I found it while browsing mommy blogs on Pinterest. It definitely intrigued me but after a quick search in which I found no suitable container, I gave up.  

Last week, Evelyn and I were browsing in Dollar Tree for prize jar treats for my husband’s classroom when I came across these small craft boxes. I immediately remembered the original plan and snatched up three of them, desperate to try out the idea.

First, they took a quick bath in some soapy water.

Then I took out the small dividers and used an assortment of tools to cut down one of the segments to create a slightly larger space – this is the graham cracker spot. 

The segments are pretty small so I had to get creative with filling each one. Basically any snack that you can find that has “mini” in the name will fit. I hit the CVS cheap-food section for some great $1 options. When you only use 3-4 of these items in one segment, you get a lot of use out of the small bags! I’ve found that cereal fits really well, as do goldfish and raisins. You can also fit half of a Chewy granola bar (cut into two) or half of a Fiber One Brownie (the girls LOVE these). 

I’ve also found that because the seal isn’t super tight on these boxes it helps to put a small piece of plastic wrap over the food before closing the lid. After opening the box and snacking multiple times in a single day, the grahams weren’t too fresh. The plastic helps keep everything tasting perfect all day. 

The assortment is doing exactly what their dinner trays did – getting the girls to try new foods. [They have silicone dinner trays with five compartments so they get five separate items at their mealtime rather than just one main course]

I did have to purchase some extra bag clips and set aside a small basket to hold all these mini snacks. The value is usually in the larger packages of snacks so my plan is to only purchase what I normally purchase in full size (like goldfish and pretzels) and to purchase the “extras” (like Mini Golden Oreos) only when I can find them on sale or at the dollar store.

I’m pretty sure my girls thought they hit the jackpot when I put their Snackle Box in front of them for the first time. I was quite surprised that they ate soooo much slower because they were too busy trying to decide what to eat next. It’s been such a hit with them that I’m going to try and pick up a few more for the inevitable moment when one breaks.


Learning at Home: Preschool Readiness Challenge!

Before having all these babies, I taught for 8 years in four different private schools. I started off teaching Kindergarten in a small Catholic school. That school was closed at the end of the year and I found another K position at a daycare facility. From there, I went to another Catholic school where I taught Literature to grades 6, 7 and 8. I was there for five years but then was not offered another contract after the birth of my first daughter. So I found myself in another Catholic school the following year, teaching English to middle school kids and technology to grades 3-8. 

While still working on my masters degree, I was a graduate assistant and tutored undergraduates students, mostly in math, history and English. 

So in the grand scheme of things, I have experience teaching at multiple grade levels, and a variety of subjects. 

Of course, none of that prepared me for teaching a two-I year old. It’s been quite the learning curve. 

To prepare for ‘Evelyn’s School’ as I call it, I started by organizing all the materials that I picked up – art supplies, paper supplies, vinyl numbers and letters, magnets, wall stickers, etc., and setup a corner of the dining room. Next, I determined an approximate schedule, more for my sake to keep track of what ‘subjects’ I wanted to work with her on. I came up with this:

• Flash cards (to start, colors and shapes, things we were already practicing)

• Art (painting, play-doh, dot markers, crayons, stamps, etc)

• Writing (holding pencils and markers correctly, following a line, etc)

• Letters (recognition and sound)

• Numbers (recognition and counting)

• Colors (identification and sorting/matching)

• Puzzles (fine motor skills, matching)

• Music (singing and dancing, playing with instruments)

• Reading 

I organized these categories into three segments of the day. The morning segment is the largest because that is when the twins are asleep. These five categories usually take us about 20 minutes in total, leaving us plenty of free play and outside time before the girls wake. The afternoon segment is the most difficult so I’ve actually been squeezing a few into the morning. The girls are just super cranky after nap so if I bring Evie into another room, it’s utter chaos. Our playroom is directly off the dining room but it’s been too hot in the afternoons. The evening activities we do after dinner and bath, right before bed. The twins get to participate too. 

We are one week in and I’m pleased that Evie is enjoying her activities with mom. When I say, “It’s time for Evie’s school,” she gets really excited and runs to the dining room. It excited me too. I find that I’m more patient with her when we are sitting together doing these activities. A definite good thing. 

This is certainly a challenge for me, despite my numerous college degrees and highly qualified teacher status. This is something that I will work at, that I will research and that I will fumble through, a lot. It’s a different ballgame to try and make a toddler understand such abstract notions that marks on a page indicate a sound. Or that those marks on a page are what mommy is saying when she is reading. This week we are working on the letter A. She can now identify Aa in her flash card set, but today, all marks have started to become an A. Other words she is seeing, are all A. So now I know that I need to change my instruction. And when we are working on our activities I will need to show her other letters. Her job now will be to look at all the marks and pick out which one is A. Hopefully this will help her to understand that A isn’t just the only name for the marks on the paper. 

