The Texture Of Things

Putting Puzzle Pieces in their Places

January 6th, 2011

Imagine that you have eaten something sticky — say, a bite of thick peanut butter on soft bread. It clings to the roof of your mouth, but you cannot move it because it’s in a part of your mouth that you cannot reach with your tongue. You suddenly feel like your airway is blocked, and what follows is a rush of adrenalin and panic and choking.

I cannot say I’ve experienced this myself, but based on the tot’s reaction to soft or sticky foods from the time she started solids to the surgery to release the tongue tie, I think this is accurate of her experience, at least.

Panic is a normal reaction to your airway being compromised, so it hardly seems fair to think she never should have panicked when faced with a new food or a soft food or a chunky food, but that is we did. We were constantly perplexed and confounded as to why our 9 month old could barely handle level 2 jarred baby food, which is smooth but thicker than the intro level stuff. I constantly felt like a failure because here was one thing that everyone expected should be easy. I mean, how hard should it be to teach a kid how to eat, right? You put food in front of them, and they eat. That is what everyone else’s kids seem to do.

But most kids are not tongue tied, so most kids eat and their parents don’t have to wonder why their toddler freaks out when they present yogurt with fruit in it for the first time after months of perfectly smooth yogurt. They don’t wonder why their kid won’t eat a sandwich or pizza or cupcakes with frosting.

Tomorrow, we start therapy with S, our old Food Friend. It will be only one aspect of the tot’s treatment. S will work with her on anxiety* and will help me line up an Occupational Therapist for the food side of the therapy. I feel hopeful and helpless at the same time. Our previous OT experience was mediocre, at best. I’ll jot some notes about that in time, but for now, I’ll leave it at this — I won’t see that therapist again, though I am willing to return to the center to see another therapist.

Tongue Tied

January 4th, 2011

I have a lot of ground to cover in order to get caught up after all of this silence. Forgive me if I rush the stories.

When the tot was born, she was in the NICU for 12 days. During that time, I was not permitted to nurse her, but was instead told to pump my milk and bottle feed her until such time as she could be transferred to breastfeeding.

When she came home, we tried, but the short of it is that it didn’t work and the help I sought was inadequate. So, I pumped for a year, and the time and energy burden combined with everything else that is rolled up in the raising of a child for the first year of life after a traumatic start nearly made me crazy. (HG would argue that it did, in fact, make me crazy. I’m probably not going to argue with him.)

When I got pregnant with Tater, I was determined (DETERMINED!) to nurse the baby. In my head, it sounded something like, “As Gawd as mah witness, I will nurse this babay!” Or, “I WILL nurse him, and if it doesn’t work, I will get help, and if that help doesn’t fix it, I will keep finding new people to help me until it works. I will NOT stop asking for help!”

To my great relief, when he came out, he nursed — he actually nursed! I was ecstatic! But, he did damage to me on his very first nursing, and that damage only got worse, so I called for help. After just a week, I was in so much pain that I knew without help, I wouldn’t be able to keep nursing him.

I knew that the “Lactation Consultant” I had seen with the tot had not been equipped to deal with challenging cases. I hadn’t known then, but I knew in hindsight, and I had researched the credentials Lactation Consultants can get. I wanted an IBCLC. No substitutions would be accepted. I called someone from my La Leche League group and got several names of IBCLCs. I called them all, and I hired the first one who called me back.

B is an amazing LC, and I credit her with so many wonderful changes that we went through in this family. It began with her visit, when she took one look at the damage Tater was doing to my breasts and said, “He’s tongue-tied. It’s easy to fix.”

W.T.F.

Basically, tongue-tie is when the tissue under your tongue is too short or too close to the front of the mouth. It keeps the person from raising their tongue up to the roof of their mouth or sticking it out very far. For Tater, it meant that he couldn’t latch on properly, and poor latch is baaaaaad for a nursing mama.

