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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Don't Ask For A Milkshake

It’s been a running joke with my family for the past 18 years or so. Don’t ask for a milkshake, you never know what will be in it. It all started out of my desperation to feed my youngest and avoid a feeding tube.

When Hillary was old enough to be given soft baby foods, she simply would not eat. Anything. She would drink anything, but put a spoon to her lips and she would retch and/or vomit. It was pretty gross, pretty frustrating, and pretty unhealthy for her. Between her seizures and the myriad of medications she was (and still is) on it was quite a challenge. I was determined that I would not deal with a feeding tube any sooner than I had to. It was discussed with the doctor, but I REALLY didn’t want to do that. Real food is better for the digestive system anyhow, so I pureed regular food and put it all in milkshakes. I had other parents tell me how gross that was and advise me to put her on some type of formula, but, as my older daughter observes, I don’t do beginner level. Ever. I tasted all of the shakes to make sure they didn’t taste as yucky as others thought they sounded like they would be. Chicken, sweet potatoes, a vanilla instant breakfast and milk actually wasn’t bad. Chocolate & peanut butter were good for making beef and peas palatable. The texture was just a tad grainy for me, but the flavor really wasn’t bad, and we got by that way for a year or so and then I was able to introduce the spoon again with the help of a speech therapist. Eventually, of course, we had no choice but to have a feeding tube placed in her abdomen and supplement her diet with formula. My bottom line is always to keep her healthy, but avoiding the inevitable for so long allowed me to form a nice relationship with her. Meal times are social times and I can’t imagine not having had that time to bond normally with someone who has many differences.

I no longer make those milkshakes, but my reputation lives on; at least in the minds of my family. How interesting that we no longer have a blender in the house. I wonder if they’d give me one for Christmas?

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