This post is about messy eating. Not your normal, cute messy baby-face stuff either. Proper, hardcore messy stuff. If you’re of a delicate disposition – step away now!
In amongst his collection of issues Jacob has significant oral-motor problems. This means several things: he can’t speak many words, he dribbles excessively and he is a very messy eater. It’s all caused by the fact that his brain can’t control his movements properly, all movement is affected but what happens when you want to speak or eat is extremely complicated so it is more greatly impacted upon. He has speech therapy and Talk Tool therapy to try to help this, we see slow small amounts of improvement. He also has sensory processing problems and can’t really feel what’s in his mouth so often take food in and out to check what it is or spits it out in favour of something else on the plate.
Over the last few years Jacob’s messiness a caused many a childless friend to go slightly green whilst watching him eat. I’m pretty sure it may have put a few of them off reproducing all together! It is not a sight for the faint-hearted but has at least saved me from the downfall of many mothers – the eating of the children’s left overs. I mean what degree of insanity and desperation would be required to eat this?:
Jacob spends most meal times dressed in an array of protective clothing: a fabric bib, an wipe clean apron and a crumb catcher bib; all to save multiple changes or clothes and the requirement to have Victoria Beckham’s clothes shopping budget. I, however, need a major shopping spree as practically every item of clothing I own is now stained with God knows what (that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it!). I’ve already abandoned patting myself on the back at my achievement of having two boys born 2 years and 3 days apart and the fortune this would save in clothes buying. Not so, many of Jacob’s clothes are lucky if the outlast him let alone make it be used by Harry.
As the weather improved it suddenly occurred to me. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it before. Massive amounts of cleaning up could be saved I thought, “This is the solution, no need to worry about mess if it’s outside, we’ll just eat picnics! Picnics, it’ll be, all year round!”
So we tried it, our picnic was crackers, cheese, pasta salad, cucumber, satsumas and juice at Pencarrow House. Nothing fancy and everything fairly crunchy, easy to eat for Jacob and best of all at the end of it, I could just shake the blanket and leave the mess for the birds.
The boys had a fantastic time and really enjoyed themselves, and they actually ate quite a lot when I could stop them from feeding their lunch to the peacocks hovering optimistically nearby. But my hopes of a mess free affair where dashed (sob). Jacob still managed to plaster himself and the picnic rug in food and it wouldn’t all shake off, but you know what? We had so much fun eating our picnic, watching the peacocks and chickens, and laughing at Harry rolling down slopes and clambering on fallen trees, that I didn’t really care!