Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bring on the buffet!

Yesterday I got a call from Daniel's school nurse. He started middle school this year, so everyone is still getting to know him. She asked if it were ok for him to have "table food". Sounds like a strange question to ask about a twelve year old, but Daniel has had an aversion to solid food for years. He mostly likes to drink his meals! I send in things like sweet potatoes, oatmeal, stuff that the occupational therapist helps him eat. Some days are better than others, but he's always done much better for the school staff than me.

I said, sure, absolutely! If he's willing to try it, he can have it. She was pretty excited to tell me that he polished off an entire school lunch (he must've been REALLY hungry, lol). I started envisioning a weekend of real food for my guy-- baked potatoes and steak! Hell, whatever he wants! It's only Saturday morning, so we have yet to see how far he'll take this, or if it was just a fluke.

This little variation in Daniel's behavior made me philosophical. We don't see a lot of changes year to year. Growth is slow. It's always been so. We're old hats at this twelve years down the line. I don't burn out (I have days of frustration, but that's not the same to me as full-fledged burn-out), and I don't think he's often discouraged either. Why is that?

Something that helped me early on is a little book called 'Changed By a Child' by Barbara Gill. Here's a passage that is always with me, imprinted on my heart.
     There are days when we think we cannot do another feeding or give one more bath. And then there are those moments when we give ourselves completely in response to our child's need. We turn ourselves over to our child and what we are doing. We know the intimacy of placing food in another person's mouth; of sitting by a child's side in the dark, singing, so that he can sleep. We are not just putting on a shirt; we are consciously touching another person with love. When we surrender ourselves to these acts of physical caring, we experience love; we are healed and made strong. Our tasks are our opportunities. (Changed by a Child p.71)

Enjoying a sip of water from a straw.

Ignoring oatmeal in preference to his hand.

Then it's on to ya-ya-ing hand to mouth, and playing with some favorite toys.

I'm sure that from the outside looking in, it's hard to imagine how we deal with the day to day sameness that slow development means. Gill probably helped me out there, too.

     Living with our children every day, seeing them "conduct themselves naturally in their own spontaneous way," we see how they are people according to the capacities they have. We see their souls. Let us hold, always, this picture of our child in her completeness, even-especially-in the face of those who see her as decomposed, a collection of deficits. (Changed by a Child, p. 33)

Yeah, it might seem strange to celebrate a twelve year old boy deciding it's time to move from liquids to solids. For us, it's just a natural part of this ride we're on. 

1 comment:

Nan said...

C...I wonder often too why Ran and I aren't over all the sameness. Why do we still giggle like fools at his cute coo's and silly looks like he was still a newborn? Not sure, either, but it is the truth. We still get excited over every little change in Sev and still melt with the sweet smiles and hints at new skills. I think it's the innocence they still keeps us reeled in. Glad to hear D enjoyed the meal...and a school lunch, eh? Really? Daniel...there's a world of MUCH better food to be had!