Friday, February 15, 2008

Food, comfort

I'm glad that today is nearly over. The Frenemy bread is spawning little spores off itself and I expect to find newly formed, fragrant loaves under the couch later this evening as it slowly takes over the house.

Q had therapy with a different PT plus the usual student who trails him. It was interesting to watch how different folks have different takes on him and goals for him physically. It was a little frustrating to see how easy it is for strangers to miss his signals which have obviously become a matter of pure intuition for me and his other therapy folks.

This evening was especially frustrating. I'm working still on this feeding business. I smunched homemade mac 'n' cheese for him. The delivery was not as bad as it could have been, but it sure wasn't easy. First one must get the bite in, then hold his lips closed, talking all the while to make him aware of his little mouth and how it functions. We're trying to get him to be alert to how his lips work so that he can use them instead of his teeth to clean off the spoon. So he has the mac 'n' cheese in his mouth. It's in small pieces, neither pureed nor in chunks large enough to choke on. After his mouth goes shut, it's time to work the jaw so he'll remember to chew. Still the lips are shut because otherwise the food comes out and the goal is to get it down him, after all. After a few bites of this (thinned a little with half and half) he begins to profoundly lose interest. I give up after he manages to turn two bites in a row into little fountains of pasta. In slow motion, this would be really fascinating to watch. I really have no idea how he does it.

This is extra hard because it's easier to get food into him when he's on his back, but this position presents a choking hazard and another opportunity for aspiration. Plus, he's recently figured out that swallowing really is easier if his head is up. Which also increases the likelihood that some or all of it will come back out of his mouth, unless I'm holding his mouth shut with my fourth hand. Because my third hand is busy pulling clumps of macaroni out of my hair, of course. Silly. While my first and second hands/arms are fully engaged in holding him up and keeping the spoon and bowl under my control. Because I don't really like wearing his food. Crazy, I know.

So I'm ending my day looking like no one so much as Carrot Top. Except he at least has orange hair with which to complete the picture. I have only six batches of Frenemy Bread splattered on me, along with the macaroni and whatever I fed the boy for lunch. Romantic, yes? Lucky for me nobody gives a rat's patootey. Ha HA!

Lest you think me whiny, let's be perfectly clear: that role is reserved for the short ones here. They'd complain if I took it from them, and heaven knows I don't want to feed that particular skill set. I wouldn't trade my messy self for anything. Well, okay. I can think of exactly two things I'd trade it for. But since those two things aren't currently in my control, let's just wallow in the bread-y smells my kidlets and I made and the memories we created along with the goo. Two batches of chocolate chip with Hershey's Special Dark cocoa (and some Kahlua to round out those flavors, yessirree), one batch of golden raisin, currant, walnut, cardamon, nutmeg, cinnamon and cognac (Oh, baby), one of lemon with dried cherries (still in the oven as I write), one sweet potato and cinnamon with a pinch of ginger, one batch of ginger, cinnamon, molasses, brown sugar (also baking). As Ree would say, "Lawsy-mercy." My eldest has announced that I'm an evil person, kindly spoiling him with "wretched sweet bread that he willingly eats." Yeah, that's me.

Earlier today, before the mass production of comfort food, I was emotionally wiped. Bad stuff looping in an ever worse negative feedback cycle. I spent some time being ticked at someone who is complaining about their kids, all the while missing the classic signs of issues right in front of them. But then, this person doesn't want to hear about that. They want to be right, not do the right thing. (Harsh? Maybe. But we can discuss that after you spend a couple of years reviewing the research on the subject.) So I fumed, inwardly. Then to a friend. Then to another. All the while I'm wondering what the heck my problem is. I mean, I don't even know this person, for crying out loud. The week has been outrageously productive school-wise. The kids have been great -- better every day. Q has worked hard with his EI teacher and today in therapy, despite a bump up in his meds yesterday which left him with rotten tone, unable even to hang on to the ropes on the therapy swing. We played in the sunshine at a local park, wearing ourselves out. All good, very good.

So what is with me? Well, the stuff with Q is always draining, to some degree. And this week has been once again full of precious memories of things like two dozen of the tallest, reddest roses known to man, of whispered confessions, sweetness, tenderness and all things Valentine. But I thought we were largely past at least the bulk of the sorrow and longing those two topics raise? Not today. Maybe not ever. But that's not what was doing it.

Today my littlest brother would have been thirty-one. More than twenty-seven years later, some years it's not such a big deal. Some years it sucks the air out of the room. This year seems to have been one of those years. What can I say? This week I've watched little blond boys climb furniture and argue with their mommies, little guys who can run and laugh and say "pease" when begging indulgence. Maybe I'm feeling it more this year as Q struggles to approach things my baby brother once did easily. Sometimes, earth's gravity feels extra heavy.

So I'm just going to go start the dishwasher and pray that tonight brings sleep for all us exhausted parents of the living and the missing and the dead. And we'll count our blessings: for Valentine's my dad bought my mom a sweet ring to commemorate both her birthstone and their fortieth anniversary. This is so far out of character for my dad that I can't possibly explain it to you. But he reached outside his particular experience and understanding and did exactly the thing for his wife that he knew she really wanted. With all the crap in the world, they are better together every day. The grace involved in this leaves me a little breathless.

May you rest long and well this weekend, enjoying the company of your favorite people, conversation with your littles, hugs and smooches to sustain you, renewal in time with the Creator, and contentment in your surroundings. If you're having tears, I hope they're brief and kissed away by your beloved, as kindness steals the sadness away.



barnyardmama said...

I went looking for how big Q is, but I couldn't find it. I have a "feeding chair" from Target. It cost 30 dollars and it says that it's good til age four. You can put it in a recline position and strap the kid in. I bought it specifically so Charlie doesn't have to worry about being upright and eating--one thing at a time, no?

Also, my MIL is a HUGE Ambrotose fan. She started by making a paste to put on his soft spot and then started putting it in the bottles. I've found absolutely no research to back it, but after we started putting it in the bottles he became regular and one of his hands just opened up. The physiatrist said, "I can't explain it." The guy who invented it sells it under another name (he left Mannatech), and it's much cheaper if you buy it through him. I'll have to find out what the name is for ya. . .

~ V ~ said...

Hugs all around...I wonder if the person you were ticked at for complaining about their kids was the same one at whom I was ticked. Let's assume it was, ok? I would hate to think there are multiple people in the world that think that kids should be able to bounce back like nothing happened after having to wade through stuff that even adults shouldn't have to deal with. "Yes, they've dealt with A, B, C, D, AND E in their short lifetimes, but I've dealt with those issues just fine and my life is perfect now, so why can't they just straighten up and be perfect kids???" Ok, I'm paraphrasing...

C said...

Dear V,

Yes, m'dear, I'm sure it was the very same person. Your paraphrase is kinder than it could be. I'd like a little bleach or something to wipe it out my brain now, thanks.

Just one more thing--how on *earth* does this person get A so thoroughly and miss B-Z??? As a parent I'm just, just... speechless.

ROWR. There. That'll do it.

XO to the troops.

barnyardmama said...

Manapol is the name of generic Ambrotose, and in case you haven't noticed by now, I can't spell a lick, so please forgive any mistakes you see.