My Son and Food - Feeling the Burden
We're coming up on a year since I finally took Leroy to the doctor and got a referral for an Occupational Therapist.
I wish with all my heart I could say that we've made great progress and have helped my boy to venture into trying and accepting some new foods. I wish I could say he has tried putting a fruit or vegetable in his mouth for the first time. I wish I could say we are no longer met with tears when I put a new edible item on his plate. But I can't say any of that. I can only say, with a heaviness in my chest, that we're still on the exact square we began on. Some weeks we even go backwards.
It's like there is a big wall that we can't seem to break through. Leroy will get close and touch that wall only to completely shoot back far away. Then we slowly inch forward again. Stuck in a cycle.
At my last appointment with Leroy's OT, she requested I write out a 3 day food log and send it her way. To give you an example of what an average day looks like meal-wise for my son, here's one of the days I had written down:
Day 1, Jan 11
7:45am Breakfast: Cheerios, Nutrigrain Bar, Fruit Snacks. He played with it but would not eat.
8:50am I gave his sister a rice rusk and he wanted one. I gave him soda crackers instead which he ate 2 of.
11:30am Lunch: Mr. Noodles. Ate maybe 3 spoonful’s.
12:00pm Drank one and a half bottles of milk at naptime (Around 13 oz)
5:30pm Dinner: Ate 2 cups of white rice
7:00 Bedtime: 9 oz. Milk
A whole post could be written on our challenges with breastfeeding when he was a baby, weaning, milk, bottles, etc. but that's not something I wish to visit this time around. I will say that his milk intake was at dangerously high levels and we have been able to bring it down significantly.
Part of me was hoping that writing down what Leroy eats in 3 days would be encouraging somehow. Maybe I would see that he eats more than I thought. But no. The variety and amount he eats is sad. It makes me sad. It makes me anxious. It makes me stressed. It makes me cry.
My thoughts are plagued with guilt. What did I do so wrong to have made my son dislike food so much? What could I have done to have put him on a healthier path? No one blames me but me. I know that. I know on the surface that this isn't entirely my fault (but a big fat chunk of it is). Did I not feed him fruit and veggie purees for those first few months of introducing solid food? Did I not make great meals and chop pieces of food all nice and small for his learning hands to explore? Yes. Yes I did. I can tell myself the truth of all the right I did, but for some reason I can't stop those niggling voices in my mind saying I did something bad. Something bad somewhere in time that was a catalyst for the fear or hate or whatever of food my son is stuck with.
When will we see real tangible leaps in the right direction?
I love my son. Oh so deeply do I love him. I care and feel all the responsibility regarding his health. I feel the failures every single meal and it is a burden on my heart. I feel the physical aching in my chest as I write and pour out. What if he ends up in a hospital bed because of my failures? What if he can't meet his nutritional needs and suffers long term? What if he loses weight? What if....What if...What if.
If you've had a similar experience and have had amazing success with your child, will you tell me? I know of no other parent who has gone through this and it is very lonesome.
If you pray, will you pray for Leroy?