I just witnessed one of those little things that is considered very basic in the development of standard issue kids, but not so much in the evolution of my little boy.
Will took a bite of a vanilla wafer, chewed a bit, and then swallowed it.
Didn't spit it out. Didn't gag. Didn't choke.
This. Is. HUGE.
Tears are rolling down my face as I write this. We have struggled mightily with his oral defensiveness issues and his unwillingness and basic fear to masticate food. This situation is not uncommon in micropreemies like Will who spent a while on a ventilator.
When Will first began feeding therapy several years ago, his then-therapist told me that this would be a long and arduous process. She wasn't kidding. Will is still on a soft food diet, although he does, for the most part, feed himself. (Tell me that wasn't a red letter day when he got all independent and picked up the spoon without being prompted...)
I long for the day when we can go out for a meal as a family and Will actually eat something off the menu. We're not there yet by any means. But it also took him a while to get the hang of walking by himself, and now he's into everything on foot. So I wear my optimism as a cloak, protecting and supporting me.
The timing and accomplishment on such things is all up to him -- his strong will, which sustained him through the darkest of dark days in the NICU, hasn't lessened any now that he's older. When he's ready to make strides, he will. Just part of who he is. Which is frustrating as hell (just ask his therapists) but a piece of the package.
Today, he took one figurative step forward. Out of the blue.
A bite of cookie. My boy took a bite of a cookie.
And it's a wonderful thing.