Monday, February 3, 2014

Beautiful Mess

I cherish days like today…

My little man will be six months old this Wednesday.  SIX MONTHS!  I know it's such a cliche to say, but I honestly don't know where the time went.  It seems like yesterday I was pregnant, and today we had his six month specialist appointment.  I am so blessed!

I was extremely nervous about Ben's appointment today.  You see, I have been waiting for today's evaluation for the doctor to give me the go ahead to start Ben on solids.  This might not seem like that big of a deal to most of you, but Benny has Down Syndrome.  The transition to solids, so I have read, can be quite an ordeal for most DS parents.  They have trouble with the textures, they can choke really easily due to their low muscle tone, they push the food out of their mouth with their tongues and refuse to swallow, and the list goes on and on.  I have read this information time and time again, as well as hearing about it from my fellow parents in the DS community.  There are some parents who weren't able to give their kids solids til almost two years of age!  It's all just so new and so nerve-racking  to me!

I have been warned before about some things that I will struggle with due to Benny having that extra little chromosome.  Breastfeeding, for example, was supposed to be a challenge.  IT WAS!  It took me til Benny was eight weeks old to get him to breastfeed.  I can honestly say, I am surprised I didn't quit.  I used to get very curious as to why anyone wouldn't breastfeed their children, and now I know why.  It is flipping difficult!  I went through sore nipples, clog ducts, and a dang yeast infection on my boobs!  SERIOUSLY!  I tried nipples shields, 74 different ways to hold him, you name it.  I was pumping every 2 hours around the flipping clock.  It. was. brutal.  I should have bought stock in APNO (All Purpose Nipple Ointment).  Then one magical day when Ben was 8 weeks old, he just did it.  I didn't do anything different, he just did it.  I cried like a baby.  I was so happy!!  SOOOO relieved!  I felt powerful and so proud of myself that I pushed through and kept trying.  YAY TRIUMPH!  You see, breastfeeding is great for all babies but it is REALLY great for DS babies.  Nursing is much more difficult than bottle-feeding for the baby, so it strengthens the muscles in their throats, mouths, and tongue.  This helps DS babies down the road with annunciation in their speech, AND helps them when they begin the transition to solids.  This information is what kept me going those first two months of hell attempting to get him to nurse.  I knew it was important for him way above and beyond how important breastmilk is for all babies, and I would be damned if I was gonna punk out and not give him that extra advantage.

So… Solids.  Knowing my struggle with breastfeeding, you can hopefully understand why I was so nervous about this new adventure.  I was trying to build myself up to be tough, be patient, be ready for him not to succeed at first.  During his evaluation Ben tested very high cognitively, high on fine motor skills, and moderate on gross motor skills.  Needless to say, he is a ROCKSTAR!  So, after his evaluation, and after finding out that my little piggie eats every one and a half to two hours, his specialist said we definitely need to try to give this kid some food.

On the way home from the docs, I stopped and got him some spoons and some rice cereal.  I went home, and nursed him for about five minutes.  This way, according to the doc, he wouldn't be starving when we tried the food and therefore be a BIT more patient.  My son is NEVER patient about eating!  My husband and I made the rice cereal with some breastmilk according to the directions, and I anxiously sat down to attempt feeding my little man.  I took a deep breath, dipped the spoon in the cereal, and put it to his mouth.  Then, HE ATE IT UP!  He LOVED it!!  He chewed and sucked on the spoon a little at first, but he got the point after about two minutes.  It was like he had been eating solids his whole life.  I was SO proud!  I can't explain to you how happy I felt.  I was, and still am, on cloud nine!  He finished the ENTIRE bowl and probably would have kept going if I would have had more ready.

This story probably seems crazy to a lot of you.  I mean, feeding your child baby food for the first time usually isn't a life changing event.  However, here's the thing.  My baby is wonderfully different.  Each milestone with him is an amazing accomplishment.  Each milestone he hits takes some more time, more effect, or just more creativity.  So, to have him knock this out of the park on the first try makes me so filled with joy I could burst.  To see him sitting there doing so well at something that EVERYONE said he would struggle with, gives me an intense feeling of pride, love, and hope.  I sat there as we reached the end of that bowl of cereal and looked at the mess I had to clean up.  There was cereal on me, him, his clothes, my clothes, and god knows where else.  My eyes were filled with tears of joy.  It was THE most BEAUTIFUL MESS I had ever seen.

1 comment:

  1. This story doesn't seem crazy at all at a matter of fact it is so touching. You are a good mom, it took courage, strength and discipline to do what you did and because of blessed your little guy with a easier path to success. I know he is such a blessing and a joy...


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