Anyone who spends time with kids can likely relate to me on this. We celebrate everything, big and small, right? Yay, the baby pooped! Yay, the baby clapped! Yay, the baby reached the top of his head finally! We celebrate everything around here. I love it. All the more reason to be happy.
We had a brand new celebration yesterday. But before I tell you about it, I’m going to fill you in on history.
Some of you probably know some or all of it already, but I’ll just put it out there really quickly. Dekker has struggled with eating solid food. I know, he’s a big boy and looks like he’s been eating steak since birth. He was born with terribly weak stomach muscles, causing him to throw up regularly. As in every day, with every bottle. I found it very difficult. I was always nervous for someone else to hold him, as he would throw up anytime, whether it was right after a bottle, or two hours after. When he finally started rolling a little, his muscles started to improve, but when we tried to start basic solid foods at six months, he seemed to regress. So we backed off. He wasn’t ready, and all the health care people said to start at six months at the earliest. So I figured we had some time. All of a sudden, people were on our backs. Why weren’t we feeding him solid food? No one could understand where we were coming from. I shouldn’t say no one. Lots of people supported us. But those that didn’t really hurt me. Did they think I was doing a bad job with Dekker?? I was doing what I thought was right with what I had to work with! So we didn’t end up really jumping on the solid food bandwagon until around nine months. Even then, it was thin purees, and he would still gag them up and throw up often, maybe a couple times a week. It was just awful. I spoke to public health nurses and his doctor, picked and chose what I wanted to take from it, and kept working. It was a huge process for us. Finally, still on thin purees, we got to a point where he hadn’t thrown up in about a month. He waited until we had family over visiting, and chose then to wretch and gag and throw up several times all over himself, the carpet, his chair, me, everything. I raced him to the bathroom and burped him like a newborn until he was finished, cleaned him up, and then bawled like a baby. I actually tear up a little bit just writing this out. This was so hard for me. Were we back at square one?
At Dekker’s one year appointment, his doctor asked how he was doing with food. I told her about the few episodes of throwing up and that I was nervous that it was still happening. She was so encouraging and made me face the fact that he had gone from throwing his food up several times a week to a couple times a month. HUGE improvement! Very true. What a relief! She mentioned that we could go see a speech pathologist, not for his speech but to look into the shape of his mouth/throat and see if that related to his gag reflex at all. However, she took it back and said she trusted us. It was nice to feel that support. She could see the improvement, even though it was slow. Of all the people you want to impress most, its your doctor, right?
So all that yucky history aside, Dekker has been getting better at eating things that we eat. Not everything, not by any means, but more than ever before. He’s still a little burp sensitive though. He’ll actually stop eating in the middle of his meal for a burp. Weird, I know, but we do what works.
So, to the celebration. Yesterday, I was baking in my kitchen with Dekker in his high chair. He was starting to get antsy and fussy towards the end so I put an oatmeal cookie on his tray. This was something I did fully expecting him to throw it up. Oats are something that don’t really break down much when you chew them, you know? And considering that most of his teeth are front teeth, I figured he’d end up swallowing the pieces whole. He always throws up chunky things. I ripped the cookie up a bit and hoped for the best, leaving him alone to do his thing, but being close by, ready and waiting to pull him out of his chair and get those pieces out of his throat like I’ve done so many times before. He put a little piece in his mouth, and sat with that look on his face that he always has with new foods. His “figuring it out” face. He made a very good, long effort to chew up the piece, swallowed it no problem, reached over and took a drink of his milk, and went for another piece. My son ate an oatmeal cookie!!!!! I am so proud of him!
Like I said, we celebrate silly things over here. Like eating cookies and milk. But I could no be happier 😀