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How an Avocado Did Me In

Posted Mar 31 2010 12:00am

I was going through old pictures last night, reliving Springs and Easters of years gone by. In the midst of it all, I came across these photos:

They're from a year ago. I remember I took them because I was so thrilled at the time that I had gotten Finn to eat some avocado - he actually seemed to like it (not that you can tell from the picture!). I'm sure I thought at the time that we were well on our way to all manner of table foods.

I felt really, really sad seeing these pictures last night. A whole year has passed since then and guess what: Finn still only eats pureed baby food. Table foods? Yeah, right. Oh, he'll scrounge the occasional Goldfish cracker discarded on the floor by one of his sibs, and he'll sometimes even manage to get it into his mouth. Sometimes he'll suck it till it's soft and mushy and swallow it, but he's as likely as not to gag till he's red in the face and hurl whatever's in his tummy. Sometimes I can get him to take a few bites of a cheese omelette or some oatmeal, or a bit of cookie placed strategically between gum and cheek. But other than that, it's strictly baby food and mama milk.

What I'm getting at is that there has been very little progress over the last year in the way of eating. I know that with time - lots and lots of time - and therapy, and perseverance, he will eventually eat regular table foods (. . . right?).

It's the struggle that's getting me down. The fact that NOTHING comes easily for Finn. I mean, this is not news, it's not a revelation or an epiphany. But for some reason, that picture of the avocado? It was like a slap in the face. Here we are, an entire year later, still eating baby food. He doesn't even like avocado anymore!

I try very hard to just live in the moment with Finn, to not look too far ahead and wonder and worry, to just appreciate what is now. And most of the time, it really isn't too hard to do that. I try hard not to make comparisons. That's a little harder. When you have as many kids as I do, it's hard not to make comparisons. But I try not to dwell on those comparisons, and usually it's not too hard not to dwell.

I've said a thousand times that I don't care when Finn walks. And most of the time that's true, I really don't care. Until I see pictures of what my other kids were doing when they were the same age Finn is now. Until I hear about other babies - babies with Down syndrome! - who are around Finn's age and doing more than he's doing. And every day I'm noticing a little more how much harder it's getting to lug around a 22-pound creeping-up-on-two-year-old.

And then I remind myself that how soon Finn walks, or accomplishes anything else - has no bearing on how far he will go in life. It has no bearing on his capacity for love and happiness, and it is not a barometer of our parenting.

I feel guilty even admitting that I have these feelings sometimes. In my eyes, the sun rises and sets on Finn - I mean that with all my heart. But sometimes this is hard. Sometimes it hurts my heart. Sometimes it makes me sad.

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