Monday, October 18, 2010

One small glass of milk

It's nice to hear parents extol the virtues and accomplishments of their kids, how they scored a goal during the soccer game, how they gained entry into an overpriced college, how they got through AP calculus without ever opening the book. Often, so many parents blather on, almost as if they themselves conquered the task at hand. But in the end, I smile, nod, and think: "You are clueless as to how lucky you are."

For me, I am proud to say that for the first time in nearly five years, my child drank something other than water.

Yep, I know the progenitor of the AP kid will guffaw, roll his or her eyes. Drink? Something other than water?

Yep, that's what I said.

My child has not drank anything other than water since she was two and half, the point in her young life when her disability emerged from the dark crevices and stole her growth, her ability to talk, her level of tolerance to most foods including any liquid besides water.

And so for years, she has not tasted milk or juice of any kind.

But after a long awaited visit with a dietitian last week, we set forth a plan to introduce small amounts of foods into her diet, all with some coercion. That included small sips of chocolate milk, which we assured her tasted like brownies, one of 10 foods that she currently eats. (Of course, brownies may soon fall to the wayside, just as all foods do at some point.) It took us the better part of 30 minutes to get her to swallow the quarter-cup of flavored cow juice, and she nearly threw it up twice due to her gag reflex.

Yes, it was a baby step. But it was a step in the right direction. And I wasn't anything short of proud of her for agreeing to try it, for forcing it down, for not spewing it back up as she often does with foods she deems as foreign.

After she finished, I tried to hold in the tears, knowing that she may just be one step closer to what society deems as "normal." No, she won't score the winning goals in soccer. No, she most likely won't get into a prestigious university. And no, she is not calculus material.

But sadly, I know of children who have hurdles that are far more difficult than Grace's, and I feel for them, for their parents. So we take what we can get, even if it is only one small glass of milk After all, there are many more half-full glasses that await us.

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