“Everyone had bologna around me at lunch today.” Spoken by our sensory, orally, and olfactory defensive 5.5 year old when she got home from school. I asked her how she handled it. “I plugged my nose.” While I’m proud of her for using her coping skills to ward off the offensive, I’m also a teeny bit worried that she’s not advocating for herself the way she should. I reminded her that she is allowed to ask one of the lunch ladies to move if she can’t handle the smell/appearance of certain foods. I’m not exactly sure how well it sunk in.
I have to admit I’m a little bit nervous. B’s feeding therapy that we’ve been a part of for the last 2.5 years will be run from home, by me, in about a month. B’s fantastic therapist is going on maternity leave from October through January. While therapy was only once a week and now only every other week, she still pushes herself further with her therapist than she does with me.
I’m a teacher. Teaching and instructing is part of who I am. I should be able to do this, right? I don’t know why, but this type of program intimidates me. Maybe its because I suck at cooking. Ask my husband about the time I started the oven on fire (dropped a hot pad in the oven trying to get dinner OUT). Ask B about the time she requested cookies for school and asked if “Daddy” could make them because mine don’t taste quite as good. I accept that my cooking/baking skills are flawed, but when food school encourages cooking with your child it becomes not only intimidating, but also tedious. *Insert fake smile here* I know I need to suck it up and encourage B to create, create, create. I have to say the other frustration is knowing that we’ll cook and bake, and 90% of what we make will go uneaten. I HATE wasting food (Blame the former generations for the comment, “Think about all the starving children in Africa!”). Food school encourages playing, talking, and learning about your food, but not necessarily eating it (until the child is ready). I can only eat so much; therefore that leaves a lot of scraps left over (and unfortunately we don’t have a dog).
I have to remember to introduce new foods while integrating the “still learning about” foods. I guess I need to make myself an organized list or something to keep myself from losing my mind 🙂
Then there’s the process of introducing the new foods. We turn our foods into toys. We play games, we look at our foods like a scientist studying amoebas under a microscope. We smell them and even touch them when we’re ready. These thing happen if B’s having a good sensory day. If not, we may only complete step one: looking.
I should be able to accept the small baby steps. After all, I noticed even the tiniest of baby steps when I was teaching my students. I celebrated each and every success and milestone. Why then do I dwell on the fact that we can’t even get her to try a new type of chicken nugget or a new brand of cereal? We can’t send a closed-faced sandwich to school. It has to be open-faced. That she’ll only eat split top wheat bread. She will only look at a sausage link if it’s inside a plastic baggie. I get so caught up in the little things.
Don’t get me wrong, I know she’s made progress. It’s just hard to look back at 2.5 years of feeding therapy yet, she still doesn’t meet enough qualifications to graduate from the SOS food therapy program. My heart just breaks that I can’t make eating easier for her.
I sure hope that I can work with her as successfully as her food therapist has over the next few months. I’m going to try and blog about the journey as we work through it. I’m going to try and pick myself up, pray, and focus on my purpose. God picked me as B’s mom and saw me as one of her lifelong teachers 🙂
Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”