I'd shared my feeding therapy frustrations many times with Isaac's therapists, and then finally, we dropped out of the second feeding therapy approach we'd tried...and failed. Well, maybe not exactly failed. For awhile we would have been given a D...maybe a C-. Many months ago, Isaac's Occupational Therapist told me that she was going to attend a conference on an approach to feeding therapy that she thought would be a good fit for Isaac. I was all for it, and looked forward to hearing what she thought after she attended the conference.
Heather (his OT) returned from the conference full of excitement. She planned to start as soon as possible, but she warned me that we would have to do some weird stuff. Uh, okay, I guess I'm up for anything, I just want the kid to eat one day...or at the very least, touch food. She told me that once we reached a certain point of success during the program, we would have to put food in our mouth, chew it up, and spit it out, so that he could visualize what chewing does, or that food is safe to eat, or something like that. And then she told me that you begin with green and orange foods, which meant, broccoli. Oh man, Heather, I really don't like broccoli. She said we could use asparagus instead. For whatever reason, we've been using green apples, so I'm cool with that.
You have to know something about me. I don't like messy eating. Can't stand it. It disgusts me. I'm okay with Isaac being messy. He can smear food, throw food, smash food, I really don't care, whatever gets him to touch it and eventually, eat it. But as for me, I'm the person who cuts up my slice of pizza into small bites so that I don't risk something getting on my face. I would never eat a cone of ice-cream, bowl and spoon for me. Messy appetizers that are not offered without a plate and fork--forget it. The only people I am truly comfortable eating in front of, is my family. Obviously, Isaac isn't the only one who has problems. I'm just going to admit here, that I have been in therapy for my own problems, including but not limited to my issue with eating in front of people. Either way, therapy is awesome, and I firmly believe everyone (probably some people more than others) should have a good therapist, so go out and support the mental health professionals!
Well, obviously the idea of spitting out food onto my hand, had me concerned. But I knew it would just be Heather, Shelly (Isaac's speech therapist), Isaac and me, sitting at the table, so I was sure I could be brave enough. We've had four feeding therapy sessions so far, and Heather is super outgoing, and full of energy, and silly...basically, everything I'm not, so if she's cool with looking ridiculous, I try to spend those forty-five minutes being okay with looking ridiculous. Isaac was being very brave this week. During most of the session he stares at Heather like she is completely insane, but this week, he actually touched the carrot and the cheese to his face--huge step for him. How did we get him to do this? Obviously, we pretended the carrot was a train and chugged up our arm, which was the mountain, to the top of our head, the peak of the mountain, and then back down the other side. Then, Isaac shocked us by putting the carrot to his face, so obviously the carrot had to be a rocket that shot out of our mouth, so that just maybe, Isaac would be cool with putting something, anything, aside that infant, hospital issued pacifier, in his mouth. I shot a carrot out of my mouth like it was rocket. Isaac thought it was hilarious, and we all laughed. And I was brave, just for him, because I want my kid to eat.