Christmas In Finicky Feeding Land!

Yes, I know.  Technically, Christmas day was 5 days ago, but I’m one of those who likes to celebrate the full 12 days of Christmas.  And my kids don’t mind too much either.   I think it’s because of the music and the food.  After all, this is a season of amazingly good (and rich) food, and there is nothing easier to get a kid to eat than a cookie they helped to make.  Especially when you’re dancing to music while you bake.

Yes, it’s true, I let A help me with our Christmas cookies this year.  Crazy? Probably.  Worth it? Definitely.

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She touched it!

Let’s face it, you don’t get much more sensory intensive than mixing, rolling, and sprinkling cookie dough.  Okay, so she didn’t exactly help with the rolling part, but she did touch the dough and was quite proud of herself for doing so.

She helped squash them with the glass (great for the “heavy work” end of therapy).  Yes, I kept a hand on the cup.  Real glass and tile floors don’t play well together.

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Then it was time for sprinkles.  Who doesn’t love sprinkles?  Great for fine motor skills (hello pincer grasp!) and motor control (on the cookies not the baking sheet if you please!).

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Who knew baking could be so therapeutic?

Of course, she had to find something to amuse herself  for the 12 minutes it took for the cookies to bake and the 15 minutes it took for them to cool.  Thank the Lord for puzzles!

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And, yes, she does those on her own.  I wish I was making that up but my almost 3 year old is rather bright (not parental bias people, I have the assessments to prove it!).

After all that hard work, it’s time for taste testing!  With a nice cup of cold milk of course!

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“Yummy, yummy in tummy!”

Actually, she didn’t eat that cookie.  A decided she wanted gingerbread biscotti instead so she fed her cookie to me.   No complaints here!

What’s that?  She ate biscotti?  My super picky, super sensitive child ate hard, crunchy biscotti?

Yes, yes she did.  Only it wasn’t that hard and crunchy.  And there was white chocolate involved.

It’s a recipe that I found in a Family Fun magazine for kid-friendly, easy to make holiday treats.  And yes, it is actually very easy.  Here’s the link for the recipe: http://www.parents.com/recipe/gingerbread-biscotti/

While traditional Christmas dinner is definitely not A’s cup of tea, I have found ways around that thanks to the variety of seasonal foods that I love to make.  Granted, her Christmas dinner consisted of a GoGo Squeeze (I don’t think I would survive without those), 2 herb rolls (homemade, time consuming, but very yummy), PediaSure, and egg nog.

Yes, egg nog.  We have discovered that A absolutely loves egg nog.  How much?  Well, she guzzles it; and I mean that in the truest sense of the word.  She can down 4oz of the stuff faster than anything (sorry, the analogy portion of my brain has officially shut down for the night).

Her favorite thing though, is “Crumbly Cake.”  It’s actually called Railway Crumb Cake, but crumbly cake was easier for G to say when he was little, so the name stuck.  It is one of the easiest things to make (I’ve been making it since I was about 9 years old) and it is so delicious.  Another bonus is that it makes the house smell wonderful.  Both my kids love helping, both with the making and with the eating.  This has become my family’s traditional Christmas morning breakfast (we use it on Thanksgiving also) just because it is so easy.  It takes about 30-35minutes to bake so you do have to plan ahead it you want it freshly made in the morning, but it is worth it.  I haven’t seen this recipe anywhere since I read it in a Pockets magazine when I was 9 (yes, it was a while ago); so here it is if anyone fancies giving it a go.

2 cups flour (all-purpose)

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup butter

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk

Combine the flour, sugar, and butter in a large bowl until mixture resembles crumbs.  Set aside 1 cup of this mixture for topping.  To the remainder of the crumbs, add the baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.  Mix well.  Make a well in the center and add the egg and buttermilk.  Stir gently until just combined.  Pour in to a greased 9.5in pie plate and top the 1 cup of crumbs that was set aside at the start.  Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool, then slice and serve.  Serves 8.

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This was ours about 15 minutes after it came out of the oven Christmas morning.  The kids wanted this before they opened their presents.  I’d say it’s because they like it so much (which they do), but I think the real reason is they wanted to be able to play uninterrupted after opening presents.

Suffice it to say, it’s always a big hit and A has actually been eating because of it.  I would make it year round, but for me it really is a Thanksgiving/Christmas time only food.  Guess I’ll just have to hunt down some regular crumb or coffee cake type recipes for the rest of the year!

In the meantime, happy eating and even happier Christmas!

 

 

 

“I’m on Strike!”

Or, “don’t give it to me unless I can eat it through a straw!”

Yes, it’s one of those weeks.  A just doesn’t want to eat unless she can slurp it through a straw.  What’s that?  Yep, it’s the sound of my blender crying.  I don’t think mine will make it to the spring; good thing they go on sale this time of year!

Our family had a very quiet Thanksgiving.  Like most people I talked to, half my household was sick (G and myself being the sick half) and A was just completely out of sorts.  Her brother was not at school when he should be, her therapy schedule was, by her standards, completely upside down and inside out, and nobody was where they were supposed to be when they were supposed to be!  According to her anyhow.

Think my kid likes her routine?

Yes, that was rhetorical.  Moving on.

We have since recovered from the traumatic schedule change and moved on to a semi-traumatic venue change for her weekly therapy.

