Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Boy Named Silas: Lots To Gain

     I've had to take the scale out of the bathroom because someone was using it too much.

     And it wasn't me.

getting weighed in at the dietician
     Ever since Silas started his three-week trial eating everything by mouth, I've worried about his weight gain. If Silas didn't finish his lunch, I'd say something like, "You need to eat more so you don't get too skinny." Maybe it's because he's a boy, or maybe it's because he's still only five, but I didn't worry too much about Silas' self image. (If anyone in our family has a healthy assessment of his own worth, it's Silas.)

     Then one morning, about halfway into our trial Silas asked me, "Why is it good to be fat?" Since I wasn't thinking about formula or tube feeds or dietician appointments, I couldn't figure out what Silas was talking about.

     "Why doesn't everybody want me to stop being skinny?" Silas eventually asked. Once I got over getting hit directly in the gut, I explained to him that if the dietician told us he gained enough weight, he wouldn't need his feeding tube any more. Silas seemed just fine with that answer, and I thought the matter was dropped.

     Then about a week later, Silas started weighing himself every day. He'd come out and proudly tell me what the scale said. I thought he was just getting excited about his upcoming dietician appointment and about the prospect of ditching the tube. But then he started weighing himself five or ten times a day - before and after meals, and every time he used the bathroom.

     It wasn't hard to hide the scale. Silas didn't seem to really miss it, either. But now I'm left wondering if I should have done more to protect Silas from fretting so much over a few ounces.

     The reality is that a few ounces gained or a few ounces lost are going to determine if Silas goes back to tube feedings or not. Silas' weight was down a full pound at the end of our three-week trial. The dietician thankfully gave him another month to try to regain, and I've been adding butter, oil, and powdered milk to just about everything Silas eats (at least it seems that way sometimes). But will it be enough?

     I wish my son didn't have to worry about his weight. I know I've struggled (who hasn't?) with obsessive weight issues at different stages of my life. It's not a fate I would wish on my happy-go-lucky five year-old.

     I'm hopeful going in to this new month of regular eating. At dinner just tonight, Silas ate a whole chicken thigh (grilled up by Dad), a serving of pasta (with extra oil added), and a dozen olives (high in fat). With all the supplemental calories he's getting, I can't imagine Silas not gaining back the weight he initially lost.

     I just hope he can quickly forgets his desire to run to the scale every hour.

Random Fact: Fifteen years ago, I was fifteen pounds heavier. Ain't puberty grand?

Be Back Soon: I'll be spending June away from my regular blogging as a work on my next novel. If you want to learn more about Silas in the meantime, check out the Boy Named Silas ebook!


  1. Poor Silas :( Does he get comments from strangers about how skinny he is? That may contribute to the problem. A child should never be made to feel that way. I hope he's permanently off the feeding tube soon.

    1. Thanks Ash, Silas doesn't seem underweight (thankfully) since he's got a hefty build. His legs are super thin, but he's got wide shoulders. So glad we at least don't have those kind of extra forces to deal with! He's about 20th percentile for boys his age. Not bad given the complicated medical history.

  2. I think it is very difficult to walk that thin line you are on at the moment. So I would say it was good that you hid the scale. Maybe you can just quietly count the calories for him and add extra fat to his meals without mentioning it and thus putting some kind of "eating pressure" on him. I am sure you will figure it out perfectly, my dear! xoxo

    1. So kind Joy, thank you. Nice to know others have experience in the all these fine line issues!

  3. Ugh, comment accidentally deleted...

    What I was saying is that Silas is blessed to have a mom who cares about his mental and emotional well-being as much as his physical needs and challenges. It would be so easy for you to focus on the numbers (and I know some parents would actually ENCOURAGE him to obsess over it, which wouldn't help anything), but you're making sure he's healthy in every possible way. I hope your plan works, and he gains the weight back before the next appointment!

    1. Thank you so much for the encouragement Kate!

  4. Strange how what we say can affect our kids. Life is such a balancing act. Bethany was on a seizure drug that made her go from 104 to 142! She's just 5ft 1in. her frame is very small. Now she's on one that is making her not want to eat! She's not cognitively aware of the concept of body awareness though. It must be so hard for you not to obsess and worry over Silas' weight what with trying to wean him off the feeding tube. I'll be praying and do keep us posted on his progress!