As a blogger, I try my best to keep a balance on here of brand sharing, fashion tips, and staying real and vulnerable with my readers about what is going on in my personal life. As a mom, and knowing I have so many other moms who read here, I like to keep things real and genuine, because these little lifelines and staying in touch with reality is what so many other moms need and crave, myself included. I feel like I haven’t given a ‘mom’ update in some time, and something hit me hard today so I thought I would share.
As some of you who have been following my blog for a while know, I shared a few times last year on how we were always having feeding struggles with Rajan. Last January at his 1 year well check, concerns grew quickly when his doctor realized he had been losing weight, not gaining like he should have been. He was in the seventh, SEVENTH, percentile for weight, and 20th for height. When he was born he was in the 20th percentile for weight, so the number dropping so drastically was scary. We had a very good talk with our doctor about setting a plan in action to get to the bottom of the issue, and since we had voiced a concern about the struggles we were having switching Rajan from baby food to solids, he recommended an appointment with an Occupation Therapist to give us some assistance on the matter. This as a mom was heartbreaking. I shared a year ago how I know there are so many parents out there getting worse news, and I wasn’t thinking the end of the world was near, but it was still heartbreaking to me. As a mom, you start to question what you may or may not have done in the early months that affected this. Maybe I should have started introducing solids earlier, maybe I am the world’s worst cook, maybe I coddle him too much; the self-doubt was deep, and all I could think of was how heartbroken I was for my hungry little boy.
The very next month, we got Raj into his first Occupation Therapy Appointment. We were thankful that the team of therapists, his personal therapist, and his pediatrician had caught the problem early, and after finding out that he had a sensory sensitivity issue with certain textures, we felt relief that the problem was diagnosed and for the first time felt a sense of hope for future progress. After 6 months of weekly therapy appointments, practices and coaching at home, and consistency in our approach and encouragement, Rajan ended the program with flying colors and as parents we finally felt equipped with mealtime strategies and felt confident in his progress. He had a new found love for certain vegetables, meats, and foods with mushy textures no longer made him gag with touch. Now, 3 months post-therapy, I am so proud to share that at Rajan’s 2 year well-check appointment, he measured in the 54th percentile for weight, and 77th percentile for height, he has more than tripled on the growth chart!!
So what sparked this share? Today I received a photo from Rajan’s preschool of him playing with shaving cream; normal preschool activity, right?(photo shown above) But what brought on the tears of joy and pride? On Rajan’s first day of Occupation Therapy, his therapist tried to encourage him to play with shaving cream, and Rajan not only wouldn’t touch it, but he wanted nothing to do with it even sitting in front of him. Fast-forward 10 months, and there he was in the photo, hands covered in cream and a huge sloppy mess in front of him!
Moral of the story, as parents we all strive to be the best, give our children the support they need, and encourage growth and accomplishments. We knew when Rajan turned 1 year old that his confidence with food just was not where it should have been. When we had talked to his first doctor about it he brushed it off, and we went with our instinct and got the opinion of a second doctor (and now the only doctor we take him to), and after feeling like our concerns were finally being heard we were able to get the plan for therapy set. It is so easy to feel as parents that you have somehow messed up, that you are failing your children, and when the low percentages and numbers get thrown in your face you internalize the sadness and pain and instinctively blame yourself. I remember talking to family and friends about it, and so many people told me to ride it out and that it would get better, and that I was overacting, but I just knew something was not right. So often Darshan and I would get discouraged at birthday parties and out to dinner when Rajan would have meltdowns over the food, and people told us so often that we just spoiled him to have his preferences, and it would ruin, and I mean completely RUIN our day.
If your kids have a sensory issue, or you suspect so, this is not something to be left to ‘ride out’ or to let them grow out of. So often, these issues get worse, and the frustrations only multiply. To all of the parents out there struggling with these issues, my heart goes out to you, it is tough. I encourage you to stay consistent, positive, and patient. Listen to your instincts and do what you feel is right for your child and your family. To any of you who have never had to deal with these struggles personally, my advice to you is if you see a parent failing at a meal time, or you know someone who is always having to pack and prepare meals for their kids before going to a party, try to be encouraging and let those parents know they’re doing a great job by providing for their kids what they need. I guarantee the mom serving her kid a box of ‘organic’ macaroni and cheese knows this is hardly meeting all 4 food groups, but the last thing this struggling mom probably needs to hear are your negative, non-helpful, side comments about the one meal her kid will willingly eat at the time.
And most importantly, as parents, lets just show one another the best support that we can! Remember, we are all doing our best and giving everything we can to provide for our children.
Can we all just note that sneaky smile snapped above?!
(PJ’s c/o Finn + Emma)