An Ellie Rule: It’s the little things

I’ve heard and experienced many things about the wonderful qualities having a child with Down Syndrome adds to your life, the things you learn from them, and the ways they change your perspective on life and beauty, and one of those things is enjoying the little things. Although I know there are a lot of children who have more serious eating issues than Ellie, eating has always been a bit of a challenge. The eating trials of today don’t even compare to the issues we faced prior to heart surgery, but meals still face their own frustrations. When Ellie first began eating solid foods, she hated flavors, so we slowly added more and more variations to her rice cereal to get her use to different tastes. Her weak gag reflux makes food with thicker consistencies difficult. So she remains on a puréed baby food diet, but at each meal I try a little texture. To make this whole idea of eating even more difficult is the dexterity necessary to pick up a tiny piece of food and get it to and into your mouth. I never thought of the difficulty of this until I watched Ellie trying to put a Blueberry in her mouth, a food with a consistency she doesn’t even like. Today during lunch Ellie picked up a piece of finger food all by herself and put it in her mouth and ate it without gagging, THREE TIMES! Mya and I cheered and sang, laughed and took pictures. Ellie was beaming with pride. I considered calling Travis on his work phone to give him the news. And then, I relished in the joy that this triumphant celebration isn’t for a birthday or a graduation, it is for three bites of food. But I suppose it is also for small accomplishments meaning big things, and for hard work, and for lunch. How wonderful that on a rainy Thursday, we had a celebration. Here’s to the little things!

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