I don’t know what’s going on, I really don’t. But I’m not about to question it, I’m just going to roll with it.
Ollie’s gag reflex and oral aversions are remarkably, and seemingly almost overnight….disappearing.
My little boy who, up until very recently, couldn’t handle a bit of soft Stage 3 puree chunks, is suddenly, amazingly figuring out that food is not the enemy.
He’s not freaking out immediately if something is on his tongue.
He’s not making himself throw up because he doesn’t know what to do.
He’s actually eaten a toddler pinky sized potato chip.
To which I exclaimed, “Holy crap; he actually ATE THAT?”
And then he grinned.
Ollie has only recently gotten super interested in what we’re eating. I think the first “real food” he tried was chicken broth a couple months ago.
He liked it.
He kept coming back for more.
He finally seems to have made the realization that food doesn’t have to be the bland baby food that’s been keeping him going. After a year of living on Banana-Plum-Grape and Sweet Potatoes, he’s figuring out that what we eat just might be a little bit more tastier than the baby food geared to baby palates. He’s been not-so-subtly expressing that he’d like to try what’s on our plates. By “not-so-subtly,” I mean he comes up centimeters from your plate or bowl, mouth wide open, all up in your grille if you’re eating…pretty much anything.
But I gave him a very small bit of flake from my Raisin Bran last week. He gagged and threw up. It put me in a funk for the rest of the day.
I mean it was just a tiny bit, just a few millimeters in size. You’d be in a funk, too, if your two and a half year old couldn’t handle a flake of crunch.
But then a day later, I gave him tiny bits of potato and meat from my Beef Stew. He mushed it up, swallowed it, showed me his tongue and grinned.
My funk was immediately cured.
It’s a trial and error to see what Ollie can handle, but I’m no longer assuming whatever we try will make an immediate appearance in upchuck. We’ve learned the little guy really likes garlic bread and really, really loves Sour Cream & Cheddar Ruffles. He sucks all the flavor off until it’s soft and knows that if a bit comes off in his mouth, he can chew it.
We do still have to sometimes remind him to chew. He will still gag on occasion, but not to the point of vomiting. But cheering him to “chew-chew-chew!” will remind him that he can handle food in his mouth in a less-aggressive way…chewing and swallowing is far more desirable than throwing up.
With this revelation, this advancement in his eating, I think lately, it’s been a matter of communication. While most kids don’t have to learn to chew, Ollie did. It’s no one’s fault, I think, just his early learning that eating is a little less than wonderful, and a crazy gag reflex and oral aversion because of his early birth. So now that he knows what chewing is, we can remind him to do it when it’s not coming to him on its own.
The best part, seriously, is the look he gets on his face when he’s tackled a chunk of food. He’s so, so proud of himself. Like Joe Rogan on Fear Factor, we say, “Show me your tongue!” and he’ll open his mouth wide, tongue out as far as possible, eyebrows up and eyes wide open. And then he grins.
It’s really kind of awesome.