whazzup with Shep

We’re off this morning to the grocery store. And then to Home Depot. And possibly stopping at McDonald’s, if the kids haven’t sent me over the edge by then.

“Kids, if mommy hasn’t lost her marbles by lunchtime, I’ll take you to McDonald’s! Deal?!?”

It’s a bribery tactic that really seems to work for me.

In the meantime, I thought I’d update you guys on Mr. Shep. And what’s new with our littlest fella.

Shepherd has been home almost two years. And it’s been a bit of a bumpy road for the little guy.

Thankfully, he and his daddy have formed a remarkably strong bond. Something about Shepherd just pricked Chris’ heart from the get go. He’s total putty for the little man.

And the feeling is most definitely mutual. Which is an unusual thing around here.

Shepherd’s initial special need, uncorrected clubfoot, was very successfully treated shortly after arriving home.

But as y’all know, Shepherd has struggled with other issues. I’ve shared about it a bit in the past.

If you’re new here, and want the Cliff Notes version, Shepherd is tiny. Not just small, but really small. Like three and a half years old and 26.2 pounds.

When you’re that little, the .2 means something.

And because he’s been so slow to gain weight, we worry about him.

Yesterday Chris took Shep to another doctor appointment.

So far, all the testing, poking and prodding the doctors have completed has yielded totally normal results. No signs of CP, celiac, swallowing issues, lead, thyroid, malabsorption issues, Thalassemia trait… nothing that might cause his excruciatingly slow weight gain.

Today’s visit was a recheck with the endocrinologist who determined that Shepherd is growing height wise. Just not weight wise.

So, the endocrinologist has now referred Shepherd to a dermatologist. Where he’ll be evaluated for possible ichthyosis, which might be related to his low weight.

Really, other than being smaller than his younger sister, Shepherd is doing great. Talking up a storm. Full of vim and vigor. Loves peanut butter, pop tarts and his green crocs.

But most of all, he loves his daddy.

I figure he’ll come around.




  1. Jodee Leader says:

    What a handsome guy! I am all about bribing my kids with food too (and especially McDonald's). It works!

  2. He certainly looks very healthy…and happy! What a cutie!!!

  3. Shep weighs a marathon! Believe me, I really get ticked off when people forget the .2 of a marathon. That .2 is the hardest of the race.

    Hope you get some answers soon!

  4. Cutie pie!! I have enjoyed your spring break posts…just coming up to breathe from being away this past weekend. And BTW, Maggie has only gained 6 pounds in the 2 years she has been here. She gets taller, but gains weight terribly slowly…I wish! Hope that he is just a little guy and that nothing else is wrong…and like others have said, he sure looks healthy!

  5. My Olivia is 7 and weighs 32 pounds. She wears a 3T bathing suit, 4 jeans/shorts IF they have that adjustable elastic thingy. 3's would be way too short or she'd still wear those.

  6. Football & Fried Rice says:

    Oh, what a sweet update! EVERYTIME I see a picture of Shepherd I fall in love all over again 😉 He is SO darn cute!! And he sounds like he is doing SO.WELL otherwise – which is a blessing….

  7. a Tonggu Momma says:

    Did y'all just forget to water him? *grin* Seriously, Shep is perfect just as he is. I'm glad y'all are still testing to see what might be going on. This same thing happened to a little boy in the Tongginator's class (Zee – yes, the boy she kissed). They poked and prodded him, but everything came back negative. His mom finally put him on a GF/CF diet this winter even though tests said it wouldn't matter. In the past two months, that boy has grown by leaps and bounds. I know the same will happen for Shep eventually. It's just a matter of try, try and try again. Y'all will stumble onto what works for his little body. For Zee, it just happened to be the GF/CF diet. For Shep? Even when we don't know, God does. And we'll figure it out eventually.

  8. Maggie S says:

    He looks delightful to me. His pics seem to indicate he is burning up all the calories on sense of humor and smarts????

  9. Lost and Found says:

    WOW two years already? I started following your journey between Isabelle and Sophie. Shep is precious and if looks count for anything, he looks like a healthy little guy. Of course as parents the unanswered questions are tough. At least if something was uncovered you are prepared. Not knowing can be hard. Hoping it's nothing and he's just a slow poke in the weight gain.

  10. You are seriously brave to take your kids to the grocery store. I bow to your greatness. :) I am leaving mine home with my 15 year old so I can go get something to restock the cupboards after being on vacation (must to the wrath of my kids' teachers—how dare we miss a few days of school?). We are on spring break this week, too, and I've already been asked to take them out for breakfast. Yeah…right. I'm still in my jammies at 10:15AM.

  11. Heather Thompson says:

    Shep and my Drew are very similar in their growth! Drew is also very…well we'll say, small. He is also 3.5 and weighs 27 pounds wearing size 18-24 month pants. I'm more concerned than his doctors but your post makes me think about getting some tests done… Home 15.5 months and he's gained 6 lbs maybe and 3 inches. I figure he's just taking after our side of the family;) I look forward to hearing any suggestions you get!

  12. Colin and Jill Canada says:

    He's darling!

    I'm just wondering, does he eat well?

