18 Months … A Weighty Discovery

I am sure there is no way my baby is 18 months old already: a climbing, attempting-to-jump, monkey-who-repeats-everything-she-hears, spinning around, feet-stomping (in song), gleeful little double-dimpled fashionista. Where has the time gone??

I keep hearing the reprise of “Sunrise, Sunset” in my head and we aren’t even at the 2-year mark yet!!!

She is a labyrinth of wonder — every day she amazes us with what she knows or does or says. Today she said “mommy” for the first time (vs. her usual “mama”) and actually blew her nose into a Kleenex a couple times when I asked her to (vs. just dabbing her nose with said Kleenex).

It’s mind-blowing how much, at this age, they absorb.

This weekend, she was playing with her Fisher-Price dancing puppy who sings “If You’re Happy and You Know It …” — a song haven’t actually sung to her yet — when she began doing the motions: clapping her hands, pointing to her face when the song says, “then your face will surely smile …” and stomping her feet and saying a word we’d never heard her say, “Boom boom boom” as she did the motion. Clearly she learned the song in school, but we had no idea she knew it! Same with “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” That one I’ve sang before, but she’d never done motions to it — until this weekend. She’s also mouthing lyrics to songs now … It’s like she has this secret world I’m slowly being let into. It’s equally fascinating and freaky!

And the words have come out of nowhere … she went from not saying a whole ton at her 15 month check-up to being a regular old chatty cathy today. She’s even begun stringing two words together: “Bye bye Mama/Dada/Rocco/Car” and “Hi Dada,” for now. It’s so fun to see!

I’ll do a bigger 18-month synopsis but wanted to share what happened at our 18-month well-baby visit today.

We had her appointment at 3:30 today and the good news is she is doing great and on track for her growth and development, growing in her same-smaller-than-average-but-healthy curve … and her tubes still look great — woot!

She measured at 30 inches tall (up 3/4 inch from her 15-month check-up, which means she falls into the tenth percentile for height now) and 23 pounds 4 ounces for weight, putting her in the 35th percentile for weight (up from her last visit where she was 21 pounds 9 ounces, in the 30th percentile …).

What came next was a bit of a surprise. Our pediatrician said he wasn’t overly concerned about her weight to height ratio YET [i.e., she isn’t overweight; still smaller than 65% of kids, on average], but that she is measuring small for height and that it’s not proportional to her weight — which might not be a big deal now, but could be later if she keeps growing weight-wise but not height-wise at the same pace.

[This is especially ironic given Maya was practically starving early on … ]

He asked us about Maya’s diet (literal sense) and how much milk she is drinking and we explained what she eats on a given day. We told him and he didn’t say to put her on a diet or anything (good lord, no!) but did say at this age, we could drop down to 2% or skim milk (since she loves milk so much) and watch the carby empty-calorie snacks.

Her meals at home and school are well-balanced — snacks are usually yogurt or a cheese stick and a few grapes or something (depending on what she’d had for lunch … sometimes she just throws lunch on the floor or has a late lunch and no snack as a result). And some days — esp. travel days — she has carby snacks, at school or while on the go.

[I have definitely given her 1/2 cup to a full cup of Multi-grain Cheerios in a snack trap (which take her hours to eat. World’s.Slowest.Eater!). ]

I don’t plan to change that necessarily, but will be more cognizant of the frequency now and not use them as a crutch. She can color now or “read” her books and stay busy that way; food doesn’t always need to be the solution and she generally signs for milk — not food — anyway (unless it’s “more” or, as she says, “mah”).

But here’s something we really DO need to work on: since she is such a little foodie, we are guilty of giving her BLTs (bites/licks/tastes) of what we eat (even if it’s not something she is eating) and, well, that stuff adds up.

So if anything it was a good reminder for us to clean up our diets, too (again, used in the literal sense of the word). Being a man, Luis was less concerned about it than me; he said the pediatrician was just waving the flag, not telling us the ship is sinking — not to worry too much or change anything drastic. He said our doc was just doing his job — telling us he isn’t worried now but wants us to be cautious so there isn’t a problem later.

I get that, I do.

