Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Filling in Valleys

We're having issues with Lily's eating again still. There was a brief time maybe two months ago, maybe three, that her eating actually seemed to be improving straight across the board. People at school and daycare were having some success getting Lily to eat.  We were having some success.  Now nobody seems to be having success.
Go Stillers!

My inability to get my daughter to eat really bums me out.  I think what makes her eating the "Perfect Bummer Storm" for me is that 1) she's already undersized, and 2) when she's hungry she's more prone to meltdowns/behaviors.  When she eats, I think my wife would agree, we can almost make our peace with just about anything else going on in her world.  When the bites go in and don't come back out it's like a weight is lifted off our shoulders (only to gradually crush us again by next meal time).

The last week or so she's been allowing just about anything to go in her mouth. . . then right back out again.  Oh, she chews it a few times; long enough for me to reach for the next bite, then plech. . . down the front of her shirt.

Our morning routine becomes even more problematic because we can't be as patient with her as we can during other meal times when we don't have places to be or things to do, because we want her to get a good night's sleep, but doing that means we have an hour to get her up, dressed, fed, and ready so that I can drop her and her big sister off at the daycare.

And lately our morning routine has gotten sloppier.  We put off feeding her until the last minute because it's such a frustrating process.  And that just makes compounds the problem because we know it's got to happen, and when you add the stress of needing to get out the door in a set, diminishing timeframe to an already stressful task, we're left with acceptance of failure, temper tantrums (ours, not hers), or being late to work daily.

Lily also spits.  It's her, "I'm pissed at you and I know you hate this, so I'm doing it" response to being forced to do something she doesn't want to do.  So. . . this morning, dressed in my work attire, feeding Lily until the last minute we need to get out the door, she spit a mouthful of peaches all over my shirt.  Fan.  Fucking.  Tastic!!

happier (dinner) times. . . 
I was good this morning.  Ever since her 'wrap' Psychologist told us to "put it on extinction" . . . ie. . . ignore it away, my patience level with being spit on has gotten better.  I don't know why, but knowing that ignoring the behavior is what I'm supposed to do makes it somehow easier.  That said, I was bummed and vented to my wife.  And I'm essentially just venting now.

My wife leaves early for work on Wednesdays so she can leave work to come home early in the evening and take Emma to dance.  I called her after the drop off and vented and she gave me the advice I always give her when she's in her low spots.  "She'll come back around.  She always does.  We just have to chop off the peaks and fill in the valleys and remember."

That's our little mini mantra.  We seem to overreact both ways.  We celebrate a little TOO boisterously and let ourselves get gobsmacked to heartbrokenness by subsequent setbacks.  Peaks and valleys. . . chop off the peaks, fill in the valleys, and you're left with something that approaches your new "normal".

The bright side is that, though Lily was upset at having to eat (until I set her free anyway), when I asked her if she was sad she said, "I no sad.  I'm mad!  I'm frustrated!"  We try to reinforce the labeling of those emotions with her and I think she's understanding the differences between happy/sad/mad and using them appropriately.  Because. . . she was not sad.  She was mad.

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.


  1. awww... I can't imagine the frustration.... I'm sending my positive vibes your way with love and happy thoughts.. :)

  2. Love your blog - and I certainly get rushing in the morning and putting off breakfast because it's ridiculously hard work..... My boys eat Cookie Crisp every singe morning, if it makes you feel any better. Kudos to you for even attempting something like peaches!

  3. Thanks, Bonnie.

    Honestly, I would be happy with Lucky Charms or Cookie Crisp every day of the week if I thought I could get her to eat it consistently. This morning was probably the exception to the rule, but she had maybe six pieces of cut peaches from one of those little dole fruit cup thingies.

    Some days she does do a better job. . . yogurt, pop tart, strudel, ANYTHING in that kid's belly is better than nothing at all.

  4. Mornings are always the worst. I secretly think they know it and add to it just for sport sometimes.

    My kid was happy with Kraft Easy Mac. He ate it ALL last year for breakfast. He ate it so I went with it. I should have bought stock in Kraft.

  5. She doesn't eat cheese products. . . or cheese-like products. I would be ecstatic with mac and cheese for breakfast, just like I'm ecstatic feeding her a toaster waffle for supper!

