Due to food tactile issues my middle daughter, dear Sweet Girl, has food difficulties causing a restrictive diet. We can thank Sensory Processing Disorder for this. She has recently figured out that there are some foods that she might otherwise enjoy if it weren’t for the texture. I don’t press her on the issues, ie. I don’t force her to eat what she doesn’t like. If we did that then it means she’s far less likely to willingly give that particular food another chance in the future in case she decides the texture, taste, or odor are tolerable.
I will offer her foods I’m sure she would dislike and has declined in the past just in case she chooses to try it because we’ve had success with that. Sometimes there’s success and sometimes there isn’t. Sometimes she’ll taste it and swallow it, but never takes another bite. That’s a success. Most times she lets it sit on her tongue, or touches it with the tip of her tongue, and then runs to the sink or garbage can to spit it out and then rinses her mouth with a drink she enjoys. If she remembers to spit it into a receptacle that’s success. The rest of the time it ends up spat out vigorously on the floor complete with facial expressions and vocalizations letting me know just how offensive it was.
I know that she’s lucky in that she’s willing to try new foods at all even with a limited palate and limitations due to food sensitivities.
Well. Tofu in any form typically ends up on the floor. In the past couple of weeks, she held it in her mouth long enough to make it to the garbage can. I was just happy that she was willing to taste it to see what spices I was using to prepare it. Each and every time, she insisted it was nasty all over with a nasty texture. With vigorous spitting. 🙂 She’s turned it into a joke, trying it just so that she can spit it out in a spit take like on TV.
Last night I cubed up some extra firm tofu. I put it in a pan with a little butter and olive oil, chili powder, cumin, dried onions, and Lawry’s salt. Just enough to season the olive oil and coat the tofu. Then I tossed the tofu enough to heat it through and soften the dried onions. Darling Girl took half, and I took the other.
While watching TV with our bowls of tofu, Sweet Girl came over and started sniffing the air. I looked at her suspiciously, and wondered if I should bother making the offer or just give up. I could tell by her body language that she was expecting me to make the offer, so I told her what I used to cook the tofu with.
So she was anticipating what the flavors would be like. Interesting. She still looked at the bowl and came closer, so I offered her a small bite. She chewed it and rolled it on her tongue which alone was progress regarding tofu.
Because it was expected behavior, she ran to the toilet and I could hear her spit and flush.
But then she came back with the same expectant look that I would offer her a bite. I’m a glutton for punishment, so I offered her another bite.
And she CHEWED IT.
And she SWALLOWED IT.
And she OPENED HER MOUTH FOR MORE.
She gobbled down half of my bowl. That means she ate a quarter of a container of tofu. She was extremely proud of herself for ignoring and then “getting over” the texture enough to decide that maybe it could be enjoyable. She even asked me to make it again the exact same way.
I’ll be honest… it’s the next day and my head is still spinning. Small steps. Success.