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OT progress check & some new foods

Every now and then it's nice to go back in my archives and look at old posts to see how far we've come. I was reading back through the post from our first month of OT back in January 2011 and it's pretty crazy how much things have changed since then. I have learned SO much about the purposes of OT for children with special needs and I learn a little more every time we go. Then there's Raya. Back when we first started, I really didn't comprehend why she needed OT. I knew very little about occupational therapy and what I did know most definitely didn't apply to my 1 year old. She had never been in an accident that resulted in her needing to re-learn her ADLs (activities of daily living) and she didn't have significant fine motor delays. But yeah, like I said, I've learned a LOT since then. :)
And then there's Raya. That girl has come SO far. When we first started OT, we worked on getting her to touch various textures. The only one she liked was sandpaper, and the only way we could get her to touch anything else (especially the hardwood & the fluffy soft ones) was if she was standing, sitting or touching the sandpaper at the same time. She couldn't handle going into those play tunnels, touching/sitting on/bouncing on a big exercise ball, or being on any kind of swing. And then there was the ball pit. Once she learned what the ball pit was, she would launch herself into a full-on anxiety/panic/meltdown upon the mere sight of the ball pit. The first time her OT tried to dip her feet into it, Raya reacted like she was trying to dip her feet in hot lava. The first time we actually put her IN the ball pit, her OT got in and I put Raya on her lap. She laid there stiff as a board with the look of a frightened wild animal on her face and screamed until we got her out. That was a long time ago. Well over a year ago, but I don't remember exactly when. Yesterday after she had finished her OT session, for which she was very cooperative, her OT let her play in the ball pit for a minute. The last 2 or 3 times she's gotten into the ball pit, instead of climbing in carefully like she used to, she flings herself in head first with her feet up in the air. When she did it yesterday, I just couldn't help but laugh and decided that I'd better video it and send it to her first OT who never got to see Raya get that excited about the ball pit. :)

I could watch that video all day long. I think it's hilarious but I also love seeing her thoroughly enjoy something that used to be absolutely terrifying to her. One day, maybe she'll be so enthused about eating dinner. :)

Speaking of eating, she's gotten adventurous this weekend and tried some new things. (or re-tried some things she previously hated) We had baked potatoes for dinner on Sunday. She likes potatoes but only if they're in chunks so I cooked her one and then put it in the freezer to cool it down so it wouldn't be mushy. She wanted butter on it, of course, because she'd rather just eat the margarine by itself straight out of the tub, so I put it on some of the chunks. To the surprise of nobody, she went straight for the pieces of margarine and then asked me for more. I told her that if she ate another piece of potato, I'd give her more butter. I got her to eat about 1/3 of her very small baked potato that way and the margarine she consumed in the process probably tripled the amount of calories. :) I could tell she was about done with the potato when she put a piece in her mouth and then made a yuck face and said, "Meh, I non't lite-it!" And then I heard myself say another one of those things I never thought I'd hear myself say, "Raya, if you spit out that bite of potato, I am NOT giving you anymore butter!"
Yep, she's wearing a shirt that doesn't belong to her and it's inside out and backwards.
She went to the grocery store with me yesterday and we looked for corn-based foods that we thought she might like. In the chip aisle, they have some Chester's Puffcorn (butter flavored) that's supposed to be like popcorn only without all the hulls that get stuck in your teeth. I never give her popcorn because she chokes on the hulls but I thought she might like this stuff because she likes butter. Last night we all sat down to the table and I brought the bag of puffcorn for her to have. We were eating ravioli and garlic toast, both of which she can't eat, so I offered her puffcorn instead. She saw the big kids with garlic toast on their plates and yelled, "I want that!" and then started crying when I told her it would make her tummy sick. I opened the bag of puffcorn and she got mad & didn't want any and asked for ice, so Donny got her an ice cube.

I set the ice cube on the table next to me and told her that she could have her ice after she licked a piece of puffcorn. She begrudgingly licked it. When she got a good taste and realized that it tasted like butter, she suddenly didn't want ice anymore and wanted puffcorn instead. She ended up eating about 50 calories' worth of it which really means nothing in the grand scheme of things since it was basically 50 calories of butter flavored air, but at least she ate something new! :)

I also got some caramel apple flavored candy corn yesterday and Raya found the bag and stuffed her face with it. She came into my office and tapped me on the shoulder, and when I turned around, she looked like she had bitten into a packet of fake stage blood.
The sleepy-looking red eyes add a nice effect to the picture, don't they? :) She liked it.

And last but not least, she had rediscovered bananas. Only this time she actually seemed to like it. I've tried giving her banana many times before to no avail. She has always refused them with a passion. Today though, she was asking me for "marsh-a-mallows" and I told her she had to eat something healthy first like grapes or a banana. To my surprise, she asked for a banana. I gave her a couple inches off of one end and fully expected her to taste it and say, "Meh {insert yuck face} I non't LITE it!" but she didn't. She actually ate all of it and then asked for another piece. Amazing stuff! Since she's never been exposed to bananas, we'll have to wait & see how her body reacts to them. Given our previous food experiences, I'm no longer allowing myself to get too excited about seeing her eat things but I'm glad she ate something other than crackers & dry cereal for a change. :) 
(Let me clarify that she's still below 200 calories a day for oral intake so we're nowhere near the 1000 calories she requires in a day, but finding her some variety and getting her to eat fruit is another little baby step in the right direction.)

She's still on her little hugging kick where she needs to be hugged every 10 minutes. These aren't just little love pats either, she wants to squeeze you and have you squeeze her back. I walked into the kitchen Sunday morning because I could hear the girls giggling and Kaida sounding like she was getting squished. Apparently Raya had needed a hug and Kaida was available.

Those pictures makes Raya look HUGE! A 5 year old holding a 2 year old just looks ridiculous. Funny girls!


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