  6. We've had the opposite problem with Tommy. He LOVES food. It's like, he can't identify when he's full. There have been times where he has actually eaten until he couldn't eat anymore, puked, and began refilling the gut. For about 4 or 5 years, we had alarms on the cabinets and refrigerator so he couldn't sneak food. In the midst of that, he was on a medication that CAUSED weight gain. There was one point where he was seriously a BUTTERBALL TURKEY! Just goes to show, 2 sides of the coin. Both have their cons. He still loves his food, but i've managed to get him to eat more raw veggies and more healthy things. he's also learned to ASK for food. The horrible med is gone as well so he's actually at an appropriate weight finally. That whole "ignore the behavior and it'll go away" thing never worked for us. Once he got older, and we were still ignoring the behavior, he decided one-up us and do more severe behaviors. Just one of the downfalls of ABA gone bad lol

    Maybe daddy needs a bib?

  7. yeah, and the only meds we've ever tried with Lily made her lose weight. *shakes head*

  8. This must be so stressful. At least I saw on twitter that she ate that's great news!

  9. Ugh. Mornings. I'd rather have an ice pick to the eye.

    But you are right... She'll be eating and your mornings will improve soon.
    Just in case, I'll send you a box of Lucky Charms and a new shirt to keep in the car.

  10. I don't want you to think I'm joking, because I'm not, but I've been having a somewhat similar problem with my girlfriend for the entire year and a half that I've been dating her. She often "forgets" to eat for an entire day and is then moody. And it may or may not be worth noting that she scored quite high on the "AQ" test, almost high enough to be considered to have Asperger's.

  11. Jim, I REALLY feel for you on this one. My Little Miss has been in feeding therapy since she was just 11 months old -- and like you, we go through peaks and valleys with feeding. I'm not sure if there is anything more frustrating to a parent than knowing that you are unable to feed your child properly.

    We've tried bribery, fidgets, books, letting her stand, making her sit, distraction (via TV)... you name it. I prepare all sorts of different foods only to have it pushed around the plate or stacked in little piles on the table and ultimately discarded. And we literally go through *gallons* of pedia-sure.

    If I ever find the secret to success, I promise to let you in on it (before I go and sell it for millions of dollars). Keep your chin up and keep on keepin' on!

  12. @jacqui - she did! And she ate pretty well this morning, and was in a good mood. It helped my heart. I was in a bluesy place.

    @robot mommy - and it's only weekday mornings really, which, unfortunately constitute 5/7 of all mornings.

    @eliot - i forgot to eat lunch one day. I was famished by the end of the day, but couldn't figure out why. The next day I came to work, and when lunchtime arrived, I got ready to heat it (I had a microwave in my office) and saw a sandwich there. It took me five full seconds to understand why there was a sandwich there. I feel your girlfriend's pain. You know. . . figuratively.

    @M2LM - we've tried a couple feeding programs. We finally found an aide (TSS) who really could get her to eat. Literally anything. She had her last day last week. Nobody else can get her to eat like J could.

  13. I could not get my kid to eat for the longest time - unless we were in the car. I would pass him back the food bite by bite (pop tarts and other assorted finger foods). Distracted by some electronic device and strapped into the child safety seat, he would eat it! My car? Probably looks like a much uglier version of your spit-upon shirt, but hey! He ate! He still eats in the car but his appetite has picked up and he will now eat "Dora yogurt", the same peach cups and other small items at home. Still eats the most in the car (when he doesn't "pocket" the food and spit it later).

    Hope you figure out a less stressful routine and then share it here!

  14. We went through that a bit with Lily. Chicken nuggets in the car?? six piece every time. Take the nuggets out of the car? Three. . . maybe less. Ridiculous.

  15. Wow, I totally relate to this. We went through a very long, frustrating period of a limited menu for Connor, not to mention how long it took to get him on table food. It got better with age.

    As for the feelings you have, we also had terrible challenges with him being aggressive, and each day that went badly, I would slump into my closet for a cry. It felt like we lived and died by his behavior.

    It does even out over time, and some things get easier and new challenges come up. But you're not alone in your struggles or how you feel about them.

  16. And it DOES make me feel better that all you people suffer too.


  17. We have food issues, but ours are mostly texturally related. Not to sound like a moron, but have you taken note and noticed ANY commonality between ANY "preferred" (and I use that lightly) foods? Does she spit any group of SOMETHING out more than others? Have you talked to an OT about this? Sorry - I am sure you have. I want to be helpful, but really am just rambling I fear.

    I will slowly step away from the keyboard now. Please don't spit peaches at me! :)

    Hang in there!

  18. you don't sound like a moron. It's probably the most common question, but the answer is no.

    Texturally (totally a word) she eats all across the board. Some of the things she spits out, she usually eats. Because we have such an issue with her eating, we often have a "preferred food" waiting in the wings. . . and sometimes she won't eat that either. Meh.

  19. My son used to reach into his Pull-Up and hurl feces at me like a coked-up Rhesus monkey. . .it was spectacular.