This morning I am procrastinating a rather unpleasant task. I have to take Anya to the clinic to have some blood drawn so they can test it for iron content and some other things. As far as I (and anyone else) can tell, she is perfectly healthy, but at her wellness check-up a couple days ago, the doctor noted that she had slipped considerably on the growth charts. Up until her 18-month check-up in June, she was solidly in the 75th percentile for height and weight, but now she is down in the 25th percentile. That's a significant change, enough to concern the doctor (who isn't naturally alarmist), so she is going to do another weight check in a couple of months and wants me to see a nutritionist in the meantime.
Anya eats plenty. The child almost never misses a meal, and she has several snacks throughout the day. She is picky like a typical two-year-old, but not as picky as her older brother (who, incidentally, also dropped in the growth charts around this age and we had to take him to a nutritionist, too, which didn't really do any good). Her diet is pretty well balanced except for one thing: the child will. not. drink. milk. She doesn't like it. I have quit offering it to her because when she does actually try it, she makes a face and spits it out. She has a little milk on her oatmeal every morning and she loves cheese. Sometimes she'll eat a whole bowlful for a snack and nothing else with no gastrointestinal consequences to speak of, so I think the reason she doesn't drink milk is that she simply doesn't like it. I figured it wasn't a big deal because she still breastfeeds pretty often and besides, plenty of children out there are lactose-intolerant and can't drink milk, and they do okay, right? In any case, the doctor informed me that young children are supposed to have so many glasses of milk per day, so it's supposed to be a significant portion of their caloric intake, plus they need the Vitamin D (especially this time of year when true sunshine feels like a distant memory), so even though Anya has a healthy appetite, she may be missing out on calories because she doesn't drink milk.
I was supposed to stop at the lab on the way out of that appointment to have her blood drawn to test for anemia and some other things, but Anya threw such a fit getting her coat on that I totally flaked and just took the kids home. So now I have to drag her back there just to get stuck with a needle, and I am dreading it. No one likes to have their blood drawn, but that's not the real issue for me. The real issue is that I feel like I have failed her somehow by not offering her milk early enough or often enough and now her growth will be stunted and it's ALL MY FAULT. That looks totally ridiculous in writing but it's completely rational in my head. I am also dreading the as-yet-unscheduled appointment with the nutritionist, who will in all likelihood be the same nice blond lady I met with when Daniel wouldn't eat anything but graham crackers and baby food, and she will give me all kinds of advice that won't work and go on about calories and vitamins and having a routine (like I don't know that).
It's the most random stuff that undermines one's confidence as a parent. I look at Anya and I know, I am certain, that she is fine. She jabbers on constantly, carefully puts her words together in little sentences ("Mama get it! No! ME do it! Stop it, Dan'l!"), and she likes to run around the house naked and has plenty of energy (she skips her naps more often than not, sadly) and she can drink out of a regular cup and eat with a spoon and build block towers and pull on her own pants (sometimes backwards but if you try and correct her BOY do you pay for it) and do all those things normal two-year-olds are supposed to do. Except drink milk.
ETA: Thanks for the wonderful comments, everyone! To answer a quick question that abcgirl asked: no, I haven't tried chocolate milk. I'm not really so opposed to trying it except that if Anya gets chocolate milk, Daniel will want it, too, and then I'll have to work on both of them not drinking too much sugar with it. That said, we had a quick impromptu sledding excursion today (pictures coming in a future post, I'm sure) and both kids had some hot cocoa afterwards. For Anya, this is progress.