After over a month of no solid food for Alexa, yesterday was a big day. In the afternoon, we went to visit with Alexa’s pediatrician, Dr. Kuhls. Alexa was very concerned about “the wood”, since she had a strep test at her last two visits, but I told her she wouldn’t need a strep test this time. We talked a bit more about it and I told her when I was growing up, I always hated the swab more than the wooden tongue depressor. We found out Alexa had lost another pound since her prior visit, bringing her up to losing about three and a half pounds since July 30 (the morning when she ate her last bit of food). It was a good appointment, Dr. Kuhls checked her out (after assuring her there would be no wood or giant Q-tip), looking at her throat and teeth, checking her breathing, listening to her heart and checking her tummy, then telling her there was nothing wrong with her which would keep her from eating. He told her that he wanted her to eat three times a day, as much as she wanted of whatever she wanted. He told her if she did not start eating there would be tests and procedures done which would make the wood and giant Q-tip seem easy. She grudgingly said “okay” when asked if she would do what he had asked her to do. I was very encouraged when she agreed to eat a sucker (again, no solid food of ANY kind in her mouth for over a month) and was almost finished with it by the time we were home. We talked about where she would like to eat and she told me she wanted to go to Fuzzy’s Taco Shop to have tortillas dipped in queso.
By the time I got home from work, she was more concerned about eating, but we went to wash the car and went to Fuzzy’s. She dipped her finger in the cheese several times and licked it off saying it was quite yummy. However, the drama began when I asked her to dip a (very small) piece of tortilla in the queso and eat that. I dipped a bite for her, and tried to coax her to eat it. At first, I reiterated what Dr. Kuhls had said, she needed to eat three times a day and there was nothing wrong which would keep her from eating. We ran the whole gamut of excuses, from being worried about whether she could still bite food, to being worried about how much she would have to eat, to being tired, to wanting me to give her a hug, to wanting her cousin Rylen there with her.
So (not proud, just truthful), being out of options on the reasoning side and wondering if people thought I was abusing my daughter right there in the restaurant (she was alternating between whimpering, whining and sobbing), I resorted to bribery. I told her that if she wanted to see her cousins, she would need to eat fairly quickly so that we go see them before it got late (since she had an early morning for Pre-K this morning). That fell flat, the 15 minute timeframe I had given expired and the whining continued (she had put the tortilla inside her mouth several times during that timeframe, but never actually let go of it or actually touched it to her tongue).
Once bribery failed (and my patience was beginning to fail), it was time to resort to threats. I picked up my phone and told her I was calling Dr. Kuhls like he had told me to if she wasn’t going to eat. That got a response, “No, Dad, no!” She proceeded to do the in and out trick until I picked my phone up again and then she actually put it in her mouth. She spit the first bite out after she had chewed a bit, but immediately proceeded to get another bite, dip it in cheese and eat it (lots of chewing for a tortilla, but it went down and stayed down). I then made 10 very small pieces for her and said she could eat those and see how she did. When she finished, I asked if she was done and she said, “Could you tear up four more bites for me.” I did, she ate those and then asked for four more. We repeated the process, then she picked up the tortilla and tore off her own bites. Over the next 30 minutes, she managed to eat two whole tortillas and finish about two thirds of the cup of queso. Then, she decided that she wanted some chocolate ice cream to celebrate, so it was off to Braum’s. Here is photo and video evidence:
Saying “tortilla” after she had torn up some tortilla for herself and was continuing to eat.
In action after about a tortilla and a half.
Celebrating at Braum’s.
And, a video. Sadly, I stopped the first video I took inadvertently, she said some things which were even more priceless, so I tried not to have her repeat everything she had just said (worried she would question my sanity). However, she does give a big shout-out to all of her prayer warriors. I likewise am INCREDIBLY grateful.
Today, she ate a bran muffin, a sausage ball and a bite of banana (she was concerned because a piece I cut off of the banana had a little brown spot on it) for breakfast. I also think she was saving room for the snack at school (she had made strawberry and blueberry muffins yesterday to take for the snack with her nanny, Jenny, and Kelsey’s dear friend Shannon). She managed to eat four muffins for snack and then three more right after school. She is still a bit concerned about anything which she considers “hard” (no chips yesterday for instance), but we are definitely making steps in the right direction. Certainly an incredible relief for me that she has moved past that mental block!
-- Pray Alexa will continue to eat and it will become a part of her normal routine again.
-- Continue to pray for time for both of us to process. Our days seem to be filled with activity, finding time to slow down is a challenge.
-- Pray for God’s glory. I have had some wonderful conversations about what God has been teaching me (hopefully sometime in the not-so-distant future I can share some of those lessons here) and continue to pray that each day, God can use my grief and pain for His purposes in my life and the lives of others.
-- We will be starting a grief support group this coming Monday, September 8 (Alexa will be with other four year olds who have lost someone in their family). Please pray it will be beneficial for both of us and we can be used by God to minister to others there as well.
Thanks again for your prayers. Thank you for the encouraging comments, the thoughtful notes, the messages on Facebook, the text messages, meals, and multitude of offers to help in any way. I am simultaneously afflicted and blessed. I think I understand Job’s comment in the midst of his suffering a bit better. Nothing changed, but he was able to say,
“I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.
You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.’
My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.”
-- Job 42:2-5
Thank you for being part of allowing me to see God in the midst of grief!