Tomorrow is another trip to the feeding clinic, but there’s also whatever we can do at home to reinforce whatever is going on there.
My wife’s been working on giving him familiar foods in slightly unfamiliar forms. For those who haven’t experienced the Monster and his eating… things have to look the way he expects them to. Pizza needs to look somewhat like delivery pizza, and so-on.
So after he had dinner tonight, she gave him some grapes, with a halved grape tucked into the group to see what he would do. Now, to him, grapes have to be firm and whole, or he won’t touch them. If they’re even slightly soft, or misshapen, or something that’s not ‘right’, he refuses to eat them.
In the meantime, we heated our dinner – chili – which comes of course with chips and cheese. Now, the Monster loves chips and cheese, but… well, if he’s going to want a reward, then he needs to eat what we put in front of him first. And that now had become the half-grape. When he’s at feeding therapy, these kinds of exercises last five minutes at most – either he does the task and gets the reward, or he’s let up. That’s not obviously how dinner works at home. Instead, he was given the choice between eating the grape and getting what he wanted… or getting up and not getting it.
The bigger problem is that my wife is much more of a softy than I am. She’s more willing to relent for the kids to get a reward if they try… but I think that it sends a bad message, and I recognize that we wouldn’t really soften the criteria if it were R. So we stuck firm to our guns, and told the Monster again and again that if he wanted chips and cheese, he had to eat the half-grape.
And… given a good fifteen minutes (and both of us looking away from him for a bit), he actually did it. A failure at the feeding clinic, but a success at home. (And yes, he then got chips and cheese.) Now the problem turns into how this can be replicated without so much stress and fighting…