Sunday, April 3, 2011

Babies: Little Mysteries Wrapped in Diapers

Caleb has had a strange problem since last Wednesday that has been confounding Ryan and I. The boy suddenly won't eat. And it's wierd because he won't even eat food he likes, like bread and pizza. What's even stranger is we can find no rhyme or reason behind it. Once every other day or so since Wed. he will binge on something, usually something totally non-nutritive, like waffles or cereal, but then for the rest of the day will eat practically nothing, not even his most beloved foods. He seems to have zero appetite, and even gags upon putting food into his mouth and either pockets it like a squirrel or spits it out immediately. It's very strange, and we can't find a single reason why. He doesn't appear to have any other symptoms of trouble... no evidence of teething, no constipation, no complaints of feeling sick to his stomach or having a sore throat, no acting under-the-weather, etc. And what's worse, we can't wring a single clue from him as to why he won't eat. It's like talking to the Scandinavian operator "Peggy" from the Discover Card commercials...

"Hi, my name is Peggy..."

You ask him, "Does your tummy hurt?"..."*Djess (*yes)" (he nods emphatically, pie eyed and with a goofy grin)

"Does your throat hurt?!"..."Djess"

"Why aren't you eating?!"..."Djess"

"Can you fly?"... "Djess"

"Is your name Fred?"... "Djess"

It really is maddening. I'd love to find out whats up with the boy, but I'm afraid I'll probably never get an answer and a day or two from now he'll just mysteriously start eating again (I hope).

And this isn't our first go round in the nut-case infested waters of parenting. I remember the first time Sarah ever had a real temper tantrum. She was about 18 months old, and one minute she's playing happily on the floor with her sister, and the next minute she stood up, opened her mouth, and began a keening wail that continued for what seemed like an eternity. We tried and tried to figure out what could be wrong with the little pixie... "Did your sister hurt you?" ..."Waaah!" "Are you hurt?!" "Waaah!" "Sad?!" "Waaah!" "What the heck is wrong, Sarah?!" "Waaah!" ... this continued on for a good 45 minutes before we threw up our hands and decided to take her to the nearby E.R. for an exam because we figured there had to be something bodily wrong for a person to continue crying hysterically for that long for no discernable reason. Luckily for our pocketbooks, by the time we got into the parking lot of the E.R. it was like a switch was suddenly hit and she all of the sudden stopped crying and started sweetly singing "Amazing Grace" in her babyish version of slurred chinese with her sister accompanying next to her from her carseat. We never did find out what caused the breakdown, but we soon learned that this was just the first of many episodes of emotional hysterics which came to be Sarah's norm for when she had tantrums at that age.

I remember another episode when Hannah was just 5 weeks old, still a squirming, wriggling mound of angry pink mush in a onesie (the angry part, alas, continues still today, sigh...that girl has a blazing temper!)... she hadn't pooed in two days, which was really unusual for her, since she was still a tiny infant, and she had also gone from an angry ball of pink mush to a completely furious ball of kicking screaming mush. Being new parents we threw up our hands and drove her to the E.R. at 10:30 at night to try to see what was causing the back-up. We were also so severly sleep deprived, which can drive even the most rational person to thinking up the strangest scenarios for their baby's woes ("Did her stomach explode?! Are her bowels twisted and deformed and she'll never lead a normal life and I'll have to feed her that $9000 formula that that kid on the Discovery Channel Medical Mysteries show needed because they had the same diseased bowel problem?? Will she never lead a normal life?? Oh woe is us!")... by the way, let me digress here and say, if you are expecting a child or are a new parent, NEVER WATCH THAT SHOW!... The Discovery Health people seem to make a sport out of convincing normal, well-educated parents that their child could have any number of unpronounceable, unheard of diseases just becuase they seem to cry at a different pitch or, say, haven't pooped in 2 days... Also, never ever Google your child's symptoms. They will have you convinced your child has one foot in the grave in no-time.

So $600 in X-rays later, the Dr. in the E.R. walks in with good news. "Well, I can't find anything really wrong with her, but she really is full of crap." I'd love to see the diagnosis code for that one. It's definitely a genetic disorder, though.

So we took our angry squirming princess home and after about an hour spent bicycling her teensy little legs, she erupted like Mt. Vesuvius all over the wall, the carpet, her blankets, and her Mommy, after which all was once more right with the world.

Don't get me wrong, kids are soooooooo worth it, but I know now why parents' hair seems to gray faster than couples without kids. Any insight into what's up with Caleb would be much appreciated, because for now he remains my little "mystery wrapped in a diaper". He may be able to talk, but it's not much more informative than "Mr. Peggy" at the moment.

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