Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bad Eating Habits No More

It's been a tiring week.

Nacho had diarrhea since last Saturday and did his thing about three to four times a day.  And one of those times always included a trip to the bathroom at about 2:00A.M.  He also had low grade fever that I had to check regularly, so this meant less than three hours of sleep for me every night.

Just when his continuous fever disappeared on Tuesday night, it was Elise's turn.  She had a severe stomachache and could not sleep since her 9:00a.m. bedtime.  Then she finally let it all out on the bedroom floor, and the Jollibee spaghetti she ate at dinnertime looked like it had not been digested even after three hours.  Just when we got everything cleaned up, Nacho had to go again, and he still had diarrhea.

The next day, we finally went to the pediatrician at Palawan Adventist Hospital.  She had been out of town so she could vote in her hometown for the national elections and Wednesday afternoon was the earliest she could come.  But she was constantly texting with me as I updated her on Nacho's condition.  Since Nacho's fever did not go higher than 38.1, there was not any cause for alarm.  He drank lots of water and did not get dehydrated.

Turned out Elise had indigestion and Nacho had a viral infection, as expected.  They are now both on a soft diet with minimal dairy and no sweets.  No iced tea, hardly any juice and no carbonated drinks. She prescribed Domperidone (Motilium) for Elise, which took effect immediately.  Elise is now playing and is back to her cheerful self.  We were also told to give Nacho some Bacillus Clausii (Erceflora), which is some live good bacteria for his tummy.  After one dose, his diarrhea was also gone.  So now, we are just continuing the medication and the treatment.  Nacho lost some weight, but I am sure that he will regain it.

What was good about this pediatrician was that she took the time out to talk about things that were related to the stomach.  She asked how Nacho eats, how long he eats, and his other eating habits.  After I told her how, she labeled me a "Full Time Feeder." Yes, it takes Nacho about two hours to eat.  By the time he finishes breakfast, it's already lunch time.  And yes, he still drinks a lot of milk, about 50% of his diet. Yes, he is still a part-time bottle drinker. Yes, I end up giving him a lot of milk if he does not eat a lot of food. Yes, he brings toys to the table.  Yes, I follow him around with a spoonful of food.  Yes, of course, I feed him to speed up the process.  Yes, he can feed himself.  How much do I think he should eat?  No, not a mugful, just a cup, about 250grams. Do we celebrate when he eats a lot, and tell him he is a good boy?  Do we get upset with him when he does not finish his food? 

Is the TV on when they eat? Yes, sometimes.  Okay, most of the time.  Okay, all the time.  She said this was probably why Elise did not chew her food well too.

No excuses.  I've done a lousy job helping my kids appreciate food on the table, three times a day, even more.   I let this part slide.  And because of it, their stomachs did not digest properly and will not be able to tell their brain what it needs or what it does not need.  When they eat and give it their hundred percent attention, they know when to stop, when to drink, and when to get some more.

We were doing fine late last year.  I did not go into details that when we were in Manila, they both ate properly.  Nacho was even almost bottle-free.  Our dining room was separate from the room with the TV.  Since we moved, everything happens in one room. But this is not without a solution. The TV still has an OFF switch, and the toys can still be banned from the table.

I told the doctor that I think Nacho regressed a bit.  She asked me if I have been focusing more on Elise..... Looking back, we were a bit too much into each other's faces when we were rushing her 3rd and 4th quarter grades.  Yes, about that time, he slowly drank from the bottle more frequently, and only ate when I fed him.

So, all is well now.

Cut down the milk by 90%.  Increased snacks.  We've gone through three meals without any distractions - toys, books, TV.  No more of the usual stuff.  Shockingly, Nacho is eating properly and is eating adequate amounts.  I just give him a little bit, and if he wants more, he gets more.  No more fireworks and a marching band when he finishes his food.  And if he can't eat it all, then he will just have to wait till the next meal... or snack.  I shall quietly put the leftover away. 

I am close to thanking God for letting Nacho get a mild viral infection, and for Elise's tummy to give up digesting that spaghetti the other night. Thank God for making their parents realize that things needed to change.

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