I did it!

To read from day 1 click here.

What we hoped to be the last day of the program, Carter woke up to a letter of encouragement from dad. He read it out loud and I think it helped him get ready for the day. We drove to Fargo for the 9th time in two weeks with high hopes of graduating from the program. We are ready for a break from the intensity that is eating under the microscope and timers. But more excitedly, ready to move on to eating at home, which was the end goal all along.

IMG_0404The first session of the day was hard. For breakfast he had:

  • A sausage patty
  • a bowl of cereal with milk
  • Apples slices

He ate, but not fast enough. The sessions are timed to increase the feeding speed. He eating more variety, but he over chews and takes him a really long time to eat a whole meal. Given the average school lunch is 15 minutes (too short) we need him to speed up if he’s going to gain nutrition and have a full tummy. Despite not ‘beating his timer’ as we call it, I was so very proud of him because if he wouldn’t have picked apples he would have beat his timer. Fresh apple slices take way more time to chew than mandarin oranges or peaches from a can. So even though he didn’t ‘pass’ we hopped in the elevator and I gave him the biggest high-five and hug because I still cannot believe what he is eating.

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Even though he did well, he couldn’t play iPad. He could read, but he opted for a nap. Lunch time was another big challenge. We grabbed his food from the cafeteria, which still had no air conditioning for the short-term. Apparently the air conditioning was still under repair. It was hot and sticky and the food choices were limited.

He had:

  • Hamburger with ketchup (no gluten free buns available)
  • French Fries
  • Mandarin Oranges
  • Corn

He didn’t make his 30 minute timer this time either. This meal was actually one of the hardest meals. After 30 minutes the rule says I need to leave the table. This was hard because he said,

‘No, Mom don’t leave me!’

I swallowed my emotions and left the room… I watched the remaining 30 minutes (sessions are capped at 60 minutes) from the viewing room. I talked with his team and how to move forward. Since Carter is eating everything, just slowly they feel he is ready to go home since they know we are dedicated to following through with the same rules the program applies. We prepared to discharge, but Carter had one more ‘snack’ session at 4 p.m. He had:

  • Peas
  • A Cheese Stick
  • Grilled Chicken

He beat this timer with no issues. Which was great to end on a successful session. He was so proud. One of his team members said he could have a popsicle if he beat his timer. Since he accomplished this, he played out his secret handshake with one of his favorite team members and remembered his reward, below:

After we left, Carter got to go to Party City to get a new collection of bouncy balls that Mom and Dad promised him after graduating. All of the packages were removed from the rack so he could choose the best one. I think he made a solid choice with his ‘Mega Value 40 Bounce Balls’ which are all mixed in to his bounce ball collection already.

Overall, I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome of this program. While it was ‘intense’ as the program is appropriately titled, it was worth it. The crying, the gagging, the rocking, it’s less and less every time he eats. Yesterday, we visited the mall and he ate a taco for the first time. Last week we visited Zorbaz and he ate nachos. We went to a family picnic and he ate several different salads and even brisket. There are still a lot of foods he doesn’t love, but what matters is that he is now willing to try them and eats what is put in front of him. There is still some queuing, but he’s doing a great job and we are really proud of him.

This is another unique challenge that he has overcome. He’s learned to teach his sensory processing disorder who’s really in charge. The best part is when he eats something new and says,

 ‘Hey, that’s good! I’ve been missing out!’

Not anymore, little pal. Let’s eat!

xoxo

Kerri


1MinnesotaMom@gmail.com

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First time, small fry.

Day 2 of Intensive Feeding Program (for day 1 click here)

44EBC9B8-76F0-4158-9DE8-8DD27D55AC5DTreatment begins today.

Walking in he was still happy as can be to come to his ‘class’ since so far, he hasn’t actually had to eat anything new. Easy peasy, right? Wrong.

The first session was actually the most difficult so far. He had to eat one small bite of a mandarin orange. He cried and threw a little fit. Quickly, however he learned that this behavior would not resolve his present scenario. Despite the presented emotions, he was still expected to eat his food and not cry. If he cried, his reward ended and he had to go back to the treatment room. Amazingly after 5 more sessions throughout the day, he didn’t cry again. He’s had some hesitation and once spit out his cheese, but did put a new piece back in his mouth. Overall he did very well in his sessions and quickly ate the one bite that was expected of him today. As the sessions continue, he will have to start eating larger pieces and more bites. But for now, he eats his one bite and he’s done. Baby steps!

