Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Kate and Crew 8: Food: problems and fixes

8. Food Problems and Fixes (Jan/Feb 2014) 

Problem/Fix #1:
             When Kate took Teddy in for his 4-month check-up (it was really closer to 5 months by the time she got around to it) she didn't think there was anything to worry about. It's true, he hadn't been eating or sleeping very well...but honestly, wasn't that par for the course as far as babies were concerned? Besides, he was getting teeth in, which could explain a lot; and he was clearly developing well in strength and dexterity and awareness.
             They did all the usual things, checking his weight and height and temperature. And then the assistant left Kate and Teddy to study the I-Spy boards in the room while they waited for the doctor. But when the doctor came in, instead of sitting down to talk, she took them back to the scale for another weigh-in...just to double check that it had been done properly. Kate had thought it was a little low, but when she saw the 11.1 pounds on the growth chart, her heart sank. It was well below the lowest percentile. No baby was that small at that age!
             The doctor asked about how Teddy was eating, and Kate explained that it wasn't very good and that she had also just found out that she was pregnant again. Seeing Kate's panicky expression, the doctor hastened to sooth and reassure her, "It's probably just the pregnancy hormones changing your milk supply. We'll send you to a cardiologist just to make absolutely sure that there is nothing wrong with his heart, but I expect that if you try to supplement every feeding with formula, you'll see him gain a lot very quickly. Do that for this week, and then bring him back and we'll make sure that's doing the trick."
             The cardiologist assessed Teddy's heart and found it to be completely normal. And through the rest of the week, Teddy ate so much that he gained a pound and a quarter! (And roughly another pound for each of the next two weeks!) Teddy was the happiest little boy, cooing and gurgling and starting to laugh and giggle when Mister swung him through the air. He slept for long stretches at night, up to 8 or even 9 hours at times. It's a traumatic thing to suddenly realize that you've been starving your child...Kate thought many times through those weeks, but I'm so glad there's such an easy fix to the problem!

Problem/Fix #2:
             After being gone for a month, it was understandable, but disconcerting all the same. Whenever Kate opened the fridge, it was a blank white expanse, mitigated only by a pickle jar, a container of yeast, and a few other odds and ends. It didn't exactly speak welcoming words to one's rumbling tummy...especially a pregnant one.
             But the task of grocery shopping...not just the task, even thinking about felt overwhelming. The questions were unending: If she got this much meat, how many meals would she make with it, and if she wanted to make this, then she would have to also get that, that, and that. And if she got that...she could also make such and such. But to make such and such she would need to make sure she got blittery blat. And so on. Then Kate would shake her head firmly and go back to the age old question, “What do we usually have in the fridge?” Which would again and again morph into “What do I want to have in the fridge?”...which invariably depended on some kind of meal plan.
             After hours, (it would have taken days, but there wasn't enough food to sustain that kind of deliberation) Kate had a list in hand. And with all the contingencies of which stores to go to if others didn't have what she wanted, Kate set off on her equivalent of an expedition up Mt. McKinley. At the H-mart, she found special deals on lots of fruits and veggies, and instantly her brain set to work revising her much-edited list. She made it out with lots of food, about half her list crossed off, and a blazing headache. Again she revised her plan. She would skip all the other stores and just stop at Target to get their essential bread, milk, eggs, and then make a beeline for her bed.
             Of course that didn't happen. Oh, she did made it through Target and she did go home. But her efforts to collapse in bed were stymied once again by responsibility. There were all the cold things to get in the fridge, the bags to put away, the meat to package, the pantry to fill, and then after all that, a very necessary snack. And all this effort was made possible by Mister being home and watching over Teddy as he napped...and woke up.
              I don't know how single-mothers even survive, Kate thought, as she finally climbed into bed to rest. God must just give them an extra measure of grace and strength. But Kate, though she felt rather helpless and weak, did realize with some depth of emotion that her accomplishment that day was not only significant in that they would all have food to eat that night, but it was meaningful (as only a pregnant woman can feel emotion) in a larger and deeper and ultimately transcendent way. Her family would eat. One more family would survive one more day. And she, Kate Miller, was a cog that had (albeit imperfectly) faithfully executed her role in this cosmic scheme that would continue until all things were fulfilled and brought to their final rest.

Problem/Fix #3

              For all fortunate and expectant fathers, here's a tip from Mister: When your pregnant wife craves Subway, go be a shining hero. Spend the six dollars. Get a footlong.

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