Posts tagged ‘fear of food’
Every once in awhile, I am reminded of how challenging it is just to be C. He courageously tackles demons most of the rest of us don’t even consider a threat. To face those fears on a daily basis requires a certain kind of strengh above and beyond the normal.
C’s big fear? Food. It’s all tough for him, from the earliest retching when we’d open the fridge to now swallowing the gag when he looks at unfamiliar foods. If he could just skip eating completely, he’d probably be a much happier kid, but nature calls, and eat he must.
Last week he helped his class win a pizza and ice cream party, and he was probably the most excited of his classmates. Yet he doesn’t eat pizza and ice cream – can’t eat pizza and ice cream, but more telling, doesn’t even want to eat pizza and ice cream. He’s never had cake, pie, pizza, soup, casseroles, or a salad.
The night after the party, when he asked if he could try some ice cream, I jumped on it. He wanted to try the sorbet in the freezer, and I popped out a spoon. Try it he did. What most people won’t understand, however, is the massive aligning of the planets it took to actually get that sorbet in his mouth. No setting down a bowl in front of him. First he had to look at it, and I was careful to cover up the chunks of fruit on one side. He then had to smell it, with my enthusiastically stating how much it smelled like strawberries, his favorite. I got out a spoon, scooped out less than 1/8 of a teaspoon, and slowly glided it into his wide open mouth so as to ensure it didn’t touch his lips.
Then started the reaction. Eyes scrunched shut fighting back tears, jumping up and down, and what I call the “closed-fist hand flap” motion to distract himself. This was followed by his covering his ears. This all took place in the span of the three seconds it took him to swallow the sorbet.
This was a mild reaction, believe it or not. I immediately responded with, “Wasn’t that great? Want more?” Sure enough, he did. Five more spoonfuls, and a request to have it for breakfast the next morning.
Oh, french fry, dear, beloved french fry. I remember Mommy buying you, not once, but a million times. I remember the drive from the “M” to Ga’s house, and how Mommy and Ga would look at me in the rear-view mirror, waiting for me to take the plunge. I held the bag many times, but never looked inside. Then one day I remember touching one of you, and finally holding one of you in each fist. I then opened my mouth as wide as I could so you wouldn’t touch any part of me as I brought you toward my face once, twice, again and again. It was a few zillion more stops at the M before I could touch you with my tongue. Oh, salty slice of potato, once I started I couldn’t stop. I licked but wouldn’t bite, and by the time we got to Ga’s house, you were wilted in my hands. One day, I decided to take the plunge. I bit you. I ate the whole salty stick. But just one. And then I wouldn’t touch you again for months. Then I did again, by the zillions. I wanted you every day, and now we’re the best of friends.
Oh, beloved french fry, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
“I told you to eat your cookies before eating the rest of that chicken.” I can’t believe I just said that to my kid. I’m not sure those words, in that order, have ever been uttered before. After the words came tumbling out of my mouth, I wondered, “Did I really just say that?”
For C, eating a cookie, one that most of us would fine plain, boring, and not nearly sweet enough (translate organic, and minus most of the things that usually go in cookies, like sugar, eggs, butter, and flour), is much harder than the chicken he had for lunch. Giving him a piece of cake would be the equivalent of giving most people a fried rat in eyeball stew. This is life with a sensory-afflicted child who is terrified of food.
Yet all around are signs of huge success. C went to the dentist today, for the third time this year. The first visit included walking into the office, checking out the chair, and meeting the dentist – one of those cool, kids only dentists who specializes in children who fear the dentist (can I go?). The second visit involved actually getting in the chair, looking at all the tools, opening his mouth for the dentist, and allowing the sainted man to brush his teeth with a regular, dry toothbrush. This visit today included a brief but full cleaning, complete with a very small amount of unflavored cleaning paste. There were freaked out faces made, slight gags, and lots of looks to Mommy for positive reinforcement.
But he did it. Amazing.