I was horrified.
Our occupational therapist brought a lollipop! I adored her, and it physically hurt for me to try to reconcile my rigid anti-candy position with this gift. This toy. This tool. Because it was a tool, actually. A spinning giant ping-pong-ball of a lollipop.
We spent some time talking about it and I tried to disguise the intensity of my feelings. Our project was to encourage play in Thing One, my orally defensive kid, aged two, to take the stress out of eating, brushing teeth, and drinking.
I relented. Whatever it takes.
He pushed the little button and it spun. She encouraged him to put it in his mouth. He looked at me.
I smiled and nodded. He frowned. He touched it gingerly to his lips. Tongue. Lips. Start where you are.
He didn’t eat that giant damned sucker. He played with it. Like we played with straws, blew on kleenex, and blew raspberries. Whatever it took. His health did not deteriorate; his taste for healthy foods did not falter (until years later).
We both learned some things that day. I still am learning that my clear rigid boundaries are usually the ones that help the least. The further I get into parenting — Thing One is now 11 — the more I miss the clarity and rigid boundaries I started with!
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