learning to navigate the world, j-bear style

The Wonderful World of Food

Subtitle: Peanut Butter and Jelly or Yogurt Tastes Best at 4am

Not that I am biased or anything but I think I have a pretty awesome little boy. I have thought this since the day he was born. If you have ever been in range of his big grey eyes and his heart melting smiles, I bet you’d be singing the same song or close to. He’s just got that way about him.

Something he has not had about him is a strong appetite. This is a child who was diagnosed with Failure to Thrive at 6 weeks for what we later learned to be a gluten intolerance that made breast milk just make him sick. He had lost weight so quickly that taking the time to do an elimination diet wasn’t in our cards, so to formula we turned and suddenly he was more mellow, gaining weight and drinking down formula normally.  He sucked down his bottles and, as he passed 15ish months of ages, he turned to sucking down milk. Food held only minimal interest, though he did try various things and eventually settled on a very few favorite foods. 

Now, as he began taking solid food, we not only learned the gluten intolerance existed but found that he gagged easily. He gagged often. I have joked before that the carpet in this apartment in which we dwell is vomit colored but there’d been so many times to test the truth of that that it makes me exhausted thinking about it. I own a carpet steamer because vomit happened so regularly. This is why he went to the ENT to begin with, this is why he had his tonsils and adenoids out. 

Now, we knew the surgery would likely cure the snoring but we only suspected it might help with the gagging and eating.

Boy were we in for a surprise.

Somewhere in his recovery process my son has learned what it is like to be hungry and not just that, what it is like to eat easily and be satisfied. It does not hurt him to eat now, though most of his diet is still softer foods. A week and change after surgery, he was blowing through 3+ peanut butter and jelly sandwiches a day, multiple bowls of yogurt and anything else he felt comfortable swallowing. This involved a lot of chocolate munchkins in those first days. 

Is this how toddlers are supposed to eat? Is this what the elusive “normal” people talk about is like, at least in terms of little kids and food? It is wild to me! He would barely finish one sandwich before surgery! Maybe a few graham crackers and definitely a bowl of cereal and a bowl of yogurt each day plus 6+ cups of milk. Oh, the milk we would go through. And now he’s doing 4-5 cups tops a day… 

This is all just so expected yet not. He just seems so happy to try and eat, and so happy to do so with ease… 

Part of me hurts to think that for the first years of his life he had such a discomfort that he could not voice. No one wants that for their child. I am grateful however that at least part of that discomfort has been addressed and will hopefully be able to open up and even wider world of food to him.

It’s either that or I need to start buying stock in Stop and Shop, Yoplait and Welch’s since the bulk of his favored foods comes from them and we’re going through them in quantity!

4 Comments

  1. anne rossetti (mary's sister)

    so glad to hear he is not only eating, but actually enjoying food! Food is one of those very basic pleasures in life that everyone should enjoy. The positive in me says “forget about all the pain and discomfort food used to cause and now look towards the future” but the realist says “its impossible to not be sad about all the pain food used to cause him, and thats ok, but TRY to put it behind you and focus on the enjoyment he now has”.

    ps sometimes writing “off the cuff” is most effective because your true emotions come out – and when you’re honest is when you touch others.

    enjoy the chocolate munchkins!

    • nicole

      He’s a total piglet now! It IS hard to look past the experiences that came before but there’s so much hope for the future now in terms of his eating. He can actually begin feeding therapy as part of his OT which is amazing. I’m so excited for him to try that and expand his repetoire.

      Of course, he got a HUGE jar of M&Ms as an early birthday present and wants to eat only them right now so I have to police this little man’s chocolate intake 😉

  2. Erin

    This is so great to hear! I am so glad that he is doing so well. I agree with Anne. Enjoy what he is doing right now, you can’t change the past. You can’t predict the future. And right now it sounds like your little munchkin is having a blast discovering the wonderful world of food. Who knows – maybe he will appreciate food so much he will grow to be a five star chef and pamper his mama with all kinds of goodies. 😉 enjoy!

    • nicole

      If he can start cooking me steak I would so love that! Then mama can stop being a short order cook every night 😉 He’s having a blast indeed, more so when he gets to have chocolate birthday cake for his third b-day this weekend!

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