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More Pinching and More Words and a Lot More Bananas

  • Posted on September 18, 2013 at 10:00 AM

While Alex is the happiest of the three boys to be back in school, his transition has not been without difficulties. His pinching has increased as—at least, it seems so to me—a coping mechanism to deal with the transition. He’s pinching more at home than he was over the summer and he’s pinching at school enough for it to be noted as an increase from the end of last year.

On the other hand, we’re also getting more sporadic words (pronounced better and applicable to the situation). For example, during Alex’s Ready-Set-Go conference, we started in his advisor’s classroom, even though Alex would have very little to do with his advisor. His teacher showed up—the same from last year—and he tolerated us lingering in the new room for a little while. Then, he took his teacher’s hand, gently pulled her toward the door, and said, very clearly, “Now.” So, we went to the room he knew.

We’ve been hearing sporadic words and snippets from videos or songs in other venues, too. But we’ve seen this before. This time I’m hoping the words will last and the pinching won’t.

In other developments, we were visiting with my grandfather over the weekend over at my mom’s house. As expected, Alex ate spaghetti without sauce or meatballs. Unexpectedly, Alex also ate two bananas. Alex has eaten bananas in the past, but it’s been a long time since he ate them for us. Moreover, has passed over the angel food cake, which used to be a favorite. I got more bananas for my mom Sunday night, so my grandpa could have his banana in the morning. I also got six bananas for our house. I had one. Alex ate the rest Monday morning. So, I’m going to have to get some more!

Thriving and Flying

  • Posted on March 30, 2012 at 8:00 AM

I feel kind of like a baby bird pushed out of the nest by its mother, forced to fly and fend for itself.  The analogy doesn’t quite fit—I’m not a baby and this isn’t the first time I’ve been on my own—but the feeling lingers despite the obvious discrepancies.

Last week I took Alex and Ben to the Feeding Clinic.  Brief recap:  For years these two little ones have struggled with below-the-charts growth, severely limited diets, inadequate nutrition, and the threat of “failure to thrive” diagnoses.  We took them to the Feeding Clinic to “fix” this, and apparently we’ve succeeded.

My boys are hardly weighty fellows.  They’re on the growth charts now, but the 90/10 trajectory (in Alex’s case) persists—that’s 90th percentile for height and 10th percentile for weight, or tall and skinny in lay terms.  Ben isn’t quite so tall, but he’s on the skinny side.

We’ve done all we can.  They’ve maintained their own growth trajectory, we’ve succeeded in introducing needed nutritional supplements (meaning they actually consume them), and they’re all-around healthy.

All good things.

But now the visits to the Feeding Clinic are at an end.  They’re not needed any more.  The great, supportive team that has helped us so much and have supported us so well, have succeeded and are no longer needed.  And I know it’s time.  It’s just that…

I’m going to miss them.

A Step Back Moves Us Forward

  • Posted on February 10, 2012 at 8:00 AM

First off, I’m a terrible photographer.  There it is.  But, I’ve got a little story to tell.  And I’ve got pictures.  Bad pictures to be sure, but, like I said, there it is.

When Alex was a toddler, I fed him the same as any other toddler I’ve fed.  I used the plastic-coated little baby spoons and spooned mashed goodness into his eager little mouth.  Then, he used those same plastic-coated spoons and eagerly spooned mashed goodness into his mouth.  Somewhere along the way—kind of forgotten where—it stopped.  No utensils would go into that eager little mouth.

The mouth grew bigger thanks to food that could be eaten without utensils.  Crackers.  Eventually pizza.  Then noodles.  Yes, noodles can be eaten without utensils.


Alex with a fork with a noodle on it about to enter his mouth.

Alex with a fork with a noodle on it about to enter his mouth.


Alex bringing a fork with a noodle on it up to his mouth.

Alex bringing a fork with a noodle on it up to his mouth.

Alex getting ready to bite the noodle off the fork he brought to his mouth.

Alex getting ready to bite the noodle off the fork he brought to his mouth.

You can’t really tell (bad photographer, remember), but I am feeding Alex noodles using a fork.  He’d let the fork into his mouth, but didn’t try picking it up with hands—at first.  Then, he’d pick it up after I stabbed the noodles with the fork.

So, back to me feeding Alex; but forward, because it’s with a fork!

Feeding Issues: What Do You Want to Know?

  • Posted on December 12, 2011 at 8:00 AM

When Alex was first “threatened” with failure to thrive, I looked for information outside the clinical setting. At first, I didn’t find anything that could help me with Alex. Sure, there was generic information geared towards the needs of infants, but Alex was not an infant and sensory aversions weren’t even mentioned in the articles or database entries I could find. I was surprised and disappointed, to say the least.

Furthermore, my research about autism and diet or autism and feeding would often turn up results that I had no interest in. I’m referring to GF/CF diets, herbal supplements and the like, all claiming to alleviate or cure autism to one degree or another. Now, I readily admit we tried the GF/CF diet, which turned out to be a good way to starve our kids. (Not that we let it go that far.) After all, the reason that Alex was on the verge of failure to thrive was because he’s very stubborn about what he will and will not eat; and bread that is GF/CF is not, to Alex’s mind, actually food. (Honestly, I’d have to agree with him on that.)

Later, I stumbled across some information, but it was written by researchers for researchers or medical professionals, not for parents. Occasionally I’d stumble across a pertinent article, but rarely did it offer anything new or insightful.

Now, Alex and Ben are both doing well. They’re gaining weight. Both of them actually have a visible layer of fat around their muscles! As much as obesity is a problem in this country (and a personal problem, in my case), fat on my kids is good. They’ve got plenty of energy, which wasn’t really a problem for Ben, but it used to be a problem for Alex. They’re both expanding their diets and getting the nutrients they might otherwise lack through prescriptions of PediaSure. In short, they’re thriving.

It’s been a long road and now that we’ve traveled so far, I’m hoping to gather information from reputable sources and create a guide for others to use, the kind of guide I wish I’d had.

Along those lines: Do you have experiences with feeding issues? Would you like to share them? What questions would you like answered? Let me know in the comments or contact me directly.

Alex is on a Roll

  • Posted on August 26, 2011 at 3:58 PM

We’ve struggled with feeding issues for years.  Alex, in particular, is a very picky eater.  There’ve been days—weeks even—when it seemed like he’d only eat one or two things.  While those one or two things would rotate around a selection of about ten different things, it seemed Alex could not tolerate variety and the things he ate did not provide him with a balanced diet.  Yet, Play-Doh and blocks always seemed to be on his menu, even when food really wasn’t.

Now, we have had a major breakthrough.  As impressive as the noodles were, it seemed kind of like a one-shot deal to me.  Sure, he ate noodles multiple times and with multiple sauces, but it seemed a bit much to hope it was the harbinger of a major change.

I should have hoped, because now Alex is drinking Pediasure.  Not just once or twice, but he’s actually competing with Ben for it.  On the downside, Pediasure is rather expensive and I’ll have to buy Alex’s share myself until he gets the same kind of deal Ben has.  But…Alex is drinking Pediasure!

To put this in perspective: Alex is tested semi-regularly for vitamin and nutrient deficiencies.  But, once we have that information it can be quite a hassle to correct it.  Finding a way to get vitamin D in him took a lot of trial and error and he still hated our solution (though he did drink it).  But now, with Pediasure, he has a source of vitamins, minerals and protein that is balanced to children’s needs.  It’s great!

Things are looking up.  Alex has made some very impressive gains this summer, including reductions in aggressive behavior and improved listening skills.  I can’t wait to see the next surprise this great little guy has in store for us!