For the past six weeks we have been watching Gavin’s eating continue on a downward spiral. I used to brag that he was the absolute best child eater. He would seriously consume anything you would put in front of him and repeatedly ask for more. Slowly though he stopped eating his favorites, he experimented with a few new things, but now has stopped eating altogether. A typical day for him now consists of 1 cereal bar, 2.5 chicken nuggets, and two glasses of juice.
We took him to his pediatrician yesterday and learned if this continues we should be concerned about dehydration because his diapers are barely wet. In addition over the last two weeks he has lost four pounds, which is obviously not good for a small child. When asked what’s causing it no one knows. The answer we get is pretty generic that it is normal toddler tendencies, layered with Autism, layered with his sensory issues….but there are no real suggestions of where we go next.
Kendall has always been commended by her teachers for her amazing empathy skills. This week she has shown me on several different occasions her amazing compassion for others, most importantly her brother. The other day she came up to me and said “Mommy, next year I’m going to ask Santa to help Gavin like food again so he can eat.”. Then yesterday she pulled me aside and said “Mommy I really wish Gavin could talk because then he could tell us why he gets upset and that would make him happy.” Talk about melting your heart. I am so blessed to have both of them as my children, but I feel like Gavin doesn’t even know what an incredible big sister he has in her.
I continue to have faith that he will start eating again soon, but it’s a struggle to remain hopeful most days. Each meal I sit him down and try to get him to eat. He then either screams at me to remove the food or just throws it at me or on the floor to avoid eating it. His lack of eating has also turned into a lack of sleep because he is waking up hungry. On evenings when we can get him to successfully eat he sleeps through the night, but if he doesn’t touch his dinner it is hours of restless sleep for all of us.
I often tell myself not to get upset because there are so many things that could be worse for him. This is not a terminal illness, but instead a disorder that causes him to live life differently. But the trouble with fully believing that and being ok with everything is that there are so many unknown answers with Autism. I have been told by several people if you have met one child with Autism you have met ONE child with Autism….no two are alike and that is the struggle in trying to figure out answers when things aren’t “normal” with your child. The doctors know that it is probably related to ASD, but why it’s happening, if they have not seen it before, is a new mystery for all of us.
“With faith, there are no questions; without faith, there are no answers.”
― Yisroel Meir Ha-Cohen