Thursday, June 16, 2011

He Made Me EAT My Words

I spoke with our Speech/Oral Motor Therapist about my concerns(and frustration) with Austin’s eating/ texture aversions during our therapy session on Monday afternoon. I admit it, I was feeling pretty down. And I shouldn't have let it get to me because when he's ready, he'll do it. It's just hard when I know he's capable. Well, there have been some major changes at our house since Monday... I brought a Gerber Toddler Meal that consisted of Pasta Stars in Meat Sauce and Green Beans for Austin to eat during his therapy session on Monday. What would you know? Austin ate nearly all of his food. He chewed it up well. No choking. He did it! Austin’s Speech Therapist, Miss D, recommended that we stop pureeing Austin’s food and stop the bottle cold turkey. She said he’s shown that he’s more than capable of eating real food and drinking out of his straw cup on his own.

That night, I fed him another Gerber Toddler meal and he ate it! The true test came after bath time, which is when Austin HAS to have a milk bottle. I gave him a straw cup full of milk and HE DRANK IT! EVERY LASTY DROP! No choking. He didn’t seem to care that he wasn’t getting a bottle…he just wanted the milk.

Austin always has a bottle when he wakes up in the morning. On Tuesday morning, I gave him his milk in his straw cup and he drank it all. We are so proud of our boy!! It doesn’t stop there though…Tuesday for lunch, I decided to let Austin try a peanut butter and strawberry jelly sandwich. I was always scared to let him try peanut butter because it’s a common food allergy. However, thanks to the allergy blood test we had a few months ago, I know he is not allergic to peanuts or peanut butter. Peanut butter is a very difficult texture, so I was skeptical…but I figured we were on a roll, why stop now?

And guess what?

HE ATE HIS PB & J SANDWICH LIKE A CHAMP! Every single bite. I thought I might have to feed it to him, since it’s kind of sticky, but he didn’t mind at all. He fed himself. Of course, I cut the sandwich into mini pieces. No choking. No issues. He loved it and ate it well.

We told Miss D (Speech Therapist) his progress on Wednesday and she was so proud of him!! She also said that peanut butter is good for his oral motor skills/tongue.

The only reason we kept the bottles around was because I felt like he wouldn’t get enough fluids if he didn’t have a bottle in the morning and at night. I almost feel like we were holding him back, because it turns out he was perfectly capable of taking in fluids via the straw cup.

Goodbye to Dr. Brown's bottles and pureeing food. We are so excited and proud of our little man. He truly made me EAT MY WORDS. And I couldn’t be happier about it.

Keep On Keepin' On

An update is long overdue. On top of all our therapies, I’ve also been fighting with our insurance company. I’ll admit, it’s exhausting going back and forth with the them. Their tactics are genius because they entail a lot of work. It’s quite easy to start feeling hopeless and just “give up.” If there’s one thing I’ve learned when dealing with health insurance companies, it’s to be persistent. They will make it outlandishly difficult. However, if you’re annoying persistent enough…it often pays off. I’m convinced they don’t give in until they’ve expelled every last ounce of energy in your mind and body.

Austin is growing like a weed and doing new things all the time. It really is amazing!  He's 22 pounds and 31 inches long. Yes, you read that correctly...31 inches long!! Like most toddlers, he does things when HE wants to do them. And you cannot convince him to do something if he’s made up his mind that he’s not in the mood. As you can imagine, this makes our therapy sessions quite interesting. I’ve come to the conclusion that our therapists are saints and have the patience of Job. I’m not delirious, I know my son can be a little stinker. I find myself getting embarrassed when he gives his therapists the “stink eye” for making him work so hard when he has no interest in doing so. He’ll just fall back and lie on his Physical Therapist’s lap in the middle of therapy. Or he’ll turn around and give her that sad, pathetic look that always works for Mommy and Daddy. Luckily, she stands her ground, but I know it’s difficult because he’s so CUTE!

According to the calendar, it’s technically still ‘Spring‘. The temperature outside has already spiked to the TRIPLE digits. How do we cool off when it’s hot? We go swimming! Austin LOVES to swim. He’s truly a little fish. For reasons unknown, he likes to dunk his head in the water. He’s so silly.

We attended our first minor league baseball game last weekend thanks to Las Colinas Vision Center. This is the same place that sponsored Austin in the Buddy Walk last year. We are so grateful for Austin’s Aunt Amy and all the wonderful people associated with LCVC! The game started at 7, but it was still incredibly hot outside. Austin wasn’t really bothered though. He just wanted to get down and GO GO GO…I was skeptical about letting him crawl on the cement, but figured if it hurt him…he would stop. He’s long past the point of wanting to be held. He’s always looking to escape our arms. He had fun exploring the cement and attempted to eat a few rocks, but we paid close attention and no rocks were digested, thank God! Austin is definitely ALL BOY!

Our biggest struggle right now is eating. Austin is so finicky. I would give my right arm if he’d just eat a grilled cheese or even a chicken nugget. I have to puree ALL of his food, except Graham Crackers, Cheerios, Gerber Cheetos and Yogurt Bites. Austin excels greatly in gross motor areas and even some fine motor areas. However, our biggest road block is definitely eating/texture. Yes, my almost 16 month old still eats baby food. Even though it’s homemade and much thicker than any jarred type of baby food…it’s still baby food. And this is where I struggle…because it’s something else that makes him “different.” Another challenge. Another delay. Another therapy. I’ll be honest, it makes me sad. I wish something as simple as eating wasn’t such a struggle. Ryan and I do everything but dance on the table to get him to eat. And what we do one time may not work the next. I think this bothers me so much because the progress is not consistent. Some days he’ll eat an entire jar of chopped carrots and Macaroni and Cheese. Other days I can’t get him to even open his mouth for the food. I know he’s capable of eating “real food” because I’ve seen him do it. His Speech Therapist has said the same thing, too. We will keep working hard and persevere. And I will pray for peace!