Previously I posted about my son, Asher (nearly 18 months), and how my husband and I noticed a delay with gross motor skills when he was about 8-9 months old, and how we subsequently had him evaluated and approved for Physical Therapy.
He’s such a happy boy now (generally), since he loves running everywhere! We let him loose at the aquarium recently and he had a blast!
Even though Asher was making improvement from the PT/gross motor standpoint, almost right away, we continued to have some major issues with him. For one, he wasn’t talking really. Babbling up a storm, yes, but real words? No. Again, the doctor wasn’t concerned, and we had other issues to worry about, so I decided to prioritize my worries and focus on a bigger concern (don’t worry, we’ll circle back to speech in Part 3 of this journey).
Also, side note: I feel like “prioritizing” our worries is like a constant thing as a mom, am I right? It’s like all those “What to Expect” books should really tell you that you should expect to worry. Like, a lot. And then worry about which thing to worry about the most!
The next issue we seemed to encounter with Asher related to feeding. He was always so hungry from day one (and gaining weight like crazy) that we assumed he would LOVE eating food. He, sort of, reluctantly accepted baby food when we started it around 6 months. Once he got the hang of it, he did, he really loved it. Ate anything we offered, even when he clearly wasn’t a fan! The kid liked to eat!
As soon as he hit 9 months, we started trying immediately with “real” table food. He wasn’t having it. He refused to eat anything but pureed baby food until he was more than a year old.
I’ll tell you, I was secretly terrified at the time. I tried not to focus on it (while not completely ignoring the issue), but I kept envisioning him never eating table food. Everyone (the doctor, family, etc.) kept telling me they were sure it was temporary and eventually he would just eat. I wanted to believe them, but knew there are definitely families that deal with this, and have kids who (for a variety of different reasons, such as sensory processing issues) continue to eat “baby” food for years.
And I’ll say, if that was what happened, we would have dealt with it (again, don’t misunderstand – not ignore, but like any family does, I’m sure, we would have figured it out).
It seems so silly now, but when this was all going on, when he was a year old, I was so worried to have a birthday party for him. We really almost didn’t. He didn’t like people, or loud noises, or being touched. And on top of that, I knew he wouldn’t eat, or probably even touch, a “smash” cake. Again, clearly there are things that could be worse in life. There are so many things that go wrong at any time. But for me, even now, thinking about the smash cake get mema bit teary-eyed. I think it boils down to what we all want for our kids, of course….I just wanted him to “be OK.” And certainly, “OK” means different things to different people. All depending on what their reality is at any given moment.
Side note: We did get the smash cake, and of course, he didn’t eat it, and we couldn’t even serve it because he was getting over a cold and sneezed ALL OVER IT. Here’s a picture of it, so at least I know it was cute (and I’m so glad I just decided to buy one at the last minute rather than stress out making one!).
Thankfully, Asher started eating. Slowly at first, just like his big sister did at 9 months. Mainly puffs and occasionally Cheerios. But (and this is a big BUT), he refused to feed himself. So we literally fed him every single puff when he ate. What was maddening is that he would pick up the food (so his pincer grasp was fine). He would even put the food in OUR mouths, but not his. I’ll even admit, I tried to force (in a gently, loving way of course!) his hand to his mouth when he picked up a puff. He wasn’t having it.
And did I mention this kid was hungry? Like hangry, hungry. So he would go through roughly a million, six hundred thousand, and twelve puffs each night. We really should have bought stock in Gerber. Gerber, if you saw a sales uptick around February of this year, you’re welcome.
We felt completely lost. I put my research skills into high gear. We talked to the doctor some more. We prayed. It was infuriating at the same time too. What were we supposed to do? Let him starve? (This is rhetorical but we did try letting him fuss and cry a bit when food sat clearly in front of him to see what would happen. Answer: More crying and us eventually breaking and becoming puff feeding robots).
I’ll never forget, I’m sure, the time in March of this year when the husband went out of town for a week for a business trip. I totally freaked out when I learned he was leaving so I called in reinforcements and called my mom to ask beg her to stay with us (it didn’t help Asher was still a nightmare to put to sleep, he was still breastfeeding and woke up multiple times a night to nurse). It didn’t take any begging, really, because she readily agreed.
Confession: This was also really a necessity because I do not cook. My wonderful husband gets home before I do and prepares amazing meals every day. I really am a lucky girl! 😉 Even luckier because my mommy made me dinner every night that week while he was gone! Haha!
Anyway, I digress (again)…back to the story. I don’t think I’ll ever forget I barely got to enjoy more than 2 or 3 bites of my mom’s meals, because I spent so much time feeding Asher every. single. morsel. of food he ate for dinner.
After that week I knew we needed to do something. I called our contact person for the services Asher receives and told her what was going on. We were immediately hooked up with another eval, this time just focusing on OT because we all had a sneaking suspicion this could be a sensory issue.
Of course, because kids I think (at least mine!) secretly love to drive us crazy, a week before the eval Asher started feeding himself. He just started picking up food and eating it one day like he had been the entire time.
This kid. He’s lucky he’s cute! 😉 (Or he’s auditioning really early to be involved in some sort of Punk’d spin off show for parents).
Even though he started feeding himself, Asher still qualified for OT as there were other sensory related concerns. Asher can’t stand to have his hands or feet touched. He generally doesn’t like to be touched, at all, in all honesty, which is ironic since he can be cuddly on occasion. I guess it just has to be on his terms! And while he does feed himself now, he’s still extremely picky about food textures. We still are struggling with him to eat major food groups, like vegetables (and yes, I realize that
many most kids are not huge fans of veggies, but Asher’s aversion seems to be mainly due to texture). He also will only drink milk (no water or even juice) and will refuse to drink anything, unless it’s from his Zoli cup.
So while we were approved for OT, it took us a while to get paired with one because of the time of year, but once the school year was finished we lucked out and then got matched really quickly.
So now Asher is getting PT twice a month and OT once a week. We’re starting to see some progress (albeit slowly). He can finally wear shoes besides just his Hello Moccs moccasins (but the moccs are so cute, can you blame me for having him wear anything else?). 😉
He started using a spoon, too, to feed himself yogurt, so that was really exciting. (Cue the “you know you’re a parent, when using a spoon gets you exited” joke right here!).
And that’s our history and experience (so far) with OT.
I’ll say this until the end of time. I’m just so thankful we have these services. The team we have right now is truly great. Asher gets along with them so well, it makes me so happy (and relieved!). It almost makes me sad he will never remember them.
I’d be super interested to know if any of you have dealt with services for your kids! Any other OT users out there??
Until next time, folks! Thanks for stopping by!
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