So many of my recent posts have been all about Maddox…he stays in the forefront of the funny stories because he talks…and so much of what comes out of his mouth is hilarious (especially to me). However, this does not mean in any way that Cooper is any less exciting!! He has some news of his own.
Yesterday we had an evaluation at Scottish Rite with a Speech-Language Pathologist to see what steps we could take to help him swallow solid food. He’s so close to perfect!!! Now that we’ve gotten the sleeping thing pretty much under control our next order of business is getting this baby off the boob and on solid foods!!!!!! He loves to lick all kinds of food. He’s also very interested in everything that you are eating…however, if a piece of food gets near the back of his mouth he immediately begins trying to push it out and if it doesn’t get out fast enough he gags until he eventually throws up. Not fun. Since he was 4 months old (and the pediatrician gave me the green light to start baby food) he has not been a fan of baby food. But, who can really blame him…it is pretty nasty stuff!! At each well child check up I would let the doctor know that he STILL wasn’t tolerating baby food. I was continually told to keep trying, it takes a billion times of introducing a food, blah, blah, blah. When I took him for his 12 month check up I went in armed with a plan. I was ready to insist on some intervention and help. I just wasn’t feeling like this was an issue that was going to magically resolve itself on it’s own. Dr. Cox agreed with me totally (especially since Cooper had LOST weight, not a lot, but enough to raise a red flag) and we were referred to Scottish Rite. Of course, we get the referral and then head off on vacation the next week. So, this brings me back to yesterday’s appt. I was extremely anxious about the appointment. I wasn’t exactly sure what would go on. Would Cooper freak out? Would he be uncomfortable? Is there a bigger problem than just his gag reflex? Can he be “healed”? and the big question…How much is this all going to cost? There was a part of me that hoped it would be kind of a crock…not extremely necessary (because all I kept hearing was that insurance rarely covers this type of therapy). We arrived at the office after I parked in the wrong parking deck and went on a tour of another deck before finding the correct building. Scottish Rite is a fantastic place. I am extremely grateful to live in an area where we have access to such a fantastic children’s hospital. But I digress…Cooper was a trooper!!! Heidi, our Speech Therapist, was fantastic! Cooper could not take his eyes off of her!! She was very engaging and he was really hamming it up for her!! He was laughing and clapping and playing with all of the food she was putting in front of him (not swallowing it, mind you, but really doing his thing). She watched his tongue, his mouth, and determined that all appeared to be normal. Her thoughts are that he likely had a bad experience at some point…it may have been a texture that freaked him out, a taste, or a feeling of not being able to control what was in his mouth. Now, he has a negative association and just flat out refuses to swallow food! She gave him dried fruit and veggies and he just munched and munched on them…he accidentally swallowed a few pieces for which we all clapped and praised him!! It was so funny. He was so proud to be receiving all of the praise although we are pretty sure he had no clue as to why we were clapping!!! He even got to eat some ice cream since that is one thing that he seems to enjoy small amounts of. All in all, we walked away with a tentative plan. We will continue to work with him to erase the negative thoughts of eating and eating utensils (spoons make him clamp his mouth shut). It is based a lot on POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT and praise. It is going to take us being consistent and patient and Jim is likely going to play a big role (since Cooper looks as me as his all you can eat buffet). So as the evaluation was coming to an end I had this pit in my stomach…I thought, oh great, I think this is exactly what we BOTH need, I think it may work, and how in the hell are we going to pay for this? Heidi flips the page and says, “OK, you get 30 visits, so…” to which I reply, “WHAT!!! Our insurance is going to cover this????” She said “Yes, oh wait, for feeding therapy you have UNLIMITED visits!!” WHAT!!!!!! I could have burst into tears at that moment…but I kept it together! However, the people in the next room probably heard me exclaim!! I was happy, alright!! What an answered prayer. Praise the Lord! We are hoping that this process will not take too terribly long (whatever that means) and that Cooper will be chomping on something delicious very soon! Will keep you posted!