Week 2 – Day 6 of Intensive Feeding Program (Begin with day 1 here)
The new adventure for today is increasing bites without increasing his time. We use the free visual timer that looks like this:
It’s a big help because as it’s appropriately titled, it’s visual. The timer starts green, then turns yellow when half the time is up and eventually with just a quarter of the time left, it turns red. I’m allowed to que him only once at the halfway mark. He often spends the first half of his time touching his food. Checking out the texture (basically, messing around) so this timer is quite helpful to keep him on track, and BONUS: I don’t have to que him!
His first session was at 9:30 a.m. For each session, prior to the start of his session (meal), we ask what he would like to work toward. His reward for accomplishing his goal? Today, the iPad was the reward of choice, all day.
He also had the opportunity to skip a meal if he ate his entire meal within 15 minutes. 15 bites in 15 minutes is very doable. (These are small bites.)
He had an awesome day, accomplishing all four session meals within 15 minutes. He had one at 9:30, 12:30p, 2:30p and 4p. The first session of the day was accomplished by just a hair. He swallowed just as the buzzer went off.
His face was priceless. A half kernel of corn hanging from his face and more drool than I’d like to admit, and his face looked the like the face of desperation. As the buzzer went off I looked at him and he looked at me and we were both confused. I was waiting for the voices that be behind the mirror (picture interrogation room view) to tell me if he ‘made the cutoff’. The technician spoke into my headset and said, “He made it. He did it!” To which I stated, “YAY, Carter!” He stood up and immediately shouted “Yeah!” I think I have hearing damage now, but hey, he ate! Whatever, who needs to hear.
Shortly after that, we went to Sandella’s (the Starbucks hub in the hospital) for coffee and iPad time. He also had the idea to shoot a video update (his idea, not mine). He is starting to get into this vlogging thing.
He continued to excel throughout the day with three more sessions. Today he ate:
- Mandarin Oranges
- String Cheese
- Hot Dog with Ketchup (he’s never been willing to try a condiment in his entire life)
- Salt and Butter (would never have touched this prior, but now likes salt and butter on veggies.)
He finished the day strong and as we walked out to head to the car he said, Oh wait, we have to do a video for the end of the day! Um.. how could I forget?
His homework (first time with homework for the program) was to try 5 bites of whatever mom and dad were eating for dinner. Since dad had softball and mom ate yogurt on the way home (starved) he ate what brothers were eating, chicken strips and apple slices. He has some gluten free chicken nuggets from Aldi. He had 7 minutes to eat 5 bites. Unfortunately, he did not make his deadline, but I 100% blame his little brothers. Those little house monkeys were driving him bonkers. So I negotiated a new bargain with him. He had to eat 1 bite of chicken and 9 bites of apple in 7 more minutes. He accomplished this goal with a small amount of time to spare. He also got some food of his choice, vanilla yogurt and chips.
Tomorrow, I get a break from the program and Dad is taking him. I’m hoping Carter talks dad into some video updates for the vlog. He’s a good sport, I think he’ll do it.
Until then, thanks for following along in our journey. This experience has been incredibly difficult and equally rewarding. The emotions are up, then down, then back up. I’m so stinking proud of him. I look at him and know that at the end of the day, Paul and I have done an awesome job with this one. Hopefully we can do it two more times with the house monkeys!