If you’re Facebook Fan then you know that I got a call on Tuesday asking that I bring Charlie in on Wednesday for a feeding evaluation.
It’s hard to describe the joy of knowing that your child is about to be entered in the special kids version of a spelling bee—one where no one really wins and with even the best outcomes, you’re not going to be called “normal.”
I was told to bring a variety of foods, so Wednesday at ten o’clock found me making mini-pizzas and grilled cheese sandwiches which is actually just two different kinds of bread with cheese. Shut up. I brought Goldfish crackers too.
We arrived promptly at eleven as instructed and I am told to wait with two other families whose children are there for enrollment in the gifted program. I don’t need to point out the irony. But I will. I’m there so they can see if my child can eat and these people are there because their kids are so incredibly smart they are simply unable to mingle with the riff raff normal folk. Can’t believe they let us sit in the same area.
One little problem: No chair for Charlie to sit in.
They brought in a Rifton chair with a strap at the waist, but the waist isn’t really Charlie’s problem area. The problem is that he tucks his pelvis and slides out of a rigid chair. All of the chairs we use with him have a thing-a-ma-bob that goes between the legs that prevents him from doing this. I looked it up and apparently it’s not actually called a “thing-a-ma-bob” it’s called an “abduction block.”
Yeah. That thing. They didn’t have one.
The OT decides that she will simply hold Charlie in position. She’s probably fifty-five and the image of her bear-hugging Charlie into the chair is pretty comical.
I laid out my array of cheese covered breads and being his mother’s child, Charlie went for them like pre-pubescent girls after Justin Beiber. He runs his hand across the table, he shoves food in his mouth, drops it, picks up something else, puts something in his right hand for later, lunges to reach things that are clearly not for him. It’s fun.
Meanwhile, I’m answering what have to be the most detailed eating-related questions I’ve ever heard. There was basic stuff about history of pneumonia, suck quality, tests done, etc.
and then it got crazy.
Does he store food in his cheeks? Apparently Alvin, Simon and Theodore are looking for a fourth.
Can he breathe while he’s eating? Since he’s still alive, I’m gonna go with yes.
Is there anything he has trouble chewing? I said steak and SHE WROTE IT DOWN. I have trouble chewing steak. Besides, last time I checked, the school menu has no mention of filet. Hell, I’ve worked in schools, I’ll be lucky if he sees any meat besides the pre-formed meat patty variety.
In the end, he passed with flying colors. He has something called “rotational chewing;” he clears his cheeks; he eats hard and soft foods. He will continue to be followed by the dysphagia team because there’s no victory like the one they immediately snatch away from you.
They’re also going to add “thing-a-ma-bob” to his list of required equipment.