Sunday, April 30, 2006

Almost Three and Naked

Holding onto her stuffed bear, Boo yells down the stairs, "Mommy! Gabey is taking off his clothes!"
Really?..huh...I have got to see this. Gabe never takes his clothes off out of context. The only acceptable times for Gabe to remove or change clothing are when going to bed, waking up, they are wet or to go swimming, that's it. Screaming and throwing himself to the floor are the consequence for violating the "clothing code of ethics". So I was surprised to say the least.

And there he was.."Butt naked"... literally. So cute his little butt was just standing out in the hall.
"What'cha doing Gabey?"I say smiling.
He turns and goes back into the bathroom. I follow and then bore witness to another surprise, all Gabe's clothes were laying around the training potty.
"Were you going potty?" I cheered.

"Potty," He repeats...excitedly!




"Do you want to put your clothes back on?"
"Yes!" he begins to do his "happy dance".
He didn't do anything in the potty, but he has developed some sort of partnership with it. It has a clear function in his mind. It is there.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Better Made

Gabe's eating program has officially transferred to the snack table at school. It started a little rough today with complete refusal of all foods presented. I sat straddling his chair, as Gabe faced the table and a plate of 4 different bite sized food. He squirmed, said no and tried to get as far away from me on his chair that he could. It would have begun on a more successful note, if the communication between the head of the program and myself had been a little clearer. In my opinion, it seemed that she thought Gabe had successfully completed the eating program, The End. She was under the impression that I was going to take the "Bull by the horns" and ride off into the sunset with a carrot sticking out of Gabe's mouth. I was like...""

We still have to fade the video at home, fade the SD "Open" when wanting Gabe to open his mouth to accept food, and there is that whole thing about Gabe still not really liking the new foods. He accepts the new foods, but he likes the reinforcer given after he eats (ie Potato chip) What happens when the reinforcer is no longer given? The whole idea is for Gabe to be able to be reinforced by the foods he eats, not a randomly given potato chip. We are far from finished. Aren't we? Gabe's eating has been addressed with great success, it's the behavior that we have to direct our attention to now. Am I seeing what she sees? I have been tainted from past experiences with Gabe and eating. Maybe it will be easier than I think and my lenses are just clouded with worry.

I'm hoping that Gabe stays consistent with his "behavior routines". What I mean by that is, Gabe will start something new pretty easily, because it is new and he does not know what to expect. The next time you try to do the same thing is when you are met with great resistance from Gabe. The severity of the resistance is in correlation to the displeasure that the new change brings. After awhile, days or weeks ,again dependent on the severity of change, he typically accepts it. I've seen this happen when we went from Stage 2 baby food to Stage 3. It took about a month for him to accept Stage 3. When we first started ABA Therapy Training, he was good for about 3 weeks, then decided he had had enough. After about a week, he was back to enjoying it all over again. We'll see how it goes with the Eating Program. I want to believe that if we just keep going slow and not push the idea of success, he will not end up resisting.

Gabe's reinforcers for eating are potato chips. He loves them. I can not even descibe the intense relationship that my son has with potato chips. He doesn't get them often, never has, which probably intensifies it. (I hate the idea of feeding my son junk food, but if it will enable him to eat healthy food...) So, while finishing feeding Gabe in the car today, I had begun giving him random reinforcers of potato chips for eating good. After the finishing a bite of green beans, he looked at the first chip and said "U!" And it was a "U" shape. Huh. Then after a few more bites, another chip...."Dinosaur!" Gabe says with a smile. It was. It looked like a long neck. The next was a snake, a boat! Then, it seemed like he was just really pondering the shape of each additional chip. Gabe has an incredible imagination. An imagination! Critical thinking outside of concrete facts and ideas....amazing.

Now I can do a cartwheel for today.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Do You Have a Reservation?

Restaurante Mommy

Restaurante Mommy has reopened under new ownership. They have hired a new chef renowned for her simplistic, yet creative presentation. The decor has been revamped to include a 17 inch widescreen laptop screen for each table. DVD's available upon request. Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom by Scholastic is highly recommended.

Lunch Entree
Monsieur Bob Evans Sausage
Diced California Grapes
Blanched Green Beans
Gluten Free Noodles glazed with butter
Turkey Rice Stir Fry

Dinner Entree
Turkey Rice Stir Fry
Green Beans a la la
Diced Pears
Steamed Carrots

We encourage exploration at Restaurante Mommy. Fingers and food pleasantly mingle together in a loving atmosphere, coupled with cheers and words of encouragement.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone's comments that were left for my last post. It feels great to have my own cheering section. I love having a "Hooray!" thrown my way. It does seem like Gabe has progressed quickly. In fact, they are amazed at his school how well he has done. I do, however, want to clarify a few things that may have been misleading...

1. We have been feeding Gabe 2 meals a day using this program since February. That's 11 weeks, roughly 154 meals. That's a lot of practice in accepting the new foods and enabled us to gradually change the texture of the baby foods. We're still taking data and currently video taping every eating session that occurs 2x daily. (We do not currently do breakfast.)

2. Gabe took his first independent bite of food tonight (Turkey Rice stir Fry using a spoon). He also ate green beans with his fingers! I have been hand feeding him for the last 11 weeks. The next step we will be taking will be to keep adding more foods and transition Gabe to snack time at school with self feeding using intermittent food reinforcers. Gabe gets very anxious when there is too much food in front of him. A plate of food seems to get a swipe from his hand with a very clear "No!" The portions have to be small and the choices few. I am curious about how this will go next week.

