Autism can make for a lot of difficult times, so I like to celebrate every accomplishment. It can take a long time to get there! It’s been a few of those difficult days again, but C has been eating fairly well for the past two weeks. A few weeks ago, I successfully weaned him off his reflux medication. I lost count of how many times we’ve tried to do that in nearly two years. We did it! Today, I decided to try going without his gastric emptying medication.
He felt hungry all day, despite not receiving his emptying medication. That means the food was processing through his system instead of sitting in his stomach. When it sits there, he doesn’t feel hunger. A little background: I didn’t hear him express or say the word, “hungry,” for the first two and a half years of his life. He never felt it.
He requested food throughout the day. He had tube feedings at breakfast and lunch. Then came dinner and the biggest accomplishment. Big! Huge!
He was very hesitant about eating his spaghetti. I kept gently pushing him to do it. He reached for his cheddar penguin crackers (his safe food), and I pulled them away, asking him to take a bite of spaghetti first. He reached for a car (a comfort item), and I pulled it away, requesting he take a bite of spaghetti. I twirled a couple of noodles onto his fork. He looked at it. I encouraged him. He ate it.
He ate it, and he said, “Mmm! You’re right. This is nummy psghetti.”
And he kept eating. We talked about the slippery texture of the noodles. We talked about how he didn’t like the chicken sausage, and that it was okay not to like it. My son ate spaghetti dinner at the table with us. He ate dinner. As in, enough food that I don’t need to give him a tube feeding tonight.
When he was done, he said, “That psghetti was nummy. I liked it. My tummy is full.”
Hungry. Full. Nummy.
While it is too soon to tell if he will be able to go without the gastric emptying medication, and he always goes through spurts of eating well and barely eating at all, my heart is happy tonight. We celebrate every accomplishment and this one? This one was huge.