But naturally as a mom — and especially someone with a history of weight issues — I was pretty upset to hear it. Especially because, in spite of Maya’s arm and leg rolls, I think she looks like a healthy toddler. Her belly is small and firm and she doesn’t have big cheeks or anything …

So I’m taking the info and digesting it. Not going to go crazy obsessing over her diet. We will finish off this half-gallon of whole milk and get started on 2% milk or skim or a combo of both. And we’ll just be more cognizant of her snacking/grazing. She loves fruit and we will keep offering that. Kids learn what they see … and that means we need to be careful about not walking around with something in our hand that she will want just because it’s there. No harm in being aware, right?

While Maya isn’t overweight or obese now, childhood obesity IS a very real epidemic and parents have a tremendous responsibility to help mitigate risk. Neither Luis nor I are skinny minnies. Both of us had weight issues as kids and even today, struggle a little. We’re both active and fit but we could both stand to lose 10 pounds or so and that is why it’s really important to me that we get a good handle on this now — before there is a problem. Because I do not want her to have a weight problem or to transfer any of my past food issues onto her.

To be honest, though the truth hurt a little to hear, I’m glad our pediatrician was up-front with us, giving us his take on what could be a legitimate concern down the road.

Our little peanut is just perfect as she is … Luis was partially right; he was just waving a flag, but it’s an important flag and not one we can just ignore and let flap in the wind. At the very least, we can arm her with the tools she needs to make healthy decisions. And tonight, that included a little ice cream at mommy’s work 🙂

How about you? Would you want your pediatrician to be honest with you if he/she saw a potential issue brewing?

I could not love her any more if I tried! Happy 18 months, beautiful baby girl. You are our everything and we love you sooooo much!

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4 thoughts on “18 Months … A Weighty Discovery

  1. Yay for Maya! She is doing awesome.

    Okay, I’m just going to say it. I agree with Luis and I’m kind of mad at your pediatrician for even saying anything. Maya is, indeed a peanut, when it comes to height but I wouldn’t in a million years consider her a chunky toddler.

    Frankly, I’m certain you’re already uber-conscious about what she eats/doesn’t eat and when she does get extra treats, it’s still something you’re able to monitor.

    I think the switch to 2% makes sense but aside from that, you’re doing a great job as a MOMMY (!) (and dad) and I hope you don’t take the comments too seriously. Really, truly.

    As I let you know earlier, my kid was a chunk-a-munk for a gooood long while … until he was basically running everywhere. If anything, I would say to make sure she stays active. I’m sure her diet is fine as is.

    Sorry, I don’t want to come down on you but I don’t want you to worry about obesity as a potential issue when your peanut is pure perfection.

    1. I know, you’re right…I AM uber-conscious of what she is eating and her meals at school — when I’m not around — are balanced and healthy, so the milk switch might do the trick. And Maya is nothing if not active, that’s for sure! 🙂 So hopefully that will help keep her weight in check.

  2. I agree with Staci – I can’t believe that your pediatrician called her out on what does not seem like a big discrepancy for an 18-month-old (who still has baby fat!!). Plus, the height measurement is pretty inaccurate based on how wiggly they are at the moment – our pediatrician told us height can be off by as much as 15-20%.

    My son has always been on the very petite side and a little ahead for weight (I think at his two-year well visit he was 2% for height, 7% for weight) – but between his last well visit almost a year ago and now, I’ve noticed that his weight seems to fluctuate constantly. I don’t weigh him, but I can tell by looking at him. Some weeks he’ll have a double chin and a huge belly, and other weeks I can see his ribs! It seems like kids grow up and then out, up and then out, and that is all part of the natural growth process. It doesn’t seem to have anything to do with what he eats. Some weeks it seems like he barely eats anything and he gets chubbier, and other weeks he eats around the clock and gets skinnier.

    I wouldn’t worry about anything at 18 months! She looks happy and healthy! Sure, you can switch her to 2%, but the best you can do is offer her healthy foods.

    1. I know what you mean and maybe my post sounded like he was being harsh but I promise he wasn’t — he didn’t say she is overweight or fat or anything–he was just showing us how she is growing and making the case that they like to see them grow in a smaller height-to-weight ratio. I feel good about the food she eats (she only drinks water or milk and sometimes a splash of juice in her water) and know she is active as can be … and we will keep encouraging that. I am definitely not taking it to heart to the extremes, but would be lying if I hadn’t shared my feelings about hearing his assessment yesterday — so I did!

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