Sonny was unwell these past three weeks…first it was a stomach bug and then his allergies flared up thanks to the dust storms and crappy heat wave here in NCR. Amidst numerous pediatrician visits and tons of medications, sonny’s already limited appetite took a complete nose-dive and hovered around the zero mark for 3-4 days.
One day of “not eating anything” is fine (we, his parents, are used to it by now), but when it exceeds that and to top it, when he pukes even the little fluid he drinks, be it glucose or milk or what not, it becomes a grave concern, especially since one starts worrying about dehydration, given the weather.
So we did what any concerned parents would do in the situation. We went to the doctor second day in a row 🙂 The doctor smiled a condescending smile that any doctor dealing with parents, is trained to smile and then told us that sonny was “fine”. He should continue taking the prescribed medicines and his appetite will return in due course. To make matters worse, sonny just loves visiting his doctor (I guess he thinks he is visiting a friend, someone akin to Dr. McStuffins). This kid, who lay listless in bed all day long and reduced us to tears, was all excited and chattered on continuously when we enter the doctor’s cabin, as if nothing was wrong (He even asked the doctor to give him an injection!); no wonder the doctor thought we were crazy and overzealous.
Anyway, once at home, he was back to being sluggish 🙁 Sonny never slows down even when he is unwell, but that day all he did was lie in bed and toss around. So we were definitely worried. When he rejected all food and drinks again that day, we knew there was no other option but to go back to the doctor and insist on something extra. During the third consecutive visit, I did not give the doctor any chance to speak and instead gave him the data. He had lost 2 kgs in 4 days (Ahem, a little “engineered” data to be honest!). Anyway, this was huge, given his already low weight. So, the doctor decided it was time to help with the appetite (or perhaps, he got tired of seeing me and sonny in his clinic as constant fixtures or was it my constant nagging?). Nonetheless, on the third day, I returned with a tonic to restart sonny’s appetite and boost it up from ground zero.
First day of the tonic saw sonny wake up early morning and ask for his “chocy-milk” just like he used to before the stomach bug (which was awesome)! He was finally eating (rather drinking) something and it gave him part of his energy back. He started running again. Great! Then at breakfast time, I tentatively gave him two chocolate chip cookies hoping for a bite or two. But he ate them both and then he ate couple of mini-apple bars. This was beyond awesome, even on regular non-sick days I can never make him eat cookies or fruit bars (He does not have any sweet tooth at all!). I double checked the dosage of the tonic to make sure I was not giving him more than prescribed (yeah, I am weird that way!).
Then at lunch time, I debated what to feed sonny. Though the stomach bug was gone, but his cough was still bad, which meant if anything caught in his throat, he would invariably vomit his breakfast and beyond 😉 . My choices included khichdi, mashed potatoes with daal, sooji and so on, but none seemed to catch sonny’s fancy when I gave him his choices. Then, as I tried to rake my brain for some better options, I glanced at sonny’s iPAD. He was intently watching some muppet like character making and eating pancakes. And just for the heck of it, I asked him “Would you like to eat some pancakes?”
This was not the first time I was offering him pancakes, but he’d never seemed interested before; I was more than sure my question would be met with a resounding “No!”. But the loud, enthusiastic “Yes!” instead took me by surprise. I double checked to see if he meant it. “Yes” again. No doubt about it. Then I asked, “Do you want to come, help me make your pancakes?” Again an excited “Yes!” and he ran to the kitchen taking his yellow chair (which doubles as a stepping stool in our house). So, it was settled.
He helped me make the pancake batter and then waited patiently as I cooked them one by one. I asked him “How many would you like to eat?” “Two” was the confident reply. Then I asked “Would you like some honey with your pancakes?” (I did not have any maple syrup). “Uh-huh.” came sonny’s reply as he nodded yes. This, from the kid, who refuses to even lick a teensy weensy bit of honey when his cough gets bad. By this time, I was pretty skeptical and was thinking that sonny was just playing with my mommy-guilt and there was not a sliver of a chance ever that he would actually eat the pancakes.
I was so wrong. I had to give him a knife and fork (yeah, he likes to do things properly! I would rather feed him by hand and get it over with faster 😉 ). He immediately got down to business. Though his knife skills were very questionable, once I cut the pancakes into bite-sized pieces, the first one disappeared within a matter of minutes. He dunked each piece in honey and ate the sweet treat like there was no tomorrow. I just watched in utter disbelief. The second one took much longer than the first, but it was also finished as per sonny’s estimate. Then after a glass of milk, lunch was “all done”. Easy-peasy!
At evening snack time, there was a request for pancakes again! This time he asked for five! I obliged (though in the end he only ate one and a half). At dinner time, when I got him his usual thali of rotis, veggies, daal and milk, it was met with “Oh no, not rotis! I want pancakes!”. Thankfully, I had a couple left from the evening, and I gave him one, which sonny ate happily, while I surreptitiously fed him his dinner in between each pancake bite.
“Pancake Ma, pancake. I want pancake with sticky-wicky honey.” The next morning at 5:00 am I was woken up with this chant from sonny instead of the usual “Wake up, Ma”. It was so bloody early. I ignored his request and told him to go back to sleep. “Pancake, pancake. I love pancake.” Ugh…..I ignored him some more, but then he started crying. There was no escaping the pancake monster anymore. I dragged myself out of bed and made him his morning pancakes. Then again, the process was repeated for lunch. Then for dinner, I forced him to eat “regular dinner”.
I thought this food fad would go away after a couple of days just like all his other food fads (like sunny-side up eggs, sandwich, parantha, mango shake etc. etc.).
But it is way more than a week now, but pancakes are still in vogue, though we have succeeded (albeit very grudgingly) in limiting its consumption to only breakfast. And yes, in case you are wondering, we stopped giving sonny the “appetite enhancing tonic” some days ago as per doc’s instructions, but it has no impact on his current love for pancakes. In between then and now, I have made two runs to the grocer’s in the middle of the scorching 47 degrees because I ran out of eggs. And who in their right minds would dare to unleash the wrath of the pancake monster in my house? And yes, I have woken up very early every single morning to make pancakes. Now, if you really wish to test me, I may even be able to make pancakes with my eyes closed!
But all said and done, when I think about how sad and anxious I was when sonny was not eating, I could not be happier! I don’t know how long this pancake breakfast will continue in my home, but as of now, I am happily enjoying my little pancake monster’s chomps at 5:00 am in the morning. So scoot over, Cookie Monster, Pancake Monster is here in town!
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