Sunday, May 4, 2014

crying over cheese

It was slightly ridiculous and it made me smile at the time but there I was, driving the boy home after his so busy day yesterday and he was “starving, Mum” . I suggested he dig around in his lunchbox and find something to eat. And he did – yogurt tube, yogurt drink, slurped up apple sauce and jello (more on that in a minute) and then came the test. The seemingly innocuous tube of string cheese. He got it open and wrestled with it for a bit. His dad had shown him the day before how to peel it off into strings so the boy was trying to engineer something. A giraffe it turns out. I waited. He got it into strings and took a tentative bite with me watching surreptitiously via the rear view mirror. He gave me a sideways thumb (neutral). Then he said, “wait” and slightly moved his thumb upwards towards the good zone. And then he started slurping up his cheese strings “hey, I’m eating this like noodles”. And that, dear readers, brought tears to my eyes. The slightly ridiculous part, crying over my kid playing with string cheese. But they are happy tears. Blessed tears. Tears for being in a place we’ve fought so long to get to.
playing in his first chess tournament
And I’ve had several days of these kinds of tears. Saturday morning when the boy ate 2 pancakes and told me “you make good pancakes, Mum”. Sunday, when he ate ¾ of a waffle and a slice of bacon and got a tub of snack pack jello as a reward. Jello. Yes, jello! Why is this such a big deal? Well, to a child who has issues with food, jello is a big deal. It wobbles. It’s slippery. It has terrified my boy at several birthday parties, and I’ve watched him try to refuse politely, waving his hands, saying “no thank you”, guessing inside he was screaming “get this away from me”. But Saturday, he took a tentative lick, then a small spooned dab, and then proceeded to eat the whole tub. I chose one of his favourite flavours – blue raspberry – to get him started but now he’s tried mixed berry as well. Strawberry and orange are up next. The wins are coming faster now. A whole meatloaf mini muffin at yesterday’s lunchtime food therapy session. Stir fried broccoli and small roasted potatoes last week. But I don’t get to see those wins yet – only reported via email and in the empty food cups returned home at the end of the day. It’s a process.

I’m just so grateful for his lovely and patient and wise food therapists. For finding them in the first place. Who knew there were people who specialize in this? I didn’t until February this year. I’m grateful for my friends who rejoice with me when I tell them the boy ate cereal with milk or pancakes and don’t laugh at me for being so excited. They’ve walked this road with me too, supported me, listened to me and now they celebrate with me. As do all the people who work with our boy at school and at before and after school care. But mostly I so grateful for my boy, who trusts us to help him.

And it is helping. All this has not only brought new foods into his life, he eats more consistently now. He has more of an appetite now that he isn’t so scared of food. He’s sleeping better, no more night time waking in a panic, running in to our room. Better eating and sleeping means better behaviour most of the time and for him, an easier time at self-regulating. So everyone around him is more relaxed, he’s more relaxed and happier. That’s the best part. He’s a happier boy these days. That is the best win.