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Eleven (and a half) months of Biscuit!

2009-05-15 - 9:30 p.m.

Dear Biscuit,

Today I had to hold you down as you screamed through 3 needle sticks (one in each arm and one on your scalp*) to draw 7 vials of blood. You have probably already forgotten about it, but I? Will remember it for the rest of my life.

Had it just been a case of you not gaining weight (see: the last couple of months of entries), I probably wouldn’t have put you through it because – miracle of miracles! – you have started actually voluntarily consuming calories. The magic bullet? Full-fat cappuccino yogurt. I know it sounds crazy, but when I bought it I figured it was my favourite, so if you didn’t like it (and let’s face it, odds were stacked against you doing so, since you hadn’t really liked anything) I wouldn’t mind it as a treat for myself. Imagine my surprise when you seemed to tentatively enjoy it. That was a couple of days ago and it was a “gateway” food: you now eat vanilla yogurt and even other food more readily, and tonight you actually looked excited when I brought out the yogurt container. You also had bits of low-sodium sweet potato chips, some bread, a couple of cheerios, and some apple juice. All in one meal! And you seemed to like it all! And you like grapes cut up into teeny, tiny pieces (sixteenths I think)! And sometimes mashed sweet potato!

I know, I know, chips might not be the best food, but you need fat and I figure that getting any food – particularly fattening food – into you is my current priority. I can always try to steer your eating habits to healthy choices once you’re actually, you know, eating. The other day I stirred some melted butter into your Rice Krispies before leaving them in a little pile on the high chair tray to tempt you. You ate them!

At one point in the last few days I looked at your tray and saw that you were eating sweet potatoes, sweet potato chips, and sweet-potato-flavoured stars, and I thought of a scene from Fraggle Rock where the Fraggles are eating and commenting, “What a wonderfully balanced diet; radishes and doozer sticks!” and then it flashes to the Doozers who are making their sticks out of, you guessed it, radishes. But I digress…

At your appointment today we found out that you’d gained about 220 grams in the last 5 days and had finally broken the 18-pound barrier. Plus you’re no longer congested like you’ve been for, really, the last whole month. And since you’re such a happy, active, curious baby who’s hitting all his milestones and loves standing up, we are thinking you’re going to be just fine. BUT, we went ahead with the blood work anyway, because we do need to know if you do indeed have food allergies and what they are in order to nourish you properly. And since you were going to have blood taken anyway, we figured we’d let the docs run all the tests they could possibly want so that it was only one time we’d have to do it.

And it was hard to do, to have to put you through it, but we love you so much that we couldn’t really not do it. We have to know what to feed you so that you can thrive and grow and be not only happy but healthy as well.

In a week and a half you have your first dentist visit because your first baby tooth has finally come in (it poked through last Thursday on the 8th of May, for the record) but it’s kind of a brown colour. Over the phone the diagnosis was “hypoplasia”, but that only means the enamel might not have formed properly and doesn’t tell us why. For now I’m blaming your father’s genes. :)

Less than a month from now you’ll be a year old. While I can hardly believe that you’re almost a year, it’s almost harder to believe that a year ago today you didn’t exist yet, except as the inhabitant of my belly who gave me heartburn and tried to dig an escape hatch through my bellybutton. A world with no Biscuit? Almost unthinkable!

This letter would not be complete without a mention of how amazing it is to see you and your sister together. Within the last week there were two evenings when you and Grommet were cracking each other up: once you started blowing raspberries at her from your high chair after dinner. You’d phbbbt at her, then laugh wildly. Then she started doing it back and you’d laugh even harder while she giggled. The next night we had each of you in a stroller towards the end of a long walk, and when you came close together you’d reach out and try to clasp each other’s hands. This too was always followed by much laughter.

I know that siblings can drift apart, but I still really hope you always like each other as much as you do right now. You two together are a joy to watch.



*A word of advice to other parents: if your kid doesn’t have good veins for taking blood, go right to the scalp: big fat veins near the surface of the skin mean no fishing around with the needle, and there are fewer nerve endings there so it probably also hurts less.

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