It appears that Elsie eating is so normal to me that I have stopped taking pictures of it, ha ha! I was looking through my camera for a cute picture to put up with this post, but didn't find a single new one. I'll get right on it, don't you worry!
Let's see, what has been going on? Looking back at my last post about chicken pot pie and implementing a more structured snacking schedule, it's easy for me to see the improvements that Elsie has made since then. Mealtimes are definitely more productive for her now, as she's not snacking all day. I've seen some big improvements in the amount of food she is eating at each meal. Elsie's not a big breakfast person, but neither is Clayton, and sometimes Evje too, so I'm not too worried about Elsie not always eating much at breakfast.
*Side note: personally, I don't get not being a big breakfast eater AT ALL. I mean, come on, it's been like over 12 HOURS since you last ate! How can you NOT be hungry?? Eating breakfast is one of the first things that I have always done almost immediately after waking up. Anyway, whatever.*
Elsie still has an occasional spit-out, but it is so much fewer and far between. I no longer have to micro-manage her bites to make sure that she doesn't stuff everything into her mouth all at once. She has learned what size of portions she can manage in her mouth, and usually doesn't over fill her mouth. Occasionally she does overfill her mouth, and gags a bit, but guess what --- that's a TYPICAL response to a full mouth! Every kid will gag when their mouth is stuffed full! So again, not worried about that. She usually only spits out her food now if it is something that she tried and doesn't like, or when she has overfilled her mouth. Again, typical! Even then, she only spits out her food maybe once a day, if that.
Elsie's eating skills are getting better and better each day. She used to have a hard time swallowing meats, even though she loves meat, but her ability to swallow it has greatly improved. If she doesn't over fill her mouth, then she is usually successful with meats now. It has also been fun to watch Elsie's food preferences develop, as she eats more and more foods. Some of Elsie's favorite foods are cheese, chicken nuggets, pizza, mac & cheese, and avocado, just to name a few. Typical kid foods, huh? How cool is that? And on the opposite side, we've found out foods that Elsie doesn't like. She doesn't love most vegetables, but will eat some of them. She's usually enjoys savory foods more than sweet. Most surprising, at least to me, is that Elsie usually does not like chocolate. Whaaa??? How someone can not like chocolate is just as confusing to me as not liking breakfast, but oh well. Gotta love her individuality!
One of the parts that I love the most is going on family outings or to someone else's house to eat. Most of the people we are around are aware of Elsie's situation, but they don't usually comment on her eating skills. I, however, am hyper-aware of her eating skills. I revel in watching her eat around other people, because it's so normal. There is absolutely nothing that she does while eating now that sets her apart from other two year olds. Our diaper bag before the wean would always have a few syringes and an extension set, plus either a pouch of Real Food Blends, or a jar of frozen homemade blended food. Now our diaper bag contains fruit snacks, or crackers, or cereal, and cups of milk. She is a normal, typical child, and it makes my mommy heart so proud. Elsie has overcome so much in her short life so far. It never stops to amaze me.