Friday, January 04, 2008

Finding humor (and sanity) at the pediatrician's office

Nathan has had a raging cold this week. He's gone from having mucus running down his face to it running down the back of his throat. He's had a raspy cough that would make Jacob Marley jealous. He's been feverish and hasn't wanted to sleep. And the child who once would eat Mommy's potato salad and green beans has suddenly started shaking his head and saying "uh-huh" when offered food.
So off to the doctor we headed yesterday afternoon. I was not looking forward to this trip - it took more than an hour to get through to get a work-in appointment, so I knew it would be crowded. It was.
Surprisingly, we were out of the waiting room and in the exam room rather quickly. Nathan is quite inquisitive and behaved really well for the doctor - mostly because she sat on the exam table with him and he found this odd.
It turns out that his refusal to eat may have little to do with his cold and more to do with his age. As the doctor put it, toddlers have a tendency to become "water people," choosing beverages over food because downing six ounces of milk takes less time than chewing up and swallowing chicken nuggets (another favorite he's turning down.)
After stressing out all week about his lack of appetite and worrying about juggling getting to my job and taking care of him, at the words "water people" I suddenly started imagining Nathan very fish-like. And the expression on his face while she described this was priceless - he just looked at her like "Wow, she gets me."
So to all you mothers of 19 month old children, it's OK if they don't eat. They'll survive - in fact, Nathan had maintained his weight and had actually sprouted up an inch or so in height.

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