There I sat, with my husband next to me, at her nine month well check-up. As we ran through the list of milestones with her pediatrician, I assumed she’d already hit every one of them. In my eyes, she passed the nine month evaluation with flying colors. Or so I hoped.
There was one thing in the back of my mind that I knew would come up, but hoped wouldn’t be a big deal. Her eating habits. At nine months old, she was still thriving on bottles and purees, with no interest at all in table food.
I didn’t think this was a bad thing — she was a baby, after all– until my pediatrician suggested that it might be an area of concern. Before I knew it, we were discussing speech therapy and a possible plan of action, in the event that she still wasn’t eating finger foods at the one year mark.
For the next three months, every meal became anxiety-inducing for me. Every time I pureed another fruit or vegetable in the blender, I wondered why she couldn’t eat “normally.” At breakfast, lunch and dinner, I forced her to try Cheerios and Puffs — the “easy” first foods — while she threw them on the floor and cried for her beloved purees.
As the one year mark inched closer, the sinking feeling in my stomach grew. I Googled “feeding therapy” one too many times, and began to come up with worse-case scenarios in my mind every night before I went to sleep.
When her first birthday came and went, and I was still spoon feeding her purees, I made an appointment with a speech therapist for feeding therapy. This wasn’t per the recommendation of my pediatrician, who said I could wait, but per my own impatience. I needed to know what was wrong.
As it turns out, getting into therapy takes time. And during the waiting period, between the time I made the appointment and the actual appointment date, something happened.
A week before her appointment, at 12 1/2 months old, she refused to let me spoon feed her purees. I had no choice but to put food in front of her and hope that she’d eat it by herself.
And she did.
She ate table food that day, the next day, and every day since that.
I cried that day. I cried because I was so thankful that my prayers were answered, but I also cried because I felt so bad that I pushed her, that I got impatient. Instead of trusting that everything would be okay, I trusted Google and the giant comparison trap that is social media.
Just as she did this in her own time, I know that she will do other things in her own time also. Talking, potty training, reading, writing — this was the first of many milestones that she will meet.
She did it. All by herself. In her own time.
In His time.
*In the event that nothing changed, I would have gladly accepted help. I am thankful for the specialists who are available for early intervention, including the therapist who made herself available to answer my questions, even after I’d canceled my appointment.