After B and I talked about Tater for a bit and she looked in his mouth, she gently asked if it would be okay if she looked in the tot’s mouth — just out of curiosity, because tongue-tie runs in families.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you do not see where this is going, you need to go back to the beginning and start again.

The tot was tongue-tied.

Holy Answer to Everything.

To fix a tongue tie in an infant, you go to an ENT, who checks the baby over and then snips the tissue (frenulum). It bled less than a drop, and Tater cried less than 10 seconds. It took about a week to ten days for him to get organized as a nurser, but after he did, he nursed like a champ until he self-weaned at 16 months.

To fix a tongue tie in an adult, you follow the same procedure, minus the re-learning how to nurse. Probably less crying, too. But to fix it in a child between 2 and 10 involves general anasthesia because they cannot be relied upon to hold still for the snip.

I don’t recall it being a hard decision to make. If I recall correctly, HG and I were on the same page — that the tot needed to have it done, though the idea of surgery was not exciting to me. So, when Tater was about ten days old, he had his done, and about 4 months later, the tot had hers done.

And that is the end of this chapter.

*sneeze*

December 28th, 2010

It’s dusty in here, no?

*kicks floor, dust cloud billows*

I’ve been snooping through my archives, looking for posts about foods the tot was eating and when, with the purpose of compiling a list of successes and not-so-successes because we are returning to therapy with our Food Friend after a hiatus of about two years.

Overall, the tot is growing and developing, but some recent stresses in her life (*ahem*school*ahem*) have caused her to pretty much quit eating entirely. She remains petite and skinny, so she doesn’t have an ounce to spare. As such, therapy again.

Tater is a chunk and a happy 2 year old. I feel fortunate to have only one child with eating issues.

I’ll be updating again, and I’ll try to record some of the missing story from the year and a half since I posted last. I’m finding that the archives have served as a valuable record and journal, and my mind — not so much. 😉

It Should Have Been Obvious

June 19th, 2009

…but it wasn’t to me. Having a second child has turned my life on its head. It is so wonderful and challenging, and it generally keeps me away from my keyboard. I’m hoping to write a little more in the next couple of weeks, but suffice it to say, Tater is AWESOME and Tot is GREAT and life is pretty good.

Things I’d like to write about are:
being tongue-tied
an adventure or two in raising a boy
an adventure or two in raising a baby who appears to be an eater, glory be
and other stuff and junk
anything you’d like to hear about

Meanwhile, email me if you want to friend me on Facebook. I spend a lot more time there than here because I can do it while I nurse.

The Latest Additions

March 29th, 2009

in the last two weeks, the tot has been eating all sorts of previously untried or non-preferred things. before i forget, here are some notes.

brand new:
buttered toast
marshmallows
open-faced peanut butter cracker sandwiches on graham crackers
my little pony fruit snacks
drinking out of an open top cup

with brand new fervor:
muffins
peanut butter cracker sandwiches (homemade)
frozen gogurt

what’s up with the sudden change? those of you who know me in real life may already know the answer to this. for the rest of you, care to make a guess?

ETA: OMFG!!1! Applesauce!

Please have a look at this

February 25th, 2009

I want you to see the thing that has kept me from blogging. No, it is not a picture of Tater. I’m not allowed to post those here. (Email me if you’d like to take issue with that.)

It is, however, a side effect of Tater. You see, Tater is always ALWAYS eating, thereby rendering me incapable of typing on my keyboard, so I’m left using this:

osk

It’s called the on-screen keyboard. This entire post was created with it. I “typed” it with no interruptions, and it took 15 minutes. No, I don’t have carpal tunnel yet. Yet.

Eaten

February 23rd, 2009

Facebook has devoured me, body and soul, head to foot. Email me with your name if you want to friend me. If you’ve commented here or I read your blog, I’ll oblige with a friend request through FB.

Please HURRY if you play Pet Society. I need more Pet Society friends.

