twizzlers and jerky


Beef jerky, Twizzlers, Cheeto puffs, graham cracker sticks.

This is my grocery list. No, we are not adopting a college student. This is all for my 8-month-old.

Before you run off and call Child Protective Services, he doesn’t actually ingest half of it. These are all tools for occupational therapy. And, to be fair, the OT is the one who made the grocery list. The hubs and toddler wish she would make our weekly lists, too.

We started Everett’s feeding evaluation on Tuesday fairly normal. I offered him baby food – sweet potatoes. One of his “faves.” He refused with dramatic gestures, as though I had just served him a sweaty sock. She makes a note and pulls out a bag of Cheeto puffs. Maybe she’s hungry? Nope. Two Cheeto puffs land on Everett’s tray. That’s a little different, but, really, Cheeto puffs are pretty close to Gerber puffs. No biggie.

Then, she breaks out the Twizzlers and beef jerky, and into his hand goes the Twizzler. He begins to gnaw on it whole-heartedly. At this point, I’m not sure if I should rip it from his hands as if she had just given my child a pair of scissors, or, contemplate on why I never thought to give my baby candy. That’ll get him eating. She explains it’s for texture, and he won’t actually ingest it. Oh, right.

We left with a new regime for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A five-step process. One part is to let our little guy get wild, crazy and messy in his puree. I’m not going to lie. This gives me a touch of anxiety. I’m cool with mess. You have to be with kids. Laundry hiding the floor. Okay. Food crumbs in every hidden crevice of the home. Sure. A car that now resembles your kid’s trashed closet no matter how many times you clean it. Yep.

What gives me anxiety is how he suddenly feels compelled to touch his helmet once his fingers are oozing with baby food. That helmet, that is not supposed to get wet or dirty and costs nearly $4,000 out of pocket. THAT gives me anxiety. And, we do take it off occasionally, but, we only have an hour window for the entire day. That makes for some super sonic eating and an expedited bath time.

We’ve had a few days to practice the process, and it’s a bit of a beating. The most successful of the steps is the beef jerky and Twizzlers. It’s basically the same concept as eating his feet or shoes, but much more sanitary.

Overcoming a sensory food aversion is nothing I imagined. It feels a little bizarro world. It will be a slow day in, day out filled with menus my toddler hasn’t even tasted. And, by the way, try explaining to big brother why his little brother can have a Twizzler for breakfast, but he can’t. ::smacks head::

Apparently, my idea of giving the kid a cheeseburger wasn’t too far fetched. Would you like fries with that?

more than a little picky


Everett has a sensory food aversion. It’s not real severe, but it’s there. And, it will be a long, slow process to overcome with the occupational therapist. I can’t help but feel my Everett is being picked on. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

On the drive home, I started mentally tallying all the obstacles he has faced in his short little life:

Two abdominal surgeries, NG tubes, loads of medications, open heart surgery, reflux, physical therapy for torticollis, plagiocephaly, the helmet, most likely another helmet, and now a sensory food aversion.

Then, I ended my pity party because, really, there are far more things to be grateful for than not.

I am thankful he is home in my arms. I am thankful it’s not his heart that brings us to the hospital this time. I am thankful he is healthy. I am thankful for his smiles and that he is happy. I am thankful that he can hear the “I love you’s” and sweet lullabies we sing. I am thankful he can see the wonders of this life and how his older brother delights him. I am thankful he has the voice to laugh and cry and say “Ma Ma” – and, eventually “Da Da” 😉 I am thankful he can roll and scoot to explore the world around him. I am thankful he can feel my kisses and snuggles. And, I am thankful he can take food through his mouth even if he’d rather not.

I am thankful he is ours.

While today I am thankful, that doesn’t mean I won’t feel frustrated or upset tomorrow or the next day or the day after. I’m only human. Each day we have a choice. We can feel sorry for ourselves, or we can focus on our blessings. And, some days we just want to feel sorry. Some days we need that pity party. But, for me, that day is not today.

On a day that I didn’t get the answer I wanted, and I would much rather pout, I give thanks instead. I am thankful.