Sunday, 25 September 2011

Confessions of a Neurotic Mommy

It's been a long week of sniffles and sleepless nights around here.  We've spent the last little while rushing around and getting used to the new schedule of school, fought the bus company on a daily basis, filled out paperwork, managed to squeeze in a few appointments, parent teacher night, grocery shopping, cooking, know how it goes!  Unfortunately, with the latest virus, Owen's appetite has been nonexistent.

Taking his little sister to see his classroom

Here is the confession:  It is hard for me to eat when I know that Owen is not getting enough calories, or when I know that there is nothing on the menu that he can manage. I really can't put food in my mouth after the wait staff look at me sideways for NOT ordering him a meal and placing a Neocate Splash juicebox on the table instead.  It is difficult to concentrate on finishing a meal when I know that I will be taking him out of a restaurant before the complimentary kid's sundae arrives -they don't make them without milk products so he can't have one.

I find it hard, and sometimes almost impossible to eat when I watch him struggle with something that is vital to human existence.  Hence my avoidance of the dinner table and the panic that ensues when we are asked out to dinner.  I have become a master at moving things around my plate with my fork to make it appear as though I have eaten, while engaging in a masterful display of conversation.

I realized this morning, while baking yet another pan of goodies, that I compensate for Owen's lack of interest in food by constantly experimenting in the kitchen.  Not sure where to go with that thought, but I'm sure that at some point there will be some money invested in some intensive therapy for Neurotic Mommy.  I will write a post later that explains why I feel like I am losing the battle- I need to save it for a day that I don't feel like crying my way through it.

"A mother’s feelings of nurturing and parental adequacy are connected to her child’s eating." --Suzanne Evans

We learned some interesting things at the Feeding Assessment that we had through Kingston's Child Development Centre.  One being that he would do better with Neocate Splash because of the higher protein content.  Protein is especially important before and during school for fueling the body and helping kids learn. They confirmed that he has multiple issues that prevent him for eating a normal diet- oral motor, coordination, using both sides of his body at the same time to name a few.

He doesn't chew effectively.  His tongue doesn't work right.  In short- he's a bit of a mess.

The good news is they feel that he should have a program, and he should be followed.  All that I can say is that I am eternally grateful for their words, and for the help that they are trying to put in place for him. I still don't understand why it took me 3 years to get a proper assessment done, and I'm even more confused after looking at the new local Children's Treatment Centre web page, because it now says that ALL of these services are available here, you just have to ask.

The Kingston team also suggested that we try adding soy into his diet, because it will increase his protein consumption, and it is fortified with iron, B12, calcium and D3, which if he can take in enough, will eliminate the need for additional supplements.  I'm not a huge fan of soy, but because we have taken milk products out, and he eats no meat, I will give it a try.  Beans are another great way to increase protein.  But he's not likely to start eating baked beans overnight.  So while we wait for his program and therapy to start I am baking with beans.

Sometimes, a "bumble" turns something rather boring into a masterpiece. I was really tired the night that I gave these new brownies a whirl, and for some reason I tossed a banana into the blender just after adding the eggs.  I couldn't take it out, that would be a waste!  As it turned out, the banana was a welcome addition to the texture- Jon said he could hear angels singing when he took the first bite, and Owen enjoyed them as well, so they get a passing grade in our house.

Black Bean Brownies
Moist with a crunchy crust, and full of chocolate flavour!

  • 1 19oz can of black beans, drained and well rinsed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 Tbsp oil
  • 1/2 cup demerara sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 square bakers chocolate, grated (Milk free for us, but add what you have!)
  • 1 over ripe banana
Combine everything in the blender and puree until smooth.  Pour into an 8x8 inch lightly greased pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until edges start to pull away from the side of the pan. Cool.  Cut into 16 squares.

You could frost these, but I opted to leave them plain to keep them lower in sugar.  If you compare the nutritional value to regular boxed brownies you will be shocked- 1/16th of the bean brownie recipe provides approximately 9g of protein, compared to 1g in most commercial brownies of the same size.  They cut the sugar in half and are high in fibre.  Of course I had to send a note in his lunch bag to be sure that they would let him eat it at lunchtime since it doesn't exactly look healthy- but for the moment it is the best I can do with what I have to work with.
Packing a lunch for Owen is the biggest challenge I have had in a while

Has anybody else had any luck with baking with beans?  I would love to hear about it!

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