But then she pointed to her high chair, and I realized what she was trying to communicate.
She wanted to be hooked up and fed.
And I don't know why I was so surprised, or so disappointed, that it's come to the point where she now associates her meals with her tube and expects to be hooked up as part of her routine. But I was. I was both surprised and really kind of sad that my toddler was pointing to her tube to communicate feeding time instead of pointing to the fridge or cupboard.
However. I really can't hold on to those feelings for too long, because Brenna has had some incredible leaps in the way of oral feeding recently! First news is that she is a whopping 18.6 pounds - the heaviest she's ever been!
Second news is that she is starting to take actual, real, eat-from-the-spoon, chew-it-up-and-swallow BITES. She's EATING!
It is a minuscule amount and completely varies at each encounter, but the great part is that it's not just puree-type of foods, and this is a huge break-through. We're talking tiny bites of ham, sausage, chili beans, noodles, etc. And we're talking strong, even spicy, flavors - noodles from our spicy sausage pasta dinner, chili beans from our actual chili, sausage from our pizza.
But wait, you say - what about her dietary restrictions??
Oh yes, more good news!!
We very slowly introduced gluten back into her blended diet...and we have not had a problem! Bring on the bread and noodles!
As for the dairy, around Halloween, Brenna started having a bite here and there of something that had dairy ingredients. No reaction. Then a few more bites. Then more dairy ingredients. Her blended diets are still dairy-free, but so far, she has been able to tolerate a few small bites from dishes that have a little milk or some cheese in it. I still wouldn't give her a drink of milk or anything, but I'm so hopeful that perhaps Brenna is outgrowing her dairy allergy.
We've been putting eggs in her blended diet ever since (which sure helps the grocery bill!), and have even given her eggs orally, which is also successful!
And now moving forward, we have a big change planned after the new year... starting to wean from the tube!
I dropped coffee off to my friend Julie last week and walked into her kitchen to see her two boys sitting at the table eating breakfast together.
I want that. I want that so badly. When I went through our evaluation for feeding therapy when we switched to Early Intervention, the case coordinator asked what my goals were. I told her that I want my two kids to wake up and have breakfast together. It's the simplest of tasks that we have never experienced yet.
With each of our small feeding successes, there are still such moments of frustration in the midst of celebrating. There have been times this week where I just wanted to snatch out the pillows from under her bed so that it's not inclined anymore and lay her down for nap time not plugged into a feeding pump.
And while I'm over-the-moon excited about our impending wean, I know it's going to get worse before it gets better. This is a tough road, to get to eating. And not just bites, but truly eating - consuming most of her caloric needs all by herself. At this point, every mealtime seems to consist of about 4 different meals - my food (and Evan's at dinnertime), Connor's food, Brenna's blended food in her tube, and then whatever I can think to try to feed her that she might want to eat and be able to tolerate. Mealtimes can be chaotic and exhausting right now.
But we have a goal. And that involves our kids eating breakfast together. And what better time to tackle a goal so monumental than at the start of the New Year? Let's DO THIS!