Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Shining Moment

Feeding therapy is hard. Really mentally and emotionally more than anything else. Unless you've done it, you just can't really know how hard it is to actually teach a kid to eat, rather than them learning it naturally. Especially when that kid isn't really sure he wants to be doing it anyway. It's like trying to train a dog who isn't food motivated (Charlotte). It requires a whole lot of creativity (btw, I'm about the most uncreative person out there). You frequently want to tear your hair out. Or drink. Or both. And by drink I mean water. Totally kidding.

Anyway, we've gone through all kinds of ups and downs and weird emotions along the way. For probably the past year and half, James would throw a complete fit if he finished everything on his plate. Like, crazy panic. This had a direct relationship with him thinking that finishing his plate meant being sick. His associations would get a little mixed up this way, but that's pretty normal with kids. For instance, they associate the hospital with the bad stuff instead of getting better. Fear and trauma is powerful. Like he remembers the one time I burst into tears in the bathroom of the doctor's office when I was pregnant with Eve, and he was only 2 1/2. We went to the doctor probably 100 times when I was pregnant, but he remembers that visit (actually so do I. It was traumatic.)
Again...aaaanyway....I swear we've made a point to leave a few things on his plate for months, and then if he did finish everything, we could never make a big deal about it. In fact we can almost never make a big deal out of anything when he does something great, particularly when it is something he has struggled with and when we are asking him to do it by himself. We just make sure he knows we are happy and proud but just kinda downplay everything.
We've slowly seen some progress of him stepping out of his shell and letting us praise him more and more, and I 100% attribute this to the SMILE school. But it hasn't really branched out to feeding.

Today we were having a quick snack of the fakest, crappiest fake cheese out there. But it's the only soy free, casein free stuff I can find that has more than 2 calories and he loves it. It's really the only processed thing he eats beyond pretzels (I don't make my own pretzels...I draw the line somewhere). I had cut it into 14 pieces (don't ask why I know that), and he had a strawberry cut up as well. In getting ready to head outside for a walk, I asked if he would eat 5 more bites of cheese and we would go. He said he actually had 8 more pieces of cheese and 5 bites of strawberry left. I said he was welcome to eat more than 5 bites if he wanted, but he didn't have to. All of a sudden he just pounded all of the cheese and strawberry, then ran around the house yelling and laughing, "I MADE MY PLATE CLEAN!!! I'M ALMOST AN ADULT!! AND I DID IT ALL BY MYSELF!!!"
Honestly, I didn't know what to say. Flabbergasted. Good word. So I just started running around the house and yelling with him cause what else do you do??

As most things I've found in this feeding therapy, this may not happen again for a long time. Or it may. Who knows. But for this moment in time, I felt like we did SOMETHING right. So I'll take it!

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