She’s two and will only eat from a bottle. It isn’t an issue of stubbornness. It is the result of things from her first year ~ before she came home last September. Her progress has been slow in the eyes of some. Sometimes it is discouraging, but then I step back and am in awe of just how far she has come. So I won’t give up. I’ll keep filling her up with nutrients the only way I can. One day, in her time, she’ll take a bite and swallow. One day the seemingly impossible will be her normal. “But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord, I say, ‘My times are in your hands,'” Psalm 31:14 In this time, this struggle, I cling to that truth and hope. Her times are in His hands too.
I wrote those words almost exactly 3 years ago as part of a post regarding not giving up. The post continued with:
I know feeding my daughter what feels like a million smoothies a day is not really a big deal. But for me, there are days I am just worn out from it and it feels like a big deal. There are days I just want to leave the house for 5 minutes without packing a cooler of bottles first. There are days I don’t want to explain why she still takes a bottle or why I can’t ‘just force her to eat’. BUT. I won’t give up for a million reasons. She is healthy. She is strong. We have the best doctors and therapists and support walking her through this journey. We’ve got an arsenal of tips, tricks and methods – but ultimately it is all in her time.
And quite frankly, if we have years of smoothies ahead – that is just fine. This isn’t an issue we will force because it is not in the best interest of her overall healing and health. I pray one day she will be non-stop talking at the dinner table and I have to tell her to slow down between bites. But, if that doesn’t happen, that is perfectly okay too. I’ll just become the first person ever to wear out a Vita-Mix motor!
Four years. Four years of smoothies, pureed food, mashed food. Four years of never leaving the house without packing food for her. Four years of struggles. Tears. Fears. Questions. On her part and ours. Saturday I was visiting with a friend and my youngest daughter’s diet came up. I told my friend that there has not been much progress and how it is quite possible she just may never eat the same foods that the rest of my crew does…and that it would be just fine if that was the case.
For four years we’ve bounced between wondering if we are pushing her too hard or not pushing her hard enough. I’ve read the books. Ordered the curriculum. Consulted the experts. We’ve gone from being proactive to being exhausted to proactive and back to exhausted…on repeat for four years. She reached a point where we knew she had all the tools she needed (learned to chew, built up jaw strength, etc.) and it was all just mental and emotional left.
Sunday night we crowded into a booth at our usual pizza place after church. I left my phone in the car. My camera was at home. The last thing I was expecting was a monumental event for our daughter and family. As I unloaded the car I asked Chris if he remembered to grab her dinner from the house. There is a grocery store nearby that I have often ran over to get her dinner while the rest order pizza. Luckily, we had a few things for her.
She finished her applesauce right as our pizzas arrived. She looked over at my plate and asked, “Do you think I would like that?” Confused. Shocked. Stunned…I said, “Yeah, I think you would.”
“Do you think I should try it?”
“I think that would be a great idea.”
I cut a tiny little bite off mine and put in on her plate.
“No, not a little bite. I want a slice.”
I looked at Chris. Tried to stay all cool, calm and collected. Tried to be all smooth and act like my 5 year old eating pizza was a totally normal thing.
She took a bite. “I like this.”
She ate the whole thin slice I cut for her. As she ate she kept looking between Chris and I. We were beaming. She was beaming. If I was the loud scream from the rooftop kind of person, I would have been screaming. Instead there was one massive smile on my face and one rocking party going on in my head. For the first time EVER our family all ate the same meal! I know that doesn’t seem like a big deal to most, but for us it is nothing short of miraculous!
I will never look at pizza the same.
2 years ago she asked us to get her a Rubik’s Cube when she ate ‘big food’. We drove straight from the pizza shop to Target. With 6 beaming family members behind her, she led us to the toy aisle and found her Rubik’s Cube.
“One day, in her time, she’ll take a bite and swallow. One day the seemingly impossible will be her normal. “But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord, I say, ‘My times are in your hands,'” Psalm 31:14 In this time, this struggle, I cling to that truth and hope. Her times are in His hands too.” 9.19.2013