It’s safe to say that meal times aren’t the most relaxing times in our house. Stressful would be an understatement most days. That’s because Bruiser doesn’t eat much, if at all. When he does eat it’s usually one or more of the following; chicken dippers, fries, sausage, yorkshire pudding, honey nut cheerios, rice crispie bars, crisps, yogurt, chocolate. It’s just occurred to me writing this, that I can count all the items in his diet on two hands!!
It’s not always been like this. He was weened onto all foods successfully, there wasnt anything that he refused. His favorites were rump steak with mash and veg and spag-bol with garlic bread. He loved food!
One day though all that went, he started gagging on it, refusing it and forgetting how to feed himself (he’s had to learn that all over again). He’s had issues with certain textures of food and colours, the temperature of his food and he now needs to know that his food is clean and not hot before he will attempt to eat. For the last year we have been following a Messy Food Play Therapy programme recommended by his Speech and Language Therapists. Its been painstakingly slow to see results but he has gone from playing with dry foods albeit hesitantly to playing with messy food, baking and even tasting the food from his fingers.
So we’ve gotten this far but his diet was still somewhat restricted, he was still refusing to try new foods. This makes meal planning for the family very awkward and near on impossible some times. The other week though, it occurred to me that we could use his obsessions to our advantage. Bruiser is obsessed with ‘Twinkle Stars’ (spikey mikeys from greggs). He loves making star-shaped cakes and biscuits. Could making other food into stars make him want to eat it?
Last week, I made the family cheese on toast for lunch. I cut Bruiser’s into stars using a pastry cutter and gave him 2 on a little plate. He looked at them and immediately commented that they were ‘twinkle stars’. That was a good start, usually he’d say no to food he doesn’t eat being given to him and put his hand over his mouth or run away! He sat with it on his lap while he continued to watch a cartoon, he kept looking at it though.
Eventually he started poking it with his fingers and signed that it wasnt hot. He then picked one up and looked at it, closely examined it more to the point. Then put it back down. He did this a few times before holding it in front of his mouth. Very very slowly he started moving it towards his mouth until it was touching his lips. Me and Hubby were staring at each other giddy with excitement smiling away hoping he would take a bite but also trying not to draw attention to what he was doing. It seemed like it took forever but he did it, he opened his lips ever so slightly and took the smallest nibble out of one of the star spikes.
That was it though, he put it the rest of the ‘twinkle star’ back on his plate and signed that he was finished.
It was such a small step and probably insignificant to most people but for us, for Bruiser, it was an Amazing Achievement and I wanted to share it with the world!