Sunday, 14 April 2013

Taking The Food Hill ... Step by Step

Last week we had quite a few accomplishments to celebrate.

First, Mr. Alex had his best introduction to a new food ever.  We've decided to target grilled cheese sandwiches as our next solid food introduction.  Grilled cheese is available at just about every family friendly restaurant and even more sophisticated places usually have bread with cheese as an appetizer.  If Alex were comfortable with eating that, it would open the door to have the whole family eat out without having to bring food for him. 

We started with toast with peanut butter.  He already likes bread with peanut butter so this is just a small texture step.  It only took him a few weeks to accept it.  Huge progress from the 18 months it took him to accept bread. 

Next step, toast with a small skin of melted cheese.  He took it right away.  No protest or bribing necessary.

He also independently decided he likes croissants.  Soft, sweet bread ... can't blame him for that.  They're now a handy portable snack for him and a great motivator to try new things.  We were at a family brunch and there was a plate full of croissants sitting in front of him as people passed around various dishes.  Suddenly we noticed that Alex had helped himself to a croissant and was happily breaking it into bits and stuffing it in his mouth.  At first we were sure it was a fluke but of the dozen croissants, he ate four of them.

And finally, our grand opus: the family dinner.  It's taken awhile for Alex to get comfortable with eating family dinner with the rest of us.  His distaste for solid food isn't just for himself.  He also hates watching other people eat it.  (Much in the same way I hate watching other people eat bugs ... call it cultural empiricism if you want but it's still gross.)

Usually he has his pureed food while Dave, Nathan and I eat a meal.  But this year, we've been working on getting him to eat pasta and he's learned to accept it with grace if not enthusiasm.  I decided it was time for the full on approach.

Last week, we all sat down to eat the same thing: a bowl of rotini pasta with spaghetti sauce and ground beef.  And Alex ate every bite. 

He wasn't happy about it and we needed to use the croissant bribe as an incentive, but he did it.  It's the first time we've ever had the same thing all together as a family.

Two years ago, I wouldn't have believed we'd see so many changes so quickly.  Clearly we've crossed some kind of tolerance threshold where each new introduction makes subsequent introductions easier to accept for him.  We still have to be cautious.  Each new food is still stressful for Alex and thus we try to give him a month between each new introduction before pulling out something new.

Our next pie in the sky dream: dinner out together as a family.

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