08 June 2011

Feeding For Two

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Well, today I did them both.  I fed boys at the same time. 

And thank goodness, it actually worked pretty good. 

A few things seemed to help make it successful...
1.) I prepared Oliver that he was going to get to join Bennett and me in the "Feeding Room."  He knew it is a room full of toys and a DVD player (since he's been able to watch me feed Bennett a few times through the one way mirror).  So, he was excited to be with us.

2.) I prepared Oliver's meal in advance.  It is so nice to start "Feeding Times" with the meal prepared.   Oliver had a part of a sandwich, chips, a drink and a cookie.  All of his food was on his plate for him to eat, just like Bennett's food is well prepared before we begin our "Feeding Times."  It was nice to know once I gave Oliver his food, he didn't necessarily need any more help.

3.) I got Oliver to "buy in" to the fact that he was actually "helping" me teach Bennett, rather than he was just randomly sitting in there with us.  I did this by making Oliver a book (much like this one).  In this book, I explained to Oliver what we do during "Feeding Times", why we have to feed Bennett that way and appropriate ways for him to act during these situations.

My biggest concerns with feeding them both at the same time were a.) Bennett would want Oliver's food, b.) Oliver would want Bennett's toys, and c.) Oliver would distract Bennett (or me) during our "Feeding Time." 

I was nervous that Oliver would cry and whine, making it very difficult for me to focus on Bennett.  But that is not what happened at all.  Oliver, who does not often watch TV, loved watching a DVD while he ate lunch.  (Although he did once cry out, "no more stopping it!", to which I had to explain that stopping the DVD is necessary as Bennett has to take his bites in order to keep watching the movie).

Bennett did not, in fact, show much interest in Oliver's food.  But, because this may be an issue in the future, I will begin considering how I can give them more similar foods when they eat together.  This would be to head off any potential issues in the area as well as use Oliver's interest in a food as a motivator for Bennett to also eat that food.

Oliver did an excellent job not distracting Bennett during his "Feeding Time."  There was one time when Oliver started being silly and Bennett found watching Oliver much more exciting than eating his bites.  But, I just stopped and explained that the way Oliver could help me teach Bennett would be for him to ignore Bennett.  I taught Oliver how to turn his head away from Bennett and ignore him.  Oliver did it and Bennett immediately took his bite.

I was really "wowed" when this situation repeated itself a short while later and Oliver turned his head away from Bennett without my saying a word.  Again, Bennett took no time to take his bite since he was no longer getting attention from Oliver.

I did, however, have to move Bennett's little high chair away from Oliver's chair.  Bennett liked grabbing the chair and trying to illicit a reaction from Oliver.  I even had to turn Bennett's chair 90 degrees around to move him away from being able to make Oliver laugh.  I know it will be easy for these two silly boys to entertain each other if I'm not careful.  So, having Bennett in a chair at home that can move around or away will be nice.

I was concerned that Oliver would want the toys Bennett gets to play with during "Feeding Times".  I was also concerned Bennett would want Oliver's toys.  I've already decided to collect special "feeding" toys that neither child can play with outside of designed "Feeding Times."  But, thankfully, each child was happy with their toy during the session.  I can use Bennett's interest in Oliver's toy as motivation to "take his bites".  And I can use Oliver's interest in Bennett's toy to teach Oliver patience.  So, hopefully, it will all work in the end.

I'm going to continue feeding both boys twice per day this week.  Then, on Friday, I will begin feeding all on my own (without the "Feeder" in the room).  We'll see how that goes!!  Fortunately, I am becoming much more confident during feeding times and beginning to get the hang of it. Let's just hope I can do it with both rascals when I'm all by myself!

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