Failure to Thrive….three new words on Ethan’s medical record. We had a follow-up weight check this morning. He didn’t lose any weight – as he had at his 8-year-old check-up – but he hasn’t gained any weight either. Frustration. Failure. More letters next to his name. We never even had this diagnosis with our micro-preemie. Once Ryley came home from the NICU, he gained weight, granted it was at his pace but he steadily grew. This is new. Do I think it’s connected to Ethan’s PDD? In large part, yes. But it’s still frustrating.
I am reminded again that we cannot parent him the same we do Ryley and Grace. Planet Ethan is a whole lot different from Planets R and G. In our home, you are expected to be fairly self-sufficient. The older two can and do get what they need when they need it, ie they fix their own lunches and snacks, complete with starting the oven and using the microwave (I don’t let them put anything in or take anything out of the oven, but they know how to start and stop it). They clean up after themselves. They put away their clean laundry. Ethan, well, it’s just different. I don’t know if we encouraged this, or if he is really convinced he can’t do things so he doesn’t, or what. He won’t use the bagel cutter, even with supervision. He won’t put cream cheese on his bagel. He doesn’t like to use the microwave. He doesn’t clean up unless reminded and we all endure a power struggle (not always, but frequently). Heck, he will crawl across the entire car just to avoid having to open the car door for himself. As an aside, I probably have him afraid to open the door because we had a large SUV until last Fall and I was always terrified of them opening the doors into the cars next to us, so would make them wait for me to open them. The words we hear from him often are “I can’t do it.”
So maybe I have to do more work for him for a while, put in extra effort. I’m feeling like I’ve failed him by not seeing and doing this until now. Within the next few days, he will have to endure his first blood draw, and I feel as if it’s my fault. I hate when I fail my babies. I hate when they have to suffer because I’ve failed them. But I guess it’s time to put away the pity-party, put my big-girl panties on, and do what needs to be done to get him where he needs to be. Where do we go from here? We have a whole list of suggested foods for boosting calories. We have two pages of suggestions on how to deal with a picky eater. We have the order for the blood work. We have a new antihistamine prescription which supposedly helps boost appetite (he has allergies and has to have antihistamines anyways). And we have another follow-up appointment in two months. Poor little guy just sighed. I never thought I’d have to fight this hard for my full-term, healing baby.