Saturday, November 26, 2011
Working on Eating
We've been working with Chloe on using a spoon and fork for months now. She's very interested in the idea of feeding herself but she just can't seem to get the dip-and-scoop motion to work for her. She'll take her spoon and tap it furiously into her food but just can't scoop any food onto it. Months. Every single day I put a spoon into her hand and we work on it. For three meals a day. It's becoming tiresome. But on the bright side, she can put the spoon in her mouth. She gets angry if I try to take the spoon away from her and sometimes she won't let me guide her hand to do the scoop so we sometimes use two spoons (or forks). I'll get the food onto one utensil and hand it to her. As she puts it into her mouth I'll sneak the other utensil from her other hand.
Chloe's Occupational Therapist made these nifty bent spoons and forks. They're supposed to help her get the food into her mouth easier by requiring less of a wrist bend to point it toward her mouth. Getting it into her mouth isn't the problem, though...
The bent spoons can only be used with one hand, and we're not sure whether Chloe is a righty or a lefty, so we have some of each. (Solana's a strong lefty so we're suspicious that Chloe will be, too. Well, I'm suspicious...Dave's pleased.) The bent spoons seem to make feeding time even more difficult and frustrating for Chloe, though, because she likes switching back and forth. They were briefly interesting but didn't help so we've given up on them.
All of this self-feeding business has really put a cramp in Chloe's food consumption. We spend so much time and energy trying to eat that it creates a bit of tension for her and she's acting out a bit. She'll refuse to eat unless certain conditions are met. And with her limited communication skills it takes a bit of work to figure out her conditions. The other day I couldn't figure out what she wanted. Do you want to hold this fork? Do you want to try and scoop? Can I just feed you? How about another spoon? Do you want a drink? She refused all my suggestions and began wailing and flailing at the table. I was at a loss. Then Solana offered to feed Chloe. I resigned to another seat and Solana moved over to the Mommy chair.
Chloe opened wide and happily took a bite. And another. And another. Little sister ate it up...literally.
In the meantime, Solana was taking bites to demonstrate proper eating technique for Chloe and finished her own food in record time.
Big sister asked me if I was jealous. "A little," I admitted. But I was also thrilled.