After a month-long hiatus from Periactin, I started Raya on it again yesterday to see if we could get her eating a little more. It seems like every time we cycle her on it, we discover a new side effect. The first week she took it, she had terrible insomnia. There was also some extra excitability and restlessness. I was slightly disappointed as I had been expecting the traditional drowsiness that accompanies antihistamines. :)
This time around, the insomnia has been replaced by drowsiness. It's much nicer to live with. I feel kind of bad for her, she's gone back and forth between wide awake and not able to keep her eyes open all day long. I took her to OT this morning and within 30 minutes it was lights out for Raya. she slept most of the session while her therapist had her in the swing and then did deep pressure massage on her. She stayed asleep until I was buckling her into her carseat, woke up briefly, slept for a few more minutes, woke up and was WIDE awake for about 5 minutes, and then fell asleep again. When we got home, she laid down on the couch for a few minutes and then finally woke up for real.
As far as the effectiveness of the Periactin, the jury is still out. She's been telling me all day today, "Mommy, humbwee." So I ask her what she wants to eat, give her whatever she asks for, and she doesn't eat it. It does seem to be making her hungry and she's starting to recognize that she's hungry but that doesn't make up for her lack of desire to eat. She's still not making the connection between hunger and eating, nor does she comprehend that eating is necessary to sustain life. I really don't think it's fair for a 2 year old to have to even TRY to comprehend something so abstract and complex. It makes me sad if I think about it too much so I don't. Mostly when her feeding therapist comes over, which happens every Tuesday now.
This afternoon we talked a lot about the need to keep food interesting for her so that she doesn't get distracted. She's very easily distracted and gets visually overstimulated fairly easily. We had a family gathering for Easter and for me, those are always met with mixed feelings. Of course I love getting together with family and I love having the kids have a chance to play with their cousins, but Raya doesn't have the same experience that all the other kids do. She was a little overwhelmed with everything that was going on. There were 12 other kids running around, a lot of adults talking, tile floors & high ceilings echoing, and a lot of things to see. Instead of her normal chatty busy little self, she wanted me to hold her the whole time and didn't say 2 words to anybody the whole time we were there. On the plus side, she wasn't freaking out like she has before when she's been in similar situations. I just felt bad that she was not having the same fun experience that all the other kids were having with each other. It's really strange to see Raya acting subdued and wanting me to hold her when there's fun to be had. That's how you know she's stressed out. She also had no interest in going outside to hunt for Easter eggs when the other kids were looking for them but she did have fun making a little Easter picture with Grandma's pretty stickers.
On the bright side, she took some tastes of the homemade salsa. She really does prefer strong flavors like spicy and salty over sweet things. While I was holding her, she licked 3 or 4 small bites of salsa off of a chip (not the same chip every time, I wasn't double dipping :) so I asked her if she wanted a bowl of salsa and she said yes. I fixed her a little bowl with some salsa and a scoop of sour cream and a couple of chips and sat her at the table with some of the other kids. I fully expected her to eat it and I think she was planning on it but as soon as I put her down, all she could do was stare at everybody else that was at the table.
Oh well, at least she had some tastes before that. :) She also had a couple bites of strawberry shortcake. It just takes her forEVER to finish even the smallest bite of something. She's starting to move the food around in her mouth a lot more which is good, but now she's pocketing a lot of food in her cheeks. For now, her feeding therapist thinks (and I agree) that it's okay to let her do that because it's her way of experiencing her food and she does need to build up an awareness of what it feels like to have food in her whole mouth rather than just on the end of her tongue like she's been doing up until recently. When I actually sit with Raya and make her take small bites that she can manage and only give her access to one bite at a time, she does much better but she loses interest very quickly, gets frustrated that I'm not letting her be in control, and it takes a very, very long time for her to finish any significant amount of food. I'm not the most patient person and I have 3 other kids that need attention too, so those are the things that make all of this feel overwhelming to me. Thank goodness I don't feel that way all the time! :)
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