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Feeding Clinic, Seattle, and Success

Feeding Clinic, Seattle, and Success

Some people measure success in money. Some people in their creative endeavors. Some people in what others think of them.

Measuring success in Apollo’s eating skills can be painfully slow. When he had the feeding tube placed at twenty-two months, we accepted that he might have it for years. Then we took him to Texas, had his vascular ring surgery re-done and his esophagus was finally free from the compression of his aorta. Unfortunately didn’t suddenly start eating…we tried feeding therapy and more surgery, but still his eating comes along in slow, incremental steps that can’t be measured daily or even weekly. It is only looking back that we see the strides he has made.

Tonight was an exception. This evening at dinner, we have a huge success.

Feeding clinic: Seattle Children's Hospital feeding clinic is helping us learn how to help Apollo eat.

When you have a child with a feeding tube, who is allowed to eat by mouth, you have to guard against the very real risk of them losing the ability or desire to eat. We have worked hard to make sure Apollo eats something, anything, by mouth every day. He was not quite two when the tube was placed…then he turned three, and then four and then five… Teaching Apollo to eat is work, but we’re getting there. We just had a visit down the feeding clinic (Chuck came along for this one) and we have been encouraged to make a few slow changes.

Tonight for dinner we had hamburgers, one of Apollo’s favorite meals. I asked what he wanted on his burger and he requested: ketchup, mustard, tomatoes, and lettuce. So I made his burger, cut it in half, and set it on the table. Well, he was not happy to see that hamburger cut in half. He wanted this hamburger whole. Apollo wanted a new hamburger; a whole hamburger. I could have made him a new one. A month ago I would have. Tonight, I simply said, “I’m sorry, but I already cut it” and went on with the meal.

Apollo cried and left the table.

In the past, a new hamburger would have been made immediately. Why? Because it took several years to help him overcome his anxiety get him to sit at the table, in a chair (not on my lap) with no tears. This was something he couldn’t even do last June when we started at the feeding clinic. A year ago, he would have skipped the meal entirely and been hungry and cranky all evening. His mental connection between hunger pangs and eating to relieve them is getting stronger all the time. But his has been something we have had to actively teach him.

As the rest of the family ate dinner Apollo wandered back to the table and into the kitchen. Soon he came out crying, “there are no hamburgers left!”

“That’s right, but yours is right here,” I said.

Before I knew it, he was on my lap and reaching for the hamburger. He took one bite and then another. He laughed and joked with the family.

He ate dinner. Even though his hamburger was cut in half.

Tonight, I am measuring success in that.

A single hamburger, eaten.

A small step for man, but a giant step for Apollo. 


  1. Melpub

    I’m reminded of the time our then two-year-old became outraged when my husband ate a cherry tomato the kid had left unwanted on his plate. Scream, yell tantrum, “DADDY THAT WAS MY TOMATO!!!” Handing the kid another tomato increased the decibel level of his screaming. My husband concealed a third tomato in his hand affected to vomit up the tomato he’d eaten. Instant silence! Tears dried!
    “Thank you, Daddy.”

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      That is so cool! I don’t think you can fully understand these not-so-small victories unless you have a child with serious feeding issues. I am so happy for you and Kestrel.

  2. debilewis

    I could not be happier to read this. I get it — you KNOW I get it. Congratulations to you and to Apollo!!!

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Yes, I know you do! Bread…I wasn’t sure he would *ever* be able to eat it. Our kids are amazing…

  3. carli valentine

    I am so happy to hear he is improving and able to eat better!!! These types of posts hit home for me since my son has so many eating struggles as well. Hopefully we will get answers soon, even if it means a second opinion. My heart is happy for you! Keep up the good work. Xoxo carli

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      I am glad you find these helpful. It helps me to see his progress when I look back not these posts.

  4. Lisa

    It’s interesting to see another large family with someone with disabilities as well. I am the middle child of 11, 16 years old, and your son reminds me of my brother. He can’t talk, has mental retardation for lack of a better term, and also has autism. He can be so frustrating sometimes; he often throws things out the window when he’s annoyed! Once in a while he will understand some concepts, but those victories are rare. Anyhow, I just wanted to share my story with you!

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Thanks for sharing a bit of your story. I love hearing about others and knowing I’m to alone!

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