a foodie of sorts


So, here’s the deal. Everett is an awful conventional eater. No surprise there since we struggled with bottle feedings and again struggled with the introduction of solids. Several months in occupational therapy, and he finally takes solids but it’s limited.

Oreos were the first actual solid he willingly took. And, for a while, they were a staple in his diet. From there, he began accepting other types of cookies and various crackers. Pretty sure those baby teeth are going to rot out from that menu.

Eventually, he welcomed cubed cheese and the occasional spoonful of oatmeal into his diet. And, that’s where it ended.

I’m not sure cookies, crackers, cheese, a scoop of oatmeal, and a liquid vitamin he often vomits back up would be considered a well-rounded meal. And, I can’t bear the pediatrician’s advice of only offering him what we are eating for each meal. Tried that. He eats nothing and then wakes up screaming and starving in the middle of the night. Something had to change. So, I got creative.

I scoured Pinterest looking for recipes incorporating hidden veggies and fruits and pulled out some of my old favorites from when Austin was younger. My tried and true recipes for Austin were not such a hit with Everett. Usually, they were tossed to the floor with Everett grinning ear to ear. He was taunting me. “You’re going to have to do better than that, Mom.”

Recipe after recipe, he rejected. I have cooked a lot over the last few weeks, and, really, I dislike cooking. Up until a few years ago, the extent of my culinary expertise was Mac ‘n Cheese… from a box, toast, and driving through Chick-fil-a. The hubby certainly didn’t marry me for my skills in the kitchen. But, since then, I have expanded upon that and can happily cook meals for my family (as long as it has less than five ingredients). I was determined to make something Everett would eat.

And, then one day, I discovered the “in” to Everett’s eating. Saltine crackers.

We started with peanut butter. He loved it, and we love that it’s an excellent source of protein. Score one for us. Several days passed, and I was feeling “daring.” I smothered the cracker in cottage cheese, expecting him to throw it back in my face. He ate it. And, another. And, another.

This is about the time I started brainstorming all the concoctions he might eat off a saltine cracker. After he tossed his banana for the 50th time, I tried mashing it up. I spread a chunky layer on the cracker and handed it back over. He surveyed this new paste then promptly beat it against the tray until all the banana had slid off. Score, Everett.

I gave him a couple days and tried again with the banana, but this time, making it a smoother paste. He devoured three banana crackers with no hesitation. The key is in the cracker.

Since then, we’ve used strawberries, turkey with melted cheese, and the most recent, green beans with melted cheese. So bizarre. It’s even more bizarre to me because this kid would not touch purees, and he still won’t. Unless it’s mashed on a saltine. Oy.

But, it could be worse. He could want everything atop an Oreo. Mmm… Veggie paste Oreos.

a cookie monster

oreos for E

No vegetables for Everett. No fruit. No meat. No mushy pasta. Nothing ordinary for this child. He will eat Oreos. And, that works for me.

For five months, we have failed repeatedly in the solids department. He has gagged and spit, cried and screamed, and the past several weeks spent with the occupational therapist for his sensory aversion have not been any better – Until a week ago.

During Everett’s last OT session, she introduced him to the infamous Oreo. He was indifferent. Just another nuisance he didn’t want near his mouth. She sent me away with an extended shopping list beyond Twizzlers and Jerky. This one included Oreos and various other cookies, crackers, puddings and yogurt. I purchased the entire snack aisle at Target.

I pushed my cart, head down, to checkout with my two kiddos sitting atop the mountain of junk. Austin grinned ear to ear as he tried to break into the Oreos and Nilla wafers. Children across the store eyed my boys with envy, and their mothers glared at the ever growing pile. The mother’s walk of shame.

Even with so many new options, we still weren’t seeing progress. After a rough dinner of solid failures with Everett and begging Austin to eat, sit down, and stop throwing his food, I decided to break out the Oreos… for me. I pulled out the bag, and Everett almost hyperventilated. Okayyy… This is different. I handed him a cookie, and he devoured it. Release the confetti.

No sooner had he adopted Oreos as a staple in his diet than a good friend of mine informed me of a new study indicating Oreos are as addictive as cocaine. Fantastic. Better stock up or my child is going to have Oreo withdrawals. Of course, this link seems to think Oreos are not quite as detrimental.

Either way, we have an eater, and it’s cookies, not cocaine.

Since then, he has expanded his palate to include Ritz crackers, Teddy Grahams and Gerber banana cookies. There’s a lot of sugar in this house. Every day, as I prepare Everett’s samplers of cookies, crackers and yogurt, I cringe, and I have to beat down the guilt of what I’m feeding my 10-month-old. I can’t even begin to tell you about the dirty looks I’ve received from offering my baby an Oreo in public. And, to be honest, before kids or even with Austin, I might have been that judgmental mom because, obviously, having no kids or any number of kids automatically makes me an expert on everyone elses’ children. Ha. Lesson learned.

Today, I am a happy momma. Eating something is better than nothing, and eating anything is progress. Even if it’s milk and cookies.

Our next step, purees, and not the traditional route. Our new list includes ranch dressing and gravy. Just in time for Thanksgiving.

Who wants me in charge of snacks for the next play date? 😉

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.