Let’s Eat

Today was our first attempt at starving Sophia to try to get her to learn to eat… and it was completely unsuccessful.  We didn’t feed her anything overnight, so she should have been pretty hungry by morning, but really had no interest in eating.  She played a little at one feeding and took a couple small bites at another, but not enough for her to get any sensation that her hunger was being addressed.  By 10:30 she was really unhappy.  I decided she wasn’t going to be able to learn when she was that hungry (at least that is what they told us when we were trying to teach her to nurse–don’t do it when she’s starving).  So, I gave her about an ounce of food in her G-tube.  She still didn’t want to eat.  I figured she’d need some food at lunchtime in order to be able to nap, so I gave her some lunch too.  She was even more resistant to eating in the afternoon; she just wanted to throw everything.  This is going to be really hard because she really has no idea that food satisfies her hunger and if she isn’t going to take bites, she won’t figure that out.  I try to tell her that it will make her tummy feel better, but I’m sure she has no clue what I’m talking about.  We’ll have to talk to her speech therapists and do some more research and see what we can do.  Awhile back she was eating more at breakfast, so maybe she’ll get back there again (it seems it really went backwards after we took a break while she was sick).  With Zoe she was curious enough about the food that she eventually learned what it did.  Sophia is way past that curiosity stage, so I don’t know what other strategies we can try.

You’d never know now that Zoe ever had any doubts about food.  She is eating so much now that she is more mobile, and she is very insistent on getting fed quickly.  She never fusses before you feed her, even in the morning when she gets up, but once she is in her high chair, she expects to fed, and fast.  She does know how to sign “more,” but finds it easier to grunt.  She did finally ask nicely for “more” today to get another bite of Grandma’s pecan pie.  She also got to have other adult food:  squash (with brown sugar and butter, no baby stuff), carrot ring, and potatoes.

She’s been experimenting with making her lips into a little “o” and blowing, which makes a whistling noise.  Grandma also saw her trying to imitate the baby making the sign for “hot” (which is blowing).   Hopefully, she’ll be able to blow bubbles soon, as her sister loves it.  I came home one day to find Sophia ecstatically watching Margaret blow bubbles.  I guess she’s forgotten that they do that at the doctor’s office, too.

She did have one doctor appointment this week; we got her measured for the little brace to make her chest wall go back in.  She had a great time in the waiting room doing her bear walk across the carpet and really enjoyed tickling the technician until he brought out the measuring tools.  She screamed terribly because she really dislikes being held down and then bothered by strangers, but then who doesn’t?  She was back to tickling him again after he was done, so we’ll see how things go when we go back in to get it fitted.

Sophia seems to have taught Zoe how to tickle as well, and so far she is doing it gently (unlike the way Sophia started).  At first it was just Grandma that got tickled, but now she tickles herself and the rest of us, too.  Poor Mukwa has become a frequent victim of the tickle monsters and the peek-a-boo players.

Sophia has also started throwing up her arm for “whee” in her Chicka Chicka Boom Boom book.  She also love reading the A,B,C’s in the front cover, and holding your hand while you point to each letter.  She’s even started wanting me to use her foot to point to the letters!  She’s a very tactile reader and loves to have you point to the words while you read (and she also, of course, loves the books with feely things).  Today, she was looking at books independently (while being starved by her parents) and I noticed her first panting on the dog page of a farm book (which is our sign for dog) and putting her hands behind her back in another book for “make them all hide.”  I just love that, when you can really see what she retains.  I also love singing to her while she’s in the stroller for that same reason; she isn’t watching anyone else and can still do “beep, beep” and “waaa, waaa” for Wheels on the Bus, and the actions for many other songs.

One of her favorites is still “Barnyard Dance” (Stomp your feet; Clap your hands), and the other day she decided Zoe wasn’t clapping her hands quickly enough, so she leaned over and clapped her hands for her!  I’m hoping the next thing she teaches Zoe is to get off the couch backwards.  She got it once this week, but it is far from ingrained.

Sophia has also learned to unzip her coat, so she either has to have a snap over the top of the zipper or a coat with a snap closure or she’ll be wheeling through the neighborhood with her coat wide open!  We do have a nice handmedown coat that has a zipper and snaps over it, but for some reason Sophia can’t stand it.  She goes from being excited about going outside to being really upset when we try to put the coat on, so I’ve just given up.  Zoe likes it just fine, so we’ll put Sophia in something else that doesn’t make her angry!  I can’t figure out what it would be; it doesn’t seem to be uncomfortable or anything.  Maybe she doesn’t think she looks good in blue?  If she was that senstive to her looks, though, you’d think she’d be more upset about the bad bang trim I gave her this week!  I had to wash her hair one morning because she’d spit up over night and I thought it would be a good time to try to trim  her bangs quickly.  I thought if I did it while she was playing, she wouldn’t yell, scream, or squirm.  We’ll, she didn’t yell or scream, but she certainly squirmed (and crawled and twisted and bobbed).  Needless to say, I took the hairdresser’s advice to heart:  “Don’t try to make it straight because you can’t, make it look like you wanted it to be uneven!”  I tried once to “even it out,” but that was a losing battle, so she is now getting a lot of use out of the “no slippy hair clippies” they got from Hillary and Lily for their birthdays.  Zoe even got to wear a clip one day, and they had fun playing with each other’s clips (and were apparently oblivious to the fact that they had one in their own hair).

I guess it was a bad week for poor Sophia: taking her to the doctor for a cosmetic procedure, giving her a bad hair cut and to top it all off starving her for a whole day!  She’s been through a lot and is a really good sport, but I think the hunger thing hit me the hardest.  I obviously knew we could rectify hers with a quick bolus of food, but it really hit me hard what it must be like to be in poverty and have a baby who is really hungry and you can’t do anything about it.   I couldn’t take more than 10 minutes of knowing she was hungry…