I’m not doing all of this because I want her to go to school knowing everything. That’s not my goal. But since she is not in day care, a place where children ARE actively engaged in activities that promote Pre-K readiness, I want to make sure that she is on an even keel. I also want to try and instill in her a little discipline; I want her to understand that there are times when she will have to sit for a few minutes, stay focused on one task at a time, and follow directions. These are all work in progress skills for most toddlers, I would say. I also want to make sure that she is having fun and is able to see early on that learning something new, or doing something new, can be exciting and rewarding.  

This also IS NOT the start of homeschooling. Even if someone PAID me to homeschool, I wouldn’t. All the power to those moms and dads that do it. It’s just not something that I would ever want to do, nor is it something I feel compelled to do for personal or religious reasons. While I’m super grateful to be home now, I will be going back to work in a few years. I think it’s important for kids and parents to have their own space once in awhile, especially when the idea duct tape and a closet start creeping into my mind. Kidding. Maybe. Seriously, I’m sure all moms of toddlers thought about that once upon a time. 

I know that some days are challenging. She’s not the little angel she appears to be on camera. Everyone with kids knows that a child acts A LOT differently around her mom than other people. If I could send her somewhere just for a day or two a week, I think she would be better off for it. She would learn to follow directions from people she doesn’t quite know and learn essential social skills. It’s just not in the budget right now so I’m trying to plan as many outings as I can where she can get the opportunity to interact with other children at her level. 

All in all, I’m excited to start this adventure with her. We will both be learning, I’m sure, and I think we will both be better off for it. That’s not to say we won’t skip school one day to cuddle and watch Winnie the Pooh without the twins. But even four days a week of direct one-on-one learning is better than nothing at all!


The bright sides of things.

I read an article posted by the site Scary Mommy in which a woman discussed a play date her daughter had. The writer was shocked when her daughter’s friend, an 8-year old, said she needed to watch what she eats and that her grandmother called her fat. I’m pretty sure I would shocked to. That word is going to stick with that child through adulthood, and not in a very positive way. It got me thinking again about how to handle issues of this type with my three daughters as they grow. I know that the best way to ensure body-positive kids who are healthy is to be body-positive and healthy myself. To not talk about things being “bad for you” but rather encourage my kids to choose healthy without pressuring them. 

It’s definitely not going to be as easy as it sounds. Here are some truths that I have come to accept –

  • I am not at a healthy weight
  • I do not make the best food choices
  • I am not as active as I should be

As someone who always struggled with weight, I know how the guilt, shame and anger just continuously cycle. I lost and I gained, I lost and I gained. It’s been that way since I graduated high school. The saddest part is knowing that the science of losing weight is actually super super simple. Consume less than you expend. 

I was at my fittest (and let me be clear, this was NOT my lowest weight) when I met my husband. I was beginning my fourth year of teaching, was at a position I loved, and I had just had the most active summer of my life. I was on the ice twice a week, played softball in a women’s league, and biked over 75-miles a week. I even owned a pair of size 8 jeans! I  was fit and I was healthy. And guess what? I still ate salt &a vinegar chips and ice cream. 

I know EXACTLY why I did not stay like this an list them – eating out more, being less physically active, two concussions within a one year span, arm surgery, a three-month span of hormone medication that caused thirty pound weight gain, and oh yeah, eating way more junk. Like a whole sleeve or Oreos as a snack at 9:00pm. Or getting McDonald’s for lunch on a road trip. 

Most of those excuses are just that, my excuses. A few I really couldn’t help, but the rest, I am to blame. 

I am SO proud of what this body has accomplished. When I got pregnant with my first I was already the largest I had ever been. Despite my doctor’s ‘fat girl = problematic pregnancy’ theory, I had a perfectly healthy pregnancy, a lovely 36-hour labor (but only minutes of pushing!) and a perfectly healthy daughter. Three months later, boom, pregnant with twins. High-risk due to  their rare momo situation, but otherwise, a perfectly healthy pregnancy and c-section. 

I. Grew. Babies.

Damn right I’m proud of that. Cute ones too. 

I may be my biggest and least active self currently, but I know that will change. I know this walking boot and probable physical therapy won’t last forever. I know that when the girls get a bit older I will be able to play softball again. As they learn to ride bikes we can ride as a family. As they learn to not scream the second I leave the room, I can focus on actually making a healthy dinner and not resorting to whatever I can throw on their tray. 

