Food & Choking

We’ve discussed fussy (or limited) eating. We’ve discussed safety. Now for something that combines both.

Choking hazards.

The NHS specifies which foods should be avoided for young children here:
https://www.nhs.uk/…/foods-to-avoid-giving-babies-and-youn…/

I found this about choking risks:
https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/…/education-store/choki…

And my personal favourite, Dr Sears:
https://www.askdrsears.com/…/feeding-infants…/chokable-foods

It’s is advised that children under four or five avoid lots of foods that I have seen very small children eating, such as raw, whole apples. Lots of people have, again, called me fussy for not letting my children eat certain foods but my motto is I would always rather be safe than sorry.

Some things I have allowed but I am conscious of how the item is presented. Apples need to be peeled and sliced thinly. Grapes need to be cut long ways etc. Apparently raisins are a no no and blueberries should be sliced. I have failed on both counts there.

I am also really strict about sitting whilst eating. At the moment, the children struggle to stay at the table when they have finished. They used to do this when they were smaller, but now they get distracted too easily and just want to play once they are finished. In the spirit of picking your battles, I no longer try to force them to stay at the table. They are two and four at the end of the day, and it is pretty boring. I’m not saying they will get away with this as they get older.

I am really obsessive about biting and chewing as well.

My eldest suffered from horrendous reflux as a small baby and toddler, and he choked on everything…even water until he’d passed his first year.

My youngest seems to cram food into his mouth and I have had to physically put my finger into his throat to remove compacted food.

Eating and chewing properly, and slicing food to prevent choking, are important in my mind.

Lots of people have, again, scoffed when I’ve cut the spiky ends off of chips and said that their children have coped just fine eating food without fussing like I do. I’m sure they have but I don’t want to take the risk.

I think it’s sad that in our society we are so judgmental. Sadly, when you become a parent, opinions come from everywhere. I was told early on not to listen and to do what I felt was right. I can’t say I haven’t listened as it’s impossible not to, but I can say that despite comments I’ve received, I’ve never changed the things I do to keep others happy. I know my children best and always do what I feel is best for them at the time. I think every parent does.

This leads me on to other issues such as dummies, bottles and co-sleeping…but I think we’ll explore this in another post.

sliced food
choking hazards
food for toddlers

School Pick Up

All children get tired after school but for my eldest, this has a huge impact.

I took the children to get a treat from the bakery. They ate their snacks and I used a wipe on the children’s hands and faces. Then without thinking, I wiped some sugar from my eldest’s jumper. He hates getting wet. Alongside being tired…this was too much…and he had a meltdown.

He screamed, cried, hit me in frustration and began to take his top off, in the middle of the street.

I watched the other parents walking by with their children. People were staring, as usual, and the rest were just going about their business, popping into shops, jumping into cars or walking home…with such effortlessness.

It took me almost an hour and a half to walk home…when usually it takes no longer than 25 minutes.

Tonight a family member said they wish I didn’t worry so much what other people thought and this struck a chord. I reflected on this and realised that it isn’t so much that I am worried what other people think, it’s the fact I am so exhausted from the daily struggles and battles I face. I adore my children, but for a brief moment, I watched the other families and felt slightly envious. I would love to be able to pop to the park with the children or even just walk home without all the dramas that unfold from a plethora of triggers I can’t control.

I think control is one of my frustrations. I can’t control what people think or how my children behave. I feel utterly helpless. The snapshot people see of my children ‘misbehaving’ is of course going to make people form opinions about my parenting. I feel this is unjustified and wish they could see beyond the snapshot to see just what I juggle and what a good job I do, and how loved and happy the children are the rest of the time. But sadly, this is not possible.

This morning my youngest had a meltdown because we couldn’t walk home the way we normally do. This lasted a long time and resulted in him removing all of his clothes and weeing on the carpet. He has had a few behavioural differences since he was very young, but now they are becoming more prominent. Ah, the magical age of two and a half to three, just like my eldest. However, they both experience very different behaviours and difficulties.

It probably sounds like I accept and tolerate this behaviour…but I really don’t. However, during meltdowns there is very little you can do ‘in the moment’.

My youngest presents as angry. Everything seems to annoy and upset him. But when he snaps out of it, he is just the loveliest soul. I am still learning about strategies to use with him, as the things I have in place for his brother are not working.

My eldest is going through ASD/SPD diagnosis. We are also looking into Tourettes and Dyspraxia. He also meets criteria of ADHD,

My youngest is being assessed for behavioural difficulties. He certainly has some SPD issues but these are different to his brother. His behaviours seem to be related to ADHD or ODD.

I’m so mentally, physically and emotionally drained right now.

Safety

So many thoughts this evening, and no idea where to start.

My eldest is still loving school but he is struggling with his sensory needs. He keeps squeezing into tight spaces and every day he has a new injury from being so clumsy.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have been called fussy on many occasions but everybody is now seeing why I simply have to be. I work hard to keep my children safe because they do not possess the ability to do this themselves. We consistently teach them about dangers and how to do things safely, but much of the time, compulsions take over. I cannot become complacent because bad things will happen.

One of the things people have openly scoffed at is my concern over stairs. My children can use stairs confidently, and have done from very young. However, I am still very strict about them. I do not allow the children to go up and down them without supervision and can’t understand why more people don’t give them the respect they deserve. As an adult, I have fallen down them and suffered with concussion, so I do not take them lightly.

Earlier this week, my eldest fell down the stairs. My husband saw the whole thing and was quite upset as my eldest actually did a roly poly before landing at the bottom of the flight. I was hysterical as I came running out to see my son lying on the floor, crying and holding his head. I was so worried about his neck and head. The reality is, this could have resulted in something a lot worse than, thankfully, it did.

This happened on my husband’s watch…and the most annoying thing is he was being very vigilant. We usually walk down the stairs before the children, but my eldest had stepped in front of my husband, through impatience. He was carrying a water bottle or toy and my husband removed this from him explaining, as we always do daily, that they should never carry things up or down the stairs. Despite this, he somehow tripped and fell.

Today, my eldest came home with some horrible injuries, sustained at play time. Nobody saw what happened, and he will not talk about it. I understand accidents happen, but he has so many it’s crazy.

Have things happened on my watch? Of course. Have there been near misses? Of course. But on the most part, I understand and respect his triggers and unpredictability, so I am ‘on’ all the time. What happened today would be a more common experience if I wasn’t so on the ball…but that in itself is tiring.

I am also really ‘fussy’ about doors and car doors…fingers and toes. I can’t discuss it but I had a horrific experience as a child, during a game of hide and seek. I hid behind a door…my brother slammed it open…I can’t say any more.

As a result, I am quite strict and obsessive about not playing with doors, standing behind them or putting fingers near the edges. What makes me feel sick is that all it takes is for somebody to lapse for a moment, and for somebody else to accidentally, not thinking, slam a door…for permanent damage to be done.

I can’t bear it!

My niece is very accident prone and requires constant attention. People scoff at this, but she needs to be watched all the time. She clearly has ADHD and I believe she is also on the spectrum, mainly just because she reminds me of myself as a child. My mum always said that she feels I should have been diagnosed with ADHD as a child, but it wasn’t all that common then. Although, I recently learned that a school friend of mine was diagnosed as a child. How I did not know that is beyond me. However, I did always know there was something different about her. I guess that’s partly what drew us together.

It sometimes feels like people believe that outing your child as SEN is an ‘excuse’ for poor parenting. When in fact, it is an attempt to promote understanding.