School is cool and I'm a bad mother...

Up until last week, I have never had any problems with the children's school.  The school is involved in a number of programs that benefit the students.  The most recent program, involved taking the children to the local hospital for a check-up, free of charge. 

Doctors offices and hospitals don't require that parents take the children for regular check-ups.  Parents usually only take their kiddies to the doctor when their sick.  Or if they've broken something.

Last week, all of the children were taken to the local hospital to be weighed, measured and given a thorough examination.

Sounds great, right?


It turns out that I am a terrible mother.

Ashley was diagnosed with caries (cavities).  Which was a complete shock to me, because ever since Jack's cavity, I have been obsessively checking the kids' teeth.  But just to be safe, I took Ashley to see Tio Manny.  Turns out that Ashley did have a cavity, but it's been taken care of!

So, things aren't too bad.

But wait, it gets worse.  Much worse.

Nick brought home his diagnosis today.  And I just about fell to the floor when I read it.

Desnutricion! (Malnutrition.)

Yes, my son is pretty skinny.  He's 10 years old and weighs 30 kilos.  (That's about 66 pounds.)  Yes, he's a very picky eater.  But he's also an asthmatic and this year he's had some real problems with his asthma.  I'm not making excuses, I'm just trying to clarify a few things.

So why do I feel like I've been sucker-punched?  I love to cook!  And I'm really good at it.  There is always a wide variety of delicious food on our table.  Problem is, all Nick seems to want is hamburgers, spaghetti and pizza.  

Anyone have any suggestions on how I can fatten up my son?



  1. I wouldn't worry about it as long as he is healthy, other than the Asthma. Is it possible that he is automatically choosing foods that perhaps don't bother his allergies? I am assuming he has a lot of allergies being as he is asthmatic.
    There have been studies done that say, children will eat what they need nutritionally as long as the good foods are available to them.
    With the obesity rates as they are now in the world I don't think I would want to fatten anyone up lol.
    Just to put things in perspective for you. I had a cousin that when she was little all she would eat was cheese slices and ketchup. Absolutely refused anything else for a very long time. She was always healthy and has grown up to be a healthy adult. My aunt, by the way always had good, healthy foods available.
    I am short in stature and was always small, I finally hit 90 pounds in Grade Nine and ate everything available. Farm raised meat,veggies and eggs, good healthy food. It was just my body type. Now I wish I was again at 90 or 100 pounds lol that is just a dream.
    Chin up and don't worry.

  2. Wait - I thought I was the worst mom! Boy! am I glad it turns out to be you instead of me. I'm happy being number 2. Haha.

    If he's actually malnourished, that's a problem. If he's underweight, that's different, and not as bad. If he has good energy, and he's not, you know, losing teeth or hair or something, he's probably fine.

    You can always sneak veggies into tomato sauce using the blender!

  3. I understand that witches who live in gingerbread houses do a great job of fattening up little boys.

    But, then, I am bachelor.

  4. hi leslie,

    haven't commented in a while but i continue to read your blog and really enjoy it. i find it very hard to believe that your son is malnourished. exactly how did they come to this conclusion? it sounds like he is slim but it's better that way than the other way around. my younger son has always been very thin except for a time in his teens when he got a bit chubby. i was concerned that he wouldn't take the extra weight off but then he grew about 6 inches in 1 year and the lbs. were redistributed. i was a very skinny kid myself and my mom was always trying to fatten me up. i sowre i would never do that to my kids because i hated being forced to eat things i didn't like. if he is a picky eater (i sure was and you'd never know it now) perhaps you can give him some children's vitamins if you don't already do so. i really wouldn't worry about his weight. as long as his ashtma is under control, i think he'll be just fine.

  5. that last comment was from me and after i previewed it, i was not allowed to go back and make a change nor was i able to add my name. i meant i "swore" i'd never do that to my kids. you may have figured it out ;-)

    teresa in lake stevens, wa.

  6. Hmmmm...I think mom knows best when it comes to whether your kids are malnourished or not! But boy, 66 lbs for a 10 year old is pretty skinny, and I say that because I have an 11 year old that is 80 lbs and everyone calls her popotitos cause she is so skinny but she is a picky eater too and well, some kids are just skinny no matter what so I wouldn't fret to much over it.

  7. The check up's conclusion of malnutrition seems to be soley based on weight/height charts. There is a tremendous difference between an affluent household such as yours with a great variety of foods, and a child who is thin because of the lack of food. Don't sweat it. He's thin not malnourished, i.e. lacking protein or sufficient food to grow.

