Monday, 19 November 2007

Percentiles drive me MAD

Normally, Sacha's doctor appointments are pretty straight forward: we sit in the waiting room for an hour, we get into our room and sit there for a while, then Sacha has his check-up, gets his shots (oh joy), he screams, he gets a sucker, gets over the pain, and we go home.

Today was destined to be atypical.

It usually takes three of us to hold Sacha so that he doesn't squirm as the needles go in. Today, newbie nurse did his shots. She is unaware of this. The first shot goes in fine. After all, Sacha wasn't expecting it. The second shot, however, was a different story. The two of us could not hold him down, and even though she tried to give him the shot, he wriggled as it went in. She then had to dispose of the sharp, get a new one, and start over. By this time, Sacha is in a total state. Newbie nurse goes and gets another nurse to help us out. Three of us are now holding Sacha down and we finally get the needle in properly, although not without damaging our eardrums from the screaming.

Of course, this wasn't all.

He now had to have his regular check-up. Why it wasn't done before all the screaming, I don't know. Sacha screamed as the nurse tried to weigh him, he screeched as we measured his height, he yelped as I measured his head. Then he finally got his sucker. It was too little, too late. He cried as long as the sucker lasted.

The doctor finally comes in to look over Sacha chart. He notices something unusual. Sacha had not gained any weight in 3 months. He weighed him again, and with the new measurement, it showed that Sacha had gained 1 lb in 3 months. Not really enough. He began plotting the numbers on those wonderful percentile charts, only to discover that his weight percentile has been decreasing over the past 8 months, or so. He is now concerned. He checks his height and head circumference percentiles, and notices that these are in good shape and are staying steady, if not increasing (my boy's head is not as small as I once thought, actually).

So now, we are being referred to a pediatrician to see if there is a medical reason that he is not gaining weight. Really, Sacha eats very well. He eats the same food we eat, substituting the occasional dish when it wouldn't suit his palate (like spicy Mexican or Indian foods). The only thing I can think of is that he refuses to drink milk. He'll eat dairy products, but he will NOT drink milk. Would that make a huge difference? I don't really know.

I was not really concerned with Sacha, thinking that he must be gaining weight if he's eating the way he is. Now, thanks to those damn percentile charts, I am concerned.

Have any of you had to deal with the madness of percentiles and realizing that your kid is not really where he should be? Please tell me...


  1. Here's my 2 cents... I don't have a boy as big as yours yet... but do you have a super active child? This could be one reason for not much weight gain. He's growing in height though right? Maybe all his energy is going to that. Have YOU noticed anything different about him in the last few months? Mama's know best so if he seems his normal self I would say don't worry about it. My best friends kids all plateaued about 2 years old or so and then started gaining weight again in a year or so. It was just a different kind of growth spurt.
    Also, what kind of a baby were you and your hubby? That can tell you a lot, if you were small as children.
    I'd say that no milk drinking is fine. Personally I think we're way to dependent on milk as a society. Most of the rest of the world doesn't drink milk like we do and they actually don't have as high of problems with osteoporosis. You can get all the calcium you need from other foods, mainly green leafy vegetables.
    All that to say, the doctor may find some vitamin deficiency, but I bet that's all it is. DON'T WORRY! :)

  2. I agree about percentages. I've been lucky enough to have kids that have always been in the "normal" range but have plenty of friends who's kids are outside of normal and they spend so much time worrying about it. I guess a couple extra test won't hurt anything but I wouldn't worry about it too much.

  3. I DESPISE percentiles. When the doctor starts talking percentiles I hear "wa, wa, wa wa." Developmentally, is Sacha on track? Does he do all the things kids his age are supposed to do (walking, jabbering, words, etc.)? If so, don't worry about it. My twins were 6 weeks premature and are, of course, physically behind in height and weight. Developmentally, they're right on track and I think that is what matters. If I listen to those percentiles, I go crazy.

    What about Sacha's height? I find, with the twins, that their height far exceeds their weight, meaning they're growing in inches, not pounds. That is something to consider, too.

    So, that being said, don't worry, don't fret. Sacha is going to be fine!

    Oh, and? That whole shots before the exam thing is NUTS! Whoever came up with that idea? Getting shots after the exam is much easier. Maybe talk to the doctor/nurses about it next time.

    My 6-month old just had his appointment last week and when the nurse was administering the oral Rotavirus vaccine, he spit it out of his mouth and right into her eye. That's payback for ya!

  4. Um, I don't know what to say as we both know my children are ridiculous behemoths. I'm sure you're doing everything right and I can testify to the fact that he is ridiculously active so that might have something to do with it. Keep me updated and give that sweet monkey some kisses for me. :)

  5. Hmmmm...I may not be the person to give advice on this. Seeing how I can totally thumb my nose at professional recommendations and such.

    FYI...both of my kids have gone from being in the 90th percentiles as infants to 50th percentiles as toddlers.

    Parker only gained 1.5 lbs from 12 to 15 months. He's fine...he's my "normal" kid. gasp!

    I surprised at the referral just for a slow down in weight gain. If everything else is as expected with his development, it sounds overly cautious to me. But I'm one to trust my gut feeling that my kid is ok vs. a doctor when it comes to situations like these.

    But then again, i stop taking my kids to well check ups once they have their shots finished. So take my advice with a grain of salt.

  6. You need to really listen to your inner voice on this one. If your son is active, and eating a healthy diet, then he probably is just on the lean side.

    My son HATES milk. He never drinks it. The doctor said that this was no problem as long as he got his calcium from other food, which he does.

    Being a mom=feeling guilt and stress, but I'd just chose to listen to your inner voice and got to the next appt. with an open mind.

    Best of luck!

  7. percentiles suck! i wouldn't be too worried about it. i mean, Sasha is at the age when the growth spurts slow down, and they don't gain weight as much and as fast...

    Zander has been bouncing between 22 and 26 pounds for over a year. he's never gotten over 26 pounds, and the first time he hit it was at around 22 months. but the doctor's say he's still growing normally (just a bit slower) despite his eating disorder.

    if there was a drastic dip in the chart, it may be cause for worry, but i don't think this is! and it might have something to do with him not drinking milk. whole/homo milk has a lot of fat in it.


Thoughts? Comments? Questions?