August 17, 2011


 Hannah might be called slim (or Slim Cooley).   She's actually just a regular-sized young teenager. I've had many people ask me how I "keep" Hannah so slender.    
I don't.
She is the way she is.

To me, she's not all that slim compared to my other kids.  I'm used to kids who are on the 75th percentile for height and the 5th or 10th percentile for weight.  That works out to be tall and scrawny.  Too thin to fit into slim sized jeans without altering them.   That comes out to be 6'1" and 130 lbs.  Or a tall-size 1 or 3  in juniors.

So Hannah is just a regular, average weight kid. Her height and weight are at the same percentile: 75%.  She wears a girl's size 16.  She's taller than most of her typically developing peers, but she's taller than nearly everyone who has Down syndrome.  It is difficult to find clothes that fit her well, since she is long-waisted.  Her torso is quite long.  Bathing suits don't fit well.

Take a look at her with her cabin-mates from camp this summer:

 She's only 5'3", but she looks like a giant compared to the other girls (not to mention the counselors, who are flanking the girls)!  And she was the youngest in the cabin.

She is nearly finished with her height. She's only grown 1/4 inch in the past six months.  They say that a girl usually stops growing within 12-18 months of the onset of her menstrual cycle.

I can't take credit for her weight or her height. It's pure genetics. We don't eat the healthiest diet.  It might be healthier than most, but not by much.  Her favorite foods are carbs and proteins. She loves pasta and meat.  We used to call her a pastatarian, but she likes to say she's carnivorous. She will eat nearly any vegetable, but doesn't enjoy fruit very much. We use very few prepared foods, and do quite a bit of baking (bread, cookies, scones, muffins, etc). Her favorite lunch is either macaroni and cheese (sometimes homemade, sometimes doctored-up Kraft or Annie's), or it's a wrap with salami and cheese. Neither very healthy.

I know that vegetables can be tricky to get a kid to eat. When she was three or four we used the TalkTools idea of a "little plate" and a "big plate". We had portions of her meal that were cut into cubes that we would feed her on her back molars to get her to chew better. It was hard work for her, but she could see that the "big plate" had the rest of her dinner--food that she really liked and could eat any way she wanted to. We worked on chewing skills first, and then nutritional intake after. When she had mastered the chewing well enough to transfer it to her entire meal, we started using the "little plate" to introduce new foods or "less enthusiastic foods". She already knew that the "little plate" was non-negotiable. She had to clean that plate before she could get to the good stuff. That's how we started with salad. And broccoli. And fish (which is one of her favorites now!)

We stopped using the two-plate system a long time ago. Hannah will eat whatever is for dinner.  She has favorites, but she still will generally eat anything that comes her way. She doesn't like the stalks of broccoli.  She doesn't like spicy foods.

We have dinner out at least once a week, if not twice. We have a busy schedule, and I'm not one to plan ahead very much, so sometimes it's fast food (if it's lunch), or we're off to a real restaurant.Hannah enjoys Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Italian, Mexican, Japanese, and she loves a good cheeseburger. If we go somewhere that has a salad bar, she'll order that, but come back to the table with nothing green at all--it's all pasta salads, mushrooms, shredded cheese....

As far as energy output, we are not very active. We're a bunch of bookworms. If we do any kind of exercise, it's motivated by flab, weakness or embarrassment.

While Hannah's FAVORITE past time is watching DVDs, she also loves to be out and about. I'm all for her being out in the community and learning from someone else than ME. If you've been reading Shenanigans very much, you know how many outsourced activities she does .This fall she's signed up for:

Soccer (2x/week)
Art class
Tai Chi (2x/week)
Horseback riding.

We did have to drop theater this year due to scheduling issues. I wonder why?

I can't say that I've had much to do with Hannah's weight and stature.I think it's just what she was born with.  She's had vitamin supplements for a decade, and she's had probiotics to help her digest.She has no GI issues with constipation or otherwise. But I know other kids who have been on the same TNI approach and they are heavier, rounder.

It's totally possible that Hannah could have more significant weight gain as she gets older (like,  Right now she's perfect.  And later, she'll still be perfect.


Wren said...

What a great post...and she does look much taller than 5'3"! My boys are both bound to be tall and my guess lankey...that's what you get when your dad's 6'3" I guess. Sutter remains "big" for someone with Ds @ 19mos he's 33" and back will be happy when he walks!

Hannah a beautiful girl and with any luck she'll be luckier than the rest of us and stay lean as she gets older! :)

Cindy said...

I loved reading this. I just posted this morning about Beth's weight issues. She was a rail until she hit puberty; now she just keeps getting bigger and I'm not sure why!

I just thought of something! Beth takes methimozol for her thyroid. Maybe weight gain is a side affect? I'll have to look into that.

Tracy said...

Rachel is very thin right now, but she is just seven. I am thin and my other two girls are too, so I am hoping that genetics will help keep Rachel slim. Like you, we are not a family that gets out and exercises regularly, and Rachel LOVES her pasta, chips and goldfish crackers. I call her the "Carb Queen". That camp picture is a riot. Hannah looks like she must be over six feet tall. Did they try to find the shortest counselors in the world or what! LOL

Wendy said...

From the picture she looks like she should be the camp counselor! Are you sure she wasn't the one in charge?

But totally agree she is PERFECT..always has been and always will be!! Just love that girl... her mama isn't too bad either :-)

PS: I got to talk and share with Robbie this evening... I teased him about our conversation about like/disliking certain subjects aka math......He is planning on outsourcing the girls math. Guess who he plans on outsourcing too?
I told him I have been trying to outsource to the Shenanigan clan for years!!

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this post! Hannah is such a beautiful girl. You all are a great family :) -jackie

Natalie said...

Dear Hannah,
I don't like broccoli stalks either. In fact, I don't even really like broccoli, but I do make the boys eat it. Shhhhh, don't tell anyone!

Susanna said...

Beth, I laughed out loud at your paragraph about bookworms and exercise!

Mary @ Redo 101 said...

I am in love with your girl and I think she is perfect in every way - I'm soooo glad I finally found your blog and can read all your bid-ness.


Mary, a Steel Magnola

Josette said...

Thanks for sharing. I love reading about Hannah and your family. I'm in awe of your ability to keep up that schedule of activities! And, "Right now she's perfect. And later, she'll still be perfect.", perfectly said :)