Lots of kids are skinny.
I was a skinny kid. I have some skinny kids. I’m related to skinny kids. Honestly, I think a ton of kids are just naturally skinny, so long as they get adequate exercise and eat reasonably healthy foods.
The point is: skinny kids aren’t exactly rare. I know at least as many people whose kids wear a “slim” as those who do not. I hear endlessly about how critical those waistband adjusters are. And– believe me– I’m grateful for them, too!
But my C.? Well, she goes beyond skinny.
It’s not that she only weighs 36 pounds at ten days shy of seven-years-old. It’s not even that she’s only in the 3rd percentile for weight– that’s just who she is and that’s “her line”, if you will. The doctors aren’t concerned about it and neither are we.
C. just has SO little fat on her body, it’s ridiculous. She’s skin and bones and veins. Well, and cut little abs that make me giggle because they seem so utterly out of place on our otherwise “low muscle tone” little girl.
The fact that her body fat is so minimal isn’t typically a huge issue. But it does cause some extra problems that you might not initially suspect.
No one is surprised to learn that she gets cold really, really quickly and easily. It makes sense that skinny minis have a hard time staying warm and everyone seems to understand right away why C. would need extra layers to keep her toasty when the temperature drops.
What people DON’T realize is this: it’s very, very easy for our little girl to overheat, too.
It is a constant balancing act to keep C. warm enough, but not too warm. When we hike? We have to monitor her very, very carefully. She gets pale and splotchy and feverish if she gets too warm. She doesn’t really sweat and her body gets hot quickly. If she gets too hot (or too cold, for that matter), she may even vomit.
The thing is– fat is insulation. And, just like with your house, insulation helps keep out both cold and hot. It’s an important part of maintaining a moderate temperature. And our girl just doesn’t have enough of it.
And, so, I meet with the school nurse and sign a form that indicates a risk of hypo- AND hyperthermia. I seek permission to leave different articles of outer-ware in the classroom so C’s layers can be adjusted as the temperature fluctuates through the day. I sit at home and fret if the thirty-degree morning melts into a fifty-five degree day by recess time, wondering if she’ll be dressed appropriately for the warmer air.
Would she have been a skinny kid anyway, had she been born full-term? Probably. Like I said, skinny kids are pretty common and she’s got some genes leaning that way, for sure.
But would we have this temperature issue had she had a full 39+ weeks to develop?
I’m really not sure. I think this one may be one of those “chalk it up to prematurity” things that we just deal with…
But, for today, if you find yourself annoyed at a little roll or pucker here or there, just remember–