It’s a pretty surreal experience to see him try foods he’s never been willing to try before.  Could you imagine, 10 years on this earth and never eaten a single french fry? Today was the day. He didn’t like the french fry, but he did like grilled chicken, which is great because we always have grilled chicken in our fridge.

At the end of day 2, Carter ate a bite of: 

  1. Mandarin Orange
  2. French Fry
  3. Peas (2 whole stinking peas!)
  4. Grilled Chicken
  5. Cheese Stick
  6. Pineapple

We get a lot of little breaks which is nice. There are two parks within walking distance and he has made friends at each visit to the park. I expect him to continue to progress well since he won’t be able to visit his pals at the park if he doesn’t eat in his sessions.

His love of bouncy balls has also been a great reward for him. He only gets to play with them when he excels in his class. Today, he talked with his doctors about graduating. He decided he wants to graduate soon so he can just stay at the park all day.

At the end of the day we rode the elevator to the parking garage and pushed open the door to the smell of fresh midwestern air. It was busy outside with cars and construction across the street, but I stopped in my tracks when I heard him say, “Mom, I did so good… Let’s take a selfie!” Um… have we met? YES! Clearly, I’ve trained you well, my little dude.

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I’m thankful for the blessings in my life (my job, family, support system) that allow me the opportunity to support him through this program and experience the difference it’s making in his life.

To continue reading, Day 3 click here.


If you have any questions for me, please contact Kerri Kava at 1MinnesotaMom@gmail.com or on social media at:

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Our parental identity.

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Coloring dads face with sidewalk chalk. Why not?

This fathers day I’d like to reflect for a moment on a message that genuinely changed my perspective and approach for parenting.

The overall message spoke about our insecurities as parents:

We are consumed with what others think of us as parents.

So often, as parents, we are so busy rushing our kids to practice, games, and school events just for slight opportunity at an athletic scholarship or so our kids will be ‘happy.’

The message challenged listeners with the following questions:

  • What are we willing to invest in their spiritual life that contributes to their overall happiness into adulthood?
  • Is our approach contributing to a life filled with grace and hope?
  • What drives my belief as a parent?
  • Why have I been given children?
  • How do I make decisions regarding my children?
  • Who and what brings your children fulfillment and purpose?
  • Do you make them look good so you look good?
  • Are you the envy of your community, but in agony in your home?

Instead of constantly defending our insecurities, we instead need to defend our identity as parents with a movable pliable approach.

Instead of making excuses for our children, we need to ask ourselves, ‘Is this really happening? Do I need to change my approach? What can I do? Can this person teach me something so I can become a better parent?

When we parent out of insecurity, we pass that insecurity on to our kids. If we teach our children to live in grace with hope and purpose, we pass that on instead.

Nothing else matters. Not what kind of shoes they have or how many theme parks they’ve visited. They are happy and satisfied when you give them your time and are surrounded by grace and love.

To learn more about this message, visit:  “Whose Kids Are These Anyways?”

My identity as a parent?

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Color my face too, daddy!

This message meant a lot to me as a busy working mom of three little boys. Some might be offended by it. I get it. Parenting is a personal thing and we all want to be great at it. That feeling of being judged as a parent, or even worse the lack of communication where you’re just wondering what someone else is thinking of the oatmeal in your hair or the 3 little boys in your cart chanting songs as you check out in the grocery store. The truth is, we are all doing the best we can.

Parenting is the hardest thing I have ever done. More difficult than college, more difficult than being married, more challenging that any job I’ve ever had. But I do know that seeking a grace filled life makes my job as a parent 100% more enjoyable and meaningful. I’m not perfect, but I’m also not alone in this world. I have the grace and support I need all around me and together with my husband, I’m teaching my little boys to be compassionate people and who focus on what really matters in life.

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So hears to the dads out there (and moms) who need a little encouragement, a little high-five, a little ‘Go ‘team-parents! You’ve got this.’ You are not alone. If you seek the truth and teach your children to do the same, the insecurities that keep you questioning your identity as a parent and keep you from finding joy in your everyday life will soon fall away.

I don’t know about you, but I love the freedom found in parenting by the standards that we believe are most important and not what our culture or the media tells us should be. I can’t keep up with all of that. I won’t even try to. Instead, I’m going to enjoy our little boys and focus on what really matters.

xoxo

Kerri


1MinnesotaMom@gmail.com

 

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