Monday, February 4, 2013

Learning New Things

I love it when my kids join me in the kitchen.   Each of them know their way around it quite well.  Here Julia is making pie crusts for lemon meringue pie and William is squeezing the lemons.  Adam is peeling potatoes and Sveta is drying dishes.

Dennis is such a sweetheart.  Here he is writing a letter to a girl at school.  Last year when they rode the bus together they were good friends.  This year they ride different buses and are in different classrooms.  She no longer treats him the same.  And yet his heart still beats strong for her.  When he first showed me his letter it said things like, "Please be my friend again.  I love you.  Just be nice to me or I won't like you."  I could feel his pain.
Instead, I encouraged him to write a friendly letter like this:
I still want to be your friend.  Please write back.  What do you like to eat for dinner?  What do you eat for breakfast?  What is your favorite cereal?  What time do you get up in the morning.
He loved my suggestions and began writing immediately.
He wrote.
Then erased.
Then wrote some more.
 Nolan loves when I lay his clothes out each night.  He always reminds me by pointing to the closet.  I lay them out at the foot of his bed.  I do the same for Dennis and Alex but put them out in the hallway so they could get dressed without waking him in the morning.  Tonight he pointed first to his clothes and then out in the hallway.  I moved them.
Who knew that would make Nolan so happy!
And look at this!  Nolan is finally playing with his tricycle that he got for his birthday.  Not sure what he is doing-- but it warms my heart nonetheless to see his imaginative play. 
Sidenote-- A few days ago I had Caleb go and bury my old potatoes that were growing eyes in one of our raised beds.  Yesterday I had Anna bury all of the green onion tops from when we had nachos.  I can't wait to see what else is going to come up this spring.
This picture was taken after Oliver had his eyes dilated at the Ophthalmologist's office.  The kids couldn't get over how big his pupils looked after he got home.  No worries though-- the doctor said his eyes look great! 
Speaking of Oliver-- today we had a big scare.  During snack time he began to choke on something he has eaten 3 or 4 times before with no problems.  I took him and bent him over my arm while slapping his back firmly to get him to spit it out.  I reached in and got a piece out and then held him up to see how he was doing.  His face was red from the blood rushing to his head but I didn't realize that at the time. I figured he must still be choking.  I had one of the kids begin to dial 911 just as his color returned and he was breathing normally.  They hung up or so they thought and the operator called back.  She wanted to talk to me and was very thorough in making sure everything was alright.  I was incredibly thankful.   Looking back it feels like we lived this in slow motion, but in reality it was probably only 30 seconds or so.  Still-- I learned a MEGA lesson today.  No more taking chances with food that Oliver has the potential to choke on.  Not until he has enough teeth to chew and learns how to chew up his food.  He chews a little, but I would call it more like gumming.
Any tips on teaching a child to chew?
Lastly, I share this adorable video of Nolan with you.  He is dancing to a Wii game and doing an awesome job of it I might add.


  1. Hi!This is so awesome to see all the children dancing and having fun together. Pat

  2. Christine,

    So glad the kids are doing well. When we were fostering our 7 and under a about a year ago I too was so very nervous about their eating and learning to chew, I was frantic around meal time. A friend of mine, who also had a little one at the time sat the baby around the table and gave him a little box of Nerd candies. I was going to have a heart attack from fear and she told me to chill. The candy dissolves enough in their mouth that they play with it without choking and learn to chew it too.

    It worked like a charm! Down side it's sugar.

    Hope it Helps.

    Cottage Making Mommy

  3. Maybe you could throw O's food into the blender to mush it up some and then you could mush it a little less over time as he learns to chew and swallow. Just an idea. When Ty was a baby and Rick was in Saudi, I'd throw whatever I was eating into the blender and feed him the same thing.

  4. Nolan and Oliver are so cute!!
    Wondering if you've heard from Sasha lately?

  5. Hi Anon (If you could please leave a nmae next time so I call you by name instead of Anon that would make it feel more personal)

    Anyway-- thanks for asking about Sasha. We talk frequently on Skype. Right now he is in Russia with an Aunt trying to find work. Things are still hard for him, but he is getting by.

  6. We have similar issues with Dominic choking from time to time. He'll eat fine for a while and then suddenly choke on the simplest foods. When that happens, I just spoon feed him for a day or two. Also, we cut long thin strips of food so that he can't shove it all in his mouth, so he has to bite and chew it a bit to get it off. You could also try one of those mesh baby feeders. You put a chunk of food and they have to chew to get it through the holes, no chance of choking.

  7. Speech therapists have sponges and texture things they use to teach chewing; I wish I knew what they are called, but they helped my son.

  8. We used muslin feeders. They look like a pacifier, but instead of a teat, they have a fine mesh. Designed to let babies chew on fruit (chilled mango for teething, great!), but we're wonderful for letting my daughter chew all kinds of foods safely - it will only come through the mesh once it's been chewed to purée consistency. We put all sorts in them, including bits of pizza and burger! Let her join in with everyone else whilst developing a strong jaw.

    Then the other key to chewing is tongue function. You have to be able to manipulate a bolus of food around your mouth in order to chew it. We had to wait until my daughter was 3 before she could understand directions and we could teach her this (she had bulbar palsy so couldn't pick it up automatically). But early games to improve tongue control - smearing chocolate spread around lips and licking it off, playing copying games where you poke your tongue from left to right, then up and down, try to roll it, move it backwards and forwards; just anything really which will make him more aware of where his tongue is in his mouth.

    Not sure if you see an SLT with an interest in feeding, but they should have lots of ideas if so. We sent tongue exercises into preschool; everyone enjoyed excuses to stick their tongues out and flap them!

  9. Posted a long comment but it's gone.

    Chewy tubes (OT/SLT) may help. We also gad mesh feeders which looked like pacifiers, but has muslin pouches instead of Yeats. You put food in and the child chews away; can't choke on lumps as it will only come through the mesh as a purée. And tongue exercises.

  10. Sounds like it is time for a feeding clinic and/or speech therapy. Both can teach chewing to a child having troube chewing. The biggest risk with him choking all the time is him getting food into his lungs. Which could make him one sick little boy.


I find your comments so inspiring! Thanks for visiting our family blog, and sharing your thoughts.