Punk Toddler

We saw Lila’s GI on Monday, at an appointment that was scheduled after she lost weight and since she really hasn’t gained any weight in the past 8+ months. (She’s hanging out between 22 and 23 pounds, she’s around 34-35 inches tall.) His diagnosis, when I explained that she doesn’t want to sit in her high chair, wants to get up and down constantly during dinner, and licks one piece of her food and then declares herself “all done”, was that it “seems like she’s just being a punk toddler.” We even tried adjusting Lila’s high chair (a Keekaroo Right Height) so that it seemed more like a big kid chair and got rid of the straps. She still was not having it, so Molly was sitting in it for awhile. This past week Lila has been willing to sit in it again, which is progress. (It supports her feet and also helps her be closer to her food and more easily able to feed herself, so it is better if she sits in it.)

photo of a toddler holding a pair of chopsticks sitting at the dining table
At dinner, sitting in a grownup chair, begrudgingly eating sushi but mostly wanting to play with chopsticks. Next to her, Molly is sitting in Lila’s high chair.

This was extremely reassuring. I was concerned we were heading straight for a G-Tube and was feeling down on myself for not working harder to get her to eat, but, the thing is, you can’t force feed a kid. (G-tubes are great but I’d like to avoid adding anything more complex to our lives right now.) And she’s a slow eater, and she’s becoming pickier and pickier. So, we have a referral for feeding therapy, which could have a long waitlist, and we are trying an appetite stimulant.

She’s been really resistant to taking medication lately and this stuff doesn’t smell great - I think it’s flavored with peppermint? I don’t know who thought that was a good idea. I spoke with the feeding therapy clinic this week and they got more information to determine what level she needs to be scheduled at. So, as usual, we are just in a waiting game until we get more information, until the things we try work or don’t work, until our next appointment and weight check. It’s frustrating that so much of this is trial and error, one change in variables at a time, and what can feel like extremely slow progress or even backsliding as we figure out what works and doesn’t.

So for now, we are going to just celebrate the small victories, like actually eating her avocado instead of throwing it on the floor, and keep trying the things we are supposed to do, and see what happens. But it’s really helpful to remember that pretty much all two-year-olds are punks and difficult about eating, and that this behavior, while frustrating and upsetting for such a small kiddo, is actually completely normal and appropriate for a toddler.