We moved into our new home in Kansas in fall 2009. Thankfully we had lived in the area long enough to actually befriend neighbors before moving into our home. Our church was across the street from our new neighborhood. I was invited to a mommy and kid play group. Weekly Friday happy hours! I thank God for good girl friends. These fellow mommies loved on us during this season. Being a mom of an infant and a three year old was hard.
I was a mothering, moving into a new home, and our extended family was not close by. A sweet mom friend Kim kept both of our kids on move in day. We are still friends today. She blessed me with friendship, laughter, and lots of hand me downs. Another friend, Shay, knew what it was like to move with kids in tow. She helped me unpack boxes one day with the help of her kids. We set up our kitchen in a couple of hours.
Friends matter. You need adult interaction, and you need encouragement. Hands on help and verbal cheers of women and men who have walked the parenting road just ahead of you are awesome gifts.
What was ahead in terms of our feeding disorder journey? Reflecting, I realized quite quickly Bryan wasn’t a fan of baby food or brushing his teeth with that infant toothbrush. By age one when we had his birthday party, he didn’t want much to do with the yummy cake and frosting?! What?! His older brother devoured his first birthday cake in style. Bryan cried at his first birthday.
He was also not talking as much as our first son had at that age. I’m a speech therapist so I have high alerts and high expectations. Is our son autistic? Is he speech delayed? I ran it by our pediatrician at the first year annual check up. She agreed to an early intervention team evaluation at our home. Most states in the USA have programs for children birth to 3 years that will send a speech, occupational, and/or physical therapist to you home for FREE! Early intervention counts. If you think your child is delayed ASK your pediatrician for an evaluation. YOU know your child better than your child’s doctor.
Looking at our boys at that time my husband didn’t think there was a problem. He thought I was unfairly comparing Bryan to his very verbal big brother. However, I was right—the early intervention team agreed he needed speech and occupational services. I wanted to be mom…not the speech therapist. I highly recommend you seek out providers for your children who can be objective and educate you and your family. A diagnosis is NOT a bad thing. It is indicative of a need. Your child needs help, and so do you as a parent.
As a parent I had overlooked the fact that our son wasn’t turning to soft speech. When calling his name the speech therapist and I noticed Bryan did not turn to look. I thought he was hearing, and he never had an ear infection. BUT, when we went to an audiologist (hearing specialist), we found out his tympanogram was flat. His ears were fluid filled and the tympanic membrane was not reverberating sound. Kids who have trouble hearing are often speech/language delayed. We tried allergy medicines to try to clear the clear runny nose and ear fluid. It did not work so we chose to have an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor place ear tubes in our 18 month old son.
I’m a huge fan of ear tubes! It is a minor outpatient surgery, and it makes a world of difference. Young children have flat Eustachian tubes (the ear tube that connects the ear to the nose). Thus, fluid can settle and cause hearing difficulties and infection. By age 5 years the Eustachian tubes angle down to the nose so fluids snot out better, but by then the critical window of speech language development has closed. So in summary…for us, ear tubes were needed. Bryan got them and within six months his hearing and speech concerns were gone. Early intervention counts.
Our concerns about textures on his hands and feet diminished as we engaged in at home activities with our occupational therapist. She also helped him accept teeth brushing. He was talking at the age appropriate level, and we were discharged from early intervention services. However, the eating saga continued. Bryan had a strong preference for carbs, and carbs only. That preference remains today, five years later.