    Because Lilah is 3 next month and she is 24lbs, that's only 2 more than when she was assessed in China, 16 months ago. I guess I've never worried about it before because she eats well, I mean really well! And she doesn't 'look' thin. I dunno. Now you have me thinking! :)

    She is 37" tall though and growing like a weed in that department.


  13. I think there are a whole lot of us out here with teenie tiny kids. My daughter will be 6 in July and has been holding steady for some time now at 25 pounds. She's getting taller, but not wider! Lucky girl!

  14. I've wondered if Lydia has the same "issues". She is getting taller but hasn't gained a single pound in a year! She's now 2-1/2 and only 23.6 pounds. I think the .6 was her full diaper. 😉

  15. I know my little man is little too, seems ok on height, still on the shorter side. He's turning three next month and only weighs 28lbs. And we got to the 28 by putting Carnation instant breakfast in two glasses of whole milk a day for the past two weeks. He was at 26lbs too! Should I be worried because you are so worried??? I've never even considered that anything was wrong with him before because his doctor said so long as he gains anything between visits, it doesn't matter what his weight is compared to the charts.

  16. TanyaLea says:

    Wow, I can't believe that sweet little guy has been home two years already! As I told you the other day… I'm in LOVE with that face…it's the smile and bright eyes…he GLOWS!! Yep, I can see why his daddy is putty, cuz that Cutie has the same affect on me!!

    Praying for answers, and that little Shep's growth spurt comes soon. Glad to hear things are checking out well though. He's such a hunny!

  17. he's perfect :O) our 4 year old weights 29.5 pounds, so i HEAR you! though in her case she'll probably naturally be pretty small (from the waist down)… still, she's a tiny 4 year old~!

  18. He has such an adorable smile, and how precious that he has a daddy to bond with and love on!!!

  19. I don't know how much you know about his birth parents, but maybe they were just small people. Not 'small' people, but shorter and lighter than average people. My husband is 5'8" (lie) and until recently weighed somewhere near 150. I am 5 foot tall (true), and before children weighed 95 (true!) pounds. So genetically speaking….my kids are small….and they will be small………Just a grain of hope~

    It's a bribery tactic that really seems to work for me. (It's not bribery…it's negotiations!)

  20. I have a little guy like that. We did a lot of the test that you have done, did the milkshakes, chocolate milk, and everything else. Today we celebrate a 5 1/2 year old who has finally made it to 40 lbs. I am so happy that he can still crawl in my lap and snuggle.

  21. David and Sarah says:

    Grace didn't gain one single pound the first 8 months that she was home. But, she's growing now! She's still not on the Chinese growth charts at 5 1/2 years old and 30 pounds, but we're just glad that she's actually grown!!

    Praying that Shep has a wonderful growth spurt soon!


  22. party of four. says:

    ugh. we just went through all of the same testing with our 5 year old. we found out he has adrenal suppresion, due to his asthma meds, and does not secrete enough growth hormone:( he too is full of life and vigor. psalm 139:13


  23. What a cutie! I am praying that you will get answers soon. Even though he is completely perfect just the way he is!

  24. Mei Mei s and Mayhem says:

    What a sweet handsome boy!!! Will keep him in my prayers!!!

  25. lighthousegal says:

    If it is any consolation my oldest, JB, was roughly 21 lbs at 3. That was the year that we adopted her sister who is 2 years younger. They weighed the same at EB's adoption. Now EB (6yo) is 54 lbs and JB (8yo) is still tiny at 46 lbs. Our pedi, who is tiny herself, said that given JB's genes, was probably just going to be small. The only thing she cared about was her development and that JB did show an relatively steady upward curve in her growth and development. At 8, she is now doing some serious growth height wise, but very little in wt. Oh well, she is going to be everything that I always wanted to be – cute, perky, personable and petite. Some girls get all the luck!

  26. Morning Stef – ya know – We'd support all the reasonable medical testing too (we've got a 'small one' too) – but – I'm also one of those parents that goes a lot by how a child 'looks'. Shep 'looks' great – w/o anything in the pics to offer a scale of reference I'd have said he's bang on the 50 %tile all the way (and your description of his intelligence / activity / diet all support that too)….so….the Doc's say everythings 'normal' – then I'd go with that – he'll just be small all his life!

    And being a little size challanged myself – ain't nothing wrong with that!

    hugs – aus and co.

  27. Daisy Dreams says:

    I know I've commented about this before….but Vivi is also very tiny. 6.5 years old and holding steady at 29 pounds. So many medical/health issues that have arisen in her 5.5 years home lead me (and the doctors) to believe that she had to have been a premie. Her size would indicate that as well! After our scare in the fall with an almost 25 minute seizure and a dangerously low blood sugar that had her in a comatose state, we are finally seeing the endocrinologist in two weeks. I have a feeling that nothing will come of this appt., but it's the last step in *knowing* we've exhausted all resources to figure out what's going on with her.

    Also…..I know there are varying degrees of ichthyosis (as a NICU nurse I've seen the absolute worst and also mild forms), but I've never heard of this being related to slow growth if there aren't obvious skin issues as well. I will be interested to hear what you all find out!

    Hang in there :)

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