Friday, February 28, 2014

Goodbye to my life in the circus

my wild little lion

Relief. Awash with relief.
Like a pressure valve has been located and released.

We had a much anticipated appointment with the paediatrician today to try to work out why my little boy won't eat and why he won't grow.

The week leading up to this appointment was like a long graveyard shift stretch in life. Each mealtime more anxious than the next. Every day became increments of three mealtimes. One always more arduous than the next. Tired stones felt like they were weighing on my body, pulling my heart, my limbs, my soul heavier and heavier with each breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I knew that rationally I had to remain calm and zen as food kept whizzing past me, onto me, onto the floor and everywhere except into his mouth. It took every ounce of zip I have to be the circus clown feeder I somehow ended up being. I did spoon aeroplanes so majestic that my performance could have been in an aerial show. I sang nursery rhymes. I never scolded. I sang praises so high every time he touched food you'd think he'd worked out string theory on his high chair.

I never intended to be the distraction feeder. The bring the iPad out feeder. The bribing with iced milk and chocolate custard feeder. I broke every rule I ever set for myself BEFORE I had a baby.

Listen up future parents and listen good: Parenting is a lot easier to be high and mighty about IF YOU'RE NOT ACTUALLY A PARENT.

By the end of the week, it felt like I was the disgraced circus ring master who had lost control of her little boy who had become the lion that went wild. With each meal, he grew more advanced evolving to each and everyone of my tricks to make him eat. He adapted like a rapidly evolving bacteria and each day it seemed like he ate less and less, got angrier and fussier more and more.

I knew I was NOT doing it right. I knew this was NOT sustainable. Something had to give. And it was not going to be my stubborn little boy.

By the time I walked into the paediatrician's office, I was close to losing it. I sat down on the patient's chair and looked into doctor's soft gingery hair framing his face like a halo of tranquility. He examined my boy, played with him, measured him and sat back on his doctor's chair looking at my 8.5kg wriggly little conundrum crawling havoc on his floor. And to my relief he said "I look at this child and if I didn't look at his weight trajectory, I would not think anything except that he is a healthy child".

So the verdict is...there is nothing wrong with my boy. He just needs to learn how to eat. He is just so strong-willed and independent that something has made him decide he does not like others putting things in his mouth. At least that's a lesson I won't have to teach him for later on in life.

We should never underestimate the power of reassurance of another human being, doctor or not. Just the acknowledgment that the shit you are in must be hard and that there is a way forward unloaded all my heavy stones onto his clinic floor. An hour later, I walked out and left them there.

And what do you know...the little boy gobbled up some fish fingers for dinner tonight all on his own!

Maybe sometimes in life when faced with a seemingly insurmountable problem, all we need is to sit back a little and take a load off.

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