The Weighting Game

At least three times a day, my daughter and I play a game that isn’t fun for either of us. 

The first round, which begins at about six thirty a.m. on weekdays and eight a.m. on weekends, plays like a Pokemon or Bakugan battle arena: 1) Mom rolls the dice to find out what condition Jess will be in when she awakes  2) Mom plays the yellow “bright and cheery good morning” card while she offers a bottle full of 250 calories of nutritional goodness 3) Jessica then selects a red card to counteract Mom’s sugary sweet attack – these cards provide a selection of the following responses – a/ vehemently refuse the bottle and kick mom in the gut,  b/shove the bottle away and smack mom on the arm,  c/accept the bottle and only drink half  4) After playing her card, Jessica rolls the dice to ascertain what Mom’s disposition will be when she responds to her counter attack card.  This round continues on an endless cycle until either Jessica’s bus arrives or an episode of iCarly comes on.

Round 2, which only occurs on weekends or days-off around noon, is strictly verbal and played like a game of Outburst.  Mom always starts first:

“Jessica, what would you like for lunch?”

“Nothing.”

“You have to eat something.  How about a ham sandwich and some applesauce?”

“No.” (Mom then makes a ham sandwich with ten pieces of ham, two slices of cheese and gobs of mayo, and mixes a tbsp of Duocal, a calorie supplement, into a cup of applesauce, and mixes another tbsp of Duocal into a cup of strawberry milk….totaling a meal of approx 850 calories.  Mom sets meal on table in front of Jessica.)

Jessica: “I’m not hungry.”

Mom: “Eat your lunch.  Do you need help?”

Jessica: “No!  I don’t want it!  I want chips.”

Mom: “You can eat chips after you take a bite.”  (Jess takes a bite that would starve an ant.  Mom gives her a potato chip.  Jess takes one hour to eat one chip.  Mom gets Jess to eat a few more bites of sandwich and one bite of applesauce.)  Gameplay continues until Jessica finally eats at least 100 calories.

Round 3 includes the whole family and is played at, you guessed it, dinner time.  This round is a combination of the two previous gameplays with the additional use of the bright, neon, fire engine red card called, “*The Feeding Tube.”  This card, which can be played by all family members excluding Jessica is threatened in the following way: “Jessica, if you don’t eat this, we will have to put you on the feeding tube.”

*Round 4: The Feeding Tube card must be played if the previous three rounds have been unsuccessful.  This game involves the entire family and is played like “Rock ’em, Sock ’em Robots.”  Dad holds Jessica.  Brother holds Jessica’s cup of water with a straw.  Mom attempts to place feeding tube through Jessica’s nose and down her throat into her stomach.  Jessica screams and flails her arms around.

If Round 4 is unsuccessful, which lately has been the case, most likely because Jessica’s back is too twisted to allow the tube to be placed properly, then the entire game must be played again the next day….and the day after that…and the day after that…until my sweet, amazingly adorable 11-year-old daughter who has cerebral palsy, supravulvular pulmonary stenosis, severe scoliosis and a heady case of failure-to-thrive, finally wins this arduous, disheartening, energy-zapping, life-sucking Weighting Game.

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2 thoughts on “The Weighting Game

  1. I know you posted this awhile ago, and ‘heart-wrenching’ is right! I came across this when looking for other parents dealing with a “failure to thrive” child — I know the game all too well, but to nowhere near the level you must play it at. I hope you are able to find peace and calm in your days!

    • Sorry it took me so long to reply. Thank you so much for your kind words, and I’m so sorry that you have been dealing with this same issue with your child. No matter what “level” this game is played at, it is always excrutiating for the parent. My daughter is now on a g-tube. The surgery was difficult the first few days, but now she seems to be doing well with it and, meal times hold a little less pressure. I hope the situation has improved with your child, and I wish you peace and calm as well!

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