Our high chair was a hand me down from a friend of a friend who wanted to help out. It was not the fancy wood designer chair of my mommy dreams, but it was the perfect high chair for us. It folded and traveled well. It reclined, which in the beginning was very important. ‘Buddy’ was floppy for a very long time. Even with all these features it wasn’t working…until we got some help from Gay Lloyd Pindar and Mechtild Rast. These are two of our favorite therapists. I get a feeling of calm when we see them. I know they will help us solve any conundrum, and be super supportive of me in the process. We love them.
So way back when ‘Buddy’ was floppy, we were trying to get him to eat. I made all this special food, but he was not interested. I could get it into his mouth and he would swallow, but it wasn’t progressing. He did not actively seek the spoon or the food in any way. We were scrapping it into his mouth and hoping he would swallow and get some down. So we invited our favorite ladies over to seek some help. It was wonderful. The first thing we did was retro fit the high chair so that it offered more support: Foam crescent Velcroed behind the head to keep his head position forward; Rolled up cloth diapers under the cover to secure his hips and legs; another piece of foam with a plastic covered cardboard piece to raise the footrest so his feet were supported. (I later reduced the foam height as he grew.) It turns out being unsupported was distracting ‘Buddy’ from eating.
When a child is low tone, floppy, it takes most of their attention just to keep their body together and organized. If they are sitting upright, it is a herculean effort to do so. Once they have their body fully supported they can then focus on other tasks. This was true of ‘Buddy’ too. Once we altered the highchair, he was clearly more stable and more relaxed.
Next was a simple little change in how we gave him food. Because ‘Buddy’ was not closing his mouth around the spoon, we were scraping the food off using his teeth. Gay Lloyd told me to place the spoon gently on his tongue and watch for a subtle movement of the jaw. Sure enough, as soon as I placed the spoon on his tongue, his mouth began to close around it! ‘Buddy’ was eating!! We still had to go slow, watch close and sometimes stroke his jaw line to encourage him, but the change was remarkable! For the next few months eating got better and better, he even began holding his own spoon! Unfortunately, we hit a road block due to teething and ear ache pain, but I am not too worried. I know he can eat, and he will get it back when he is ready. When he is ready, he will sit at the big boy table with mommy and daddy in his booster seat, and so we say good bye to his well used, well loved and well adapted highchair. Giving thanks to everyone involved with making it work for us.