My 10-month-old baby, Kel, is a sweet-potato-gobbling, everywhere-crawling, "mah"-and-"bah"-babbling joy of a child. But his doctor says he "fails to thrive."
At his 9-month well-baby appointment last month, Kel was diagnosed with said failure because he has only gained 3 ounces in 3 months (instead of the desired 3 pounds). Because this diagnosis is broad in its implications, we have embarked upon another exciting and time-consuming round of hospital testing.
The first test happened this afternoon: a sweat test for cystic fibrosis. We'll find out the results tomorrow. If the test comes back negative, then we move onto the joys of genetic testing.
In the meantime, we have switched Kel to a surprisingly expensive formula to see if he's allergic to milk and therefore unable to gain weight on traditional formula. Enfamil calls this smelly stuff Nutramigen, but I call it liquid gold. We calculated that it costs us approximately $0.85 per bottle, or $4.25 per day, to appropriately liquefy our tiny tot. Needless to say, this expenditure was not calculated into our baby budget! (By the way, does anyone out there know if Tricare covers expensive formula when a doctor prescribes it?)
But Kel isn't the only one at our house suffering from "failure to thrive." We've all felt the weight of this disease since moving to Seattle. My husband, the CDR, is still developing his niche aboard the boat, and struggling to discover the right balance between ship-driving, family-raising, and marriage-sustaining. My toddler, Mo, has become quite the mama's boy and often refuses to go anywhere unless I go with him - a dramatic change of personality from the independent child I knew in Connecticut. And for all the "E" points I garner on the Myers-Briggs personality assessment, I can't seem to meet new girlfriends.
So perhaps Kel's condition isn't genetic. Maybe it's a really contagious virus, and if we're all a little more patient and drink a little more orange juice, we'll come away from this year a little more exhausted, but a lot healthier. After all, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger; and, as my friend Kim tells it, you can always write about it later.