Thin is In: Or Sadie Sees the Doctor.

by Stefanie Wilder-Taylor


“This is all about control,” I thought to myself as I placed Sadie on the scale for the fourth time in a week. I’ve had enough therapy to recognize a few of my issues. We’d just put our little twin back on Periactin, a drug that increases her appetite, and I was waiting impatiently for her to break through the 21 pound mark where she’s been lingering for months. The black digital display blinked on and off four or five times before settling decisively on 22.4. “Yes!” I yelled from the living room as I may or may not have done a touchdown dance. “The Periactin is kicking ass!” I said even though I sort of took the weight gain as my own personal victory. I mean, sure, the Periactin did make her more interested in eating but I was the one presenting her with delicious meal after delicious meal. I was also the one who discovered that Trader Joe’s brand Greek yogurt boasts 17 grams of fat per one container –a fact that my pregnant sister-in-law wasn’t as enthused to find out after she told me she’d been eating a container a day for the added calcium.


Sadie’s follow-up with her endocrinologist at Children’s Hospital was less than a week away and I was on a mission to get her weight up as much as I could. At Sadie’s last visit, measurements were taken, growth charts were studied, blood tests and X-rays were performed all to see if there was something wrong with our little girl. But nothing could really be seen until the follow-up which had been scheduled for five months later.


I’d been working hard. I was doing my research to find foods that pack the biggest punch in calories for the smallest amount of food, I was hovering over Sadie when it seemed she was done with a meal convincing her to have just one more bite, I was buying avocados by the bagful and offering them as a bedtime snack. I deserved a little credit for her weight gain. Not a lot of credit, maybe just a small parade with a couple of floats and a marching band?


I know it’s not my fault that Sadie’s so small. I realize, intellectually, that it wasn’t my fault even when she was in my womb not getting the proper nutrients from my stupid failing placenta, not getting the optimal amount of oxygen from my too short umbilical cord. I get that there’s no way I could have prevented hearing those three words when she was four-months-old that carried such a sting: Failure to thrive. But I have some control now, don’t I? I have the ability to add an extra tablespoon of butter to her macaroni and cheese and Costco sells the giant boxes of Carnation Instant Breakfast so there’s no excuse for running out. Sure it gets exhausting to make her a Hebrew National Beef hotdog (14 grams of fat) only to find out she’s changed her mind about them in the last day and a half and is also not interested in the next four things I offer but will in fact be happy to scream for a lollipop for fifteen minutes. Exhausting yes, impossible no.