3. Each time we do a session, it follows a very rigorous protocol. Each bite is timed, there are vocal commands that are said and reinforcers are given at very calculated moments. It works, but it definitely relies on consistency for accuracy.

If I had to leave all the technical stuff out and ABA language it would look like this...

1. Find something that your child loves, absolutely can not get enough of, like a favorite DVD and a favorite food. It has to be something that can be rewarded instantly and also removed instantly. Then, do not enable them to view, eat or use it away from the kitchen table. It will not be as rewarding if they can use it anytime they want. Why should they eat the new food if they can just wait an hour and see their favorite DVD before bed time?

2. Find 3 foods your child likes and one that you want to introduce. You will rotate these foods. When you get to the new food, tell them to open and place it in their mouth. IMMEDIATELY turn on the video and give a food that they like (cookie, chip, small piece of a goodie). You want to pair the new food with all that is great in the world. The other foods do not get rewarded.

3. Try to introduce slowly. If they like pureed carrots, but not green beans, start by putting small pieces of green beans into the puree. Gradually increase until it becomes only green beans. This could take up to a week or more.

4. Finally, make it a party. Celebrate every attempt. Cheer, rub their back, tell them how great and brave they are. That you believe in them. Chances are, they don't believe they can do it or are too scared too.

Good luck to all of you who struggle with an eating issue with your child. It can be very painful to see them struggle to eat what we take for granted, crisp apples, warm pie, a good Burger, grilled asparagus. The last recommendations/ideas are very basic and do not fully represent the intensive ABA techniques used in Gabe's eating therapy. Just a basic gist. For more information please see the following post The Data Speaks.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

What's For Dinner....

Today I made the best dinner ever....

Turkey nestled in a bed of rice seasoned with a light turkey gravy
Steamed broccoli
Succulent pears
followed by delicately sliced banana

and Gabe ate it.

All of it.

Every last single bite.
No screaming, no gagging, no crying.
I felt like crying.
I never thought we would ever make it here. To a place where food was not the enemy.
So, here we are thanks to many people at Gabe's school and an eating program centered around ABA.
We donated ALL the baby food we had left to a food pantry this past weekend.
Goodbye Gerber and Heinz!!!!!!!!
Hello grapes, broccoli, pears, bananas, turkey, rice, sausage, green beans, wheat free noodles in a light butter sauce and more!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Taking the weekend off :o)

(Gabe at 10 months)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Big, Big Boy Diapers....

So, what does happen after your child grows out of size 6 diapers? Depends for Adults?
Thank God, not exactly. Gabe has been "leaking" at night in the belly region, and is showing a "sideways smile in back" during the day. Yikes! He's not THAT big. He's not even three. Kids are getting bigger nowadays, so why aren't diapers? Potty training before 3 years old ? I don't think so, not for Gabe. Boo did it with a little coaching, but mostly on her terms. So, a great parent at Gabe's school bestowed upon me the coveted secret....

Goodnites Underpants!!!

Boys and Girls
S-M (38-65 lbs)
L-XL (60-125+ lbs)

Does his butt look big to you?

After Gabe's bath, I decided to try them out. Almost $15 bucks for 27 "underpants", but hey Gabe's tush needed some covering. He surprised me with being totally OK with the new diapers. In fact, if I were to interpret Gabe's facial expressions into language, it would've gone something like this....

"Hey mom, what's up with slippin' on my diapers like pants?"

"Wow! No breeze down my backside."


"Do these make my butt look fat?"

Here's to hoping they make it through the night!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

What's been happening around here....

My Birthday

A couple weeks ago, I had a beautiful day spending time doing things I wanted (watching Sex and the City reruns while Gabe slept and Boo was at preschool, shopping at the Gap with my B-Day gift card and munching on candy). I had a few wonderful hours to myself on my birthday. Then a fabulous dinner at home with my family,surrounded by streamers, wearing a glittery crown topped with the number 21, ending with an ice cream cake...YUM.

Gabe and Hide and Seek

SD loves to play hide and seek with Boo and Gabe. What's hilarious, is that they always seem to pick the same place to hide. For awhile it was behind the playroom drapes, then under a blanket and now in the corner by the big, purple chair. Gabe wanted to hide over and over by the chair this morning while SD and Boo went to church. He kept saying "Hiding!" "Hiding!"

I would say, "Where's Gabe?"

"Hi Mommy!"as he burst through the pillows.

"Gabe! Say, Surprise!" I said enthusiastically.

He said it once. I think "Hi Mommy" sounds better anyway :o)

The Power of 3

I got him to come out and agree to play with the farm. He seemed interested at first, until I watched how he played with it. He began to take each part of the farm and put it together. The windmill on top, horse in stall, everything in it's place. He had the horse neigh when I pretended a pig was eating grass. All done he must have thought, because he then chose the three things that he wanted to carry around. They were an orange "coin" from his Leap Frog register, an orange ball and an orange Fisher-Price tiger. I found it intriguing that they were all orange and items from different toy groups. Normally, it would be 3 balls, 3 cars, 3 people, different colors.

This time same color, different items. Huh....

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Wiping the slate clean....

With this beautiful smile....