Thursday, June 6, 2013

Food Food Glorious Food

To my son Tommy,

One of the most challenging aspects of your young life has been your eating habits, or should I say lack of eating.  Picky eater is definitely an understatement.  Recently your mother and I started looking at feeding clinics and such.  But we just received the application to one and it became obvious that we are not the ideal candidates for these programs.  The daunting and overwhelming application asked for info from therapists and specialists and IEP's and videos of feeding sessions and such.  Plus we heard about horror stories of forced feeding and if that happened I wouldn't be able to contain my fatherly protection instinct.  So I think we nixed the idea of the food clinics and have renewed our own personal efforts starting tonight.

We started with making macaroni and cheese.  I talked it up with you and your mom talked it up with you.  As mommy cooked, we called about ten different family members to do a poll and find who likes macaroni and cheese and created the ":Macaroni and Cheese Likers Club" and hoped you would become a member.  You didn't become a member but you did make strides.  You tasted and chewed on plain macaroni with some salt on it.  Of course you spit out the food every time you chewed it up but it is a start.  Before you wouldn't even put a new food in your mouth.

Emboldened by the results, we took you shopping at the grocery store.  We tried to really involve you in the food selection and grabbed a bunch of new foods for you to try.  Again we are just trying to get you to be brave enough to taste, bite, chew, and (most importantly) swallow new foods.  Tonight you chewed (but spit out) some cheese slices and some crackers and you licked bananas before we reverted to your normal established dinner.  Even though these were great strides for one day, it is still hard for us not to get frustrated.  But then we got to dessert.

While we were at the grocery store, your daddy picked up some snicker doodles.  They are one of those foods that just call to me like a siren of the sea.  These were the soft and chewy type.  I thought you might be able to handle them but secretly I figured they would end up being all mine.  We had given you teddy grahams for dessert but you balked for some reason.  I grabbed my cookies and was chomping down when you came over to protest your dessert option.  I told you, "Don't you dare bite daddy's cookie" as I held it out where you could get your mouth on it.  We played this dance where I would pull it away and "catch" you trying to bite and warn you against it as you would try to act like you were biting it.  Every now and then during the game I would push the cookie to your tongue before pulling it away.  This game went on for about five minutes, each time you getting closer and braver to biting the cookie, getting little tastes and small crumbs, and then I made sure a larger piece broke off in your mouth.  You had that moment of panic where you were going to spit it out but the sugar content beckoned to you to swallow.  And you did! Chewed, swallowed, and came back for more.

Your sweet tooth might be the key to getting you used to trying things.  We will worry about switching up more healthy food options after we get over this hump.  Your mom and I are going to be trying just about every trick in the book.  And we might even go out and get a few brand new books or write our own.  We are going to enlist our family and friends to get you excited about trying new foods.  We are going to involve you in cooking and choosing and hopefully we will make some progress.  We will attempt to be as patient as can be as we finally make a full on press to get you over this hurdle.  We will stick with the same half dozen newly introduced foods, over and over again with some common sense adjustments or adaptations.  And your mom and I await the day we hear that sincere, "May I try that?" as you point to some brand new food somewhere.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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