Saturday, October 9, 2010

Eating…how can this be so complex?

I looked at the clock to see what time it was, as I was feeding Richa. It was 5.15pm. Richa looked at the clock knowing exactly what I was doing.  She decides to inform me what the time was.  So, she reads the
time..3eeeeee (totally ignoring the 5).

"Its 3 minutes", she says. 

"At least she knows , it's got to do with the numbers being pointed to", I

"5...3eee", I say trying to remind her that 5 is also being pointed at.
Knowing very well, that if I told her that it was 5.15, she would have
rebelled and fought with me saying that there was no "15" on the clock.  So, leaving it to time to teach her that it was actually 5.15pm, I continued to feed her "Dahi Chawal".  A mixture of rice and yogurt with a tinniest dash of her favorite  "thattha".  (her word for "pickle").

Yes, that's the only color of food (other than toasted wheat bread), that Richa
eats.  Her food should be white in color with an exception for toasted wheat bread (Thank goodness, for that at least!). No vegetables or lentils.  It could be milk, cheese, yogurt or rice and She lovvves butter!. 


Many times, I have found the jar of butter that she had sneaked from the refrigerator, lying behind the sofa, or, on the dewan or,under the comforter..behind the sofa cushions and many other locations. 

There are a lot of such weird eating habits at my home. 
One kid, would take so long to finish a plate of lunch or dinner(served
fresh and hot), managing to finish it just before the bacteria has started
to make it stale, while I have to remind another kid to chew on her food else she would just gulp it down her throat and a couple of normal people who would finish their food normally, chewing and eating in a reasonable time.
There is one man, who loves to have steaming food, and me who cannot touch hot food to my mouth, lest I burn my tongue.  To top this, he comments on the taste of the food, I wonder how he can put such hot food in his mouth.

"You just have to move the food around in the mouth fast enough and it will be fine" he says.

“How do you even taste the food, this way?”, I say.

Eating food, had not been such a perplexing topic for me to research on ever before.  As I had known my family or my friends growing up, everybody had eaten normally. I had not seen anybody, who took so long to eat and hadn't seen anybody gulping down food too fast. I hadn't seen anybody eat such hot food (almost bordering  But, now for the last 8 years, I am trying to understand all these habits.  One in particular. Why my daughter is not able to eat fast enough.

This had been a problem in the pre-school and the teachers there, had been
obliging enough to make that extra effort of putting the food into her mouth so, she was able to finish her lunch.  There is not once, that she has answered "yes" to the question.."Anybody wants more?"

Then, when it was time for her to graduate from pre-school the teachers
refused to feed her, since she had to learn to eat by herself. There was no
problem with liquids.. She would gulp that down so fast. So, I had compensated her inability to eat solid diet with things like Pediasure. She could gulp down that whole bottle in the least amount of time. It had surprised the nurses in the NICU, when she was born.

"Look at the force with which this baby is sucking", they had said.

Looking at that energy with which she drank, at that time, she was the last
on my list of "babies who was going to be difficult with feed".

Then came the time for solids, and as many times as I had put that spoon of
puree into her mouth, she had pushed it out.  So, looking that she pushed
70% of the spoons contents out, it sure reminded me of the math problem of a monkey climbing a pole and slipping back 1/3 the distance. How long would it take the monkey climb the pole?  How long would it take me to get this
bottle of puree into her tummy?

Then, she came to Kindergarten.  I had consulted the doctor on her problem
with eating solids. 

"Should I continue with the Pediasure?"  I had asked.

"She should be exercising her jaws, they are very weak." The doctor had
encouraged solid food then.

Since it was a half day school for kindergarten...most of her feeding
was done at home. Then came first grade. This meant full day school.
She was bringing her lunch back home...almost all of it, almost every day. I
experimented with her favorite foods, not that there were any except,
chocolates or sweets.

Her weight was nothing great to talk about. She has always been below the 50 percentile for her age.  Then, I thought maybe the hot lunch at the cafeteria would feel appetizing to her.  Switched her to cafeteria food.  But, no luck there too.  How did I know how much she ate? Lucky for her, she had a spy at the cafeteria, her sister, who let me know if she was having any food.

I had to contact her teacher again who was kind enough to have the lunch
lady keep a watch on her. She also got to carry her lunch back with her so
she could complete it during snack time. Now, she is in third grade, and I don't think I can ask any such help for a kid of her age. So, every morning , every meal at home, she has all of us keeping a timer on her. 

"Have a sip of milk with your bread, It will help to wet the bread and make
it easy to chew", I repeat, everyday, every minute she is at the table. She takes the tiniest sip that goes past the bread in her mouth, not even
touching it.  She has this pouch on the side of her mouth that she uses to store her food.  Reminds me of the pelican who store's its fish in
her mouth or the cow's habit called "chew the cud". Only she needs a bigger pouch where she could keep all of her lunch and dinner so she could grind it slowly and send it down her tummy as a background process.

"Don’t worry, the next generation will be normal. While your FiL still eats his food like this, , your sister in law was over this as she got to her teens, so your kid will only get better now. ", my husband convinces me.


Rachna said...

Kids can really drive you up the wall! I have seen your situation, firsthand. I know how difficult it is when a child throws tantrums while eating. Hope, she outgrows this habit when she is older. I am sure, you are doing everything as a parent to help her.

bhagyareema said...

Every morning As soon as I get up, I resolve that, that day I will not yell at my son for his eating habits and by mid morning, my resolve is broken :)
To make him eat is the test of patience

gayatri said...

@Rachna, I don't think she is throwing tantrums. i think that's her physiology which I think she inherited from her family but, all the same, its hard to deal with it as parents. Like Pavan says, tracking the graph of this trait on the family tree, maybe her children will be normal.

gayatri said...

@Bhagyareema, Knowing pretty well, she will not be able to eat better than she is been doing the last 8 years, I should have gotten used to this, but, I still go through the yelling thing to get her in time to the school bus.