Despite being overweight, I am otherwise fairly healthy. And I’m trying my hardest to model confidence. I wear a bathing suit without a coverup and have even been wearing shorts all summer. I may not feel happy with how I look, but I don’t show that to my girls and I don’t complain in front of them (only to my husband, really). 

I don’t know what body types are destined for my girls. I just really want them to be healthy – not just healthy in the way a doctor would describe, but for them to have healthy relationships with their own bodies. To not feel like a complete failure when the scale creeps up. To feel disgusted looking in a mirror if they don’t fit someone’s vision of an ‘ideal’ body type.

And I know that I am the key. 

My time to focus on becoming healthy and active will come. Right now, I’m focusing on surviving each day home with three little girls.


Chicken Legs

At my daughter’s two-year old well visit, my doctor assured me that my oldest was just slimming down. She said I didn’t need to supplement her diet (with something like Pediasure) and I could still give her 1% or fat free milk. She said I could try adding a little more fat by way of butter in her mashed potatoes and the like.
I didn’t satisfy me, but I didn’t argue. 
Five months have gone by since that appointment and I can’t shake this feeling that something is off. Last week she was sick for a few days and didn’t eat anything during that illness. I could tell when I carried her that she lost a little weight, which I guess is to be expected. 
She is a picky eater but when she’s hungry, she will ask for food. She loves her snacks (especially salt & vinegar chips) and gets two a day, along with her three meals. She gets milk at meals, water whenever she wants it, and a small bit of juice when waking up from nap. There’s been no noticeable change in what she is eating or how much she is eating, but she is just not gaining weight. 
Any moms out there can probably identify with that feeling. That feeling that sits there right at the base of your ribs that tells you to keep worrying, to ask questions and to get answers. Sometimes nothing is wrong. Like our trip to the doctor today. The u usual mark on her leg that was leaking yellow oil was a spider bite. No big, just a bandage. But that little nagging feeling won’t go away until I KNOW what’s going on.
I’ve been concerned about Evelyn’s weight for a few months now. I’ve been holding back on calling the doc and waiting for her next well-visit in the fall. Sometimes my worry comes up in conversation, whether with family or friends, and I’ve been so disappointment by the utter lack of empathy for the anxiousness I feel. My anxiety has been poo-poohed by everyone I’ve spoken to and it is incredibly disheartening. Yes, I understand there is a chance that there is physically nothing wrong with her. And that’s most likely the case. I also understand that there are nights when I can’t fall asleep because I’m worried about her. I have to exclude by husband from this because he’s the only other person who seems to share my concern. 
It’s so frustrating to be talked down to, especially by other moms. Just because “your child blah blah blah” does not mean my child is the same way. Just because your child or children are older doesn’t mean you have special mom wisdom on your side. When did it become okay to just dismiss another mother’s concern over her own child? To exclude completely the growth curves that I’m given by my child’s doctor each visit? How about reassurance that many kids slim down, or that she may be more active than most. Or maybe offer some suggestions on what I can do to help her gain weight, or to ease my own worry. Why is it that her low weight means nothing? 
My husband and I were not teeny tiny children, just like we aren’t slim adults. This isn’t a body type that fits our family. At nine month old she fell at about the 70th percentile. Last week I actually pulled up all her old records so that I could see if she had moved from her “path” on the growth chart. This is what I saw for her weight percentiles.
9 months 69th

1 year 64th

15 months 56th

18 months 44th

2 year 34th

At the doctor’s office today she weighed in 1 lb less than her previous appointment 5 months ago. She is now in the 18th weight percentile for her age.
I am an educated person. I understand that people’s bodies grow differently, that they change and that active toddlers will grow taller and slim down. But I also see (especially from the twins’ charts) that normal height/weight growth means that your child stays sort of around the same curve of the graph. When her weight percentile has dropped at EVERY single appointment, I don’t see that as following a relatively similar curve. 
Elanor, who will be 18months tomorrow, has been near the 1st percentile for weight since she was born. As a preemie, it was sort of expected that she was a little smaller. But every appointment shows that she is following the same growth curve for her height and weight, even if she is on the low end of the chart. This to me, is how it should be. Not dropping continuously. 
Since Evelyn was sick last week we have been giving her Pediasure each morning, calling it her chocolate shake. It’s not much, but it helps ease my mind just a little. I’m going to continue giving it to her and hope that by the time her next well-visit rolls around, it will have helped her to add a little weight. 
Evelyn doesn’t look malnourished, and she eats her meals and loves her junk food. She looks like a skinny little toddler with way too much energy. But that’s what you see. I see my long waited for first-born child. The child who dropped 20% of her body weight the week after birth because she just wouldn’t latch and was literally starving. I see my daughter who I would protect with my life. This feeling of worry that I have won’t go away, even if you dismiss it as easily as I do the broccoli on my plate.