Most of you are probably familiar with the fact that Elvie has not been a fan of solid food. We tried every puree available, let her try everything we were having for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, and have offered her various foods that we were eating on normal days if they were safe for her. Until last night, the only things she would tolerate were Baby MumMums, crusty bread she could suck on, and thick pretzel sticks that she could lick the salt off of. Everything else was met with looks of disgust and occasionally intentional gagging. We thought it was funny more than anything.
I know that a lot of people, including those involved in Elvie’s medical care, were concerned that she wasn’t eating any solids yet. They’d ask me the same questions. “Purees?” No. “Did you try avocado or banana?” Yes, and she’s not a fan. “Yogurt?” Gagged on it. She just wasn’t interested, and I wasn’t interested in pushing her. Our home health nurse even went so far as to recommend feeding therapy, but I just nodded and shrugged it off. I wasn’t worried. As long as she was gaining weight while still on formula, I felt that the best thing was to allow her to take her time. I know my baby, and I was certain she would eat when she was ready.
For the first five months of Elvie’s life, her nutritional needs were misunderstood. To further complicate matters, somewhere along the way, she picked up both a parasite and a multi-organism urinary tract infection. When we took custody of her, she was malnourished and sick. By the time we got her got her healthy and eating formula normally, she was six months old. It’s always made sense to me that she would take a little longer to try solid foods; after all, it took six whole months for her to get to a place where bottles were meeting her needs. If I were her, I’d just want to stick with that, too. So I let her.
Yesterday when we went to the pediatrician, we discussed Elvie’s nutritional status. Though I know that she’d like to see Elvie eating solid foods, our pediatrician agreed that it was best to just keep offering food and let Elvie eat when she was ready. We discussed keeping Elvie on formula instead of milk until she was eating normal amounts of solid food, and that was that.
Then we came home, I made dinner, and Elvie actually decided to eat some. Just like that. She started with broccoli. I was stunned.
It’s not that I didn’t expect it to happen. It’s just that I didn’t expect it to happen quite so soon. Jarod, Zinashi, and I all cheered and told her what a good job she was doing, and she looked at us like we were nuts before deciding to clap along with us. (Clapping is one of her favorite activities, after all.) I guess she likes to play it cool, acting like she’d been putting food in her mouth all along. At the end of the meal, she hadn’t eaten a huge quantity – she’s still new at picking up the food and getting it into her mouth, not to mention figuring out how to swallow it – but she ate willingly and tried a little bit of everything we put in front of her.
Once again, Elvie has exceeded our expectations. I guess we should start expecting more. What will she do tomorrow? I can’t wait to find out. Maybe she’ll fly.