This food thing. It's getting me. I don't know how to not care about it. I care. I care so much it makes my head explode. But I bite my tongue and out on my blank, couldn't-care-less face.
Food. It is fundamental. You breathe, your heart beats, you eat. It is how life is maintained. And my kid doesn't want to do it. At all.
I've talked a lot about this recently, some on-blog, some off-blog, some in person. I've had a million rapid fire thoughts on it all. And after all that processing this is my number one worry; she simply does not WANT to eat. She has no use or desire for it. The thought of it is actually so terrible to her in most situations that it activates her fight or flight reflex. Food causes this reaction.
If it was a sensory problem, we could tackle it in OT. But it isn't. She is refusing even her SAFEST foods. Because she just does not want it.
If it was low oral tone, again, we could tackle it in therapy. She could do oral exercises to make it easier to eat. But it isn't that eating is too hard, it is that she has no desire to even try. She doesn't even want to slurp up baby food.
But the one thing I cannot fix, no matter how much effort I put into it, is the fact that she just doesn't want to eat. No amount of therapy can create an appetite or innate desire for food.
Therapy can tackle outward issues, but it isn't magical cure.
I know, I know. She is getting her nutrition and that is what matters. She is taking her bottles and the Pediasure is doing the work she is unwilling to do. And she's happy with this arrangement. But I'm not.
Feeding children is what parents do. Mothers' bodies are actually physically designed for this purpose. It is literally coded into our DNA. And yet, here I am, not able to feed or encourage my child to eat. I know this is the right choice, but it doesn't make it feel any better. Even though it is such a natural thing I understand that medically, it isn't always possible. I understand it. It doesn't make it any more pleasant to experience. I know it isn't anything we've done. I know that pushing it makes no positive difference. Logically, I know we have done and are doing everything we can, but emotionally, it feels like I'm failing her at some basic level.
There is more to it, but I'm just not quite ready to walk through it.
This morning, she asked for bread. We gave it to her. She took a bite, dropped the bread, and pulled the bite out of her mouth and tossed it. And we did.not.react. 0 calories.
Last night, at the in-laws, she ate two chicken nuggets. 80 calories. Something.
Friday, she ate one bite of pretzel and stuck her fingers in some parmesan cheese and licked them off. I don't know how many calories that is.
Thursday, she ate three nuggets (unless she fed parts of them to the dog, which might be a possibility, let's pretend like it isn't though). By far the most she has eaten a long time. 127 calories.
You might think, "Oh! Look at that! She likes nuggets!" and you are right. But Thursday at dinner, we made her nuggets again and she didn't touch them. We could (and have tried to) serve her favorite foods at every meal. It's a no go. She plays at eating, nothing more. When it strikes her fancy, she'll give it a go. Otherwise, there is no need for it. Physically, she has no need of it. And you can't sustain life like that.
In 5 days, she has eaten:
2 potato smiles
1 bite of pretzel and a finger full of powdered cheese
207 calories out of the roughly 5000 she needs in 5 days. 4%.
I look at that and think "That's great!" and then a half-second later, I think, "How in the world is that great?" Most kids (not ALL) eat that 3 times a day, 7 days per week. She is eating 4% of what she needs, on a SUCCESSFUL week. And we are pleased? The hardest part of this is the mental/emotional disconnect. I can see the situation emotionally and I can see the situation logically and the two never meet. I know we are doing the best we can for her. I know that these paltry attempts at eating are amazing. But I feel like we should somehow magically be able to fix this for her, I feel like our inability to do that is a failure. She can physically eat, so what are we doing wrong?
It is medical. Her inability or unwillingness to eat is as medical in origin as her hearing loss, and yet, her deafness doesn't make me feel this way. I know that fixing her hearing loss is outside of my abilities. The best I can do for that is buy her hearing aid and put it on every day. Her feeding disorder is exactly the same, the best I can do for her is buy Pediasure and put it in her bottle every day. But giving your child food is such a fundamental part of this parenting gig that it seems like it must be fixable. And it isn't.
I really don't know how we ended up way back here.
(I've never made requests about the types of comments I receive before, but on this one, please, please, no suggestions on how to fix it.)