As of Thanksgiving, the office I had been taking A to for her speech and physical therapy closed.  Thankfully, it was a satellite office so we didn’t have to find all new therapists and the main campus for the hospital is still fairly close to us.  Let’s face it having to drive 10-12 minutes instead of 8-10 minutes is not that big of a deal, especially when it means access to a brand new facility.  Yes, I like that part a lot.

Unfortunately, A didn’t see things that way and was rather bent out of shape at seeing familiar faces where they didn’t belong.   Lucky for me though, it only took her about a week to adjust to having her speech and PT at the main campus instead of just feeding therapy.  OT is supposed to be in there too, but we’re on a waiting list that includes at least half the state I think.  Okay, so maybe not that many people, but it does feel like that some days.

Where was I going with this?

Oh, right, food strike.

Sorry.  This is what exhaustion does to you.  No, really.  It’s actually a miracle I’m still awake right now.  Normally once the kids are in bed I’m falling asleep by 7:45 or 8.  Making it to 8:15 and not dozing is 100% miracle.  Of course, the tornado warning that expired about 10 minutes ago might have something to do with it too.

Back to our story!

So, because of all the upheaval in her little life (and the phase of the moon, height of the tide, and direction of the wind at 3:28am on Saturday), A is not eating again.

Actually, it has more to do with the fact that she is super sensitive right now.  More so than usual.  Her normally hyperactive gag reflex is in over drive right now and even her favorite solids (Grahamfuls, hamburger bun with peanut butter or plain, yogurt) are making her choke right now.

I never thought I’d say this, but thank God for Pediasure.

Since Saturday I have been walking a fine line between making all her meals liquid (giving up for now) and continuing to try the solids.  So far, my logical side has prevailed (scary) and I am still offering her solids at each meal.  Mostly she refuses, but sometimes she gets a bite or two down.  If she starts gagging after that I don’t push it, but I at least want her to keep trying. 

It is not easy.  In fact, you see that point farthest from easy?  That’s where we are at the moment.

We have had some triumphs.  A was really cooperative in feeding therapy today and even managed to eat 1/6 of  of her hamburger bun at dinner along with 1/4 of a Grahamful before she started gagging when the food hit her tongue.

And for those who may ask, “Isn’t that just a behavior thing?”  No, in this case it’s not.  A genuinely hits a point when she cannot tolerate solid food on her tongue.  She tries to take bites, or even nibbles, but she just physically cannot do it and I won’t push her.

Hopefully, she’ll come out of this soon.  If not, it will just force me to get creative and there is nothing wrong with that.   In the mean time, we’ll just do lots of creative art/therapy type projects that result in inexpensive and nifty little Christmas gifts for people.  For how that works out, you’ll just have to stay tuned!

Being Thankful Everyday

Yes, I know, not a very original title.  I’m sure we’ve all heard it a “bazillion times” (to quote my son) and are tired of it.  But coming up on Thanksgiving tomorrow, I realized that I no longer reserve my “what I’m thankful for this year” reflection to one day.  Every day I find at least one thing I’m thankful for, no matter how small.  Sitting here this evening, putzing around on Facebook, I realized just how big those daily small things really are.

This year, I am beyond thankful for A’s progress so far.  We have struggled to get her weight up and managed to succeed. Yay! No G-tube needed!  We have fought to get her muscle mass built up, and are making amazing progress. Plus, all those trips to the playground and chasing after her on her tricycle are great for Mama too!  I never knew you could run a mile without leaving your own block!  Amazing.

A is talking in small sentences (2 to 3 words) more often than not, she is engaged in the world around her (most days), and is just an absolutely amazing little girl.  Yes, that is my parental bias speaking, but I’m sticking by it!

G is an amazing big brother and little boy.  I won’t be able to call him that much longer as he turns 7 next month and is quite insistent that he is a “big kid, not a little boy!”  Despite all, he is caring, patient, and kind to his sister.  He helps her when she struggles and is endlessly patient (for an almost 7 year old) when she falls apart and lashes out at him.  Now, I’m not saying they don’t fight.  Believe me they argue and antagonize each other on a daily basis, but there is not a deliberate maliciousness to it.  It’s more of a I-want-to-see-how-far-I-can-push-this sort of thing and they resolve it fairly quickly and usually without needing me to step in (thank goodness!).

Tomorrow, while we’re all enjoying our Thanksgiving PB&J, yogurt, graham crackers, and Pediasure….wait, sorry, that’s A’s menu.  While we’re all enjoying our Thanksgiving turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, assorted veggies, rolls, and pies, let’s take a minute to remember those out there that may have a harder time finding a small moment each day to be thankful for with their children with special needs.  Maybe the one’s whose progress can’t be measured yet, or who have just received a diagnosis and have no idea what their future holds or it they will be able to make it through each day.  Let’s remember that while some of us may be lucky enough to have coverage for therapies, be it Medicaid, Medicare, or private insurance, not everyone has that luxury.  Some families are left with no resources and no idea where to turn or what to do.  Let’s take a moment to remember those families too.  After all, we can’t always see the heartache and struggles people go through until we take a moment to look a little closer and open our hearts a little wider.

I hope this Thanksgiving Thursday, whether you live in the US and celebrate it or not, you find at least one reason to be thankful for what you do have and not what you wish you had.