  8. Well, I would agree with some things. For 1) I know that a lot of kids rea picky eaters but I ever since my kids where young I have made them eat the food. If they did not eat their dinner because they did not like it, they got it in their lunches the next day. If not then- the for dinner that night- if by then they still did not want it... okay- then they did not like it.

    But food is a learning curve. You have to learn and expereince the flavor and then decide if you like the food. Kids do not think that way. If he wants hanburger, ground up broccoli and carrots (tiny) and put it in the meat.

    My favorite spegeetti sauce is AWSOME!!! Here is the recipie. It is very garbage bowl veggie- you can chop up anything!

    And do not worry- make sure his skin is elastic, he is using the bathroom regularly and that he has energy. I would not worry much more then that.

  9. If you are still not convinced, have a nurse or doctor do a blood test for anemia and common parasites.

  10. as long as he's healthy, it shouldnt be a problem. oh, i grabbed your button :)

  11. Leslie - OMG, with all that wonderful cooking you do? You still manage to keep the weight off the kids? You are a GOD!!!!! I don't have kids, but I did grow up with 4 younger brothers!! We were always being told we were too skinny. HA!! That caught up with us ...err... me... fast!!! It's age, and every "body" is different. Mmmm...I'm fantasizing about your cooking again, lol!!!

  12. My baby sister was the same... she had asthma and was allergic to everything. She looked like a freakin skeleton her whole life and ate nothing BUT hamburgers and she is perfectly fine. Don't worry. You'll know if something is wrong.

    As for food, my daughter only seems to want hamburgers, spaghetti etc... and mashed potatoes... which isn't real cool in my book, but she eats. So, to make it a bit healthier, I'll use whole wheat pasta, and shred (peel) carrots, zucchini, and add some onion and garlic in a saucepan, then all some chx broth, and the crushed tomatoes and make a healthier tomato sauce with all the good crap that they sooo hate. And they love it!

    Mashed Potatoes, same thing. I'll give 'em to her... but on my terms. Instead of one whole heaping pile, I'll make some, but I'll also sautee some onions (like the taquerias), steam some carrots and cook up some spinach (with garlic ;) and make little towers.... which you can find here

    In the meantime, relax... I'm sure your son is fine. :)

  13. My kids always had to taste everything, but I never fought over food with them. You just keep re-introducing the food until they either eat it willing or not. A tablespoon at a time, so it isn't overwhelming.
    There is evidence that people who hate brocoli taste something that broco-philes don't the same with cilantro. I bet there are more vegetables that are like that.

    My oldest daughter was exactly 50% on the height/weight chart. Which meant most kids were taller than her, she was just small, I thought she'd be in a car seat until she was a teenager.

    So give him vitamins, make sure he doesn't have worms etc like the other people said and don't worry.

    Oh, yeah, my son would get fat, then grow 2 inches over night and be skinny, it was like a roller coaster, fat kid, then skinny kid.


  14. I'm not a mom, but it seems to me that if he has great energy and is eating well, he should be fine.

    One cousin of mine is 19 and has always (still) refused to eat vegetables. For dinner she only eats meat (with massive amounts of ketchup) and some bread. She's one of the best runners in the state, so I guess it can't be that important! haha

  15. #1 Many Mexican doctors are less than mediocre, and these under-achievers are what end-up en provencia.
    #2 You have some authentic basic recipes that served too often or too much could have the effect that they (and tons of dulces and refrescos)do on the ever increasingly obese children in Mexico. Fat kids=fat adults If your children aren't allowed all the junk that many are, you doing well by them The odds are stacked against you just by virtue of living where you do.
    #3 Proper nutrition for pre-adolescent boys, and to a lesser extent girls, is extremely important to thier adult development and health. If you don't already, prepare balanced plates and offer nothing else until you are satisfied of thier proper consumption. Most kids will only eat thier favorite (junk) foods unless someone takes responsability for the development of thier palate.

    I think most individuals have certain foods that they will never enjoy and agree forcing isn't neccessary when something enjoyable might be substituted. Supplements may do more harm than good and are not neccessary.

    There is nothing to indicate that you are a bad mother, on the contrary, your writing suggests the opposite, and you probably have plans to provide your children with the future opportunities that should be afforded them by virtue of your nationality.

    Good luck and best wishes for your continued happiness


  16. My daughter was always little for her age she was born at 7 lbs 8 ounces but she only weighed 14 lbs at one year! In kindergarten she only wore 2 T's and cried about having to wear baby clothes to school. So was the case her entire childhood, the Doctor's always used words like "tiny" "skinny" and "underweight", they all agreed that she was healthy though. My little brother was the same as a child. Both my daughter and my little brother changed once puberty set in. Now my daughter is 25 and the mother of two "tiny" children of her own!
    If your son was malnourished he would be sick and have no energy, and as far as his eating habits those will go through phases I wouldn't worry about that either, nor would I try to "fatten" him up he's fine.

