Hunger Strike, Part 3

toesWhat hunger strike? After his six+-hour fast, Bug takes a break from organic cheese toast and roast chicken to nibble on his tasty toes.

Bug has “fasted” before but I thought we were past that. Then I arrived at school to pick him up this afternoon and heard he had an “awkward” day. After two breakfasts — strawberry-banana oatmeal, Swiss cheese, and cantaloupe at home and a breakfast of eggs, toast, and pineapple at school — he refused to eat for the rest of the day. He slept through lunch. He skipped the afternoon snack of zucchini bread in favor of a bottle of whole milk, and he developed a diaper rash so uncomfortable he couldn’t sit on his bottom.

He’s only been in school for 16 days, but I’m used to hearing that he had a great day when I pick him up. I take pride in my happy, easy-going son who eats well and loves his teachers and classmates. Suddenly I was hearing that he had essentially starved himself all day and that there was a painful rash on his boo boo. I headed home, totally stressed out.  WHAT THE H–L WAS GOING ON HERE?! How could I have failed my little precious so spectacularly? Because, clearly, this was all my fault.

I called my mom the minute we left school and she reminded me that it’s normal for a one-year-old child to be difficult at mealtime. She added that diaper rash was also very normal and nothing to worry about. “He’s totally fine, I promise,” she said. But still.

At dinner, I decided to serve Bug a few of his faves and then call the pediatrician if he still refused to eat. I laid out a spread of brown rice bread topped with melted organic cheddar cheese, organic roast chicken, and cooked organic Gala apple. Simple, low-key, impossible to resist…I hoped. Bug fed himself the goods. At one point, he kicked back and nibbled on his toes. No big deal, just enjoying a leisurely meal. I tried to be nonchalant but inside I was doing a little victory dance. Mama fixed it all, everything was right in the world once again. When he was finished eating, I tackled that diaper rash with a thick coat of Desitin.

Crisis averted, I could think more logically about the situation. I had to admit there were compelling reasons that seemed to have contributed to this hunger strike: 1. Bug was tired after a rough night for of being up at 2 a.m. and 5 a.m., upset for reasons unclear (let’s face it, we were both tired) and he preferred to catch up on sleep after two adult-size breakfasts. 2. His wicked diaper rash was uncomfortable enough that drinking a bottle and playing on his knees was preferable to sitting in a hard chair on his bottom, even if it meant missing yummy zucchini bread. 3. He missed his mama and her amazing cooking.

OK, #3 is probably wishful thinking. But reasons #1 and #2 are solid. Perhaps I had freaked out for no reason. Bug ate a very decent dinner — and he was his usual giggly, active self all night until bedtime. But it’s really scary to hear that your child declines to eat for a six-hour stretch and the diaper rash was vicious, so I’m giving myself a break for overreacting.

Has your babe ever refused to eat? What were the circumstances, and what did you do to end the hunger strike?

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  1. by Berit Thorkelson

    On September 19, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    could his teeth be bothering him? Up at night, diaper rash (from swallowing drool), not wanting to eat (it hurts!)… Just a thought.

  2. by Heather

    On September 19, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Berit — You’re spot on! We noticed on Saturday that his top two teeth are starting to come in:)Last night was grueling, poor little guy.

  3. by Berit Thorkelson

    On September 19, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Ugh. That’s so rough. Well, at least they’re almost in, if you can see them. And if it helps, I’ve noticed that some sets are worse than others. Maybe he (and you) won’t have it so bad next round.