So anyway, 5:00 ticks by and I don't start getting their dinner ready. I think it is a little rude to do that when we have company over and the kids are playing. I didn't want to rush them out of our house. 5:15 comes along and I start feeling a little antsy, so I go ahead and figure out what Parker will have for dinner. I see a Sprout package of vegetable lasagna in the cupboard. Yes, I often use packaged food for him. BUT, it is all organic, and this particular one is 180 calories! It is great. It is a step 3, but I just put it in my trusty Magic Bullet and...voila - a good calorie dinner for my little man. So anyway, back to my story. I do just that. I put it in the bullet. But then I look over at the kids and they are all having a good time so I just don't have the heart to pull Parker out of that mix yet just because it takes him longer to eat his dinner.
Finally at 5:30 I decide to put Parker in his high chair, turn the Moose CD on at a low level, and work on feeding him his dinner. Our kitchen is open to our family room, so we still are a part of the activities and conversations. So I am feeding him and talking, feeding him and preparing Brady's dinner, feeding him and dancing to the Moose CD. And the next thing I know, he has finished the whole dish, all 5.5 oz of it! And it didn't take very long. We were probably done in about 20 minutes!
To give you a little bit of history about feedings: they have been my nemesis! Seriously, we have been in occupational therapy for a year just for feeding issues. We have done everything imaginable to help Parker eat. We have had 2 swallow studies, both of which the results were never great. We have used special spoons and other various eating utensils. We have tried warm foods, cold foods, spicy foods, sweet foods, smooth foods, textured foods, foods foods foods. (I realize that I am sounding like Dr. Seuss here) I can't tell you how many times I have sat and actually cried while trying to feed him because it was so hard. He would either spit it back out (not on purpose) or gag and throw up. It used to take 45 minutes to get a very small amount down. It was so frustrating that something so seemingly simple (I now know there is nothing simple about eating) could be so hard. And the specialists didn't make us feel much better. The occupational therapist told us that instead of getting better, it can get much worse because as Parker grows it will be more challenging for him to swallow and control those muscles. I hate to admit that I started to dread feeding Parker his solids.
And without even knowing it, that dread has disappeared. I have been telling my husband for the past month or so that Parker has gotten so much better. But I guess I have never really stopped and thought just how far he has come. It used to be that I couldn't even get a whole packet of food down him. Sometimes I would be lucky to get 2oz. down. We always had half used packets in the refrigerator. Not so anymore!
I stopped and thought about it. How had I missed this big accomplishment? Maybe because it came slowly over time. Little by little he got better at chewing and swallowing. Little by little more food was going in and less was coming out. Little by little. I have to remember that with everything that he does (and all my boys for that matter.) Things do not happen over night. As much as I wish it would sometimes. So, he is still not sitting up on his own. That's right. But he has improved. He is now holding his head up and controlling his trunk better. I can sit near him and not hold on to him every second. Eventually, that will lead to him sitting up on his own one day. BUT, in the meantime I need to celebrate the little by little that he is doing.
My husband, who was a serious track and basketball athlete in college, had a coach who used to say "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." First of all, I would like to say that I think that saying is disgusting. Why would I want to eat an elephant?? OK, I get it, it is a metaphor. But still...
Anyway, this is exactly how Parker goes about his life. He it taking one bite at a time. He is not going to finish that elephant tomorrow, or the day after. But he will finish it, by God, he will. Little by little my beautiful son will finish his elephant. But for today, I will cheer on this one bite.
|Parker gets messy, but gets the job done!|
|Brady insisted on wearing his new hat and gloves to dinner!|