Thursday, February 26, 2009

Peas, of All Things

Any of you who know us or have followed our story for a while know that Eli has what is termed an "oral aversion." Due to his terrible reflux (which he has thankfully almost totally outgrown), eating became so painful and scary for him that he wanted to stop eating altogether. Over the past 6 or so months we have been through so much with his eating habits, and he is finally at the point where he is (most days) eating enough from his bottles to gain weight. If he can keep this up, we can avoid a feeding tube for a while longer.

But, as he is almost 10 months old (8 months, adjusted), we need him to start eating solids, since he can't drink bottles forever. And herein is our difficulty. Eli HATES eating from a spoon. You'd think I was trying to shove a knife into his mouth if you were watching his reaction. We have been working with a therapist to help him overcome his aversion, but the going has been extremely slow.

For the past two weeks our "homework" was to not feed him by spoon at all. We were to offer him cookies, crackers, puffs, etc. that he could feed himself, but we were not to force one single bite of food into him. Our therapist was hoping that this would help him to forget the negative associations he had made with spoon feeding. I personally didn't think this would work, but I prayed diligently for the past two weeks that the next time I tried to feed him with a spoon, he would eat happily.

Today we went to therapy and Heather (the therapist) just had him "play" in his food. By letting him get messy and get his toys in the food, he gets little tastes of it and will hopefully slowly learn to like it. Eli did fairly well with this approach, and I love the way Heather works with him. Our "homework" for the next two weeks is to do the same thing- strip him down, plunk him in the high chair, dump a whole bunch of baby food on the tray, and let him go nuts with his hands, toys, etc. But no spoon feeding.

So this afternoon I did exactly that. Naked baby, plenty of mashed peas, and lots of fun toys. I was watching him and mulling over what Heather told me earlier in the day, that Eli will most likely need therapy until he is at least two years old, that it will take at least that long for him to eat well. I felt so discouraged. I know that a feeding aversion is not the end of the world, but it is hard. I want so badly for Eli to overcome this so that he can enjoy food and so that every meal doesn't have to be a battle. I was mentally gearing myself up for another year or more of feeding battles when God reminded me of the prayer that I had been praying for the past two weeks... did I dare try to spoon-feed Eli today?

Eli was having such a great time playing around in his peas, so I decided to push my luck. I grabbed a spoon and fed him a bite... he opened his mouth and ate it happily. What?!? Is this my baby? Another bite. Another. Another... perhaps 20 bites, all happily received. I was crying by the time he finished. I am floored by the miracles of God, displayed so clearly to me in my orally aversive child happily eating half a jar of baby food. And peas, of all things!

So, whether this was a one-time thing that God will use to give me the boost I need to continue with Eli's eating aversion, or whether this was the beginning of Eli's coming out of his aversion, I am praising God tonight. He is so good.

I took the video below because Eric wasn't at home to see Eli eating so well. When I showed it to him he got tears in his eyes. I know this whole post may sound silly and overblown, but to me it is such a milestone. Thank you for reading about it! (And please ignore my embarrassingly high-pitched voice in the video!)



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3 comments:

Most Likely Tricia said...

Hooray! What an amazing way God chooses to remind us of His sovereignty! :)

The Coffeys said...

Wow, we are praising God with you! What an encouragement! I loved the video...reminds me so much of Zeke, always grabbing for the spoon :)

Joel and Carla said...

I love this post!How amazing!