A little over a week ago, KayTar was refusing food, except for yogurt. She was usually eating a single yogurt between the hours of 8am and 6pm. At 6pm, Josh would coerce her into trying something else, usually unsuccessfully. If it did work, she would eat two jars of baby food. She was subsisting on 4-12oz of food per day. Our nutritionist recommended backing off a bit, letting her call more of the shots when it comes to eating, so that is what I did. If she wanted A yogurt. I gave her A yogurt. We could always do Pediasure to make up for it, and KayTar wold be happy that she was allowed to make her own food decisions, hopefully saving us from adding "BATTLE" to the list of things that keep her from eating. Josh wasn't entirely keen on this idea, but I reminded him that usually a very poor week of eating is followed by a much better one. And then KayTar reminded him, because she went from that single yogurt to a pseudo-children's diet. I got to say, "See? I told you it would work itself out!" Even though I had no real idea of just how well it would work itself out.
A typical day that used to look like this:
Now looks like this (yesterday, for example):
Sausage (2-3 patties)
Chicken "muggets" (2-3)
2 jars of vegetables plus crushed vitamin
Garlic mashed potatoes (3 adult spoonfuls!)
I am reluctant to post this, because we have been here before or at least CLOSE to here and seen it all go away. KayTar and food is a dance between advancement and regression. Next week, she might go back to not being hungry at all, or her sensory issues might have her back in the box-o-baby food. Or the episode that is due this week (since we are back on a lovely time schedule) might tear down the progress she has built up recently. I can't just enjoy it, because I know how precarious it is and if I get too used to it, I'll be even more disappointed if she loses it all. But right now, today, she is eating so well. Sometimes even instigating meals or asking for food. This is huge for a child who doesn't feel hunger usually. She could go for days without eating if left to her own devices, which is a huge part of our battle. If you never felt hungry, how would you feel about being forced to sit down and eat three times a day? Likely, you wouldn't be a fan, because you'd feel fine without it. It would just be a pointless chore without hunger or enjoyment, and sometimes it would even be scary or painful, depending on how it affects her senses on a particular day. It would be very difficult to like food if that were the case. But here she is, eating, although she is still very cautious about what is on the accepted list. It is hard not to be excited, even when I know how many times she's gained and lost in this area.
This video was taken right before her episode in September. That weekend she was eating ANYTHING and EVERYTHING offered to her. Diced veggies, hot dogs, dry cereal...she was just a normal kid for the weekend. It was sudden progress, she just woke up and was doing it. Then she has an episode that Sunday night and it was long gone. Like it had never happened at all, except for this video.
I think that weekend, the upcoming episode must have flipped some neurological off-switch on her sensory issues, because we've never had progress like that, not even now. She won't touch cereal or diced veggies or a hot dog; nothing small, nothing wet, nothing slimy. It went as suddenly as it came. But her current progress has more to do with her personal preferences, being careful not to offend her senses while experimenting with table foods, and letting her make decisions, so I hope this one sticks. I always hope. But looking down the barrel of the next episode has me wondering if we will be serving single yogurts again next week. I hope not. I hope this is the year that KayTar finally gets a bit of real Thanksgiving on her plate instead of pureed sweet potatoes and turkey with a jarred green bean chaser. Or a yogurt, for that matter. If she gets to enjoy Thanksgiving, then THAT is what I will be thankful for, even if it slips away the very next day.