Most of you know the drama that surrounds Eliot and eating. She still - at 18 months old - takes NOTHING by mouth. Sure, there have been moments of magic during the last year and a half, but nothing has lasted. And there we are, every time she gives us a glimpse of progress, back to the bottom of our souls scraping our hope off like bubble gum stuck to our shoes.
But, we scrape. We scrape every bit of hope off, and we start over. Every day we put her in her highchair three times and attempt to feed her. To supplement our own efforts, her feeding therapist comes to our house twice a week, and she tries to feed her, tries to get her interested, tries to find a reason why she isn't eating yet. And I can tell you after doing this for over a year and a half, everyone involved is just plain tired.
Eliot's attitude toward eating is so negative and so ingrained at this point, neither Mike nor I have what it takes to push her over the edge and encourage her to start eating. (And I don't need any "Ohhhh. You're such a good mom." "You've done such a good job." "You've gotten Elie so far." Blah dee blah dee blah.) Our home involves barking dogs, ringing phones, a screaming Owen - certainly not the quiet, focused, calm environment that Eliot needs to concentrate on food. And so, I asked for help - because she needs it.
"Here ya go, professional feeding therapist people . . . here's my baby."
There are only a handful of feeding disorders clinics around the country - "institutes" run by behavioral psychologists who understand why children do what they do (way better than I can). We are lucky enough to have one of these clinics in our city - the Marcus Institute.
I applied to the Marcus Institute's Intensive Feeding Disorders Clinic in February of 2009. We interviewed with them in March, and they felt Eliot would be a good candidate for the program. Last week, after almost four months of waiting, the Marcus Institute gave me Elie's admit date - July 13th. Could it be? Some hope?
I want the big-brained psychologists at Marcus to help my Elie. I want this to be a positive experience for her, and I want her to learn to enjoy food so we can all sit down at the dinner table one night and celebrate over my famous fish tacos (well, that might be a little far in the future). I just want her feeding to get a jump start. That's it; that's all I want. I don't expect this to be the miracle cure. I just need to have my faith restored. I just need to find a reason to hope again.