Sometimes, I secretly wish that things were different. I wish that life came easily for my little man, that he didn't have to struggle so much with things that the rest of us take for granted. I wish that his body worked better for him, and that his speech was clear to all who listened. I wish that he didn't have to spend so much of his young life being weighed and measured by what his "neurotypical" peers are currently achieving.
But above all else, I wish he would eat.
I cannot tell you how heartbreaking it is to watch Owen come to the table so hungry that he is shaking, only to gag repeatedly when he sees his plate, and leave without taking a single bite. I would give anything to see him eat a hamburger, or a vegetable, or an egg that was not cleverly disguised in oatmeal. There are days where I try not to cry as I make up the plates that I know will never be eaten, and there are days when I just give in to the emotion and let the tears flow.
Owen's eating trouble has been present since birth. Oh yes, even at that early stage there were warning signs that something just wasn't quite right. He had difficulty with latching, and often came off the breast gasping for air. There was no "whooshing" sound of air being passed through his nose. But somehow, whether it be by miracle, or by Mother Nature, my body adjusted to his needs, and the milk just flowed for him when placed at the breast. Free flowing milk. Nice (NOT)! He would whimper, and I would leak. He never really had to latch at all.
|Hanging out on the porch|
One thing is for certain. A boy can survive in this world without words. He cannot survive without nourishment. He has worked hard in occupational therapy to increase his tolerance of non-pureed food. He has also worked hard trying to increase muscle tone and coordination required for chewing and swallowing. I am talking YEARS of hard work. But still, even after all of this time, and removing as many of the obstacles that he has faced like the enlarged adenoid tissue and teeth with enamel hypoplasia, it is still has not changed much for him. Judging from what I saw in his mouth when I brushed his teeth last, he will have more trouble with teeth in the not so distant future.
|My happy boy!|
So the question we get asked most often is: "What exactly DO you feed him?"
The answer to that question is not so easy. The balance of his caloric intake comes from supplements like Pediasure, and Neocate. He also receives high test multi vitamins. And the rest comes from whacky recipes that I try to dream up. Because he eats so little at a time I try really hard to make every bite count. Why eat pancakes made from plain old white flour, when you can pack extra punch in to them by adding vegetables, whole grains, nuts or nut butters and extra eggs? A brain needs high quality fuel to grow and develop. Now, I am not a nutritionist, so don't take my word as gospel, but please feel free to take my recipe for Owie's Pancakes:)
|The most important gadget!|
- 2 cups Old Fashioned oatmeal, soaked at least 12 hours in
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 5-6 eggs
- 1 large overripe banana*
- 1 cup pureed butternut squash*
- 3/4 cup toasted pecans, or a large blob of nut butter
- 3 tablespoons high quality oil (virgin pumpkin seed, macadamia nut oil. olive oil, etc)
- 2-3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Blend the above ingredients until nice and smooth. Then add the following ingredients to the blender.
- 1/2 cup flour of your choice (GF,whole wheat,or spelt work equally well)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
|Oatmeal pancakes in a blender!|
Blend until smooth. You don't want lumps left in these tender little pancakes! Cook as you would normal pancakes- I use an electric griddle with heat set at 350 degrees, until bubbles form on the top. Flip and continue cooking until golden brown on both sides. Serve with butter and syrup, or add some yogurt or jam. What started as an experiment has become our favourite pancake of all time. It's quick and easy, and what's better- I can store the leftover batter in the fridge for up to 3 days. So we can have pancakes even on school mornings!
*you can mix and match the fruits and vegetables in this recipe- sometimes I use pumpkin and add a touch of cinnamon, sometimes I use pureed spaghetti squash and a large grated apple- have fun with it. And please, if you try them- let me know how they work out for you!