Friday, 28 January 2011

To eat (meat) or not to eat - that is the question - by Theo

Yesterday was Rosie's one year check up at the local medico's. Mercifully there were no injections due this time (the next are at 15 months) but sadly her appointment for her weighing and measuring wasn't with the friendly, amiable nurse, but with the grumpy pediatrician, who has the beside manner of a coat hanger. She's the one who criticized us for using a sling and expressed disbelief at our vegetarian diet. Naturally this was a subject she returned to again.

Rosie weighed in at 7.3 kilos, standing (or, rather crawling) 69 cms tall (long). Apparently this means she's underweight. Well, yes, technically she is - consulting the curve on our Documento de Salud Infantil she is just below the lowest percentile band for weight, though she's within it for height. After quizzing me about her diet (which includes such protein-rich foods as quinoa, chickpeas, lentils, eggs, cheese, sweetcorn in pretty much every meal) the pediatrician saw this as her cue to berate me for starving my daughter of the necessary chicken and fish Rosie apparently needs to put on muscle mass (naturally we want our daughter to be a sumo wrestler in later life). Veggie proteins just won't do.

Being a relatively recent convert to vegetarianism (5 years) I'm quite the Zealot and thus would really rather not feed my daughter meat or fish for a variety of moral and environmental reasons. Plus I'm not too worried about Rosie's size, for a few reasons:

1. Kate is just over 5 feet tall (1metre 52), as are Rosie's aunts on both sides of the family. They all ate meat and fish as children. So, I reckon that Rosie would still grow up to be petite even if we fed her prime steak 3 times a day. It's just in the genes.

2. While Rosie may be underweight for a 12 month-old, she is not underweight for an 11 month-old - and she was born a month premature. So, if we adjust for that, she's fine...

3. Finally, she's perfectly healthy and seems to be reaching all the development milestones at around the normal time.

Obviously Rosie's health and development would trump all other considerations. So, if by the next weigh-in in 3 months time she's fallen even further behind the curve then I'll slaughter the chicken myself. But for now it's chickpea and sweetcorn pancakes...

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