Wednesday, 18 April 2012

So Many Firsts

Big boy now
Real little boy

My little man is growing up! I left the room for just a moment today and when I came back in, I couldn't find Felix anywhere. Aaron and I both went in opposite directions to look for him and found him at the other end of the house. He had found a little Hot Wheels car and was sitting on the floor holding it beautifully between his thumb and first finger pushing it along and making a noise (his interpretation of a car noise). He didn't even notice us when we came into the room he was concentrating so hard! I think his days of playing with  baby toys are numbered now. Good thing our Grandson is due in 2 weeks or I might be tempted to have another one :)

Family fun

Bekah and Aaron had Felix laughing so hard!
I took advantage of having Bekah here to stay with us, by having her babysit Felix so I could go and get a haircut today (the last time I had a haircut was September last year!) Felix was having such a fun time playing with her that he didn't even notice me leave. When I got home Bekah said she and Aaron had something to show me. She laid Felix onto the floor and her and Aaron grabbed one end of a sheet each. They lowered the sheet over the top of Felix and then they lifted it up really fast so it ballooned up. They kept lowering it onto him then lifting it up again. He was cracking up laughing so hard. I don't think I've ever seen him laughing so much.

Fork feeding

Tonight was the third night of Felix feeding himself successfully, but with a lot less mess. For those of you struggling to get your little ones with Down Syndrome to feed themselves, you may find that this works for you. I thought I would try something different and gave Felix a little plastic fork (from the 'Take and Toss' range); it is very chunky and easy to hold. I cut his roast vegetables into bite size squares and helped him stab the fork into them. It was then really simple for him to bring the food to his mouth without it falling off like it does with a spoon. He didn't get any in his lap and by the end of his meal, he was pushing down on the fork to get it into the food by himself. After he had finished, I cut a banana up the same way and he was able to eat that with the fork as well. It was one of those very, very proud moments. It also made cleaning him up so much easier!

Such a cutie
Introducing solid food can cause many headaches for parents of children with Down Syndrome. Some have a very low tolerance for any lumps and will frequently choke. Others are very fussy eaters and will flatly refuse to eat anything but their favourite food. Some will refuse any solid food at all. Finding a cup which our kids will drink from can also be a challenge, with many parents spending a fortune on different spouts, straws or bottles.

The cups and forks we use
I totally understand this frustration. I bought about 8 different cups in my desperation to get Felix to drink anything but breast milk; finally finding the cheapest 'Take and Toss' ones to be the best. I wish I'd known that first. I would have saved myself a lot of money!

Feeding Felix solids has become more of a challenge as he's getting older. I have tried to persist and try different ways to encourage him to eat until I discover something that works. If he refuses a particular food one day, I try and reintroduce it another day. At the moment he loves rice, but doesn't want vegetables (unless they're roasted), so I've started making up portions of fried rice or risotto filled with shredded vegetables. He can eat all the rice he wants, but he's still getting all his vegetables. My hubby and I have also found that Felix will eat a lot more if he's allowed to eat off our plate at dinner time. It might be exactly what we've served him, but if it's off our plate he will wolf it down (we try not to do this often, but on days when he's barely eaten anything we figure it's better than nothing at all).

We try and make mealtimes as relaxed as possible and don't turn it into a battle of wills. We keep things fun and offer a variety of food, and bit by bit we are working out what works for Felix.

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