Saturday, June 4, 2011

Gag Me!

I feel as though I'm fighting a losing battle with our younger son. He just looks so NORMAL, but we are discovering that he has a motor disorder and additional sensory issues that make it so hard for him to move his body. Sure, he does it, but the planning that it takes for him to just run and, say, kick a ball, is much above and beyond what it takes the average kid. As a result, he shuns those activities.

My husband and I have had the hardest time getting him involved in group sports. When we have forced it, he's in the corner cracking jokes and causing a distraction. Then, all the other parents are mad at us because it's our kid who is distracting their kids and wasting their time and money. It's a snowball of shame, my friends.

So, while our younger son has decidedly gone the intellectual route, preferring sedentary activities and those past times that feed his brain, I've been pounding my brain to find ways to improve his diet. That's pretty hard, considering every new thing makes him gag.

I mean, really, GAGGING??? What is with the gagging???

Yes, I know. It is a sensory issue. Different textures are noxious to a kid with sensory issues. That darned sensory piece is going to be the death of me!!

I remember once when the boys were younger. I had them both seated at a cute toddler table in their cute toddler chairs. Just after cooking some rice (a favorite of our older son's) in some fresh beef broth. How nice. The brothers were going to actually SIT and have a meal together!

Our older son took one whiff of it--a smell that was different--and clamped his lips shut.

"Just one bite" I said in my best mommy sing-songy voice. I was sure once he tasted my rice he'd never go back to plain rice again.

"All done." He said.

No way, kid. In this house, I firmly believe that you can't say "no" to something you haven't tasted. Just one bite, and then you are welcome to say, "No, thank you."

"You'll take a bite yourself or I will help you take this bite." I said.

Well, it got ugly. I'm not proud. But, the kid ate a nice big bite of rice. I was really proud until he threw it right back up on my leg. I don't even think it hit his stomach. One smell was all it took him. That rice was doomed to never get past his throat.

I ordered our older son from the table in disgust and turned to his younger brother, who was dutifully sitting there with his blanket. His eyes were opened wide with shock from the scene he'd just witnessed.

"Don't worry, honey." I said. "You brother was just being silly!"

I picked up a spoon of rice from his bowl, and he said, "Mushy."

"No, sweetie," I urged him. "This is rice. Rice isn't mushy."


This is really getting old. "Look, you don't know if it is yucky until you TRY it." I explained.

He was too young to really argue, so he opened his mouth, and in the rice went. That's when the gagging started. Oh, COME ON!! It's RICE, PEOPLE!! Most people find this to be comfort food!!

"Stop the gagging." I said. "Chew and swallow."

"(Gag) It's yucky!" He cried.

"Well, swallow it, and you won't be gagging on it anymore. Then you can take a drink." I really showed no compassion, I'm afraid.

He really couldn't make himself swallow it. He just kept gagging and gagging. Actually, I'm almost gagging at the thought of what was sitting in his mouth for all those minutes while he worked to swallow. Yuck.

He finally did it. He left the table to join his brother somewhere in the house and probably talk about what a mean, nasty, horrible cook their mother is. I went to the kitchen defeated.

Today, we aren't much improved. They just compensate for the issue. Our older son restricts his diet to certain foods which he deems to be safe in smell and texture. Our younger son does the same, but will allow for me to introduce things here and there as I try to battle his bulge. When I introduce something new to our younger son, he will always gag. Always.

I envision him in college, wearing a pocket protector in a lab somewhere, gagging on some new item of food. This vision pushes me forward. In some way, I have to broaden his horizons as best I can. It's like walking a tight rope between validating the disability but also saving him from himself for the sake of his future.

Maybe he doesn't care. Maybe the whole lab/pocket protector/gagging-thing doesn't bother him. So, why is it that there are still some days that it bothers me?

I guess acceptance is a process.


  1. Parenting really is a process. Sometimes it's a short one, but sometimes, it's really a freaking procedure. ;O)

  2. Hahaha! So funny! Will get to the Ward in the morning!

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