Charlie seems to know when I’m starting to feign enthusiasm for her therapy. I think she may strategically choose those moments to master a skill. It is almost like she is saying, “Don’t give up on me!”. Similarly to the day she learned to use her arms, today was one of those days that she unexpectedly moved forward when I greatly needed it.
Because I did not sleep well last night (Charlie was restless and decided she needed a mid night feeding), I have been dragging through my routine today. Halfheartedly, I carried out her lunch time feeding therapy. Afterwards, I fed Charlie her bottle and seated her in her seat. She watched intently as I started to devour my lunch. As I often do when she seems interested in my food, I handed her a sliver of my grilled cheese sandwich. She grabbed it and stared at my blankly. In return, I maintained eye contact with her as I took a bite. I dramatically said, “MMMMMM, that’s so yummy!” as I chewed. She responded with a laugh and smile.
As I turned away, Charlie squealed. I looked and she had taken her piece up to her mouth. She was gumming on it and making her “mmmmm” noise. I cheered. She reveled in my delight. We (her feeding therapist, dad, and I) have been trying to teach her hand to mouth feeding for weeks. I suppose she decided that today was going to be the day. To have proof for her dad, I snapped a picture.
She continued to gum and gnaw at it. After transforming it into a manageable texture, she consumed about a quarter of what I gave her. In addition, I offered her a peach slice off of my plate (which did not turn out so well). She drifted off to sleep shortly afterwards. I found myself rejuvenated by the pleasant surprise.