Five months ago today Asher and I stepped off that last plane and our new life together as a family began. The journey to get Asher eating safely - and relatively normally - was one of the first things on my agenda. There are lots of videos in this post but I promise I tried to only post the shortest ones!
Asher was feeding himself in the orphanage, but his technique left much to be desired, plus he at in that super-fast orphan speed, afraid the food would get taken away. I decided to feed him myself for a couple different reasons. There is the whole bonding thing, him learning that he CAN be dependent on someone else, and it's not a bad thing. Then there is the forgetting part. Forgetting how he used to do it so he could relearn a more appropriate way to eat.
This is Asher eating the first week home. His tongue was still huge from years of sucking on it. He did use his lips more than he does now, though not effectively. Mostly his tongue acted as his lower lip.
Then there was that first time I gave him finger foods. Poor kid thought I'd lost my mind, I'm sure. Nobody had every let him touch his food before! Couple of things to point out: 1) his fine motor skills wee about 6 months at this point. 2) he has a hard time getting food IN his mouth. 3) He uses his whole hand to keep the food in since he doesn't know how to close his lips.
And oh the oral motor work we did! I look back at this video and he's still such a baby! Just 5 months ago.
There was the day I decided to teach him to sign "more". Oh how he cracked us up when he didn't want to do something. "I can't see you so you can't see me!" HA! Funny, we don't see this little bit of spunk anymore. (excuse the mess in the background, we were getting ready to remodel. Remember that nightmare???? UGH)
Then there was the day I taught him how to use a pincer grasp. He wasn't very happy with me, and it was HARD work!
A few weeks ago we started feeding and speech therapy. He has 1/2 hour of feeding and 1/2 hour of speech each week. (two separate sessions with two different therapists) First we worked on initial biting.
This video is kind of long. The first few seconds you'll see what progress he's made! And gone is the wild boy who needs to be contained in a high chair! LOL
And here is today! Two days ago, after watching the feeding therapist and getting ideas of my own, I went back to spoon feeding Asher myself. I wanted that tongue IN and him using his lips. I knew he was capable of it, but until I observed the feeding therapist didn't really know how to help him. Yesterday I changed up what I was doing, and here he is at lunch today!
My plan is to to feed him myself for a month, let him develop some muscle memory (and basically forget what he used to do with his tongue) then let him start feeding himself again. I'm so proud of Asher and how far he's come. I think his teacher would be pretty shocked to see videos of the "baby" we had here just 5 months ago!