  17. Just for reference. Oldest Son is 10 years old and weighs 63 pounds. I know what he weighs because we just came from annual check up. No problems.

  18. Questions, what did your husband look like at ten? Does your son look like either side of the family? Why the questions? Because I went through the 'your daughter is too skinny routine', twice. Don't push your son about his eating habits! It just causes problems later! Judy

  19. BRENDA: The one thing Nick doesn't have are food allergies. (Gracias a Dios!) We took Nick to see a nutritionist today, and she said something along the same lines. That kids, and people in general, crave the foods (and nutrients) that they need.

    VADOSE: LOL! You do know that as runner-up, it will be up to you to carry out the duties of the "World's Worst Mother", if for some reason I am not able to! :)

    STEVE: Your comment brought a huge smile to my face when I read it this morning! :)

    TERESA: It is so nice to hear from you again. I had noticed that you hadn't commented in a while. I don't like force feeding my kids anything. And am glad to know that I won't have to start! :)

    LAURIE: The conclusion was based entirely on height/weight charts. But the word "malnourished" really scared me.

    MINDY: I love sneaking veggies to the kiddies in their "favorite" meals. I am definitely going to check out your recipe.

    ON MEXICAN TIME: That's exactly what I thought! I couldn't help but think, "Don't these doctors know what a great cook I am?!!!"

    REFRIED DREAMER: Thank you! It's nice to know that my son isn't the only one.

    THERESA IN MERIDA: My son is one of the broccoli haters! When we told him that we were taking him to see a nutritionist, he said "Fine. As long as she doesn't make me eat broccoli!"

    As far as worms are concerned, our doctor has us de-worm every 6 months. We are actually due for our next one in July!

    ARIANNE: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! :)

    CAROLANN: Nick has been small since birth. He weighed 6 lbs. 13 oz. But he immediately put on weight and was pretty chubby for the 2 years that I nursed him. After that, his weight just dropped. And yes, his eating habits do tend to go through phases. As soon as I get used to one, they change completely! :)

    AMM: Well hello there, stranger! It is nice to hear from you! How are you and the family doing?

    JUDY: Nick actually weighs more now than what my Hubby weighed when he was in 6th grade. Hubby and his siblings were all underweight as kids. So maybe Nick gets it from them! :)

  20. I agree with the comments above. A child can be underweight, yet not malnourished! Only blood tests showing significant deficiencies can indicate that. While I do like the idea of continuing to try to get him to eat better, I hardly doubt that you are a bad mom!

  21. You're an awesome mom, Leslie! One that cooks for her kids and cares for their health. Some kids are just picky eaters. I think boys can be so skinny, then so chunky that you just never know! My son was chunky through elementary, now all of a sudden at 14 he's as skinny as a rail. Don't you worry, he's eating what he needs right now. Our bodies are all different! And congrats on the weight loss. Go girl! :)

  22. Ah Bullshit - If he's skinny, but healthy, tell them to bite an apple!
    He's not gonna eat stuff he doesn't want to until he wants to. It's what kids do!
    BTW, my fav snack is apples and peanut butter, add some raisins to that I might cry for joy!

  23. Wow Leslie Im way late on my reading and after all these comments I dont have much to add but I will anyway. Its the nurse in me that says second opinions are always a good idea and if your family doctor the one he sees for the Asthma has no concerns you shouldn't either. A doctor can not diagnose this with one check up unless there are obvious signs like hair falling out and or loose teeth at an age that is not appropriate. Sunken black eyes, which I'm sure you would have noticed already. Also as the other said lack of energy is a biggy.
    Also did this doctor see the kids daddy who is tall and way thin. My sisters doctors kept trying to tell her that one of my nieces was malnourished until they finally met daddy who mommy can pick up with one hand. lol As far as the picky eating keep encouraging new things but as you already know this wont always work. You are one of the best mommies I know so don't listen to that doctor.

  24. Hey Girl!

    I have a super skinny son, too. Our pediatrician assures me that as long as he has plenty of energy (duh!) and continues to grow, that I don't need to worry about it, just keep feeding him as much healthy food as he'll eat. Dr. Tom also guarantees that as soon as puberty kicks in, he will stop being a picky eater and I won't be able to keep enough food in the house to keep him full. So. Don't fret...just let him grow at his own pace.