Tuesday, July 28, 2009

goin' gangsta

We had a meeting with Eliot's doctor at the Institute late last week where he discussed her eating progress thus far and future potential in the program. He started with this:

"What is so neat about Eliot is that she has a lot of techniques that get her out of the act of eating. She is very creative in all of her approaches, and she has a unique ability to adapt to our structure and find something that enables her to escape."

You should have seen my face.

"So . . . just to keep it real," I replied. "What you're saying is that Elie is really good at being bad?"

He smiled.

Yep. That's exactly what he was saying. Eliot has a lot of tricks.

Over the last three weeks at Marcus, she has hit the spoon, hit the therapist, and pursed her lips so tightly that she can't stop grinding her teeth at night. She has whipped her head back and forth, thrown her toys across the room, and mastered the art of playing possum. (You can't feed a baby that's asleep, right?!) Her newest "technique" is to pull her hair out in handfuls.


Apparently, it's good for her to try everything now so the protocol can show her that none of her tricks will work anymore. But hair pulling has been tough. The therapists can hold her hands down, but she then ends up crying, pulling away, and refusing to eat.

Mike came up with the brilliant plan of putting a hat on her head - not just a hat that could easily be pulled off, but a hat that would stay in place despite numerous attempts from little hands looking for a few strands of hair to pull. And it worked. Her hair pulling attempts went from 84 in the first session, down to 2 in the next.

So, here it is . . . my sweet little girl going gangsta. Please be discreet with comments about her new doo-rag. I would hate for Eliot to get mad, and decide to bust a cap in your ass.

Monday, July 20, 2009

week 2

Eliot gets fed four times a day at the Marcus Institute - three meals and one snack. The breakfast, lunch and dinner sessions last 45 minutes each, and her snack is only 30 minutes. I stay with her all day, and when she is in a feeding session, I watch her from behind one-way glass . . . think Jack Bauer in his many interrogation room scenes.

A therapist puts El in a highchair, and gives her a spoon of pureed food. If she takes the bite, then the therapist praises her; if she doesn't take the bite, then a behavioral data analyst, who is sitting with me on the "other" side, knocks on the window every twenty seconds to alert the therapist to say, "Eliot, you need to take a bite." Every. twenty. seconds. until she eats.

So . . .

This morning, El took five bites in 45 minutes. Yawwwwwnnnnn. I'll be honest, I dozed off a few times. I need some action at 8:30 in the morning. At her mid-morning snack she took an equally boring four bites. At lunch today, she took three bites, and then fell asleep with pureed chicken nuggets still in her mouth. She FELL ASLEEP in her highchair, and despite the therapist's attempt to wake her by putting cold compresses on her forehead, and standing her up to walk around the room, she could not get Eliot out of her slumber.

But, boy did that nap do wonders for the next session.

At her final session today, Eliot took twenty bites in 45 minutes. Now, that's not just twenty bites. That is TWENTY bites, and TWENTY swallows. Baby girl is SWALLOWING! She is clearly not enjoying herself quite yet, but wow, there was some definite progress today.

Monday, July 13, 2009

project eliot eats!

Last week was one of the best we have had with Eliot in 18 months. Her reflux stopped - literally stopped - last Sunday, and she has been symptom-free for the past seven days. (Cross your fingers that this continues . . . )

I always minimized acid reflux, but oh my god . . . it has run her life since she was born.

In the last few days, Eliot has not only started taking steps independently, she has also started eating. Wait. Whhhaaaaattt!!! She has started EATING???!

Yep, and it is perfect timing! Her first day at the Marcus Center's Intensive Feeding Disorders Clinic was today, and she was awesome. She is starting her 8-week program with an interest in food - a wonderful place to start! She ate five carrot chunks, three green beans, and twenty-two veggie sticks. Who is this child, and where is my Elie? I about fell out of my chair when she swallowed.

Here she is on her first day . . . Project Eliot Eats is underway!

She looks . . .

She opens . . .

She eats . . .

Friday, July 10, 2009

beanie giggles

Owen's "Fat Albert" laugh may put me into hysterics, but El's soft, little giggle just warms my heart.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

all done

What part of "all done" do you not understand?