Monday, January 18, 2010

Fitness and Health Week 1

Last summer - such a nice, cool, low-insects summer - I wrote about about our struggles to model an active lifestyle for our girls. We try to keep them active, though one of my daughters can't walk all the way around the block. This impacts all of us and what we can do as a family. She's six years old; too big for a stroller and nearly too big for our bike trailer. We could invest in a larger special-needs stroller but we'd rather not. For one thing, it would allow her NOT to walk when she well knows that she can ride. So we have to be creative.

We took the girls in the bike trailer as we rode, or Paul pushed him as he jogged, whenever it wasn't too hot. Then, naturally, it grew too cold. None of us much like exercising outside in the cold. Ellie still does gymnastics; Ada will soon start a rhythm and dance program. Ellie also plays soccer in the spring and fall. (She likes the idea of playing soccer but the reality of it makes her cry.) They both enjoy the swimming pool. I'm not much worried about Ada. She's nearly three and tends to run everywhere, frequently doubling back and dashing off on side trips. She gets her own exercise.

But Ellie, Ellie would rather sit and watch a movie. Or play with her beads (she acts out everything with her long strands of plastic beads, spreads them out all over the floor). And Ellie likes to snack. She's a fabulous scavenger and manages to find food even when I think I've put everything away. Something good in the frig? She's on that. Unwashed plates on the kitchen counter? Leftovers are fair game. Magnetic lock for pantry door left too high for her to reach? No worries; she'll just drag over a stool, stretch for the magnet, unlock the cupboard, and help herself. She won't eat fruit or raw vegetables, not even with dip.

So I bought tiny tupperware containers and filled each with an appropriately-sized serving of snack food (plantain chips, raisins, snap pea crisps, goldfish crackers, pretzels, etc.). I showed Ellie where to find them and reminded her that she could have just one each morning, one each afternoon.

She's excited to have this independence, the freedom to select and serve her own snack. But I'm not yet terribly optimistic about her willingness to stop at just one serving.

Yesterday I measured the girls' heights and convinced them to stand on the Wii Fit long enough to update their weights.

As I expected, Ada falls smack in the center of "healthy weight" for a 2-1/2 year-old of her height. She's also pretty average for height; I suspect I measured low. She's just a bright, healthy, fascinating, fun kid who'll be three later this week. I can't believe it!

Ellie's bright, healthy, fascinating, and fun, too. She's also within normal and healthy height and weight ranges for six-year-old girls. Amazing! We can thank Daddy for the height. At this age, children with Down syndrome rarely fall on the typical growth charts for height any more, and as for weight, well, she's not lean according to a typical BMI chart, but she is pretty lean according to a Down syndrome growth chart.

So, yay, girls! And yay, us! It's a struggle and we have to be creative. We have to push ourselves, not just coast. But it's working, and it's worth the effort. None of us have even been sick this winter, despite being exposed to all kinds of contagious bugs from H1N1 (which stalled Ellie for one day last fall) to pink eye. Knock wood, etc.

Healthy is good.

  • The South Beach Diet is not unhealthy.
  • What I'm doing for my own weight and health.
  • Friday photoblogging

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