I intend to continue this blog. In fact, I have a couple of Very Important Posts brewing that I’ll try to get up here shortly. I’m just still adjusting to working, having a small baby and a big girl, and juggling all the other crap life dishes out.

A Morning Recipe

January 26th, 2009

You’ll need:
One cat with needs
One bowl of cereal with no intention of sharing

Combine one cat with standard desire to consume cereal bowl milk. Add to cat an insatiable hunger for all things granola, graham, cookie, and cracker.

In a small bowl, pour Golden Grahams and milk. Add spoon. Sit down and begin to enjoy.

In cereal bowl, find cat’s tail, nose, or whiskers. (Paw would also work.)

Fight off cat for thirty seconds.

After fighting, stand up and walk to center of room or to any part of room with open floor space and at least three feet between furniture tall enough for cat to access bowl from. (Kitchen may be substituted, but is not recommended.)

Finish cereal. Discover cats have no kibble and realize that was probably the problem.

Serves one. Discard leftovers.

History

January 20th, 2009

Dear Tater and Tot,

When you are old enough to wonder about these days, I want to be able to tell you about them.

Today, America changed. Today, America saw its first African American President Inaugurated. This is an important moment in our history because it is a first, a door opening for future Americans.

When you ask me where you were when it happened, I will tell you this. We were in our living room, watching it on tv. I had been walking Tater around to get him to settle into a nap while I listened to the coverage on the kitchen radio. Tot, you stayed home from preschool with a cold, so you were kneeling at the ottoman in your rainbow-striped jammies. When I asked you if you wanted to see it, you said yes.

“Barack Obama will become President today. Do you want to watch?”
“Yes.” So I turned off the kid shows and put on a news channel.

We watched a poet and a prayer and a performance and a President, and that was that.

While it was a momentous occasion, I didn’t make a big deal over it, my little ones, because I don’t want it to ever be a big deal that America can elect someone who isn’t white or male or a member of a major political party. I am glad that for the whole of your lives, a President who also happens to be a minority will simply be within normal limits. I am hopeful that by the time you are both voting age, what a person is will not matter as much as what she or he stands for, as it has so often in our past.

It is a good dream to have, for all of us.

Love,
Mama

Just So You Know, This Does Not Have A Bad Ending

January 20th, 2009

Most of our lives, we go along thinking, “It could never happen to us,” and for the most part, it’s true. In fact, if you think about it, when we hear scary stories on the news, we may well think, “I don’t even know anyone that’s ever happened to.” Well, now you do.

Our house is filled with products that have been recalled due to the salmonella scare. Sure, many homes have Austin and Keebler peanut butter crackers in the cupboard as snacks, but in this house, pb crackers are on the tot’s plate every single lunch and dinner. They are in my purse for when we’re out and she needs to eat. They are in her lunch bag at the babysitter’s house. Peanut butter and peanut butter products are her main source of protein.

Has anyone in this house gotten sick from them? No. The tot and I have a cold, but that is the extent of any illness here. Still, it feels like every time I turn around I see a packet of crackers in the snack drawer here and a half-packet of crackers leftover on the table there and I snatch them up, feeling relieved that she didn’t see them and open them for herself in a fit of independence. (It does happen from time to time.) I have told her that we aren’t eating peanut butter crackers from packages right now, only homemade ones (which she resists), but she’s 4.5 and really it’s my job to be in charge of shielding her from potentially dangerous things.

I am left with a weird feeling as this story develops. Of all the food contamination scares we’ve had in the last few years, I never really worried about them. They were all detached and distant from my life because I didn’t eat those things. I mean, seriously? Spinach? C’mon. Who the hell eats spinach? But here, this feels a little too close.

The up side to this is that the tot is forced to eat more cheese crackers (which should help desensitize her to cheese flavors) and is being offered more chicken nuggets (though she hasn’t been eating them), but even consumption of those is down right now due to her cold. For now, it’s lots of fluids for us and a big dose of relief that at least jarred peanut butter is considered safe for the time being, if she decides she feels like eating.

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